Key Verse: “If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.” (Luke 17:3 NKJV)
1-2 He said to his disciples, “Hard trials and temptations are bound to come, but too bad for whoever brings them on! Better to wear a millstone necklace and take a swim in the deep blue sea than give even one of these dear little ones a hard time!
Refection: (Luke 17:1-3)
Jesus warned about God’s wrath for those who offend, abuse, or lead astray the little ones.
How appropriate such a warning is when corruption enters our homes every day in many television programs or on the internet.
While Christians must guard against physical abuse, they also must be aware of and work against the mental and spiritual corruption that unfiltered television and unsupervised internet surfing can bring.
Jesus warning envisions an additional group, however.
The “little ones” can be new disciples.
Indifference to the training and treatment of new Christians can leave them theologically vulnerable.
Make the follow-through care of recent converts and new members a high priority in your church.
3-4 “Be alert. If you see your friend going wrong, correct him. If he responds, forgive him. Even if it’s personal against you and repeated seven times through the day, and seven times he says, ‘I’m sorry, I won’t do it again,’ forgive him.”
Reflection: (Luke 17:3-4)
To rebuke does not mean to point out every sin we see; it means to bring sin to a person’s attention with the purpose of restoring that person’s relationship with God and with fellow humans.
When you feel you must rebuke another Christian for a sin, check your attitudes before you speak.
Do you love that person?
Are you willing to forgive?
Unless rebuke is tied to forgiveness, it will not help the sinning person.
5 The apostles came up and said to the Master, “Give us more faith.”
6 But the Master said, “You don’t need more faith. There is no ‘more’ or ‘less’ in faith. If you have a bare kernel of faith, say the size of a poppy seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it would do it.
Reflection: (Luke 17:6)
A mustard seed is small, but it is alive and growing.
Almost invisible at first, the seed will begin to spread, first under the ground, and then above ground.
Like a tiny seed, a small amount of genuine faith in God will take root and grow.
Although each change will be gradual and imperceptible, soon this faith will have produced major results that will uproot and destroy competing loyalties.
We don’t need more faith; a tiny seed of faith is enough if it is alive and growing.
Reflection: (Luke 17:5-6)
The disciples’ request was genuine; they wanted the faith necessary for such radical forgiveness.
But the amount of faith is not important as its genuineness.
What is faith? It is complete trust in an loyalty to God that results in a willingness to do His will.
Faith is not something we use to put on a show for others.
It is complete and humble obedience to God’s will, a readiness to do whatever He calls us to do.
The amount of faith isn’t as important as the right kind of faith – faith in our all-powerful God.
7-10 “Suppose one of you has a servant who comes in from plowing the field or tending the sheep. Would you take his coat, set the table, and say, ‘Sit down and eat’? Wouldn’t you be more likely to say, ‘Prepare dinner; change your clothes and wait table for me until I’ve finished my coffee; then go to the kitchen and have your supper’? Does the servant get special thanks for doing what’s expected of him? It’s the same with you. When you’ve done everything expected of you, be matter-of-fact and say, ‘The work is done. What we were told to do, we did.’”
Reflection: (Luke 17:7-10)
If we have obeyed God, we have only done our duty, and we should regard it as a privilege.
Do you sometimes feel that you deserve extra credit for serving God?
Remember, obedience is not something extra we do, it is our duty.
Jesus is not suggesting that our service is meaningless or useless, nor is He advocating doing away with rewards.
He is attacking unwarranted self-esteem and spiritual pride.