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10-6-19 Sermon

Luke 17:1-10

 

Let us pray: Dear Heavenly Father, through the power of your HOLY SPIRIT, unite us together as a community of faith, that we might genuinely care for one another as members of your heavenly kingdom. Empower us to provide a Christian environment for our children. Inspire us to live by faith, to reveal Your redeeming grace to others. This we ask in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.

 

Jesus was a middle-aged Rabbi. People flocked to hear Him even though He challenged the self-righteous, pride filled Pharisee. They couldn’t believe God would be concerned about those who were spiritually lost.

We have heard the Lost and found parables and the Shrewd Manager used to confront any false understanding of God. In the discourse about the rich man and Lazarus Jesus clearly challenged the Pharisee stating the eternal destiny of those who reject God.

In Luke17 speaks to the disciples telling them that on going temptations will cause people to sin. When we face trials, difficulties, it’s ” not if” temptations will come, it’s when. “But woe to that person who causes the temptation.”

Children imitate their parents. Some things are kind of cute other things like inappropriate words and behaviors not so much.

Few parents would ever physically poison their children, but many have poisoned their children’s minds and attitudes. “If your behavior causes a sinful act or attitude in someone else, Jesus said … “You need a big rock and a short rope.” We are responsible for our words, and actions. It’s a very serious thing. Jesus tells the disciples: “watch yourselves.”

 

I know this will come as a surprise to you, but “Sometimes Christians can be extremely rude and cruel--revengeful to other members in the body of CHRIST. Isn’t that a rude awakening.

The only way to maintain good relations with other believers is to be willing to forgive others when they hurt you. C.S. Lewis wrote: “We all agree that forgiveness is a beautiful idea until we’re the ones needing to do it!”

Jesus said forgiveness should be practiced regardless of how many times! t’s easy to offend others and it’s easy to get our own feelings hurt in the family of God. It is, however, hard to forgive. What if the words of forgiveness will not work?

Jesus had just told the disciples, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed--forgiveness will work!” How did the disciples respond? “Then give us more faith!” Hello!!

A tiny mustard seed has great potential. Forgiveness does too. It may not change the other person, but it will change you.

We already have faith—no matter how small—a gift from God. What we need, like the disciples needed, was more practicing forgiving. Trust that forgiveness will work.

You are probably familiar with the saying of Rev Chuck Swindol: “To dwell with saints we love Oh what glory that would be But to live below with saints we know… that’s another story.”

The apostle’s, like us, knew the difficulty of forgiveness. We’ve all tried to forgive our children or our friends and many times they offended us again. God holds us responsible for practicing forgiveness, not for the other person’s response.

Jesus simply tells us … you don’t need more faith. Use the faith you have. is very realistic. “Let me tell you something about life. There will always be temptations to sin. That’s the reality since Adam and Eve messed up in the Garden. Temptations come. Problems come. But no matter what, don’t be the source of temptations to others.

We are sinners. Every person here is in need of forgiveness. gives direction to the disciples on how to respond when others treat us wrong; when the hurt is deep, the offense great? Step one. “Speak seriously to that other person”. Our approach should be one of an “out-stretched hand, with humility and gentleness being ever cautious that we do not fall into sin.”

Jesus said: “if the other person repents…forgive.” It’s our responsibility to forgive. Do not rely on your past experiences or your feelings. The act of forgiveness is the primary action of God, demonstrated in the life and death of Jesus, confirmed by His resurrection from the dead. The Apostle Paul states very clearly: “Love does not store up a memory of wrongs. It does not keep score. Forgiveness is an act of our will, not our feelings; it is in forgiving that we are forgiven.

“So, when you have done everything you were told to do” should you expect a medal? No! “You have only done your duty.”

 

Our duty is to imitate Jesus-- salvation is God’s work alone. Living and growing in God’s love is a joint effort between the believer and the HOLY SPIRIT and will be until the day of eternal life.