The Strength of Waiting

Steve Viars September 2, 2012 Luke 18:1-43

Please Note: the full transcript is available in the Manuscript link above. 

Psalm 27:14 - Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.

James 1:22-25 - But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror;  for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.  But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

Luke 17:22 - And He said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.”

3 important qualities of a person who wants to wait well

I. Live with Expectancy

Luke 16:8-9 - And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light. And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings.

A. The stated point of the parable

Luke 18:1 - Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart,

B. The shocking story

1. A wicked judge

Luke 18:2 - saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man.”

2. A persistent widow

Luke 18:3-5 - There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, “Give me legal protection from my opponent.” For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, “Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.”

C. Jesus' application

Luke 18:6-8 - And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly…”

Luke 18:8 - I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?

James 5:16 - Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

“Here's what it means to pray like a juggernaut: to pray prayers worthy of the God we're praying to. After all, we are praying to a God whose capability always exceeds our audacity. You don't ever have to worry about putting God in an awkward or embarrassing position. You're not going to back Him into a corner. You won't ever challenge Him to do something beyond His aptitude. Prayer is the arena where our faith meets God's abilities. And there is never going to be a moment when the audacity of our faith surpasses God's capacity to respond. That's why timid prayers are a waste of time." (Steven Furtick, Sun Stand Still, chapter 14)

"Prayer is rarely all we can do. We can pray AND we can prepare. We can ask God to intervene and we can initiate changes in our lives to make it happen. We can ask the Lord to fight for us and we can pull out or swords and start fighting in His strength. Sun Stand Still prayers are integrated prayers: They join our faith-filled prayer with our faith-filled action." (Furtick, chapter 17)

II. Live With Humility

A. The stated point of the parable

Luke 18:9 - And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt:

B. The Pharisee's prayer

Luke 18:11-12 - The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: “God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.”

C. The tax collector's prayer

Luke 18:13 - But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!”

D. The disciple's proud actions

Luke 18:15 - And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them.

E. Take-aways at this point

1. People who live with humility will leave the details and timetable up to a sovereign God.

2. People who live with humility will understand that the reason God may be holding off the answer we desire is because He is currently working in the life of a person many others hold in contempt and he wants you to be part of the answer.

III. Live with Focus

A. The ruler's question

Luke 18:18 - A ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

B. Jesus' shocking answer

Luke 18:19-20 - And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.  You know the commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’”

C. The ruler's outrageous response

Luke 18:21 - And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.”

D. Jesus' simple clarification

Luke 18:22-23 - When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.

E. The overall application

Luke 18:29-30 - And He said to them, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life.”

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987.  He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and they have three children. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church.  He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of Vision of Hope and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video