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We don’t like to wait. We want what we want right away.
· ATM machines: If we need cash, we don’t have to wait until the bank opens.
· Fast food: If we wait for more than two minutes for our order, we get annoyed.
· Miracle weight loss pills: Lose 20 pounds in a month without dieting!
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Today’s parable teaches us that we need patience and persistence.
1Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’”
6And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
A CONTRAST, NOT A COMPARISON
· The judge is not like God. God is COMPASSIONATE and RIGHTEOUS.
· The widow is not like us. We are God’s “CHOSEN ONES.”
· If the judge granted the request of the widow, how much more will God grant the requests of His children.
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 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? (vv. 6-7).
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:7-11).
ILLUSTRATION: What if the son asks for a stone to eat? Children often makes requests that a good parent has to deny.
DON’T GIVE UP
We need PERSISTENT faith.
We need this kind of faith in two areas:
1. We should not give up PRAYING.
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up (v. 1).
· Don’t think that persistent prayers ANNOY God.
ILLUSTRATION: God doesn’t say, “Oh great, Tom is praying again. What is this, five times already today! Why doesn’t he just take a break!”
· Don’t think that persistent prayers WEAR OUT God.
ILLUSTRATION: A child begging his mother for candy: “Please, please, please, please, please…” He thinks if he keeps on asking for candy his mother will eventually give in. Often this strategy is successful.
2. We should not give up EXPECTING Christ’s return.
“However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (v. 8b).
Jesus had just taught about the second coming (17:20-37).
Jesus warned that His followers would face persecution prior to His return. “Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it” (Luke 17:33). When there is persecution, there is the temptation to give up.
· Nearly 100 million Christians were martyred in the 20th century.
· More people were martyred for their faith in Jesus Christ in the 20th century than in all the previous 19 combined.
· It has been estimated that 130,000 to 170,000 people die every year as a result of violence against Christians. That means that more than 2,5000 die every week, more than 357 every day, more than 14 every hour!
ILLUSTRATION: Fourteen chairs, representing the fourteen Christians who are martyred every hour.
· The widow’s prayer was a prayer for JUSTICE.
“And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary’” (v. 3).
· Justice will come to earth when Christ RETURNS.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne, establishing justice and righteousness from that time on and forever (Isaiah 9:6-7).
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 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? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly” (vv. 6-8a).
Answers to prayer often don’t come quickly!
Christ’s return didn’t happen quickly!
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” (Revelation 6:9-10).
“Quickly” may mean:
The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2).
ILLUSTRATION: A thief doesn’t let you know when he’ll be coming to your house! He comes unexpectantly.
“Behold, I am coming soon!” (Revelation 22:7, 12).
Why the delay?
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:8-9).
Some people might think this is a new standard of measurement (seven thousand human years = seven God years). No! The point is that God does not view time like we do. A thousand years is nothing to Him. He lives outside of time.
Are we living in the “last days”? Yes (but not as you might think).
[Christ] was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake (1 Peter 1:20; cf. Acts 2:17; Hebrews 1:2; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 3:1; James 5:3; 1 John 2:18; Jude 18).
· In comparison to ETERNITY, the span of time between Christ’s first and second comings is very SHORT!
ILLUSTRATION: Children often think ten minutes is a long time. “Are we there yet?”
· God’s delays are not His DENIALS.
Don’t give up!