Summary: A sermon on the need to persist in our faith.
Luke 18: 1 – 8 / Will He Find Faith?
Intro: Jack was an impressionable 15 year-old. He attended the local Presbyterian Church with his family since he was a baby. He studied for confirmation and was confirmed taking his place in the congregation. He attended youth group meetings and sat in church every Sunday. His 16th birthday was fast approaching, a time when Jack would be able to drive. His friend Richard, who lived just down the street, received a shiny new motorcycle when he turned 16 and Jack wanted the same. He had asked his parents and they said, “NO!” But he knew that he would be able to wear them down sooner or later and he would get his shiny red motorcycle. He even prayed every day for it. The day finally arrived when Jack turned 16 and to his great dismay, there was no shiny, red motorcycle. He wondered, “Why did I do all that praying if God wasn’t going to give me what I wanted? --- If we are honest with ourselves, we will admit we have all been in Jack’s situation wondering why.
I. We see inflation, drug abuse, crime, declining church attendance, corrupt politicians, and the list goes on and on. We ask ourselves, “Where is God?”
A. Look at VS. 1 – Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.
B. The parable is about our need to pray. Some believe the widow represents humanity and would say that if you pray long enough and hard enough, you will get what your heart desires. In VS. 3 & 4 the focus is on the widow and her persistence in seeking justice from the judge.
C. My grandfather was fond of saying, “If you can’t win them over, wear them down.” Is the same thing true with God? If it is, why did Jack not get what he wanted? Why do we not get what we want?
II. If the woman in the parable represents humanity who prays to God persistently, then, does the “unjust judge” represent God? NO! In VS 4 – 8a the attention shifts from the widow to the judge.
A. The judge is not meant to represent God. Rather, Jesus draws a comparison between the actions of an unjust judge and a righteous God.
B. The point is in VS. 7a – If an unjust judge can grant justice in response to badgering, how much more will God grant justice to those who cry out day and night.” Does this mean we will have to badger God to get what we want? If we are persistent in our praying, if we pray long enough and hard enough, we will wear God down to the point where we will get what we want.
C. For many people it seems that God has turned a deaf ear. Some even believe that God doesn’t answer prayer. Others go so far as to say, “Because I didn’t get what I prayed for, there must not be a God.”
III. How can this parable have meaning for us when God does not fix things for all who ask persistently, and when most of people are not exactly waiting on rooftops for Christ’s return?
A. VS. 7 “And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them.”
B. “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” This question expresses both faith and uncertainty. Jesus may have doubted humanity; but he had no such doubts about God. WHEN the Son of Man comes, . . . not IF! Faith = allegiance to duty or person / believing in something for which there is no proof / fidelity to one’s promises. --- I interpret the word’s of Jesus’ question in this way, When the Son of Man comes, will he find those who have been faithful to their promises on earth?
C. The blight of worldliness, the spread of selfish ambition, holding on to the past and its joys and pains make us a beleaguered garrison in a hostile world rather than a conquering army.
Conclu: These 8 verses from Luke bid us stand fast in the faith. We are not asked to always succeed or do great things; but, only bear witness and be faithful. Whether there are any faithful people left when Christ returns depends on OUR persistence in being faithful.