Living the Faith: 2016 Gospel of Luke #66
This is an exposition of Luke 17:1-10. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, July 23, 2017.
How would you describe the Christian life? You’re in a conversation with a coworker and you’re attempting to share your faith and talk with them about the meaning of the Christian life – how would you describe it? What are the requirements of the Christian life? Are there any requirements? What is it you are supposed to do as a Christian? I’m not asking what does it require to be saved, I’m asking what is required of you once you are saved? How are you to live?
I think that is an important question and an increasingly necessary question in our age of self-centered religion. What does it mean to be Christian? How does a Christian conduct himself? What characterizes the life of a follower of Christ? Most often the Christian life is described in terms of personal fulfillment. As if the reason for our Lord’s mission was to make us healthy, wealthy, and wise. He is a means to self-fulfillment. I watched a program the other night about a popular entertainer and in the course of the program they spoke of his drug and alcohol addiction and a near death experience. When he didn’t die the nurse working with him said, “I guess God isn’t finished with you.” That lead to a “spiritual awakening.” He referred to that experience as a turning point in his life. He never referred to an awareness of sin or a need to repent and trust in the grace of God in Christ. But he did refer to his “spirituality” and how the great thing about it is that it taught him to love himself. “If you can love yourself – then you can love others.” What concerns me is that this not the exception – this is the standard understanding of the Christian life. The idea that the Christian life is all about me. My wants, my desires, my happiness. The second person of the godhead – the Lord Jesus is reduced from the sovereign Lord and Savior of the world to the means to an end. A way to get you what you want. That is a far cry from the teaching of the New Testament. Let’s listen in as the Lord Jesus talks with His disciples about the requirements of Christian living. Our text this morning is found in Luke Luke 17.
Text: Luke 17:1-10
Background of Luke
Purpose = evangelistic
In the last 6 months of ministry
Lengthy debate with the religious establishment
He has just told the parable of the rich man and Lazarus
Now He turns to His disciples and talks to them about their responsibility. What is required of them as His followers? This is their duty. They are not to do these things in order to be acceptable to Him but rather they are to do these things because they belong to Him. This is what is to mark them as His children. Called out – separated from the world.
In many respects it is a strange message. In fact it seems even contradictory.
Thesis: The Christian life demands a life of exacting obedience fueled by absolute dependence.
In other words the demands made on the child of God are impossible for him to fulfill in his own strength and power. He must depend on the strength of another. The message of the New Testament is that what God commands – He enables. Read the Sermon on the Mount. You can’t possibly live up to that – only Christ can. G. Campbell Morgan said there is only one who ever lived the Christian life and he does it over and over again in us! Now, while I cannot do it in my strength – I am responsible to live in obedience to God’s command through the enabling of the Holy Spirit.
As we explore this passage we will discover an impossible demand, an enabling gift and a humble reminder.
- An impossible demand. 17:1-4
- Requirement #1 – Cause no sin. 17:1-3a
- Requirement #2 – Confront all sin. 17:3b
- Requirement #3 – Forgive any sin. 17:3b-4
- An enabling gift. 17:5-6
- A humbling reminder. 17:7-10