Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm19981014.htm
LUKE: GOSPEL OF CERTIFYING THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
Part LVI: Christ's Credibility Seen In The IMPARTIAL View He Promoted Regarding Sin In Relationships
Lesson: Jesus signaled He was God's Messenger, not a hypocritic by requiring His followers to avoid sin in EVERY way: He urged them (a) to avoid causing weaker people to sin, (b) to forgive others who had influenced THEM to sin, and that as OFT EN as was requested at their signaling true repentance (Mtt. 3:7-8). Then, (c) He urged His disciples to remain humble when seeing themselves mature, appreciating God's grace that made them effective servants of God.
- One of the characteristics of a cult leader that often comes to the fore is his flawed, hypocritical view of how to handle sin in relationships with others. He might accurately find fault with others only himself to become guilty of what he allegedly criticizes in others, cf. Galatians 6:12-13.
- Jesus had a starkly impartial view regarding sin in relationships, and that viewpoint (1) exposed His credibility as a Messenger of God. It (2) instructs us today regarding pure righteousness in relationships.
- Christ's Credibility Seen In The IMPARTIAL View He Promoted Regarding Sin In Relationships.
- Luke's Gospel was written to demonstrate the credibility of the Christian faith to Theophilus, Luke 1:3-4.
- Luke 17:1-10 exposed the starkly impartial view that Jesus had on dealing with sin in relationships, and offers us evidence of His credentials as God's messenger and directives in our dealings with others:
- Issue One - Jesus said that God holds us responsible for sin if we influence ANOTHER to sin, 17:1-2.
- Jesus predicted that inevitably, weaker people would be influenced to sin by the errant actions or beliefs of more mature believers who should know better, Luke 17:1a.
- However, He said that such bad influence is inexcusable for the one creating the offense, so that the godly must do their best not to mislead the weak into sin, Luke 17:1b-2.
- Issue Two - Jesus taught that God holds us responsible for sin if we harbor bitterness toward another who has negatively influenced US as the weaker party to sin, Luke 17:3-4. (B.K.C., N.T., p. 248)
- On the other hand, Jesus revealed that to hold a grudge against one who has wronged us perhaps in his influencing us to sin is equally guilty even though he did what was wrong to us, Luke 17:3.
- In fact, even if he negatively influences us repeatedly, and then repeatedly demonstrates true repentance, we are obligated to forgive him repeatedly that we not sin by holding a grudge, 17:4.
- Issue Three - Jesus taught that God holds us responsible for sin if we grow in faith in Him only to become PROUD at ourselves in achieving such a higher maturity level, Luke 17:5-10.
- The disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith, a very lofty request on their part, Luke 17:5.
- Jesus responded that it was not the amount of faith in God that produced the results so much as it was the God in Whom they trusted that accomplished anything, Luke 17:6a. All the believer needs is a faith amount as large as a tiny mustard seed for great results, Luke 17:6b.
- However, Jesus knew that there was a danger that once the disciples thought they had arrived at a level of higher faith, they might become proud about it and feel they were really efficient servants of God. That would be sin in the worst form as it was God 's grace that had gotten them there.
- Accordingly, Jesus gave an illustration to show how even maturing believers must view themselves with true humility: (a) Mature believers must see themselves as servants of God who are required to do what God has told them to do in life and service, Luke 17 :7a. (b) After the servant has done what is required of him, the servant is not to expect God to be grateful for his service, but see himself as any other servant, as never becoming efficient enough to cause his Master to break even financially, Luke 17:7b -10. (c) In other words, even when we mature in the Lord, we must view ourselves as but saved sinners whose service effectiveness comes only by God's unmerited favor!
Application: We must see that our struggle in relations is a struggle against SIN, whether it be our sin that misleads or the sins of others that mislead us or even our pride at feeling we have arrived as mature believers! Sin grabs us eas ily, and we ALWAYS need God's grace -- we must never forget it!