Summary: PENTECOST 20(C) - Lord, increase our faith by making us forgiving and teaching us humility.

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PENTECOST 20 - LUKE 17:1-10

1Jesus said to his disciples: "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. 2It 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. 3So watch yourselves.

"If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. 4If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, `I repent,’ forgive him."

5The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"

6He 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’? 8Would 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’? 9Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, `We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’ "

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Dearest Fellow Redeemed,

Last week we learned how the world teaches us to be discontent. The world constantly makes us feel as if we cannot be happy unless we have everything newer, bigger, better. Newer, bigger, better only makes us feel as if we cannot be satisfied with our lives. Such feelings are sinful. But that does not mean that we cannot want something better. Today’s text reminds every believer to be bold for an increase in faith. Not that faith can be newer or even bigger. To have simple saving faith is enough faith for any believer to get into heaven. Thankfully, all the effort for our eternal salvation the Lord has placed squarely and solely on his shoulders.

Today we want to say to the Lord, Increase our faith! In other words, make it better—stronger. Our gracious God is always anxious to hear and ever willing to help. "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand"(ISAIAH 41:10). The Lord, our Lord will strengthen our faith. May we learn, as the apostles did, to confidently ask God:


I. Make us forgiving

II. Teach us humility

I. Make us forgiving

This section in Luke is a lengthy portion in which Jesus encourages his disciples and believers with parables and other teachings. Jesus reminded them that sin was alive and well in the world. The simple fact was that the world was full of sin. Even God’s church would not be exempt from sin. Our text begins with Jesus’ words, Things that cause people to sin are bound to come. Now the disciples could easily have given up. They could have thought: Not much we can do about this - - - Sin is going to come - - - People are going to keep on sinning - - - What’s the use. Jesus reminded the disciples that their attitudes were to be just the opposite of their earthly pessimism. Jesus continues with this dire warning but woe to that person through whom they come. Sin is bound to come but do not let sin come through you.

Those who would cause others to sin would be in grave danger. Grave danger because they would be putting their very souls into eternal jeopardy. The one leading others astray would certainly have very little concern for his own soul. In fact 2it 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 warns the believer not to lead any child astray. This would be a child in physical age or a child in the Christian faith. In either case all precautions were to be taken not to lead them astray. The result would be disastrous both for the one lead astray and for the one who leads astray.

Jesus example for the disciples continues. A person thrown overboard might be able to save himself by swimming to shore. But with a large millstone tied around his neck there was absolutely no hope at all to be saved. Jesus was warning that a person’s life was not really worth anything if his or her soul was already lost. Physical death would make no difference to one who is already spiritually dead. Sin will come but do not be the one to bring sin into the midst of any believers. Jesus adds so watch yourselves. This was an urgent warning from Jesus for his apostles and all believers.

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