Jesus and Justice

The Message Of Jesus Was Centered On Justice And Mercy

Dan Franklin
Oct 2, 2022    40m
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The message of Jesus was centered on justice and mercy both in the present and for eternity. When we live out justice and mercy in our communities, we are not only bringing relief the people that God loves dearly, but we're also pointing people to spiritual realities and what it looks like when Jesus is supreme. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Life Bible - Jesus and Justice
Intro: [00:00:00] Hey there. Thanks so much for checking out one of our messages here at Life Bible Fellowship Church. And we know there are two great ways you can connect with us. You can visit our website at LBF.church to learn more about all of our ministries and what we believe. And also, you can subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure that you don't miss one of our future videos.

Dan Franklin: [00:00:00] So today is the fourth week in our fall series, ten weeks where we're going to be talking about justice and mercy. And before getting into the passage, I wanted to take a minute just to make sure we really have framed what we're talking about.

Dan Franklin: [00:00:33] When we gather together as a church family when we have these Sunday services, every Sunday that we gather, every sermon that we give, it is our intention and our goal that the main subject of the sermon is always Jesus. Jesus is who we proclaim, he is the center of every message. And part of why I say that is because it would be easy sometimes to think like, alright, what did we talk about today? And to think, well, maybe we talked about money, or we talked about marriage, or we talked about defeating sin, or even we talked about justice, and we talked about something like that, our goal is that even if we're talking about subjects like that, still the central subject, the central idea, the person who is the main character of every sermon that we do is always Jesus, he's a center of our message. We do not sing all hail king justice; we sing all hail King Jesus. And so part of why I wanted to say that is that even in a series like this, where we're talking for ten weeks and we are talking about justice and mercy and how God is leading us for these in our lives, I don't want anybody to leave with the impression that, hey, justice is really, really great, and we think Jesus can help us with that. That is not how we're approaching this, we're not approaching this because we think justice is really great, we're approaching this because we think Jesus is really great. Jesus is the Lord. Jesus is the Savior. He is the Son of God who has come to rescue us from our sins and from our darkness and bring us into the family of God. Jesus is at the center of everything we do, and the more we look at Jesus, the more we discover that us living out justice and mercy seems really important to him.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:16] And so that's the framework of all that we talk about, and that's going to be the framework of all ten weeks of this series, but in particular, this week and next week, because we're going to spend two weeks really zeroing in specifically on the relationship that Jesus had to the subject of justice and incorporated within this is justice and mercy. We've talked about this throughout the opening three weeks, justice is when we give people what we owe to them, and mercy is when we go over and above and give generosity to people that we don't necessarily owe to them. But when we read the Bible, justice and mercy get mixed together in this generosity of how we care for one another.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:59] Justice and mercy are near the center of what Jesus is going to talk about this week and next week, so I've very creatively entitled this sermon and next week's sermon, Jesus and Justice Part One, and Jesus and Justice Part Two, trademarked Dan Franklin, 2022. Nobody's allowed to use that, I came up with that myself.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:19] But here's what we're going to do. We're going to get into this passage that you heard George read just a few moments ago, and what we're going to get to see is a story in which Jesus has an opportunity to frame himself and his ministry, to come publicly and say, this is what I'm all about. And when we come to this subject, we started off in verses 14 and 15, we get a little bit of a background and a running start, it says, "Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him." By the way, I heard a whole bunch of pages in the Bible turning, Luke 4, starting verse 14 should have given that to all of you. I love when you turn there in your Bible, so I apologize, it was my bad.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:06] So here's where we are, we're in Luke 14 and the context of this is if you have an open Bible and you're looking back, the thing that happened right before this is that Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted. He passed that temptation, he succeeded where Israel had previously failed, and now he comes back to Galilee. The same Holy Spirit who led him into the wilderness, leads him back to Galilee. Which, by the way, just gives us an indication of a couple of things. First of all, Jesus, the eternal Son of God, lived a fully Spirit-led life. Do you think that means you might need the Spirit also?

Dan Franklin: [00:04:45] And secondly, it tells us that the Holy Spirit won't always lead us to the place that we're most excited to go. Because he led Jesus into the wilderness because that was important, and then he led him back to Galilee because that was important. And the fact that it says that he came back in the power of the Spirit, probably at the very least means that his teaching was marked by strength and authority, which we know is true from other passages, and also that he was doing miraculous signs, so the Holy Spirit was marking his ministry. It says his fame was spreading, word about him had gotten out, and we know eventually people turn on Jesus, but at this point, it's all positive. He's going from synagogue to synagogue, and the synagogue will come in again in a minute. But this was the Jewish place of gathering for worship, and so he was going, and he was speaking in those, people were getting excited about Jesus, he was this rising star in the Jewish community. And once again, so far everything's positive, people are excited about Jesus as he's teaching and doing miracles.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:44] When we come to verse 16, we see he went to Nazareth where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day, he went into the synagogue as was his custom. Now let's just try to get into this story for a minute because this is exciting. Jesus is going back to his hometown, he's their boy, he's the one that they saw grow up. And Nazareth was not really a place that had a lot of claims to fame, so there would have been a lot of excitement about this. In fact, some of you may know a story about this in John chapter one, where Jesus is first gathering disciples to himself, and he calls a man named Philip, and Philip becomes his disciple. And Philip is so excited about Jesus, that Philip goes to his friend Nathaniel and says, you've got to come and check out this person I found, I think he's the Messiah, I think he's the one that God promised to send. And Nathaniel says, who is he? And Philip says, Jesus of Nazareth. And some of you know Nathaniel's famous response, he says, Can anything good come out of Nazareth? Like this town was not on the map, this was not a well-known town. So you can imagine the residents just feeling like it's our guy, it's our boy, he's come home people we're excited about this, he's gaining us fame, he's putting us on the map. And so it's no surprise that when he comes to the synagogue, he gets an opportunity to play a role in the service.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:08] Because here's what happens that the second part of verse 16, it says, "He stood up to read, 17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him." So here's what's going on, in a synagogue service there are lots of different elements to how they would worship, but there were two times that people got up to read the Scripture. And the ruler of the synagogue could choose any Jewish man in sort of good standing to play those parts. Somebody would get up and read something from the first five books of the Bible, from what we call the Pentateuch, and then somebody would get up later on and read something from the prophets. And that seems to be what's going on, Jesus was tabbed, and the ruler of the synagogue had probably come to him and said, hey, we're so glad you're back in town, everybody's excited about you being here, how about you do the reading from the Prophet?

Dan Franklin: [00:07:58] And so Jesus takes the scroll, and it says in verse 17, "That he was handed the scroll of the Prophet Isaiah, unrolling it, he found the place where it is written." And in a second we'll show what he reads, but just for what's going on here, Jesus doesn't seem to be assigned a passage. He's given the prophet Isaiah. If you know Isaiah from the Old Testament, a big book, or a small book? Yeah, there's a big book, 66 chapters in Isaiah, that's why he gets to be called a major prophet. All kinds of things Jesus could have chosen to read, in fact, one of the things that's marked by Isaiah or that Isaiah is marked by, is lots of predictions, lots of prophecies about this servant that God would one day send as the Savior. There are passages that we read every Christmas time that are about this Savior coming, so there's a lot that Jesus has to choose from, and He decides to intentionally turn to a passage that's a prophecy about the Messiah. And you won't be able to tell this just from looking at your Bible, but he quotes from Isaiah 61 verses 1 and 2, some people think he also throws in a quote from Isaiah 58:6 in the middle of this, but he primarily quotes from Isaiah chapter 61 verses 1 and 2, and here's what this passage says, "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, a 2to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor." And this was probably a passage that most of the Jews who were there, they knew this, they even knew that this was about the Messiah. And part of why they knew was about the Messiah is because you see at the beginning of this when it says, "The Spirit of the Lord is on me because He has anointed me." Messiah means anointed one. So this is a passage about this chosen one to come, and you can probably feel a stirring in the people of Nazareth, they're like, oh, Jesus really knocked it out of the park. Like our boy came home, he chose a great passage, a great passage to read because we're looking forward to this Messiah coming, and they're excited about this. So far, so good in Jesus' public ministry, he talks about something that the Messiah is going to do.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:20] But the story isn't over yet because something happens after Jesus gets done reading, and we see this in verse 20. Verse 20 says, "Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him." Now here's what's happening, if you have the privilege of being one of these readers of Scripture in a synagogue gathering, you have one of two options for what you would do. Option number one is you would come to the front, you'd stand up, you'd get the scroll, you would read, and then you would hand the scroll back to the attendant, go back to your seat and sit down for the rest of the service, that's option one. Option number two is, it all starts the same, you get up, you're handed the scroll, you read, you close the scroll, you hand it back to the attendant, you sit down up front, and you decide to give a speech or a sermon about the passage. Jesus has already chosen a great passage, and everybody's excited. But instead of going back to a seat, he sits down upfront, the hometown boy is about to give a sermon and they're all excited. Their eyes are fastened on him, they all want to know what he's going to say.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:36] Do you guys want to know what he's going to say? Let's look in verse 21, it's the best one-sentence sermon you'll ever hear, "He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Jesus reads a passage about God's servant who will come to be the deliverer of Israel, then he sits down, and he says, I'm him. No wonder every eye was fastened on him, everybody was glued to him, this was a shocking thing for anybody to say. By the way, if you want to know how they responded because some of you might say, I think I know the story and I think the story ends with them driving him out of the city. You're right, but that doesn't happen because of what he says here. Verse 22 says that they're all speaking well of him, they all think that he's wonderful. The reason they later drive him out of the city is because he basically indicates that Gentiles are going to get in and got on God's promises just as much as the Jews are and they don't like that message. But initially, they were like this is great, this is amazing, this is exciting. Because once again, he's their guy, this would be like if a hometown basketball player who had just won the NBA Rookie of the Year came back to his hometown and said, hey, you know what, everybody's been waiting for years for somebody better than Michael Jordan to come around, that day is here. That's exciting. If you were working at a school and a new principal came in and spoke to all the teachers and the students and said, hey, I know it's been a mess here for a while and I know we haven't had the funding that we've needed and things have been disordered, you've been waiting for somebody to come along and fix all of this, that day is now, I'm here. This is an exciting moment where Jesus says, I am the coming one. Anybody that says, well, Jesus never really claimed to be the Messiah, that is not true at all, he absolutely knew who he was, but what also is going on here is that we get to then look back at this passage that he quotes, and we get to say that is Jesus describing who he is and what his mission is.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:48] So just kind of look back at that for a minute. In fact, well, we will wait on that one. You already saw it but pretend you didn't see that. We'll wait on that. If you look back to what he quotes from Isaiah Chapter 61, what you see is a lot of talk of what we might call justice and mercy efforts. I mean, he talks about preaching the good news to the poor, talks about setting prisoners free, and talks about giving sight to the eyes of the blind, he talks about freeing the oppressed, and he talks about ushering in the year of the Lord's favor, which is almost certainly a reference to what the Jews would call the year of Jubilee. Which is something that every 50 years the Jews were supposed to do this special year where all debts were forgiven. So if at some point during the last 50 years you were a Jewish person and your family came on hard times and you had a family property that had been in the family for a long time, and you had to sell that to a fellow Jew just to pay your debts, after those 50 years, when the year of Jubilee came up, you got that property back. If at some point during those years you'd come on hard financial times and you hired yourself off into indentured servitude to pay your debts, when the year of Jubilee came, you were free, all debts were forgiven. So Jesus says that he's coming into usher in these five things that all seem to revolve around justice and mercy and bringing relief in the here and now, to the point that we have to ask a really important question about Jesus's mission. Some people will say, all right, Jesus lays it out right here, Jesus's mission was not about some idea in the future that we would all end up in heaven, Jesus came to help us in the here and now. Jesus came to overturn the oppressive structures that are part of our society and that hold people down. Jesus came to improve people's lives and bring them justice and mercy right in the here and now. And people will sometimes even say it's a copout just to talk about you'll be okay in heaven, because Jesus came to overturn the structures right now.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:49] And so what I want to do is I want to say, all right, we do have a passage that indicates that these justice and mercy ideas seem to be really important to Jesus, let's give the question an honest look. Let's ask the question, is Jesus here saying, and in other passages saying, that his main goal is to overturn current structures? And part of how we might get an answer to this is to look at what he talks about in Isaiah 61, and I'm going to put up the five elements that he talks about in this passage. And we'll just ask the question, all right, if Jesus says this is what he what he's about, we're going to ask the question, did Jesus accomplish those right in the here and now when he was there for his ministry?

Dan Franklin: [00:16:36] So let's look at them one by one. Did Jesus preach good news to the poor? Yeah. We can give a good solid yes to this one. However, we're going to take what he's saying here, if we're saying specifically the Gospel in terms of the forgiveness of sins through the sacrifice of Jesus, or even if we're just going to say, did Jesus announce that the poor we're going to get in on something good. We say, all right, absolutely, yes. Number one we can give a good, solid yes to, Jesus preached the good news to the poor.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:06] Did Jesus bring freedom for prisoners? So here's the deal, you can read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. In fact, if you're part of the new Bible reading plan that we just started yesterday, you will read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John over the next couple of months. Here's what you will not find, you will not find any passage where Jesus encounters somebody who is imprisoned and after an encounter with Jesus, they're no longer imprisoned, it simply never happens. There's not one case where Jesus sets a prisoner free. So if we're being real, we've got to look at number two and we've got to say no, in the here and now, Jesus didn't give freedom to prisoners.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:47] What about number three? Did Jesus bring recovery of sight to the blind? All right, now, you guys don't know where I'm coming from. You guys are like, I'm not going to, it's a weird one because we could want to say yes because we remember passages like John 9 where Jesus heals the man who was born blind, or there are some other passages where he heals blind people, and we can say yes. So he did, he fulfilled number three. But here's the real question, did Jesus make a pronouncement and heal every blind person in all of Israel? No. So the real answer to this that we'd have to give is, well, sometimes. Like he did this, sometimes, there were certain people, it wasn't absent. But he didn't leave Israel with no blind people left.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:33] What about number four? Freedom for the oppressed. And if we're thinking about this, oppressed is kind of a wide term. And by the way, in case you're wanting to look this stuff up later, the reason why some people think that Jesus added in Isaiah 58:6, to Isaiah 61 in this quote, is because the whole idea of freedom for the oppressed is not in the original Isaiah 61 passage, but it does show up three chapters earlier, so Jesus might have sort of combined things here. Oppressed is a wide term, but almost certainly in this context for Jesus, this would have been understood to refer to the fact that Israel was an occupied nation, and Rome had their thumb on Israel. Did Jesus bring the nation of Israel freedom from the oppression of Rome? No, he didn't. When Jesus had left, Rome was still an oppressor. In fact, a couple of decades later, they destroyed the temple at Jerusalem.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:26] And finally, did Jesus and his time here on Earth usher in a year of Jubilee when all debts are forgiven? No, he didn't. So not an amazing track record with these five things that Jesus said he came to do. We've got a yes, a no, a sometimes, a no, and a no. And here's why I'm spending time on this; here's why this is important. If we are reading what Jesus is talking about here, not only here, but in other passages, and we're concluding this is what Jesus is about. Jesus' main goal is to overturn oppressive structures and bring relief in the here and now, and anything else is kind of gravy, that's the main thing he came to do. What we have to conclude is he wasn't very good at it because he said he was going to do these things and he didn't succeed in doing them.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:14] But part of what we get to take in when we look at this is we get to remember that there was a multitude of times that Jesus was talking about things that people assumed were right here, right now elements, that turned out to be much more spiritually deep and significant. Whether he's talking to Nicodemus about being born again, or he's talking to the woman at the well about living water, he consistently is talking about deeper spiritual realities than what's just on the surface.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:49] Now, we're going to return to some of this stuff later, but what I want to do is, I want us to look at this list again and say, is there a different way we could understand what Jesus is saying here, in terms of something that he truly did accomplish, something that he was after that was deeper than just fixing the surface problems in his time. Something that would allow us to look at all five of these and say, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. And the answer is, yes, we absolutely can.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:18] Did Jesus come to preach good news to the poor? Yes, he did. Jesus came to the poor, and to the broken, and to the marginalized, and the ostracized, and told them that God sees you and God loves you. Jesus came to the sick, not the healthy. He came to the lost, not the successful. Jesus came to bring a message of good news to the poorest of the poor, who are not just poor in finances, but who had spiritual poverty before God.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:49] Jesus also set the prisoners free in a way that's much better than a get-out-of-jail-free card. Jesus came to people who were in slavery to sin, who couldn't find a way out, who couldn't experience freedom, who were experiencing destructiveness in their lives right then, and also only could only look forward to condemnation one day from God because of their sin. And Jesus came to set the prisoners free by bringing forgiveness of all sin and entrance into the family of God. He set the prisoners free.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:26] Did Jesus give recovery of sight to the blind? Yeah, even when he healed blind people, a lot of the times he used that as a way to talk about our spiritual blindness and that we don't understand what's going on. And Jesus said, you'll know the truth, and the truth will make you free. You'll understand reality and you'll understand with your spiritual eyes what's really going on, because Jesus has come to bring the light of the world, to bring illumination.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:51] And Jesus brought freedom for the oppressed in a way that's much better than bringing freedom from an occupied nation. Because the greatest oppressor that we face is the devil, every time Jesus cast out a demon, it was him proclaiming his own supremacy over the Spiritual realm. And Jesus' greatest victory over Satan was not casting out demons, Jesus greatest victory over Satan was when he went to the cross, paid the price for everything that was ever committed so that any accusation Satan would ever bring against any human being would be rendered null and void because it's paid in full. He set the oppressed free.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:30] And Jesus ushered in a year of jubilee that was greater than anything Israel could ever hope to experience. Because every one of our debts and every one of our sins is paid in full by the sacrifice of Jesus, they are taken care of, and they are not hanging over us, Jesus took on every single one of these elements of Isaiah 61. And we get to look at them and say, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, Jesus did exactly what he said he was going to do. Jesus proclaimed victory.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:01] And by the way, even as we're thinking about all this, if we're looking back and we're saying, all right, well, but what about the here and now? Let's ask a question about the here and now. In fact, part of how we might ask that question is just to say, all right, is there something important about justice and mercy right here? If we're looking at this and we're saying, all right, there's a real warning that we could end up starting to think, right? Our main goal, Jesus' main goal, is to bring relief in the here and now, and we could ignore the Spiritual realities that are greatest, slavery, is not to somebody here on Earth, our greatest slavery is to sin. That our greatest oppression is not an oppressive structure here on Earth, but the oppression of the devil. We could come back and ask the question, are we then to shrug off all this talk of justice and mercy and say that's just shuffling chairs on the Titanic, like, there's no point at all in doing that stuff?

Dan Franklin: [00:24:59] And what I want to say is that's going to be hard for us to do. It's going to be hard for us to get to a point to say, well, let's just forget about the justice and mercy and the here and now, because it doesn't really matter. Part of why it's going to be tough for us to come to that conclusion is because, first of all, we have the first passage we went over in this series, Micah 6:8, where God says, more important than bringing extravagant gifts of worship to him, he wants us to live out justice and mercy and humility before God. We have the passage of the Troy brought us through last week, where God is saying more important than songs, more important than festivals, more important than sacrificial offerings, is that we live out justice to our neighbors. We have Matthew chapter 23, verse 23, where Jesus says, even more important than financial giving and tithing is that we live out justice, mercy, and compassion to one another.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:54] It's been said that people that sort of want to be all about justice in the here and now, and don't really care about the hereafter, sometimes they're described as people who want the kingdom without the King. They are like, we want to try to usher in what Jesus said he was going to do, but we don't really care about Jesus. What I want to say is, some of us who may be on the other side, may be categorized as people that are excited about the King, but not excited about the kingdom. And what I mean is this, if Jesus is really King over our lives, over our marriages, over our church, then our church should be a context in which when people are around, they're experiencing the values of Jesus lived out. If the King is ruling here, then the kingdom is put on display here.

Dan Franklin: [00:26:50] In fact, even Jesus did this in some really powerful ways. So think again about Jesus' life, we're thinking broadly. Did Jesus do some things that brought relief to people right there in that moment? Now, what do we call those things? We call them, we think of the miracles. We think alright, there's maybe three, there's probably more, but three broad categories of miracles. Jesus gives somebody relief from a disease or from an injury so that they get physical healing. Jesus gives somebody relief from demonic oppression by casting out a demon. Or Jesus somehow provides for their financial needs, like when he fed the 5000 and fed the 4000. So Jesus frequently did things that absolutely addressed the needs of the moment.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:40] And here's what else I want you to think about. Think about it, if you've read the Gospels a lot, think about what seemed to be Jesus' attitude toward his own miracles. And it's funny because it's kind of a mix. On the one hand, you can look at Jesus doing miracles and you could say he was happy to do those, he was excited to do those, and he loved these people. He saw people that he cared about hurting and he was happy to bring them relief, he was happy to do these miracles. And on the other hand, Jesus frequently got annoyed when people made the miracles the main thing. You see, annoyed is kind of a soft way of putting it, Jesus got frustrated when people made the miracles the main thing. To the point, you can look this up in John chapter 6 verses 26 and 27, but there's this great passage where Jesus ends up giving the great bread of life speech, where he says, I'm the bread of life. That starts after he's fed the people bread, he's fed the 5000, and he rebukes them because he says, the only reason why you're following me around now, is because you want more bread. And he says, you should want the bread that comes from heaven, that doesn't run out, that always satisfies. He says you're too focused on the here and now, you should be more concerned with the eternal.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:00] So even Jesus did two things. He brought relief in the here and now, but he did all sorts of things to direct people to the more important reality. In fact, we might be able to say this, Jesus used his miracles as signs that were meant to point to a greater spiritual reality, signs of the Kingdom of God. And here's what we can end up doing, we can end up saying, all right, we as a church are just going to get absolutely focused on living out justice and mercy in our community, we're going to make sure that we're feeding people, we're going to make sure that we're advocating for people, we are going to be all about this, and we could end up falling off one side of the boat and we could end up talking about justice and mercy a lot and talking about Jesus very little. We certainly don't want to do that. But if we miss the calling that God has for us in justice and mercy, we miss the opportunity to put forward signs, in fact, I would say from the Bible, probably the core signs of the Kingdom of God.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:08] We get to show people what it's like if Jesus is truly reigning as King. And when we live out justice and mercy in our communities, we are not only bringing relief to people that God loves dearly, but we're also pointing people to spiritual realities and what it looks like when Jesus is supreme. Quick question for anybody that might feel like you want to answer, is your life better if Jesus is supreme in your life? Yeah, you bet it is. Your life is better because you're experiencing more liberation from what's holding you down. You're experiencing more healing from pain and from sin and from Him mastering your life. You're experiencing more joy because you know that you belong to Jesus. You're experiencing more light because he's opening your eyes to realities. Your life is better when Jesus is in charge.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:04] Do you want the people in Upland and Ontario and Fontana and Rancho and Laverne and Claremont to know that life is better if Jesus is king? I hope that you do. We want people to know, and sometimes these justice and mercy measures that God clearly calls his people to function primarily as signs of the kingdom. A giant neon blinking sign that when Jesus is Lord, life is better. And that also, just as God meets our physical right here, right now needs, that God meets our deeper spiritual needs.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:45] You've already heard about the fact that we've got our local outreach partners here. I'm going to talk more about this at the end, which is not now, just don't think I'm ending now. But one of the things that we're doing during this Justice and Mercy series is that we're doing five podcast episodes where we're highlighting some of these different local outreach partners. Some of you might have seen it, but this last week we dropped an episode that was about the Ministry, Warrior for Children. Which is one of my favorite things I've ever done on our podcast, I got to interview Jen Corbett, who's the executive director at Warrior for Children, which is a ministry that brings relief to children who have been traumatized, and to parents and adults who are caring for children who have been traumatized. Bringing food, bringing resources, and also bringing training to parents who are trying to figure out their way through this, and bringing community to kids who are not quite sure how to integrate back into community after some of the things that they've experienced. They are living out justice and mercy in a way that brings profound relief and care to precious image-bearers, and that also is a giant blinking neon sign that when Jesus is Lord, he heals our wounds. That's just one of thirteen local outreach partners that we have. When we do this, we point everyone to the supremacy of Jesus and to how good it is when he is on the throne.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:22] So here is what I want to do, I know in some ways this is a message that's heavy, we're dealing with big concepts. But I do want to boil it down and just ask the question, all right, what does it look like for us to respond to all of this? What does it look like for us to take in the reality of who Jesus is with regard to all this? And I don't want to skip this first step, it'd be easy to do it, but we're not going to skip it. The first thing that we do is this, we bring our broken selves to Jesus. When Jesus says, I came to preach good news to the poor, you know who the poor is? That's you, you are the poor, you are the prisoner, you are the blind, you are the oppressed, you're the indebted, and Jesus came to liberate you and to bring you joy when there is nothing but darkness. Some of you right now are like, how do I do this? How do I cultivate a heart for people that are on hard times, because I don't care as much as I should, and how do I get there? I'll tell you, first of all, the first way they get there, you get there by living in the constant reality that God has miraculously saved you through Jesus, that you now have freedom, that you now have joy, that you have nothing hanging over your head, that you have a God who loves you profoundly. And then suddenly you start to look at other people and realize that they are loved by God, and you want them in on it.

Dan Franklin: [00:34:42] But before we can even get to that, before we can even get to saying, all right, let's look on the outside. Some of you, today in the service, what you need right now is you need to bring yourself in a powerful way to the son of God who came and said, I've come for poor, oppressed, imprisoned, blind, indebted people, and you were wanting to raise your hand, but afraid now to say, that to me. Some of you maybe would say that because you haven't put your faith in Jesus, you have not trusted in him as a savior. So you are still in spiritual poverty, and you need Jesus in all of His grace to save you.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:22] But some of you are saved, are rescued, but you're looking at your life and you're saying my life does not really resemble somebody who's been liberated, I want more Jesus. I want him on the throne, and I want to take next steps, and maybe I need to confess sin, or maybe I just need to pray for greater newness of Jesus in my life. We don't want to be the kind of church that skips ahead and says, who cares about your relationship with Jesus? Let's just get out there. We start by saying we bring our broken selves to Jesus, and we expect Him to bring us healing in and grace.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:56] So, in fact, even right now, before I bring up the second way that we respond, prayer team members, pastors, and elders go ahead and come up to the front right now. Because when we close the service, I'm going to have a bunch of people on either side where if today you're saying, hey, I need some prayer, I need God to bring healing, I need to bring my broken self to God and believe that he will be there for me. Then after the service, you can come up and experience people praying with you about that.

Dan Franklin: [00:36:24] The first thing that we do is we bring our broken selves to God. And then the second way that we respond is we respond by bringing the message of Jesus to the broken. And I want to be clear again, the primary thing that we have to offer a broken world is Jesus, the proclamation that Jesus is Lord. This is the number one resource that we have to offer anyone. So we think of the outsiders in our lives, and we think of the broken in our lives, and the coworkers, and the classmates, and the extended family members, and we recognize that even if we feel like they're kind of annoying us and they're being kind of difficult, they are people in spiritual poverty who God loves dearly. We look to be agents of the message of Jesus to the broken. We look to do that through proclaiming Jesus and his message, and we also look to do that through proclaiming justice and mercy, through living out the signs of the kingdom.

Dan Franklin: [00:37:25] I said this the first week of this series, but we're going to be in this series for ten weeks. Here's one of my hopes by the time the series is over, one of my hopes and I'll even up it, and I'll even say expectation. If you're not just a visitor, if you're saying LBF Church is my church, then here's the expectation, that by the end of the series, you as an individual or as a family or as a life group will have adopted one of our thirteen local outreach partners, and you'll be praying regularly, maybe upping it to giving regularly, and maybe even upping it to volunteering regularly to help live out the signs of justice and mercy in our area.

Dan Franklin: [00:38:06] We've obviously got the local outreach partners right out there; you're going to be able to get any information that you want right now. Lauren Van Woudenberg, our newest elder, had said that he had instructed his life group members, everybody check this out, and at our next meeting, we're going to talk together about doing this as a life group. I love that. If right now you're like, this feels like a lot of pressure for me just to figure out, do it as a family, do it as a life group, do it as the college group, do it as a detour group. Say, all right, we together are going to be a part of how God is putting his goodness on display. We bring our broken selves to Jesus, knowing that He is our healer. And we bring the joyful message of Jesus, to the broken world around us.

Dan Franklin: [00:38:52] Let me pray for us as we move forward in this. Father, thank you so much that Jesus truly has set the prisoners free, thank you that we have no debts hanging over us, thank you that we have no expectation of condemnation because all is forgiven and paid for in what Jesus did. I pray for anybody today that feels like they're the poor or the oppressed or the prisoner or the blind or the indebted, Father, I pray that in the power of the Holy Spirit, you bring joy and restore joy where there's brokenness. And, Father, we pray that you put the glory of Jesus on display through us as we show the world what life looks like when Jesus is on the throne. May justice and mercy go out in the name of Jesus and made that bring us greater joy and bring the world a clearer picture of who you are. We pray this in the name of our great Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:39:58] To close the service here are the instructions. Some of you are going to come forward, some of you are going to go backward, and we're all going to take our next steps. Amen? Amen. God bless you today.



Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848