Being Salt and Light in Ocean View, HI

Luke 17:1-19

Good morning brothers and sisters aloha i’m alan and welcome once again to oceanview baptist church before we get started i just have a couple of quick announcements to make but first of all we want to say thank you to our heavenly father for his guidance on the direction of our church and we give him all of the praise and glory so number one our transitional leadership team has hit the ground running as they have taken on several important administrative tasks such as the church organizational responsibilities governing document clarifications and financial administration just to name a few number two we are planning to have a business meeting on may 17 at 3 30 pm via zoom to elect church officers such as clerk and trustees if you would like to join us please contact ovbc number three the building committee is pleased to report that on saturday april 25th much of the pavilion repairs were finished by the dedicated help of several of the men of our church who put in their time talent and tools to see it done additionally our required site drainage study for the new church construction has been completed and submitted by aina engineers opona hawaii as a reminder please don’t forget to catch brother bob’s wednesday evening devotionals at 7 p.m hawaii time okay let’s get started briefly i’d like for you to recall brother nate’s sermon from last sunday where he preached on the last of chapter 16 in the book of luke he told us about the rich man and lazarus that lazarus was so poor he would look for crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table eventually they both passed away but when the rich man who was burning in terrible torment looked up from hell he saw lazarus in the bosom of abraham and so it ends obviously with the table’s turn and with the realization that the rich man had everything he wanted while he was alive but lazarus had nothing and had suffered all of his life yet he ends up in heaven’s comfort the rich man wanted his relatives to not make the same mistake he did and end up in hell like him so he begged abraham but abraham just left him with the truth that his relatives have moses and the prophets to listen to but if they won’t believe them then they won’t even believe someone who rises from the dead so it is that they will be doomed by their own disbeliefs and sinful actions now with today’s sermon we continue in the book of luke chapter 17 verses 1 through 21 where jesus is teaching his disciples about stumbling blocks the mustard seed and lepers cleansed stories that are about sin and forgiveness and about faith and service we start out with our lord speaking to the disciples about stumbling blocks laid before us in verses 1 and 2 he said to his disciples it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come but woe to him through whom they come it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea then that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble the stumbling blocks our lord is speaking of are false teachings and the temptations of sin through whom they come there’s a reference to anyone who would cause someone else to follow the wrong gospel or to sin particularly new and in experienced believers in the same reference that jesus is making here is also written down in scripture elsewhere like in matthew chapter 18 verse 6 where jesus says but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea and again in mark chapter 9 verse 42 when he says whoever causes one of these little ones who believed to stumble it would be better for him if with a heavy millstone hung around his neck he had been cast into the sea see how important this is jesus refers to the little ones as those who are immature believers and he is pointing out that if someone were to cause one of these little ones to stumble and sin then they would be better off tying a huge grinding stone to their necks and drowning themselves because there will be hell to pay but it also means that we should never be a stumbling block to others jesus says in verses three and four be on your guard if your brother sins rebuke him and if he repents forgive him and if he sins against you seven times a day and returns to you seven times saying i repent forgive him our lord is now teaching his disciples and us about forgiveness he is instructing us to forgive others who have sinned and repented and that this is not up for debate it is his commandment further he’s telling us that our forgiveness needs to be abundant for if we are abundant in our forgiveness we will receive divine forgiveness in abundance scripture says in matthew chapter 18 verses 21 and 22 then peter came and said to him lord how often shall my brother sin against me and i forgive him up to seven times jesus said to him i did not say to you up to seven times but up to seventy times seven another reference to this teaching is stated in luke chapter 6 verse 37 do not judge and you will not be judged and do not condemn and you will not be condemned pardon and you will be pardoned brothers and sisters forgiveness is one of the greatest teachings that our lord gave to us it’s a powerful and joyful gift but when we forgive someone we grant ourselves the power to be forgiven and we grant ourselves a joy that fills us with freedom and love a freedom from the heaviness of our burdens and the love of others that god divinely rewards us with as we continue jesus now tells us about faith in verse 5 the apostle said to the lord increase our faith and 6 the lord said if you had faith like a mustard seed you would say to this mulberry tree be uprooted and be planted in the sea and it would obey you jesus parallels his reference to the power of faith in matthew chapter 17 verse 20 and he said to them because of the littleness of your faith for truly i say to you if you have faith the size of a mustard seed you will say to this mountain move from here to there and it will move and nothing will be impossible to you you see my friends in these particular scriptures jesus is using a tiny seed to make his point a tiny tiny seed that can grow into a huge 10-foot high bush he is pointing out that it is our faith that will strengthen and sustain us he is saying that if we had enough faith even as little as a mustard seed we would have the spiritual strength to overcome the trials of life that it is our own lack of faith that limits us that if we are weak in our faith then we are the ones that are holding ourselves back let’s move on verses seven and eight which of you having a slave plowing or tending sheep will say to him when he has come in from the field come immediately and sit down to eat but will he not say to him prepare something for me to eat and probably and properly clothe yourself and serve me while i eat and drink and afterward you may eat and drink here jesus is teaching about servitude he’s showing us how a master in those days treated their slaves and he is also pointing out just how the pharisees treated their slaves so jesus continues in verses 9 and 10 he does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded does he so you too when you do all the things commanded you say we are worthy we are unworthy slaves we have done only that which we ought to have done in these verses jesus is encouraging his disciples and us to act as humble servants to god and to others to give more of ourselves than what is expected of us and by doing so we will please and glorify our heavenly father as we move on in today’s scripture we learn of the cleansing of the ten lepers now keep in mind that jesus is still traveling in his ministry around the territory when he encounters a particular group of lepers let’s take a look at these next three verses 11 12 and 13. and it happened that while traveling toward jerusalem he was passing through the region between samaria and galilee and as he was entering into a certain village ten men met him lepers who stood at a distance and they raised their voices saying jesus master have mercy on us although they had kept their distance which was required of lepers back then it’s obvious however that they recognize our lord because they call them by his name jesus and by using the word master and asking for his mercy it shows they absolutely knew who he was and they knew of the miracles he was capable of leprosy also called hanson’s disease is a debilitating sickness that attacks the skin and nerve tissue and if left untreated causes severe blisters and ulcers on the skin that deteriorates the tissue causing a numbness or reduced sensation to touch it can cause blindness and weakness in the hands and feet among other symptoms which can eventually lead to an early death today leprosy is curable but in jesus day it was more likely that a leper would be publicly ostracized and would suffer with the disease until they die let’s continue as jesus had just been hailed by the lepers in verse 14 when he saw them he said to them go and show yourselves to the priests and as they were going they were cleansed scripture says that jesus showed his mercy to others afflicted with leprosy as well and that the custom of showing their selves to the priest and also making an offering for healing dated back to the time of moses for example it says in luke chapter 5 verses 12 to 14. he was in one of the cities behold there was a man covered with leprosy and when he saw jesus he fell on his face and implored him saying lord if you are willing you can make me clean and he stretched out his hand and touched him saying i am willing be cleansed and immediately the leprosy left him and he ordered him to tell no one but go and show yourself to the priest and make an offering for your cleansing just as moses commanded as a testimony to them this brings us to verse 15 and 16 now one of them when he saw that he had been healed turned back glorifying god with a loud voice and he fell on his face at his feet giving thanks to him and he was a samaritan you see brothers and sisters jesus had mercy on all 10 of them but it was only one of them who showed faith and gratitude for having been healed by being unashamed and boisterous in his praise of the father continuing on with verses 17 and 18. then jesus answered and said were there not ten cleansed but the nine where are they was no one found who returned to give glory to god except this foreigner jesus is likely showing us that man’s nature is to expect more than we deserve and not show gratitude for what we have been so graciously given folks you know how important it is to have good health which seems all too noticeable especially now during our current coronavirus crisis and here in scripture is a perfect example of someone being given such a wondrous precious gift and taking it for granted then as we look at our very next verse jesus after scolding those who did not show gratitude and glorified god for being cleansed speaks to the man lying there at his feet in verse 19 and he said to him stand up and go your faith has made you well this account that someone’s faith has healed them was demonstrated numerous times by jesus as he traveled throughout the land healing many of their afflictions such as in luke chapter 18 verse 42 where we see that poor bartimaeus was a blind beggar so as our lord is approaching jericho bartimaeus heard the noise of the crowd and asked who it was when he found out that it was jesus he shouted out to him and asked him to have mercy when jesus asked him what he wanted he simply said that he wanted his sight restored this account that someone’s faith has healed them was demonstrated numerous times by jesus as he traveled throughout the land healing many of their afflictions such as in luke chapter 18 verse 42 where we see that poor bartimaeus was a blind beggar so as our lord is approaching jericho bartimaeus heard the noise from the crowd and asked about who it was when he found out that it was jesus he shouted out to him and asked him to have mercy when jesus asked him what he wanted he simply said that he wanted his sight restored and jesus said to him receive your sight your faith has made you well or in mark chapter 5 verse 34 where there was a woman who had hemorrhaged and suffered for 12 long years but she believed that if she touched our lord’s cloak as he was passing through the village she would be cured afterward knowing that he had been touched jesus turned around and spoke to her and he said to her daughter your faith has made you well go in peace and be healed of your affliction my friends this is exactly why we need to have faith and we need to strengthen our faith and maintain it daily faith is the power tool in the believer’s toolbox and you must take care of it now as we come to the last two verses in this sermon today we see that the pharisees are being their usual selves badgering our lord jesus with their never-ending questions so it says here in verse 20 21 now having been questioned by the pharisees as to when the kingdom of god was coming he answered them and said the kingdom of god is not coming with signs to be observed nor will they say look here it is or there it is for behold the kingdom of god is in your midst in these particular verses the pharisees are most likely imagining a kingdom of political and military strength that could overthrow the romans in judea they are looking for signs such as acts of worldly power but the kingdom of god is in your midst is referring to the ministry of jesus as mentioned fittingly in verses like luke chapter 11 verse 20. but if i cast out demons by the finger of god then the kingdom of god has come upon you and almost mirroring that is what jesus says in matthew chapter 12 verse 28 but if i cast out demons by the spirit of god then the kingdom of god has come upon you our lord jesus is surely giving them a peek at what they should be seeing but they are blinded by their traditional jewish beliefs and customs the kingdom of god is before them and they can’t see it so in these last two verses jesus is likely referring to god’s kingdom arriving in ways that are not readily apparent and it certainly was not what the pharisees had expected to see you know brothers and sisters as christians we are so very blessed but sometimes like the pharisees we are blinded by the harsh traps of daily life like the desire for the worldly possessions that exist before our very eyes believers have an extraordinary chance to become a part of the kingdom of god and our view of his kingdom is one not blinded by strange beliefs and customs we know who jesus is and we know that our lord the son of man will return but we must strengthen our faith daily by praying and walking in the ways of christ and you need to look in the mirror at home and see yourself as a believer in jesus someone who serves others humbly someone who loves others wholeheartedly someone who sees their self as a part of the kingdom of god someone worthy to sing his praise alongside the angels of heaven now if you will join me in closing with a prayer gracious and loving father we thank you for your many wondrous gifts thank you for this breath of life help us to walk proudly in the way you have made for us help us to be a more humble and worthy servant and help us to strengthen our faith daily as we pray these things in the name of our lord and savior jesus christ amen



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