Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part LIX: The Credibility Of Christianity Seen In Christ's Cure For "Spiritual Fainting Spells"
(Luke 18:1-14)
  1. Introduction
    1. Because of man's limited resources of mental, emotional and physical strength and his vulnerability to affliction of the spirit due to the angelic conflict, depression and defeat are constant threats he must face.
    2. Jesus was sensitive to this challenge, for Hebrews 2:18 tells us Christ suffered in temptations that He faced. Accordingly, Jesus gave us invaluable suggestions regarding handling what the Baptist preacher of old, Charles Haddon Spurgeon called the believer's "spiritual fainting spells". Christ did so in Luke 18:1-14:
  2. The Credibility Of Christianity Seen In Christ's Cure For "Spiritual Fainting Spells", Lk. 18:1-14.
    1. Luke's Gospel was written to reveal to Theophilus the credibility of the Christian faith, Luke 1:3-4.
    2. One mark of the faith's credibility the teaching by its Founder, Jesus Christ for "spiritual fainting spells":
      1. Jesus was concerned about people facing great trials during the Tribulation Period, 17:30-37; 18:1b, 8b:
        1. In Luke 17:30-37, Jesus described the spiritually, mentally and emotionally challenge time people on the earth would face during the coming Great Tribulation.
        2. Following that troublesome description, Jesus gave a parable so that men might not spiritually faint or have fainted and given up hope by the time He had returned, Luke 18:1b, 8b.
      2. Well, since the other world religions focus on some form or forms of self-help exercise to deal with such "fainting spells," we should expect Christianity, if it is true, to offer a uniquely superior exercise. Jesus' exercise is noticeably that of REJECTING self-help in favor of just the opposite as follows:
        1. First of all, Jesus urged His disciples to pray in faith for help to avoid fainting in the Tribulation era: (a) Luke records that the parable Jesus gave about the widow and the unjust judge in Luke 18:2-5 was given specifically to encourage believers to pray instead of fainting spiritually, Luke 18:1. (b) The parable itself takes a bad example of the unjust judge to encourage one to pray to a good God: Christ's point is that since a pestering widow can cause even an unjust judge to give her a fair hearing to get justice, how much more willing is a Good God willing to answer the needs of believer s in the Tribulation who pray persistently in FAITH that God will come to their aid, Luke 18:2-5, 6-7. (c) The only concern Jesus had was whether or not people would TRUST God or try to go it alone without relying on God in prayer, Luke 18:8b!
        2. Second of All, Jesus urged people to pray depending on God's unmerited favor as opposed to relying on their own self-help righteousness as a basis that God would hear their prayers, 18:9-14: (a) Luke records that Jesus spoke another parable on prayer to people who relied on their own self-help righteousness in coming to God in prayer, a sure-fire basis for having prayer rejected, 18:9. (b) So, to make His point, Jesus gave a parable comparing the self-righteous theologically conservative Pharisee with the self-admitted, wretchedly sinful publican (tax collector) who went into God's temple to pray, Luke 18:10. (c) Since the Pharisee depended on his self-help righteousness and the tax collector leaned on God's mercy for God's imputed righteousness, and since no one's own righteousness can make him acceptable to God (cf. Rom. 3:20, 23), the tax collector went away from the prayer meeting more justified than the Pharisee, Luke 18:11-14 . (d) Thus, Jesus was concerned that His people pray in dependence on God's grace as opposed to their own self-help worth before a perfectly holy God. Otherwise, their needs would not be met, for those who exalt themselves in self-help pride head for a fall while those who humble themselves are exalted! (v. 14b)
Lesson: (1) To handle "spiritual fainting spells" where we are drained through trials, Christ asks us (a) to RESIST any and all SELF-HELP ((a)) efforts and ((b)) standing so typical of other false religions. (b) This includes our ((a)) not resorti ng to self-help efforts, and ((b)) for our praying to God based upon God's GRACE instead of any supposed self-help righteousness within us. (2) Accordingly, Christ's UNIQUE solution to "spiritual fainting spells" of an ANTI-SELF-HELP procedure and basis re veals a vastly SUPERIOR and, hence CREDIBLE evidence for the TRUTH of Christianity!