1 – Luke 13:6-9 (ESV) 6 And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ 8 And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. 9 Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’ ”
RAF: Who can fathom the mercy, grace and patience of God? What is obvious here, is that judgment is due men. It has been due for a long time. As a race we have not yielded up any of the fruit of righteousness due to our God. And yet God intercedes with God. The grieved Judge provides His own intercessor. And a season is still appointed for the preaching of the Gospel, that Believers might “bear fruit for God” (Rom. 7:4)
2 – Luke 13:22-30 (ESV) 22 He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. 29 And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
RAF: The question is a theological one, but perhaps not the best one for us to ask. In the long run, what possible good can one derive from an answer regarding the numbers of those ordained to be saved? None. It can do nothing for anyone beyond satisfying our curiosity. The right question is – “what are YOU doing with the present opportunity before you?” What are WE doing with regard to the Gospel? Are we believing it? Are we advancing its message to the world around us? The harvest remains in His hands, ours is to plant and water the seeds. Inquiring beyond revelation leads to speculation. We need to deal with truth – not speculation.
3 – Luke 14:12-14 (ESV) 12 He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
RAF: Living by faith requires the viewing and weighing of all things with respect to their impact on the resurrection.
4 – Luke 14:23-24 (ESV) 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’ ”
RAF: There is a feast ready. So many are those who have rejected the invitation to come. They won’t have any part in it. Are we then compelling others to come and dine, that the Master’s house may be full?
5 – Luke 14:25-33 (ESV) 25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “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. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
RAF: Whatever we cannot bear to lose in order to follow Christ – is our purchase price. This is the value we put upon our own souls. So we must ask – is it worth it?
6 – Luke 15:31-32 (ESV) 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’ ”
RAF: In essence, the father is asking: “If your brother is not, am I not more valuable to you than a party?” The older son thought the Father’s values were skewed, when it was his own that were so amiss.
7 – Luke 16:31 (ESV) 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’ ”
RAF: Witnessing miracles does not cure unbelief. The problem is not that there is insufficient “proof”. Man’s problem is a rebellious heart. It is a moral problem, not an intellectual one. That the “heavens declare the glory of God” – to the extent that no man is without excuse regarding the reality of God’s power and being – is manifest. That the Gospel has been preached is evident. That the redeemed are all about us cannot be denied. But in their fallenness, men will not believe. They reject the evidence. They refuse to be convinced. Praise God for His overcoming Spirit! Apart from Him, none would be saved.
8 – Luke 17:7-10 (ESV) 7 “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? 8 Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’ ”
RAF: How bankrupt is any system which imagines we can earn our salvation by good works. Should we in fact render nothing but perfect obedience all of our lives, we would not earn eternal salvation. We could not earn adoption – sonship. Perfect obedience is only our bare duty. It is only what is expected of us. This is the amazing thing about our salvation – not only haven’t we obeyed – we have absolutely rebelled. And STILL He saves us. We could stack up our works until they reached above the clouds – and still we could not warrant the unspeakable wonder of becoming the “sons of God.” This can be had but one way – grace. It must be a free gift, for even perfection could not earn it.