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Sunday, August 14, 2016 pm

 

WILL THE LORD FIND FAITH ON EARTH?
Luke 18:8

 

Having finished a parable emphasizing the importance of prayer, our Lord made an interesting statement.  He said, “I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?

 I.                     The point of the text

a.       Explained – in a context about persistence in prayer.  Jesus has told the parable about a woman and an unjust judge.  Through persistence she is avenged from her adversary (18:1-8).  This is followed by a promise that the God can and will avenge His people who persistently cry out to Him.  And even though He bears long (as it seems), He will avenge His people.
The question is then asked:  When the Lord returns, will he really find faith on the earth?

b.       He IS going to return – John 14:1-3, Acts 1:11, 2 Peter 3:10

c.        Yes, there will be believers on earth – 1 Thess. 4:17, we who are alive will be caught up together with them.  2 Peter 3:11-13 – because He will return, what manner of persons ought you to be?

d.       The real point is not whether there will be faith and believers, but rather it is a question of examination.  A question we each need to ask of ourselves.

 II.                   Will He really find

a.       Perseverance and prayer?  Such is the context.  As noted, Luke 18 is a parable about persistence in prayer.  Earlier, Jesus taught another about this persistence in prayer (Luke 11: 5-10).  We are continually reminded to be persistent in our prayers -  1 Thess. 5:17, Ephesians 6:18, etc. 
We realize this, but it is something we need to remind ourselves of.  With our busy days, how easy is it to not think about saying a prayer to God in the morning or in the evening? When we have prayed fervently and it seems that our prayers are not being answered (at least the way we want it to be), if we are not careful, we can become discouraged and quit praying.   When we look it the ungodliness that is so prevalent, again it causes some to give up and quit praying, often because they blame God.
The purpose of the parable AND statement we are examining is not for the occasional prayer, but the habit of prayer in our lives, including the continued asking until we are answered. 

b.       Justified people?  The word justified is a legal term meaning to have justice shows, to render a favorable verdict or to be vindicated (BDAG).  Romans 5:1-2, tells us that we have been justified by our faith (which he will demonstrate to be an obedient faith) results in having peace with God through Jesus Christ.  Similarly, in Galatians 2:16 Paul notes that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Christ Jesus,…
In these texts the idea of justification involves being saved by the blood of Jesus.  We come in contact with that blood through baptism (Romans 6:3-4).  Revelation 1:5 speaks of Jesus who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.
Baptism saves us – Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, 1 Peter 3:21, etc.
In light of our question, when the Lord returns will he find people who have been baptized for the remission of their sins?  Many teach a false plan of salvation and deny the need for baptism.
And even among so-called brethren, we have some today who have dismissed the significance of baptism in pursuit of unity.  Such might cause us to ask , if things keep going the way they are, will the Lord find faith on earth?

c.        Purified hearts? 
A purified heart is a heart that is genuine and clean.  We have spent considerable time addressing purity of heart the past few years.   Purity in scripture is a term that can mean either unpolluted or undiluted.  When it comes to our hearts we need both. 
Matthew 5:8 Jesus said it is the pure in heart who will see God.  Psalm 24:4 describes the one who may ascend to the hill of the LORD (His presence) as having clean hands and a pure heart. 
But how is our heart purified?
Acts 15:9, as Peter recounts the conversion of Cornelius he notes that their hearts were purified by faith.  A study of Acts 10 shows this was not mere belief, but an active belief that included being baptized (Acts 10:47-48).
1 Peter 1:22 notes that we purify our souls in obeying the truth through the sincere love of the brethren.
Again, as we observe society we see less and less purity in the hearts of men.  Avenues of corruption are found everywhere, and integrity is just not as important today as it used to be. 
People do not want to held accountable for their actions.  And when they do the right thing, they want their motives called into question. 
Even among brethren there is a depth of compromise because hearts have been corrupted.
Such might cause us to ask, if hearts keep going the way they are, will the Lord find faith on earth?

d.       Those seeking to please God? 
Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him…
The mantra today (though many will not say it in these words) seems to be, “God, what can you do for me?”  By far too many, God is blamed or villainized for all that is wrong, both personally and as a society.    There are some who go through the motions of pleasing God, but often it is with conditions – their way!  Such is never acceptable to God.  And as time goes on, the numbers seem to get worse and worse in these things.
God was NOT pleased when Jeroboam created golden calves in Dan and Bethel which Northern Israel into sin.  God was not pleased with Nadab and Abihu who offered unauthorized fire (Leviticus 10:1-4).
He was not pleased with most of the Israelites who rebelled over and over in the wilderness (1 Corinthians 10:5)
God was not pleased with Saul as he persecuted the church though he thought he was pleasing God (Acts 26:9)
Our goal as Christians is to be well pleasing to God.  2 Corinthians 5:9 says so.  We make it our aim…to be well pleasing to Him…”  The reason is given in vs. 10 – we will be judged one day by Him.
The brethren at Philippi were doing some things that were “a sweet smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.” (Philippians 4:18)
Hebrews 13:16 – we are to do good and to share, “for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
Friends, our goal on this earth as Christians is to live so that we are pleasing God.  As we have seen, not all feel that way and we wonder, when the Lord returns will He find those who are seeking to please Him. 

e.       Saints struggling to overcome the world?
In 1 John 2:15-17 we are told to not love the world or the things in the world.
Again, as we look at the world, it just seems to be getting worse and worse.  Worldliness is flooding us everywhere.  Being in a prosperous nation brings its own challenges with worldliness.  Even among brethren there seems to be a pursuit for worldly things. All around us we are faced with compromise. If we were faced with losing everything that we have, how many of us would REALLY be willing to give it up?  We look at the world and cannot help but think that world lies under the sway of the wicked one (1 John 5:19). 
But we must remind ourselves that while we are in the world, we are not OF the world (cf. John 17:
1 John 5:4 tells us that our faith is the victory that has overcome the world.
Romans 12:1-2 tells us to present ourselves as living sacrifices.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed.   By the renewing of your mind.
We are also reminded that we are to shine as lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation – Philippian 2:14-15.
So how are we doing in struggling to overcome worldliness?  When the Lord returns, will He find the world where it has no business?

f.        Those who respect His word?
In this lesson, the faith we have been addressing is our trust in God and believing Him.  It is that faith that prompts us to obey the gospel, purify our hearts and live striving to please God and overcome the world.  But the word faith is also used to describe the overall system of the gospel.  All that God reveals in His word can be called, “the faith”.  
Are we contending earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints? (Jude 3) 
Notice how this “faith” was delivered (preached) to the saints.  It is the message that reveals what we must do.  Romans 1:16-17, Paul was not ashamed of the gospel – the power of God unto salvation – and within it the righteousness of God is revealed from FAITH to faith!
Acts 6:7 describes how the as the word of God was spreading the number of disciples was multiplying.  And a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith. 
Many of the things we have addressed in this lesson are summed up in this point.  Sadly, the reason there are so many concerns is a lack of respect for God’s word.  His word has been outright rejected by so many.  The number of atheists, agnostics and no-religion adherents are increasing.  In America, the Bible does NOT receive the respect it used to receive.  Not many years ago, most believed and respected the Bible.  But due to continued assaults that is no longer the case.  Often, before you can even open a Bible to study with someone you have to first establish the existence of God, the God of the Bible and how it is inspired.  
And churches, even brethren are not without fault as some have failed to declare “the whole counsel of God” (cf. Acts 20:20, 26-27).  Far too many today don’t want to address the subjects that expose immorality and ungodliness. 
We have to have a healthy respect for God’s word!  In John 17:17, Jesus prayed that the Father sanctify His disciples by His truth.  He then said, “Your word is truth.”
We must welcome it as the word of God and without error (1 Thess. 2:13, 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
We must welcome it with the attitude that we will obey whatever we are told (Matthew 28:20).
We must be willing to contend for it (Jude 3) and reject those who are teaching error ( 2 John 9-11).
We certainly need to be concerned about whether or not when the Lord returns, He will find faith.  BUT, when the Lord returns, will He find THE faith on earth?

g.       Hope of heaven?
We cannot give up.  We have a goal greater than this life.  We look toward heaven!  We seek everlasting life (John 3:16).    Titus 1:2, we have a hope of eternal life which God has promised.
Hebrews 6:19 speaks of how our hope is an anchor of the soul. 
2 Timothy 4:6-8, Paul speaks of the reward awaiting him and us if we have kept the faith. 

 

In this lesson we have seen that there are many problems around us.  There are problems that shake the faith of most.   But not all will be swayed by the wiles of the Devil.  Our goal is to be in that number.

 If there is faith on earth when He returns, the real question is, “Will he find that faith in you?”  That is why we need to examine ourselves as to whether we are in the faith.  (2 Cor. 13:5)  Let each of us resolve that we will do even this.  Think about it.