Lord, help me remember there is nothing I can do to earn forgiveness or merit salvation; it is all a gift of your mercy, purchased at the cost of my Savior’s life. Help me to cry out daily for your mercy and to trust in the work of Christ that alone can save. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read Luke 16-19:9
As you read prayerfully today, observe both the contrasting responses to Jesus and the values of the kingdom. Recall that parables usually have one main point often stated near the end of the parable. Don’t forget that Jesus usually invites His hearers to identify with one or more characters in the parable.
Luke 16 Here Luke includes more parables about how things are in God’s kingdom.
TREASURE IN HEAVEN
To think more about how to store up treasure in heaven, read and reflect on the below
16:1–31 Managing money and possessions in God’s kingdom. Jesus does not encourage dishonesty in this parable. Instead, He encourages acting cleverly in our present-day to bless others and so receive a future reward. He urges His followers to be faithful in the little matters of life, and not to be lovers of money like the Pharisees. The point of the parable of the dishonest manager is that followers of Jesus should be faithful in using God’s present gifts, including money, to bless others.
God is interested in our hearts and intentions; He knows if we are living to please Him or living for money. Notice Jesus’ point in 16:19–31. A day is coming when those who have rejected God’s purposes and salvation will regret their decision. Before it’s too late, the rich man wanted to warn his family of the coming judgment. For those with ears to hear what Moses and the prophets were saying, the good news of Jesus could be found in the Old Testament. Abraham tells the rich man that people who refuse to believe God’s Word won’t listen to warnings or turn from their sins even if they see God raising Jesus from death to life. In Acts, we will see Abraham was right.
Luke 17:1–18 Jesus explains that sin is a seriously destructive force but also that we must never stop forgiving those who turn from their sin. Because sin and rebellion against God are so evil and destructive, we must be careful never to cause new followers of Jesus to stumble and turn from God’s ways. Perhaps Jesus has in mind those who are opposing God’s kingdom. To be sure, we should be on guard and rebuke other followers of Jesus when they sin. But also, we should always forgive those who repent.
If we’re living under God’s rule, it requires only a little faith to do great things. Even when we live and act rightly, serving well in His kingdom, we have no claims upon the King! Again, we see non-Jews, foreign peoples, and even a Samaritan respond with thanksgiving to Jesus’ healing power.
17:20–18:8 The kingdom of God is already being realized in Jesus’ first coming. The second coming of Jesus will be sudden and unexpected. At a time when people are going about their ordinary business, Jesus, the Son of Man, will be revealed and the end will come.
In the parable of the unjust judge, notice Jesus does not say God is like an unjust judge. Instead, the point of the parable is that God listens to prayer, and, like the widow, His followers should pray in faith with persistence.
18:9–43 Entering and living under God’s rule and kingdom requires a complete transformation of our hearts, minds, wills, and values. In short, followers of Jesus live changed lives! See again, the point of the parable comes at the end (18:14). Being right with God requires the humility to pray like the tax collector, “God, turn your wrath from me—a sinner!”
Children were of very low status in Jesus’s day, and so the disciples have a culturally appropriate—but anti-kingdom of God—response. Jesus rightly corrects them. Being a follower of Jesus requires humility and dependence, acknowledging our weakness and need for God’s rescuing help through Jesus.
Riches and possessions can be a barrier to entering the kingdom of God and following Jesus. This is important to remember as Jesus meets a rich, morally upright person with social status who loves money more than God and His kingdom. It’s clear this rich young ruler has to change; he cannot follow Jesus until he first sells everything and gives to the poor, showing he values heaven more than this life and its wealth. According to Jesus, it’s impossible for the rich to enter the kingdom of God without His help.
18:31–19:9 Jesus explains for the third time that His death will happen as the Old Testament predicted. Notice the poor, blind, and socially outcast man’s response. Unlike so many with so much more, this man sees Jesus as the Son of David and asks for mercy.
29 And he said to them, ‘Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.’
- Like the Pharisee, we can be tempted to compare ourselves with others and seek to justify ourselves by our good deeds. This never works. Following Jesus requires humility and a recognition we deserve His righteous anger due to our sin and rebellion. Think of some ways you seek to make yourself right with God rather than trusting in Jesus’ perfect sacrifice and relying on God’s mercy.
- We live in a world among many people who don’t value what God values. All day long we’re encouraged to embrace anti-kingdom values that don’t please Jesus. But followers of Jesus find that God transforms their minds as they read the Word of God and turn from sin. In prayer, ask God to show you any specific ways your values regarding money, possessions, status, or humility need to change.
- Ask God to give you the courage to warn others about the coming judgment and to point them to Jesus, the only One who can save people from God’s wrath.
- Spend time in prayer asking God to show you if there’s any unforgiveness in your heart. If there is, confess it, forgive the person from your heart, and then determine to bless and love them. Watch this 3-minute video that answers the question, “Should we forgive the unrepentant?“
- Married couples: Use the Family Life assessment below to evaluate your Family Life Health. If you want, here are other marriage evaluation questions to add. Discuss any concerns with a trusted mentor or pastor. Are there any growth areas? [Healthy Relationships]
- Singles: Use the Singles Health assessment below to evaluate your health as a single person. Watch or read Singleness and the Next Generation. Do you agree with the 4 Foundations for Biblical Singleness and 4 Reasons to Delight in Singleness? Write down feedback to share with your accountability partner. Pray with him or her about ways to best use the gift of singleness God has given to you. [Healthy Relationships]
Married Couples- please answer the following with your spouse.
- How is the husband’s leadership?
- How is the wife’s support?
- How can I improve in fulfilling my respective role?
- How is confession of sin in our marriage?
- How is our concern for each other’s godliness?
- How are we at guarding meaningful time together?
- In prayer?
- In conversation?
- In date nights?
- How is our sex life?
- How is our selfless love for one another?
- How is our respect for one another?
- How is our service of one another?
- How is our prayer for one another?
- How is our encouragement of one another?
- Are there mentors in your life to help you grow in marriage?
- What areas of parenting are you encouraged by?
- What areas of parenting do you need to grow in?
- How is each child doing?
- Relationally with parents?
- Relationally with siblings?
- How is your relationship with members of your same sex?
- How is your relationship with members of your opposite sex?
- How often are you alone?
- How often are you in relationship and community with other people?
- In what ways are you stewarding your gift of singleness for God’s purposes?
- In what ways can you better steward your gift of singleness for God’s purposes?
- Journal about the typical times in a week you are by yourself, and how you spend that time.