Text: Luke 17:1-10 (NKJV)
“Then He said to the disciples, "It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! 2 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. 3 Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 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." 5 And the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith." 6 So the Lord said, "If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you. 7 And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come at once and sit down to eat'? 8 But will he not rather say to him, 'Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink'? 9 Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. 10 So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.' "
“But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.” (Luke 6:32-34)
Intro: For 236 years the United States of America has celebrated a special freedom from King George of Great Britain. We honor this freedom every year on the 4th of July and remember the five representatives from the 13 colonies that on the 2nd of July completed the Declaration of Independence. These who wrote and those who fought for this freedom did their duty. Let’s apply an acronym for this message: D.O.D.
Application: Doing Our Duty requires Faith and Obedience.
Illustration: FAITHFUL INSTRUCTIONS
There was a man who got lost in the desert. After wandering around for a long time his throat became very dry, about that time he saw a little shack in the distance. He made his way over to the shack and found a water pump with a small jug of water and a note.
The note read: "pour all the water into the top of the pump to prime it, if you do this you will get all the water you need". Now the man had a choice to make, if he trusted the note and poured the water in and it worked he would have all the water he needed. If it didn’t work he would still be thirsty and he might die.
Or he could choose to drink the water in the jug and get immediate satisfaction, but it might not be enough and he still might die. After thinking about it the man decided to risk it. He poured the entire jug into the pump and began to work the handle, at first nothing happened and he got a little scared but he kept going and water started coming out. So much water came out he drank all he wanted, took a shower, and filled all the containers he could find. Because he was willing to give up momentary satisfaction, he got all the water he needed. Now the note also said: after you have finished, please refill the jug for the next traveler.” The man refilled the jug and added to the note: “Please prime the pump, believe me it works”!
We have the same choice to make...
Our duty as a Servant is to do:
1. The required action: vs. 7-9 “To serve their masters day and night.”
Key word here is Duty, in this chapter the required action for the Christian is D.O.D.
The intro to this chapter and parable is packed with important info for the disciple who wants to honor the D.O.D.: Offenses come but woe to you! It would be better if weights were wrapped around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. It is the Christian’s duty to deal straightforwardly with a brother or sister in sin.
"Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.” (Matthew 18:15)
Therefore; following that forgive: no matter how many times he/she sins and repents. “Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” (Colossians 3:13)
The response from the disciples: “Give us more faith.” They felt inadequate in the face of the high standard Jesus set for them. He responded with the illustration of a little seed; A mustard seed of Faith. The point of this parable was that a servant should expect no special reward for doing what was his duty in the first place. The demanding standards Christ set may have seemed too high to the disciples, but they represented only the minimal duties for a servant of Christ. Those who obey are not to think their obedience is commendable.
Part of our duty should simply be we don’t want to sin and D.O.D. creates a vacuum with sin! We as Christians find it hard sometimes to have the faith that should be applied. The required action: Those who truly believe are called on to put faith into practice, and obey the One they have acknowledged as Lord. D.O.D.
In the words and incidents that Luke reports in these crucial chapters of his book, we Christians are helped to see discipleship’s link between true faith, and necessary obedience. Salvation comes through faith and faith alone, for the death of Jesus purchased our forgiveness and new life. When a person has new life from God, that life will be expressed. Just as a living infant cries and moves, so a person with new life from Christ will express that life—in works. It is not that works bring life, but that those who are alive in Christ will work. We will D.O.D.!
Willington’s Bible Handbook makes this statement: “When our best is the least. When we serve God, we are not doing him a favor, for we owe all to him and deserve far less than he gives.” Three words come to mind in this text and the required action is the challenge. How we deal with: Sin, faith and our duty. Jesus says it is a terrible thing to introduce someone to sin. At the same time, he encourages limitless forgiveness.
The apostles ask for a lot of faith, but Jesus says that even a little goes a long way. Faith as tiny as a mustard seed can uproot a tree and replant it in the sea — a double impossibility!
Jesus reflects on being a servant. A servant is at his master’s disposal — always ready to do his duty, and never needing to be enticed or thanked. Are Christians as reliable in their service of God?
Our duty as a Servant is to have:
2. The required attitude: vs. 10 “To realize that by serving Christ, we are merely doing our duty!”
Our text makes it clear that no Christian is an island unto himself or herself. We have responsibilities to each other.
Four aspects of Discipleship: False Teaching, Forgiveness, Faith and Service.
False Teaching will lead to a loss of Faith and a life of sin. So Jesus issues a warning: a Mafia-style death is better for the one who leads others into apostasy. Jesus pictures an execution with a concrete block tied around the necks of the condemned as they are cast into the sea. A millstone was a large, heavy stone used at the top of a grinding mill. The picture is of severe judgment. D.O.D. means avoid false teaching and have an attitude of Christ likeness!
The next aspect is Forgiveness: Sin should be rebuked, but repentance should be greeted with forgiveness. “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1)
Whether seven times a day or seventy times seven, forgiveness is called for, since the goal is to restore relationships within the church or the community. D.O.D. means forgiveness! “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.” (Luke 6:32-34)
“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.” The mustard seed was among the smallest seeds in Palestine, while the sycamore tree, probably a black mulberry tree, lived up to six hundred years. It required a vast root network to draw up the ground’s nutrients. Jesus is arguing that a little Faith can do surprising things, especially if merely through a spoken word it can pull up a tree with a huge root system and hurl it into the sea. Of course, the remark is a rhetorical picture of faith’s power. Out of such faith should come service? The Service of God’s servant is not a matter for negotiation but is a duty. The ancient household servant was responsible for many activities, from working the fields to preparing the meals. An ancient servant’s work never seemed to be done. Such is also the case here. Jesus pictures a servant coming in from a long day of farming or shepherding, only to be asked to prepare the owner’s dinner.
The servant will not get a meal until the master is served. Not only that, the servant will not be thanked as if he had done something special. Rather, he will do it because it is his duty. Committed service is a disciple’s privilege.
So the disciple’s life is lived in community with others and God. Be careful not to lead others into sin, Jesus says. When sin occurs, rebuke it, but be quick to forgive when there is repentance. Don’t worry about having great faith; just let the faith you have do its surprising work. Finally, serve God as a matter of duty. If you trust God, you can serve him.
Conclusion: Jesus knew how to balance one truth with another so that His disciples would not go to extremes. The miraculous faith of v. 6 must be balanced with faithful day-by-day “ordinary service” that may not be exciting. Here is a servant who plows, takes care of cattle, and even cooks! He does each job faithfully so that he might please his master. But when we do our jobs, we are still only “unprofitable servants.” The word translated “unprofitable” means “without need,” that is, nobody owes him anything. Even the rewards we get from the Lord are pure grace! He does not “owe” them to us because we have only done our duty.
“Please prime the pump, believe me it works”! We have the same choice to make... D.O.D.
In : Sermon
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