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Luke 16:19-31The Rich Man and LazarusRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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Jesus tells a story of a rich man who lived and died without the Lord, and, at his gate, a poor man called Lazarus, covered with sores who was terribly destitute (even longing to eat the scraps from the rich man’s table) also died. The beggar was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side, while the rich man dwelt in Hades, in torment. The rich man called out to Abraham, asking for mercy, and for Lazarus to come and dip the end of his finger in water and cool his tongue, for he was in anguish in the flame. Abraham denied his request, saying to the rich man that in his lifetime he received his good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things, but now Lazarus was being comforted there, and the rich man was in anguish. On top of this, a great fixed chasm existed between the two, not allowing for connection between one another. The rich man asked then that Lazarus might be sent to warn his five brothers about the place of torment. Abraham, however, replied that his brothers had Moses and the Prophets (the Scriptures); they should hear them. And, if they did not hear Moses and the Prophets, they wouldn’t listen even if someone should rise from the dead. This is a story of wasted opportunities and twisted priorities.
Luke 16:1-13Faithfulness in Little and in MuchRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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To argue that one must choose between God and money as absolute masters, Jesus told to his disciples the parable of the shrewd manager. Jesus said there was once a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. The manager was fired! The fired manager asked himself what would he now do that his master had taken the management away from him. He surmised that he was not strong enough to dig, and was too ashamed to beg. He decided to secure his future with some of his master’s debtors. He reduced the debt load of those who owed his master by as much as fifty percent. When the master heard of his dishonest manager’s shrewdness, he commended the manager for his ingenuity. Jesus commented that one who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in very little is also dishonest in much. He warned that if you prove unfaithful in the unrighteous wealth, then you will not be entrusted with true riches. He said that no servant can serve two masters, one will receive hatred and one will receive devotion, or vice versa. You cannot serve God and money.
Luke 15:1-10The Lost Sheep, the Lost CoinRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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At a time when the the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear Jesus, the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” Jesus told to the Pharisees and scribes, therefore, parables connected with their judgmental spirit. He told them the parable of the lost sheep, saying “what man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” He reiterated his truth by sharing a parable of a lost coin. “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Heaven rejoices greatly over a lost person who is finally found!
Luke 14:25-33The Cost of DiscipleshipRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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On one occasion, great crowds accompanied Jesus and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” He illustrated the cost of discipleship by alluding to two situations. The first concerned their desire to build a tower, but before they do it, they sit down and count the cost, assessing whether they had enough to complete it. Otherwise, when only the foundation is laid, people mock the project saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.” The other concerned a king, going out to encounter another king in war, who first sits down and determines whether he is able with his ten thousand men to defeat the enemy force of twenty thousand. And if he believes he cannot, he sends a delegation while the other king is a great distance away and asks for terms of peace. Jesus concluded: “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”
Luke 14:7-14The Banquet of the LordRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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On a particular Sabbath, Jesus went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, and the entire party present were watching him carefully. Jesus told a parable to those who were invited, because he had noticed how the various guests jockeyed for the places of honor. He told them that when they were invited by someone to a wedding feast, they ought not sit down in a place of honor. If they do, someone more distinguished than them will come with the master of the event and tell them to give up their place, and they will shamefully be made to take the lowest place. Rather, Jesus told them that when they received an invitation, they should go and sit in the lowest place, so when the host comes he’ll ask them to move up higher, and they’ll be honored in the presence of everyone present. Jesus said that everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted. He also told the one who invited him how to be an honored host: don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, or rich neighbors (lest they return the favor and you be repaid), but rather invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. If you do so, you’ll be blessed, because these cannot repay you, and you’ll be repaid at the resurrection of the just. Throw a party, God-style; invite the unlovely and let God reward!
Luke 13:10-17Woman, Thou Art LoosedRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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When Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath, a woman was present who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When the Lord saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” Jesus laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. The ruler of the synagogue, however, became indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath. He said, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” The Lord rebuked him for his answer, and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” After our Lord said these words, all his adversaries were ashamed, and the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.
Luke 12:49-56Not Peace, But DivisionRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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In regard to his own mission to the world, Jesus proclaimed that he came to cast fire on the earth, and he desired at that time that it were already kindled! (Our Lord would literally be baptized on the cross by the wrath of God, bearing the world’s sin and punishment.) He assured his disciples that he did not come to give peace on earth, but rather division. His Gospel message would separate entire families, pitting unbelieving family members against believing ones. Fathers would be against sons, mothers against daughters and daughters against mothers, mothers-in-law against daughters-in-law and daughters-in-law against mothers-in-law.” He said that we can discern the coming weather by examining the sky, but somehow hypocritically fail to know how to interpret the present time? Inevitably, allegiance to Jesus will divide dearest family and friends from one another.
Luke 12:32-40You Must Be ReadyRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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In all Jesus’ teachings he exhorted his disciples to be ready and prepare themselves for the Kingdom’s coming and revelation. He told them not to fear, for it was the Father’s good pleasure to give them the Kingdom. He commanded them to sell their possessions and give to the needy. He told them to provide themselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. He assured them that where their treasure was, that is where their hearts would be also. He challenged them to stay dressed for action and keep their lamps burning, acting like those who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. He exhorted them that constant watchfulness must be the order of the day, at whatever time the master arrives, if they are ready, they would be blessed. He told them to be ready because the Son of Man would come at an hour that no one expects. The word is for us as well: be ready!
Luke 11:1-13The Gift of the Holy SpiritRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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Now when Jesus was praying in a certain place, on finishing, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” Jesus then taught them the language of prayer: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.” After this, he reminded them through illustration that effective prayer demands constancy and perseverance. We must ask, and it will be given to us, seek, and we will find, and knock, and it will be opened to us. If we as earthly fathers, even though we are not holy, know how to give good gifts to our children, Jesus said how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” If we seek the good gifts of the Father, he will endow us with his own Holy Spirit.
Luke 10:38-42One Thing Is NeedfulRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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As Jesus and the disciples went on their way, they entered a village, and Martha welcomed him into her house. Martha’s sister was called Mary, and she sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. Martha, on the other hand, was distracted with much preparation and readying for service. Exasperated by Mary’s neglect, Martha went up to Jesus and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Jesus told her that we must first be ministered to by the Savior before we can minister for the Savior - without him we can do nothing, and that is the only thing that is needful.
Luke 10:25-37The Good SamaritanRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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Once when our Lord was challenged by an expert in the Law with the question, “Teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?”, Jesus answered the man, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” The lawyer replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus told the man that he had answered correctly. He told him to do this, and he would live. But, the lawyer sought to justify himself, and replied to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” On this, Jesus told a story of a man who had been robbed, beaten, and left for dead while going from Jerusalem to Jericho. Three individuals passed by him, and two did nothing: a priest and a Levite saw the wounded man, but refused to involve themselves in the man’s trouble. The last person, a Samaritan, stopped, bound up the wounds of the man, and carried him to an inn, paying his room and board till he recovered. Jesus asked the lawyer which of these travelers proved to be the neighbor, and the lawyer replied it was the one who showed him mercy. Jesus answered the lawyer: “You go, and do likewise.” Our neighbor proves to be anyone whom we can help!
Luke 10:1-20Authority over the DemonsRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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As Jesus traveled and spoke to the nation regarding the Kingdom of God, he appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. He reminded them that the harvest was plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore they ought to pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. He sent them out as lambs in the midst of wolves, to travel fast and light, to heal the sick, preach the Gospel in all places where they were accepted, and to reject those places which rejected him. The seventy-two returned saying to Jesus that even the demons were subject to them in his name. The Lord replied that he saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven, and he gave them authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and assured them that nothing would hurt them. Yet, he reminded them to rejoice not that the spirits were subject to them, but rather that their names were written in heaven. In Jesus, who is Lord and Christ, the principalities and powers have been made subject to our Lord. He is the Victor and our king.
Luke 9:51-62The Cost of Following JesusRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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Because Jesus had set his face to go to Jerusalem, he was refused entrance into a Samaritan village, who did not receive him. James and John asked the Lord whether he wanted them to call fire down from heaven and destroy the city. Jesus, however, turned and rebuked them for their vindictive spirit. As he was going along the road, he encountered three would-be disciples, all who promised to follow him, but who are enlightened by the Lord on what this would involve. One said he would follow Christ wherever he went, but Jesus said that the Son of Man had nowhere to lay his head. Another wanted to first go and bury his father, but Jesus replied let the dead bury their own dead, and instructed the person to go and proclaim God’s Kingdom. The final would-be disciple said he would follow Christ but wanted to go home and say farewell to those at home. Jesus replied to him no one who puts their hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God. The cost of following Christ is unconditional and final – but also truly rewarding.
Luke 8:26-39Christus VictorRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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After calming the storm on the sea of Galilee, Jesus and his disciples sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, on the other side of Galilee. When they arrived they met a man who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and did not live in a house but among the tombs. When the man saw the Lord he cried out, fell down before him, and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” (For many a time the man had been seized by the demon. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.) Jesus commanded the unclean spirit, whose name was “Legion,” to come out of the man, for many demons had entered him. They begged Jesus not to command them to depart into the abyss, but rather to enter into the large herd of pigs feeding there on the hillside. Jesus gave them permission, and they came out of the man and entered the pigs, which rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes who heard what happened asked Jesus to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. Jesus, in his acts of exorcism, healing, miracles, and teaching, showed himself as the Christ, the victor over the powers of the curse, hell, and death.
Luke 7:36-8:3Your Sins Are ForgivenRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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When one of the Pharisees asked Jesus over to eat with him, the Lord consented and went into the Pharisee’s house, taking his place at the table. While they ate, one of the women of the city, who was known to live a sinful lifestyle, when she learned that Jesus was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, came to where they were. She brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind Jesus at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears, wiped them with the hair of her head, kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. The Pharisee saw this and said to himself “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” Jesus compared her tender actions of wetting his feet with her tears, the kissing and anointing of his feet with Simon’s inhospitable treatment. Jesus told Simon that the woman, whose sins were many, loved much, but the one who is forgiven little, loves little. Jesus then pronounced to the woman that her sins were forgiven, and told her to go in peace.
Luke 7:11-17God Has Visited His PeopleRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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Soon after the healing of the centurion’s servant, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd followed. As he drew near to the town gate, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, who was also a widow. When the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and told her not to weep. Then, he came up, touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. Jesus said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” Immediately the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus returned him to his mother. This miracle produced fear within all those present, and they glorified God saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” Truly, in the person of Jesus, the God of the heavens has visited this earth.
Luke 7:1-10The Authority of ChristRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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As Jesus journeyed into Capernaum, he encountered a centurion whose highly valued servant was sick and at the point of death. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him asking him to come and heal his servant. The messengers praised and highly regarded the centurion before the Lord, who decided to go with them. When Jesus was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard the centurion’s response, he marveled at him and acknowledged his faith before the people. And when the messengers returned to the house, they found the servant well. The centurion acknowledged Jesus’ lordship over all, and his servant was healed.
John 17:20-26That They May Be OneRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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In his high priestly prayer in the Upper Room before his Passion, Jesus prayed for his disciples and those who would believe on him through their word. He prayed to the Father that those who believe might all be one, just as the Father was in him and he in the Father. He prayed that the believing might be with him and the Father in order that the world may believe that the Father had sent him. Further, Jesus prayed that the glory that the Father had given him he had given to his people, that they might be one even as he and the Father were one – he in his followers and the Father in him, that they might become perfectly one, in order that the world may know that the Father sent him and loved his followers even as the Father loved him. Jesus closed his supplication with an amazing request: he asked the Father that those whom he had given to him might be with him where he was, that his people might see his glory, the same glory that the Father had given him, for the Father loved him before the foundation of the world. Before his suffering and death, with his redeemed on his heart, our Lord prayed that we might experience unity with himself and the Father, and with one another, that the world might come to know his love.
John 5:1-9Take Up Your Bed and WalkRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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At the time of one of the Jewish feasts, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. There in that city was by the Sheep Gate a pool, called Bethesda (in Aramaic), which had five roofed colonnades. In these areas lay numerous disabled people – those who were blind, lame, and paralyzed. One particular man who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. Upon seeing him, Jesus knew that the man had already been there a long time. Jesus asked the man, “Do you want to be healed?” The invalid man answered Jesus, that he had no one to put him into the pool when the water was stirred, for when it was troubled, and he went to be healed, someone else always stepped down into it before he could. Jesus said to the invalid of 38 years, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” At that very moment the man was healed–and he took up his bed and walked. And, all of this Jesus did on the Sabbath.
Acts 11:1-18Gentiles Receive LifeRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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At the time when Peter declared the Good News to Cornelius and his kinfolk, the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. When Peter arrived back in Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him for being with uncircumcised men and eating with them. Peter reviewed for them his experience with Cornelius, telling them of his vision from God and his visit to Caesarea. He explained how the Lord had spoken to Cornelius, and told him to send for Peter, saying that he (Peter) would declare to him and his kin a message by which they would be saved – Cornelius and his entire household. Peter reviewed how he told them of Jesus of Nazareth, and how, as he spoke to them, the Holy Spirit fell on Cornelius’ company, just as he did on the disciples at the beginning. Peter remembered the Lord’s word, and how he said that while John baptized with water, they all would be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Peter closed his case before them by saying that if God gave these Gentiles the same gift as he gave to them, the circumcised who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was he that could stand in God’s way. On hearing Peter they fell silent. They glorified God, and said that to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.