The Power of Persistent Faith | Luke 18:1-8

The Power of Persistent Faith | Luke 18:1-8

Introduction

Please stand for the reading of God’s Word

Luke 18:1-8 ESV  And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.  (2)  He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man.  (3)  And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’  (4)  For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man,  (5)  yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’”  (6)  And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says.  (7)  And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?  (8)  I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

You may be seated

  • What we have here, church, is a parable sandwiched in between two very powerful and important theological statements…
    • The first statement that Jesus makes is this: You ought to pray and not lose heart.
    • The second statement, or question rather, is : When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?
  • Now to explain these two statements Jesus uses the parable of the persistent widow. It is with that parable, that lens that we are going to look at these two statements…
    • And as we do so I think just maybe you might gain some incredibly powerful, and effective faith and prayer.
      • Somebody say “powerful”
      • Somebody say “effective”
      • Y’all want a prayer life that is powerful and effective?
      • Y’all want faith that is powerful and effective?
    • Then this sermon is for you!

Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray

  • Now before we get into dissecting these two points I want to quickly recap this very simple and relatable parable…
    • Remember two things as we go into this… first: a parable is a simple word picture… a story intended to take real world situations that we can relate with to explain heavenly concepts that we can’t immediately relate with.
    • That’s what a parable is… just like we tell stories to children with a good moral at the end to explain things in ways that kids understand.
    • Second, understand that this particular parable was given in Jesus sermon about the first and second coming…
      • There is context here, amen>?
      • And that’s one of the beautiful things of preaching through scripture verse by verse and line by line… we get the full understanding of that context…
  • So in that context Jesus tells this very relatable parable…
    • There was a widow who was wronged but the judge didn’t care to hear her story… he didn’t want to waste his time with her…
      • So she persisted… day by day she showed up to court! She was passionated, she pleaded… HEAR MY CASE.
      • Maybe she found out where he liked to eat lunch and would beg him while he was eating…
      • Maybe she would stay there all day, begging and pleading her case every chance she got.
    • Now this judge was an evil man… he KNEW she had been wronged and deserved justice… but she was just a poor little ol widow, helping her wouldn’t help his career… he wouldn’t get any fame for it… and frankly he probably just didn’t want to deal with the paper work.
    • BUT THE WIDOW WAS MORE PASSIONATE THAN THE JUDGE WAS LAZY.
    • THE WIDOW WASD MORE PERSESTANT THAT THE JUDGE WAS UNJUST!
    • And after days and weeks of her pleading finaly the judge was DONE!
      • He heard her case and ruled in her favor just to get rid of the annoying pest.
  • That is the story Jesus presents…
    • And it is one we can all relate to. We have seen situations like this in real life…
  • But Jesus says… there is a difference in our understanding of this and heavenly truth…
    • Because this example uses an unjust judge… BUT GOD IS A JUST JUDGE.
    • Therefore if we could be as persistent and passionate in our appeals to God, then how much more will he answer our prayers?! Amen?
  • That brings me to point one this morning, pray and don’t lose heart.

Point One – Pray and don’t lose heart!

Luke 18:1 ESV  And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.

James 5:16 ESV  Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

  • What if God’s people prayed with such passion and fervency as this widow had with the Judge?
    • What if we all had that passion and persistence…
  • Now before I get too far into this point, I want to point something out… I want to make sure we all stay on track here, ok?
    • The persistent widow was seeking JUSTICE not self gain…
      • Let me say that again… the persistent widow was seeking Justice not Self Gain.
    • Don’t take this message and think that you can pray for sinful things, ungodly or unbiblical things and God will give them to you if you persist enough…
  • The prosperity Gospel teaches “Ask whatever you want of God and if you have faith God will grant it”
    • Here is how scripture responds to such foolishness…

James 4:2-4 ESV  You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.  (3)  You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.  (4)  You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

  • So we can’t be asking for worldly things and expect God to answer if we are persistent enough… because asking passionately for worldly gain makes you an enemy of God! That’s what this says…
  • BUT! The prayer of a RIGHTEOUS man has great power in it’s working.
    • Listen, I don’t want to teach you this morning… I don’t want to dig into this scripture too much this morning… because I think the parable holds up wonderfully today… I think we can all understand it… instead I want to encourage you.
  • 5 years ago, Superbowl Sunday, I had the pleasure of meeting a baby named Judah… at the time we all just thought he was a very chill baby, he liked to lay on the ground next to Ezra who was just a month old or so.
    • But soon heartbreak started coming from the diagnoses of doctor and specialists…
      • Judah has a very rare genetic disorder.
      • Judah may never walk again.
      • Judah may never speak.
      • Prognoses after prognoses things got worse and worse.
    • So we began praying… and praying… and praying…
      • The first testimony came, I remember hearing it when we were having church in the sanctuary…
        • Judah would live! PRAISE GOD! This disease would NOT be terminal…
    • After that testimony Amanda and I began praying every single night… every night… that Judah would walk.
      • FOR YEARS WE PRAYED THIS.
      • I even quoted the parable of the persistent widow in my prayers… you know, just in case God forgot, I guess… lol
      • And I have to admit… we almost lost heart… but then something would happen and we would get re-fired up…
      • The end of that story is that we don’t pray that Judah would walk anymore… WHY? BECAUSE THE YOUNG MAN WALKS AND RUNS NOW!
        • Take that doctors! What you know about my Jesus?!
  • One more example… this building we are in right now is the result of God answering persistent prayers…
    • We prayed for the right building…
      • We found it.
    • We prayed for the right price…
      • We got it.
    • We prayed for the down payment…
      • God raised it.
    • Then things fell apart… we were devastated.
    • BUT YOU KNOW WHAT… My spirit never sat right… my spirit told me something was wrong… my spirit told me to keep fighting!
      • DON’T LOSE HEART CHURCH! When your Spirit says fight then YOU FIGHT! Amen?!
    • After a couple months of prayer mixed with depression, stress, and anxiety… my spirit kept stirring…
      • SO I reached back out to my realtor… and found a closed door… it seemed like from his perspective there was no hope.
    • But my spirit kept stirring…

PAUSE PAUSE PAUSE

  • This brings me to my next point… HAVE THE FAITH THAT JESUS WANTS TO FIND

Point Two – Have the faith that Jesus want’s to find!

Luke 18:8 ESV  I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

  • Remember… this parable is in the same sermon about Jesus’ first and second coming… So Jesus is saying… while you wait for me to return… this is the faith that you should have… you should have the same kind of faith as this widow…
    • While we passionately await for Jesus, the Son of Man, to come back… we should have this kind of faith. PERSESTANT FAITH.
  • But when the Son of Man comes will he find faith on earth…
  • I have one more verse I want to add to this…

James 2:14-17 ESV  What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?  (15)  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,  (16)  and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?  (17)  So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

  • FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD!
    • Listen, the persistent widow had to DO something!
      • Her being passionate about her unjustice was not enough.
      • She had to do something with that passion…\
        • She had to wake up morning after morning.
        • She had to get to the court house every day.
        • She had to give her plea time and time again.
        • She had to deal with the scorn of the court employees who were tired of seeing here and hearing her…
        • BUT SHE KEEPT DOING! Her passion was paired with her action.
    • Faith without works is dead!
      • Peter had the faith to cry out to Jesus “If that is you tell me to step out of the boat”.
        • Jesus said “It is me, step out”.
        • AND THEN PETER HAD TO DO SOMETHING! HE HAD TO ACTUALLY STEP OUT OF THE BOAT.
      • Paul and Silas were in Prison, the doors opened… but the still had to step out of their cell.
    • Some of y’all are so close… the doors of your prison have been opened… you just need to step out!
    • The water is ready to hold up your weight… Jesus is there calling you… but you still stuck in the boat because you won’t pair your passion with your action!
  • Faith without works is DEAD!
  • Back to my story…
    • I was heartbroken and sick that the deal with the building feel through…
      • We thought “Maybe God has just closed this door”…
      • We looked at other buildings… we talked to many more realtors…
      • Dead end after dead end…
      • We prayed and we prayed and we prayed… and every time we prayed my spirit would yearn for this very building…
  • And finally enough was enough… it was time to pair my passion with my action.
    • I called the city assessor… I needed to find out who owned the building…
    • The lady who answered the phone was so kind… she looked up the owner… but it was a company name… no website… no phone number… no owner name…
    • I stated to feel deflated once again…
    • But she said, hold own… let me see who owns the building at this mailing address…
    • She looked it up and found a name… she said “I recognize this name… I think he is a lawyer!” she googled it and found his number!
    • I called the number and talked to the lawyer… he didn’t own the building but represented the man who does…
      • He was so nice, we talked and he encouraged me… he helped set up a meet up.
    • I meet with the owner, right here… and long story short, after that meeting I left with a key to the building in my pocket!
  • You see we had the passion to pray persistently for this building… then  we paired that passion with action.
  • DON’T TELL ME YOU HAVE FAITH THAT A BRIDGE WILL HOLD YOU UP BUT THEN REFUSE TO CROSS THE BRIDGE… THAT’S NOT FAITH, THAT’S SUSPECION…
    • Oh yeah, I have faith this bridge would hold my weight…
    • Really? Then cross it!
    • Uh… no, I am good… I am going to stay here where it is safe…
    • WHAT?! YOU SAID YOU BELIEVE IT WILL HOLD YOU UP! YOU DON’T HAVE FAITH IN THAT BRIDGE… YOU SIMPLY SUSPECT THAT BRIDGE WILL HOLD YOU UP!
    • FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD… IN OTHER WORDS FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS NOT REALLY FAITH AT ALL!

Conclusion

  • Here is the encouragement for you today… never give up fighting the good fight… never give up praying for what you know is God’s will… never give up praying for the things of God… be passionate and don’t lose heart… we serve a God who answers prayer!
  • And second… when Jesus comes back, let Him find faith at CLC! Amen?!
    • Let Him find real, active faith! The faith that moves mountains! The faith that saves tribes, nations, and tongues!
    • The faith that glorifies God and blesses His people!
  • Let Jesus find, deep, alive, passionate faith!

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