June 18, 2017

Without the Powerful Juice for Life Called Prayer We Will All Crash

Luke 18:1-8 (NASB)

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?”

There is no record of Jesus ever teaching His disciples how to preach. Yet, the Scripture tells us many times that Christ taught His disciples how to pray. Not everyone is called to preach, but we are all called to pray.

  1. The stated purpose of this parable is an encouragement to always pray and never give up.
    “Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (v. 1). The best teachers are practitioners. The Air Force understands this. That is why those of you who are instructor pilots must first know how to fly. It is one thing to tell someone how to do something, but something altogether different to do it yourself. Jesus began “to do and to teach”.
    1. The fact that we pray is important to the Lord.
      If the Lord loves prayer and tells you parables to induce you to pray, then the devil hates prayer. “The one concern of the devil is to keep the saints from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, prayerless religion, prayerless preaching, prayerless witnessing. He laughs at our toil. He mocks at our wisdom. But he trembles when we pray.” Samuel Chadwick.
    2. Our prayers vocalize our dependence upon the Lord.
      The simplest definition of prayer I can give: Prayer is my vocalization of dependence upon God. God is honored by those who trust Him. In the Old Testament, priests could not approach Him with sweat on their brow. Sweat is a stain of human effort, sufficiency and ultimately of pride. The first time “sweat” is mentioned is in association with the curse. “From the sweat of the brow.” Prayer is to be unceasing because our dependence on God is unceasing. Our perfunctory prayers in church prove prayer is misunderstood. We pray, but we think everything depends on others.
    3. Our persistency in prayer is a sign of our absolute dependence on the Lord.
      When we knock on the door of heaven it is with the belief we have no hope but from heaven.

  2. The strange persons of this parable illustrate the need for persistent, unceasing prayer.
    There are two persons Jesus mentions in this parable: 1. An unjust judge, and 2. A persistent widow.
    1. The unjust judge
      Alfred Edersheim says that this judge was a municipal judge, a judge that was appointed by the Romans. This judge had a character that was devoid of all good. The Bible says here in verse 4 that he said to himself, "I do not care what God thinks, and I do not regard the opinions of man."
    2. The persistent widow
      We do not know what happened to this widow. We do not know the wrong that was done to her. All we know is, she knew she was wronged and she needed something done, so she kept coming. Imagine the scene in the courtroom: “Who is that woman?” “What’s she wanting?” “Get her out of here!” “I’ve got more important matters.” “What?” “She’s back again?” “And Again?”

  3. The sure promise this parable contains for those who come before the Lord in persistent prayer.
    Jesus says in v. 7 "Shall not God avenge His own elect?" Edersheim himself tells us that this wording is the wording of contrast and comparison, so that you could literally translate it like this: "How much more shall God avenge His elect? How much more shall God answer the prayers of His people?”
    1. The unjust judge has no pity; the just Judge is full of compassion.
    2. The widow is a stranger to the judge; you are God’s elect, His family.
    3. The unjust judge was under no obligation; God has placed Himself under a covenant of aid.
      “How much more will the just Judge answer your continual prayers from which you never give up?”

You can view the video for this sermon HERE.