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Just Doing My Job

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In our study of the Gospel of Luke, we have seen the importance of our being conscientious in our stewardship as servants of the Most High God. As stewards, Christ repeatedly warned against the dangers of materialism and worldliness. In chapter 16, He stated that we can not have a divided allegiance between God and the world. As part of that warning in chapter 17 Christ emphasizes that each of us have an unwavering duty to both Christ and to fellow believers.

  1. It’s your duty to not cause offenses. (17:1-2)
    1. We’re not perfect as long as we are in this body we will sin.
      1. Luke 17:1a "Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offenses will come:
      2. Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) The greatest fault is to be conscious of none.
      3. James 3:2 "For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body."
      4. Ecclesiastes 7:20 "For there is not a just man upon earth, that does good, and sins not."
      5. I John 1:8 "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."
    2. We should live in such a way as not to snare others into sinning.
      1. Luke 17:1b-2 "... offenses 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."
      2. No one’s behavior is entirely his or her own business. Even slight departures from health have their unseen eventual consequences. In our day of prized individuality and "it’s nobody’s business but mine" attitude, we trip each other up in more ways than we recognize.
      3. I Corinthians 10:23 "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not."
      4. I John 2:10 "He that loves his brother abides in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him."
  2. Transition: But what about when it’s the other guy who offends us and trips us up? It’s your duty to forgive offenders. (17:3-4)
    1. When someone does trip us up, we are to be forgiving.
      1. Luke 17:3 "Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him."
      2. C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) We all agree that forgiveness is a beautiful idea until we have to practice it
      3. Luke 11:4 "And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil."
      4. The heaviest load any man carries on his back is a pack of grudges.
      5. Erwin W. Lutzer (1941-) You must choose to forgive whoever has wronged you. Forgiveness is not an emotion; it is a decision of the will.
      6. Furthermore, it is an act of obedience.
    2. Our forgiveness should be unending.
      1. Luke 17:4 "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."
      2. A man complained to his pal that whenever he argued with his wife, she got historical. His friend said, "You mean hysterical." He said, "No, historical. She dredges up the past and reminds me of every time I’ve failed her in the past." How often when others wrong us do we bring up all the previous that they did have offended us?
  3. It doesn’t take a great deal of faith to do the job Christ has called us to do (17:5-6).
    1. It seems impossible to fulfill our duty.
      1. Luke 17:5 "And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith."
      2. The disciples moved by the challenge of Christ felt that in order to meet these standards they needed a stronger faith, which would supply them with sufficient strength and grace to carry out the task set before them.
      3. G. K. Chesterton, in What’s Wrong with the World, wrote "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult, and left untried."
      4. God never calls us to do anything which He does equip us to accomplish.
    2. Little faith will win the victory over self.
      1. Luke 17:6 "And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine (black mulberry) tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you."
      2. Matthew 13:32 The Mustard seed "... is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof."
      3. Genuine faith is what is needed not great faith. The slightest real faith would be powerful enough to accomplish what seems impossible.
      4. Responsibility is my response to his ability.
  4. Just do your job (17:7-10)
    1. Luke 17:7-8 "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?"
    2. We are to serve the entire day and evening.
      1. Ellen Sturgis Hooper wrote, "I slept and dreamed that life was Beauty; I woke and found that life was Duty."
      2. A servant’s duty starts with toiling in the field during the day and often does not end at sunset when he comes in from the field. He often has further duties in the evening.
      3. I heard about a little girl who experienced a major breakthrough in her life when she learned to tie her own shoes. Instead of excitement, she was overcome by tears. Her father asked, "Why are you crying?" "I have to tie my shoes," she said. "You just learned how. It isn’t that hard, is it?" " I know," she wailed, "but I’m going to have to do it for the rest of my life." I believe there are some of us feel the same way when it comes to Christian stewardship. We learn that it’s exciting to give and serve. But there is just a tiny bit of dread because we know we have to do it over and over again for the rest of our lives?
      4. Ulrich Zwingli, "You are a tool in the hands of God. He demands your service, not your rest. Yet, how fortunate you are that he lets you take part in his work."
      5. I Corinthians 15:58 "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."
      6. D L Moody said, "The reward of service is more service."
    3. We are to serve our Master until He is satisfied.
      1. Luke 17:8 "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?"
      2. Contemporary Christian Musician Phil Keaggy said, " If you’re honest, you know your calling - to serve God--before the lights are turned on and after they’ve burned out."
      3. Deuteronomy 10:12 "And now, Israel, what does the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,"
      4. A charge to keep I have, A God to glorify. A never dying soul to save, And fit it for the sky. To serve the present age, My calling to fulfill; O may it all my powers engage, To do my Master’s will.
    4. We are to serve whether or not we are appreciated or thanked.
      1. Luke 17:9-10 "Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. [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."
      2. We need to develop the ability to persevere even when the rewards are few and the accolades none.
      3. God did call us to be sensations; He called us to be servants.
      4. No matter what we do for Christ, it is our duty to do it. We are unworthy of the privilege of serving Him.
      5. 1 Timothy 1:12-13 "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; [13] Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy..."
    5. We are to imitate Christ’s servitude.
      1. Philippians 2:5-8 "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
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