Sunday School Material 5-1-16: Increased Faith

(Luke 17:1-10; 5/1/16)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that Jesus teaches about not being a source of trouble, forgiving others, being faithful, and being dutiful. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to work living by these lessons.

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Read Luke 17:1-4

I. Protecting and Forgiving. In today’s Sunday School material Jesus talks to His disciples about the danger of causing His people to stumble. On one hand, stumbling will happen.

But on the other hand, those who case stumbling would be in a better situation, if they were drowned in the sea. Jesus talks about rebuking those who sin against you and forgiving those who repent.

Applications –

- Discipleship. Notice in vs. 1 that Jesus is talking to His disciples. If you were there, would Jesus had been talking to you? Let’s make sure that we are disciples/followers of Christ.

Discipleship includes a minimum of making sure that we are saved by faith in Christ and that we are studying, serving, and giving. But it grows to lives that are focused on loving God and others, as we love ourselves.

- Stumbling blocks. Notice in vs. 1 that “things that cause people to stumble are bound to come.” As disciples of Christ, we should not be shocked when troubles come into our lives.

Discipleship does a better job of empowering us to deal with our troubles than it does with eliminating our troubles. Let’s work on be prepared to face the troubles that come into our lives.

- Woe unto trouble makers. Notice in vss. 1-2 of our Sunday School material that there is a “woe” or warning for those who are the source of stumbling or trouble. It would be better to experience a terrible drowning than to be the source of stumbling for God’s people.

First, obviously we should make sure that we are not causing trouble for God’s people. What we say and do to God’s people, we say and do to God. Second, it is good to know that those who cause the people of God trouble will be dealt with.

God sees who does what and will see to it that everyone gets what they deserve. So don’t stress about those who have caused you trouble. Let’s work on making sure that we don’t cause trouble for God’s people and that we trust God to handle those who do.

- Being forgiving. Notice in vs. 3 that Jesus teaches how to handle those who have sinned against us. As those who are offended, we are called to rebuke those who offended us and forgive them when they repent, no matter how many times they repent.

First, we must make sure that we don’t allow ourselves to simply nurse a grudge. If we have been offended, the text teaches us to rebuke the offender. This includes at least telling the person that we are offended.

Second, if the person repents or at least say that they do, we are called to forgive. To forgive means that we don’t hold it against them. We should not bring it up again.

Third, this text doesn’t speak to what we should do, when a person offends us and refuses to repent, after we confront them. The Pastor urges us to forgive them, not for their sake, but for our own sake. Holding on to the hurt feelings is unprofitable for us.

The more we forgive them, the more God forgives us, and the more likely it is that God will handle them (see Rom. 12:17-21). Let’s work on being forgiving disciples.

Read Luke 17:5-10

II. Growing and Serving. In response to the Apostles asking for increased faith, Jesus talks about the power of having faith the size of a mustard seed. In our Sunday School material Jesus then talks about being dutiful. Servants should serve without the expectation of fanfare.

Applications –

- Faith development. Notice in vs. 6 that just a little faith can do great things. Therefore, we should work on developing our faith. Prayerfully studying and obeying God’s word with the support of other disciples is a great way of growing our faith (e.g., growth groups). Let’s work on our faith development.

- Being dutiful. Notice in vss. 7-10 that dutifulness is important. Just as the servant in the Sunday School material was expected to carry out his/her duty without fanfare, we are called to do the same.

There are too many who resent being compared to a servant and resent even more being held accountable for humble and excellent service. There are too many who expect too much praise for doing what is expected of them.

And often times, they expect praise from fellow servants. Let’s work on being dutiful to God. Serving the Lord pays off.

Conclusion: Let’s work on avoiding being a source of trouble, forgiving others, being faithful, and being dutiful. God has much for those who obey His will.

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