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Fires of Judgment, Division and Unity

by Rev. Kirby Williams

Analyzing the fires of judgment and wrath that lead first to division and then to perfect unity.

Text: Luke 12:49-53
Date: 01/21/2024, the Combined service.
Series: "Luke: Thy Kingdom Come" Part 134

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After establishing the stark comparison between the two servants in His parables of readiness; the themes of servanthood and the Second Coming slip into the background and the theme of Jesus' purpose in the Cosmic Initiative reappears. But this time the focus is on judgment and division. Jesus speaks of a cataclysmic fire cast upon the earth and an anticipated transformation in which He is the central character and catalyst. This fire will bring judgment on the earth-- but a judgment that will not destroy humankind at this time, but rather bring about its greatest division. But in the final assessment, we will see that this necessary division brings about unity within the body of believers. After analyzing the text, and particularly the meaning of words like "fire" and "peace", we will recognize how the concepts in this passage flow perfectly into each other. Ultimately we will find that the fires of judgment, division and unity define the essence of God's Redemptive Plan through Jesus Christ and basically what it means to be a Christian.

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I. Introduction
II. Exposition of the text, Luke 12:49-53.
A. Context
B. From Judgment to Division to Unity.
1. Fire from heaven, vs. 49.
a. Looking at the words.
i. Noticing the word-order.
ii. The pre-existent purpose.
iii. The objective, Acts 27:14, Gen. 19:24, 1Kings 18:38.
iv. The destination.
v. The meaning of "fire".
1) The literal meaning, Luke 9:54.
2) As a Theophany, Ex. 3:2, 13:22, 19:18.
3) The judgment of God, Isa. 66:15, Amos 2:5, Mal. 3:2, 2Pet. 3:7.
b. The nature of fire.
i. Fire destroys, Luke 3:17, Matt. 13:40, Luke 3:9, John 15:6, Mark 9:48-49, Rev. 20:10.
ii. Fire purifies.
1) The illustration from metallurgy, Prov. 25:4, Zech. 13:9.
2) A symbol of division, Mal. 3:2, 1Cor. 3:12-15.
c. Jesus' passion for the fire.
2. Jesus' "baptism" in fire, vs. 50.
a. A figurative baptism, Luke 3:16.
b. Looking forward to the Cross.
i. The distress of the Cross, Phil 1:23.
ii. Looking forward to the finish.
3. The fires of division, vs. 51.
a. The surprising question.
i. A rhetorical question, Isa. 9:6, Psa. 72:7, Isa. 9:5,7.
ii. Jesus' grasp of His own purpose.
iii. The nature of peace.
iv. Qualifying the conflict.
b. The Seed of division, Matt. 25:33, Luke 12:44, 46.
4. The poignant example, vs. 52-53.
a. The stunning example of "family", vs 52.
b. Examples of division, vs. 53.
i. A family divided by the Gospel.
ii. From division to unity.
III. Application
A. The fire of judgment, 2Cor. 5:21, John 1:29.
B. The fire of division, Luke 12:8-9, Ex. 32:26, Josh. 24:15, Psa. 4:3, 1Pet. 1:14-16, James 4:4.
C. The fire of unity, Rom. 12:5, Gal. 3:28.
IV. Conclusion

The Preaching Ministry of Kirby Williams

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