How do we feel when we have helped people and they don’t even bother to show thanks?


Let’s learn how important giving thanks is and the kind of thanksgiving that pleases God.


We will look at two thanksgiving prayers, one right and one wrong from Luke 17:11-19 and Luke 18:11.
One in Ten Thankful
Nothing is more hurtful than to put yourself out for others, provide accommodation, give them thousands of dollars in financial aid and then they turn their backs on you without a word of thanks. In a local natural disaster, one elderly lady stood out as a shining light. She sought out her aid-givers in order to thank every single person.
Jesus saves us from our earthly troubles now and forever from death. Eternal salvation is pictured in the Bible as eternal healing. In the story of the thankful Samaritan, ten were healed but only one was thankful. Are we completely healed without thankfulness? Is our faith complete without thanksgiving? Could it be that complete wellness includes body, mind and spirit?

Eucharist Thanks

One of the two main rites of Christianity is the bread and wine. A word for this is the Eucharist. The word Eucharist comes from the Greek word for thanks, eucharisteo. Jesus gave thanks when instituting communion the night he was betrayed (Matthew 26:27). Some call communion the Great Thanksgiving. Praise and thanksgiving are vital parts of Christian worship.

Contrasting Thanks

Our two passages contrast two thanksgiving prayers, a Samaritan leper and a Jewish Pharisee. The Pharisee was physically pure and believed he was better than everyone else. The Samaritan was unclean and knew he was not. The Pharisee praised himself, thankful for what he had done. The Samaritan praised Jesus, thankful for what he had done.
Luke 18:11 reveals wrong thanksgiving, filled with pride and arrogance. It is a deluded prayer like, “Thank you God that we are the best.” The right kind of thanksgiving is the enthusiastic and loud thanks to God we read in Psalm 107 (:1, 8, 15, 21, 31) thanking God for his goodness, unfailing love and wonderful deeds for us.


Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Faith Like a Mustard Seed


Jesus had described true discipleship. The Son of Man had nowhere to lay his head. Those who put family first need to put the kingdom first. Wavering or looking back makes one not fit. The cost of following him is everything. We must carry our cross and give up possessions. How could anyone have the faith to do these things?


Let’s learn that we already have enough faith to fulfill big dreams.

Sermon Plan

We will discuss faith and duty in Luke 17:5-10.
Tiny Faith Big Action
Jesus contrasted a small seed and a large tree. Faith is powerful. The smallest amount can accomplish much. Faith has to be used for really big things and even living lives of radical self-sacrifice for others. Ants can carry 10-50 times their body weight. How much bigger is a tree compared to a mustard seed? That’s the power of faith.
Jesus said to talk to the tree and tell it to move. Faith must be put to work because faith without good works is dead (James 2:14-26). Do we let circumstances keep us from doing good? What circumstances do we need to move out of the way? How do we move a tree? One small task at a time.

Faith to Go Beyond

Noah took 120 years to build a barge as long as 5 football fields. Naval architects and structural engineers have concluded that the shape was optimal for the stresses involved. Abraham was 75 years old and had to move his entire family to another country. Sarah was way past childbearing age and believed what God had promised and was faithful.
How much faith does it take to be a Christian and obey Jesus? How much faith is needed to go beyond mere duty and do really big things? How much faith does it take to build a church that is a bright light and not just another museum to generations long dead? Is it faith the size of a mustard seed?

Outro/Take Home

It was not that the disciples lacked faith, but simply needed to put it to work. The smallest amount of faith can accomplish great things. We can be afraid or we can take action. We already have enough faith to fulfill big dreams. Let’s just do it.

The Great Reversal


Are compassion and money incompatible?


Let’s learn how important God considers our care of the less fortunate.

Sermon Plan

Let’s discuss Luke 16:19-31, an unnamed rich man and a famous beggar, Lazarus. We will learn about the dangers of the hard-hearted, selfish use of money and God’s Great Reversal.
1. Coveting Wealth (Luke 16:19-21)
a. Coveting
National leaders should hate covetousness (Exodus 18:21) and government excess (1 Samuel 8:10-18). Don’t covet what covetous people steal (Micah 2:1-5); they are the losers (Luke 12:13-21). The Rich Man withheld help from poor Lazarus. Covetousness causes conflict (James 4:1-4), false religion (2 Peter 2) and can’t exist in God’s kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
b. Works Salvation
The social gospel is showing love towards our neighbor, our social responsibility towards others. The rich man was hard-hearted towards poor Lazarus. This passage does not teach works-based salvation. Rather, saving faith is evidenced by good works. Social responsibility towards others is seen among believers. It is a fruit of repentance that Jesus demanded of the Pharisees (Matthew 3:8-10).
c. Famous Homeless Man
Our passage is one of the most famous stories of a homeless man of all time. History usually immortalizes the brutal, the powerful and the wealthy. The destitute poor are usually anonymous. They come into this world in filth and squalor and depart leaving unmarked graves. Folklore names the rich man Dives, but the the rich man has no name in heaven.
d. Judgment Day for a Bully
Terrorists, overbearing governments, corporate cock-a-doodle-do’s and union tough guys can be bullies without compassion, using others to serve them. They may not serve others. Their leadership style is the opposite of Jesus’ sacrificial leadership. The rich man is a bully, who even in hell continued to bark orders. Without compassion on the weak, we too are no better than bullies.
e. Great Failure
By worldly standards Dives was probably a great success. He was a great failure in one of life’s most important areas, the care of those less fortunate. A life without compassion is a failure. Salvation is something we share, both physical salvation for this life and eternal salvation for the next. Lacking compassion, is one of life’s greatest ethical failures.

2. The Great Reversal (Luke 16:22-24)

a. The Last Shall Be First
Our story indicates consciousness after death, contradicting the soul-sleep theory. Jesus told the thief on the cross, that today he would be with him in paradise (Luke 23:43), absent from the body and at home with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8) departing this flesh (Philippians 1:21-24). Revelation 6:9-11 speaks of slain souls in heaven crying with a loud voice.
b. Hell & Wealth
Here Jesus used the pagan legends of Hades to explain the afterlife. Greek mythology closely linked wealth and hell. In the parable of Lazarus and the rich man Jesus also linked the two. Wealth and luxury deceive us into thinking that we have no responsibility towards the suffering. We build walls which shut them out. Walls cannot erase our guilt.
c. Questions about Hell
Is hell fire literal or symbolic (Matthew 5:22)? Is hell eternal suffering (Luke 16; Revelation 14; 20)? Is hell annihilation where people perish (Luke 13:3-5), experience destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:9), become ashes (Malachi 4:3) in a second death (Revelation 20:14)? Many questions remain unanswered. Heaven is good. Hell is bad. So, let's choose heaven!
d. 3 Reasons not Go to Hell
Thanks to Ed Hill, 3 reasons not to go to hell. 1) I don’t want pain and suffering. 2) I don’t want bad company. Hell is full of people who hate you and will hurt you. 3) I’d rather be with the one who loves me, died for me and gave up everything so I could live with him forever.
e. The Great Reversal
Life after death is sometimes called the Great Reversal. Possessions and status are unimportant. What was the rich man’s problem? It was not his wealth, but what it did to him. He neglected his obligation under Moses and the Prophets to look after the less fortunate. He knew Lazarus by name and therefore had no excuse for letting him suffer.
f. Deluded to the End
Saddam Hussein, the mad butcher of Babylon was deluded about his guilt even when confronted with his atrocities. A rich man who failed the poor was unrepentant even in hell. He still saw himself as superior to Lazarus, wanting him to serve him. Wealth and power delude us into thinking we are superior. Yet, we must all serve one another.

3. A Great Chasm (Luke 16:25-26)

a. The Gulf
Abraham reminded the wealthy man that he had the means to make a difference. Wealth and power are not tools for self-indulgence, but for service to others. Relief of suffering was the neglected responsibility of the rich man. The rich man who humbles himself and takes his responsibility seriously to join the needy to care and relieve suffering, will be blessed.
b. Overcoming a Hard Heart
The problem of the rich man was not his wealth, but his hard heart. Throwing a few dollars at the poor is a small step. Long term solutions to poverty are needed. The Good Samaritan got involved. The Christian life is easily counterfeited. God is seeking a compassionate people who will get involved in relieving the suffering of the poor.
c. Rich & out of touch
When the British royal family asked for money from poor funds to heat their palaces, it highlighted how out of touch the rich can be. Lazarus was reduced to passively accepting his plight. In the Greek it says that he was dumped at the rich man’s gate to beg, indicating his immobility. His only hope was in compassion from others.
d. Dividing Rich & Poor
There is a divide between rich and poor. Gates, walls and separation. God may enforce our decisions in the next life. Lazarus was too poor for health care and could not tend to his sores. He was also forced to beg for second hand food. After he died, the gulf between them continued. But this time, the tables were turned.

4. Listen to Moses (Luke 16:27-31)

a. Old Testament
Moses and the Prophets taught an obligation to the poor. Deuteronomy 14:28-29 records a poor tithe. Isaiah 3:14-15 warns against plundering the poor. Jeremiah 5:26-28 says to defend the poor. Ezekiel 18:12-18 warns against oppressing the poor. Amos 2:6-8 warns against denying justice to the oppressed. Zechariah 7:9-10 says not to oppress the needy.
b. Evidence
The extent of human knowledge and the trustworthiness of human reasoning limit how evidence is believed. Even outside religion, faith determines what is believed. The rich man wanted someone from the dead to warn his brothers. If they don’t believe the Bible they won’t believe someone rising from the dead. More evidence cannot convince a hard-hearted person against their will.

Outro/Take Home

Hard-hearted selfishness leads straight to hell. Let us take whatever wealth that God has entrusted to us and use some of it to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Heavenly Purposes for Filthy Lucre


Why is money referred to as filthy lucre? Because we all sin, all money is tainted by sin of some kind. Is filthy lucre usable for heavenly purposes?


Let’s learn that filthy lucre can be used for heavenly purposes.

Sermon Plan

We will discuss a shrewd manager and his wise use of filthy lucre in Luke 16:1-13. Take a moment now to read the verses in your own Bible.

People versus Profits (Luke 16:1-4)

An absentee landowner buys land cheaply from debt-burdened farmers. The farmers now work as hired hands. The manager has great latitude. Was he more generous towards the tenant farmers than the owner wanted? Did he run up huge expenses spending the boss’s money for himself? The manager’s next scheme has selfish motives. His other options were manual labor and begging.

Forgiving Debts (Luke 16:5-7)

The manager made arrangements to forgive his boss’s debtors. He must have had the authority. Was it dishonest? Did the owner cheat the people in the first place? The boss commends his manager for shrewdness. The manager now has grateful friends. Was the manager unjust? Were his motives also to benefit those cheated? The debt forgiveness was a great blessing.

Worldly Wise and Righteous Fools (Luke 16:8)

Is Jesus praising those who misuse money? Ought Christians use even the corrupt resources of this world for any possible good they can do? Can loving and trusting churches be foolish with money? Are all of this world’s teachings about money evil? Is Jesus saying to use money in manners similar to dishonest rascals, but for eternal and godly purposes?

Dirty Money (Luke 16:9)

Parables leave room for hearty conversation, deep thought and different opinions. Jesus challenges us to think about the wise use of money to benefit others. A church once returned an offering they saw as dirty money. But, all money is corrupted in some way. Jesus’ instructions were quite the opposite. He said to use unrighteous mammon to make eternal friends.

Faithful with Little (Luke 16:10-12)

Many people are untrustworthy, finding immoral but legal ways to misuse money. The money we have is on loan from God. Even a trillionaire on earth has little compared to owning the whole Universe. Can God trust us with money? God loaned us just a little temporarily. How faithful to God are we with what little He has given us?

Serving Two Masters (Luke 16:13)

Does money master us or do we master money? In ancient Israel the wealth was spread equally in a planned system to minimize poverty, using a seven year and fifty year redistribution. The jubilee system prevented some abuses of wealth. We can master money and bring small jubilees to the poor. Do we serve only God and yet use money shrewdly?

Outro/Take Home

Wealth is dangerous and deceptive. Are we honest and fair? What is a righteous price? What is a righteous day’s work or pay? Wealth blinds us to the suffering of others and our own sin. We deceive ourselves that wealth is forever. Even ownership is fiction. We borrowed from God what others will possess one day. We can avoid the danger and deception of wealth by using it for eternal purposes.