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Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, a Baptist minister, claims no originality for this Bible study outline.
However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.
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May 1, 2016
SCRIPTURE: Luke 17:1-10
KEY VERSE: And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. (Luke 17:5)
BACKGROUND: The theme of Luke 17 is (1) Christ instructs His disciples on forgiveness (verses 1-6); (2) Christ instructs His disciples on faithful service (verses 7-10); (3) Christ heals ten lepers (verses 11-19); (4) Christ speaks on the spiritual nature of God’s kingdom (verses 20-21); and (5) Christ speaks of His second coming (verses 22-37).
INTRODUCTION: God expects us to be people who know how to forgive. However, as Christians, this seems to be one of the hardest things we are called upon by God to do. It is a wonderful thing to know the forgiveness of God, but we must also demonstrate that forgiveness to others.
If we don't know how to ask for forgiveness, we won't be able to handle sin properly. We also need to know how to grant forgiveness to others. And we need to be able to teach this subject thoroughly to our children.
I. CAUSING SIN. (Luke 17:1-3a)
(Luke 17:1-3a) Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves.
A. One Sin Can Bring Judgment.
What the Lord says here is very severe. I will be honest with you. I think I would rather be almost any other person than the one selling drugs to young people today. I believe that the punishment for one who sells drugs will be greater than for some others.
B. Some Sins Are Worse Than Others.
It is serious business to cause someone, especially a “little one” (i.e., a youngster), to offend. There is one thing worse than going to hell; it is going to hell and having a son or daughter say to you, “Dad, I am here because I followed you.” That is the worst thing that can happen to a person.
INSIGHT: Notice the words “little ones” in verse 2. Cindy Hess Kasper said this about winning “little ones” to Christ, “When an adult wants to impart important information to a child, it’s often best related in a story because it is more easily understood and enjoyed.
Telling children the stories in God’s Word is especially crucial because the Bible’s enduring truth can shape character and show consequences of actions (1 Cor. 10:11). Tiny seeds of faith can be cultivated in fertile soil and help children to see how God has worked in the lives of Christ’s followers throughout history. Bible stories also show how God is intimately involved in our lives.
What we have seen God do for us and what He has done for His people throughout history must be passed on to the next generation (Deut. 11:1-21). Their future depends on it. Teach your children well.” – Cindy Hess Kasper, Our Daily Bread, October 18, 2009
Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard! – Fanny Crosby
The Stories of Moody and Moffat
In the commentary “Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee,” Dr. McGee said this, “The story is told of Dwight L. Moody concerning his coming home one night after a meeting. His family asked him how many converts he had that night, and he said, ‘Two and a half.’ His family said, ‘Oh, you had two adults and one child who accepted the Lord as Savior.’ Moody replied, ‘No, no, two children and one adult accepted the Lord.’ He continued, ‘The adult was an old man and he had only half a life to give. He was just half of a convert.’ The little children are important!”
“A pastor of a Scottish church turned in his resignation years ago, and as he did so, the elders asked him why. ‘Well,’ he replied, ‘for this past year I’ve had but one convert, wee Bobby Moffat.’ Bobby Moffat was the man who opened up Africa to missionary work. It was the biggest year that preacher ever had! In these verses the Lord is putting a great emphasis upon children.”
II. FORGIVING SIN. (Luke 17:3b-4)
A. Everybody Needs Forgiveness.
(Luke 17:3b-4) If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
His disciples should be ready always to forgive. He does NOT say that the one who offends should not be rebuked. He should be made to understand his fault, but when he sincerely repents, he should be forgiven -- even if he repeats his sin over and over.
INSIGHT: Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother (Matthew 18:15).
If he sins against you, YOU ARE TO GO TO HIM. This verse is speaking of sin committed by a believer. The obligation is upon the one who has been injured to approach his Christian brother who has offended him and not vice versa.
B. Everybody Needs More Faith.
The thought of forgiving seven times in a single day presented a difficulty, if not an impossibility to the apostles. They felt they were not sufficient for such a display of grace. And so they asked the Lord to increase their faith.
INSIGHT: Dwight L. Moody on Faith: "I prayed for faith and thought it would strike me like lightning. But faith did not come. One day I read, 'So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God' (Romans 10:17). I had closed my Bible and prayed for faith. I now began to study my Bible and faith has been growing ever since." -- Otsego, Ohio, Baptist Church Newsletter, 2/11/1988
III. MUSTARD-SEED FAITH. (Luke 17:5-6)
(Luke 17:5-6) And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
A. Jesus Respects Faith.
The reply of the Lord indicated that it was not so much a matter of the quantity of faith but of its QUALITY. Also it was not a question of getting more faith but of using the faith they had. It is our own pride and self-importance that prevent us from forgiving our brothers.
That pride needs to be rooted up and cast out. If faith the size of a mustard seed can root up a mulberry tree and plant it in the sea, it can more easily give us victory over the hardness and unbrokenness which keep us from forgiving a Christian brother indefinitely.
B. Jesus Judges Sin.
Once again Jesus is severe. There are those who talk about the gentle Jesus, but if you read some of these passages, you will find that He was not always gentle. He was gentle with children, but not with those who offended them.
INSIGHT: Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire (Matthew 18:7-8).
I can’t think of anything harsher than this! When we sin we must (1) stop our sin, (2) repent by turning back to Christ, (3) make things right (if we can), and (4) start living for Christ again.
IV. DOING OUR DUTY. (Luke 17:7-10)
(Luke 17:7-9) But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.
A. Christian Believers Are Saved By Faith.
Let’s make an application of this passage. There are people who believe that because they try to follow the Sermon on the Mount and are good neighbors and try to love people, that someday God is going to pat them on the back and say, “What a fine person you are. You have earned your way to heaven.”
If you keep the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount, which you cannot, you are doing only what you are supposed to do. Do you think you would receive salvation for that? That is what you are supposed to do as one of His creatures. We need to recognize that salvation is a GIFT; you CANNOT work for it. Keeping God’s Law is a DUTY!
B. Christian Believers Are Servants Of The Lord. (Luke 17:10)
(Luke 17:10) So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.
1. Disciples are bondservants of the Lord Jesus.
A bondservant belongs to Jesus Christ – body, soul, and spirit. In the light of Calvary, nothing they can ever do for the Savior is sufficient to recompense Him for what He has done. So after the disciple has done everything that he has been commanded in the New Testament, he must still admit that he is an unprofitable servant who has only done what was his duty to do.
2. The five marks of a bondservant of the Lord Jesus.
INSIGHT: According to Roy Hession (1908-1992), a noted Bible teacher from England, the five marks of a bondservant are:
(1) The person must be willing to have one thing on top of another put upon him, without any consideration being given him.
(2) In doing this, the person must be willing not to be thanked for it.
(3) Having done all this, he must not charge the master with selfishness.
(4) The person must confess that he is an unprofitable servant.
(5) He must admit that doing and bearing what he has in the way of meekness and humility, he has not done one stitch more than it was his duty to do.
By Philip Yancey
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. – Matthew 6:14
In the heat of an argument, my wife came up with an acute theological insight. We were discussing my shortcomings in a rather spirited way when she said, “I think it’s pretty amazing that I forgive you for some of the dastardly things you’ve done!”
What struck me about her comment was its sharp perception into the nature of forgiveness. It is not a sweet platonic ideal to be dispersed in the world like air-freshener sprayed from a can. Forgiveness is achingly difficult, and long after you’ve forgiven, the wound lives on in memory. Forgiveness is an unnatural act, and my wife was protesting its blatant unfairness.
A story from Genesis captures much the same sentiment. The brothers that Joseph struggled to forgive were the very ones who had bullied him, had cooked up schemes to murder him, and had sold him into slavery. Though he went on to triumph over adversity and though with all his heart he now wanted to forgive these brothers, he could not bring himself to that point—not yet.
I view Genesis 42-45 as Joseph’s way of saying, “I think it’s pretty amazing that I forgive you for the dastardly things you’ve done!” When grace finally broke through, the sound of Joseph’s grief and love echoed through the palace. What was that wail? It was the sound of a man forgiving. -- Philip Yancey, Our Daily Bread, April 10, 2008
Thank You, Father, for the work of Christ
cross. Help me to understand and accept what
it means for me, and to be a messenger of that
forgiveness to those I meet along the way.
CONCLUSION: Forgiveness is such an important thing for us to understand. God has forgiven us. This was made possible through the finished work of Jesus Christ on Calvary. Now that we are forgiven, He calls upon us to forgive others.
Have you experienced the forgiveness of God upon your life? Are you demonstrating that forgiveness toward others? Are we growing in that forgiveness?
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “We can stop forgiving others when Christ stops forgiving us.”
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REFERENCES: References used in the Bible study are the King James Bible (KJV), The Moody Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network ( www.ttb.org ), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: ( http://www.intouch.org/ ), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/ ), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries ( http://rbc.org/ ), selected illustrations, and other references.
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