I have the privilege of serving on the elder team here at Cottage Grove and it's my joy to get to open this text with you this morning. We're in Luke chapter 12. And so I invite you to grab your Bible. If you don't have one with you, there should hopefully be one near you and turn to Luke chapter 12 with me, and we'll also have the text up on the screen for you to follow along as we read our text this morning. But first, a couple of announcements. First, Christmas and Christmas Eve services are coming up. Yes. So we have the reads up we are singing the songs is the Advent season. And so this next weekend is going to be our Christmas service on the 22nd regular service times. But then Christmas Eve at four and 530. We're having special Christmas Eve services on the 24th here in this room. So I definitely invite you to come bring your family bring your friends to participate in Christmas Eve here at Cottage Grove.
No meeting on Christmas Day. And yeah, pray that you have incredible time with your family and friends Christmas Day. Also, the basement underneath our feet is officially open for business, which is great news. If you're here last week for the Christmas fair, you got to see a taste of it. I mean, we have bathrooms and so if you have bathrooms, you know you're a functional space, right? But we were able to bless our neighborhood and our community with the Christmas fair having that space available for people to come participate. And even before that, if you're a part of Cottage Grove kids Wednesday night ministry, we got a taste of it. Having a Thanksgiving meal a month ago and I was just blown away As I stood kind of back in the corner of the room and watch family after family come in and get to sit down and eat meals together people from the neighborhood, people from our church, being able to fellowship together in that space and talk about what God had been doing in their kids lives because of your faithfulness and serving your faithfulness and giving. And we just want to see more and more of that. I mean, that's what revive is all about. It's not just finishing a space, but it's what does God want to do with that space. And so if you've heard about revive, and you're not really sure about it, just ask somebody for some more information. We're still inviting people to jump in and participate. So if you're newer to Cottage Grove, and you're excited about what God's doing, we would ask you to consider to jump in and and be a part of what he's doing through our revive campaign. But let's jump into the text this morning. And so, if you're able, I invite you to stand up with me as we read aloud our texts in Luke chapter 12. And we're in verses 49 through 53.
So I invite you to read aloud with me. It says, I came to cast fire on the earth, and Would that it were already kindled. I have a baptism to be baptized with and how great is my distressed until it is accomplished. Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather Division four from now on in one house, there will be five divided three against two and two against three. They will be divided father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against Mother, mother in law against her daughter in law and daughter in law against mother in law. Wow.
I think it might be pretty clear. But the main idea from the Texas morning is that the gospel divides.
Let's pray. Heavenly Father, thank you this morning for these brothers and sisters that you have brought here to hear the reading and the preaching of your word this morning. And so I pray that God you would move through me
These would not be my words, they'd be your words, that you may search me and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts. And if there is any deceitful way within me, remove it God, that you lead us all into the way of everlasting life. Holy Spirit, thank you that you are the one who speaks through this text to convict hearts and minds. And this morning, may we both be challenged and convicted, but also encouraged, then we may leave this place, praising you, Jesus for who you are and what you have done. Thank you already for the work that you've done and trust that you will continue to do it. And so in all of this Jesus, may you be glorified and it's in your name we pray. Amen. You may have a seat.
One of the most divisive experiences that I have to live out often is this divisiveness of food envy. I don't know if if you're with me on that. But if you have experienced food envy, you actually know how divisive it can be. Thankfully, I live with a very gracious and loving woman who offers me a bite of her food no matter what she orders and what I order every time but, but some of you are not that gracious. Some of y'all are savage about your food. It's this is what I ordered for me. I'm not sharing it with anybody. Right?
And the worst part is, for me, I get into this place where as soon as I order the food, immediate regret, like I know I made the wrong decision, but it's too late. It's out there. And it's gotten to the point where now I just kind of asked the server, what would you recommend? What's your favorite?
And I go with that? And so then that way, if it's not right, then I can just blame them instead of blame myself. Well, give me the wrong recommendation, right. But if you're not like me, and you don't experience this indecision and division over food envy, maybe it's something else. We are regularly faced with these decisions over and over again, is this or that yes or no Cyclone or hot. Guy, LeBron or MJ. Chicago Bulls are a better team. Sorry, Pastor. I'm not going to talk about the Warriors it's just know it's bad. But whatever it is, ultimately when we make a decision, there is division. It's inescapable. And where we have been in this text is that Jesus is intentionally shifting from proclaiming his authority and displaying his power as it relates to the kingdom of God, which we saw in the first part of Luke chapters one through nine. But now he turns towards this climactic event of his crucifixion in the last half of Luke, and Luke nine, verse 51. That's, it says that when the days drew near for him, Jesus to be taken up, he set his face towards Jerusalem. He has a very intentional turning and a shift in his direction, his ministry, and you can see that in the text, he is speaking very differently about the kingdom. them of God, and the expectations for Kingdom people. You see, Jesus is talking about moving from being an observer to an ambassador. Jesus is now describing what the kingdom is like, and how Kingdom people should behave. He now administers warnings, and he begins to narrow the reality that there's an exclusivity to the kingdom. And even last week, he was explicitly outlining the expectations of the faithful compared to the unfaithful. And so we get to Luke chapter 12, verse 49, and it's almost like Jesus is looking out at this crowd and they're just kind of not fully grasping who this person is that standing right in front of them.
Or maybe there's even this confusion of the 12 because Peter in last week's tests, he asked this question, he says, Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all? There seems to be some confusion still about who Jesus is? And Jesus pauses to remind the people what it is he came to do and a warning he administer There's a warning that what he came to do will indeed create division, as if to ask, Are you sure you want it? So Jesus explains the source of this division and the nature of this division. So let's first look at the source of this division, which is found in the mission, the passion and the person of Jesus highlighted in the first few verses, verses 49 through 51. Jesus says, I came to cast fire on the earth, and Would that it were already kindled. I have a baptism to be baptized with and how great is my distress until it is accomplished? Do you think that I've come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. So Jesus's words here I came to, I have come to this is missional language. And it's not a new mission, but it's rather another insight into the mission that he's actually already on. And at face value, there's some really challenging words in this text. And so I want to help us Let's try and navigate it the best that we can. So if we go way back in Luke chapter two, we see Jesus being presented at the temple after his birth, he's being dedicated. And Simeon says this to Mary. He says, Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel. And for a sign that is opposed, so that thoughts from many hearts will be revealed. Jesus has come to reveal the hearts of many. Jesus says he came to cast fire, which on the surface sounds very wrathful. But it's actually not the way that Jesus is talking about this fire here. It's not a fire of condemnation, but it's a fire of judgment. It's important that we separate these two things out condemnation and judgment. So remember back in Luke chapter nine, when, when James and john and i love this story, when James and john tell Jesus after the Samaritans have rejected his message, they go throughout the region, they're preaching the message the Samaritans rejected and James and john are like, Hey Jesus, should we just call down fire from heaven and burn them all up?
It's a great solution. It actually would be appropriate, it would be appropriate for those who have rejected the message from Jesus to face the consequences of wrath. But what does Jesus do? He rebukes James and john. It's not the time it's not the right response. The fire Jesus desires to kindle is not a fire of condemnation is a fire of judgment. But the fire of judgment that reveals the hearts like simeone prophesied at the dedication, it separates out faithful servants and unfaithful servants, just like pastor recapped, preached about last week.
And it is through that judgment of our hearts, that we actually condemn ourselves. Paul mentioned this in Romans two verse five, he says, but because of your heart and in penitent heart Excuse me, you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed. So God's righteous judgment reveals the wrath we have stored up for ourselves. And Jesus desires this judgment fire to come to separate out the faithful and the unfaithful. And the method by which this fire is kindled is through his baptism.
The way Jesus was already baptized right towards the beginning of Luke, john the baptist baptized as Jesus in the waters of repentance. He walked in that faithfulness, in obedience to baptism with water, and then after that the Holy Spirit descends on him and so he was baptized with the Holy Spirit as well. But Jesus is speaking metaphorically here about his third act of baptism. Just as we are plunged into the waters of baptism, like we saw demonstrated last week, and the Holy Spirit is poured out upon us in regeneration. Jesus will plunged into the sufferings of his crucifixion. And he's going to be poured out as a sacrificial altar offering on the altar. That is his mission. And this is what this is all leading towards not simply welcoming in outcast, not simply humbling, the proud, not see, simply healing the sick, not simply alleviating the poor, but Jesus reminds the crowd in this text that as he faces Jerusalem, his single focus and mission is to welcome humble heal and free us through the cross.
That is his mission.
And the passion of Jesus is on full display in these verses. The Greek texts has the expression of this eagerness towards these things. And there's other translations that say How I wish that it were kindled, how I wish it were kindled, the desire the desire that is there, how distressed I am until it is accomplished. Jesus eagerly desires and hard pressed to complete his mission. And we all know people like this. People so passionate, they just can't stop talking about that one thing, and they are not satisfied until you are just as passionate about it as they are. And I immediately think of my co worker, Cory, who's actually a cottage Grover as well. And Corey is very passionate. And if you know, Cory, you understand that it's, it's one of the things I love most about Cory, if he's excited about something, he wants you to be excited about it. He just starts talking about it more and louder, and he's more excited and draws more people in. And can you believe this? Have you seen this? Check this out. But here's the thing, it's not enough for him just to share his passion with you and draw you in. He wants you to know about it. He wants you to know he wants to show you Hey, no, don't check this out. Let me show you what I'm doing here. And actually, it's not enough to show you it. He wants to teach it to you so that you might become just as wise and understanding and passionate about the thing that he is passionate about. Jesus has been talking about the kingdom, and talking about the kingdom and talking about it and talking about it over and over, and it's like he finally breaks. He says, I can't wait. It is so close. You don't even understand it's going to be amazing. He came to preach the good news, Luke 443, he came to seek and save the lost Luke 1910. But all of that is incomplete. Because Jesus came for the cross. And he can't wait to fulfill his mission. And I can't help but wonder if he looked out of that crowd and he said to himself, I am distressed until it's accomplished for them. I'm distressed until it's accomplished. For you. For me, did he have this in mind when he talks about this desire? Jesus is distressed he's pressed in on every side. It's like if you've been around agriculture, the cattle that are pressed in directed towards Their end on an untimely end may be but pressed in and directed toward that end. And for Jesus, he's pressed and directed towards the overwhelming affliction, that is to come to overwhelming affliction through which he will accomplish what has been commanded. What's been set forth from the beginning of time. He's going to move from it will be accomplished. Tell us stay here in the text to it is accomplished, to tell us die on the cross, and john 1930. But the mission and the passion of Jesus doesn't matter if the person of Jesus isn't who he claims to be. And this is the center of the source of our division. See, there have been men and women throughout history who have sought to better the world and people circumstances. And there have been men and women who have given everything within themselves even given up their own lives for worthy causes. But when a man comes In claims to be the Son of God, the sonship of the one true God, who backs up his claims with power and authority, who actually offers forgiveness of sins, who is ushering in a kingdom in an unexpected way. We can understand when he says, Do you think I've come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. And we see that division already in his ministry.
But again, this can be kind of confusing. I mean, especially this time of year and the Advent season, what we were just singing about, isn't Jesus, the Prince of Peace, he's, he's come to usher in peace. And we actually do see the promise of God's peace all throughout the scriptures. And number six, God gives his blessing to the people of Israel by saying this he says, The Lord bless you and keep you, Lord, make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. Isaiah nine for to us to try Is Born to us a son is given and the government shall be upon his shoulder. His name shall be Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, and of the increase of his government and peace, there will be no end. The fusions two verses 14 and 17, for he himself is our peace, he came and preached peace to you who are far off and preach peace. To those who are near there is a whole lot of peace offered in the scriptures. And so this seems like a direct contradiction in Luke 1251 division. But the reason why it's not a contradiction is that peace is a byproduct. Peace is not the purpose. reconciliation is the purpose. Peace is a byproduct just like the the purpose of my breathing is not to create carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a byproduct of my breathing. The purpose is actually to bring oxygen to my lungs and life to my body. The primary purpose of the cross is actually not peace, but reconciliation, and breathing life into a dead and dying world, breathing life into a dead and dying people to a dead and dying person, reconciliation. And that's why Jesus is so hard pressed to go to the cross. He knows that the only way that he can actually usher in true peace is to stand in between a righteous God and an unrighteous people. The condemnation and deserved wrath that is revealed by judgment does have to be satisfied. And so Jesus lives his perfect life. And yet he bears the penalty for our disobedience. He takes on the fullness of the wrath of God, as he has plunged into the baptism of his death. And then he raises himself out of death to new life, and then eventually ascends into his rightful place at the right hand of the Father. And through that act of Reconciliation, we can actually experience peace with God. And that's and why that brings division. Is this because each and every one of us has answered the same question that Jesus asked his disciples in Luke chapter nine. The question, Who do you say that I am? Having seen Jesus earthly ministry and heard his message of the Kingdom of God and understood his mission of the cross and resurrection, we have to add, answer that exact same question. Who do you say that I am?
There's an exclusivity to the claims of Jesus's life. And we see the seeds of division even this far in Luke, the crowds, the religious leaders, even disciples who turn away because of his claims to be God. Because if you claim to be God, that must mean that I'm not God. If you claim to be Lord of my life, I must not be Lord of my life. You alone deserve honor and glory than I must not get honor and glory. And we find ourselves back at this restaurant looking at the menu and we offer and we look at this menu that offers everything that we can imagine. And we think, yeah, yeah, Jesus, I do like that message of blessing and peace. And so I want to take that, but I don't exactly like the side of condemnation. So I'm going to put that over here. And I do like this idea that all paths lead to the same mountaintop. So maybe I'll bring that one in. And, and you know, I actually want to call the shots of my own life. And so I'm going to bring that in. But here's the reality. Jesus is not an all a cart menu item. In fact, it's an entirely different menu.
We don't get to choose. There's exclusivity.
He is too jealous for your soul, to share it with things that will bring about your destruction. It's claimed exclusive and you have to decide exactly who he is. And that's where decision creates division. where people are opposed to the injustice of God, manifested in Jesus Christ, there will always be division. And as one commentator said, one cannot overlook the fact that this harmony or this piece will never happen, until man has a right relationship through Jesus. So that is the source of our division. In verses 49 and 51, let's pick up the text again in verse 52. And look at the nature of division. It says from now on in one house, there will be five divided, three against two and two against three they will be divided, father against son, son against father, mother, against daughter and daughter against Mother mother in law against her daughter in law, daughter in law against mother in law. And we can see in these verses that division is deep It is mutual, and it is persistence. From now on based on the confession of who Jesus is from now on in one house, there will be five divided. So if we think about Jewish culture and tradition, the family is central to so many things. While the law was kind of this top down thing from God speaking to the people, the administration of that law was actually more bottom up so it would go from family or clan, to tribe to nation. And so there was this real understanding that the family was central to all these things. There was this strong corporate understanding a family that the sins of one where the sins of many the blessings of one where the blessings of many, and there was a protection of the purity of the family that intermarrying outside of the pure lineage of Israel was forbidden. The prodigal son think about the story of the prodigal son, the fact that he would speak words essentially saying I wish you were dead to his father. And left, then to come back and be accepted was ridiculous was offensive in the mind of the Jew. The family was an important thread in the social, cultural and spiritual fabric of Israel. And so when Jesus says families are going to be divided, it's a very deep division. And the division isn't simply about brokenness or disagreement. And it's not one sided. It's a mutual division. Jesus borrows this reference from Micah seven, six, where Micah is speaking to generational injustice within Israel, that the sons and daughters of Israel are now against their father, fathers and mothers. And so Micah says, For the Son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against your mother, the daughter in law against your mother in law, the man's enemies are the men of his own house. And so Jesus takes it a step further. It's not just the next generation rebels against the current generation. It's not just son against father, but also father against son. It's not just daughter against mother, its mother against daughter. It's not just daughter in law against mother in law. It's also mother in law against daughter in law, there is a mutual division within the household. And I want to point out that this isn't about persecution. persecution is a different type of division. And while Jesus certainly promises persecution for those who follow Him, this verse is about relational separation. It's about discord, a lack of unity. And it highlights that we who align ourselves with Jesus actually contribute to separation.
It's not just them. It's also us. It's a natural effect of aligning yourself with the kingdom of God. Because the reality is, who Jesus is affects everything.
It affects your values. your desires, your purpose, all of those things change. How you perceive the world around you how you think, how you feel, and how you act are all changed. Because when you choose to believe the truth of who Jesus is, and what he's come to do. And if you've been around college ministry at all, you you actually see this in practice. You understand this division, maybe this is actually even been your experience, because it's usually around this time of year that the college students go back home for Thanksgiving or Christmas and every year, every fall, praise God to his glory that college students are hearing and responding to the gospel maybe for the first time. They have come out of darkness into light, they've grasped this reality of who Jesus is. And they get so excited to share this newfound understanding of hope and salvation with their family. And so they go back home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. But they returned defeated because their family members they don't share the same understanding. And maybe what they start to see is there's this reality of separation that is now happening.
Because even if people aren't antagonistic towards the claims of Jesus, there's still a relational gap when you align yourself with a different type of King and a different type of Kingdom. And you can start to understand what Jesus was talking about later in the text where Jesus will call his disciples, his mother and his brothers. Because there's this reality that family is knit together by the bond of the Holy Spirit. It's a different type of family. And then Jesus as this really interesting wordplay with numbers, he talks about the house of five that will be divided three against two and two against three. And I think what he's saying is that this division is going to be persistent. It's never equal. There's no room for compromise, you will always be at odds to some degree. When it's three against two and two against three there's always division. Because the claims of Jesus it's not agree to disagree.
You have to decide. Jesus says in john 14 verse six, I am the way the truth and the life no one comes to the Father comes to the Father except through me. There isn't compromise there its exclusivity. In light of the cross, people must decide who Jesus is. Now as the Theologian Darrell Bock says reconciliation to God can mean separation from people. It's not an intentional sheltering or protection, or separating ourselves out of fear. We shouldn't draw away from the world out of fear. Now, it's a natural side effect of a different alignment and allegiance. We move from experiencing Jesus to following Jesus. We move from observing Jesus to becoming ambassadors for Jesus, like the Apostle Paul says in Second Corinthians, chapter five, he says, All this is from God, who through Christ records sold us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. that is in Christ. God was reconciling the whole world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and interesting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake, he made him to be sin, who knew no sin so that in Him, we might become the righteousness of God.
For some of us, for some of us, I think I'm actually preaching to myself this morning for some of us. I wonder if we don't actually experience that much division. Because we align ourselves more with the world that with Jesus. We want harmony in our relationships, and so we shrink back. We don't want to talk about these exclusive claims of Jesus. This, we want to distance ourselves maybe even from that exclusivity and that tension. Jesus didn't say we might experience division. Jesus said he's bringing division. We don't get to choose. I love those families where you can just tell like they're all family. Just looking at them. Great analysis Stewart's boys, if you know them. You just look at the five of them. You like you're all brothers. Yeah, you're all the same family. There's just something about that. Our son fetcher. He, when he was a toddler age, like two or three, he looked very Scandinavian. He's like, blonde, he was blond, blue eyed, just creamy skin. But when it would be just the two of us out together. People were kind of confused. Like, why is this like, ambiguously ethnic guy with this? Somebody else's kid like it didn't make any sense. People didn't see that we related but our daughter Isley when we're together people, yes, you are the same and what she hears often is, you look just like your father, your your his little twin, you're a carbon copy of him to the point where even if she goes somewhere where people know me and I'm not there, they know who her father is.
Just by looking at her. When people look at us, do we resemble our Heavenly Father? Does our mission and passion look like Jesus? Does my mission and passion look like Jesus? If so, we will experience division in this life.
Maybe this all sounds hopeless. And it sounds like the the source of division and the nature of division is inescapable. There is still hope, because Jesus is also the great unifier. Guess what I was before I was a Christian. I was not a Christian. It's not a trick question. But then the message, the message of Jesus's life, death and resurrection came to me. For my sake, God made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Jesus I might become the righteousness of God, that message came to me who was outside who was divided from the people of God. And if Jesus can move and work within me, Jesus can move and work within anyone and everyone. And that's why I love effusions two verses 11 through 17. Paul says, Therefore, remember that you who are Gentiles, you, formerly you, who are Gentiles in the flesh, and called uncircumcised by the so called circumcision. Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, strangers to the covenants of promise, without hope, and without God in the world that was me, separated, alienated, no hope, divided. But then the message of hope and the promise found in the person of Jesus Christ came to me and brought me near. Paul continues, but now Christ Jesus, in Christ Jesus, you who are once far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ, for he himself is our peace. He who has made the to one and has torn down the wall, the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing in his flesh, the law of commandments, and decrees those things that condemn us. He did this to create it himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace and reconciling both of them to God in one body through the cross, by which he extinguished them. hostility division. He came and preached peace to you who are far away, and peace to those who are near. In Jesus. separation and division is replaced by unity and peace. And if you can reconcile two people separated by a dividing wall of hostility and if he can break down that wall and bring them together in unity, certainly he can overcome the division within our friendships and our families.
So What part do we play in overcoming division? Pray, pray a lot. Pray often. Pray for hearts and minds to be soften and preach. preach the gospel. preach the gospel over and over and over again. tell people about Jesus. And if they disagree with you, tell them about Jesus. God now makes his appeal through us. We should empower people. To be reconciled to God through Jesus. And this is why evangelism and discipleship is so important. It moves people from division to unity through hearing, knowing and understanding the call of the gospel. So I want to leave us with Colossians, 119 and 20. It says, For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him in Jesus, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven by making peace through the blood of the cross.
God has brought peace through reconciliation found in Jesus Christ alone. So who do you say Jesus is?
If you don't know the answer that question, or maybe this morning, you're saying for the first time I actually believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the fullness of God come to reconcile all things to God through His blood on Cross. If that's you for the first time this morning, I would love to pray with you. We're going to move into a time of communion in some and invite the ushers to come on down. But as your row is dismissed for communion, if you would like prayer to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, or to talk about these things, I'm actually going to be over here to the right of the stage,
I would invite you to come down and and I will pray with you.
But we have tables up here at the front of the stage with a gluten free option at every station. And communion is something that we celebrate as a sacrament as a sacrament of sobriety and celebration. We do this because Jesus on the night of his arrest, he took the bread he gave thanks saying, Take, eat. This is my body given for you Do this in remembrance of me.