Luke17: 1-6

Written by kathleen on Apr 06, 2014 in - No Comments

Luke 17: 1-6

Forgiveness, faith and action

Beginning with chapter 14 of Luke, we have what might be titled, “A Day in the Life of Jesus.”  The day began with an invitation by a Pharisee for Jesus to come and dine at his house. It was a set up. They had a sick man there. They had invited Jesus to see if He would violate their traditional keeping of the Sabbath by healing that man, which of course, to them was a violation.

Jesus did heal the man and then He challenged the other guests who had been invited by the way they looked for the better seats in the house.

Then He challenged the man who invited Him because of the guest list. As Jesus left the house, which became a place of hostility the multitudes waiting outside began to follow Him. But the Pharisees weren’t ready to yet let Him go. He began to address the multitudes but there were constant challenges by the Pharisees that were in the crowd. And so this interchange goes on to chapter seventeen and to the tenth verse.

So we are still on this same Sabbath day, following Jesus as He is being followed by the disciples and those people who were interested in what He had to say and also by the Pharisees who were wanting to challenge everything that He said.

And so we find Him speaking sometimes to the Pharisees and other times to the disciples He is speaking to them about four different issues that seem to be rather unconnected and yet there is a unity in the whole message.

  1. Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!

Living in this world, it’s impossible to escape offences. You can say some things that will make a part of the group extremely happy but you’ll have the other part of the group ready to take up stones and to stone you.

But what Jesus is talking about here is those who would say offensive things against Him and would offend those who were seeking to come into the kingdom of God by placing stumbling blocks that would hinder a person living a godly life.

  1. It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” a millstone is a one-ton stone with a hole in the middle

Jesus, through the account of Lazarus and the rich man, has made it clear that eternity is for real, and It is all the more imperative how we live and show Jesus to others on this side of eternity, because right now counts forever.

What does Jesus mean when He speaks of offenses?

The Greek word used here is skandalon, and it comes from the word for a bent-stick – the stick that springs the trap or sets the bait. It also was used for a stumbling block, something that people trip over.

In the Bible, sometimes a skandalon is good – such as the way that people “trip” over Jesus  Rom 9:33-As it is written: See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 1Cor 1:23

But among Christians, a skandalon is bad. It can be false counsel Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” Matt 16:23

It can be leading a brother into sin by your “liberty” Rom 14:13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.

Division and false teaching brings a skandalon among God’s people Rom 16:17 I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.

Essentially, Jesus is saying: People are going to trip up – but woe to you if you set the stumbling block in their way.”

If someone seems ripe for the judgment or discipline of God, let God do it. Get out of the way. God doesn’t need you as his Holy Spirit or an instrument of His judgment, only as an instrument of His love

The Apostle John explains the solution to being a skandalon to others – love: 1 John 2:10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. If we love our brother, we will not bring an offense into their life. If someone stumbles you, deal with it and forgive them.

  1. Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.

Two things if he sins against you rebuke him. If he repents, then forgive him.

Because we are connected as a body, if one of us is hurting due to the offense of another, it affects all of us. Therefore, we have a responsibility to speak the truth in love to one another because sometimes connection calls for correction.

Gal 6:1-3 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

On a more personal level; when someone sins against you, in a significant way, you should not pretend that it never happened. You need to rebuke that brother in love.

Love is the rule here; we obviously can’t walk around keep a record of every little offense committed against us but part of the fruit of the Spirit is longsuffering and we need to be able to suffer long with the slights and petty offences that come our way in daily living and not be too sensitive; bear with one another.

Love isn’t going to other people about it; love isn’t bottling it up inside of you. Love is getting it straight with the person who sinned against you.

Jesus challenge to us is: if he repents, forgive him. There is no option. When the person who offended you repents, you must forgive them.

What do we do with the person who has never repented? Do we forgive them? In a sense, we can not forgive them without doing damage to the whole idea of what forgiveness is all about.

God does not forgive us apart from repentance; and when we are forgiven, all relationship is restored with Him. Are we more forgiving than God is?

Even if you can’t forgive someone because they won’t repent, you do not have too harbor the pain and bitterness of the offense in your heart.

You must do what Jesus did when He prayed Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do – you must commit your heart to God and pray for them. Luke 6:27-28 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

Joseph is a great example of this. When he told his brothers who had hated him and sold him into slavery you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good he didn’t come to that realization at that moment.

That was the state of his heart for a long time; but their relationship could only really be restored after the brothers had repented and Joseph spoke healing, forgiving words to them – and backed it up with actions

Problems in marriage are cured with this same principle!

  1. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”

The rabbis of Jesus’ day taught that a perfect man would forgive an individual three times for the same sin. Jesus, however, doubles that number and adds one for good measure, as if to say we are to forgive without limit.

Notice the condition for forgiveness is repentance;

Though real forgiveness can’t happen until there is repentance, we are not permitted to judge another’s repentance.

If someone had sinned against me seven times in a day, and kept asking me to forgive them, I might think that they were not really sincere. Yet Jesus commands me to still forgive them and restore them.

But nonetheless, the obligation is on us; We’re obligated. We’re commanded to forgive the one who says I repent!

To truly forgive someone over and over again requires faith that God will correct the offender and protect the one offended.

Therefore the only way we can be a forgiving people is if our faith is increased. In this regard, we need not pray for greater love, but for greater faith.

5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”  

They recognize that great faith in God is needed to get along with people in this forgiving, non-offending way. They realized that the demand that He was making is more than what they could fulfill.

And so many times, as we look at the commands of Jesus and we realize that what He is requiring is more than what we can fulfill.

It isn’t in my nature to forgive a person seven times in a day; just because he says I repent. That’s not in my nature. In fact, that is contrary to my nature.

I don’t have the faith to do that. And that is why when Jesus said this, the disciples said, Lord, increase our faith.

In order to forgive like that, we have to have the divine power of God working in us & through us the disciples recognized that. They recognized that this was beyond their capacity and so they seek the help of the Lord just as we must do as well!

 Jesus often gave commandments that were on the surface impossible, but when a person by faith sought to obey that commandment, they always discovered that all that they needed to obey was already given to them.

When Jesus is saying something that to you feels like, That’s impossible, I can’t do that. We’re so prone to just say, I can’t.      I can’t forgive like that. And you’re right. In yourself you can’t but if you will to obey, He’ll give to you the capacity to do just that in fact He’ll do it for you!

6 He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.

What Jesus is saying is that it isn’t the quantity of faith so much that we need, it’s the quality of faith. Concerning & comparing faith to a seed, what do you have in a seed? You have something that is alive.

And so it’s a living faith. In other words, it isn’t a great amount of faith. It’s just a little faith but it’s the quality of faith that is put into action that makes it alive and is then great faith with potential.

We usually think of faith as being exercised with dramatic, miraculous works. That may be true, and the greatest miracles of faith have to do with the restoration of relationships.

The disciples said, “Increase our faith.”

Jesus said, “Unleash your faith.”

The disciples said, “Expand our faith.”

Jesus said, “Express your faith.

Jesus said the same thing regarding any obstacle before us. He didn’t say, “Pray that the mountain might be removed. He said, “Speak to the mountain itself,” (Mark 11:23-24 I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

 Why were the disciples told to speak? Because while faith is implanted by the Word, it is unleashed through the mouth!  Example!!

8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming:

9 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

11 As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”  12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile-the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Rom 10:8-13

The word translated “saved” is sozo, which refers not only to being born again, but to the full volume of God’s blessing—to delivering, healing, saving, freeing.

How did God make the world? He spoke it into existence. By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. 9 For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.  Psalm 33:6, 9

So, too, Jesus altered the course of the world and eternity when He spoke… “Waves, be still” (Mark 4:39). “Lazarus, come forth” (John 11:43). “It is Finished” (John 19:30).

We can also speak into our individual worlds and alter their course with our words.

8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Josh 1:8-9

The Hebrew word translated “meditate” means “to think over and over again.”

If you want to be prosperous and successful in that which the Lord has laid before you to do, stay focused on the Word day and night.

The promises of God will be of no effect if they’re simply written in your journal or underlined in your Bible.

They only take effect when they’re in your heart and proclaimed by your mouth and responded by actions.

With his back to the Red Sea and the armies of Egypt coming down upon him, Moses cried to the Lord. ///// The LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to get going!  Quit praying and get the people moving!

You might be a great student of Scripture. You might even be a prayer warrior. But if you wonder why the Sea isn’t parting for you; could it be that the Lord is whispering to you, “Why are you asking Me? Quit praying and get moving!

There are many examples in the Word; of men who understood the absolutely essential principle that the Word in them had to be spoken by them if they were to see results around them.…

It was when Joshua spoke to the sun that it stood still, giving him time to accomplish a great victory (Joshua 10:12).

It was when Elisha spoke to King Ahab on the basis of Deuteronomy 11:16–17  Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. 17 Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the LORD is giving you.    By chpt. 17 there was no rain

It was when Zerubbabel spoke to the cornerstone of the temple that the Lord began moving and the project came to completion  6 So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.  Zech. 4:6

Tomorrow morning when the alarm goes off, you will either say, “Oh no, it’s Monday morning.” Or you will say, “This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it” Psalm 118:24—and the choice you make will alter the course of your day.

And when you get to work and discover your co-worker has messed things up royally you will either say, “I can’t forgive him or her” or you will say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:13

As the day progresses, you will either say, “I’m grumpy because I’m sick and tired and weak,” or you will say, “I am strong in the strength of the Lord,” Joel 3:10.

As you walk in your front door and are met by your family’s problems, you will either say, “Everything is falling apart,” or you will say, “The Word of God declares that all things are working together for good,” Romans 8:28.

And as you sort out your finances late at night you will either say, “We’re not going to make it,” or you will say, “The Word declares that our God will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory Philippians 4:19

The writer of the letter to the Hebrews says, Of God, “For he has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you. So that we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me Hebrews 13:5

God has said that we may say—not that we may know, not that we may write, not even that we may pray—but that we may say.

I challenge you to write down four or five such promises from the Word on three-by-five cards, put them on your dashboard or on your windowsill, and meditate on them over and over again. Frame your world and your day with the Word as you speak it forth—and watch what happens.

 Happy is the people whose God is the Lord (Psalm 144:15).

 The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1).

 The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want (Psalm 23:1).

 The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him (Lamentations 3:25).