Summary: A Servant of God Series: Encountering Jesus (through the Gospel of Luke) Brad Bailey – November 24, 2019
A Servant of God
Series: Encountering Jesus (through the Gospel of Luke)
Brad Bailey – November 24, 2019
Series #48 / Luke 17:1-10
Throughout the recent weeks …in which there has been a public impeachment hearing… there has been a lot of reference to the phrase… “Abuse of Power.”
We are not going to engage this assessment of our president.
Today…Jesus brings his own inquiry about abuse of power…and he brings it to everyone…to us.
We are continuing in our extended series… Encountering Jesus through the Gospel of Luke.
Through the Gospel of Luke… repeatedly Jesus has been dealing with a problem with the religious leaders…particularly the Pharisees’ lives and their teaching. They were the religiously respected…but they were actually not truly serving God. They were serving their reputation.
They were false spiritual shepherds… leading people astray….abusing their power.
And now Jesus turns to those he is calling … his disciples…and all of us here today. And he speaks to what a true servant of God must understand.
So lets take a moment to pray… open our hearts to hear.
Luke 17:1-10 (NIV) ?1 Jesus said to his disciples: "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. 2 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. 3 So watch yourselves. "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. 4 If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him." 5 The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" 6 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. 7 "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'? 8 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'? 9 Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10 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.'"
To hear what Jesus is saying…it helps to realize again…that it is the nature of the religious leaders that is in the background of Jesus’ words.
There were sitting in the position of being shepherds of the people… but they were abusing the power that they held.
This was a significant issue which God had confronted through the prophets of Israel… denouncing that the religious leaders were not the good shepherds …and that he would send one who would be the good shepherds. That is why Jesus is referred to as the good shepherd… the true shepherd of the soul.
But if we simply deem the religious leaders as the bad group we can denounce… we will never hear what Jesus is saying. He is speaking about everyone.
They represent those who have been given positions of power…and that accentuates the problem…but the problem is not simply in the formality of the position… but in the way that power itself is used.
The very reason he used them as an example was to confront a problem that must be confronted and radically transformed.
Apart from living in relationship to God, power in this world is corrupted. It will be used in self-serving ways.
The power that flows from God…. is that which will serve the God designed good of others.
This is what Jesus fulfilled and then called out in all who follow.
• As revolutionary as any aspect of Jesus …is that he didn’t simply redistribute power… he redefined it.
• Those who lead…are those who serve.
• He came not to be served but to serve…and he calls all who follow to be servants of God and God’s desire for other people.
• Leadership…is servant leadership.
Jesus brings three qualities to bear.
1 Jesus said to his disciples: "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. 2 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.
Jesus clearly has in His mind the Pharisees, who by their teaching and their lives are doing what? They’re leading those who need leadership…away from God.