Summary: Looks at 4 aspects of discipleship. Focuses on how we must not wait to "feel faith" to use it.
Luke 17:1-10 Increase our Faith(fulness)
Intro: In the last two chapters of Luke, we have been seeing events surrounding a conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees over how to deal with lost people. Jesus taught them some important lessons about how God deals with lost people and how we should treat them. He then spoke to the Pharisees about sinful things in their own lives.
Now Jesus has moved on and is speaking directly to his disciples. We’ll see that he speaks today to four aspects of discipleship. To aid our memory, I’ve assigned them each a title beginning with the letter F.
I. Falling away.
Luke 17:1 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.
A. Jesus tells us that "stumbling blocks" will come. He uses the Greek word that means "to trip." I think He is talking about things that make men fall, that make them lose their faith. People will be able to find excuses for leaving the Lord.
B. We have to make sure that WE aren’t the reason that someone leaves the Lord. What a terrible thought, no, to feel responsible for another’s fall. Each man is responsible before God for his own self, yet we will have to answer for our actions toward others. May they be for good and not for harm!
Luke 17:3 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.”
A. Jesus teaches full forgiveness. Even if the person does the same thing over and over... all in the same day! That’s tough. We tend to say, "I’ll forgive him, but I’ll keep my eye on him from now on."
B. Don’t forget what Jesus taught in Matthew 6. God will forgive us as we forgive others.
C. I think that the apostles had as hard of a time as we do living up to this. That’s why they asked Jesus for more faith!
D. There are two well-defined steps in this process:
1.The sin that brings a rebuke.
How often do we fail to rebuke our brothers when we see them in sin! I think it’s so hard because we are so aware of our own failings, of our own sinfulness.
Yet if I saw someone about to step into the path of an oncoming truck, what would I do? Would I say, "Well, he’s old enough to make his own choices"? Would I say, "It’s really none of my business. I shouldn’t interfere in her personal life"? NO! I’d scream "Watch out!"
So why do we hesitate to rebuke sin? I think we don’t take it serious enough. We don’t think that it will kill just as surely as that truck will.
And why are we so resentful toward those who care enough to rebuke us? We need to learn to accept correction and to give it when necessary.
2. Repentance that brings forgiveness.
We should expect a change. I’m not saying to withhold forgiveness, but I am saying to hold the other person accountable for not repeating the sin. If they do, we will forgive. But we won’t accept unrepentant behavior.
Luke 17:5 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.
1. The disciples asked Jesus for more faith. This is a valid request. We grew up hearing "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God," and we were taught that only the Word of God can build faith. I do believe that God’s message is what creates faith, but faith is built in many ways: through our deeds (like Abraham, whose faith was made perfect by his works, James 2), through our interaction with other brothers (Romans 1), through studying the Word. And we can ask God for more faith.
2. Jesus taught them that it’s not the quantity that matters. Even a tiny bit of faith will do wonders. The important thing is that we have that faith and that we USE that faith. That leads Jesus to his next point.
Luke 17:7 “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.’”