"In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected men.
I. THE ARGUMENT IN THE TEXT. It is one from the less to the greater, or rather from the unworthy to the worthy. If a bad man will, for a poor reason, accede to the request of one for whom he cares nothing, how much more certainly will the Righteous One himself, for a good reason, espouse the cause of those who are so dear to him! The reasons for confidence in God's faithfulness and interposition are therefore threefold.
1. If an unprincipled judge amongst men will finally do justice, assuredly the righteous Judge of all the earth will do so. His character is something which cannot fail; we may build on that as on the most solid rock.
2. If justice is granted by us for so poor a reason as that of fearing vexatious annoyance, surely God will listen and will respond to reverent and believing prayer. He is far more certain to be won by that in us which pleases him than is an unjust judge by that in his appellant which annoys him. And our approach to him in prayer, our reverent attitude, our faith in his goodness, our trust in his Word, - all this is very pleasing unto our Father.
3. If a man will yield a demand made by one to whom he does not feel himself related, and in whom he is absolutely uninterested, how confident we may be that God will interpose on behalf of those who, as his own sons and daughters, are dear to his parental heart, and who, collectively, constitute "his own elect " - those who are most tenderly and intimately related to him in Jesus Christ his Son!
II. THE SERIOUS FACT OF THE DIVINE DELAY. "Though he bear long with them" (ver. 7), or, "and he delays [to interpose] in their cause" (Dr. Bruce). It is certain that, from our point of view, God does delay to vindicate his people; his answer does not come as soon as we expect it; it is held back so long that we are ready "to faint" (Lose heart). Thus was it many times in the history of Israel; thus has it been frequently in the history of the Church of Christ. How many times have suffering bands of noble martyrs looked up piteously and despondently to heaven as they cried, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood?" Thus has it been in multitudes of individual instances; men have been oppressed, or they have been embarrassed, or they have been disappointed, or they have been otherwise afflicted; they have appealed to God for his delivering grace; and they have looked long in vain for the Divine response. They say, "O my God, I cry,... but thou hearest not" (Psalm 22:2).
III. THE EXPLANATION THAT WILL BE FOUND. The time will come when we shall understand why God did delay to answer us. But we may be quite sure that when it comes it will be seen:
1. That it was not in him - not in his absence from us, nor his indifference to us, nor his unreadiness to help us.
2. That it, was in us - in our unreadiness to receive his interposition, or in the misuse we should make of it, or in the greater and truer good to be gained by our patience than by our relief; and thus in the ultimate gain to our own well-being by his withholding.
IV. THE BLESSED FACT THAT IT IS ONLY A DELAY. "I tell you that he will avenge them speedily."
1. It is probable that when God does manifest his power he will work speedy and overwhelming destruction to the guilty; he will avenge "speedily," i.e. quickly, instantaneously. "How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image" (Psalm 73:19, 20).
2. It is certain that in his own time and way God will defend his people, that he will relieve his children, that he will redeem and bless his "own elect." His faithfulness to his Word; his love for them that love him; his intimacy of relation to those who are "in Jesus Christ;" - this is a sure and absolute pledge that the appeal to him cannot be and will not be in vain. Men ought continuously, perseveringly, to pray, and never to lose heart. The day of Divine appearing is entered in the books of God. - C.
Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?I. THE FAVOURABLE TRAITS OF CHARACTER EXHIBITED IN THE QUESTION PROPOSED BY THIS YOUNG MAN.
1. The question itself was of supreme importance.
2. The question was a personal one.
3. The question was put at an interesting period of life.
4. The question was put by one who possessed an abundance of riches.
5. The question was put with feelings of great modesty and respect.
6. The question was put with great sincerity and earnestness of spirit.
II. THE DEFECTS WHICH WERE ELICITED BY THE SAVIOUR.
1. He evidently expected salvation by the works of the law.
2. He was held in bondage by one reigning idol.
3. He was unwilling to yield to the extensive requirements of the Saviour.
III. THE LESSONS WHICH HIS HISTORY FURNISHES.
1. The exceeding deceitfulness of earthly riches.
2. That we may go far in religious practices, and yet not be saved.
3. We are in great danger from spiritual deception.
4. Religion requires a total surrender of ourselves to God.
(J. Burns, D. D.)
Thou knowest the commandmentsI. INQUIRE INTO THE DESIGN WITH WHICH OUR SAVIOUR SPOKE THESE WORDS. His aim was to expose ignorance, self-righteousness, and insincerity, in one whom the spectators were doubtless admiring for his apparent devotion.
1. The man was ignorant of Christ's real character.
2. He expected life as the reward of his own merit.
3. He was not sincerely willing to sacrifice anything for the kingdom of heaven's sake.
II. ENDEAVOUR TO PROMOTE A SIMILAR DESIGN BY A FAITHFUL APPLICATION OF THEM TO OURSELVES. "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." These words, duly considered, may —
1. Convince us of sin. There is no doubt, that we ought to keep the commandments. But, have we done so?
2. Drive us to Christ as a Refuge.
3. Guide the steps of the justified believer. The curse of the law it at an end — not its obligation.
(J. Jowett, M. A.)
Yet lackest thou one thing
(Bishop F. D. Huntington.)
(Bishop F. D. Huntington.)
How hardly shall they that have riches enter
2. Then it is another exceeding peril of riches and ease that they may tend to make us forget that here is not our home, Men on a journey through a stranger's, much more an enemy's, and linger not. Their hearts are in their home; thither are their eyes set; they love the winds which have blown over it; they love the very hills which look upon it, even while they hide it; days, hours, and minutes pass quickly or slowly as they seem to bring them near to it; distance, time, weariness, strength, all are counted only with a view to this, "are they nearer to the faces they love? can they, when shall they reach it?" What then, my brethren, if our eyes are not set upon the everlasting "hills, whence cometh our help"? what if we cherish not those inward breathings which come to us from our heavenly home, hushing, refreshing, restoring, lifting up our hearts, and bidding us flee away and be at rest? What if we are wholly satisfied, and intent on things present? can we be longing for the face of God? or can we love Him whom we long not for? or do we long for Him, if we say not daily, "When shall I come and appear before the presence of God?"
3. Truly there is not one part of the Christian character which riches, in themselves, do not tend to impair. Our Lord placed at the head of evangelic blessings, poverty of spirit, and, as a help to it and image of it, the outward body of the soul of true poverty, poverty of substance too. The only "riches" spoken of in the New Testament, except as a woe, are the unsearchable riches of the glory and grace of Christ, the riches of the goodness of God, the depth of the riches of His wisdom, or the riches of liberality, whereto deep poverty abounded.
4. Poverty is, at least, a fostering nurse of humility, meekness, patience, trust in God, simplicity, sympathy with the sufferings of our Lord or of its fellow (for it knows the heart of those who suffer). What when riches, in themselves, hinder the very grace of mercifulness which seems their especial grace, of which they are the very means? What wonder that they cherish that brood of snakes, pride, arrogance, self-pleasing, self-indulgence, self-satisfaction, trust in self, forgetfulness of God, sensuality, luxury, spiritual sloth, when they deaden the heart to the very sorrows they should relieve? And yet it is difficult, unless, through self-discipline, we feel some suffering, to sympathize with those who suffer. Fulness of bread deadens love. As a rule, the poor show more mercy to the poor out of their poverty, than the rich out of their abundance. But if it be a peril to have riches, much more is it to seek them. To have them is a trial allotted to any of us by God; to seek them is our own. Through trials which He has given us He will guide us; but where has He promised to help us in what we bring upon ourselves? In all this I have not spoken of any grosser sins to which the love of money gives birth: of what all fair men would condemn, yet which, in some shape or other, so many practise. Such are, hardness to the poor or to dependents; using a brother's services for almost nought, in order to have more to spend in luxury; petty or more grievous frauds; falsehood, hard dealing, taking advantage one of another, speaking evil of one another, envying one another, forgetting natural affection. And yet in this Christian land many of these are very common. Holy Scripture warns us all not to think ourselves out of danger of them.
(E. B. Pusey, D. D.)
(J. Parker, D. D.)
(J. Parker, D. D.)
I. LET US NOTICE MORE PARTICULARLY SOME OF THE DIFFICULTIES IN THE WAY OF OUR SALVATION.
1. The truths to be believed are some of them very mysterious, and, as Peter says, "Hard to be understood."
2. The sacrifices to be made are also in some degree painful. That which cost our Saviour so much must surely cost us something.
3. The dispositions to be exercised are such as are contrary to the natural bias of our depraved hearts.
4. The duties to be performed. Is there no difficulty more especially in renouncing a customary or constitutional evil, and keeping ourselves from our own iniquity?
5. The trouble and danger to which religion exposes its professors.
II. ATTEMPT TO ANSWER THE INQUIRY IN OUR TEXT. "Who, then, can be saved?" If men were left to themselves, either in a natural or renewed state, and if God were not to work, or to withhold His hand after He had begun to work, none would be saved, no, not one.
1. Such shall be saved as are appointed to it. Of some it is said, "God hath chosen them to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth."
2. Those shall be saved who are truly desirous of it.
3. Those who come to Christ for salvation shall be sure to obtain it.
4. Such as endure to the end shall be saved.
(B. Beddome, M. A.)
Lo, we have left all and followed TheeI. SELF-DENIAL IS TO BE EXPLAINED.
1. In the first place, it does not consist in giving up one temporal and personal good for a greater temporal and personal good. For this is self-gratifying instead of self-denying. Any entirely selfish person would be willing to do this. One man will sacrifice his property to gratify his ambition, which he esteems a greater good. Another man will sacrifice his property to gratify his appetite, which he esteems a greater good. Another will sacrifice his property to gratify his revenge, which he esteems a greater good. But none of these persons, in these cases, exercise the least self-denial.
2. Nor, secondly, does self-denial consist in giving up a less temporal and personal good for a greater personal and eternal good. The most corrupt and selfish men in the world are willing to give up any or all their temporal and personal interests for the sake of obtaining future and eternal happiness.
3. But, thirdly and positively, self-denial consists in giving up our own good for the good of others. Such self-denial stands in direct contrariety to selfishness.
II. TRUE SELF-DENIAL IS PRODUCTIVE OF THE HIGHEST PRESENT AND FUTURE HAPPINESS. This will appear if we consider —
1. The nature of true self-denial. It consists, as we have seen, in giving up a less private or personal good for a greater public good; or in giving up our own good for the greater good of others. And this necessarily implies disinterested benevolence, which is placing our own happiness in the greater happiness of others. When a man gives up his own happiness to promote the greater happiness of another, he does it freely and voluntarily, because he takes more pleasure in the greater good of another than in a less good of his own.
2. Those who have denied themselves the most have found the greatest happiness resulting from their self. denial.
3. The great and precious promises which are expressly made to self. denial by Christ Himself.Conclusion:
1. It appears, then, that self-denial is necessarily a term or condition of salvation.
2. It appears, also, that the doctrine cannot be carried too far.
3. If Christianity requires men to exercise true self. denial, then the Christian religion is not a gloomy, but a joyful, religion. It affords a hundredfold more happiness than any other religion can afford.
4. It appears from the nature of that self-denial which the gospel requires that the more sinners become acquainted with the gospel, the more they are disposed to hate it and reject it. All sinners are lovers of their own selves, and regard their own good supremely and solely, and the good of others only so far as it tends to promote their own private, personal, and selfish good.
5. It appears from the nature of that self-denial which the gospel requires why sinners are more willing to embrace any false scheme of religion than the true.
(N. Emmons, D. D.)I. TO BE THE FOLLOWERS OF THE SAVIOUR, IS TO SUSTAIN A CHARACTER OF HIGH AND ESSENTIAL IMPORTANCE.
1. We cannot hold this relationship to the Son of God without believing the testimony given concerning Him, in the Scriptures.
2. Believing in Christ, we must be excited to a practical obedience to His commands, and an imitation of the excellences displayed as an example to man.
3. That same principle of faith will excite also to public profession of the Saviour's name, and active exertion in His cause.
4. Combine in your own characters the principles and the conduct to which we have now adverted. Believe on the Son of God; give an obedience to His perceptive will, and imitate the excellences He displayed; profess publicly that you will be His, and be active and zealous in the promotion of His designs; and then will you indeed and honourably be among those who "follow Him."
II. THAT IN SUSTAINING THIS CHARACTER, PAINFUL SACRIFICES MUST OFTEN BE MADE. Sacrifices for the name's sake of the Son of God are justified and called for, by reasons which might be expanded in very extensive illustration. Remember for whom they are made. For whom? For Him who built the fabric of the universe, and over whose wondrous creation the "morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy." For whom? For Him who is "the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of His person," in whom "dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." For whom? For Him who "was rich, but for your sakes became poor," etc. Remember for what these sacrifices are made. They are made for the enjoyment of peace of conscience. They are made for a restoration to the image and the friendship of God. They are made for the refinement and ennobling of the nature. It is to be observed again —
III. THAT PRESENT SACRIFICES IN THE CAUSE, AND AS THE FOLLOWERS OF THE SAVIOUR, ARE TO ISSUE IN A GLORIOUS REWARD.
1. The Saviour promises advantage to be possessed in the present life. In following Christ, we are blessed with repose of conscience; we are exalted to fellowship with God; we are endowed with capacities for improving in the knowledge of mysteries, identified with the highest welfare of our being; we become the companions of the excellent of the earth, and the innumerable company of angels; we are urged to a rapid increase in the graces which dignify the character, and are a pledge of the sublimity of the final destiny; we are supplied with strong consolation for sorrow, and firm support for death; and prospects are opened which stretch away to the immensities of immortality. Are not these "a hundredfold"? Here is the "pearl of great price": and well may we resolve to be as the merchant, and "sell" or "forsake" all we have, and buy it!
2. The Saviour promises advantage to be possessed in the life to come. It is a wise regulation in the decisions of Providence, that our chief reward is reserved for another state of existence. The Almighty intends that, in this world, our lives shall be those of trial; and that the stability of our graces should be proved, by the rigid and sometimes painful discipline to which we are exposed.
(M. F. Sadler.)
LinksLuke 18:2 NIV
Luke 18:2 NLT
Luke 18:2 ESV
Luke 18:2 NASB
Luke 18:2 KJV
Luke 18:2 Bible Apps
Luke 18:2 Parallel
Luke 18:2 Biblia Paralela
Luke 18:2 Chinese Bible
Luke 18:2 French Bible
Luke 18:2 German Bible
Luke 18:2 Commentaries