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(Luke 18:1-8)
August 28, 2016
Intro And old rhyme: His wisdom is sublime, / His heart profoundly
kind; / God never is before His time, / And never is behind. A truth to live
by! But to the disciples it was about to look like He was behind.
Jesus has told His disciples the kingdom they expect when they arrive in
Jerusalem will not happen on their schedule. It is delayed by the rejection of
the nation a huge unmet expectation. So what should they do? V. 1, they
ought always to pray and not lose heart. Two things: Dont lose heart! Do
pray. And He finishes with a challenge in v. 8: Nevertheless, when the Son of
Man comes, will he find faith on earth? Literally, will He find that faith.
Faith that believes, contrary to appearances, Jesus is coming again. Faith that
prays and does not lose heart. Faith that does not take current events as the
final answer. People living faithfully in a faithless world.
So Hes told us I. What Not to Do (lose heart). Then Hes told us II. What to
Do (pray). Now, Why do it and its not what most people think.

Why Do It?

V. 1: And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always () to
pray. So, we must pray. No missing that. But most miss the real thrust of this
parable. Most insist Jesus is teaching persistence. They point to the widows
continual coming in v. 5, and believers crying to God day and night in v.
7 and conclude, The issue is persistence. Want answers? Persist! Keep on
asking til you wear God down and get what you want! You walk away
thinking you must overcome Gods reluctance in order to get an answer. God
doesnt really want to be bothered to answer me, so I gotta work Him! Plead
long and hard enough, and your desire is yours!
But while persistence in prayer is good, that is not the main point here. Most
parables are parables of comparison. This is not. This is one of the few
parables in the Bible that is a parable of contrast, not a parable of comparison.
If this is a parable of comparison, then we are like this rejected woman, and
God is like this reluctant judge, and the way to get something is to nag until
He finally gives in. But that is not the point at all.

This is a parable of contrast. Jesus point is not that just like that unwanted
woman got results from unrighteous judge by persistent nagging, so you pesky
seekers can get results from an unresponsive God by your persistence. That is
not at all His point! Thats a parable of comparison. But God is not an
unrighteous judge. And we are not unwanted intrusions. Just the opposite.
Jesus point is, if that rejected woman could get results from that guy by her
persistence, how much more can we expect answers from a God who lives to
answer prayer. Its not persistence in prayer Hes teaching; it is confidence in
prayer. Thats His point. Martin Luther said it this way: "Prayer is not
overcoming God's reluctance, but laying hold of His willingness." 2 points.
A. You Are Received, Not Rejected

And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying,
Give me justice against my adversary. Widowhood symbolized the
ultimate state of vulnerability, deprivation and need. There
was no welfare system and no recourse outside of family.
A widow was reduced to help she got from parents, children or
siblings, if alive. Barring that, she would have to beg.
Furthermore, women had no standing at court. They could not
give testimony and could get a hearing only under unusual
circumstances. With an unjust judge that meant one thing a
bribe which she did not have. She was a 3-time loser no
standing at court, no man to plead her case, and no money to
pay a bribe. Jesus audience got the pix. She was alone,
helpless, desperate.
So, she does what she can. She pesters this judge to death. V.
3: She kept coming to him and saying, Give me justice against my
adversary. To the point that the judge said: 5 yet because this widow keeps
bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her
continual coming. Beat me down is literally give me a black eye a
boxing term. She wasnt literally hitting him, but she was aggressively
confronting him at every opportunity outside court, no doubt. He could have
thrown her out of court. But outside court, every time he turned around there
she was! When he went to the market, there she was. Having lunch with his
colleagues, there she was. Coming and going from his home, there she was.
Always pleading even as he pushed her aside, until he could take it no more.

Thats the picture. Now, the woman clearly represents believers. Shes always
pleading; we ought always to pray. Shes helpless to get justice; we are
helpless to impose kingdom justice. In that sense we are alike. BUT whereas
she is unloved and rejected, we are very loved and wanted. Thats Jesus
point. 6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unrighteous judge says (He gave
in to her badgering). 7 And will not God give justice to his elect. Jesus isnt
drawing a comparison; Hes drawing a contrast. If this rejected, unwanted
woman finally succeeds with this unrighteous judge, how much more will we
loved and elect get help from a righteous, loving God! Shes rejected; were
elect! No wonder we ought to pray. He longs to effect His will in our lives!
The woman is unwanted, but we are people whom the Father has blessed us
in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he
chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and
blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through
Jesus Christ (Eph 1:3-5). Chosen before we were born; adopted into the
family of God thru the work of His Spirit within all because He loved us.
David Platt used to point to his son, Caleb, across a room and yell, I love
Caleb! Caleb would laugh and yell back, I love Daddy! One day Caleb
stopped suddenly and asked, You love me? Platt replied, Yeah, buddy, I
do. Why? Because youre my son. Why? That caused Platt to replay
all the hassles and turmoil of adopting a son from Kazakhstan. With teary eyes
he told Caleb, Youre our son because we wanted you. We came to get you
so that you could have a mommy and daddy. Doesnt it take your breath
away to hear God say, I chose you. And I came to get you so that you might
know me as your Father. Thats why we should pray, Beloved. Not to
overcome Gods reluctance, but to lay hold of His willingness. We dont have
to beg. We just come boldly to the throne of grace where were wanted.
B. God is Righteous, Not Reluctant
V. 2: In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected
man. This man neither feared the Lord to whom he would one day answer,
nor the dignity of those he judged. He was rotten to the core and cared nothing
for this woman. Is that a comparison to show us what God is like? No!
Gods the opposite of this scoundrel. So while He may seem reluctant or
distant or indifferent at times, He never is. Never. He promises, I will never
leave you nor forsake you (Heb 13:5). Delay may be for discipline (Heb 12),

spiritual warfare (Dan 10), to increase our dependence (Job 13:15), for our
growth (Job 23:10) or 100 other reasons. But our Father is always there.
The religious establishment hated Martin Luther for standing against papel
authority in favor of the Bible. They tried to buy him off. He refused and
Cardinal Cajetan sent a note to the Pope saying, This fool doesnt love gold!
Cajetan then threatened, Do you not realize that the Popes little finger is
stronger than all of Germany? And do you think the German princes will
rise up and take arms to defend you, you wretched worm. No they wont.
And then where will you be? Luther eyeballed him and said, Ill tell you
where Ill be. Ill be where I have always been in the hands of God.
Thats a good place to be in the hands of the Father who has chosen you;
will always do right by you. You dont have to beg. You just have to put
yourself in His hands. Thats what to do! Faithful living in a faithless world.

What to Expect

Why hold that faith? Two gripping promises: 7 And will not God give justice
to his elect, who cry to him day and night? zWill he delay long over them? 8 I
tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Justice and Speed.
A. Justice
I love this promise. Someday God is going to right every wrong, heal every
pain and vindicate every act of faith. Thats who He is. His very nature can
allow for no other possibility. Abraham pleaded for Lots life on that basis:
Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just? (Gen 18:25). Justice is
coming; vindication is on the way.
When Jesus pictures his elect, [who] cry to him day and night Hes not
saying, Do this! Its not an instruction; its a description. Hes depicting
that the faithful are finding it hard. They are mocked, declared irrelevant,
intolerant, hopelessly outdated and foolish. They are being persecuted and
even being killed. Tough environment to live by faith!
But Jesus is saying, Listen. You will be vindicated in the end. You may be
mocked, ostracized, persecuted and killed now but justice is coming. The
Lord says in Psa 9: 18) For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the
hope of the poor shall not perish forever. It may be tough now, but not
forever. Why? Back up to Psa 9: 8) and he judges the world with

righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness. A day of reckoning is

coming, and the temporary shame of Gods elect will become the eternal
shame of their persecutors. So hang on!
Paul vividly describes vindication in II Thess 1:6ff: 5 This is evidence of the
righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the
kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering 6 since indeed God
considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to grant
relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed
from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on
those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our
Lord Jesus. Young people, believers will have the last laugh. Deliverance is
coming; exoneration is on the way. Gods just character guarantees it!
God tested Job under horrendous circumstances. His health, family and wealth
all taken in the blink of an eye. And he was mocked by those who thought his
faith in vain, including his own wife! But without ever answering the why
question, except to say, Trust me, listen to how it all ended. Job 42:12 And
the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had
14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys.
He had also seven sons and three daughters. Check it out. God gave Job
double what he had in the beginning except not his children. Why not the
children? Because the first group was already with the Lord awaiting a great
reunion when Dad would join them in His presence. What is the point of it all?
God vindicates His faithful followers not always in this life, and not always
when we want. But Job shows us He is infinitely fair and just. Every wrong is
made right because thats who He is.
BUT theres more!
B. Speed
I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily ( shortly or
better, as soon as possible). Expect speed. Thats where faith
usually goes down the drain, doesnt it? Jesus says justice is coming fast. We
dont see it speedily, despair and doubt take over and suddenly were living a
faithless life in a faithless world. Whats happened? Destruction by false

To us the word speedily means now! Today -- tomorrow, latest, right?

Thats what speedily tells us. And it can mean that. When the angel comes to
get Peter out of prison in Acts 12:8 and says, Get up quickly-- he doesnt

mean tomorrow! But usually the term has broader meaning. Rev 1:1: The
revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the
things that must soon take place. Have the things in Revelation taken place
yet? No. Not yet. But they will as soon as possible! when all the puzzle
pieces are in place. Rom 16:20: The God of peace will soon crush Satan
under your feet. A promise issued 2,000 years ago. Hasnt happened yet, but
it will soon as soon as possible.
Two thousand years isnt soon to me! Not speedy. But God does not count
time as we do. A day with him is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a
day. The definition of speedily in Lu 18:8 is found in the previous verse.
Will he (God) delay long over them (His elect)? The grammatically
expected answer is No. No, He would never delay over them. He will give
them justice as soon as possible in keeping with His plan to reunite all
things under His feet. So what Jesus is promising here is no pain any longer
than absolutely necessary; no suffering beyond what Gods plan requires; no
unnecessary extension of adversity. So trust Him; cling to Him; have faith in
Him; let Him find that faith in your life faithful living in a faithless world
knowing that He will not extend your suffering or persecution any longer
than absolutely necessary. Take heart. However it may look, He is absolutely
in control. He will deliver just as soon as He knows the time is right.
You tell your kids, Were going to Disneyland soon. Soon? To them that
translates into later today tomorrow latest. But you know you have to get
time off work, get plane tickets, find a hotel, find someone to water the plants
and feed the dog soon could be months. You get the point. Speedily = as
soon as possible to implement the plan. Meantime, your kids hang onto
that faith that it will really happen. Why? Because they know you keep
your word, and they know you love them, and youve promised to give them
justice as soon as possible not a moment later. Just like Gods promised you.
Conc So, keep the faith, Beloved. Youve been chosen by the One who is in
control of the whole thing. Thats good theology. So, live faithfully in a
faithless world so that when He comes He will find that faith.
And if you dont know Him, why not today? C. S. Lewis as usual put it as
clearly as you can put it: When the author walks onto the stage (when Jesus
does come again), the play is over. God is going to invade, all right; but
what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole
natural universe melting away like a dream and something else comes

crashing in? This time it will be God without disguise; something so

overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror
into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. That will not
be the time for choosing; It will be the time when we discover which side we
really have chosen, whether we realized it before or not. Now, today, this
moment, is our chance to choose the right side. I urge you choose Christ.
Lets pray.