Parable of the Widow & the Unjust Judge – Sermon Application #2
The parable of the widow and the unjust judge in Luke 18:1-8 sets forth the proper Christian response to the incessant assault of the church’s adversary, the devil. Rather than trying to rebuke the devil or fight him in our own strength, we are to cry out to God who will swiftly avenge His church in due time.
Application to Christians who are suffering:
Afflictions are just a part of living in this present world (Job 5:7, 14:1). Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation (Jhn. 16:33).” The twelfth chapter of Hebrews tells us that God disciplines all of his accepted children. If we are currently under the rod of affliction, we need to recognize that God is afflicted in all of our afflictions (Is. 63:9). He is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15).” During seasons of affliction, we must remember that God is working all things for our good (Rom. 8:28), suffering is a grace which must be accepted (Php. 1:29; 2 Tim. 2:3), suffering is God’s chisel to shape us (Jas. 1:2-4; Jhn. 15:2; Rom. 5:3-5), suffering is a test of our trust in the Lord (Ps. 11:5), suffering with Jesus proves our spiritual union with Christ (Rom. 8:16-17; 2 Tim. 2:12). and the fruit of our suffering will be righteousness, patience, and holiness (Heb. 12:10, 11; Jas. 1:3). Keeping these truths in mind, we must remember the biblical admonition: “Is any among you afflicted? let him pray (Jas. 5:13).”
Prayer application 1:
In the interpretation of the parable (Luke 18:6-8), Jesus makes it clear that though God bears long with his elect, he will swiftly avenge them in due time. He will avenge them of their adversary. But who is the adversary of the church? Scripture makes it clear that the devil is our adversary and he roams about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8). It is important to recognize that in the parable, the widow cries out persistently to be avenged. Since she is a picture of the church, Jesus presupposes that the people of God are crying out to him to avenge them of their adversary the devil. Is this part of our prayer life? Are we praying for God to rise up and to deliver the church from her adversary the devil and his agents of destruction? Let’s ensure that we are praying against Satan─ against the spirit of antichrist which is at work in the world (1 Jhn. 2:18, 4:3).
Application to the theology of prayer:
While the Bible does instruct us to “resist the devil,” (Jas. 4:7) it does not encourage us to rebuke the devil. Why then are so many Christians rebuking Satan in their prayers? Why are so many Christians trying to command Satan to depart and so forth? Much of this kind of thinking traces back to an ill-formed understanding of the authority of the believer. Many Christians wrongly ascribe the universal authority of Christ in Matthew 28:18-19 to themselves, but a more careful reading shows that Jesus didn’t give His disciples unmitigated authority, but authorized them to spread the Gospel in all the earth. An erroneous view of the authority of the believer incites Christians to command, decree, and declare rather than to humbly ask the One who truly has all authority (Matt. 6:11; Acts 4:29-30; Jhn. 17:15). Others infer a power to rebuke Satan from the power which Jesus and the disciples had to cast out demons (Matt. 10:1). However, if such power was available to all believers, Paul could not have appealed to the “signs of an apostle” as proof of his apostleship (2 Cor. 12:12). The Bible gives clear warnings to any Christian who would overstep his or her true authority (Jud. 1:9; Acts 19:14-16).