Summary: how to Humbly Persevere as we live out our Christian life in today’s society.
Title: Humble Perseverance
Today we are looking at two parables in Luke 18. These two parables teach us how to Humbly Persevere as we live out our Christian life in today’s society.
a. The purpose of the first parable is given to us; to show us that we should always pray and not give up. Does this first parable apply to us today? Is there a tendency to give up instead of persevering? There may have been times when some of you at some point during this deployment thought, “I have had enough. I’m done with the Army”, or “I’m done with my marriage.” Suicide is the ultimate give up. The person who commits suicide has given up on himself, his/her friends and family, and has given up on God. Last year there were 142 suicides in the Army. The highest number since the Army started keeping records. In January of this year more Soldiers killed themselves than were killed by the enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. What about marriage and divorce? A marriage typically ends because someone has given up on the relationship instead of persevering and making the marriage work in sickness and health, in good times and bad, for richer or poorer, until death do us part. Yes, this parable definitely applies to us today.
b. The second parable is a contrast between pride and humility. It deals with attitude during prayer and every other aspect of life.
c. So how do we Humbly Persevere as we live out Christian lives in a society that cares less and less about God and eternity.
1. Pray in all circumstances
1. The setting is a courtroom. Not an ornate building like we have today but a tent which moved from place to place as the judge covered his circuit.
2. The judge, under Old Testament law was charged to fear God and defend the oppressed. The judge set the agenda and was surrounded by his assistants. Anyone could attend the proceedings and watch but only those cases that were approved and selected were heard. Therefore it was very helpful to your “cause” to bribe one of the assistants to bring your case to the judge’s attention.
3. This put the widow in quite a predicament. Women in that society had a very low standing. They needed a man/husband to provide them with a home to live in, land to live on and income by which to live. They were not allowed to go to court on their own. The widow has a great need for assistance. The widow in this parable represents all those who are oppressed for she is an example of oppression in her own society.
b. The predicament seems hopeless. If you or I were the widow it would be so easy to give up. A person in her circumstances could easily say, “I might as well give up, nobody cares about me. I have no money, they are trying to kick me off my land, my husband is dead and cannot defend me, support me or even be with me to comfort me. Then on top of it all I get this crooked, unjust judge who only cares about getting more money. Oh by the way, did I mention I don’t have any money to bribe him with? He’ll never hear my case. I shouldn’t even waste my time. The decision has already been made.”
c. Instead of giving up we are told to pray in all circumstances. It does not matter if all seems hopeless. Paul says in Phil 4:11-14
“I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
2. Pray continually
a. Then Jesus draws a comparison between the unjust judge and God. 6 And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.
Jesus is saying “Look at this judge who does not care about people, has no regard for God and cares about nothing but himself. Even he, if you pester him enough will desire to give justice if for no other reason than to remove the thorn in his side. How much more will God extend justice for those he loves, cares, died for, created, and for whom he has a perfect plan.”