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Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and choosing the Truth Podcast Network. Do you feel like your efforts to reach God, find God, and please God are futile? Do you feel like your faith is dead or alive? Today, Pastor Russ Andrews will walk us through Scripture to answer these questions. Join us on Finding Purpose, glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living.
For more information and to connect with Russ Andrews and Finding Purpose, you can visit us online at findingpurpose.net or connect with us on Facebook. Now let's listen to Russ Andrews as he teaches us how to be a Christian without being religious. I've entitled this message, How to Live a Life Worthy of the Lord. We're going to be looking at Luke chapter 17, and we'll try to cover verses 1 through 19.
Paul writes in Colossians 1, 9 and 10. For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life, catch this, live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God. Now Jim mentioned this last week, but we learned back in Luke chapter 9 verse 51 that as the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.
Why? Well, because He was on a divine time schedule. He'd been sent on a mission which would end up on a cross thus fulfilling prophecy. This is part of God's will. Here in Luke 17, we see that Jesus is still making His way towards Jerusalem, and along the way He continues to teach His disciples truths that they should live by.
Jesus knew that His departure was soon, and He wanted to make sure, men, that His disciples were prepared for this. Thus He shared these truths with them about how to live life as one of His followers in order to please God. And these same truths will help us navigate life if you desire to live your life worthy of the Lord and to please God, then these truths I'm going to share with you tonight will enable you to do that.
Are you listening? Alright, so I want to share with you five truths to live by, and here's truth number one. And this truth comes in the form of a warning. It says in verse, look at verses one through three. But the truth is this, and the warning is this. Be careful not to cause others to sin. Look at verse one. Jesus said to His disciples, Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than to cause one of these little ones to sin. So what?
Watch yourselves. Now, Jesus does not mince words here. In fact, I would say these are some of the strongest words in the Gospels that we see coming from the mouth of Jesus.
Would you agree? As followers of Christ, we need to be very careful not to tempt others to sin in any way, particularly little children and new converts. This sin is particularly egregious to God. In fact, I believe that the one who causes another person to sin is apparently more guilty of sin.
It's more egregious sin than the one who's tempted in sins. Jesus basically says it would be better to be cast into the sea with a millstone tied around your neck, never to be heard from again. In case you don't know what a millstone is, a millstone is about the size of a large truck tire.
It's about eight to ten inches thick. It's made of granite, and it's so heavy. In fact, one of our leaders tonight mentioned that it would take two or three men just to lift one up. So obviously, if a millstone is tied around your neck and you're casting to the sea, you're guaranteed to what? Drown. Again, this is strong language from Jesus, and so we need to take this warning seriously.
So how are we doing? I think we need to get real here, men. It's very easy to let your guard down and say something or do something that causes someone to stumble into sin. I'll use me as an example. I have six grandchildren. They watch what I do.
They listen to what I say, and then they try to emulate me. One time I got frustrated about something. I let the word that you said in here, crap, slip from my mouth in the presence of my family, and quickly my daughter-in-law reminded me that there were little ears listening. Needless to say, I felt horrible. How about you?
What is your language like around others, particularly younger children? What did you say? Worse. Worse.
Don't let it be worse. How do you act in front of others? If we claim to be Christians, how do we sound to others on the golf course, on the basketball court, at work, or when we're having lunch with a fellow believer? Do you tell little white lies? Do you gossip with others, maybe in a group of new believers? Do you ever send videos or pictures out by email that are not appropriate?
Do you ever use coarse language? Ephesians 4, 29 and 30 says, Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who are listening. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God with whom you are sealed for the day of redemption. See, here's the deal. If we're going to walk with Jesus, He expects us to not only obey Him, but He especially wants us to be sure not to lead someone else into sin. So I don't know about you, but this is convicting to me.
Is it convicting to you? Here's truth number two. Be willing to forgive your brother in Christ who comes to you asking for your forgiveness. I want you to look at verses three through five here. If your brother sins, it says, Rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. Verse four, Even if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, I repent, you must forgive him. Then the apostle said to the Lord, Increase our faith. Why do you think they said increase our faith? I think it's because they were beginning to realize that following Jesus was not going to be easy. The Christian life is not easy.
It's difficult, particularly when you look at all the temptations out there in the world. And this is why we all need the indwelling Holy Spirit, so we don't only have the power to live the Christian life, but also have the willingness and the power to forgive others. So when you have a brother or sister in Christ, it may be your wife, it may be a very close friend who sins against you, and he or she comes to you and asks you for your forgiveness.
What are you to do? How are you to respond? Well Jesus says first you're to rebuke the person. Now I think everything should flow from a heart of love, so I think this means that you lovingly and gently convict him or her about how they hurt you, how what they said or what they did to you hurt you, and then you're to forgive him. How many times?
Yeah. Even if it's seven times in a single day. This word seven in the Bible means fullness or abundance. So I believe that Jesus means that as many times as this person comes to you, even if it's unlimited and they're sincerely asking you for your forgiveness, you're to offer your forgiveness. In fact Matthew 18, 21, and 22 confirms this truth.
Listen to what Matthew writes. It says that then Peter came to Jesus and asked, he asked him, Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times he asked? And Jesus answered, I tell you not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Then why should we be so willing to forgive?
Look in the mirror. How many times have you sinned against the Lord or against others in your life? And how many times have you gone to Jesus and asked him to forgive you? I have gone to Jesus so many times and asked him to forgive me. How can I not extend the same forgiveness to someone else who comes to me and asks me for their forgiveness? So do you have someone in your life who's come to you and asked you for your forgiveness? A friend?
Perhaps a family member? We need to remember what the Lord's Prayer says. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who what? Trespass against us.
If we want God to forgive us, then we'd better be willing to forgive others. Some of you may have never heard of Corrie Ten Boom, but she and her family hid Jews in Holland during World War II. And they eventually got caught, and she and her entire family were shipped off to concentration camps. They were separated, and she and her sister Betsy ended up in Birkenau, which was part of Auschwitz in Poland. And while they were there, Betsy was abused by this German soldier until the point that she finally died. Corrie Ten Boom, on the other hand, was later miraculously released.
It was a miracle. And after the war, Corrie Ten Boom would go all over Europe and in Germany sharing about how God had rescued her out of this concentration camp. And one night, she was speaking in a church in Germany on the issue of forgiveness. At the very end of her talk, everyone lined up to come and speak to her.
And she noticed about three people back from the person that was currently talking to her was that German guard. And she'd just given a sermon on forgiveness. And she instantly felt hatred in her heart towards him. And when he finally was standing before her, he told her, he said, After the war, I turned my life over to Jesus Christ, and He's forgiven me of all my sins.
Now, but I need you to forgive me. And she sensed the Holy Spirit, because everything within her did not want to forgive Him. But she sensed the Holy Spirit whisper to her, Take His hand. And so she obeyed, and she took His hand, and she said, The moment that I grasped His hand, I could feel the love of God pouring through my heart, and I was able to forgive Him.
So if she was able to forgive that German guard, we should be able to forgive anybody who comes to us, should we not? Here's truth number three. A little faith plus God can accomplish anything. A little faith plus God can accomplish anything. Look at verse six. He replied, If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, Be uprooted and planted in the sea, and it will obey you. With God, men, all you need is a little bit of faith, and He will do the rest.
But here's one thing. Some people take this verse out of context, and they think that they can just make any prayer request to God, and He's going to answer it. Well, you can't take a verse out of context. You have to look at the entire Bible. And verses cannot contradict each other. In 1 John 14 and 15, it says, If you ask the Lord anything according to His will, He will forgive you. So you need to line this verse up with that verse, and you can ask for anything, even a mulberry tree, to be planted in the sea if you ask with faith and if it's according to God's will. But I want you to focus on all of us when we encounter something, a difficult trial, and we only have a little bit of faith.
A faith as small as a mustard seed. I want you to take your Bible, men, and turn with me to Mark chapter 9. Turn to Mark chapter 9. I want you to look at verse 14 and following.
I'm not going to read all this, but I'm going to paraphrase some of it. In Mark 9, we learn about a father who brings his son, and this boy is possessed by an evil spirit, a demon, and they bring him to Jesus because the disciples, they go to the disciples, but they pray, but their prayers have not been answered. And Jesus kind of scolds them. They say, Oh, unbelieving generation, how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.
So that's what they did. And then if you look at verse 20, it says that when the evil spirit saw Jesus, he immediately threw the boy to the ground into a convulsion, and he rolled around on the ground and was foaming at the mouth. Then Jesus asked the father, and I know he asks this with great compassion, how long has he been like this?
And the father replied, from childhood. Then he said to Jesus, If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us. And Jesus said, If you can, I bet he said that with a smile on his face.
What do you mean if I can? Everything is possible, Jesus says, for him who believes. And then the boy's father exclaimed, And this is what I really love. He said, I do believe. Help me overcome my unbelief.
And then Jesus healed the boy, and the evil spirit came out of him. So let me ask you, have you ever felt this way? Lord, I believe. Help me overcome my unbelief. I can't imagine how many times I've said these words in my life.
So let's be honest here. Even the men and women who are giants in the Christian faith have experienced moments of doubt and even some unbelief. My wife, her name is Crecy, and she's a very strong believer.
She became really a very, I would call her a very strong believer when she was just a young teenager. Well, in 1971, when she was 17 years old, her father owned a little Cessna airplane, and he left this particular Saturday morning to go out to Raleigh-Durham Airport and just fly around, get a little practice in. He even took a friend with him who had never flown before. And when they were making their approach to land an Eastern Airlines jet, which had just passed another Cessna, the air traffic controller had called that pilot of the Eastern Airlines jet and said, there's a small Cessna in your vicinity.
Well, back then, radar went down to about 1,000 feet, and then below 1,000 feet, you went to visual. Well, Willis' plane, Mr. Smith, his plane had gone below the radar, but there was another Cessna above 1,000 feet. And when that air traffic controller radioed the pilot, the Eastern Airlines jet said, yeah, I just passed that plane. What he didn't know was there were two planes. And so his plane collided with Mr. Smith's plane. The plane got hung up in the landing gear.
They had to fly over Raleigh-Durham Airport to let the plane get it dislodged, and Mr. Willis Smith died along with his friend who had never flown before. It was a great tragedy. So you can imagine how this tested my wife's faith for about a year. She told me that she questioned God. How could a God who loved me, my mom and my two sisters, take the father and husband we needed so much? But God, she said, was patient with me, I'm quoting her here, and provided wise Christians to guide me back to my faith, because He knew deep down that I still believed. In essence, Christi said, I believe. Help me overcome my unbelief. So let me ask you, are you going through a trial right now? I want to ask for a show of hands. Perhaps you are sick. Maybe you've got a wayward child, or maybe you've lost a child being unimaginable.
Perhaps you have some type of mulberry tree in your life, and you need that tree to be uprooted and planted in the sea. Is your faith wavering? Well, of course it is. But God understands. Do you wonder if He can forgive you? He's only looking for a mustard seed of faith. So I believe, men, when we face trials in this life, and we're going to all face them, we need to say, Lord, I believe.
Help me overcome my unbelief. And all you need is a little bit of faith, and God will do the rest. That's what He did for my wife. That's what He's done for me. And He'll do the same thing for you.
I believe that. Here's truth number four. Obedience is our sole duty. Look at verses seven through ten. Verse seven says, Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, come along now and sit down to eat? Well, the answer of course is no.
I'm adding that. The master would never do this. Would you rather say, Prepare my supper? Get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink? After that, you may eat and drink? Well, the answer of course is yes. That's what a master would do. Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? Again, the answer is what?
No. And here's the most important verse. So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, We are unworthy servants.
We've only done our duty. The first thing I want you to notice here in this parable is that everything this master would say no to, Jesus has already said yes to. The master would never serve the servant, but hasn't Jesus already done this for us? He fed the five thousand. He healed the sick. He washed feet. He touched lepers. And then he went to a cross and died for who?
You and me. So considering all that Jesus has done for us, how can we not in turn give our loyalty and our obedience to Him? What is our duty? Obedience. That's why you need the Holy Spirit, do you not? In John 14, 15 Jesus says, If you love Me, you will obey what I command. And then in John 14, 23 Jesus says, If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. Kent Hughes, who's a great commentator, writes this, and I love this quote.
Listen carefully. Jesus meant that watching ourselves, rebuking, forgiving, believing is nothing extraordinary. This is the way we're supposed to live.
And when we do it, we are at best unworthy servants. Such a life is our duty. This life, as extraordinary as it may be, is ordinary Christianity.
And then he goes on to say, Oh, that we could be extraordinarily ordinary. One of my heroes into faith was J.L. Williams, who's going to be with the Lord. Some of you may remember him. He came and spoke to the Tuesday night Bible study at Eden Street a number of years back. But he was a great mentor to me and my two sons. And we actually went to Africa with him one time.
And one of the things I remember about J.L. is that whatever food was put before him, no matter what it was, he felt like you had to eat it. And one time we were out somewhere in Africa. I kind of got lost. But anyway, the tribe that we were visiting cooked a boiled goat for us.
And there were about 10,000 flies doing touch and goes on it. And then they cut that meat and handed each one of us a piece. I'll tell you what I did. I had a piece of bread.
I hid mine in the bread and didn't eat it. But J.L. said this. This has nothing to do with the message tonight. He said, Where God leads me, I will follow. And what He feeds me, I will swallow. Well, my point about J.L. is that he served the Lord obedient from the time he was a teenager to literally the moment he died.
He hit the tape running. And he was responsible for planning and supporting over 500 churches in third world countries. And he had feeding programs in all these places. And it was just amazing what God did through this one man.
Yet if J.L. was standing here tonight, he would say he was just doing his duty. He would say at best, I'm an unworthy servant. And that's the way we should live the Christian life. We are unworthy servants who don't deserve grace and mercy, but God, like that song we sang tonight, has washed all our guilty stains away.
Isn't that great? Alright, here's truth number five. True faith brings salvation. I want you to look at verses 11-19 and this will be the last truth that we look at tonight due to time. Verse 11 says, Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. And they stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, Jesus, Master, have pity on us. And when he saw them, he said, Go, show yourselves to the priest. And then as they went, they were what?
Cleansed. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back praising God in a loud voice. And he threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked Him. And he was what? A Samaritan. And Jesus then asked, he said, Well, we're not all ten cleansed.
We're the other nine. Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner? Then he said something very important to him.
Rise and go. Your faith has made you well. Now, I think by including this event, again, remember Luke, not Luke. Yeah, Luke is trying to teach us truths that we can live by if we want to live a life pleasing to God.
And so I believe Luke, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, put this story in here to tell us a truth about gratitude. And in this story, we learn about ten lepers. And you probably know this, but as lepers, they were ostracized from everyone. In fact, they had to live outside the city in a leper colony or leper camp. And they were required that they could not come within a certain distance of anyone.
I think it was about a hundred feet. And as they came near people, they had to cry out, Unclean, unclean. However, if a leper happened to be cured somehow, Jesus tells, Jesus, they were to go at that point and present themselves to the priest to be cleansed and to be declared clean. But you didn't go to a priest until you were healed. And this is where Jesus tells us in this story. He tells the ten to go and present themselves to the priest before they were healed. And I'm sure those lepers were probably thinking, well, I still have leprosy. We weren't supposed to go until we had been healed. Yet what did they do? They immediately went. And as they were going, they had enough faith to be healed and they were healed.
This is why when the story takes a surprising twist. Only one, the Samaritan, the one who was probably considered the most unclean, actually returned to Jesus to praise God that he had been healed of this dreadful disease. And because of his faith, he was what? He was saved.
I want you to notice again that it says, Rise and go. Your faith has made you well. This is salvation faith.
And this is the evidence that we see here. This is what it means to have true saving faith. When you recognize that you have been healed of your sins and you go to Jesus and you thank Him. That's an acknowledgment that you know Him, that you love Him, and that you are to walk with Him.
True faith in Jesus Christ and His death on the cross, men always lead to salvation. Now, before we are too critical of the nine who do not return to thank God, we need to take a look in the mirror. How often do we forget to thank God for all the blessings that He provides for us in this life? How often do we lose our pride and be willing to cry out, Jesus have pity on me?
Because after all men, we're all lepers, are we not? Before God. How often do we remember to pray, but not to praise?
I know I'm convicted. Romans 1.21 says, For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God, nor gave thanks to Him. First, and that's the picture of the world. People just go about every day, circulating all the blessings that God has given them, have a meal, never did they thank God. First Thessalonians 5.18 says, In everything give thanks, because this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
So what does that take away? Even when we're going through difficult trials, we should give thanks with a grateful heart. And I know this can be very difficult. Again, this is why we need the indwelling Holy Spirit to give us the power to have gratitude, even when we're going through a trial. So do you have that attitude?
Do you have an attitude of gratitude? Being a Christian is not about being religious, but about having a dynamic, alive relationship with Jesus Christ. You've been listening to Finding Purpose with Pastor Russ Andrews, glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. You can discover more about finding your purpose in life by checking out the resources at findingpurpose.net or connect to Finding Purpose on Facebook. Pastor Russ would also like to extend a special invitation for you to join him and over 300 other local men to study God's Word together every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in downtown Raleigh. Find out more at findingpurpose.net. .
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