Authentic Living in the light of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb

Date: 31 July 2022

Sermon Text: Luke 12:1–13:9

Speaker: Ps Daniel Tan

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Transcript Introduction

Blessed Sunday to all.

Ps Luwin has condensed for us into 1 sentence Luke’s Gospel, which is that - God is fulfilling his plan to establish his upside-down, outside-in kingdom in the world through the Spirit-filled ministry of Jesus Christ.

And next year as we look at Acts, we will see how through the church, God, by the power of the Spirit of Jesus will sent forth witnesses beyond Jerusalem, to preach of His Kingdom in Judea to Samaria and to the ends of the earth.

About the church, Paul says in Ephesians 5 that she is the bride of Christ. So loved by Christ that he gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendour without spot or wrinkle, that she might be holy and without blemish.

I’ve highlighted this wedding imagery for us today as I hope it will be the carrot, the positive encouragement for us to live authentically in the light of Christ 2nd coming.

In today’s passage, there are many inferences to Christ 2nd coming. For example:

  1. 12:5 – fear him who after he has killed has authority to cast into hell.

  2. 12:40 – be ready for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect

  3. 12:46 – the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know.

At Christ’s 2nd Coming, yes there would be an accountability, there would be a reckoning. But there will also be the Marriage Supper of the Lamb which is found in Rev 19.

Rev 19:6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. 7 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; 8 it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. 9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”

So Paul in Ephesians 5 gives us a foretaste of this scene in Rev 19. Would this glorious scene where the church is made ready for Christ be our encouragement to pursue Christ-likeness today?

What does it take to be married typically in Singapore these days?

Even under Covid situations, most couples plan at least 12 months before. And even before they began planning for the wedding, there was already the period of dating and the marriage proposal.

There was intentionality, things don’t happen just by itself. There had to be much deliberated planning and execution.

There was also much focused and perseverance. Throughout everything, other things become less important, the proposal and the wedding takes priority.

Be it time, finances, diet and exercise – everything was geared towards the wedding. Sacrifices were made for the wedding. Sacrifices were made also for what comes after the wedding – honeymoon, home renovations etc.

Did we dread, these sacrifices, no we did not, for we knew it would all be worth it because it was our wedding, the start of our lives together.

Since as believers we form the church that will be the bride of Christ at His 2nd coming, could our earthly wedding preparation give us a clue to how we should live in the here and now?

I’ve added in the sermon title, authentic living and this is to contrast with the hypocrisy that is mentioned twice in our passage today.

12:1 says, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy. And in v56 Jesus says, You hypocrites, you know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

So may our passage this morning encourage and equip, us to live authentic lives in the light of the marriage supper of the Lamb.

Appropriate Fear (12:1-12)

Fear is a normal human reaction. And we know that healthy fear keeps us from doing many dangerous and stupid things. Yet, we also know that unhealthy fear can paralyze and prevent us from growing as a person.

In the first 12 verses of Luke 12, let’s see what Scripture can teach us about appropriate fear. Let’s being with healthy fear.

Firstly, we should fear the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. Why, because it is insidious. It is like leaven or yeast. It is silent, unseen yet deadly. It permeates till it touches every part of the dough. Nothing is untouched by its evil impact.

And we have already understood the terrible opposition of the Pharisees towards Jesus from last week’s sermon. Yet, as Ps Luwin has shared, the Pharisees seem to be the model religious person you would find in the faith community.

The bible instead says they are like white-washed tombs. Clean on the outside but full of death and decay on the inside.

Healthy fear is knowing that God sees what is unseen. God knows what is said in the depth of our hearts, whispered in the privacy of enclosed rooms. And that all this will one day be revealed.

Couples who are married, may this thought also keep us faithful to our spouses especially when no one is looking.

And why are we to fear our all-knowing God? It is because v5 says, he has authority to cast into hell after he has taken earthly life. It means he has the power to determine our eternal destiny.

I submit, we should fear too, Jesus who is able to acknowledge us before the angels of God and we are warned, have a healthy fear especially of the Holy Spirit, who is the one who has opened our eyes to see Christ Jesus.

For if we reject the revealing work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we are warned, it is eternal damnation.

For those of us who are fearing that we somehow may have committed any sin against the Holy Spirit unintentionality, the fact that you fear is sufficient to know that you have not.

On the other hand, what are we not to fear. We are not to fear those who only can kill the body and after that have nothing more that they can do.

Satan and his kingdom are powerful in this material world, but that is all that their power extends to. As believers, we know that when we are absent from the body, we are present with the Lord.

So, all that evil man can do is to destroy this earthly body. But then, God will bring us to Himself and the bible promises that we will in the future have a glorified body. A foretaste we have witnessed with Jesus after his resurrection.

With Covid and now dengue, we come face to face with mortality. Our mission partners continue to also grapple with forms of persecution. May Scripture encourage us not to be paralyse with unhealthy fear as we face death and dying.

Speaking about persecution, Scripture comforts, when we are brought before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, when we are publicly hauled up to account for our faith. Let us not be fearful of what to say, for we will be guided by the Holy Spirit.

In the context of marriage, there may be a time in the near future, when we as a church will have to weather societal opposition to our conviction that marriage can only be between one man and one woman. May God find us faithful then.

In all seasons, Scripture teaches, God cares intimately for you and for me. God cares for every sparrow that are worth little. How much more would God care for us who are worth more than many sparrows.

God cares intimately because every hair on our heads, God has numbered them. That is the detailed extent of His care for us.

Whatever your struggles today, whether you are married or single, God says, I know what you are going through. He knows each strand of hair that falls even as you comb it.

May the knowledge of our all-powerful and all-knowing God encourage us to fear Him and Him alone. May our reverence for God be shaped by His intimate love for us.

True Wealth (12:13-34)

There is a saying that a true conversion happens when there is a conversion of the wallet. It means that our finances are where our heart’s treasure lies.

Jesus counters (v15), one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. Did Jesus have us 21st Century Singaporeans in mind when he said this? For many of us, is this not precisely how we define our lives?