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79: Leftover Principles

May 14, 2009

Major Text: Luke 16:14-17:10

Key Verse: Luke 17:5

Outline:

  1. Principles Concerning Values, Law and Divorce Luke 16:14-18
  2. Principles Concerning Heaven and Hell Luke 16:19-31
  3. Principles Concerning Right Living, Forgiveness, and Faith Luke 17:1-6
  4. Principles Concerning Faithful Service Luke 17:7-10

Context/Discussion/Comments:

This Title might seem a little strange but I chose it because this scripture comes at the end of significant teaching in Perea. These last few lessons have focused on some major principles and now Jesus is teaching very quickly on a variety of subjects. It’s a little like leftovers after a full meal. You will recall that this pattern follows a similar pattern in The Sermon on the Mount in Galilee and His “Sermon in the Amphitheater” in Judea.

Jesus wastes no words in expressing His displeasure with the values of the Pharisees; their love for money. In so many words Jesus says the Law stands but not your law. In the Old Testament the prophets preached “Believe God for His Promise foretold”. [Messiah] In the New Testament Jesus is preaching “Believe God for His Promise fulfilled”. [Jesus]

Jesus goes on to lay down principles concerning divorce and then tells a story about heaven and hell. The characters are a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus. Both die and their roles are reversed in eternity. The rich man wants comfort but can not make it happen by his command or with his money. He finally realizes he can not have it so he wants Lazarus to go and tell his family so they don’t make the same mistake he has made. He is told that wouldn’t make a difference. They didn’t believe the prophets so they won’t believe a man who supposedly was dead but lived. This is a prophecy in reference to Jesus’ future death and resurrection and the Pharisee’s reaction to what happens. No attributes are given for the rich man or Lazarus so it is suspected that the characters were well known in the community. They either had died recently or they were still alive. This is evidently a story, not a parable, which was directed specifically at the Pharisees.

The next subjects have to do with living right, forgiving your brother, and faith. Our lives are to be lived in such a way as to bring people into the Kingdom, not turn them away. We are to offer guidance to those who are off track and forgive those who are repentant. We are to live lives of faith. The mustard seed is small, grows fast, and is prolific. Our faith is to be like that seed. It isn’t so much the quantity but the quality of faith that is important.

In a similar vein, Jesus tells his disciples a story about the true meaning of faithful service between a Master and His servant. The Master strikes us as being harsh and unloving. But what we must realize is that no amount of work makes us worthy to be in the Master’s presence. We are in the Master’s presence by His grace. As true servants of the living God we have been given two jobs in His Kingdom; serving God and serving others. Working in the Kingdom serves mankind. Serving the Master relates to worship. This story was primarily for His disciples.

Lessons/Applications:

  1. Focus on the message. Not the messenger.
  2. The decisions you make on earth determines your place in eternity.
  3. Working for the King and waiting on the King is more important than time for oneself.
  4. Ones growth and/or increase in faith is directly proportional to the time one spends working for the Lord and waiting upon the Lord.

Treasure in heaven is preferred to treasure on earth.

Grace is preferred to the Law but both are eternal.

Commitment is preferred to adultery.

Holiness is preferred to worldliness.

Correction is preferred to judgment.

Forgiveness is preferred to revenge.

Increased faith is preferred to “wavering in the wind”

Remember!

“Leftovers” are an important part of the Abundant Life.

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