3 Days of Prayer and Fasting (2019/08)

Luke 17:1-19 (ESV)
1 And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. 3 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
7 “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’? 8 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’? 9 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.’”
11 On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

Day 1: Loving God
Even after a long day of “plowing or keeping sheep” in the field, a servant must not return to the house and expect to “recline at table” with his master (v. 7). The household servant in the ancient world was expected to serve his master dinner and wait at the table until he was finished, in much the same that waiters at a restaurant serve the patrons before sitting down to eat themselves. The proper attitude of a servant after doing all that has been commanded is, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty” (v. 10). Doing what is our duty doesn’t get us any extra credit, it doesn’t accumulate any merit for ourselves in the sight of God. We serve the Creator of the universe. We serve the supreme Lord over all. We serve the gracious Father who gave His only Son to save us. We serve the good Lord Jesus who died on the cross for our sins to save us. Even if we were to give every ounce of our energy, every second of our lives, every penny of our income, even if we were to lay down our very lives for His service, it would not be enough. So our cry can only and ever be, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.” After much hard work and sacrifice for the Lord’s sake, we can start to feel entitled, or disgruntled. In those times, instead of dwelling on how amazing we are and thinking about all that we have done for God, we should meditate on who God is and all that God has done for us. Then, we will be humble, not entitled, servants of the Lord.
  • Confess the ways in which you have felt entitled or disgruntled in your attitude toward God.
  • Pray that God would enlarge your view of Him and increase your love for Him, so that you properly perceive the distance between His supreme worthiness and your unworthiness.
  • Pray for deeper humility with which you can serve Christ and His Church, even when the going gets tough.

Day 2: Loving One Another
Consider the gravity of making fellow believers stumble into sin in verses 1-2. Do you take care to give sound, Biblical counsel to your brothers and sisters in Christ? Are you leading any of them astray with your speech and actions?
Jesus calls us to be watchful and safeguard one another’s faith. When Christians brothers and sisters sin against us, we are to rebuke them so that they repent. If and when they repent, we are to forgive them, every time. Both rebuke and forgiveness must be offered, not glibly, but seriously and lovingly. We rebuke personally, without resorting to slander or gossip, with the goal of repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation. We forgive graciously, without making light of sin, but making much of Jesus Christ and His costly, atoning sacrifice.
  • Pray that God would help you to value your Christian brothers and sisters so highly that you take every care to safeguard their faith. Pray that those who disciple, teach, and lead others in our church would be faithful, never making others stumble into sin.
  • Pray that we would be a church characterized by courage and humility, so that we rebuke well, repent well, and forgive well.
  • Pray for our upcoming members’ meeting on September 8th, for clarity in discerning the direction of Gods leading, and for unity.

Day 3: Loving Our Neighbors
Of the ten lepers who were healed, only one returns in faith to give thanks to Jesus for his healing, and this man was a Samaritan, a “foreigner” (vv. 15-18). “Foreigner” is a loaded word that Jews used in a way that alienated those of different ethnic descent, “that alien, that pagan, that heathen, that gringo, that gook, that gweilo!” And Jesus uses that word here intentionally to teach us that God makes no racial or ethnic distinction when it comes to saving those who respond to Him in faith. Are there kinds of people that you deem to be beyond the reach of God’s mercy? Do you love and evangelize people who are unlike you?
Even though all ten lepers benefitted from Jesus’s healing ministry, only to the one who returned, did Jesus say, “your faith has made you well” (v. 19), which is, literally, “your faith has saved you” (cf. Luke 7:50). There are many ways that we can love and serve our neighbors—financial assistance, emotional support, volunteer service, etc., but even with all these temporal benefits, if they do not come to know and love Jesus, they will perish. Are you sharing the saving news of Jesus Christ with your family, friends, and neighbors with this in mind?
  • Pray for the salvation of specific unbelieving family members, friends, and neighbors.
  • Pray that God would enlarge your heart to love those who are unlike you, even those whom you dislike.
  • Pray that our church would be bold and winsome witnesses for Jesus Christ, that we would never lose sight of the urgency and priority of sharing the gospel.

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