Summary: In this text Jesus give us five wonderful reasons never to give up.
A Study of the Book of Luke
Sermon # 48
Cable television tycoon Ted Turner has often been quoted as being critical of fundamentalist Christianity. Turner made some very revealing remarks at a banquet in Orlando, Fla., in 1990, where he was given an award by the American Humanist Association for his work on behalf of the environment. “Turner said he had a strict Christian upbringing and at one time considered becoming a missionary. "I was saved seven or eight times," the newspaper quoted him as saying. But he said he became disenchanted with Christianity after his sister died, despite his prayers. [Spokesman-Review, May 1, 1990. www.christianglobe.com/illustrations/prayer unanswered]
In regard to our prayers, probably every one of us has considered giving up on seeing some of our prayers answered. Probably more than just a few of us actually have given up and stopped praying, maybe not altogether, but at least quit praying for certain things. We quit praying because of discouragement and doubt. We quit praying because deep down we sometimes wonder if prayer really makes a difference. So how do we keep going when we feel like bailing out?
John chapter eighteen opens with Jesus telling his disciples a parable. “Then He spoke a parable to them…” This parable of Jesus concerning the place of prayer follows immediately his warning concerning the second coming (17:10-36). He knew that one of the dangers his followers would face was to be come discouraged as they waited for his return. He thus links his words about the need to be watchful with to this words concerning prayer.
In this text Jesus give us five wonderful reasons never to give up.
1. Don’t Give Up There Is Too Much At Stake
Dr. Luke does not leave us guessing as to the point that Jesus intends to make. “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.”
The phrase “ought to pray” is really not quite strong enough. Prayer is not something that we are just permitted to do if we please. The word should be translated “must”, “they must always pray.”
Furthermore Jesus says that men always must pray and as it is translated in the KJV “not faint.” The word “faint” is used to describe a believer who loses heart and gets so discouraged that they want to quit. The meaning seems clear, the choice is ours, “If we don’t pray we will lose heart.” Who among us has not felt like since our prayers are not being effective, we might as well just quit? But perhaps the question that we should consider is, “What happens when we give up?”
“George Mueller, the founder of a great Christian orphanage work in England in the 1800’s, was a powerful man of prayer. He knew the importance of keeping at prayer evne when the answer seemed delayed. When he was young he began praying that two of his friends might be saved. He prayed for them for more than sixty years. One of the men was converted shortly before his death at what was probably the last service Mueller held. The other was saved within a year of his death.” What do you think would have happened had Mueller given up.
[James Montgomery Boice. The Parables of Jesus. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1983) p. 158]
There are two characters in this parable and we are introduced to the first one in verse two, “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man.”
The first character that we are introduced to is the Judge, and he certainly is a sweet guy. We are told up front that this judge does not care about God or about men. He is moved neither by fear of God nor by compassion for his fellowman. Today we would say, “He could not have cared less.” The judge that this widow had to face made Judge Wapner look like Prince Charming; as far as the possibility of getting justice under his ruling.
To understand this story we need to understand its New Testament setting, Wiersbe describes it this way, “The courtroom was not a fine building but a tent that was moved from place to place as the judge covered his circuit. The judge, not the law, set the agenda; and he sat regally in the tent, surrounded by his assistants. Anybody could watch the proceeding from outside, but only those who were approved and accepted could have their cases tried. This usually meant bribing one of the assistants so that he could call the judges attention to the case. This is still true in much of the third world countries today.” [Warren Weirsbe. Be Courageous Luke 14-24. (Wheaton, ILL.: Victor Books, 1989) p. 62]