OceanSide church of Christ
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THE PARABLE OF THE FRIEND AT MIDNIGHT
Victor M. Eskew
A. The parables of Jesus take real life situations and place spiritual lessons along side of them. In fact, “to lay along side of” is the definition of the word “parable.”
B. Jesus’ parable for this evening is very real. As we read it, we can see the events taking place.
1. It is recorded in Luke 11:5-8.
And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
2. The title of this parable is: “The Friend at Midnight.”
C. The context of this parable is found in the prayer life of our Lord.
1. A request from one of his disciples (Luke 11:1)
And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.
2. Jesus immediately honors the request.
1. He sets forth the Lord’s model prayer (Luke 11:2-4).
2. He tells the Parable of the Friend at Midnight (Luke 11:5-10).
3. He speaks about the Father’s willingness to give good gifts to His children (Luke 11:11-13).
D. There are seven points that we want to consider as we study Jesus’ parable, “The Friend at Midnight.”
A. …Which of you shall have a friend…
1. We sustain many relationships with many people.
2. The relationship that we have with friends is very special (See “friend” at www.dictionary.com).
a. A person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile
b. A person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard
c. A person who gives assistance
3. In the parable, we are approaching a friend.
B. When you and I go to our heavenly Father in prayer, we are going to a friend.
1. When we were in our sins, we were enemies of God.
2. Through the death and blood of Jesus, we have been reconciled, that is, made friendly with God (Col. 1:21-22).
And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblame-able and unreproveable in his sight.
3. This is what makes going to God in prayer so easy. He is our friend. We sincerely believe that He will hear us and help us.
A. …and shall go unto him at midnight…
1. The truth is that there is no regard or respectability in this man’s actions.
2. There is such a thing as decorum, that is, appropriate actions between friends.
a. No phone calls after 9 p.m.
b. During school time, friends had to leave the house around 5:30 or 6:00 p.m.
c. No friends could spend the night through the week.
3. In the parable, we violate all the rules of decency and approach our friend at midnight.
B. NOTE: You cannot violate decorum when it comes to approaching God.
1. God does not sleep.
2. We can approach him at any hour of the day or night.
3. Psalm 22:2
O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.
A. …and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me…
B. When we go to our friend, we know exactly what we need, three loaves.
C. When we go to God, it is okay to be very specific in what we need from Him.
1. Hannah requested a man-child (I Sam. 1:11).
2. Solomon requested wisdom (I Kings 3:9).
3. Jesus prayed for Peter (Luke 22:32).
4. Jesus prayed that the cup would pass from Him (Matt. 26:39).
5. Paul prayed for the salvation of Israel (Rom. 10:1).
A. …and I have nothing to set before him?
1. The friend showed up unexpectedly.
2. We did not have time to prepare.
3. There was no food in the house.
B. Why do we draw nigh to God? Because we have needs, but do not have the resources to supply those needs.
1. Physical needs (Luke 11:3)
2. Wisdom (James 1:5-8)
3. Peace of mind (Phil. 4:6-7)
4. Forgiveness (Acts 8:22)
5. Deliverance from enemies (Ps. 59:1).
C. NOTE: We don’t have the resources, but God does.
1. He owns the earth (Ps. 23:1).
2. He controls the earth (Heb. 1:3).
3. He has all power (Ps. 147:5).
4. He has all wisdom (Col. 2:3).
5. Psalm 23:1; 34:9
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
A. …and he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.
1. The first request is not honored by the friend.
2. He had good reasons he did not want to arise and grant the request.
a. All bedtime preparations had been made, including the locking of the door.
b. The children were asleep. To arise might wake them.
B. God does not always grant our requests immediately.
1. God can say, “No,” to our prayers (Ps. 22:2)
O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not…
2. Lamentations 3:8, 44
Also when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer…
3. Our heavenly Friend may have some very good reasons why He will not hear our requests.
A. …yet because of his importunity…
1. Definition of importunity
a. Strong (335): imprudence
b. Thayer: shamelessness, imprudence
c. Vincent: “A very striking word to describe persistence” (e-sword).
2. We do not leave the doorstep at the first refusal. We must keep on and on asking for the bread we need.
B. Two Bible examples:
1. Abraham’s persistence with God on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 18:23-33).
2. The woman of Canaan, a Syro-Phoenician woman, who came to Jesus (Matt. 15:22-28). Four times, or more, she cried unto Jesus.
a. …and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil (Matt. 15:22)
b. …for she cried after us (Matt. 15:23).
c. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord help me (Matt. 15:25).
d. And she said… (Matt. 15:27).
C. In our prayers, we must keep coming to God and making requests. We must be resolute. We must trust Luke 11:9-10.
And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
A. …he will rise and give him as man as he needeth.
1. Our friend eventually tires of hearing our constant cry.
2. Finally, he comes and gives us exactly what we desire.
B. A moment ago, we talked about the Syro-Phoenician woman and her persistence with Jesus. Did she get what she desire? Yes (Matt. 15:28).
Then Jesus answered and said unto her. O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole that very hour.
C. God will reward our requests. He, as a loving Father, wants to give unto His children.
A. Tonight, we have sat in Jesus’ classroom and learned about persistent prayer.
B. One man said: “We do not know ‘how’ to pray until we have learned to pray with persistence.
1. Persistence brings reward.
2. If persistence with a friend brings fruitfulness, how much more will our persistence bring fruit from the heavenly Father?