The Parabolic Teaching About Christ’s Kingdom by Christ Himself

March 6 - May 29, 1983
Harbor Church

This is the only time Dallas taught a series devoted to the parables of Jesus. Not all of the parables are included here, but you will find the ones that best illustrate life in the Kingdom of God. 

Dallas was invited to teach this 13-week series by Harbor Church in Harbor City, California. The classes were held March 6 - May 29, 1983, as part of their Sunday morning "Hour of Discovery" program. The handout Dallas distributed to the class gives the list of topics and scriptures covered. He encouraged participants to read the scriptures for each week before coming to class, and you will benefit from doing the same before listening to each recording.

These recordings offer new insights into these well-known stories, and into the way Jesus taught and lived. They provide the foundation for a new book scheduled to be released October 15, 2024, The Scandal of the Kingdom: How the Parables of Jesus Revolutionize Life with God.

 

 

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The Gospel of the Kingdom of God and How It Comes: Why Parables?

Primary Topics:
  1. We must teach what Christ taught in the manner in which he taught it.
  2. In many of our Christian circles, a message ABOUT Christ has been substituted for the message OF Christ. And for saving faith as “the Faith OF Christ” has been substituted “Faith IN Christ.”  
  3. Jesus Christ preached the message of the availability of the Kingdom of God to all people alike. The sole message of the New Testament is the availability and the nature of the Kingdom of God.
  4. The relationship of Jesus and John the Baptist. How they understood the kingdom of heaven.
  5. Explaining Matthew 11:12 - "the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence."
  6. What a kingdom is. Theocracy. Human government.
  7. The manner in which Jesus taught. Why parables?
    a.    What is a parable? para-bole  (παραβολή )
    b.    Matthew 13:11-15
  8. The gentleness of Jesus. Matthew 12:17-20
Scriptures for Study: 

Matthew 3:2, 4:17, 12 :14-21, 13:10-17 & 37, Luke 8:10, Mark 4:9-12, Isaiah 6:9-13

The Diverse Receptions of the Word of the Kingdom

The Availability of the Kingdom for Those Who Can See and Hear
  1. The interaction of God with us through his word is something which depends upon the condition of our hearts and of our minds and of our lives.
  2. Understanding/misunderstanding the kingdom of God and role of messiah.
  3. Jesus knew people could not be intellectualized into the kingdom of heaven.
  4. What happened when Jesus began to teach in parables.
  5. Jesus' three-fold ministry: 
    a) He preached, or announced, the Kingdom of God's availability. 
    b) He taught about the Kingdom of God, and he ministered the power of the Kingdom of God in healing.
    c) He took the Kingdom of God with him wherever he was. (Matthew 9:35)
  6. He sent his apprentices out to do what he did.
  7. The Parable of the Sower, Matthew 13:1-10, read with minimal commentary.
  8. How God presents the kingdom to humanity.
  9. The importance of Jesus’ answer about why he spoke in parables. (Matthew 13:11-15)
  10. What it means to have a hard heart, or a fat heart. Not everyone has ears to hear.
  11. Why this is the first parable Jesus told. 
  12. Jesus explains the Parable of the Sower. (Matthew 13:18-23)
    a)    What is the seed?
    b)    What is the ground?
    c)    What is the fruit?
    Dallas explains the Greek words saemaiov and logos/lego.
  13. How we respond to the word of the Kingdom. Pray for a receptive heart.
  14. Take heed what you hear and how you hear. (Mark 4:23-25, Luke 8:18)

 

Scriptures for Study: 

Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20; Luke 8:4-15

The Secret Manner of the Kingdom’s Working: The Leaven and the Seed

Lessons From Seeds
  1. The Parables of the Seed and of the Mustard Seed, Mark 4:26-33, read with minimal commentary. The Mustard Seed will not be addressed.
  2. Of all of the parables of Jesus, there is nothing which figures more often than a seed.
    a)    The word of God, Logos, is the seed.
    b)    Jesus was the seed of Abraham. He came in the fulness of time.
    c)    Illustrations from Dallas’s life on the farm.
  3. What someone’s word is.
  4. God’s word is living, powerful; and the word is like a seed because it has power to organize reality.
    a)    Hebrews 4:12 - sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and the spirit. A little about what spirit is.
    b)    Psalm 107:15-20, God sent his word.
    c)    Psalm 147:3-6, 10-11, 15-16, 18-19 and Psalm 148:8. Nature keeps God’s word.
    d)    Amos 8:11-12, Humanity languishes without God’s word. 
    e)    Matthew 4:1-4, John 4:32, It is a living, personal, powerful substance. Fasting.
    f)    If you are born again, you are born of the word of God. John 1:12-14, 1 Peter 1:22-23, James 1:21.
  5. The Parable of the Sower is told from the viewpoint of the farmer who is sowing the seed and watching for the harvest. There are 4 lessons:
    a)    ONE: We have to sow the right word. It’s not about the church, or about the Bible, or about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  6. What salvation is in the New Testament sense: The forgiveness of sins, the transformation of character, and a significant degree of power over evil.
    b)    TWO: Sow in confidence in the seed. “As is your faith, so shall it be.”
    c)    THREE: We are to abandon the seed to the ground. Nowhere in the Bible are we ever told to win souls.  We are told to witness, we are told to make disciples. Proverbs 11:30. We wait patiently for the fruit. Don’t try to make it happen. James 5:7-10, Philippians 2:14-16.
    d)    FOUR: Patience (unlike Dallas’s childhood attempt to force a rose to open). And when the harvest comes, you put in the sickle.
     
Scriptures for Study: 

Matthew 13:33 and Mark 4:26-33

The Great Supper. One’s Kingdomly Birthright for a Mess of Pottage.

Our Invitation to Life's Greatest Opportunity
  1. Teaching methods used in the Bible and by Jesus.
  2. The Bible is not given to us as a book of instructions which enables us to dispense with the leadership of the Holy Ghost. (Example from Proverbs 26:4-5)
  3. Jesus taught in such a way that people would be led and deduced into the reality of spiritual Kingdom of God, and they would know what it was like to live under the governance of God.
  4. Every parable is designed to give us a particular truth.
  5. The Parable of the Great Supper is designed to show how people mistake their true blessings; missing the greatest thing for the sake of small, trivial, good things. Luke 14:15-24
  6. This comes in a sequence of teachings about behavior at feasts, given is a setting where Jesus had been invited to dine at the home of a chief Pharisee on a Sabbath day:
    a)    Luke 14:8-11, How to get the best seats. After watching the guests’ behavior, Jesus gave advice about seat selection. He was (humorously) meeting them where they are.
    b)    Luke 14:12-14, Invite people to the feast who can’t repay you. The point of eating is to nourish the body, not to establish social distinctions. So feed the people who need it. 
    c)    Luke 14:15, A listener says, “Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.” But Jesus was aware that many people have something that they think is more important to do. So he told the Parable of the Great Supper.
  7. The people who said no had received the invitation some time before. This represents the Jews.
  8. The suspicious nature of the excuses. This supper would have been a lengthy event, but these folks were looking at very superficial small things and saying no to something that was very big.
  9. Clearly they don’t care about the person who is inviting them. If we don’t love the kingdom of God, we will find perfectly trivial things to prevent us from having anything to do with it. Good things. It’s only if we learn to love it that we can find the time.
  10. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have fun. But it is the little good things that defeat us. (John Joseph Surin quote)
  11. This parable is more for people inside the church than outside. Revelation 3:20
  12. Luke 10:38-42, “One thing is necessary. And Mary has chosen that good thing.”
  13. Genesis 25:24-34, Esau was not able to stand before a little hunger pain, and he gave up his birthright for potage. What is your potage? … your piece of ground? … your oxen?
  14. Luke 14:25-33, the contrasting attitude that is required to become a disciple of Jesus. Are you a disciple? Do you want to be? Will you enter the feast?

 

Scriptures for Study: 

Luke 14:7-24, Matthew 22:1-14, Genesis 25:24-34

Growing Together Until the Harvest: The Tares in the Wheat, and the Net

Growing Together in the Kingdom
  1. There are those who, in some sense, are IN the kingdom of God, but they are not OF that kingdom.
  2. The Wheat and the Tares, Matthew 13:24-38
    a)   What a tare is. Why you can’t just pull it out from the wheat like a weed in the garden.
  3. The seed that is sown becomes a spiritual person.
  4. How to graft a fruit tree. The spiritual equivalent.
  5. Matthew 13:38-43, separating the wheat from the tares at the harvest. Notice that it says they will be "gathered out of His kingdom."  That means that they are in his kingdom.
  6. The Parable of the Net, Matthew 13:47-53.
    Jesus spoke primarily to fishermen or farmers or business people.  This is for the fishermen.  
  7. How we tend to identify those who are just in the world, and those who are just in the kingdom of God, and those who are in both.
  8. Being in something is a much more superficial thing than being of it.  John 17:14-16
  9. The problem with the folks in these parables is that they are in the kingdom, but of the world.
  10. If someone is of the world or of the kingdom, their origin and nature is from that place. 
    a)    That's why we speak of a birth in this connection. We are born of the Word of God. That Word of God is the spiritual agency by which people are brought into the kingdom of God.  
  11. The Kingdom of God is the rule of God over everything. Psalm 145:9-13, Daniel 4:34-35
  12. The Old and New Testaments tell the story of the kingdom rule of God being given to men.
    a)    The call of the Jew was to be a light unto the entire earth to show it how to live for God.
    b)    Where the church fits into this. The “called-out” ones.
    c)    Before God can send you, you've got to come to Him so that you can be sent.  
  13. What it is to be in the kingdom of God. Whosoever will may come. 
    a)    But that doesn’t mean anything goes. Example of the man without a wedding garment.
  14. The trouble with “successful” churches.
    a)    The graduate course in the spiritual life is not failure, it's success.
    b)    One paragraph about the Parable of the Mustard Seed.
    c)    All kinds of people were around Jesus for the wrong reasons. John 6:26-71
    d)    The church is generally over-enrolled, under-committed and under-trained.  (Gideon.)
    e)    Psalm 126:1-6, a story of Zion turning to God in its weakness.
  15. Those who wish to be like Jesus will arrange the details of their lives so they may be like him.
  16. Many people are only in the kingdom of God because no one has told them how to be of it.
  17. Others have intentionally turned away. Hebrews 6:4-6
     
Scripture for Study: 

Matthew 13:1-30 (especially 24-30), Matthew 13:47-53

The Vineyard and the Wicked Husbandmen

The Parable of the Vineyard points out that Israel had developed leaders who led against God and not for him, and what happens to those who lead—and lead even with God’s power—but are not with God in their hearts.

  1. In Matthew 7:15-23, Jesus talks about false prophets and knowing a tree by its fruit.
  2. The will of his father is acting and living as he taught in the preceding verses in the Sermon on the Mount: loving, humble, kind, forgiving, gracious… all of the things which he laid out in 1 Corinthians 13. 
  3. Matthew 7:23 doesn’t say, “You don’t know me.” He says, “I never knew you.”
  4. The power structure of Israel was set against Jesus because he had an authority which they did not give to him, so he threatened to undermine their authority.
  5. You don’t have to have a certificate to actually know how to do something well. Authority can come through our abilities even without a certificate. Israel had long suffered under leaders who had the certificates, but not the authority.
  6. In Luke 20:1-8, the leaders questioned Jesus about where he got his authority, but never questioned the fact that he had authority.
  7. There are two sources of authority: heaven and man. John the Baptist was able to gain authority by the people's response to him. 
  8. If the leaders didn’t really know where Jesus was from, it wasn’t going to do them any good for him to tell them. Just like in the story of the rich man and Lazarus.
  9. Portions of Luke 20:9-22 read with brief commentary.
  10. Jesus told the leaders that they had the certificate, but cannot lead the people for God.
    a)    Matthew 23:4 is spoken to the same group of leaders.
    b)    Matthew 23:34 begins a long discussion of how they misled the people.
    c)    Stephen accuses them of this again in Acts 7
  11. It is important to try to understand where the failures of these men were so we might understand ourselves better and guard our own hearts, and pray for those who lead us in an effective way. Jesus gives a very relevant and modern diagnosis of the case of these people in Luke 20.
  12. The leaders kept trying to trap Jesus and kept failing. This was much like today’s political debates on television. And at the end, Jesus declares, “Beware of the scribes…”  They looked good on the outside but they had rotten hearts. Matthew 23:24-31, blind guides.
  13. The failures of our leaders then and now are a long time in the making.
  14. John 5:39-44. People who are trapped in the fear of man and seek honor from men cannot believe because they are putting themselves in God’s place. The desire to be honored of people is the curse of the church. It was the curse of Israel. It is the curse of the individual. 


The end of the session is missing from the recording.


Scripture for Study: 

Luke 20:1-47, Matthew 21:33-46
 

Two Sons, Two Debtors and Another Two Sons

These passages accentuate certain elements in the attitude of heart between the believer and the father, and the contrast between people who have or have not experienced failure.

The Parable of the Two Sons gives us a picture of people who say the right thing but don't do it.
  1. Matthew 21:28-31, with commentary. Jesus’ stories are about things which actually happen.
  2. Jesus’ way of teaching includes startling people whose thinking is based on false generalizations.
  3. The fact that Jesus received and ate with sinners was one of the most revolting things about him to many people in his day.
  4. Jesus was expressing the heart of God. The person who has been lost is ready for that. 
 
The story of the prodigal son presents a picture of two young men who had different attitudes toward their father.
  1. The older brother was very concerned about helping and pleasing his father, but unlike his father, his heart does not forgive, is not generous, seeks to exact and separate and divide and punish. And is jealous of the love which the father gives to the other son.
  2. The younger brother took his money and left. It went very badly, as dad probably predicted.
  3. After having one meal too many out of the hog trough, the younger son formulated a plan to go home and propose to work for his dad.
  4. His father saw him a great way off, which tells us he’d been looking for him. And he didn’t wait for him to get cleaned up before he gave him a hug and a kiss.
  5. God loves to forgive. But with humans, forgiveness is hard to get.
  6. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting, but it does mean your behavior towards them is no longer based on what they've done.
  7. When the father ran to the son, he had probably already forgiven him long before that. It’s wonderful to get to where you don't even need to forgive because things just have a different aspect.
    a)    The son didn’t even get to give his little speech and ask for forgiveness.
  8. The saddest thing about the story is that the older brother couldn’t enter into this joy.
  9. The older brother is the guy that said, “I go, sir,” and he really went. There's a great deal to be said for the older son. This is a good man.
  10. One thing that the older brother never knew was the depths of the father's love. He never knew the joy of being forgiven and loved like that. The younger brother knew that; what it’s like to live in grace.

 

Luke 7:36-50 is a story of two debtors, but only one knew what it was like to live in grace. 
  1. A woman of ill repute came to Jesus at the Pharisee’s house and anointed his feet with perfume.
  2. If this happened to your pastor, what would you think of him? We need to have a little sympathy for what Simon, the host Pharisee, was thinking.
  3. Her sins which were many are forgiven because she loved much. But Simon didn’t love much because he didn’t feel a need to be forgiven.
  4. When we have been forgiven much, our perspective is then based on the point of view that Jesus died for me. “Christ receiveth sinful men.”

 

 Scriptures for Study:  

Luke 15:11-32; Luke 7:36-50; Matthew 21:28-32

The Ten Virgins and the Evil Watchman. “A Revelation of the Heart”

The context of the Parable of the Evil Servant and the Parable of the Ten Virgins is:
a)    the final rejection of Jesus by Israel’s leaders, 
b)    Jesus’ acceptance of that rejection, 
c)    his final message to the people of Israel as a people, and 
d)    his turning away from their institutions and from them as a nation.

 

  1. Matthew 23:37-39 is the moment when the King takes the kingdom away from Israel.
  2. Israel was caught up in its temple and rituals—including the disciples—but not Jesus. (Mt 24:1-2)
  3. This is a serious transition for Jesus and Israel:
    a)    Jerusalem is now only the place where Jesus is going to be crucified. 
    b)    He no longer speaks to the multitudes. He no longer addresses the leaders. Now he teaches his disciples and prays for them (and for us today).
  4. Jesus focused on teaching what it will be like in his absence. This includes three parables as part of the continuous discourse that runs from Matthew 14 through 25. 
    a)    The Parable of the Evil Servant. 
    b)    The Parable of the Ten Virgins. 
    c)    The Parable of the Talents (not to addressed in this series).
  5. The disciples were still expecting Jesus to set up his kingdom on earth. They couldn’t conceive of anything like the spiritual reign of Christ that we understand now. He gave them these teachings to help them understand how their hearts are to be cultivated in the period of the church.
  6. The Lukan version of the Parable of the Evil Servant brings out some things that are not quite as clear in Matthew. It helps us understand that the concern here is much greater than just the second coming of the Lord. The concern is what one's heart is really set upon.
  7. Dallas reads Luke 12:31-40 with minimal commentary and explains the cultural setting.
  8. The level of hospitality matches the level of love for the master. The heart that loves the Lord does not try to calculate how much it can get away with and still please the Lord.
     
Scriptures for Study:

Matthew 24:42-51, Matthew 25:1-13, Luke 12:41-48

The Forgiving Heart and the Kingdom of God

Dallas reads The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18:15-35) with commentary and then proceeds through a careful discussion of how forgiveness works.
  1. Unforgiveness is the normal way of human life. If you were to withdraw unforgiveness from human life, human history would be transformed beyond recognition.
  2. The idea of trying to “get even” is impossible. Having the last word is pointless. 
  3. What is forgiveness?
    a)    Forgiveness is forward giving. It looks to the future and is generous and giving. The forgiving person does not continue to hold the other individual responsible for the past.
    b)    The forgiving person has laid down all their plans to get even.
    c)    The inward side of forgiving means that we no longer dwell upon it and brood over it. The hurt may continue for the rest of your life, but you have chosen to look elsewhere.
  4. If someone hurt you badly, don't just try to not pay them back. Fill your mind with Jesus and how he responded to those who hurt him. Then you can receive the grace of forgiveness.
  5. And then pray, acknowledge that you cannot, by yourself, forgive. Pray for the grace of God to enter your heart and your mind and help you forgive. Recognize that it may take a long time.
  6. And then concentrate on the good to be done in all of your life. Too many of our troubles stay with us because we don't accept the small, wonderful things that God has put into our lives.
  7. Don't attempt to straighten out the life of the one who hurt you. Try to come to where you can pray honestly for their good and think about the good in connection with the harm they caused.
    a)    When Jesus prayed for the soldiers who had nailed him to the cross, he meant that. He had a heart practiced in forgiveness.
  8. Often the atonement is presented as if Jesus had to do what he did in order to get God’s favor. But if he had to get God’s favor first, God would never have sent him, would He? The coming of Jesus Christ was necessary in God's dealings with man in order for it to be possible that God could forgive, and human beings would understand the significance of sin and redemption and salvation. It was necessary in order to make His favor efficaciously possible on human beings.
  9. The last verse in the parable matches “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” One way of understanding this is that forgiveness a matter of earning it, but I believe that Jesus is saying that forgiveness, in order for it to come from God to us, in order for us to receive it, must come into a heart and a life which is a forgiving heart and a forgiving life.
  10. It isn't a matter of us earning our forgiveness, it is a matter of us receiving it as a gift. in order to receive forgiveness, we must have a heart wrought by the grace of God in us.
  11. Unless we have identified ourselves with forgiveness as a kind of life, then when we come to think of our sins and of who we are, and of how unequal we are with the standards of God's righteousness, we simply will not move out and take God’s forgiveness.
    a)    Many church people are still hindered by their past and can’t forgive because they don’t see themselves as having been cleansed. They haven’t truly experienced God’s love.
  12. I don’t think Jesus is saying you have to earn your forgiveness by forgiving others, but that if you want to receive forgiveness, if you want to enter into it as a way of life, you must forgive. And if you say, “Well, I can't forgive,” then you must say, “Receive it from me, through you, to others.”
  13. Forgiveness is one of those things which teaches us how dependent we are upon God. We can’t do it without Him.
  14. If you cannot forgive, that means at least in some measure, God does not occupy that part of your heart, because if He's there, He enables you to forgive. And if He is there, you are forgiven.
  15. Some things in Matthew 18 that tie in with the heart of the kingdom as a forgiving heart:
    a)    Matthew 18:1-10, children are great in the kingdom of heaven because they are humble, don’t hold grudges, don’t put on a façade.
    b)    Offences come to us every day. Jesus talked about the leaders’ attempts to avoid offenses by controlling their hands or their eyes. But the offense goes much deeper.  
    c)    In Matthew 18:21-22, Peter was getting legalistic in trying to find a legalistic way of defining righteousness and forgiveness. It won’t work, you have to go to the heart.
  16. The heart of the kingdom is a heart that is forgiven and forgiving. It takes literally no offense and holds none. It is a tender heart. It loves to forgive. And it is, of course forgiven.
     
Scripture for Study: 

Matthew 18:15-35

The Folly of Possessions and Riches

This is part 2 of Dallas's teaching about our relationship to money, riches, possessions, and gain. Part 1 was based on the Parable of the Hours (Matthew 20:1-19), with a focus on the manner of recompense in the Kingdom of God, but the session was not recorded.

Not everything that is at issue here is money. The issue is gain.

  1. The Rich Fool wasn’t a fool because he was rich. The issue is not the riches or the money. The issue is the heart. 
  2. Remember the deceitfulness of riches that “choke the word and become unfruitful” in Matthew 13:22.
  3. What is your life? Because the riches that we have may mislead us about what our lives are.
  4. The setting of the story in Luke 12:13-14: How an inheritance was passed on to the next generation.
  5. Covetousness is wanting what another person has.
  6. Giving is not the issue. God does not need your money.  Keeping is the issue. Having is the issue.
  7. In the Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:16-21), the man was holding his riches as if it were his own and he is in control. He laid up treasures for himself.
  8. How does one know whether they are laying up treasures for themselves or are rich toward God? By asking, “What is your life?” For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
  9. 1 Timothy 6:6-19. Godliness with contentment is great gain.
  10. Gain is not godliness; godliness is not gain.
  11. Jesus has given a word now to those who would be rich, and to those who are rich, and on the ordinary count, that practically leaves nobody out.
  12. There wasn't anything wrong with that guy having all that stuff to put in his barns. He just trusted the wrong thing.
  13. Is your life an eternal life? Eternal life is not something that happens after you die whether you want it to or not. Eternal life is a kind of life which begins when we come into contact with Jesus Christ and his kingdom. The only definition of eternal life in the Bible is John 17:3.
  14. Is your life the knowledge of Jesus Christ? Or is it simply barns and business?
  15. One way of finding out what your life is, is to think of how it would be if everything you have was taken away. Including your loved ones.
  16. Better to have the wealth of the world in the hands of the redeemed than anywhere else.
  17. When you trust in power that belongs to the riches, it's all the power you have.
  18. The remedy: Luke 12:22-33. Turn your life loose into God’s hands.
  19. What our treasure is in heaven. The only thing that you can take to heaven with you is what you invest in other people. People are the “bags that wax not old” (v 33). The least of these.
  20. What Wesley said we should do with riches (slightly modified)
  21. When our heart is in the right place, we will be good stewards.

 

Scripture for Study: 

Luke 12:13-40

Persistence the Prerequisite: The “Unprofitable” Servant, and The Widow and the Mean Judge

Jesus said, “Strive to enter at the straight gate.” Paul compares life to running a race; to boxing matches. These are not easy things. The grace of God is a strenuous matter. Persistence is required.

Persistence in Forgiveness
 
  1. In Luke 17:3-5, Jesus discusses the matter of offenses and forgiveness.
  2. We are bound to be offended and to offend. If everyone speaks well of you, you are in trouble.
  3. Luke 17:3 – “If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him.” Let him know that he’s hurt you. This aspect of truthful and faithful rebuking is a part of the strenuous life in the way of Christ.
  4. If he repents, forgive him. Remember how forgiveness works. It’s good for us.
  5. Persistence is the prerequisite of the fruitful life in the kingdom of God in forgiveness. Set yourself to forgive endlessly. You're better off that way.
  6. “If you had faith as a mustard seed…” You can hurt yourself with verses like this. You try and fail and feel terrible about your lack of faith.
  7. Faith is a matter of knowing how to speak the creative word of God with God. We see things to be so, which are in the will and purpose of God, so that we join with God in speaking the words.
    a)    Jesus rarely prayed for anyone.
  8. Jesus is really saying something like, “You have no idea of what faith is like if you are boggled by forgiving your brother seven times in a day.” So he tells a story of what real faith is like.

 

Persistence in Service
  1. Real faith is a faith which always goes beyond anything that is commanded.
  2. Dallas reads Luke 17:6-10 and explains expectations for how servants and slaves are to behave.
  3. We want to rise above the level of merely meeting our Master’s expectations. We want to have the mind of Christ and be able to do his work without always being told what to do. That's the vision of a co-laborer with God. A friend of God. Partners in the business.

 

Persistence in Prayer
  1. Luke 18:1-8, The Parable of the Persistent Widow
  2. Widows were the most helpless of persons, and the judge in this story is really mean.
  3. He told this “that men ought always to pray and not faint.” He had seen a readiness to give up.
  4. We think of prayer as going to someone to get them to do something. But when we pray, we are entering into a working relationship with God and doing business with Him.
  5. Going back to the point about speaking with God: prayer and speaking with God are on a continuum together. They are both ways of doing business with God.
  6. When you start praying about things that intimately involve you (family, friends, church, job),  remember that if the prayer is going to be answered, it's probably going to change you also.
  7. Prayer is a way of working together with God to accomplish something jointly. It is a part of our service before and with the Lord. And we should find great joy in prayer.

 

Persistence in Humility
  1. There's a deep connection between humility and prayer, because one of the things that keeps us from prayer is the lack of humility. That widow didn't go in there proud, she went in humble.
  2. One of the reasons we don’t pray, is because we’ve decided to run things on our own. We’ll just take care of it. We don't want to be put into the position of saying, “Lord, help me!”
  3. In Luke 18:9-17, Jesus told the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector as a way of speaking to the people who trusted in themselves.
  4. No prayer if you trust in yourself. No service if you trust in yourself. No forgiveness if you trust in yourself. And this is the secret of the persistent effort to go forward in the kingdom of God.
  5. Jesus used children as symbols of the attitude for those who enter into the kingdom of heaven.
  6. Children are persistent as they learn to walk and talk. The great thing that is given to the little child is humble persistence in the things that will later be good for him.

 

Persistence in forgiveness, service, prayer and humility must be consciously undertaken as our part in receiving the grace of God for a fruitful life in His kingdom.
 

Scripture for Study: 

Luke 17:3-10; Luke 18:1-17

The Good "Half-Breed" and the Full-Blooded Stinkers. The Neighborliness of the Kingdom.

Dallas thinks The Good Samaritan may be the greatest parable. It catches up the entire message of the kingdom of God on its practical side: the outworking of the word of the Kingdom.

  1. The etymology of the word neighbor.
  2. Religious activities can be a good way to avoid actually helping our neighbor.
  3. Our responsibility for others must be very carefully handled because it can be quite destructive if we don't handle it well.
  4. The setting of Luke 10: a bunch of ordinary people have been out exercising the power of God.
    a)    This was a marvelous thing for Jesus, and it settled in his mind the plan by which he would evangelize the world. Back in verse 18 of Luke 10, he says, “I saw Satan cast out of heaven.” See, what he knew at that point was that he had indeed triumphed. And he had triumphed by committing himself to ordinary people.
  5. In Luke 10:23-24, he tells the disciples they are blessed to see this. But a lawyer/scribe nearby wants to question Jesus about this in verses 25-28, and Jesus shows us some good witnessing techniques.
    a)    Jesus simply asked the man what he already knew. That’s how he answered his question.
    b)    The world does not need another ounce of condemnation.
  6. Luke 16:13-15 is an example of lawyers needing self-justification. This is why he asked, “Who is my neighbor?”
  7. Jesus, changed the question from “who is my neighbor?” to “to whom will I be a neighbor?”
  8. The etymology of compassion.
  9. Now the accent is away from neighbors and onto neighboring.
  10. Dallas reads the story with heavy commentary, helping us put ourselves in the place of the characters.
  11. The priest and Levite were religious bigwigs. Would they really be expected to stop and help?
    a)    Explains the duties of the Levite.
    b)    They had good reasons not to help.
  12. The real enemy of the best is not the bad, but the good.
  13. Advice on social relations (including race and caste) – you must understand your neighbor to love your neighbor.
  14. We need to enter into what other people feel. And the Samaritan had that ability to enter into.
    a)    Bob Pierce used to have a prayer which was “Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.” 
    b)    Jesus's way is a way of compassion and that is a way of tears, not a stiff upper lip.
    c)    Tears and joy are a part of the full dimension of life in which we're intended to live.
  15. The connection between the head and the hands and feet is the heart.
  16. It’s the little things that defeat us. And our lives consist of little things. (Song of Solomon 2:15)
  17. Redeem the time; buy back the moment. “Today is the day of salvation,” is an all-encompassing statement about our lives.
  18. God will send you people to minister to. That's the way we lay up our treasures in heaven.
  19. Tolstoy’s story about the shoemaker.
  20. “In as much as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
     
Scripture for Study: 

Luke 17:3-10; Luke 18:1-17