Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

The Foundation of Faith

These are the readings for the Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost.

God’s Word for This Week

Faith is the very foundation of the Christian life. Faith, worked by the Holy Spirit through the gospel, allows us to do great things for the Lord and see eternal life as our ultimate goal.

Traditional First Lesson – Habakkuk 1:1-3; 2:1-4

What is the complaint that Habakkuk makes to the Lord through prayer?

The Lord was slow in keeping his promises, God’s will in the law was being mocked, and the believers were forgotten.

What promise does the Lord offer that calms the believer’s fears?

At the appointed time (Galatians 4:4,5), God fulfilled his promise of the Messiah. He is faithful to his promises of love and care for his children. Though to our perspective, the fulfillment seems slow in coming, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.

Supplemental First Lesson – 1 Chronicles 29:1-2, 10-18

When today do we regularly pray just like David did in 29:11?

Today when we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we usually end in one of two ways: a) “For thine is the kingdom and the power and glory, forever and ever. Amen.” Or b) “For the kingdom and the power and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.” Either way, those words seem very similar to David’s.

When we give offerings to God or charitable help to someone in need, are we giving what used to be ours to someone else? (See the second part of 29:14.)

No, gifts to the Lord or contributions to the needy are only giving what belonged to God in the first place. All things are God’s.

Traditional Second Lesson – 2 Timothy 1:3-14

How would the sincere faith have passed from grandmother to mother to son? What can we learn from this family relationship?

Lois and Eunice daily shared God’s Word and promises with Timothy as he grew up in their home. Parents and grandparents are an important part of God’s plan in feeding the faith of his little lambs.

Why did Paul refuse to feel shame over repeated imprisonment and mistreatment?

He was suffering for the sake of the Gospel message. He knew that his Savior was guarding what was truly valuable, his salvation.

Supplemental Second Lesson – Romans 6:15-23

There might be thousands of businesses that could employ you. But Paul says there are only two powers for whom we can work. Which are they? (See 6:16-18.)

We are either slaves to sin or slaves to obedience/righteousness.

Which one do you work for if you are a believer in Jesus? (Again, see 6:18.)

All believers in Jesus are former slaves to sin. Now we are slaves to righteousness.

Why not go back to working for sin and let sin be the boss in our lives once again? (See 6:23.)

We must not go back to sin as the boss in our lives, “for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Gospel – Luke 17:1-10

Jesus says to rebuke other sinners, but if a fellow believer repents, to forgive them. (See 17:3.) Why are both of these commands hard?

You rarely are popular when you tell people they are wrong in what they are doing. It also goes against the wisdom of this world to forgive and not exact punishment from someone who has wronged us.

Jesus’ disciples seemed to think he was asking a lot. They needed more faith (17:5). How can faith do such great things?

Living new lives of love is not automatic, but through trusting Jesus, we remember that we are just as bad as everybody else. We are redeemed sinners, bought back by Christ’s blood. In love, then, we look out for the spiritual welfare of our brothers and sisters, and we are eager to share the message of forgiveness and peace in Jesus.

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