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LUKE - Christ, the Savior of the World
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to Luke


24. Christ's Discourse with His Disciples (Luke 17:1-10)

LUKE 17:01-3a
1 Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. 3 Take heed to yourselves.”

O Lord, your word breaks the rock like a hammer, and divides our innermost self like a sword. The world is full of evil, and every evil one causes hatred. Lust excites lust, covetousness makes people desire wealth, and revenge is carried out by a series of retaliations. Christ said: “It is impossible but that offenses will come, for the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one, and men are drunk with the evil spirit. He who continues in the spirit of self-love hurts others through his bad example and unclean works. He does not help them towards salvation and purity, but corrupts them, while condemnation lies in wait for him. By way of explanation for the punishment prepared for such a man after his death, Christ states that it is more terrible than hanging a millstone about his neck, and casting him into the sea.

All children bear within themselves the inheritance of evil and inclination to sin. But woe to him who wakes these motives in them, and causes them to sin by lying, cursing, anger, impurity, prostitution, robbery, hardheartedness, and all that is evil in the eyes of the Lord. Woe to us parents, if we are not holy and humble examples to our children. Woe to every responsible adult who does not walk cleanly and brokenly before God, contaminating those around him. Did you notice how Christ portrayed in his words the condemnation against you?

LUKE 17:03b-04
3 “If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”

Do you long for your pride to be broken by Christ’s grace, and to serve him by his Holy Spirit? Then warn every brother in Spirit who is about to commit a sin not to fall into it. Remember that you are originally a sinner, but God gave you the gift of justification. If one of your relatives or co-workers did evil to you, pray immediately to God to change his heart and enlighten his mind that he may feel sorrow and repent. Forgive him who repents completely, even if he showed but a simple indication of regret about his action. It is good that you beg his pardon first, for you are no better than he is, especially if you are engaged in the problem. You are not perfect. So bow first in Spirit, ask your enemy’s pardon not up to seven times a day, but up to seventy times seven. Forgive him even more times if you noticed his regret for his evil work. Do not hate him at all, even if he did not repent, but love and pray for him that you may become a fountain of blessing in the midst of hatred and evil.

LUKE 17:05-06
5 And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” 6 So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

When the Pharisees heard the new law of the love of Christ, they became silent and could not bring any proof against the teaching of the Son of God, for the new law with regard to the old law is as far as heaven above the earth. But the apostles asked Christ with trembling, “O Lord, increase our faith, and give us a working faith in love, which does not neglect the good, and does not cause offenses, but forgives as God does.” Then Christ answered them calming their trembling hearts, “If you have very little faith, you can do impossible things. You can say to the fruitless mulberry tree, which is like the Jewish people, ‘Be pulled up by the roots,’ through the testimony of your faith, and then carry it to the sea of nations that it may bear fruit in this sea, the fruit which was not produced on good earth.” The apostles’ though became frozen with astonishment. They did not understand what Christ meant, nor did they realize the aim of every true faith. So Christ had to make them understand that salvation is not limited to them, but is also given to every man who believes in him. Today, the Holy Spirit leads us to missionary prayer and service in testimony that the sea of nations may be filled with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, and many people may bear fruit, which the Jews should have borne if they had confessed Jesus, and accepted the message of the gospel.

Are you a believer? If so, then lift up the prayer of faith to your heavenly Father, and ask him to plant his eternal life in the wilderness of your surroundings. This is impossible for the human mind, but is possible with God. Pray and do not doubt, for Christ intercedes, that faithful prayer may avail much. Then you will see how the love of the Father is poured into the hearts of the repentant, and they become filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit, not causing offenses, but forgiving their enemies’ iniquities at all times.

LUKE 17:07-10
7 “And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? 8 But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. 10 So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was out duty to do.’”

Our striving for faith and struggle in preaching entail great exertion and pains. They also require our complete dedication. Thus you are like the plowman who turns up the earth, and the shepherd who tends his flock. Likewise the servants of the Lord must preach his kingdom, keeping in mind that they are unprofitable, but their Lord is the source of power, whom they serve as servants of his love. Their work on earth is not limited to time and hours, but their service is giving thanks for Golgotha. Their Lord does not have to thank them for their services, or give them a precious reward, for their service is in thanksgiving and worship for the grace which they have received freely. The best of them confess without hypocrisy that all their services are nothing, and that they themselves are unprofitable servants. Their Lord is the only Savior, and they are but his followers. Faithful servants are qualified to say this word of humility if they completed all the duties commanded by the Lord. Yet we who do less than we are commanded to do are less than unprofitable servants. As servants of the Lord we need to be broken daily, lest we consider ourselves worthy. Our privilege is the right to serve Him who by his grace forgave our sins after we had confessed them.

PRAYER: O Lord, you are the Holy and Perfect One in love and truth. Your judgment is just, and my faith is weak. Thank you for your love at work in my heart. I ask that many of our brothers may seek forgiveness, peace and humility. Please fill us with your love. Amen.

QUESTION 106: How did Jesus confront his followers that they might confess they were unprofitable servants?


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