The Gospel of Luke - Part 12: The Essential of Effectiveness

(These notes are based on lesson notes prepared by Rob Mahon for Connection Class Leaders at Hoffmantown church.)


Last week, we finished the study of Chapter 3 of Luke with Luke’s description of the ministry of John the Baptist, which included his conflict with Herod Antipas and the resulting imprisonment. John’s message was that everyone needed to repent, change their ways, whether they were Jew or Gentile. He was also clear that true repentance requires a change in their behavior. Luke concludes his discussion of the ministry of John by relating John’s baptism of Jesus in the Jordan and the arrival of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove and The Father affirming that Jesus was his son in whom He was well pleased. John also makes it clear that he himself is not the Messiah but the one to come is greater and brings a better baptism. He also says that the one to come will judge between the followers and the fakers.

Luke ends his introduction of the adult Jesus with the introduction of the ministry Jesus and His genealogy.

This morning - we jump into Luke Chapter 4. This lesson could be entitled: The Essential of Effectiveness.

What do you think are some keys to a person being really used by God?

You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. --Acts 10:38
This verse might also serve as a good summary of Chapter 4.

Chapter 4 marks the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. Beginnings are important times. Jesus sets the tone for His entire ministry in what He does and teaches in these early days. Luke is sensitive to continue to record things that Jesus says that indicate a heart for the world, not just for the Jews. Throughout this chapter there is a lot that we need to imitate and apply from the life of Jesus.

Jesus' baptism that we looked at last week launched His public ministry. Notice that the first event that occurs is 40 days of temptation by the devil. Satan tries to defeat Jesus before His ministry has even begun. Instead, it is Satan who is defeated.

In fact, notice as you read this chapter that Jesus’ ministry began with resistance and rejection. Verses 1-13 describe Satan’s temptations. Verses 14-30 tell how the people of Nazareth, after initial enthusiasm, became enraged with Jesus and tried to kill Him! Not a very encouraging beginning, is it?

But maybe it’s important for us to see that Jesus focused on obedience - doing what His heavenly Father desired - rather than on results. Jesus repeatedly emphasized this truth with His disciples:

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.” --John 4:34

“I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” --John 5:30

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” --John 6:38

Author Stormie Omartian: “Trust that God has your best interests in mind and be willing to do what he asks of you, even if you don't understand why. Obedience starts with having a heart that says “yes” to God.”

We’ll be looking at a lot of important themes and topics in this chapter. But let’s not miss the fact that every verse shows Jesus’ commitment to obey His heavenly Father.

The first section of this chapter tells us to Resist The Devil.

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry. And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’ ” And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’ ” And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here; for it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You to guard You,’ and, ‘On their hands they will bear You up, So that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’ ”   And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”   When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time. --Luke 4:1-13
There is a lot we can learn from this passage - both about Satan's tactics and from Jesus' example in resisting the devil.

1.   Be surrendered to the Holy Spirit.

Only Chapter 1 (which is nearly twice as long as this chapter) has more references to the Holy Spirit in the Book of Luke. The handout I have is a complete list of references to the Holy Spirit in Luke. We’re going to consider three references to Jesus and the Holy Spirit found in this chapter of Luke. We need to be filled with the Spirit, like Jesus was.

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan. --Luke 4:1
What do you think it means to be “filled” with the Holy Spirit? Ephesians 5:18 gives us our primary explanation of the filling of the Spirit.
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit. --Ephesians 5:18
Notice that being filled with the Spirit is compared and contrasted with being drunk. To be drunk is to be “under the influence” of alcohol. To be filled with the Spirit is to be “under the influence of” the Spirit. It implies His control over our lives and involves yielding ourselves to God.

The best evidence of the filling of the Spirit is the fruit of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. --Galatians 5:2-23
No evidence of the fruit, not likely filled with the spirit.

The command “be filled” in Ephesians 5:18 is in present imperative tense indicating a continuous process. This verse could better be translated “keep on being filled with the Spirit”. Notice that the verse supports understanding being Spirit-filled in terms of influence not possession. The Spirit doesn't “possess” us where we are no longer in control. He influences us, our thoughts, actions, speech - expressing Himself through our personality. This refers to that life-long process of yielding all areas of our lives to God. The Spirit wants to “fill” every part of my life.  But as I sin, as I take control, I also refuse to yield to Him.  As God helps me see these areas in my life, I need to confess my sin and yield them back to Him.

Remember, the Spirit's objective is always to exalt Jesus

He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. --John 16:14
What fills you? A person can be filled with ambition, with bitterness, with many things or they can be filled with the Spirit. Remember this is a continuous process of daily submitting ourselves to God’s authority, yielding to the Spirit's control.

Why not commit each day to take a few minutes to surrender to the Lord, to His will and His Spirit, for that day?

2.   Be led by the Spirit:

This section also tells us to be led by the Spirit, like Jesus was

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days. --Luke 4:1-2
Matthew told us the same thing.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. --Matthew 4:1
What do you think we learn from Jesus’ experience here of being led by the Spirit? (If even Jesus followed the lead of The Spirit, it would be smart for us too.) The Scriptures also state that all believers should be led by the Spirit:
Those who are led by God's Spirit are God's children. --Romans 8:14 (TEV)

But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. --Galatians 5:18 (NIV)
What are some keys to being led by the Spirit? John Ortberg says:
In George Bernard Shaw's play St. Joan, one of the characters asks Joan of Arc why the voice of God never speaks to him as she claims it speaks constantly to her. “The voice speaks to you all the time,” she says. “You just fail to listen.” I believe that one reason why we fail to hear God speak is that we are not attentive.
What are some ways that the Spirit leads us? Former Prime Minister of Great Britain, Margaret Thatcher, wrote: “Ideally, when Christians meet, as Christians, to take counsel [make a decision] together, their purpose is not -- or should not be -- to ascertain what is the mind of the majority but what is the mind of the Holy Spirit -- something which may be quite different.”

Speaking of how he made decisions, Martin Luther said: “In domestic affairs I defer to Katie [his wife]. Otherwise, I am led by the Holy Spirit.

3.   Be empowered through the Spirit:

And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. --Luke 4:14
“Power” is an important word - and theme - in the Book of Luke. It’s used 16 times, including in the following passages:
And amazement came upon them all, and they began talking with one another saying, “What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits and they come out.” --Luke 4:36

One day He was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing. --Luke 5:17

And all the people were trying to touch Him, for power was coming from Him and healing them all. --Luke 6:19
Jesus didn’t start His public ministry until He was empowered by the Holy Spirit. After His resurrection, He told His disciples to wait until they, too, had been empowered by the Spirit:
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. --Acts 1:8
This empowering by the Holy Spirit is not something reserved for Jesus and His Apostles; it is His will for all of His disciples to be empowered by the Holy Spirit:
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. --Romans 15:13

...and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power... --1 Corinthians 2:4

...that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love... --Ephesians 3:16-17
We tend to think of miracles when we think of evidence of the Spirit’s power but look at these three verses. In these verses, what does the Spirit’s power accomplish? What do you think are some keys to being empowered by the Holy Spirit?

Pastor and author Tony Evans says: “One day I was in an airport rushing to catch a plane. I was sweating and puffing when I looked to my right and saw a man walking half as fast as I was, but going faster. He was walking on a moving sidewalk.”

When we walk in the [power of the] Spirit, He comes underneath us and bears us along. We're still walking, but we walk dependent on Him.

4.   Be aware of Satan’s schemes:

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days being tempted by the devil. --Luke 4:1-2
Paul warns us in Second Corinthians to forgive others: that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes. --2 Corinthians 2:11
Paul warns us to be prepared “in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” Unfortunately, many Christians are unaware of the ways that Satan tries to ensnare us.

Let’s look at some things we can learn about temptation and the devil from this passage.

First Corinthians 10:13 states we all struggle with the same basic temptations in different forms:

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. --1 Corinthians 10:13

Next week:

We will continue with the study of this section at the beginning of Luke 4. To prepare, reread Luke 4.