gospel- of luke 17 1-10 RIGHTLY DIVIDED

Luke 17:1-10 Rightly Divided

Luke 17:7-10 is a Scripture that both antinomians and those who put false, unnecessary guilt trips upon the faithful abuse very badly.  It is an explanation of Luke 17:1-6 and must be seen as teaching the Apostles a lesson to increase their faith so that they would be able to comply with the potentially vast requirement seen in these verses.

Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! 

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. 
Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. 
And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.
And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. 
But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? 
And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? 
Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.  
10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” (Luke 17:1-10)
Contrary to what some say, this passage IS NOT concluding that God does not take pleasure in nor reward when people obey Him from the heart.  
“But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased… 20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:16, 20-21)
10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: 12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Hebrews 6:10-12)
“The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.” (Psalm 147:11)

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:7-10)

This passage is ALSO NOT teaching that we should be running around and never resting after we’ve really done everything that God has commanded us to do.  Think of the many Scriptures forbidding us from adding to God’s Word; and consider that THERE IS a time for the servant to sit down to eat and relax- BUT ONLY AFTER He has attended to His Master’s wants.  
So what does this passage mean?

1)  (The direct and main point of the passage is) God doesn’t owe us anything and therefore nothing He requires of us is unreasonable or out of bounds for Him to insist of us.  That is the main lesson and obvious lesson that Jesus is teaching to answer the Apostle’s request to increase their faith so that they would be not be a stumbling-block in the world and so that they would be able to forgive others as often as necessary.  Since we were created for God’s pleasure (Revelation 4:11), then doing what God really has commanded could never truly be “too hard on us.”  If we are spent further than others think is appropriate in order to really obey God, then whoever has an issue with that does not properly esteem God’s righteous authority; and they thus have an unjust, damnable controversy with God.

2)  (By silent implication another lesson here is) Since God has a right to insist that man do whatever God requires of Him, and since God isn’t a debtor to even a faithful man, how evil and damnable is man’s sin and disobedience when man refuses to hearken to God and do what He requires?!  

3)  And obviously this passage is a rebuke to the Cains who do try to serve God and offer Him something; YET THEY DON’T serve Him properly and acceptably since they put their own interests and wants ahead of the Master’s interests and wants somehow.  We need to fear being like that- so this passage is also a strong rebuke to half-heartedness, luke-warmness, selectiveness, compromise, etc in doing what God commands us to do.

-A. J. Carey