Summary: A teaching message on Luke 17:1-6
Luke Series #74 August 04, 2002
Title: Two Responsibilities We Have for Other Christians.
Introduction: Welcome to New Life in Christ. This morning we are in Chapter 17 of the Book of Luke in our verse-by-verse teaching series out of that book.
Read Luke 17:1-6
When I was in basic training for the Army, the Drill Sergeant would often conduct surprise barrack’s inspections. The outcome of these inspections often determined whether we received a weekend pass or if we would spend the weekend cleaning the barracks. During the first of these inspections we learned a valuable lesson. On our first inspection, 38 soldiers passed the inspection and only to soldiers failed. Those who passed the inspection were ready to celebrate until they found out that those two people’s failures meant that everybody failed and therefore would be spending the weekend cleaning. You could imagine how everybody felt toward those two soldiers. Now the Drill Sergeant did not do this to be cruel but rather to teach us that we were a unit and not just individuals. As a unit we were all responsible for one another and one person’s actions could negatively affect everyone else. We had to learn that as soldiers we had a special type of interconnected relationship with each other and that this meant we had certain obligations to each other.
The same situation is also true for Christians. As Christians we are family, we have entered into a new kind of interconnected relationship with one another. As such we have certain obligations or responsibilities to fulfill within this relationship. In today’s text, Jesus gives us instructions regarding our responsibilities. In particular there are two responsibilities Jesus discusses here.
1. First, be careful that you’re not a negative spiritual influence. Luke 17:1- 3a
2. Second, be forgiving of those who have repeatedly hurt you but have repented. Luke 17:3b-6
Jesus probably spoke about these two particular responsibilities at this point because these attitudes and problems were particularly associated with the religious leaders of the day, i.e. the Pharisees. They tended to have a negative spiritual influence on people, which means that their behavior, teachings, an attitude did not exactly bring people closer to God. In fact Jesus had told them earlier that every convert they made was twice as much as son of Hell as they were (Matthew 23:15) and in Luke 11:52 he told them that they were actually a hindrance to people entering into the kingdom of God. The first problem was that they were a negative spiritual influence.
Religious leaders of the day were also unwilling to forgive those with sinned against them. In fact they tended to shun them and make great demands as a condition of forgivness. These two problems, being a negative spiritual influence and being unwilling to forgive, were things that Jesus did not want to see in his disciples so he gives us instructions regarding these particular problems in today’s text.
Now let’s look more closely at the first responsibility we have in regard to other Christians.
Read Luke 17:1- 3 a
1. First, be careful that you’re not a negative spiritual influence.
World War II produced many heroes. One was Butch O’Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to an aircraft carrier in the South Pacific.
One day while on a mission, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. Unable to complete his mission, he turned around and headed back for the aircraft carrier. As he headed back, he saw a squadron of Japanese Zeroes heading straight for the American fleet. All the American fighters were out on a sortie, leaving the fleet virtually defenseless.
He dove into the formation of Japanese planes in a desperate move to divert them away from the fleet. After a frightening air battle, the Japanese airplanes broke off their assault on the fleet. Butch O’Hare’s tattered fighter limped back to the carrier. He was recognized as a hero and given one of the nation’s highest military honors. O’Hare International Airport in Chicago is named after him.
Some years earlier, there was a man in Chicago called Easy Eddie. In those days, Al Capone virtually owned the city. Capone’s mob was involved in bootlegging booze, murder, and prostitution. Easy Eddie was Al Capone’s lawyer and kept Big Al out of jail. In return, Easy Eddie earned big money and lived like a king on an estate so large it filled an entire city block.
But Easy Eddie had one soft spot—a son whom he loved dearly. Eddie saw that his son had the best of everything: clothes, cars, and a good education. Despite Eddie’s involvement with the mob, he tried to teach his son right from wrong. Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was.