Episode 10: The Very Friend You Need (Luke 7:34)

Listen here or subscribe via iTunes, Soundcloud, or your favorite podcast catcher

Christ is truly the friend of sinners, yet this idea has been maligned, twisted, and abused so much over the years.  In this sermon we discuss in depth the truth of Jesus’ friendship for the sinner in need!  Listen above and subscribe on iTunes and Soundcloud!

Sermon text is here.

ADDENDUM:

After doing the episode and spending time thinking about the topic, I wanted to turn back to this and expand the subject, and have my own say on what it really means to say that Jesus is the friend of sinners, and that Jesus is my friend.  We typically think of “friend” in a very non-committal way, but when we say that Jesus is a friend of sinners in the sense that Spurgeon exegetes the text to understand, we see that we’re not thinking of “friend” in the standard American sense, where He is some acquaintance we are on generally friendly terms with and who we might invite over for a party to watch a football game.  This is a relationship that Christ takes very seriously, and furthermore, it reveals that only by realizing our deep need for that friendship, can we come to Christ in search of it.

I am very aware of my deep-seated need for that very friendship.  The Holy Spirit has been gracious enough to me to open my eyes to my nature as a broken sinner, who has nothing good to offer and who has been trying to live for so long under my own power and for my own glory.  Let’s look back at the passage in question:

“To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like?They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another,

“‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
    we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’

For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.”–Luke 7:31-35

I’m using the fuller context to show the contrast and hypocrisy of the Pharisees, as well as to discuss how I can to understand my own deep-seated need.  There was a time, I would have been like those men, standing there looking judgmentally at these people who are doing exactly what they should be doing: coming to Christ, bringing their sins, their fears, their needs, and thought to myself “How clever am I, that I have managed to make something of myself!  Look at these screwups, I’m so much better off than them.”  All the while, like the Pharisees, hiding my sin and pretending nothing is wrong, a whitewashed tomb.

But thank God for His mercy even to the prideful and foolish, and thank Christ for His friendship to the sinner.  I am a man who needs it desperately, because in Christ I have the One who made me, who knows me and is the source of my very identity and being.  In Christ I have life, a real life that leads to life beyond just pursuing my next whim.  These sinners and tax collectors who came to Christ and gathered around Him, who invited Him into their homes, were people who were very well-acquainted with sin and with pursuing their desires, and they had tasted the bitterness of unfulfillment it brings.  They had seen the death and pain it wrought in their lives.

In the church today it is important for us to keep our balance, with the fulcrum point of our lives being the Gospel first and foremost.  The Gospel brings us daily reminders of what is ultimately true: man is sinful and rebellious against God by His nature, but God is both just and merciful.  He sent His Son to pay the price for all those who believe in Him by dying on the cross, He conquered death in rising again, and He stands at the right hand of the Father as the perfect high priest who can say of His people, “I have covered their sins, I have atoned for them, they are of Me and have life in Me.”  But the desires of our flesh are always trying to pull away from this center that destroy’s man’s self-aggrandizement, and move to one of two equally wrong positions: either self-righteous Pharisaism, where behavior and moral assent are more important that repentance and faith, or simply rejecting God altogether.  Both entail a foolish belief in man’s autonomy, and both rebel against who we were made to be: created in the image of God, made to know Him and have our fullest life in knowing Him.

Jesus Christ is the friend of the sinner who cries out to Him for mercy.  He is the friend of the sinner who has had his heart broken by the Word of God taught to him by the Holy Spirit and needs to be lifted up.  He is the friend of the sinner who, like the blind man from a couple sermons ago, cries out “Son of David, have mercy on me!”  That mercy is readily and lovingly given.  Cry out for it, my friends, and know His peace.

Episode 9A: Love and marriage

Listen here or subscribe via iTunes, Soundcloud, or your favorite podcast catcher

Another discussion episode, and it’s crossover time!  Dave is joined by Alex from The Rugged Marriage podcast to discuss love: God’s love for His creation, and how it is revealed in the good gift of marriage.  Next week: request time!  We’ll be reading a sermon requested by one of our listeners.

Episode 9: Herein is Love

Listen here or subscribe via iTunes, Soundcloud, or your favorite podcast catcher

Love is in the air and in the news, and I wanted to do a sermon on love with its truest center in our human experience: God’s love, and the great display of it in the person and work of Jesus Christ.  Listen above, and stay tuned for our next discussion episode featuring a very special crossover!

Meanwhile, I am also posting my own writing on the subject, crossposted from my own blog.  Check it out below the fold:

Continue reading “Episode 9: Herein is Love”

Episode 8A: Tradition!

Jon and Dave are joined in the Spurgeon Audio studios by Jarod Grice, fellow member at Christ Community Church, musician, and author of an article recently published on Relevant Magazine’s website on the role of tradition in the church.  He’s also working on a new album of hymn arrangements that will be out soon, take a listen to some of the content here for free.

We also discussed our experiences of encountering the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, and how what we had experienced in life led up to the moment that our eyes were opened to the truth.  Take a listen, and stay tuned for the next sermon coming soon!

Episode 8: The Blind Beggar

Sorry for the production delay, but we are finally here with episode 8!  Thanks to all our amazing fans for following us on Facebook and Twitter, and the sermon you helped us pick was number 266, The Blind Beggar.  This one made me consider my own testimony as I recorded it, and it was a stark reminder of God’s grace in my salvation.  It is also a reflection on our own society and the need for those to go forth and preach: this man, as the preacher says, was not someone who had watched Jesus perform miracles, or followed him around as a disciple.  He probably sat in the same area day in and day out, begging, maybe hearing stories about Jesus, yet when he was told that Jesus was walking by, he knew to do nothing less than run straight to the only one who opens eyes and transforms hearts.  I pray this episode blesses you, and I hope you’ll watch for the next one–possibly a new discussion episode!

Audience participation: help pick the next sermon!

We’ve got 7 episodes plus one discussion under our belts, and we want to thank everyone who’s supported us as we’ve gotten this nice little podcast off the ground.  We also want to invite you all to help us pick the next sermon!  If you’ve spent any time exploring the Spurgeon Archive, you know they have all of Spurgeon’s sermons numbered in order.  Right now our Facebook page has 90 followers and our Twitter account has 147 followers–that puts us as sermon number 237.  We will record episode 8 in one week, and based on the number of followers both accounts have, that will determine the sermon we pick!  So invite your friends to check us out and be a part of picking the next sermon…unless you’re hoping for something earlier than 237, in which case…well, I’m not sure what to say about that.

Anyway: thanks to all our awesome listeners!  If you have enjoyed our efforts so far, please pass the good word and help us pick next week’s sermon!

Episode 7: All of Grace

Short sermon this time, but on one of the crucial truths of Christianity: sola gratia is not just a Reformation slogan, but the life-transforming truth that brings so many to their knees in repentance–myself most of all!  No matter who you are, no matter your struggle or fear or sin weighing on you, God’s grace is the path to freedom, and we can hold it firmly by faith in the work and person of Jesus Christ.  Friends, brothers, I pray that in listening to this you will be edified.

See the full text here

Episode 6A: Romans 9 Battle Royale – with debate clip!

We’re trying something a little different!  Two episodes, and this one rather than being a sermon is a discussion episode where I am joined by Spurgeon Audio producer Jon Ladner and Reformed Pubster and videographer Michael Kraus.  We were all present for the debate and we discuss our impressions of the excellent interaction from that evening.  Plus: thanks to #prosapologian channel rat Nick Vahalik and the kind permission of Red Grace Media, we have a brief clip from the debate that we are able to use to give just a bit of context.  First discussion episode, hopefully first of many!

Episode 6: Jacob and Esau

If you are like this humble podcaster you are quite possibly a theology nerd, and as a card-carrying one I attended the debate between Dr. James White and Leighton Flowers on the soteriology represented by Romans 9.  In honor of that we present a sermon based on one of the most controversial texts in that passage; sermon text can be read here.  But wait: there’s more!  Stay tuned…

Episode 5 – Adoption: The Spirit and the Cry

Sorry for the delay in creating episodes, both Jon and I have had a busy couple of weeks!  But it’s here now, and it’s a request from a listener, our first!  If you have a Spurgeon writing or sermon you would like to hear as part of this podcast, please let us know and we’ll be happy to post it up as we can.

I loved reading today’s episode as an exercise in worship for myself, as the Trinity in Unity of God is glorified.  Go check out the full text here (and in fact, take a look at all of the Spurgeon Archive), and please don’t forget to subscribe to us on iTunes!  We appreciate all our listeners and hope this blesses you greatly.