Luke 3: GOOD NEWS...YA FILTHY ANIMALS!
Phyllis Fields:0:02Okay, that's scripture reading today as luke 3:1-22. It was the 15th year in the reign of Emperor Tiberius punches. Pilot was governor of Judea. Herod ruled Galilee and his brother Philip rolled I Turia and Tacoma tennis. Lysanias was the ruler of Abaleen. It was at the time when Annas and kfs where chief priest that God spoke to John Son of Zechariah in the desert, John traveled throughout the region around the Jordan River. He told people about a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As the Prophet Isaiah wrote in his book, a voice cries out in the desert. Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley will be filled. Every mountain inhale will be leveled. The crooked ways will be made straight. The rough roads will be made smooth. All people will see the salvation that God gives. Crowds of people were coming to be baptized by John.
Phyllis Fields:1:01He would say to them, you poisonous snakes who showed you how to flee from God's coming anger. Do those things that prove that you have turned to God and you have changed the way you think and act. Don't say Abraham is our ancestor. I guarantee that God can raise up descendants for Abraham from these stones. The access now ready to cut the roots of the trees in a tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into a fire. The crowds ask him, what should we do? He answered them. Whoever has two shirts should share with the person who doesn't have any. Whoever has food should share it to. Some tax collectors came to be baptized and they ask him, teacher, what should we do? He told them, don't collect more money than you are ordered to collect. Some soldiers asked him, and what should we do?
Phyllis Fields:1:54He told them, be satisfied with your pay and never use threats or black male to get money from anyone. People's hopes were rising as they all wondered whether John was the Messiah. John replied to all of them, I baptize you with water, but the one who is more powerful than I is coming, I am not worthy to untie his sandals. Straps, he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing. Shovel is in his hand to clean up his threshing floor. He will gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn the Husk in a fire that can never be put out with many other encouraging words. He told the good news to the people. John spoke out against the ruler Herod because Herod had married his own sister in law herodias. He also spoke out against Herod for all the evil things he had done. So Herod added one more evil to all the others. He locked John and locked up John in prison. When all the people were baptized, Jesus too was baptized while he was praying. Heaven opened and the Holy Spirit came down to him in the form of a dove. A voice from heaven said, you are my son, whom I love. I am pleased with you.
Quinn Fields:3:23Alright, so would you guys pray with me? God, thank you for this day and I'm glad that you're so open our hearts to your word and that, uh, we will just change the way we think snacks and more like you. And I pray that you give me the gift of preaching this morning. God and I pray. Amen. All right. Good morning. My name is Quinn fields and who is ready for 20, 19 anybody? Yeah. Okay. Me Too. I think. Yes, I think I'm ready for 2019, but I also think I learned a lot of things in 2018 and it was, it was a good year. A lot of ways. And today I'm going to be asking some questions to consider for the new year as you look forward to that
Quinn Fields:4:18and they're going to be some questions based on luke three and then my mom just read and specifically John The baptist, some of the things he said, some things he did in his life. So, um, yeah, if you go to the next slide, um, yes. The title of today's sermon is good news. You filthy animals. So as we just learned about it as my mom just read it's gonna be about John The baptist. And if you go to the next slide, John the Baptist is the subject of my favorite painting at the Philbrook Museum. Uh, anybody go to the Philbrook? Yeah, just check it out. If not, there's a lot there, especially on the second Saturday of the month. It's free, so support the local arts, but I really wish that I could say I was one of those people that can just look at a painting and a piece of art for like hours and appreciate, but I'm not, but I really have sat in front of this painting to the Philbrook for like five minutes before and that's actually a long time to look at a painting in.
Quinn Fields:5:21I've just sat there and looked at it for one of them and it's just a beautifully painted piece I think. And I'd sit there and I think, you know, what is John Thinking in this painting? You know, what was his experience? To me, it kind of looks like he was like a teenager or something. That's time and I'm trying to get inside John's head. And so that's what I tried to do a little bit to know. Think about what John said here. Try to think about where he came from. So if you go to the next slide,
Quinn Fields:5:50this is a picture of John, what they think was the wilderness that John might have spent some time in the day in a place of refuge, a based on some of the Internet, a Bible places Dot Com I think is, is where that's from, but anyways, it might be, might have looked like something like this and you know, it's in Judea and so I didn't have time to go over there. So I did the next best thing to get in John's head. So next slide. I went to the uh, Turkey Mountain urban wilderness. So it's basically the same thing, right? So I took some pictures there and I thought I would share those with you guys since you're kind of a captive audience so you don't really have a choice. We're gonna kind of see what I found at the Turkey Mountain urban wilderness. So, uh, yeah, you check it out.
Quinn Fields:6:38Next slide. Uh, so picture on the left there. You can't see it at all. Um, I'm not a very good photographer, but there was a bird that is doing some work on the scraping the bark off the tree, sat and watched this bird for maybe or I didn't sit. I stood and watched this bridge maybe five minutes to. And it was just, it was just fascinating to watch, spurred take, trying to take the bark off the trees. It's just something that happens everyday, but I don't observe it everyday. I'm not always around when it happens. And it took me back and made me think, you know, it's, it, it's pretty cool that this is something that may be recognizable to John when he was out there roaming around, you know, he might've seen a bird in a tree and how so much has stayed the same even though so much has changed. Um, and the picture on the right there is a beer can hiding in a tree. Um, that is a reminder that sometimes we can be really trashy people. And um, how much things have changed since, since John's time. Next picture.
Quinn Fields:7:47This is some tea lights that I saw and I don't really have anything to say by those lights except thought it was pretty fascinating that they were just three tea lights sitting there and I wonder if it was, you know, a romantic proposal, a romantic dinner at Turkey Mountain, um, I don't know, or if it was part of some sort of worship service with small group or somebody that just needed some light, I don't know. And I wonder what if John Ever Lit a candle in wherever he was and what kinds of interesting things he saw when he was there. So we have the next slide. The next picture I saw was your next picture I took was of a few trees that don't have much going on anymore. Um, one is it a dead tree line sideways and walked on it because what else are you going to do if you see a tree sitting like that?
Quinn Fields:8:41Um, and you know, it, it held my weight. Okay. But I, but a few more times it might not have been. So this, if you paid attention to the passage that my mom just tried to luke three, you know, that this is kind of an analogy that John Makes, is that a tree is only as good as its fruit. And so seeing these trees took me back to that and it made me think about that idea that these people were coming and they were resting on the fact that they were from the line of Abraham and they had the heritage of Abraham, but John was angry because he was mad that they thought that they could, you know, just rest on their heritage, um, if they weren't producing the fruit of God and the life of God. And so, um, you know, this would be a good analogy in a pretty normal like teaching moment, except that's not really how the story starts. Right? So it starts. I want to go back a little bit to the next slide and it starts with having the people come. John said that the people are coming out to be baptized and John says, you poisonous snakes, which I think is a really terrible way to start a baptism.
Quinn Fields:9:57It seems really backwards because he's telling this is a really happy event and he's telling them about this good news, the forgiveness of sins, but he's greeting them with you. Poisonous snakes. And so it made me think about the buhler from the princess bride and it just doesn't seem like a good idea. Like, I don't think this would be a good church growth idea if I'm. Instead of greeting people to the journey with. Good morning, welcome to the journey. We said good morning you poisonous snakes and it also reminded me around Christmas time of, you know, just this idea of you're doing something really good for somebody, but you're kind of saying something really mean or really aggressive at the same time reminded me of, you know, of course in home alone, the keep the change you have felt the animals and maybe, I don't know if you guys watched home alone or not.
Quinn Fields:10:49Is it a Christmas movie? Has it not let a debate on that. But really I think that John here is, I think he understands the good news and he believes that it is good news. Um, you know, we see the next picture here, the story from the New Nativity story, this good news that we've been talking about that we celebrated last Tuesday with your respective families or whenever you celebrated it, it's really good news, right? The forgiveness of sins, God coming into the world and more than just the forgiveness of sense. It's things being made right? It's the Kingdom of heaven starting to be made on earth. This is really good news and I think the question that John is asking and that he would ask to us today, but he's not around, so I'm going to ask it, is how good is the good news? How good is the good news and question that he's asking these people is how good is the good news?
Quinn Fields:11:49And you know, if it's good enough to come and accept the forgiveness ascends, and is it good enough to change the way you think and act so to us today? He might say, don't claim Jesus and don't act like you're from this heritage of Jesus. If you're not going to change the way you think and act and repent in your heart and act like Jesus, and if that sounds a little bit too spiritual, too abstract, then luckily John and luke are practical people, so they give us a practical example of a few interactions and so I'm gonna ask a few questions from those. So if you skip a few slides here, first interaction is the people ask him. They say, well, what are we supposed to do? If you're telling us poisonous snakes like, well, what would you have us do? And he says, if you have food and if you have close share with those people who don't.
Quinn Fields:12:43So for John, he's angry because people are coming to be forgiven, but they're not willing to share what they have. And to John, good news sometimes means feeding those who were hungry and clothing, those were cold and those who need clothes. So the question then for us is this is the good news, good enough to compel you to share what you have, the money in your clothing that you have, but those are neat. If you go to the next slide, so I found some berries in the wilderness and I didn't eat them, but John a something similar. He ate locusts and honey, right? But when you're out there and you've, you're finding berries in the wilderness and you know, I just think an idea that John understood was that really food, it all comes from God, right? It's all comes from God's creation and somebody just started claiming it as their own at one point.
Quinn Fields:13:40And so is the good news, good enough for you to share God's creation that you have in your life with other people. And those are neat. So how good is the good news? Um, you know, there's a lot of ways to, to give. There's a lot of ways to share, but it's something to think about for you, you know, uh, for me personally, I try to do this, uh, through. I support a child through feed the children and that's, that's an option. I'm not necessarily the best option. And there's, in today's modern world, everything is a little bit more complicated than it should be, right? In a lot of nonprofits, including feed the children have had their fair share of scandals and issues, people issues, but if it's good news then hopefully it's good enough to wade into the tricky waters sometimes of finding out how to give responsibility, how to share what you have. If other people, maybe it's through city lights, maybe it's through the journeys community outreach, maybe it's through another organization or maybe it's through seeing the needs of the people in your community, church, community and otherwise in meeting those needs or seeing people in the streets and giving them what they needed at a time.
Quinn Fields:14:54So the next interaction we see a couple of interactions where the tax collectors and the soldiers say, well, what should we do? And John says, don't take more than you need basically. And don't take what's not yours. So the question there is, is the good news good enough to make you want to be a decent person? You know, are the tax collectors and soldiers, uh, is, are those bad professions? Is Your John Against those? I don't think so. He doesn't tell the tax collectors just stop collecting taxes. He doesn't tell the soldiers to not be soldiers, he just says, you know, these were positions of privilege and power that they were using to take advantage of people, tax collectors through taking more than they need and soldiers through shakedowns and things like that. And John is just saying,
Quinn Fields:15:40you know, don't take more than you need, so be a decent person. And I would even take it one step further to read into what John is saying a little bit and say, you know, is the good news good enough to give up your privilege and position of power. So your positions of privileged position of positions of power. So if you go to the next slide, um, when I was out there at Turkey mountain, I've, I didn't exactly find solitude that I thought that I would find. And instead I found all sorts of interesting people.
Quinn Fields:16:14I found some mountain bikers in the full, like tight pants and no helmets in shirts and everything. I found some families that were decked out in their full Patagonia and Columbia. Um, I found a man with a trash bag and a pillow that I probably spent the night there or maybe it was going to that night, I don't know, or maybe he was just walking around and just happened to have a trash bag pillow, I don't know. Um, but the most interesting group that I found was this group of guys, mostly men in their forties and above. They had some other kids with them too, but it was most of these men playing with these remote controlled cars and the remote controlled trucks. And these weren't just like, you know, any little toy. These are like heavy duty. I mean they were taking these things up, rocks and there the trucks would like climb the rocks and you know, if I was greg, I would tell you about this great conversation that I have with these people, but I didn't really have that much of a conversation with them. But I've talked to. I just kinda asked him if I could take some pictures and like watched him a little bit. You talked a little bit. Um, but pretty fascinating to me and to find these people, but you know, you'll find, found all sorts of interesting people and I wonder what sorts of interesting people that John found a he was alone when he was in the wilderness. I don't know, but
Quinn Fields:17:40sometimes we need those moments and we need to be around people from different walks of life to, to realize that, you know, we're all just in this together, right? And there's no, there doesn't need to be any kind of hierarchy, but also seeing these people with different walks of life. That was a reminder that, you know, as simple as it seems and when you ever do are out in nature, you know, that there are so many ways in the world that we don't all have an equal shot at life. And so how good is the good news is a good enough for you to find ways to give up your privilege and power if that's preventing others to experience. The good news is you can go to next slide. So if you're the boss, if you own a company, if you run a company, how do you treat your employees? Are you taking more for yourself than you need while you're leaving your employees with an unlivable wage? Are you taking advantage of customers to make a few extra bucks? Are you using your privilege and power to maintain a status quo that puts people down?
Quinn Fields:18:51Are Your hiring practices unfair to women? People of color, the differently abled? How about your friendships? Maybe you have a position of privilege and power in life, but you haven't really done that much to think about it and to realize how you might have privilege and power that might be keeping other people from being able to experience the good news. And so maybe 20, 19, we'll bring some self examination for you, but this is kind of what we learned from those exchanges I think of is the good news, good enough to be a decent person and is it good enough to share what you have and is it good enough to give up your privilege and power? And so that's what we learned from those exchanges. But then, um, you know, was like Jesus, we learned from what he says and we also learned from his life and what he does. I think from John, we can learn from his life, not every, not every character in the Bible. We need to look exactly what they did and say that we should apply to our life, but wanting to at least ask some questions from John's life. So in this story, we see that John has this exchange and then he, he's baptizing people, but then it also talks about how he went and he,
Quinn Fields:20:07I'm in verse 19, Herod the Tetrarch Rubin reproved by him for Herodias, his brother's wife, and for all the evil things he had done, added this to them all that he locked to John and prison. So it talks about how John had, um, you know, we'd talked against Herod and who is a person in the ruling class who's basically the Jewish ruler. I'm underneath the Roman power. And John had had found it necessary to speak out against Herod. And so he found it necessary to speak out against Herod for one, for his ancestral relationship with erroneous, but also for the other evil things that he had done. So how good is the good news for John? He found that the good news was good enough to make him want to speak out against injustice. He thought that was part of the good news. And so question for us today is the good news. Good enough this next year to make you want to speak out against injustice and stand up for the oppressed. For Gentlemen, it was worth speaking now. And if we go to the next slide there, sometimes we don't want to stand up. We don't want to speak out because we don't want to look like this. We don't want to be ugly. We don't want to be on civil, and a lot of times somebody is going to interpret it as ugly. If you're speaking out against something, you're usually speaking out to somebody.
Quinn Fields:21:42And for John It was worth it though. For John, the good news was good enough to make him throw a fit over injustice. And we want to believe that we can look like this next picture.
Quinn Fields:21:58We want to believe that we can look pretty when we're pointing to Jesus like John does in this picture, in his painting, and it's a beautiful painting and he's pointing to Jesus. He was pointing to the lamb there. This hand, he looks, you know, calm and stoic and introspective. And I think that is definitely part of the Christian life. There are those times that we are common were reflective and introspective. But for John, that wasn't all of his experience as a Christian. Part of it was calling people poisonous snakes and calling out here for his injustice. So for us it's the good news. Good enough to speak out. And next slide there. Is it good enough to make you want to stand up for the refugee? It's a good enough to make you. If you want to stand up for the differently abled, is it good enough to make you want it to stand up to the systems that are oppressing people in part of San Diego up to the systems is standing up to the people that are supporting those systems and it's more complicated than just saying that it's a good thing to do. Obviously a, there can be good and ways probably there can be good and bad ways to speak out and to stand up for people. And I am not going to be the one to tell you what's the right way, what's the wrong way? But in 2019, is it something that you're worth considering? Maybe the first step is those people that you see standing up and that you see, um, and that you think, well, they look ugly. They look on civil. Are you willing to listen to them first and consider that, you know, maybe they do have a point.
Quinn Fields:23:40Maybe that's the first step. And maybe for you it's wading into the water as a figuring out what's the right way to speak up. And maybe you've already found your voice and you you're just going to continue that and you're gonna stand up for for people more and there are different ways you can do that in your community and just to name a few. There's the new sanctuary network and working with immigrants and refugees in in Tulsa specifically in in I think it's a national organization as well. There's Tulsa people first advocating for people on the autism spectrum and others who have developmental disabilities of different kinds and for action the greg is involved with and that that's a church based group that is dealing with criminal justice reform. There's a target which is again people on the autism spectrum. There's maybe it's getting involved with the local city council and issues that are keeping people down in our city.
Quinn Fields:24:34I don't know. I know what it is for you, but isn't good enough to make you want to consider how you can speak out and stand up for the oppressed. And then the last thing that I think we can learn from John, the question I wanna ask you is for John, it doesn't end with a happy ending in the same way that I'm for Jesus is his life ends on a cross for John. It ends with a silver platter. And that silver platter is not, um, a feast. It's his head, it's his own life. It's is flesh and blood and a worship team. You can go ahead and come on up. So is the good news good enough for the silver platter? Is it good enough to die for?
Quinn Fields:25:25John decided that it was for him in when I first read through this passage, there's a verse that I think I skipped over. And then second time I read it, it really stood out to me just because it was kind of a little bit. Let me think a little bit. And that is in verse 18, he says, so with many other expectations, he preached good news to the people or with many other encouraging words. And then when I read that a second time, I was like many other encouraging words. I didn't read anything that John said there as encouraging. It all seems pretty like in your face and pretty like convicting. Not necessarily encouraging, but we know that John was encouraging. He really did believe that this was good news.
Quinn Fields:26:14He believed that. Go to the next slide, that the story of Jesus coming into the world was really, really good news. Jesus was his cousin. We see that he baptized Jesus later in this passage. He believed that Jesus was doing God's work and that Jesus was going to bring freedom, deliverance and healing to the world. He believed that this was such good news that it was worth dying for and encouraging. And for you, you're probably not going to have to die for your faith in 2019. But the thing that I want you to consider is, is the good news for you, what is the good news mean for you? And if it's all about your success in your personal happiness and your families, then is that the same good news that John was excited about, that John Thought was good news? I don't know.
Quinn Fields:27:10So how good is the good news? Well, for John, it was really, really, really, really good news and so good that he decided that it was worth dying for. So for you, that's question for 2019 is how good is the good news and which way are you going to repent in your heart and change the way you think and the way you act to not just reflect the choice to accept the forgiveness of sins that Jesus gave us, but also reflect the life that Jesus wants to bring to the world in Jesus's good fruit that he offers to us. And then we can share with other people. So now we're going to have a time of response that he shepherds are going to be up here. If you want to pray with them or if you feel like you want to accept the good news for the first time, um, or if you have anything else you want on the worship team is going to just send a song. So I think very much. Please stand with this. I travel.
Quinn is a Tulsa native and Garnett alumni, grateful to be on the journey with The Journey.
He is a 2x spelling bee champion. He is a Graduate of Oklahoma Christian University and University of Central Oklahoma.
Quinn is currently working with seniors and families in affordable housing.