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

Part LX: The Credibility Of The Christian Faith In Christ's PURE GRACE Focus With Men
(Luke 18:15-30)
  1. Introduction
    1. All religious organizations outside of Biblical Christianity put an emphasis on human merit and or works in some way or another so that one gains God's approval from such human merit or works.
    2. However, such a belief errs even logically: one would expect an infinite God to be so demanding in His standards of uprightness that finite, sinful man would never come close to pleasing such a God on his own.
    3. Biblical Christianity is unique in this regards, making man's best righteousness something abhorred by a holy God, Romans 3:23; Isa. 64:6. Thus, it is a credible faith as illustrated in Jesus' teaching as follows:
  2. The Credibility Of The Christian Faith In Christ's PURE GRACE Focus With Men, Luke 18:15-30.
    1. Luke's Gospel was written to reveal the credibility of the Christian faith to Theophilus, Luke 1:3-4.
    2. One way that the Christian faith should logically reveal its credibility is in the way it surpasses other beliefs in promoting God as being so infinitely upright that man can never on his own attain a perfect God's standards. Jesus' t eaching in Luke 18:15-30 exposes such a God to the credibility of the faith as follows:
      1. Jesus revealed that unless a person humbled himself to rely on God's grace by faith as must a little child to receive blessing from others, he in no manner would obtain eternal life, Luke 18:15-17.
        1. When people were bringing Jesus little children for Him to touch and bless, the disciples, offended that Jesus as a Rabbi was having to take time out for children, rebuked the parents involved, 18:15.
        2. Jesus in turn corrected the disciples, saying that all people must come to God with the humble trust of such little children or they will never be saved, Luke 18:16-17.
      2. To back up this claim, Jesus interacted with a self-important rich ruler to reveal man's need, 18:18-27:
        1. When a certain influential, wealthy ruler asked Jesus what he could do to inherit eternal life, he put an emphasis on his practice of the law: the Greek word for "do" in Luke 18:18 is poieo, and most of the New Testament texts using this word speak of obedience to the Law, T.D.N.T., v. VI, p. 478.
        2. Since Jesus needed to address this man's human merit ideas on getting saved, He responded from the vantage of God's humanly unattainable righteousness: (a) First, Jesus said the man should not call Him "Good" unless he referred to Jesus as God, for technically only God is truly "Good", 18:19. (b) Second, since the man sought eternal life by his own goodness, Jesus went to the Law as God's measuring stick, commanding him to keep it, Luke 18:20. (c) Third, when the rich, self-upright ruler responded he had kept the adultery, murder, stealing and bearing false witness laws Jesus had mentioned, and that all of his life, Jesus exposed the man's failure with the tenth commandment: the man was covetous in not sharing his bounty with the needy, revealing condemning sin, Lk. 18:21-22.
        3. The influential man became sorrowful because he knew he could not part with his wealth this way, and Jesus noted that it was difficult for the wealthy to keep that tenth command and not sin, 23-25.
        4. When the disciples saw how hard it was for the influential to be saved, and commented on it, Jesus responded that such justification, being impossible with men, is possible with God by grace, 18:26-27
      3. Peter responded that in faith he had showed up this rich ruler in giving up all sorts of possessions to follow Jesus. He apparently expected to impress Christ as a believer by his works, v. 28. Jesus replied that Peter would be given many more possessions in this life and in eternity by God's grace in recompense so that he would not be able to out-give God. Even believers live by grace, Lk. 18:29-30! (The supply of goods and massive relationships came by way of the fellowship and sharing among Christians in the Early Church, cf. Acts 2:44-45 and Bib. Know. Com., N.T., p. 251)
Lesson: Jesus claimed the righteous standards of God are so high, the most humanly impressive person must be saved as is a non-influential child -- as God's gift. God's grace is so necessary for man to relate to a perfectly upright God that even BELIEVERS do not please God apart from God's grace!

Application: (1) Christianity is truly the correct faith as it alone puts God's righteousness as PERFECT and hence unattainable by finite, sinful man at every turn. (2) Thus, we must (a) believe as does a child to be saved, and (b) serve Him b y grace as believers to fellowship with Him!