Brother Al Foster's Sunday School lessons
January 29th 2017
Luke Chapter 10
As we are here again I want to truly express my thanks for your attention to the things I share that God has given me to bring to you. I know that within myself I am so unworthy except through the blood of Jesus. And I think of those of you who have followed Christ for more years than I have been alive. Last week Dave shared a comment and Randy and pastor also chimed in. As you sit and listen and the spirit of God speaks to you and brings certain scriptures to your mind as we study these passages, speak up. Don’t be bashful. I need to learn as much as anyone, and we all benefit when we all share.
Last week we looked at the account of Jesus calling his 12 chosen disciples, and he empowered them and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
Read Luke 9:6 And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where
This week we find again Jesus calls his disciples, and he sends them out and he tells them to heal the sick and preach the kingdom of God
In chapter 9 he sent the 12 chosen disciples. This time he sent out 70 disciples. We all know that numbers play an important part in the scriptures.
I don’t wish to develop that and have that numerical system as a part of the lesson at this time but it may at a future date be a subject we can look at together. What I do want to point out in regards to the significance of numbers, is about this 70 people God has chosen to go out. Why did he chose 70? Why not say 25, or 100. I believe the # 70 has a message in it. What is the expression we us to express a number without limit? When we are speaking to a teenager who just won’t listen, and we again repeat ourselves in what we are telling them, we say, I’ve told you 1000 times. NO!! Has any body ever used that expression? Do you some where keep a log book 995, 996, 997,998, of times we say the same thing? No. and the truth is we very rarely, if ever, say the same thing 1000 times in our life. Or as my wife and I sit at dinner and I am replaying the day in my mind she will say, Your 1000 miles away Al. So why do we use this # 1000. It is simply and expression of an unknown or immeasurable amount.
Read Matthew 18:21-22 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
What is Jesus telling Peter here? Peter keep a log book and when they get to 490 offences, you’ve done all you can, and from that point on it’s ok to hold a grudge? No Jesus is using this #70 in the exact same way we use the #1000. It is representative of an unknown or immeasurable amount.
How many did Jesus send out? 70. What’s the message he is conveying to us? The # that he will be sending out is unknown and immeasurable.
This time he did not send the 12 chosen disciples, but he did send disciples. The 12 chosen disciples were disciples, but they were also apostles.
Are you a disciple? What do we mean when we say we are a disciple? That means we have learned and teach others in the things we have learned. This word is very close to the word discipline. We discipline our children. That means we use a method to teach them. I have often referred to it as pain association. I was taught smart back to mom or dad and it hurts. It did not take long for the lesson to be learned.
If you are a disciple of Jesus, you are one who has obtained a knowledge of him and, learned obedience from him.
Read Hebrews 12:8
But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
If you are born again you are a disciple of Jesus.
That means you have obtained a knowledge of him and are learning obedience from him.
And he gave a very specific command.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
You are a part of the 70, or 1 of the innumerable, that have been sent out.
Where have you been sent to? It is a place that Jesus will show up to. If the spirit has lead you to a place, or a work, it is because that God is going to be there, and there he will do his work. Jesus says that the harvest is great but the laborers are few.
He is looking for workers to work in his fields where he will go.
So the 70 were obedient and went out and when they later returned they spoke to Jesus of how even the demons were subject to them in his name.
And Jesus made a comment. I seen satan fall from heaven. I give you power over serpents and scorpions. And greater power than the power of the enemy. But that is not something that is worth being amazed about. There is something that is greater than that. Your name is written in heaven. Now that is something worth being excited about. How often do we, just the same as these 70 forget about this?
We feel defeated and discouraged as we fight the battles. It some times seems like we are in a spiritual battle that lasts for years. And we can grow tired. Oh we jump up and down and we get excited when we overcome and we experience victories in our lives. But all to often, while we are confronting the enemy, and struggles are encountered, we lose sight of the greater miracle, our names are written in heaven. Christ has already won that battle for us. Satan has been defeated a long time ago. We have reason to rejoice even when we feel defeated. It is not our efforts that have secured our victory, it is what Jesus has done for us. We do have reason to rejoice. When we suffer opposition in this world against this world, we can still rejoice. We have our names written in heaven.
Next we want to look at this account of what we refer to as the good Samaritan.
Who were the Samaritans? And why were they hated or despised by the Jews?
If we go back and we think about King David and how he was the king that really brought greatness to the nation of Israel, and his son Solomon who followed in his foot steps and built on that greatness and added wealth to the nation of Israel. And Solomon’s son Rehoboam took the leadership of the kingdom when Solomon passed. He refused the counsel of the elders and rejected their wisdom and as a result this great kingdom of Israel was split. There was the nation of Israel, who moved their capitol from Jerusalem to Samaria with Jeroboam as king, and the new nation of Judah with king Rehoboam and this new nation retained Jerusalem as the capitol. 10 tribes of the 12 that made up the nation of Israel got upset over taxes and abandoned their capitol, and under the advise of Jeroboam, claimed the capitol to be Samaria. All of the government was moved from Jerusalem to Samaria.
We must understand that these people had religion as part of their government. There was no separation of church and state. The state was the church, and church was the state. So when they moved the capitol from Jerusalem to Samaria they were moving the church house also.
Where did God say the Temple was to located?
Read 1 Kings 11:36
And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.
God says his name will be at Jerusalem.
Jeroboam knew this. If he did not do something at Samaria, the new capitol, the people would go back to Jerusalem to serve God. And back to the leadership under the authority of Rehoboam.
So Jeroboam made Idols and placed them in the capitol of Samaria and had the people come there and worship and serve God. False Gods.
Of the 1 nation of Israel, 2 nations were now in existence. One, had their name taken from them so they adopted the name of their patriarch father Judah, and kept the capitol of Jerusalem. The people of this nation were known as Jews.
The other nation kept the name of Israel but had a different capitol, Samaria. These people were known as Samaritans.
Every Jew knew, that every Samaritan was an idol worshiper. The Samaritans were looked at as people who had know God and had turned their back on God and gone after idols. And how should they be treated for doing such?
Read Hosea 4:17
Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.
So here we find a man who traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho and he was robbed and beaten.
A priest also went that way and seen the man. But he avoided the man. Why? Fear? Maybe? He may have been on his way to a religious ceremony and to touch a dead man would have meant that he could not perform his duties, because he would have been considered unclean. Whatever the reason, the priest did not help. And a Levite, one given the role of religious leadership in Jerusalem, also came by. He also passed by not helping. They did not just hurry past, they went to the other side to avoid this man.
And along can a Samaritan. You know one of those people who have left God. And he helped the man and restored the man.
How often do we find others who will not minister to the needs of people for some reason or another?
Look at where this man who was robed was from and where he was going. He was from Jerusalem. That is the city of peace. He was going to Jericho, That is the city of destruction. And as we watch a teenage girl going astray,
That Girl knows better than that. She better turn herself around before its to late. Have you went to her? Have you sought to help her. No. she knows. It’s up to her.
What happens when someone travels from the city of peace to the city of destruction? Goes from the fathers house to the pig pen? From church to the world?
Read 1 Peter 5:8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
They end up hurt. They end up deceived. They find themselves half dead. And they need to be ministered to. You won’t find them sitting in the church pew. They are out in the world where we work, where we live. There is where we should do our greatest ministry.
And the last one I want to touch on is Mary and Martha.
These 2 women were serving God. One had peace in her service and one had a burden in service.
Which of the two do you find yourself in?
They invited Jesus over for dinner. Lord I want to do something for you. And Jesus came over.
Was Jesus satisfied when he left? Sure. And what about those who had invited him? When he left were they satisfied?
We are much the same way. Lord I am going to something for you. I want you to be satisfied. I want you to be happy with the things I am doing. And we set out working and laboring. And the load is often heavy. And we work and we do and we make it I, I, I. Me, Me, Me.
How many of us invited Jesus into our hearts? And don’t we want him to be satisfied? Happy with the things we do for him?
Are you finding your Christian work a burden? Do you often feel like Jesus is not seeing what you do for him? Are you tired in your service?
Listen to the words of the master.
Read Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
We all must work for the Lord. And as we work, take the time to find the satisfaction that is found in the presence of Jesus. We invited him in. He can and will give that peace and bring the prosperity to our labors.
February 19th 2017
Luke Chapter 13
I want to start today by asking the question, how many believe that we get what we deserve in life? When I worked in the machine shops, the worm will turn was how they described it. In church and around religious people we say you reap what you sow.
Is that statement true?
Read Galatians 6:8
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
Someone approaches Jesus and asks him if he has heard about the people of Galilee. There was a few of them that Pilot, when they went to the temple and offered their sacrifice, he mixed the blood of the sacrifice with their own blood. This was Pilots way of showing his hatred of all Jews and their religion. So why were these few singled out to receive the wrath he was attempting to express to God? Was it because they were themselves evil?
And what about those 18 who were shopping one day and the construction of the tower at Siloam had an accident and they were killed?
This reminds me of the account of Paul in Acts.
Paul was in a ship wreck and nearly drowned at sea. None of those with him died, but they were cold and wet and it was winter. They swam or floated or were dragged to this island of Malta. Spared from the sea and what should have been death to many if not all, Paul and the others started a fire to warm themselves. The native peoples of the island were showing great kindness to them. As Paul gathered sticks to burn in the fire a snake bite him. It did not just strike at him. It bit him and latched on.
Let’s turn over there together and read this.
Acts 28 1-6 28 And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita.
2 And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold.
3 And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.
4 And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.
5 And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.
6 Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.
These people were thinking just like those who were telling Jesus about what Pilot had done, and about the tower falling and killing some;
And just like many people today. You see when you don’t believe in God, and you face the realities and complexities of life, somehow life has to be explained. Why has Jerry Stine been afflicted with this disease?
Why did my Grandson Eli drown in the pool? Why did Buddy Pardon pass much to early? And why is it that Pastor has been blessed with Great health? At 80 years old I amazed at his strength of mind and body. And we look at others that are blessed with the physical beauty. And some have wealth and fame. And it just makes no sense. Why do some prosper and others don’t?
When we refuse to accept God and his influence in our lives we have only one other alternative. They get what they deserve. I get what I deserve.
Do you understand the destruction that that can bring to a society? In Jesus’ day in the Roman world, half of the people were slaves. The other half was the ruling elite. And the ruling elite had no compassion on the slaves. You see they were getting what they deserve. And when some of the elite suffered, do you think the slaves had compassion toward them? No. Again they are just getting what they deserve. Where is it that we end up when we deny God and his existence? As a society that rejects God, and refuses to acknowledge his controlling influence in the daily lives of the people, where do we find ourselves at the end of that road? We become a people with no compassion. We begin to justify ourselves and pride rules our lives, when we refuse to see that the blessings we have received come from God. We turn a blind eye to the suffering of others and justify our heard heartedness, They are getting what they deserve. I am more blessed because I am more righteous then they are, and I am getting what I deserve. And for those who are at a low point in life, what kind of moral support do you suppose this offers. Where can they turn for encouragement? What is the lesson being taught here? Jesus is here telling us that we all are born in a world of sin. We all are sinners. Rich and poor. Young and old. We all have a need of salvation. And that is the reason that Jesus came into this world.
Read John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
When we face the difficulties of life, we can turn to Jesus who is our strength and we can rejoice in our salvation that he has provided. When we have received blessing from the hand of God, we can express compassion toward others and thanks to God, and avoid pride as we accept from his hand our salvation.
To over simplify this passage, let me say it this way. Believe on the Lord Jesus and be saved, or perish because of non-belief.
Read John 3:18
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
The next thing I want to look at is verse 6-9
Read Luke 13:6-9 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.
7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:
9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.
Jesus tells this story of the fig tree to the crowd. What truth was he trying to communicate to them?
Fertilizer on a tree makes better fruit? A tree that has no fruit should be cut down, but only after 3 years?
What was or is the real meaning of this parable?
Read Mark 4:10-12 10 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.
11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
Jesus is hiding a message here that he is delivering to the religious rulers.
Every educated Jewish leader knew that God referred to the nation of Israel as a fig tree and the people as the figs.
Read Hosea 9:10 the first ½ of the verse
I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstripe in the fig tree at her first time: but they went to Baalpeor, and separated themselves unto that shame; and their abominations were according as they loved.
So knowing this, let’s see what he is saying to them.
He tells them, There was a man who had a vineyard. That would be God. In his vineyard he plants a fig tree. The earth is Gods vineyard. And God planted in one place a fig tree. That is the nation of Israel. After the fig tree was grown he comes to the tree and expects fruit. None this year, next year the same, no fruit, and again on the third year, no fruit. I should just cut this tree down. The care taker asks, please let me work with this tree and see if I can get it to bear fruit. If it doesn’t then we will cut it down.
How long had Jesus been in the ministry at this point? 3 years. And what is it that he is looking for from them? What is it that he would call fruit?
Read Luke 11:52
Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
What’s really the message he is delivering to these people? Jesus is saying “I am God. I am expecting you to come to me and accept me. I am expecting you to tell and teach others about me. And if you don’t, you will be cut down.
My father is patient and willing to work with you. But fruit is, and will be, required from you”.
How does this apply to us today? Well the nation we live in today is a fruit tree that is also planted in Gods vineyard. We are not a fig tree. That is Israel. We may be an apple tree or a plum tree. Or some other fruit tree. I can only guess as to what type.
But just the same, God is looking for fruit from every tree that he has planted. Because the nation of Israel refused to submit to God, and accept his messiah, in 70 AD she was cut down. Rome came in and destroyed them. Rome leveled the city and killed or sold every person into slavery. The nation of Israel was literally cut down. But God left the stump in the ground, and we can see the fig tree has once again sprouted. Do you think we are better than Israel? Israel was Gods first choice. And he cut them off. We face the same if we as a nation do not repent and summit to God and bear fruit of righteousness. We must acknowledge God and accept Jesus, his messiah and teach others the same. That is the fruit he is looking for from you and I. We are at the point today of being worked with by God and he is doing what ever is needed to get us to bear fruit for him, but to bear fruit or not bear fruit is a choice we each must make. And as a nation what is the direction we will chose to go? Look at the battle we are in at this time. We are fighting for our very existence as a nation. And it will be won or lost as we turn to God or away from God.
The kingdom of God. What does this phrase mean to you? How do you describe the kingdom of God? What is it? Where is it?
We as Americans have a hard time understanding this concept of a King and a kingdom.
We often say that a man is the king of his castle.
He is the absolute ruler of his home. We understand that. Don’t be coming into my home and telling me what to do or what not to do. A mans home is his castle and he is the king of his castle.
So what is the kingdom of God? It is the place that God calls his home. It is the place where nobody tells God what he can and can not do. It is the place where he owns everything.
Read 1 Corinthians 3:16
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
The kingdom of God is your heart. The kingdom of God is my heart. It is the place where God is allowed to be the king. What he wants, is what he gets. It may be my heart, it may be your heart, but God is the king.
How hard is that for some to surrender to?
My parents had a neighbor we called old man John. He was just an old bachelor. I can remember as a kid I once asked him why he never got married?
He said, after my mom died, nobody’s the boss of me. I am my own boss.
Old man John was never going to let anyone rule in his heart, but he himself. And how many others do we all know who are the same? For some pride is the issue. For others it is past wounds and deep hurts. And the doors to our heart are closed. We sit on the throne and refuse to allow entry. And give control? Never.
Where is the kingdom of God? In every heart where he is the ruler.
Read Luke 17:21
Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
Are you a part of the kingdom of God? It is not church membership. It is your heart. It is my heart. It is every heart where Jesus is the king.
And oh the joys of being in the kingdom. Do you know of a king that lives in poverty? What is it that a king has need of? And for those in the kingdom, those who’s heart are ruled by Jesus, peace. I can not express the peace that resides in the heart of those who are in the kingdom of God.
Are you in the kingdom of God? I am not seeking church association today. I am asking, is God the king of your heart? This is personal. Have you shut him out because of past hurts and betrayals?
There may be something in the past that has and is hindering you from allowing God to have all of you. It may be something in the present that is keeping you from enjoying the peace that comes from resting in the strength of God rather than trusting in your own strength. Are you in the kingdom?
You can be. Ask God to be king of your heart, allow him to have his way, and rest in his strength and peace.