Archive for August 2nd, 2010

Luke 17:1-10

Luke 17:1-10 is our text for today’s reading in the chronological walk through scripture.  Luke gives us few verses, but they are packed with information that we need to know.  Jesus starts by warning us: “Temptations to sin are sure to come”.  That is pretty direct and to the point.  We will be tempted.  The enemy will come after us and he absolutely knows where our weaknesses are at.  So we need to prepare.  We need to be alert.  We need to know God’s Word because that is our best and only real defense against temptation. We can do some things that may help – like avoiding places or things that tempt us.  We can stay away from situations that might give rise to temptation to get a foothold in our lives.  My folks always told me that nothing good happens after midnight.  That may be an extreme, but the reality is that staying out too late, being with the wrong people, putting yourself in situations that make it easy for our enemy to tempt you – well that is plain stupid and playing with fire.  You will get burned.  Jesus goes on to tell us “woe to the one through whom they come”.  Temptation in and of itself is not terrible – it is not sin to be tempted.  It means you are a breathing and living person.  All of us will be tempted.  But the real issue is that we must not allow the enemy to use us as part of his temptation scheme.  That is not good at all.  That is a real issue.  And Jesus gets more direct: “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin”.  When it comes to kids – being used by the enemy to tempt them is a big deal.  God looks very strongly on that.  We have to lead kids to the Cross, not into temptation.  If we mess up in this area – and parents you really need to pay attention here because your example in how you live can lead your kids into temptation – if we mess up it is a big problem.  God holds us accountable in how we live in front of kids – not just our own – but His kids which are all kids.  God loves the little children and He will protect them.  So how we live matters – a lot – when it comes to our relationship with kids. 

Jesus goes on to really make it clear what the expectation is when someone sins.  Too often we don’t want to get involved.  After all, it is none of our business.  It really isn’t something we want to confront.  If we do, it might be messy, might require us to spend more time trying to help, might be a lot of time and work.  But Jesus is clear when He says “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him”.  Life is messy.  Sin happens.  When it does, it needs to be dealt with.  Scripture tells us how to do that in Matthew 18.  But Jesus boils it down here. 

–       If a fellow Christ Follower sins – we need to rebuke him

–       If he repents – we need to forgive him

–       If he sins against us a bunch – we need to forgive every time he repents – over and over and over again

We don’t like that formula much at all.  It means we have to first of all pay attention to what others are doing in comparison to God’s truth and expectations.  We aren’t to be running around playing jr. Holy Spirit looking for people to confront, but when God puts that sin in our path and we see it clearly, we need to call each other out.  We need to address it strongly – not to enjoy the experience of rubbing someone’s nose in their sin – but to make sure they see it and can come to terms with it and repent.  That is the whole reason for rebuke – to lead to repentance.  It isn’t to make us feel better because we pointed out how someone else fell short.  It is so they can be restored in their relationship with God and grow.  It is so they can experience the power of faith Jesus describes when He says “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you”.  Do you have faith?  Really?  Jesus makes it very clear that a little faith will go a very long way.  But too often as Christ Followers we have only got faith in ourselves and what we can see.  We haven’t really put faith to work – put it in action – and bet our lives on it.  We can be like the mustard seed and do great and amazing things through faith if we truly have it.  Our task is to learn how to build our relationship with Jesus so He is the only one we trust.  Then we can begin to experience the power of faith in our lives as He promised!

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