Emily Latella & The Bible: Hearing God’s Word & Applying It To Our Lives

Posted: January 10, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Luke 8:19-21 — I remember back in the day when Saturday Night Live (SNL) was a brash new show maybe one or two years on the air. There was a character, played by Gilda Radner, called Emily Latella and she would be an editorial guest on the “Weekend Update” news show portion of SNL. The first time this character was introduced, she began railing on about the backlash against violins on television. She couldn’t understand it. Violins on television she thought would improve television not make it worse. Violins create beautiful music. Why would we not want more of that. After she railed on and on for about two minute about the need for MORE violins on television, Dan Ackroyd’s news anchor character had to interrupt her and say, “Emily, what they are talking about is the all the violence on television. Violence. Not violins.” Emily looks at the Dan and says,”Well, that’s totally different!” And then looks at the television and says, “Never mind!” What does that have to do with today’s passage? It is right on point I think. We must hear. We must know God’s word. Otherwise, we can let ourselves go off on tangents that have no basis in Scripture. Sort of like Emily Latella and the violins on television. But wait there is another step to this thing. Not only must we know Scripture but we must obey it as well. Let’s read the passage,

“The Jesus’ mother and brothers cam to see Him, but they could not get to Him because of the crowd. Someone told Jesus, ‘Your mother and your brothers are outside and they want to see you.’ Jesus replied, ‘My mother and my brothers are all who hear God’s Word and obey it.'”

What is Jesus saying here? Is He rejecting His earthly family? This passage is not about rejecting family. It is about defining who belong in the spiritual family of Jesus Christ. He says here that all who hear God’s Word and obeys it are in his family. This passage speaks three things to us. First, our basis in Jesus’ family is not who we are but it’s basis is comes from our obedience to God. Second, we see Jesus take the opportunity to remind everyone what he had just been talking about. He turned a physical conversation into a spiritual one. Third, it speaks to us about how to we are to share our faith with non-believers.

The first thing that we must clear up here is a misconception. Jesus did not reject or rebuke His earthly family. He cared much for His mother, we all know that and I am sure that He loved His brothers as well. Each of them went on after His death to become leaders and/or writers for the church. So, we know there was love there for them to carry on their brother’s torch the way they did. Their love for Him led them to the cross of salvation. And we know Jesus loved His earthly mother. Remember, hanging on the cross in dire physical pain, he was still thinking of His mom. He made sure before His death that His mother was going to be taken care when He gave His command to His disciple, John. There is no contradiction here. Jesus is using family as an illustration not to rebuke His own family.

What Jesus is saying here is that membership in the family of Jesus is not dependent on your family or social status. It is not about who you are or who your parents are. It is not about checklists of things done. It is not about some hierarchy of achievements. It is about knowing God and obeying Him. It is about knowing God through His Word and it illuminating who Jesus is through the action of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. It is about seeing our need for Jesus through knowing God’s Word. It is about also obeying God’s Word. If we do not hear (do not know) God’s Word, we can be easily led astray into that which is not of God. If we do not obey God’s Word, then we are not shining His light. In the previous passage, Jesus talked about not denying Christ and shining the light of Christ to the world around us. Here in this passage, he shows us how we shine our light. We obey God’s Word. We put God’s Word into practice in our daily lives. If we do not know, do not hear, God’s Word then how are we to apply it to our lives. Jesus says we must hear AND obey. That is how we shine our light. That is how we demonstrate that we are part of Jesus’ family. We are part of His family through faith that He is Our Savior. The evidence of our membership is knowing and obeying His Word. That is all that it takes to be members of His family. It is also a warning to us that just because we are members of the right church, read all the cool Christian blogs, write a cool Christian blog, have parents who are fine Christians, we cannot ride those coattails to salvation. We must encounter Jesus ourselves and submit to Him and get to know Him and obey Him. Our membership in the family of Christ comes from the choice of following and obeying Him, not on who we are or what we’ve done.

The next thing that is awesome about this passage is how Jesus turned the conversation from the physical to the spiritual. Man, what an example of witnessing to others about the kingdom of God. Jesus, being God and all, was the best preacher EVER. He was the best witness EVER. We can learn much about witnessing for Christ is this passage. Jesus took something mundane like, Hey dude, your mom and your bros are here and they wanna speak to you and turned it into a powerful message. Jesus turned the conversation toward the spiritual. We always talk in church about what sometimes people call “divine appointments”. These are those junctures in time where we have an opportunity to witness for Jesus Christ. Those moments that seem arranged by God for us to speak of Jesus to someone who doesn’t Him as their Savior. Most of us shy away from these opportunities. I am no different. I am sure that I have missed many divine appointments that I don’t even recognize as being such and I have missed just as many knowing that I really did miss the opportunity. We must, like Jesus, seize every opportunity to speak to people about the kingdom of God. We must seize the opportunities to speak to them about Jesus. We must know God’s Word to make those connections to moments in real life. We must be obedient to God’s Word to know that God’s Word is truly applicable to our lives. Through knowledge and obedience, we can see and seize the opportunities to turn a conversation toward spiritual things, toward Jesus and the salvation that He offers sinners.

The final thing that is awesome about this passage is that it ties together how we are to be light to the world around us and particularly to our non-believing family members. In the previous passage, we discussed that we needed to be the light of Christ to our families, co-workers, friends and strangers. This passage tells how we become the light. We become the light through knowing God’s Word. We become the light by not just knowing His Word but by applying His Word to our lives – obeying it. This is how we become the light to all in our spheres of influence – where we live, work, and play. We cannot be Christ-like without knowing and applying God’s Word to our lives. We must study God’s Word and not just give it a cursory reading so our friends can see that we completed a Bible reading plan on the YouVersion app. We must earnestly study it. We must let it reach into our soul. We must let is percolate inside us. We must take it into us and let the Word of God be our manna, our daily spiritual nourishment. Then, we must apply it to our lives. Through the Holy Spirit we can make the connections between God’s Word and our lives and where we need change and refinement. The noticeable change in us through knowing Jesus Christ as our Savior and the maturing changes in us through knowing God’s Word and applying it to our lives is what draws people to us. They see our integrity. They see our heart for others. They see our faithfulness to duty even in bad situations. They see us striving for excellence even when no one notices. They see us give credit to Jesus for the changes that He has wrought in us. This is how we start our witness to others, by our actions. We are the light of Christ that draws people out of darkness and unto Him. May we be like Jesus when the opportunity is right and turn the conversation toward spiritual matters. May we introduce them to the family of Jesus whose only membership requirements are a repentant heart that seeks forgiveness from a forgiving Savior.

We are responsible for carrying the message of Christ to a dark world and draw them unto the light. How will they know? Because the light we shine is knowing God’s Word and applying it to our lives. That produces light!


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