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A Word from Kay Daigle on how to use the resources for this study…I want to encourage you to complete the personal lesson below before you click on any of the accompanying elements that may be found with this lesson (audio lecture, manuscript, PowerPoint, or handout). This study was written to help you maximize your personal spiritual growth. That means that you first spend time with God through His word, and then hopefully, discuss what you learned with a small group of women. After that, if you want to hear the audio (or read the manuscript) and follow the PowerPoint, filling in the handout, then that is a great time to do it! I cannot cover all the verses in depth, but you can read and study them for yourself. It is best for you to think through the passages before hearing what anyone else thinks, even me! You will find some lessons without lectures. At our church we use some of those weeks to spend extra time in our small groups sharing life stories, having a longer prayer time, or expressing how God is working in our lives.
“The one who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and the one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you haven’t been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will entrust you with the true riches?”
Jesus in Luke 16:10-11 (NET)
As I have worked with believers through the years, I have found faithfulness to be in short supply. Many women volunteer and then fail to follow through with their responsibilities. Sometimes they even back out of promises they have made. Some women seek positions of authority; yet, they have failed to be faithful in lesser jobs.
As you study this lesson, ask God to reveal your résumé of faithfulness to you.
Read Luke 14:1-14.
Again, Jesus healed on a Sabbath, but this time He took the initiative rather than waiting for criticism.
1. Describe what happened.
2. What is Jesus’ point in the parable of 14:7-11? How does it apply to us in the church today?
3. What motivated the host according to 14:12? What would he have received if he had invited those who could not reciprocate?
4.Sharing question: Write down what you give others and what you do for them. Are you motivated by getting something back, perhaps friendship, praise, promotion or invitations? Ask God to reveal your true motives and admit them to your group.
Read Luke 14:15-24.
The comment of the guest in 14:15 elicits Jesus’ parable. The Net Bible helps us understand the cultural significance of the parable.1
To make excuses and cancel at this point was an insult in the culture of the time. Regardless of customs concerning responses to invitations, refusal at this point was rude.
5. What unspoken misunderstanding about those who will participate in God’s kingdom did Jesus correct through this story? What did lack of faithfulness reveal about the first group?
6.Responding to God: Write a prayer asking God to give you His heart for those on the fringes of society.
Read Luke 14:25-35.
7. What did Jesus teach the multitudes about allegiance to Him?
Dr. Bock explains the idea of hate:2
“Hate” is used figuratively and suggests a priority of relationship. Jesus is first.
Dr. Darrell Bock in Luke
8.Sharing question: Before God, consider your call as Jesus’ disciple. Think through your own relationships and possessions. Where is your allegiance in truth? You might write a prayer request to share with your group based on what God reveals to you about this.
9. What was Jesus’ point in the parables of the tower and the battle? How does it relate to allegiance to Him?
10. How does the illustration of the salt relate to this context?
11.Sharing question: What possible costs in your life may come with total allegiance to Jesus? Be specific.
12.Responding to God: Write a prayer or poem asking God for the grace you need to truly live with Jesus as your first allegiance.
Jesus told three stories but so related them that Luke calls them “this parable”, as if it were one story (15:3).
Read Luke 15:1-32.
13. What precipitated the telling of these stories (15:1-2)?
14. What is Jesus’ central teaching common to all three of these stories?
15. How do these stories rebuke the Pharisees and their complaints against Jesus?
16. The third story is often referred to as the parable of the “Prodigal Son.” Evaluate Jesus’ points in this parable. Where is His emphasis—on the second son or somewhere else? If the title reflects the main story, what would you name it? Why?
17.Sharing question: Compare what happened to the younger son to your own story of salvation through God’s grace that reached out to you as a sinner and of your coming home in response.
18.Responding to God: Write a prayer or poem of thanks to God for His mercies in forgiving you and in protecting you at times from the consequences you deserve. Thank Him for loving you so much that you drew you home with His love.
Read Luke 16:1-15.
Dr. Bock comments:3
This parable is probably the most difficult in Luke. Its point is clear enough—be generous and responsible with your resources—but how it makes the point is much discussed.
Darrell Bock in Luke
It is likely that the parable itself ends after the first part of v. 8, followed by Jesus’ comments.4
19. What did Jesus commend about the manager or steward in the story?
20. Explain Jesus’ lesson about using money in 16:9.
21. What does financial faithfulness reveal about us (vv. 10-15)?
22.Sharing question: Read these verses and write down other areas where you are entrusted by God as a manager or steward. Evaluate your faithfulness in each area:
a. 1 Peter 4:10-11
b. 1 Cor. 4:1-5
The following verses relate to specific groups of people, elders or apostles; yet, we can learn lessons about stewardship from them. Write down your insights from each Scripture and again, evaluate your faithfulness:
c. Titus 1:7
d. 1 Cor. 9:16-17
Read Luke 16:16-18.
The last part of v. 16 is apparently difficult to translate. Dr. Bock makes this comment:5
Most versions read everyone is forcing his way into it (NIV; NRSV has the variation “everyone tries to enter it by force”), but such as statement is manifestly not true. Everyone is not in a rush to enter in; many choose to reject the kingdom utterly. The key here is the Greek term biazo, which means “to apply force.” But the voice of the verb is ambiguous in Greek. . . I would argue . . . that Jesus is speaking of the persuasion applied to all through preaching. . . The preaching of the good news offers the opportunity to enter into kingdom benefits. Through this message all are urged to enter in. The time of fulfillment has come, and all are asked to share in its blessing. But to do so one must hear Jesus, not scoff at his authority.
Darrell Bock in Luke
23. Jesus’ comments in these verses seem disconnected to what He just said about financial faithfulness. Meditate upon the relationship between the two, and write down your insights.
24.Responding to God: Ask God to show you where you have fallen short in faithfulness and repent of those actions. Pray for the grace to become a woman who is faithful to her word in every area of life, both large and small.
Read Luke 16:19-31.
25. Contrast Lazarus and the rich man.
26.Sharing question: Consider your lifestyle and your concern for the poor. How are you like the rich man? What are you doing to reach out to the poor?
27. What were the rich man’s two requests of Abraham? What did he hope to accomplish?
28. How is the answer to the second request significant?
29. How does this story relate to all Jesus has said from 14:7 on?
30.Responding to God: Write a prayer asking God for wisdom as you consider how you are to reach out to the poor around you. Write down the thoughts that He gives you. What should you do about those who beg at the street corners, etc.?
Dakan shares her story of how God gave her more and more ministry opportunities when she proved faithful in the small things.
When our family relocated to California in 1994 I believed in my head that God had great things for us, but my heart was aching from being taken away from family and “home”. We began attending a small church. I volunteered to assist the teacher of the 6th grade girls Sunday school class only to get to know the girls my daughter would be attending school with. My reasons were selfish for stepping forward. One month into the class the lead teacher became ill and could not return to teach, therefore I had become the lead teacher – not what I had signed up for! However God blessed me with those young girls and that experience. Months later the director of MOPS, Donna, asked me to speak at one of their meetings of 100 women, I laughed out loud – “Are you kidding,” I said, “I am just now comfortable speaking to these 6th graders!” I declined, but driving home I thought maybe I should pull something together just in case she was persistent. I began to write out my testimony, finished it and put it away. More months passed and I was so relieved that Donna hadn’t mentioned MOPS again. Then one night she called to ask if I would consider being the TITUS woman for MOPS and without hesitation, I said yes. At that very moment I asked myself where that came from, only months earlier I had declined to speak to the women as a one time event, and now I was committing to speak twice a month for 8 months.
I did not see it then but it is so clear to me now that all along the way the Lord was preparing me; knocking off more rough edges and refining me along the way in order to glorify Him. He was asking me to step out, trust what He could do with me and allow me to see the need I had for Him. In spite of my initial selfish motive, God demonstrated His love for me, His desire for my personal growth and the joy I received from following Him on a deeper level.
1 NET Bible Note 10, p. 1851.
2 Bock, 254.
3 Bock, 262.
4 NET Bible Note 37, p. 1855-1856.
5 Bock, 268-269.