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Flourishing Kingdom // Luke 18:1-8

Mary Ellen Ermis February 5, 2023 sermons, cityrise, Crosspoint Church - Bellaire, Flourishing Kingdom, houston, Luke, Roger Patterson,

The following is a manuscript of the sermon presented by Senior Pastor Dr. Roger Patterson on Sunday, February 5, 2023 at our Crosspoint Church-Bellaire campus. To view the sermon in full, check out the link below.

Let’s begin by reading Luke 18:1-8 together.

Luke 18:1-8

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’ ” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

In 2015. I was in the Radio Studio recording some of my one minute radio spots that are called “A Minute of Vision.” The engineer I worked with was a guy who has some rough edges. He comes from a Rock Station background and it is pretty obvious we approach life differently.

Before we began recording, he looked at me and said, “It seems like the world is coming to an end.” I responded, “Yeah, Chris, things are shaking up, aren’t they?”

Then I went right into the gospel and told him that there is a time coming when Jesus returns when it will be unmistakable. And all of those who aren’t aligned with Christ will perish. I said, “Chris, read Psalm 2 and see the Mighty Warrior that Jesus is.”

I then shared with him how to receive Christ as his savior.

Do you look around and wonder if Christ’s return is around the corner? Over the past few years, the Arab world has been disrupted and its stability, shaken.

  • In the 2010’s, ISIS terrorized the ARAB world,
  • and they persecuted and killed Christians and destroyed their churches.
  • We have seen and are seeing an influx of illegal aliens into our nation because our government will not secure our borders. I see this as an intentional destabilization of our nation.
  • We have gone through a world-wide pandemic with millions of people losing their lives across the globe.
  • We have seen the criminalization of parents speaking out at school board meetings.
  • We have seen liberties stripped away and censorship rise.
  • We are told you can’t call a boy a boy or a girl a girl, and we must allow children access to sex-change surgeries.
  • and we are intoxicating our youth with 60 second videos of “entertainment” that is nothing more than mind-numbing indoctrination.

What was once wrong is now right and what was once right in now wrong.

For many, many years, people have been wondering where this story of history is going and when might it end.

As a matter of fact, in Luke 17, some of the Pharisees ask Jesus about the Kingdom of God and when it would come. Their question was one that I am sure many wanted to ask Jesus. Jesus spoke confidently about the Kingdom of God whereas, many other simply offered opinion.

In first century Palestine, there were two prevailing thoughts about the coming Kingdom of God.

The First Thought was an establishment of a Prophet (the Messiah) who would come in God’s power and reclaim the nation away from Rome.

The Second Opinion was that there would be a visible in-breaking of the Messiah onto the face of the earth who would establish a rule over the nations. This would be an appearance with signs and wonders and power and might.

To answer their question Jesus says,

Luke 17:20-21

20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”  

Jesus simple answer to the arriving of the Kingdom of God was to proclaim, “It has arrived for you and this generation, right now, through my presence, my message, and my ministry.” From this place, Jesus turns to train his disciples in matters regarding the last days. And his aim is not so much concerned with answering all of their questions and charting it all out for them, but instead, to challenge them to have lives of Persistent Prayer that will lead to their faithfulness.

And here is where I want to stop and ask a significant question: What if we are living in the last few moments of history? What if, as Chris speculated in the radio studio, the world is coming to an end? Do you know how to live faithfully for Christ in light of his return?  Do you know how to Pray in light of his coming?

In the verses that follow, in chapter 17, we see Jesus further teach about his coming as Messiah to establish his kingdom and bring judgment and justice. 

  • 22 – Days are coming that are so difficult that you can’t wait for Christ’s return.
  • 23 – There will be many false alarms, false Christ’s. Be Prepared: Don’t follow them.
  • 24 – The Coming of the Son of Man will be unmistakable.
  • 25 – First there is an appointment I have to keep. The Christ must suffer and be rejected by this generation.
  • 26 – 30 – 2 Comparisons – Like the Judgment with Noah and like the Judgment of Sodom & Gomorrah, it will be like that. People will be living life, marrying, having children, building and planting, and then the Son of Man will return.
  • 31-32 – On that day, the response of people will simply declare whose team they are on and what life they are living for.
    • If they are living for this world, it will be obvious. Remember Lot’s wife – she loved Sodom and Gomorrah. She longed to stay and remain. She was judged as the city was, because her heart was with the cities and not the heart of God.
  • 33 – Helps us see this more clearly. If you live for this world, you will miss out entirely.
  • 34-36 – In v. 34-36 He then talks about separation.
    • 1) The righteous from the unrighteous. Those who are left to be judged and condemned and…
    • 2) those who are taken – rescued, protected, just like Noah and his family; and Lot and his family.
  • 37 – Corpse and vultures – Psalm 2 – “Slaughter them all!”

Now look, I am walking through all of this so we can get to a story Jesus tells to challenge and inspire his disciples. And make no mistake, the teaching on the last day and the Parable of the Persistent Widow are tied together.

Notice the question that Jesus asks in Luke 18:8.

Luke 18:8

I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Do you see how the questions of Chapter 17 and the coming of the kingdom of God are connected to this parable?

Look now with me at what Luke says is the reason Jesus told this Parable.

Luke 18:1

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.

To “lose heart” is to faint.

Have you ever fainted…or been in someone’s presence who fainted?  In many ways, you are helpless.

If you are the one fainting, you often realize what is happening and yet you can’t do anything to stop it.

Luby’s and the guy who fainted while in line…

  • At Luby’s after church a few years ago.
  • Looked over…man slumped into another man’s arms…I almost turned around
  • I realized what was happening…I am larger than both men who were involved at this point, so I got behind the man who was slumping over…and I tried to keep him on his feet while we were trying to walk to a chair.
  • Keep in mind, people are all around us as we are all in that slow-moving line.
  • As I’m helping him scoot across the floor, his knees buckle and he is going down.
  • I literally put my left arm into his left armpit and then begin to scoop him up with my right arm at his knees.
  • This guy is about 6’2 or 3” but he only weighs about 140lbs. He smells like he has smoked a pack of Marlboros or Camels…yeah, it was camels, just before he came into the restaurant, and as I am scooping him up, I see his eyes are open, but he isn’t there.  He slips into the VACANT STARE.
  • I holler… “Brady…” and he comes and I say, “Let’s pick him up and move him over here.”
  • We pick the man up and begin to move him to lay him on the floor. As we begin to set him down, I tell him, “Ask for a doctor.”
  • He starts hollering across the restaurant… “is there a doctor here?”
  • And he repeats it a few more times…
  • Fortunately, there was a doctor, and a few nurses who came to his aid and he got the attention he needed.

But I’ll never forget that vacant stare and the sense that this guy isn’t there anymore.

Jesus tells them the story of the Persistent Widow so that his disciples would always pray and never quit. The Parable is a call to Persistent Prayer. And I think that is the entire point that He wants to make. He wants his followers who carry his name, to persist in prayer and never give up…no matter how long it takes for the kingdom of God to be manifest.

So, let’s look at our outline today and then we will walk through each point as we go.

Because I’m a citizen of the Kingdom, I am to:

  1. Persistently Pray to Be Faithful to Christ
  2. Persistently Pray for the Non-Believer to Be Saved
  3. Persistently Pray to Be Ready for Christ’s Return

Let’s look at verses 2-3 and see this first point…

Because I’m a citizen of the Kingdom, I am to:

  1. Persistently Pray to Be Faithful to Christ
  2. Persistently Pray for the Non-Believer to Be Saved
  3. Persistently Pray to Be Ready for Christ’s Return

I. Persistently Pray to Be Faithful to Christ (v 2-3)

Luke 18:2-3:

“In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man.  “There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’

To have to be persistent means that there is some sort of delay or challenge to getting what one wants or needs. Persistence is a powerful attitude of the heart that seeks to overcome whatever adversity comes one’s way. It’s a TENACITY…A GRIT.


To illustrate this, Jesus shows us two very different characters. One is a judge who is full of himself, and does things only for his own self-intent. He has no care for what God thinks, what God’s law says, or what the community thinks of him. He is an appointed Judge deciding based on what is best for him.

Now in 1st Century Palestine, Judges didn’t have established courtrooms. They had tents and officials who would go with them throughout their district. The judge, along with their officials would set up court out in the public square and preside over disputes. Many people would get a hearing with the judge by bribing some of the officials in the Judges’ entourage. This judge was the absolute authority in the region and what he said was the law.


In contrast to that, Jesus introduces a widow who has an adversary. If you examine the Scripture and see the numbers of times the widow and the orphan are mentioned, you would realize that God had a strategic plan for the way they were to be embraced and cared for by the society.

The widow and the orphan were the most dispossessed people in their communities. They were the most vulnerable. They were the easiest to take advantage of, and someone was doing that to this widow.

Additionally, we see just how vulnerable the widow is because she herself is appearing in court. The only reason a woman would appear in court was if she had no man in her life whatsoever to advocate for her.

Jesus presents her as one who has an adversary, and one whose justice keeps being put off by the Judge. She could easily quit, fold-up, and faint! She is the most likely to throw in the towel and call it quits. But she doesn’t! She persists.

She goes to the one in authority and she asks, and she asks, and she asks!Give me justice against my adversary.”

You have an adversary! Did you know that? And the entire world systems are set up against Christ. Because you carry his name, you will experience persecution for your faith. Jesus said in John 15:18-19…

John 15:18-19

18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

And the disciples were hated. They were going to experience trouble. And they would be looking for justice and it would seem that it would never come.

Application: And you may feel that way as well. Because of your faith in Christ, you may be oppressed at your work, you may have been disowned by your parents and you may feel that those who are wicked keep advancing.

What does Jesus say to his disciples? Persist in Prayer. Ask, and keep asking. Seek, and keep seeking. Knock, and keep knocking. Pray Persistently to be Faithful to Christ.

Let us persistently pray to be faithful to Christ.

What’s this next principle we need to understand?

Because I’m a citizen of the Kingdom, I am to:

  1. Persistently Pray to Be Faithful to Christ
  2. Persistently Pray for the Non-Believer to Be Saved
  3. Persistently Pray to Be Ready for Christ’s Return

II. Persistently Pray for the Non-Believer to be Saved

In this parable, justice is put off by the judge until he is worn out by the woman. You see, she would show up and keep showing up. And though she didn’t have money, she had persistence. And she would cry out loud. She would make a scene. Now look at what Jesus says of the heavenly Father.

Luke 18:6-8a

6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes…

The promise is swift justice. The promise is a direct contrast between an arrogant selfish Judge, and a loving Heavenly Father. If the unrighteous judge will give justice, how much more speedily and swiftly will the Heavenly Father vindicate you?

And that is what it says.  “He will give justice to them speedily.” 

But my guess is that it wouldn’t feel quick.  As a matter of fact, one could argue that these disciples died waiting on vindication—waiting on the Father to bring about justice. 

But remember the point: Pray Persistently for the unbeliever to be saved.

You may be saying to me, “What does this have to do with Persistently Praying for the unbeliever to be saved?”

It has everything to do with it. 2 Peter 3:8-10 states

2 Peter 3:8-10

8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

The only thing standing between the vindication of God for the persecuted saints, and his judgment on those who oppose him is the patience of God and his desire that none should perish.

One writer says, “Vindication is the next appointment on God’s calendar.”

I want to ask you to make a list with me of three names that you will pray persistently to come to Christ.  I want to ask you to pray for an urgency to share the gospel, to invite them to church, to invite them to an event where they will hear the gospel.

  • Whose life will you invest in?
  • Who will you invite to come?
  • Who will you invite to know Christ?

The time is short. Reach out and take action.


Because I’m a citizen of the Kingdom, I am to:

  1. Persistently Pray to Be Faithful to Christ
  2. Persistently Pray for the Non-Believer to Be Saved
  3. Persistently Pray to Be Ready for Christ’s Return

III. Persistently Pray to be READY For Christ’s Return (v 8)

Luke 18:8

I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Jesus’ question is a legitimate one. When I return, will I find faithfulness on the earth?

He is saying to us:

  • Don’t get lulled into the comforts of this world.
  • Don’t lose heart that though oppressed and persecuted, I will bring justice.
  • Don’t lose sight of the mission to reach many for Christ.
  • Stay in the faith and believe He will come again…soon.

Revelation 22:20

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

When we see that this world has nothing for us and that our hope is fulfilled in Resurrection or in Christ’s Return, it is natural to pray persistently, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

Paul the Apostle longed for his appearing! And in 2 Timothy 4:8, he speaks of others who long for his appearing too!

2 Timothy 4:8

Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

When we long for and pray for his appearing, and we know we are to pray for and reach out to the lost, and we know that judgment and justice will come on that day, we can persist in prayer and faithfulness to the end when He comes.

John MacArthur explains the importance of the doctrine of the second coming, saying that it… “…promotes holy living, spurs evangelism, and brings comfort to believers. It also has implications on how believers view everything they own, how they live their lives, and how they pray. “Prevailing, persistent prayer for the Lord’s return drives the heart to leave the things of this passing world and to love Christ’s appearing.”[1]

[1] John MacArthur, Luke 18 – 24, 7.

Lord, would you help us persist in prayer?  Lord, we don’t want to fall away.  We don’t want to give up.  Father, as natural as it is to breathe, may it be natural for us to be found in prayer.  Lord, it enables us to connect to you.  It enables us to petition you.  Father, thank you that you have given us the privilege of coming to you because you give good and perfect gifts and you work for our good and for your glory.