Hello everybody and welcome in to episode 200 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Luke 17 today and our focus is on What Must We Do When God Calls Us To Go Through Hard Things or Do Hard Things? We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
In Luke 17, Jesus tells His disciples a most challenging truth – one that apparently rocks them back on their heels. He tells them that they must forgive. Not only that they must forgive, but they must even forgive somebody who sins against them seven times in a day, which seems like a lot of times! Jesus does seem to add a qualifier to this teaching – the disciples (and us, by extension) must forgive those who say they repent, and, as we discussed recently, I believe that includes people who express sorrow for what they’ve done. What about, I hear you asking, when somebody offers up a meaningless apology, or meaningless and shallow repentance? And I think that is exactly the reason why the disciples were so gobsmacked by this teaching of Jesus – because anybody that sins against you , says I repent, and then comes back and repeats that process six more times in the same day is NOT somebody who is engaging in genuine sorrow or repentance – this is somebody who, AT BEST, is giving hollow and shallow repentance and sorrow for what they’ve done. And what does the master say – you MUST forgive them. Wow.
I find the way the disciples responded to be quite mature and wonderful of them. I suspect I might have complained or balked at such a difficult teaching, but the disciples don’t do that. Instead – the say something profound and beautiful – the very thing you and I should say when God calls us to do hard things or go through hard trials: INCREASE OUR FAITH!
What a wonderful and poignant prayer, that I don’t pray enough, personally. Let’s read the passage and then discuss it more.
Increase our faith. Just reading this chapter convinces me that I need to pray that prayer more. Here’s Spurgeon on this wonderful short prayer of the disciples:
When the apostles said “Lord, increase our faith,” they meant, “Increase our confidence in thee,” and this is a very material help towards the performance of the duty. First, God must help us so to believe in Jesus that we may not suspect him of setting us an impracticable task. The Lord has said, “Overcome evil with good,” and has bidden us “Forgive seventy times seven”: do you not feel ready to say, “This is a hard saying, who can bear it”? Do we not fancy that we shall never get through the world in that gentle fashion? It is our unbelief which tells us that we must sometimes bend our fists, or at least sometimes deliver our minds with great vigour of wrath, or else we shall be trodden down like mire in the streets. We need to ask for grace that we may be helped to believe that Christ’s way of forgiveness is after all the best way, the noblest way, the most truly manly and the most surely happy way.
Their prayer may be read as meaning “Lord, help us to believe that thou canst enable us to do this.” We cannot by our own unaided nature be always forgiving, lowly, gentle and loving in temper, but thou hast said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Therefore, O Lord, give us more faith in thee that we may believe that thou canst make us meek and lowly, even as thou art. We ought to believe that Jesus can turn our lion-like tempers into lambs, and our raven-like spirits into doves, and if we have not faith enough for that we must pray for it; for do you not see that if a man believes a duty to be impossible, or judges that grace itself cannot enable him to do it, then he never will do it; but when he obtains a confidence that the command is within his power, or that it can be obeyed by a force which is within his reach, then he has won half the battle already. In believing in the possibility of a high standard of holiness, a man is already on his way towards that holiness. I therefore earnestly exhort you to ask for more faith, that you may believe the duty of constant forgiveness to be possible of accomplishment through divine grace.
C. H. Spurgeon, “Increased Faith the Strength of Peace Principles,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 22 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1876), 572–573.
Bible Memory verses for the month of July: 47 “I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. When the flood came, the river crashed against that house and couldn’t shake it, because it was well built.” Luke 6:47-48
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