Luke 17:1-10
Things That Really Matter (Part 1)

Intro: A young ENSIGN, was given the opportunity to display his capabilities at getting the ship under way. So w/ a stream of COMMANDS he had the DECKS buzzing w/ men & soon the ship was heading out to sea back toward the States.

He did so well that he established a new record for getting a DESTROYER under way & was not surprised when a seaman approached him w/ a message from the Captain.

However he was surprised though to learn that the message was a RADIO MESSAGE. & was even more Surprised to read this note from the Capt.

My personal Congratulations upon completing your underway preparation exercise according to the book & w/ amazing Speed. In your haste, however, you have overlooked one of the unwritten rules



In v. 1-10 of Luke ch. 17 we come to the end of a Sabbath day for Jesus that began in ch. 14

  1. Now although it was a Sabbath day it was a busy day for Jesus
  2. After teaching in the Synagogue / he confronted the Hypocrisy of the Pharisees at a Lunch after Church.
  1. That followed by Him - healing a man in need - Dropsy
  1. Then teaching the Crowd - that was outside / then speaking to the Religious rulers concerning ETERNAL RICHES

So after He has addressed the Pharisees, the religious rulers, the crowds, & now coming to the end of the day Jesus addresses His disciples

  1. As Jesus made His way to Jerusalem, He sought to prepare His disciples what He would suffer there.
  2. But He was also preparing them for the time when He would no longer be with them and they would be ministering to others in His place.
  1. It was a critical period in their lives.

In this chapter, Luke recorded 4 lessons that Jesus gave His disciples

A) Four related things/ 4 essentials of the Christian life:

v.1,2 Lesson on Offenses & Stumbling blocks

v.3,4 Lesson on FORGIVENESS

V. 5,6 Lesson on FAITH


17:1 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, & he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

  1. I want to TAKE THIS IN 2 PARTS - 1ST this phrase
  2. "It is impossible that no offenses should come,


    1) (Greek) (skandalizo) from Skandalon = offense.

  3. Signifies to put a snare or a stumbling block in the way, of someone

D) Jesus is saying :LISTEN It is IMPOSSIBLE to go through life without facing problems / DIFFICULTIES

There will ALWAYS be issues in your life that YOU won't be able to understand- Issues that have the potential for stumbling

  1. There will always be those things that will happen that will cause you to question God's love/ To think:
  2. 1) "If God loved me, THEN why is He letting this happen to me?"

  3. But Didn't Jesus say - In this WORLD YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE

TRIB. - Can't get away from that !!!!!

  1. Those who think that coming to Christ is going to mean the end of all of their PROBLEMS - are greatly MISTAKEN / MISLEAD

C) And As God is working in your life you are NOT going to understand HOW everything that takes place is WORKING according to His plan

  1. There will always be Issues that create potential STUMBLING

STONES along the path of OUR LIVES

D) But the Hope that we have is that Jesus Promises to be w/ us through those

times & in those situations

  1. Just as He was w/ Shad. .... In the fire Furnace / Daniel in the Lions Den / Israel when they passed through the Red Sea/ Joshua in the Battle /
  1. Paul & Silas in Prison / John when he was rejected & Banished to the Island Patmos - THE LORD WAS W/ HIM !!!!

David declared in Psa. 23

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

E) So FIRST - It is IMPOSSIBLE to live without offenses- but the Lord Promises to be there w/ us through them.

2ND - V.1b -but woe to him through whom they do come!

  1. WOEto the man who would DELIBERATELY stumble others
  1. Jesus says offenses will come - Just make sure you are not doing the offending / Make sure you are not the one Deliberately stumbling others
  1. Now most of the commentators seem to agree that - Jesus is speaking here about DELIBERATELY stumbling someone !!!!
  1. All of us have done things where we because we weren't thinking - or we were in the flesh etc. stumbled someone
  1. Those times are not what Jesus is talking about here - or else we would all be doomed.
  2. He is talking about those who DELIBERATELY reject or ignore the Word of God w/ not regard to OTHERS - DO OWN THING
  1. They live to Gratify their flesh - Living to Satisfy their Carnal Desires

And in doing so Stumble others - Jesus says WOE TO THEM.


"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.

A) But this is not the Woe! The Punishment is even more severe

1) this is the way of escaping the Woe -

B) Jesus is saying it would be better - for that person - to have a Huge

Millstone - tied around neck thrown into the Sea -

  1. than to experience the Punishment that AWAITS THOSE WHO CAUSE LITTLE ONES TO STUMBLE!!!!!
  1. LITTLE ONES - kids & or those YOUNG IN THE FAITH / Guys that is Heavy !! MOTIVATION FOR LIVING A HOLY LIFE !!!

Now I will probably get into some trouble for saying this - but it needs to be said - (Two front page articles N.C. times - new Church in S.M.

  1. It is ODD in itself that any News paper - would give front page space let alone do two ARTICLES on the starting of any NEW CHURCH
  2. Unless that Church had a PRACTICING HOMOSEXUAL for a Pastor - which this particular Church does. Lutheran Church
  3. Now this is a type of the Stumbling that Jesus was referring to / When these People / this man - DELIBERATELY ignore God's word
  1. Deliberately seek to ignore & to explain away - that Homosexuality is a Sin / it is a LIFE CHOICE / Romans Ch. 1 makes this very Clear
  1. Looked at that passage last week - Study pick up tape Romans 1:18-32
  1. Because they refused to acknowledge God - Glorify Him as God -

Which means I will live by your standards / not my own

  1. God gave them over to do that which is not natural / Unnatural

1) Not the way God intended. (Tapes on Rom. 1:18-32)

So Jesus says that there is a heavy judgement - in store for those who DELIBERATELY CAUSE OTHERS TO STUMBLE

FOR THAT REASON Jesus says in v. 3 "Take heed to yourselves.

  1. Or as Paul puts it in Eph. 5: 15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil
  2. MAKE SURE that you are not causing OTHERS TO STUMBLE
  3. Listen all of us have the opportunity to be STUMBLING BLOCKS or to BE STEPPING STONES - w/ our lives
  1. STEPPING STONES - that help others get closer to Christ / help others grow in their relationship w/ Christ
  1. Or STUMBLING BLOCKS - that drive others from wanting to Know or follow the Lord at all!!

Now at this point - Jesus seems to anticipate a question that might have been on the minds of the Disciples


B) Gives some Insights into FORGIVENESS / 2nd lesson

If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.

  1. "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."

C) NOTICE A FEW THINGS HERE : 1ST - If a brother or sister sins

against you - You are to go to them / not everybody else

  1. Notice Jesus says - REBUKE HIM - He doesn't say -SLANDER HIM / don't run around to others talking about him. You go to Him

Now this word REBUKE is an interesting Word

A) It means to judge, award, in the sense of a merited penalty

To reprove, to ADMONISH or charge SHARPLY

B) bUT rebuke also = to show or give honor to, - Which tells us that

the rebuke is to be firm but done in a Spirit of Love!!!

  1. Private Loving REBUKE

Now if he REPENTS FORGIVE HIM!!!! How ?

  1. Paul declared in Eph. 4: 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.
  2. How did Christ Forgive you? Completely - Forgiven & Forgotten
  3. Now that tells me how I am to forgive. Just as I have been forgiven by God

BUT HOW OFTEN AM I TO FORGIVE ? Remember when Peter asks that same question ? How many times 7 times - that enough ? 70x7

  1. In other words our forgiving is not to be a matter of Mathematics
  2. You just keep on forgiving as you have been forgiven
  3. Now doesn't it say that If He repents - And I know Repentance speaks of Change / so I only have to forgive if I see a Change in that Person.
  1. IS THAT RIGHT ? -
  1. Does that mean that I say that I will forgive you when I see that you have truly Changed ? Until then you are in the DOG HOUSE!
  1. Until then you are on THIN ICE !!!!!!!!

THINK ABOUT IT IN THIS WAY : God Because He is all knowing He knows our Hearts

  1. Nothing is hidden from Him - (Scary or comforting - where at)
  2. So if you come to the Lord confessing your sin - Confess = to say the same as - I recognize this is wrong a sin - I am sorry - want to Change
  1. Because He is all KNOWING & SEES YOUR HEART - He knows whether you are sincere or Not !!
  1. Knows if it is true Godly sorrow that Leads to Repentance Or just worldly

sorrow that says - "OOPS I GOT CAUGHT !!!!!"

  1. And His FFORGIVENESS will be Predicated upon your Sincerity !!!

D) Listen Close : Because He is ALL KNOWING - He has that Option!!

BUT WE DON'T - Guys look closely at what Jesus said in v. 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."

  1. Note this Jesus says if He comes back - 7 times in one day & SAYS I repent - I am to forgive him. He might just be saying
  1. He might not be sincere - but I don't know his heart - only God does
  1. Campell Morgan's insights here are good
  2. Better to secure the sanctity & the Beauty of our own Character by being ready to forgive seven times even though the man is not sincere, than by refusing forgiveness to a TRULY repentant soul, be in DANGER of putting a STUMBLING BLOCK IN HIS WAY.

  3. Pastor Chuck has his own variation of Morgan's words - he puts it

this way :

  1. If I am going to Err I would rather - Err on the SIDE OF GRACE !!!!

Remember - His mercies are New every morning !!!!

So even in the case of Possible Insincerity I am to Forgive - when my brother says he repents -

  1. Which means I am going to have to trust the Lord for my own heart & Vulnerabilities
  2. Wise as Serpents / harmless as Doves - Roommate Scenario - Steals your stuff - hocks it - Goes on Vacation (Comes back - I'm sorry lost head)
  1. I don't think the Lord would fault you for not wanting to be that persons roommate anymore
  1. I can forgive him - even though I don't trust him. Forgiveness is something we are to DISPENSE - TRUST is that which is Earned
  1. There is a Difference - shouldn't confuse
  1. I am to forgive - PERIOD - NO IF ANDS OR BUTS - even if I do think the APOLOGY - the Repentance was INSINCERE.
  2. In Fact Jesus took it one step further - on the Cross - There was an issue - not only of INSINCERETY BUT ALSO - HOSTILITY
  1. He said : Father - Forgive them - they know!!

Notice the Reaction of the Disciples v. 5 And the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith." Lord this is HARD

  1. This is CLASSIC:After hearing what Jesus is saying about forgiving - And I'm sure thinking even 7 times in one day - Lord this is HARD
  2. I can see myself FORGIVING ONCE OR TWICE / First time it was a MISTAKE / the 2nd time STUPIDITY
  1. But the 3rd time forget it - 3 STRIKES your out !!!
  1. But you are asking me to have an unlimited amount of Forgiveness toward my Brothers & Sisters in the Lord - Wow !!!!

So the Disciples respond - INCREASE OUR FAITH

A) We might have expected the disciples to respond with the prayer, "Increase our love!"

B) Certainly love is a key element in forgiveness, but faith is even more


  1. It takes living faith to obey these instructions and forgive others.

Wiersbe: Love motivates us to forgive, but faith activates that forgiveness so that God can use it to work blessings in the lives of His people.

  1. It takes faith to trust the Lord in that Situation to give me the Wisdom of How to go on !!!! Really forgive. Forget - Put feet to my faith !!!!

So the Disciples in essence are saying - Lord we hear what you are saying & we want to trust you in this area - where we are so Vulnerable


B) GUYS THAT IS a GREAT prayer/ Recognizing - that I can not do this

C) LISTEN We do NOT and CAN NOT generate faith

We MUST recognize that faith is something that God gives

Ro 10:17 So then faith [comes] by hearing, & hearing by the word of God.

Our obedience in forgiving others shows that we are trusting God to take care of the consequences, handle the possible misunderstandings, and work everything out for our good and His glory.

In response to their request, Jesus then said in VERSE 6 "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.

  1. Notice this Jesus says if you have faith AS a mustard seed... He does NOT say LIKE a mustard seed
  2. What is the difference - In one the tendency is to focus on size - Mustard seeds were very small - like a poppy seed
  3. 1) But Jesus isn't speaking here of the Size of our Faith -

  4. IF it was LIKE a mustard seed, then where do I stand, I haven't uprooted any tree by faith
  1. You would need an electron microscope to find my faith
  1. He wasn't talking about - Size - but he was talking about TYPE !

WHAT can you say about a mustard seed that you can NOT say about a little rock or a speck of sand?

A) It is ALIVE - It has life in it ! Jesus is talking about Living Faith

B) NOT faith in faith- BUT a LIVING faith in a LIVING God can move


ILLUSTRATION: Somewhere in Italy there is a tomb that had placed in front of it a HUGE chunk of granite weighing several tons

It was placed there by the request of the man buried there so just incase there was a resurrection from the dead that he would NOT be raised

While they were carving out the place to place the granite ROCK , apparently a little bird dropped an acorn into the hole that was dug

After that huge chunk of granite was put in place, that oak as it grew SPLIT that chunk of granite in two

JUST a LITTLE seed... But it was LIVING/ It was able to move several tons of granite

NOTE: A LIVING faith is a faith that obeys

  1. Faith without works is dead
  2. Heb. 11

If we have a Living Faith - Faith that looks beyond the circumstances / beyond the Obstacles / beyond our weaknesses - SEES GOD

  1. There is no end in sight as to what can be accomplished

B) If God Be on your side make your plans Large

Big Godder or a little Godder

Final lesson : Being Faithful Servants v.7-10

  1. In this arena of faith the Lord would say - Don't forget that you are servants
  2. When the servants come in after a hard day at work - the master doesn't wait on him
  1. He doesn't say - why don't you sit down here while I make you a meal
  1. No He expects the Servant to serve him - to fix his dinner - because that is what is expected of a Servant

D) So Jesus is talking about Living faith - gives a word of Caution- incase His disciples would have been prone to get all hyped up about

  1. Moving Mts. & Up rooting trees - Jesus says keep in mind you are SERVANTS

This is the mistake that the Faith teachers & name it claim it groups make -

  1. They become the Lord's & God the servant as they MAKE DEMANDS "In Jesus NAME"
  2. Suddenly faith becomes a means to an end to get what they want done for them. What God can do for me !!!!
  3. Recall in the Story of the Prodigal Son - Left GIVE ME THE GOODS
  1. Faith teachers teach that Faith is the means to get the goods - NEW CAR / HOUSE ETC. / JUST NAME CLAIM IT / VISUALIZE
  1. What happened when that Prodigal Son came Home - he said - MAKE ME A SERVANT

Listen So much of these understandings concerning Faith & Love & power & authority are embedded in the understanding : That we are nothing more than UNPROFITABLE SERVANTS

  1. It is recognizing that we have nothing in & of ourselves to offer - I don't have it w/ in me to be that Loving & forgiving - I need HELP

B) Joshua ch. 5 -