Monday, April 25, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Persistent Prayer, Person, Promises

On Sunday April 3rd I had the opportunity to preach at my home church, Lawton Evangelical Mennonite Church. I was asked to share from Luke 18:1-8, the parable of the persistent widow. I really enjoyed both preparing and delivering this message. As I re-visit it today, I am still challenged by the things the LORD taught me in this text.

You can listen to the message here. Below are some of the key thoughts that I hit on...

The Parable of the Persistent Widow
Luke 18:1-8

Persistent prayer is fueled by an ever-expanding view of the Person & Promises of God!

(1)The Need for Persistent Prayer

Widows were helpless and vulnerable…they were completely dependent on others for provision and protection!

“Prayer is the expression of man’s dependence upon God for all things.” - New Unger’s Bible Dictionary

Luke 18:1-8 = …there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him…yet because this widow keeps bothering me…so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming…

Luke 5:16-->Acts 1:14; Romans 12:12; Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:17

“A man should pray as often as he has an opportunity; should be constant and assiduous at the throne of grace, and continue putting up his request to God, though he does not presently return an answer.” - John Gill

(2)The Person & Promises of God

(a)His Compassion & Justice

Two of the key qualifications for a judge at that time were the fear of God and the love men!

“This parable is a standard Jewish “how much more” argument: If an unjust judge who cared not for widows can dispense justice, how much more will the righteous judge of all the earth, who was known as the defender of widows and orphans?” - Bible Background Commentary

Psalm 68:5 = Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in His holy habitation.

(b)His Coming Judgment
The Just Judge is coming back to judge the earth. Those of us who have believed on the Gospel should not fear His return, but rather long for his return. Maranatha!

Luke 18:8 = …when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?

Can you see the beauty of the Gospel in this parable?
We are like the widow: vulnerable, needy, helpless, dependent. We were oppressed by our sins, unable to save ourselves. We were dependent upon outside intervention! The Righteous Judge, the Just Judge intervened on our behalf in the person of Jesus Christ. We stood guilty before the Just Judge (for all have sinned and fall short), and God's justice demands that our sins are punished. If God doesn't punish sin, then He is not just. Christ took the penalty for our sins. He took the punishment that we deserved. Christ death satisfied the justice of God. His death on the cross and His resurrection are our source of hope! This work of redemption brought us back to God. We were fatherless, but He is now our Father. We were husband less, but we are now the bride of Christ. Christ is coming back, and because of the Gospel we can long for His return! So let's be steadfast in prayer and faithful service to the King until He comes back to get us!