Saturday, April 13, 2024

Luke 17:7-10 Unworthy Servants - April 14, 2024

 Luke 17:7-10 Unworthy Servants

Good morning! Turn with me in your Bibles to Luke 17. Today we are going to examine verses 7-10, and that’s on page 876 in the pew Bibles.

In Mark 12:28 a scribe once asked Jesus, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

Our text for this morning in Luke 17 is hopefully going to help us understand a little better what it means to love the Lord your God with all your mind, and it may require all our strength as well to do so.

Luke 17:7-10

“Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’ ”

Let’s pray.

Why is it important to examine how to love the Lord your God with all your mind, why is that even important? How we think about things affects what we do, and our perceptions direct our actions and attitudes.

That is exactly what Jesus is addressing in our short text this morning.

As we read this text we need to remember the First Century context and not the Twenty-First Century. 

Slavery was common practice in the First Century, this is not an endorsement of slavery, Jesus was just using a picture from the reality that the Disciples were living in to illustrate a point.

In this parable the servant had the responsibility of plowing the field, or keeping the sheep, as well as cooking and serving dinner. That was the job. After the job was done he was allowed to eat and drink but not before. Does the master owe the servant a thank you because he did what he was commanded to do? Jesus’ answer is, “no.”

How does that strike you? Not even a, “thank you?”

Here is what is at issue: it’s expectations of reciprocity. I do for you, now you do for me.

I remember when I was in Egypt with BICS at the pyramids. There were all kinds of people peddling souvenirs. One guy gave me some little trinket and said, “I give this to you. Now, you give me something.” He wasn’t happy with anything that I offered him believe it or not. But this is reciprocity, I give to you, you give me something in return. This is what Jesus is addressing.

Here’s how it plays out for us: “Lord, I’m going to do this for you,” some service or some sacrifice, “All I ask is for a little help with…” fill in the blank.

Does this sound even remotely familiar? “I gave up all this stuff to follow you, the least you could do is XYZ…”

This may be just a sermon for me, so be it.

Remember that word from last week, “redemption?” It means to be bought back. Jesus bought us back from death with His own blood. Do you know what that means? We belong to Him.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.”

Romans 14:8 says, “For if we live, we live to that Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.”

Expectation of reciprocity is nothing more than spiritual pride when what is required of us as servants of Christ is true humility. God owes us nothing.

10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’ ”

In the original Greek the term, “we have only done what was our duty,” literally translates to, “We have only done what we were bound to do, or, we made payment on our debt.”

True humility confesses that any good we have done for the Lord or for His church was only our duty. 

True humility confesses that any good we have done for the Lord or for His church was only by God’s grace. 

True humility confesses that any good we have done for the Lord and His church remains imperfect.

We have to come to grips with the truth that any reward we might receive for our obedience is always from grace just as our forgiveness and justification are by God’s grace.

The word grace means, “gift.” There is no earning it, it’s not a gift if you deserve it.

When we think or act like we are entitled to rewards for obedience and faithfulness we cheapen the forgiveness that Christ Himself paid so much to purchase for us.

Perhaps we think so little of forgiveness because we think so highly of ourselves.

The Bible says repeatedly, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5, Proverbs 3:34)

But the beauty of God’s grace in the gospel is that though we are all unworthy of His love, and grace, and forgiveness, through faith in Jesus He showers us with them anyway and how we live now we should live in response to that grace.

Recognizing our unworthiness to belong to Him and to serve Him much more to be loved by Him makes much of His grace and draws attention away from us and onto Him where it belongs anyway.

Loving the Lord our God with all our mind may require a change of mindset. We need to recognize that God’s love for us is not based on anything about us but about Him. 

We are unworthy servants, servants without such qualities that are deserving of praise or commendation. No gold stars just for showing up, no trophies for everybody.

We live in an age of entitlement, where people are taught to think that they deserve the best just because they exist. This is not just a problem for them out there, it’s a problem right in here!

We need to recognize our unworthiness in order to appreciate His grace. And then when we serve Him, we can serve with our whole heart out of love and appreciation for His great grace towards us.

Ephesians 2:1-10

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.