Friday, September 30, 2016

Pentecost 20 - Proper 22

Proper 22
October 2, 2016
Luke 17:1-10 
What your faith can do for you

The apostles ask Jesus to increase their faith. The Savior responds.  Reminding us. Even a little faith is a lot. This might catch some off guard. Like the disciples, many are eager for a larger portion of faith – the faith to guide people aright. Faith to forgive. Faith to serve just for the privilege. As we face the tough issues of life, we cry out for more faith. No one can honestly say, ‘I have all the faith in the world.” If we really have faith. Do we need more? Jesus corrects the disciple’s desire for more faith. He says the quantity or degree of faith does not matter. It is sufficient just to have faith. The parable of the mustard seed emphasizes that the smallest amount of faith can do wonders.

Faith is a practical thing in a Christian’s daily life. Does the common man know this? Is faith for him only a creed? Could faith be something for preachers only? Faith is meaningful in the day-to-day life of a Christian. Note that this gospel lesson on faith is addressed to the disciples, men of faith in Christ. Jesus is teaching them about the implications or responsibilities of that faith.

What faith can do for you.

1. Keep you from leading others astray – Vv. 1-2 Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.”
We are unworthy servants.
Have we not sometimes caused offense?
A.             We have at times lived selfishly. Without regard for the needs of those around us. Like selfish children. Always looking out for what is mine.
B.            We have lived “immoderately” always wanting more – But it is always just beyond our reach. And so, we are impatient. Never satisfied. Never content. Never at peace.
Little ones. (Those who struggle. Or who are weak in the faith.) May thereby have been led astray – A serious matter. (See vs. 2) To cause offense is to be an unworthy servant.

Lord, increase my faith! That I may not cause offense!

2. Cause you to forgive – Vv. 3-4 So watch yourselves. “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”
A.            Have we not sometimes refused to deal lovingly with sinning brothers and sister?
B.            Have we failed to rebuke them personally for a sin we see them committing.
1. Rebuking a brother is difficult.
2. We can come off as a busy body
3. In our “live and let live” world, most people’s reaction is “whatever”.

C.            We have failed to forgive them as often as they repent
1. Forgiving can be difficult too!
2. After a rebuke. We might feel as if we have the power and the upper hand.
3. If we refuse to forgive. We break the bond of peace, which the Savior has given us.
4. There should be no limit to our forgiveness.
a. If he sins against you 7 times in a day. And 7 times comes back to you and said “I repent” ~ you must forgive him.
b. There is to be no limit to our forgiveness.
c. Forgiveness needs to be complete.

Lord, increase my faith when I’m called upon to forgive!

3. Perform wonders – Vv. 5-6 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.

Faith makes it possible for us to do our duty.
A.            We need only to exercise the faith we have.
1. What matters is not the amount of faith. Or ever faith itself. As though we were now obligated to get faith to do our duty. Rather, faith is instrumental.
2. Faith joins us to Christ. So that through faith we receive His power. Thus, even a little faith can do great things.
3. Wherever there is faith in Christ. Christians will deal lovingly with each other.
B.            We should not expect praise for doing our duty.
1. Jesus alone gives faith and then increases it.
2. He does not owe us a thing. It is by His grace alone that we have faith. And are able to do our duty.

Lord, increase my faith when I’m called to render service to my neighbor!

4. Motivate you to serve with no desire for reward – Vv. 7-10 “Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Would he not rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’ ”

We have been called into Christian service.

A.            In such service there are certain expectations. The servant is called to perform specific
1. To plow. Look after sheep. Etc. when the Master calls.
2. To render service – To cook supper. And wait on the Master.
B.            The expectation is service rendered.
1. No need to say thanks. “Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do?” Apply this lesson to school or your first job – boot camp for life!
a. Show up on time.
b. Do what you’re told.
c. Don’t have an attitude!
2. The final reward of the child of God is to be ushered into mansions glorious.
a. We enter glory not due to any merit on our part. All we have is a gift.
b. Rather, we are unworthy servants. We are only doing our duty as the Master has pressed us into His service.

Lydia’s violin instructor in high school would often say, “We are all students” – Rightly applied to our Christian walk – we are all servants. We are to each humbly walk before God and our neighbor, forgiving and restoring our brother gently for in the final analysis we are to remind ourselves – we are only servants – simply doing our duty.

Words – 1,145
Passive Sentences –5%
Reading Ease –82.4
Reading Level – 4.1

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