Faithlife Sermons

Prayer and a Promise

Luke  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 1 view

Instead of us becoming anxious or frustrated at the seeming inequities in life, we can be assured that God will only do that which is right, as we look forward in hope to His justice and glory being revealed.

Notes
Transcript
Handout
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →
When you or I have been wronged or we’ve experienced a terrible injustice, there is a natural desire for things to be made right. But what can we do when we are in a totally helpless position? Most likely, we will go talk to someone who can do something about it. It may start about by talking to friends or family members or co-workers about your plight. Eventually, I would hope that you would engage someone who can actually do something about it.
Yet, on this earth, justice often never happens. What should we do? First, remember that we are not citizens of an earthly kingdom, but rather citizens of God’s kingdom. For it is God alone Who enacts perfect justice in His righteousness and holiness. So, it would make sense if we would talk to the One Who can actually vindicate our cause. We see David doing this multiple times in his lifetime. We even see Paul and John talking with God about those who had wronged them. My friends, what is talking to God but prayer?
So, once again, we come upon a section on prayer. The teachings here must still be understood in the context in which we find it. We’ve just been talking about the Kingdom of God. In the context of the present and future Kingdom of God, there are often those who think they have an inside track because of bloodline, or religious background, or humanitarian activities, or merely because they think they are better than others, or at least, not as bad as some others.
Thus, what we will be studying today has as its theological background that of the Kingdom of God. We will again see the reference to the Son of Man coming. Again, later in the chapter, Jesus refers to the Kingdom of God and what is needed to enter into the Kingdom of God. However, there are certainly some principles that we will be able to incorporate into all of life. Yet, we dare not read into this section more than what the intent was originally. It might lead to some warm, fuzzy teachings, that end up being in error; such as being able to force God’s hand to do what we want, or other strange ideas.
Instead of us becoming anxious or frustrated at the seeming inequities in life, we can be assured that God will only do that which is right, as we look forward in hope to His justice and glory being revealed.
Before we get into the message, let’s read the text we’ll be studying.
Luke 18:1–8 NASB95
Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. “There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’ “For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’ ” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? “I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”

Pray and Persevere - 18:1

Luke introduces this section by reminding his readers that this is a parable designed to teach certain principles. This is a fictional story to present a point. We could break it down to these two simple principles:
. . . at all times they ought to pray . . .
. . . at all times they ought . . . not to lose heart . . .
We could spend a great deal of time just dealing with the whole issue of prayer, but let me just touch lightly on these imperative statements. First, you and I are reminded that regarding prayer, we ought to be doing it. In addition, we ought to be doing it at all times; good times, bad times, giddy times, horrific times, etc. Plus, you and I recognize that sometimes we just feel like throwing in the towel and giving up on ourselves, the situation, even God. We sometimes despair because it seems like God has abandoned us and the enemy has surrounded us. Luke is telling us that in view of the horrific times that are going to be coming upon those who choose to follow God, we must remember that He is sovereign and that He will, on His perfect timetable, come back to establish His earthly kingdom. All wrongs will be made right. Justice will be meted out perfectly.
What is the intent Jesus has in presenting this parable?
Again, this is helpful to us if we remember that the overarching picture is contained within the fact that Jesus is coming again to set up His rule and reign on this earth. Just as His original coming to earth was for the purpose of His coming as fully God and fully man in order to offer His life as a sacrifice and payment for the sins of humanity, knowing that He would be raised from the dead on the third day to live forevermore was not to be deterred; so it will be with His second coming be.
Thus, in looking at this verse in the context of the whole chapter, it would seem that Jesus is encouraging prayer. And the specific encouragement is for the return of Jesus in setting up His earthly kingdom. It certainly seems as if forever has gone by and that the world is becoming increasingly wicked and ungodly. So, we pray and don’t lose heart.
So, now we look at the next few verses to see how a judge, who was supposed to practice righteousness and justice behaved.

Unwilling, but Wearied - 18:2-5

This judge is introduced with less than stellar character references. In fact, though he was a judge who was supposed to be upright, we see that he was not at all. He did not fear God, and did not respect man. He would do whatever he chose to do regardless if it was right or wrong. Though he should have known what God says about uprightness, taking no bribes, turning no blind eye to injustice, watching out for the downtrodden, living justly, etc., this judge would have ignored that for he didn’t have a genuine fear of God. Sadly, he had no respect or honor for any other human. If you were to look up in a dictionary the word immoral, this judge would have his picture there. This gives us an idea of what kind of character this judge was. He was not upright in any way, whatsoever. In fact, it would appear that judges like this were all about gaining extra money; even willing to turn a blind eye to justice. In fact, one writer states: The Talmud … accuses them of ignorance, arbitrariness, and covetousness, so that for a dish of meat they would pervert justice.
What type of character is this judge which Jesus is describing?
MacArthur, John. MacArthur New Testament Commentary Set (MacArthur New Testament Commentary Series) (Kindle Locations 23297-23298). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.
In verse 3, we are introduced to a widow. In Jewish culture, it was understood that the widow was to be protected and watched over. In fact, the Old Testament speaks a great deal of watching out and caring for the widow and the orphan and the destitute. warns, “Cursed is he who distorts the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow.” But it appears from this verse that this was not happening. A just judge would have done everything possible to protect the widow as he would be to watch out for a wealthy individual. Sadly, the system had become so corrupt that the widows of that time were often wronged and taken advantage of because they were so poor that they were unable to bribe the judges to get what they needed. In fact, it seems here as though there is someone who is out to get her unjustly. She pleads continually for the judge to provide for her the legal protection against her opponent. This was her right under the Jewish laws. However, according to verse four, the judge is said to have been unwilling. In other words, he didn’t want to be bothered with something like this. Maybe he felt it was too menial for him to concern himself. Maybe there was no gain that the judge could see for himself.
MacArthur, John. MacArthur New Testament Commentary Set (MacArthur New Testament Commentary Series) (Kindle Locations 23314-23315). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition. But it appears from this verse that this was not happening. A just judge would have done everything possible to protect the widow as he would be to watch out for a wealthy individual. Sadly, the system had become so corrupt that the widows of that time were often wronged and taken advantage of because they were so poor that they were unable to bribe the judges to get what they needed. In fact, it seems here as though there is someone who is out to get her unjustly. She pleads continually for the judge to provide for her the legal protection against her opponent. This was her right under the Jewish laws. However, according to verse four, the judge is said to have been unwilling. In other words, he didn’t want to be bothered with something like this. Maybe he felt it was too menial for him to concern himself. Maybe there was no gain that the judge could see for himself.
At the end of verse four and in verse five, we see a bit more about the faulty character of this ungodly, unrighteous, unjust, judge. He states what Jesus had already said in describing him in the fact that he [did] not fear God nor respect man. In other words, honoring and obeying God, or simply doing what is right for other people wasn’t enough to get the judge to do what the widow had been begging for him to do. However, to simply get her off his proverbial back, knowing that she would not relent, he decided to give her the legal protection she had been requesting. It had nothing to do with him being in the least noble or upright. It was all about getting rid of her.
If an unscrupulous, unjust judge with no regard for men or God will heed the pleas of this pestering woman, how much more will the heavenly Father, who is just and caring, hear the cries of his people.
R. C. Sproul, A Walk with God: An Exposition of Luke (Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, 1999), 332.
Why did the judge choose to give her the legal protection she requested?
Lest we misunderstand what this is about, let’s move on to the last few verses.

A Just Judge - 18:6-8

As we look at verse 6, we ought to experience a clearer understanding about what this passage is not teaching. Jesus is now bringing clarity from His parable to the point He desires to make. The story is not teaching about perseverance in prayer so as to wear God out so He does what we desire. It is not about proving how serious we are about our request by badgering God. This is not at all a comparison of the judge and God. What kind of judge have we been talking about? What kind of judge is described in verse 6? The unrighteous judge, not the righteous, holy, just God. There is no comparison. In fact, this is a complete contrast. That is what Jesus is basically saying to pay attention to what this judge said.
Why is it important to know that this contrast makes it very clear that the teaching is not about pestering God till we get what we request? What exactly is the contrast?
We know that the unrighteous judge basically gave in because the widow would not give up and she kept pleading her case before him. In order to get her to allow him some peace, he gave her what she had requested; which is what she was supposed to provide anyway. The contrast is seen in the fact that God, who is righteous, who keeps His promises, will bring about justice. Thus, if someone who seems to not have a stick of goodness in him finally does that which is right, how much more we can expect that God, Who is altogether good, will do that which is right. He will not turn a blind eye to the wrongs which His children suffer. He will not wait until we wear Him out, if it were even possible. R.C. Sproul expresses it this way: If an unscrupulous, unjust judge with no regard for men or God will heed the pleas of this pestering woman, how much more will the heavenly Father, who is just and caring, hear the cries of his people.
You see, the judge had no feelings whatsoever about the widow, much less about doing what is right. However, God loves His children dearly and will always do what is right. Yes, the time frame certainly seems like forever. In fact, the very delay long describes deeper God’s lengthy delay is for the benefit of those who have not yet surrendered to Christ, that there might be opportunity.
But once God chooses and decides that the day has come, it will be done quickly. In fact, verse 8 tells us that He will bring about justice for them quickly. To most, it appears that justice will not take place. During the time of the Tribulation, it will appear as if God has forgotten about everyone, to many. However, when justice is dispelled, it will come quickly.
Understanding that this parable is in the midst of Jesus’ teachings on His second coming, how might you describe faithful prayers?
Then there is that interesting question Jesus asks at the very end: However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth? Is the prayer of those on this earth looking forward to God’s return? Sometimes, I wonder if our prayers are too focused on health and jobs and finances, etc. This is not wrong unless this is all we are seeking God for in our prayers. Should our prayers rather be focused on the glory of Christ and Him being lifted high for all to see?

Final Thoughts

Instead of us becoming anxious or frustrated at the seeming inequities in life, we can be assured that God will only do that which is right, as we look forward in hope to His justice and glory being revealed.
Though this is all looking forward to the time when the Son of Man is going to return to establish His earthly kingdom, there are principles which we can carry with us. We most certainly wonder about how so many individuals and governments and organizations get away with such evil. Sometimes, we long for the time when God will exact His punishment. Some of us may wish it would happen right now so that the onlooking world can see that God cannot be mocked and that wrong is always wrong.
We may wonder why others seem to have their life’s roads paved so smooth, while we feel as though ours is filled with potholes and dead ends, causing us to end up in the ditch of life. We try to live our lives for Jesus, but may wonder what earthly good it is doing.
That is a normal, human response. However, we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us. And even though we might like to help God level the playing field or even to put people in their place, we remember that Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord.
In the meantime, we Cast all our anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. And in all that, we find ourselves wanting to Seek first His kingdom, and His righteousness; and all these things will be added to us as well.
When experiencing injustice on this earth, why is it important that we pray and what causes us to not lose heart?
In addition, there is something about a steadfastness of prayer with the expectation and desire of Christ’s return that causes us to have a different perspective of life. The things of this world lose their appeal as we desire more of Christ in all areas.
We have a promise from our Lord that not only will He come back to take the church to be with Him; but that after the tribulation, He will come again to establish His earthly reign. And we know that justice will be enacted quickly. In the meantime, we pray, taking our cause to Him, seeking only that He would be glorified, trusting implicitly in His promises.
Instead of focusing our prayers on us, what ought our prayers have as their focus?
Related Media
Related Sermons