Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, an ordained 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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THE WIDOW AND
THE UNJUST JUDGE
(A Message About Prayer)
July 15, 2018
SCRIPTURE: Luke 18:1-8
KEY VERSE: “And shall not God avenge his own elect.” (Luke 18:7a)
· Lord Chesterfield, the English statesman, wrote, “Learning … is only to be acquired by reading men, and studying all the various editions of them.”
· Lord Chesterfield was referring to “the knowledge of the world,” but what he said applies to spiritual knowledge as well.
Much can be learned from reading the “book of humanity,” whether in daily life, history, biography, or even fiction.
· There are several “editions” of mankind introduced in Luke chapter 18, and each one has a spiritual lesson to teach us.
Being a compassionate physician, Dr. Luke wrote about widows and politicians, Pharisees and publicans, little children and adults, rich men and beggars. The lessons they teach us are important.
· Now, let’s look at “The Widow and the Unjust Judge.”
A. Luke mentions widows more than do all the other Gospel writers combined.
In that day, widows usually had a difficult time making ends meet, in spite of the care the Lord instructed His people to give them (Ex. 22:22-24; Deut. 14:28-29; 16:9-15; Ps. 146:9; Isa. 1:17, 23; Jer. 7:6).
The early church was serious about the care of Christian widows (Acts 6:1; 1 Tim. 5:3-10; James 1:27), a good example for us to follow in 2018.
B. As we study this parable, let’s try to see it in its Eastern setting.
The “courtroom” was not a fine building but a tent that was moved from place to place as the judge covered his circuit. The judge, not the law, set the agenda; and he sat regally in the tent, surrounded by his assistants.
Anybody could watch the proceedings from the outside, but only those who were approved and accepted could have their cases tried. This usually meant bribing one of the assistants so that he would call the judge’s attention to the case.
C. The widow had three obstacles to overcome.
1. Being a woman she, therefore, had little standing before the law. In the Palestinian society of our Lord’s day, women did NOT go to court.
2. Since she was a widow, she had no husband to stand with her in court.
3. She was poor and could not pay a bribe even if she wanted to. No wonder poor widows did not always get the protection the law was supposed to afford them!
INSIGHT: Now that we understand something of the setting of this parable, we can better understand what Jesus was teaching. Basically, Jesus was encouraging His disciples to PRAY!
I. THE WIDOW’S PETITION. (Luke 18:1-3)
(Luke 18:1-3) 1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; 2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: 3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
A. If we don’t pray, we will faint; it’s as simple as that!
1. The word Faint describes a believer who loses heart and gets so discouraged that he or she wants to quit.
2. I can recall two occasions when I have fainted physically (once when I had a massive leg cramp and once when I had a broken ankle). Fainting is the most helpless feeling I have ever experienced. I felt myself “going,” but I couldn’t seem to do a thing about it!
B. There is a connection between what our Lord said in Luke 18:1 and His statement in Luke 17:37.
(Luke 18:1) And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.
(Luke 17:37) And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.
If society is like a rotting corpse, then the “atmosphere” in which we live is being slowly polluted, and this is bound to affect our spiritual lives. But when we pray, we draw on the “pure air” of heaven, and this keeps us from fainting.
C .What does it mean “always to pray” or to “pray without ceasing”? (1 Thess. 5:17)
1. It certainly doesn’t mean that we should constantly be repeating prayers, because Jesus warned against that kind of praying (Matt. 6:5-15). Rather, it means to make prayer as natural to us as our regular breathing.
2. Unless we are sick or smothering, we rarely think about our breathing; we just do it. Likewise with prayer -- it should be the natural habit of our lives, the “atmosphere” in which we constantly live.
D. Prayer is much more than the words of our lips.
1. Pray is the desires of our hearts, and our hearts are constantly “desiring” before Him, even if we never speak a word.
2. So, to “pray without ceasing” means to have such holy desires in our hearts (in the will of God) that we are constantly in loving communion with the Father, petitioning Him for His blessing.
3. We must make our choice: do we want to PRAY -- or FAINT?
II. THE JUDGE’S RESPONSE. (Luke 18:4-5)
(Luke 18:4-5) 4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
A. Jesus did NOT say that God’s people are like this woman; in fact, He said just the opposite.
1. Because we are not like her, we should be encouraged in our praying. He argued from the lesser to the greater:
2. “If a poor widow got what she deserved from a selfish judge, how much more will God’s children receive what is right from a loving Heavenly Father!”
B. Consider the contrasts.
1. To begin with, the woman was a stranger, but we are the children of God, and God cares for His children (Luke 11:13). The widow had no access to the judge, but God’s children have an open access into His presence and may come at any time to get the help they need (Eph. 2:18; 3:12; Heb. 4:14-16; 10:19-22).
2. The woman had no friend at court to help get her case on the docket. All she could do was walk around outside the tent and make a nuisance of herself as she shouted at the judge. But when Christian believers pray, they have in heaven a Savior who is Advocate (1 John 2:1) and High Priest (Heb. 2:17-18), who constantly represents them before the throne of God.
3. When we pray, we can open the Word of God and claim the many promises of God, but the widow had no promises that she could claim as she tried to convince the judge to hear her case. We not only have God’s unfailing promises, but we also have the Holy Spirit, who assists us in our praying (Rom. 8:26-27).
4. Perhaps the greatest contrast is that the widow came to a court of law, but God’s children come to a throne of grace (Heb. 4:14-16). She pled out of her poverty, but we have all of God’s riches available to us to meet our every need (Phil. 4:19). The point is clear: if we fail to pray, our condition spiritually will be just like that of the poor widow. That should encourage us to pray!
III. THE SAVIOR’S PETITION. (Luke 18:6-8)
A. Unless you see that Jesus is pointing out contrasts, you will get the idea that God must be “argued” or “bribed” into answering prayer!
(Luke 18:6-7) 6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. 7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
1. God is not like this judge; for God is a loving Father, who is attentive to our every cry, generous in His gifts, concerned about our needs, and ready to answer when we call. The only reason the judge helped the widow was because he was afraid she would “weary” him, which literally means “give me a black eye” — i.e., ruin his reputation.
2. God answers prayer for His glory and for our good, and He is not vexed when we come.
B. How, then, do we explain delays in answers to prayer, especially when Jesus said that God would “avenge [give them justice] speedily”? (Luke 18:8)
(Luke 18:8) I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
1. Remember that God’s delays are NOT the delays of inactivity but of preparation. God is always answering prayer, otherwise Romans 8:28 could not be in the Bible. God works in all things at all times, causing all things to work together to accomplish His purposes.
2. The moment we send Him a request that is in His will (see 1 John 5:14-15), God begins to work. We may not see it now, but one day the answer will come.
INSIGHT: The question in Luke 18:8 ties in with what Jesus taught in Luke 17:22-37: “Shall He find [that kind of] faith on the earth?” The end times will not be days of great faith. Eight people were saved in Noah’s day, and only four out of Sodom (and one of them perished on the way). Passages like 1 Timothy 4 and 2 Timothy 3 paint a dark picture of the last days.
Value Of Prayer
By Dr. Tom Walker
The Psalmist said in Psalm 5:3 – "In the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee and will look up." The famous Hope Diamond, which is located in the Smithsonian Institute, is known of around the world. It is the largest and most perfect blue diamond in existence, boasting 45.52 carats, and having a worth of over 200 million dollars.
Though the renowned stone is of great value, prayer is much more valuable than the Hope Diamond. Why is prayer so valuable? Here are several reasons.
· Prayer Is A Sin Killer - When you really begin to pray, you will either have to give up sinning or give up praying. One does not feel an open line of prayer when practicing some known sin. On the other hand, when a person absorbs his or her life with prayer, sin will not dominate in that prayer warrior’s life.
· Prayer Is A Power Bringer - Read in Acts 2 what happened when the church prayed. The power of God came down upon those believers who were tarrying, waiting for the promise of the Spirit. No church will have spiritual power unless there are effectual, fervent prayers being offered on its behalf.
· Prayer Is A Victory Giver - It is the praying Christian who is the overcomer. Real faith in the heart is expressed in the believer’s prayer life. One who has no faith will not pray. So many people and churches are defeated, floundering in their spiritual walk, because of prayerlessness. If you want to be a victorious Christian - pray!
· Prayer Is A Holiness Producer - Prayer will result in holy living. You can rest assured, those who pray have a burning desire to live a holy, separate, consecrated, Christ-like life. If you come into the presence of God in prayer, it will change the way you live.
· Prayer Is An Obstacle Remover - If you recall, in the Book of Acts, Peter was in prison. The church was having a prayer meeting for him. The result was that God opened up the prison doors that had him bound and set him free. Obstacles are removed when God’s people exercise our responsibility and our right to pray.
· Prayer Is A Christ Revealer - The way we can best reveal Christ in our lives is to stay in close communication and communion with Him. The more we are around someone else, the more we tend to be what that person is. That is why it is important to choose the right company. The Lord Jesus is the best of company!
-- By Dr. Tom Walker, Pastor: Zion Hill Baptist Church -- Marion, NC 28752
CONCLUSION: The Lord Jesus related a parable that provides us with insights in how God wants us to pray. The parable about the widow and unjust judge tells us that we should pray persistently to the Lord.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “Although we cannot anticipate the trials of life, we can pray to our Father who fully understands what we face.”
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REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies 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, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook ( www.sermonnotebook.org ), 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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