The Gospel of Luke is a wonderful resource.  Written by a non-Jewish doctor who had a love for facts, it is clear, precise, no frills.  A historian’s dream.  And yes, I am a mild to moderate historian:-)  I have a degree to teach history, even though I have not taught it outside of my student teaching days in college.  Luke does a wonderful job of capturing Jesus’ teachings.  It is something like reading the compilations of a great philosopher.  A book of teachings by Socrates, or Plato.  Except, of course, Luke is a compilation of the teachings of the greatest teacher ever to walk on this planet, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  The teachings are connected.  One verse here, then later the topic comes up again, but with a twist…another piece of a puzzle that equals a whole picture…the complete message that Jesus was teaching.  Like any puzzle that is put together over time, it is great fun to gather enough pieces to see a clear picture of one part of the whole.  That is what I have for you today.  Pieces that will present part of a whole.

I will start with the very familiar verses of Luke 11:8-10, but then add to that verse 13.  Watch where this goes.  Jesus begins with a story about a man who receives surprise visitors during the night and goes to his friend to borrow a few loaves of bread, but the friend refuses to get out of bed to get them.   “I tell you, if friendship is not enough to make him get up to give you the bread, your BOLDNESS will make him get up and give you whatever you need.  So I tell you, ASK, and God will give to you.  SEARCH, and you will find. KNOCK, and the door will be opened for you.  Yes, everyone who asks will receive.  The one who searches will find.  And everyone who knocks will have the door opened….How much more your heavenly Father will give the HOLY SPIRIT to those who ask him!”

Puzzle piece number one:  anyone who asks, searches, knocks…with boldness (don’t be afraid because God wants to give this to you)…will receive the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit.  (I didn’t write the Holy Spirit twice by accident.)

Skip ahead a few verses to where Jesus is defending the power by which he casts out demons.  Verse 20 says:  “But if I use the POWER OF GOD to force out demons, then the KINGDOM OF GOD has come to you.”

Hold on to that.  Look at Luke 12:32 – “Don’t fear, little flock, because your Father wants to give you the KINGDOM.

Puzzle piece number two:  The KINGDOM OF GOD is the POWER OF GOD given to us.

Puzzle piece number 3:  How does the Father give us the Power of God?  The Kingdom of God?  Through the Holy Spirit, whom He tells us to boldly ask, search, and knock to find and receive.

Let’s bring these pieces together for the why.  God doesn’t give us His power through the Holy Spirit, making the presence of His kingdom here on earth just for the fun of it.

Luke 12:35, followed by Luke 12:48b:  “Be dressed, ready for service, and have your lamps shining.”  “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded.  And from the one trusted with much, much more will be expected.”

Puzzle piece number 4:  We have each been called to service to the King.  God has a calling for you.  (If you have not figured out what that is, the quickest, easiest way to find out is to tell God you surrender all of you to Him, and ask Him to do with your life what He wills.  Believe me, He will take that and run with it.)  God expects you to be faithful and obedient in the calling He has given you.  If you are called to serve coffee between Sunday School and the service at your church, do it with all the muster you have.  Ask, seek, knock and receive the Holy Spirit who will open doors while you serve Him in this area.  But be faithful!  And obedient!  When you have the Holy Spirit within you, you have the power of God.  You carry His kingdom in this world.  If you minister to a flock, minister with faithfulness and obedience!  No matter what God has called you to do, do it knowing that you are accountable for that calling.

Puzzle piece number 5:  This is the piece that connects the little picture-within-a-picture to the rest of the puzzle.  The piece that has the last color of the picture are working on, and also has more that makes you know there is more to be done.  Luke 12:43 – “When the master comes and finds the servant doing his work, the servant will be blessed.”  Do your work now, because you don’t know when Jesus will return.  It will be soon.  When Jesus appears in the sky to call His own to Him, will you be caught with your pants down, or will you be dressed and serving Him?

The picture put together today?  Ask for the Holy Spirit with boldness…and God will gladly give Him to you…because the Spirit brings with Him the Kingdom of God, which is the power of God…so that we can serve God in what He has called us to do in faithfulness and obedience…while we wait, expectantly, ready, for the return of Jesus…and will receive His blessing.