Week of 10 Pentecost C

July 21, 2016

This is a Three-Year Lectionary based on the Lutheran Book of Worship 3-year Lectionary (for public worship), “Prayers of the Day…” (Propers), p. 13-41, Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, 1978. It is based, with only minor variations, on the Revised Common Lectionary, used by many denominations, including the Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches:

http://www.commontexts.org/

and:

http://www.commontexts.org/rcl/usage.html

The daily readings are the Propers (Lections) for the following Sunday, so that the daily devotions can prepare us for worship. Additional Lections are from Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church, “Scripture lessons for Matins and Vespers,” United Lutheran Church of America, General Rubrics VIII. Scripture lessons for Matins and Vespers, p. 299 – 304, Philadelphia, 1918.

The previous 2- year Bible Study based on the Lutheran Book of Worship, Daily Lectionary for personal devotions p.179-192, Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, 1978, is available at:

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To get the most from these studies, it is suggested that you first read the scripture texts for the entry, and then the paraphrase and commentary. It is also recommended that you look up the scripture references, unless you recognize and recall them from memory.

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Note: This week I am publishing on Thursday and include Thursday through Saturday of 9 Pentecost C. Scroll Down for 10 Pentecost – C.

Thursday – 9 Pentecost C

First posted July 29, 2010;
Podcast: Thursday 9 Pentecost C

Luke 11:1-13 – Teachings on Prayer;

Paraphrase:

Jesus had gone to a (quiet; isolated) place to pray, and when he was finished, his disciples asked him to teach them how to pray, like John the Baptizer had taught John’s disciples.

Jesus said, “When you pray, say, ‘Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation” (Luke 11:2-4).

Then Jesus asked them who wouldn’t go to a friend at midnight and ask for food to set before and unexpected guest. But his friend is in bed and doesn’t want to be bothered. Though the friend will not help because of friendship, he will help because his friend keeps bothering him until he does.

Jesus declared, “Ask, and it will be given you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). Jesus declared that everyone who asks will receive; whoever seeks will find, and to those who knock, it will be opened to them.

Jesus asked who would give a snake to a son who asks for fish; who would give a scorpion to his child who asks for an egg. We are sinners, but know to give good gifts to our children. “…how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him” (Luke 11:13b)!

Commentary:

The prayer that Jesus taught the disciples is known as The Lord’s Prayer but it really should be thought of as The Disciples’ Prayer. Our prayers do not have to be long and grand in language; just simple, sincere phrases suffice.

We need to learn to live one day at a time, and ask the Lord each day to supply the things we need for that day. We need to remember that we are sinners in need of forgiveness and to ask for forgiveness daily. In order to receive the Lord’s forgiveness, we must forgive everyone who sins against us, daily, as often as necessary. The Lord doesn’t lead us into temptation; we fall into temptation when we follow our own will. When we seek his leading daily, he will lead us so that we don’t fall into temptation.

God the Father is so much more willing to help us and give us good things if we ask (see Conditions for Answered Prayer, sidebar, right), than we are, even to our families and friends. The best gift that God can possibly give us is his indwelling Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9b). Through the indwelling Holy Spirit we have personal daily fellowship with God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

He wants us to have the Holy Spirit, but first he wants to make sure that we are committed to trusting and obeying the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Only Jesus baptizes with (gives the gift of) the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 1:31-34), only his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). Premature spiritual rebirth through the gift of the Holy Spirit would be disastrous (Hebrews 6:4-6).

Christians are by definition “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) disciples of Jesus Christ (Acts 11:26c). Discipleship is not optional; not a category only for “super-Christians.”

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Friday – 9 Pentecost C

First posted July 30, 2010;
Podcast: Friday 9 Pentecost C

1 Corinthians 10:6-13 – Exhortations;

Paraphrase:

The record of the Israelites’ debauchery in the wilderness is written as a warning to us, not to desire what is evil, as they did. We must not be idolaters, as they were; we must not indulge in immorality as some did: twenty-three thousand were destroyed in a single day because of immorality. We must not demand that the Lord prove himself, as some did, and were destroyed by poisonous snakes. We must not complain against the Lord, or face destruction, as some of them did.

These things happened to Israelites and are recorded in the Bible for our instruction, who are facing the end of time. Watch out! If you think you are secure, be careful that you do not stumble! We have not been tempted by anything too hard to resist. When we are tempted, we also receive the means of escape, so that we can prevail over the temptation.

Commentary:

God has been progressively revealing himself and his purpose for Creation, in Creation itself, then in the Bible, then in Jesus Christ, and ultimately in the “baptism” of the Holy Spirit which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). The meaning and purpose of life in this Creation is to seek find and have personal fellowship with our Creator (Acts 17:26-27), and this is only possible through Jesus Christ (John 14:6), by the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

God has always intended, from the very beginning of Creation to establish an eternal kingdom of his people who willingly trust and obey him. He has designed this world to allow for the possibility of sin (disobedience of God’s Word, so that we will have the freedom to choose whether to trust and obey God’s Word or not. But God is not going to tolerate rebellion and disobedience forever, or at all, in his eternal kingdom. So this Creation and we ourselves are limited by time.

When one can see the entire Bible as a whole, it’s coherent structure is awesome! God began revealing himself in the call of Abraham, in the founding of the people of Israel. Everything that God did with Israel, recorded in the Bible, is also intended to be a metaphor for life in this Creation.

We are all in bondage to sin and death in the “Egypt” of this present world order. Jesus is our “Moses” who leads us out of “Egypt,” through the “Sea” of baptism into Jesus Christ, who separates us from our spiritual enemies. Jesus is our “Moses” who leads us through the wilderness of this lifetime, with the baptism of the indwelling Holy Spirit, the “pillar of cloud and fire” (Exodus 13:21-22) to lead us. Jesus is our “Joshua” (Joshua or Jeshua is the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek: “Jesus,” the language of the New Testament), who leads us through the “River” of physical death, on dry ground, without getting our “feet wet” (i.e., without being affected), into the eternal “Promised Land of God’s kingdom restored to Paradise in heaven.

God deliberately intends that everything he did with the Israelites points to spiritual truth he is doing with us. God gave Moses the Word of God in the Old Covenant; he gave us the Word of the God in Jesus Christ, the “living Word,” (John 1:1-5, 14), in the New Covenant. Jesus is the “New Moses,” the mediator of the New Covenant of Grace through faith in Jesus. Jesus is the sacrificial “Lamb” of the “New Passover.” His flesh provides the sacrificial feast, and his blood provides the cleansing and salvation from sin. Jesus instituted the “New Passover” in the “Last Supper” on the eve of his crucifixion.

In this world we will have temptations to test our faith, but God will not allow us to be tempted beyond our power to resist. We must make the effort to resist. We must not immediately give in to temptation. We are to learn to resist temptation and this is only possible if we will make the effort to resist.

Before I was “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) I used to give in to temptation, because I thought that sooner or later I would. By resisting, I found that the Lord would reinforce my resistance and that surrender to temptation is not a foregone conclusion.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Saturday – 9 Pentecost C

First posted July 31, 2010;
Podcast: Saturday 9 Pentecost C

Luke 16:1-9 – The Dishonest Steward;

Paraphrase:

Jesus told his disciples a parable (a fictional tale of common worldly experience, to teach spiritual truth), about a dishonest steward. The steward of a rich man was accused of wasting his master’s goods. The rich man called the steward to give account, and the steward worried about how he could save his job. Otherwise he would not be able to earn a living.

He decided what to do to endear himself to his master’s debtors, so that when the steward lost his job he might receive aid from the debtors. He called his master’s debtors and reduced their debts on the record.

The master commended his steward for his prudence; the people of this generation are smarter (in worldly ways) than the children of light (righteousness). So we are advised to make friends by “unrighteous mammon” (material wealth), so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations” (Luke 16:9).

Commentary:

People seem to know instinctively what to do to save themselves from disaster in this material world. But they don’t seem to sense the spiritual disaster about to befall them, and the means to save themselves, spiritually. What the steward did was unrighteous, but it was to his advantage in this lifetime.

Why not do what is righteous in God’s judgment, and to our advantage to save us spiritually for eternal life? We cannot save ourselves, but we can accept the salvation which God has provided in Jesus Christ. Why not use the worldly instinct we’ve been given, for our spiritual benefit?

We can stave off disaster in this material world with material resources, for a time, but ultimately material resources will fail. Only what is spiritual will remain. We should use the time we have been given in the material world to develop our spiritual resources, so that they will be available when material resources fail.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Week of 10 Pentecost C

Podcast Download: Week of 10 Pentecost C

Sunday – 10 Pentecost C

First Posted August 1, 2010;

Podcast: Sunday 10 Pentecost C

Genesis 18:20-32 – Abraham Intercedes for Sodom;
Psalm 138 – Deliverance from Trouble;
Colossians 2:6-15 – Warning Against False Teachings;
Luke 11:1-13 – The Disciples’ Prayer;

Genesis18:20-32 Paraphrase:

The Lord had appeared to Abraham (Abram) at Mamre (near Hebron) as three persons. As they departed, the Lord revealed that he was on his way to see if Sodom was as wicked as the reports the Lord had heard said. But Abraham interceded, suggesting that the Lord should not destroy the righteous with the wicked. He asked the Lord if he would spare Sodom if there were fifty righteous people found there and the Lord promised to spare the city for the sake of fifty righteous. Then Abraham “bid down” the number of righteous, until the Lord promised to spare the city for the sake of ten righteous people.

Psalm 138 Paraphrase:

With my whole heart, I will give thanks to the Lord! I will praise the Lord above all other so-called “gods.” Toward his temple I bow down and give thanks to his name (his total person and character) for his steadfast love and faithfulness, because he has exalted his name and his Word above all else. When the psalmist (David; the great human shepherd-king of Israel) called the Lord heard and answered his prayer. The Lord increased his spiritual strength.

All the rulers of earth will praise the Lord, for they have heard his Word. They will sing aloud of the Lord’s ways, because the Lord’s glory is great. Although the Lord is great, he has regard for the lowly; but is far from the proud.

The Lord preserves my life in the midst of trouble. His right hand (Jesus) delivers me from the wrath of my enemies. “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me” (Psalm 138:8a). The Lord’s steadfast love is eternal. He will not forsake what he has created.

Colossians 2:6-15 Paraphrase:

As we have received Christ, therefore let us live according to his teachings. Let us take root, and grow to maturity and a solid foundation in faith, as we have been taught (in the Bible and in the Holy Spirit), overflowing with thanksgiving.

“See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fulness of deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:8-9). We (who are “born-again” Christian disciples) have come to fulness of life in Jesus, who is the ruler above all powers and authority. We were “circumcised” into him with a spiritual circumcision, by the removal of our fleshly nature by the “circumcision” of Christ. In Christian (water) Baptism we were buried with Christ, so that we might also be raised with him through faith in God’s power. When we were spiritually dead through sin and the “uncircumcision” of our “flesh,” God has given us spiritual rebirth and eternal life with him, having forgiven all our sins. He canceled the warrant against us which demanded our spiritual eternal death. He set aside that warrant, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and powers of this world at the cross of Jesus Christ, making a public example of them and triumphing over them.

Luke 11:1-13 Paraphrase:

Jesus went away from the crowds to a place where he could pray, and when he ended his prayers, his disciples asked him to teach them how to pray, as John the baptizer had taught John’s disciples. So Jesus told them that when they prayed they should say:

“Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread; and forgive our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation” (Luke 11:2b-4; compare Matthew 6:9-13).

Then Jesus told a parable of an unexpected guest: A person had an unexpected guest, so he went to his friend to borrow three loaves of bread. The friend had gone to bed and didn’t want to get up and help his friend, but the host persisted until his friend did what he requested, not out of friendship, but to be rid of the annoyance.

Jesus told his disciples, “Ask, and it will be give you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). Jesus assured them that all who persist will be satisfied. Earthly fathers don’t give their children evil when they ask for what they truly need. Likewise our heavenly father will give us the ultimate good and necessary gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit if we ask him with persistence.

Commentary:

Abraham’s (nephew, Lot, and Lot’s household were living in Sodom, so Abraham had a personal stake in what happened to Sodom (Genesis 13:8-12). The Lord kept his promise to Abraham; he destroyed Sodom, but he preserved Lot (Genesis 19:15-23).

I personally testify with Biblical King David, my namesake, that when I cried to the Lord he heard and answered my prayer. God is faithful and abundantly able; he will hear and answer anyone who calls to him in sincerity and truth (see Conditions for Answered Prayer; sidebar, right). Be advised that the Lord is inclined toward the humble. Anyone who approaches him in a proud and haughty attitude doesn’t understand his relationship to God. Anyone who understands the nature and character of God cannot be anything other than humble in his presence.

I personally testify that the Lord has preserved my eternal life in the midst of great trouble on numerous occasions. He can show us that he is able to deliver us from the power and wrath of our enemies. The Lord doesn’t ever give up on us!

A Christian is by definition a disciple of Jesus Christ (Acts 11:26c), who has been “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) by the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). The Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16).

The indwelling Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ within us (Romans 8:9). By the indwelling Holy Spirit we have a daily (hourly) personal fellowship with God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. When we accept Jesus as Lord, we need to be “discipled” by born-again disciples until we are “baptized” with the indwelling Holy Spirit. Then the Holy Spirit will disciple us to spiritual maturity. Being born-again is not the end of the process but just the beginning!

There are many false “christs,” false prophets, and false teachers and teachings in the world and even within the nominal Church today (see False Teachings, sidebar, right). There are people who will come to your door and tell you that Jesus isn’t God (compare John 20:28). Colossians 2:8-9 is a good reference to refute them.

False teachings have existed since the beginning of the Church in the First Century A.D., and are refuted in the New Testament of the Bible. One must read the entire Bible in order to be protected from false teaching. Reading the Bible does not require arduous effort or formal study. A simple reading will suffice to show us what it does and doesn’t contain. When we have read it the Holy Spirit can recall it to our memory as needed. The average reader can easily read the entire Bible in one year and there are numerous plans available (see Free Bible Study Tools, sidebar, right).

What is called The Lord’s Prayer should be thought of as The Disciples’ Prayer. It was given by the Lord to his disciples. It must be prayed by a disciple in order to be effective (see Conditions for Answered Prayer, sidebar, right). A disciple’s prayer will be for God’s name to be hallowed and his kingdom to fully come to us individually and personally as soon as possible.

Discipleship is learning to wait for God to provide every truly necessary thing for us one day at a time. When we realize and acknowledge how greatly we need God’s forgiveness, we will be glad to forgive others as we have experienced forgiveness. We will learn by experience that we can depend on the Lord to deliver us from temptation (and deliver us from evil).

The Lord is a better Father than any earthly father can be. He wants to give us the best we can have. But we must learn to wait upon him. This is difficult in society today when we have come to expect instant gratification.

The Lord wants us to learn to wait for him, because he wants to be sure that we are committed to obedient trust in him only! There are many precious promises in the Bible, which can only be received by faith which is obedient, trusting, and persistent.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Monday – 10 Pentecost C

First Posted August 2, 2010;

Podcast: Monday 10 Pentecost C

Psalm 49:1-11 – The Folly of Riches;

Paraphrase:

Listen, everyone! Let all the people of earth hear: both high and low; rich and poor! I will speak wisdom; what I have meditated upon in my heart is understanding. I will listen to a proverb, and solve a riddle with the music of a harp.

I will not yield to fear when the evil of my persecutors surround me; those who trust in wealth and riches. No one is able to pay to God the ransom for his life, so as to continue to live on forever, and never see the grave, because it is costly and beyond price. No one can afford it.

Yes, even those who are wise will die, along with the foolish and stupid, leaving their wealth to others. Their graves will be their eternal homes; their dwellings throughout all generation, though lands have been named for them. The pomp of man does not abide; like a beast he perishes.

Those who have foolish confidence and are pleased with what they have accomplished will end thus: As sheep, appointed to the grave; their shepherd shall be [eternal] death. They will descend straight into the grave, where their bodies will rot; they will dwell eternally in the kingdom of death. But my eternal being will be ransomed from the power of eternal death by God, who will receive me [into his eternal kingdom].

Don’t fear anyone who becomes rich and gains glory; he will not take any riches or glory with him when dies. He may consider himself happy while he has physical life, and he may be praised for his worldly accomplishments, but when he dies he will join his ancestors and never more see light. The exultation of mankind does not abide forever; when he dies, he is no better than a dead animal.

Commentary:

We are all eternal beings in temporal bodies. This lifetime is our only opportunity to be spiritually reborn (John 3:3, 5-8) to eternal life, and this is only possible through faith (obedient trust) in Jesus Christ, by the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). The Holy Spirit is a personally discernible ongoing daily event (Acts 19:2). The Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16).

There is nothing we can do in this lifetime to secure eternal life for ourselves in God’s kingdom, restored to perfect paradise, in heaven, except by receiving Jesus as our Lord and Savior through faith. What would eternal life in paradise be worth? More than everything we have! But eternal life cannot be bought, stolen, or taken by force or deception.

Wise or foolish, rich or poor, we will all perish eternally unless we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. And Jesus’ Lordship is not hard or unpleasant; it is wonderful! We don’t know what we want; we don’t know what is our best interest. Only in Jesus can we find what is really and truly life!

Imagine being the most wealthy and powerful of people in this world. One may be happy for a time, but imagine, when physical life ends, being in a physical body which is going to decay, but whose soul will go on eternally, forever separated from God and every good thing, which God alone can provide, knowing that one could have had eternal life in paradise restored in heaven with God and everything good.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Tuesday – 10 Pentecost C

First Posted August 3, 2010;

Podcast: Tuesday 10 Pentecost C

Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:18-26 – All is Vanity;

Paraphrase:

Everything we do in this lifetime is vanity: insubstantial and fleeting.

We labor to the point of exhaustion, only to leave the fruit of our labor to the people who come after us. And who knows if they will be wise or foolish. But they will own all that we labored for and used our wisdom to create. So all that we strive for is vanity. It is easy to despair over our hard work, knowing that we must sometimes leave work we have accomplished with wisdom, knowledge and skill to a person, who has not worked for it, to enjoy. That is vanity and very wrong. What does a person have to show for his toil and strain in this world? His days are filled with pain and vexation; he can’t even find rest at night. It is all vanity.

The best a person can hope for is to enjoy food and drink and enjoy his work. This is a gift from God, because who can have enjoyment apart from God? To those who please God, he gives wisdom, knowledge and joy, but he gives sinners the work of gathering and accumulating, only to be given to those who please God. This is vanity, and like trying to catch the wind.

Commentary:

I believe that the meaning and purpose of life in this world is to seek, find, and have fellowship with God (Acts 17:26-27), and this only possible through faith (obedient trust) in Jesus (John 14:6) by the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples to trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right).

So many people in the world today are pursuing the wrong goals. They’re seeking security and satisfaction in physical things, and completely neglecting their spiritual needs.

I personally testify that in the thirty years since I accepted Jesus as my Lord and was “born-again” the Lord has provided for me abundantly beyond worldly expectations, and I have found meaning and purpose in life that I didn’t have before. I have security that money can’t buy and that worldly labor cannot provide (see Personal Testimonies, sidebar, right).

We’re all eternal beings in physical bodies. Our physical bodies wear out and pass away, but our souls will continue to exist for eternity. The question is: Where will we spend eternity?

This lifetime is our only opportunity to be spiritually “born-again” to eternal life by the baptism of the indwelling Holy Spirit. We will either live eternally with God in his kingdom in Heaven, or we will spend eternity dying in Hell with all evil, separated forever from God who is the source of every good thing.

Born-again Christians know with certainty where they will spend eternity by the testimony of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16). The only people who don’t know if there is existence after physical death are those who are spiritually “lost” and dying eternally.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Wednesday – 10 Pentecost C

First Posted August 4, 2010;

Podcast: Wednesday 10 Pentecost C

Colossians 3:1-11 – New Life in Christ;

Paraphrase:

Born-again (John 3:3, 5-8) Christians have been buried with Christ in water baptism and raised to new, eternal life, through the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit. So we are to live according to the new life we have in God’s eternal kingdom. So we must no longer focus on worldly things, but spiritual things. We must regard ourselves as dead to the world; and our new lives are hidden in Christ, to be revealed when Christ returns.

So let us crucify what is earthly in us: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, covetousness, which is a form of idolatry. The wrath of God is coming upon those who practice such things. We once did such things when we lived according to our physical nature, but now we do away with these things. We must no longer practice anger, wrath, slander and vulgar talk. We must not lie to one another. We are to live according to our new spiritual nature, being transformed in knowledge according to the nature of our Creator. In this new life we must no longer make distinctions between Jew and Greek, circumcised and uncircumcised, or based on race or nationality, slave or free. What matters is that Christ is central, and within all.

Commentary:

I believe, based on my own personal experience, that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not automatically conferred at water baptism. I believe that the Church is the heir to the ministry of the water baptism of John the Baptizer (Matthew 3:1-3). The Church is to call people to repent and turn to the Lord in obedient trust, to prepare to receive Jesus in the baptism of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

I understand water baptism as a covenant between God and the candidate. As the candidate begins to live in obedient trust in Jesus’ teachings, God is faithful and will give the gift (baptism) of the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 14:15-17).

The baptism of the indwelling Holy Spirit is our spiritual rebirth, our “resurrection” from spiritual death to eternal life, and it begins now in this lifetime, as we begin to live as citizens of God’s eternal kingdom. The kingdom of God is all around us now, but it is only spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14), by those who have been spiritually reborn.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a personally discernible, daily, ongoing event (Acts 19:2). The Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16). By the testimony of the Holy Spirit within us we can be certain that the Lord will raise us from physical death to eternal life in God’s kingdom in Heaven.

As we begin to live in obedient trust in Jesus, the baptism of the Holy Spirit will open our minds to understand the Bible Scriptures (Luke 24:45; the risen Jesus: Romans 8:9), and will guide us to know and do God’s will (John 14:26; 16:13). When we have opportunities to testify to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit will give us what to say at the moment it is needed (Mark 13:11; Luke 12:11-12), and I personally attest to this truth. As we make an effort to put away the tendencies of our physical nature, the Holy Spirit will transform us into the image of our Creator.

The indwelling Holy Spirit in born-again Christians is the basis of unity in the true Church. In the nominal Church, there are un-reborn, nominal Christians also, which is the basis of disunity within the nominal Church.

Unfortunately, in too many instances, the nominal Church has failed to make born-again disciples. In some instances, the nominal Church discourages members from seeking spiritual rebirth by teaching that the Holy Spirit is conferred automatically at water baptism (see False Teachings, sidebar, right).

Unless the Church makes born-again disciples there won’t be any born-again leaders. It takes born-again leaders to make born-again disciples. The distinction which matters is spiritual rebirth.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Thursday – 10 Pentecost C

First Posted August 5, 2010;

Podcast: Thursday 10 Pentecost C

Luke 12:13-21 – The Rich Fool;

Paraphrase:

One, in the crowd gathered around Jesus, asked him to tell the person’s brother to share his inheritance with the person. But Jesus asked the person why he thought Jesus should be a judge between the person and his brother. Jesus warned that it isn’t the abundance of one’s possessions that makes one’s life meaningful; we must be careful to avoid covetousness (a form of idolatry of possessions).

Jesus told the crowd a parable: A rich man’s land produced abundantly, and the rich man realized that he needed a bigger barn to store his crops. He decided to tear down his barn and build a bigger one. Then he thought that with enough stored to last many years, he would be able to relax and “eat, drink and be merry.” But God called him a fool. The man would die that very night and someone else would enjoy his possessions. This is the fate of those who rely on material possessions and do not seek the spiritual riches only God can provide.

Commentary:

Human nature hasn’t changed since the time of Jesus’ physical ministry. Love of material possessions is a prevalent idolatry today.

The only real security to be found in this world is in God through faith (obedient trust) in Jesus Christ. Jesus taught that we should seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness, and all the material necessities would be ours as well (Matthew 6:33). If we seek security through material possessions, we will never have security, because security always requires just a little more than we have, and we’ll never get around to seeking God’s kingdom.

I assert that the meaning and purpose of life in this world is to seek, find, and have fellowship with God, our Creator (Acts 17:26-27), and this is only possible through Jesus Christ (John 14:6). This lifetime is our only opportunity to be spiritually “reborn” (John 3:3, 5-8) to eternal life by the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). The Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16).

Wouldn’t it be terrible to waste this lifetime accumulating material possessions which will be of no use to us in eternity, and miss the opportunity to be spiritually “born-again” to eternal life in God’s kingdom in paradise in Heaven?

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Friday – 10 Pentecost C

First Posted August 6, 2010;

Podcast: Friday 10 Pentecost C

1 Corinthians 12:1-11 – Spiritual Gifts;

Paraphrase:

Paul wanted the Corinthian Christians (and all believers) to be informed about spiritual gifts. Before we accepted Jesus as Lord, we were going astray after idols, although we probably were emotionally moved by them. So we should know that one can’t be motivated by the Holy Spirit to curse Jesus, and no one can truly praise Jesus as Lord except by the Holy Spirit (compare Romans 8:15-16; Galatians 4:6).

The one and only Holy Spirit gives a variety of spiritual gifts. There are a variety of ways to serve, but only one Lord. There are a variety of deeds inspired by one God (note the suggestion of the Trinity: God, Lord, and Holy Spirit). Each believer is given a manifestation of the Holy Spirit for the benefit of the congregation. Some speak wisdom, some are given knowledge, some are given faith, some are given the ability to heal, some are given the ability to work miracles, to some, prophecy, to some, the ability to distinguish between spirits, the ability to speak in tongues, or the ability to interpret tongues. These are all guided and empowered by the one Spirit, according to his will and purpose.

Commentary:

Some congregations emphasize seeking, to discover spiritual gifts. Other congregations make no mention of spiritual gifts. Some churches are led by “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) leaders, and some are led by “unregenerate” (not born-again) leaders.

I think there is a right way and a wrong way to try to identify spiritual gifts. Using a spiritual “self-help” type book or program, seems to me like Abraham (Abram) taking his wife’s maidservant to “help” God fulfill his promise of a son and heir for Abraham (Genesis 16:1-6).

The right way, in my experience, is to begin to seek God’s will, one day at a time (Matthew 6:11), by daily Bible reading with prayer and meditation. As we do so, God will begin to reveal his will for us daily. Faith (obedient trust) involves discipleship and spiritual growth. God is not going to reveal his ultimate will for our life’s work immediately. We have to learn to hear and do his will in small steps.

When God reveals a ministry for us, he provides the resources necessary to accomplish that ministry. When I started out, I felt led to Social Ministry (concern for the poor) within my congregation as an outreach into the community. God made it possible for me to be the chairman, and gave me the knowledge, wisdom and resources to accomplish that ministry.

But that wasn’t my life’s work. God closed the window of that opportunity, but opened the door to evangelism as an inreach into the congregation, and an outreach into the community. I became the evangelism chairman. He gave me the opportunities and the resources to accomplish that ministry.

When that opportunity closed, he opened others sequentially. Most recently he allowed me to discover the opportunity for my online Bible Study. I prayed for his permission to proceed and and he approved and provided the resources to accomplish it. I have resources to continue with another three or four years, but it is not certain that I will. It depends God’s leading.

Believers should be aware that the motivation of the Holy Spirit is more than just an emotional high. We can get ecstatic at sports events, but that is not like the “anointing” of the Holy Spirit. Some church leaders think of themselves as “cheerleaders” (“Gimme a ‘J’…”). That’s not the anointing of the Holy Spirit. It seems to me that people can profess Jesus as Lord, without actually having been spiritually “reborn,” but their profession lacks spiritual power to to convict and change people’s hearts.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Saturday – 10 Pentecost C

First Posted August 7, 2010;

Podcast: Saturday 10 Pentecost C

Luke 19:41-48 – Cleansing the Temple;

Background:

Jesus rode to Jerusalem from Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives on a donkey with the crowd following him cheering and rejoicing in the procession the Church commemorates on Palm Sunday (Luke 19:28-40).

Luke Paraphrase:

As Jesus approached Jerusalem, he wept over it and declared that he wished they had known what things to do to have peace. But now those things had been hidden from their perception. Jesus prophesied that the day would come when her enemies would surround and lay siege to Jerusalem. They would dash the city and its people to the ground and leave her buildings in ruins because Jerusalem had not recognized the coming of her Messiah (Christ).

The first thing Jesus did on entering Jerusalem was to cleanse the temple of the secular corruption that had been allowed there.

Commentary:

That prophecy was fulfilled in 70 A.D., when the Roman Armies destroyed Jerusalem and the temple, many Jews were slaughtered, and the survivors were scattered throughout the world. The Nation of Israel ceased to exist, until reestablished following World War II.

The temple has never been rebuilt. Judaism effectively ended at the cross of Jesus, when the veil of the temple, separating the Holy-of-holies, where the presence of God resided, was torn from top to bottom (Luke 23:45), symbolizing that Jesus had opened a new and better way into God’s presence.

The temple sacrificial system of the Old Covenant of Law is no longer in effect; Jesus’ sacrificial death on the Cross is the one and only sacrifice acceptable to God, consecrating the New Covenant of Grace (unmerited favor; a free gift) to be received by faith (obedient trust) in Jesus. The only way to have peace with God is by the blood sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross; otherwise we are under God’s eternal condemnation because of sin (see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar right).

The Jews and their leaders knew the Old Testament Scriptures prophesying the Messiah, and had seen Jesus fulfill those prophecies but still refused to believe. Judaism had become “their” religion; they practiced it to their own advantage and interpretation. Instead of serving and pleasing God they attempted to use their religion to manipulate God to serve and please them.

I’m convinced that America and other nominally “Christian” nations, and the Church, particularly in America today are in the same position as Israel and Judaism at the time of Jesus’ first coming. In too many instances church leaders see the Church as their personal empires, and members see Church as a way to manipulate God’s favor and protection. Will we be any more ready and able to recognize Jesus’ Second Coming than Israel and Judaism at his first coming?

Jesus is going to begin Judgment with the Church, and if the Church needs chastisement, what will be the consequence of Judgment upon unbelievers (1 Peter 4:17-18)?

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Week of 9 Pentecost – C – 07/17 – 23/2016

July 16, 2016

This is a Three-Year Lectionary based on the Lutheran Book of Worship 3-year Lectionary (for public worship), “Prayers of the Day…” (Propers), p. 13-41, Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, 1978. It is based, with only minor variations, on the Revised Common Lectionary, used by many denominations, including the Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches:

http://www.commontexts.org/

and:

http://www.commontexts.org/rcl/usage.html

The daily readings are the Propers (Lections) for the following Sunday, so that the daily devotions can prepare us for worship. Additional Lections are from Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church, “Scripture lessons for Matins and Vespers,” United Lutheran Church of America, General Rubrics VIII. Scripture lessons for Matins and Vespers, p. 299 – 304, Philadelphia, 1918.

The previous 2- year Bible Study based on the Lutheran Book of Worship, Daily Lectionary for personal devotions p.179-192, Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, 1978, is available at:

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/ (Please bookmark this link).

This ‘blog is mirrored at:

http://shepherdboy-mydailywalk.blogspot.com/

Shepherdboysmydailywalk’s Blog

.mp3 Podcasts via Linux Festival text-to-speech and Panopreter Basic text-to-speech are available at:

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/dw_bible2/a_year/Wklx_a.html

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/dw_bible2/b_year/wklx_b.html

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/dw_bible2/c_year/wklx_c.html

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http://winksite.mobi/shepherdboy/MyDailyWalk

Free to distribute; for personal use, Bible Study Groups, and Adult Christian Education. Disk Image and/or .zip file to burn the complete Bible Study to CD are available at:

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/#Burn_Site_to_CD

To get the most from these studies, it is suggested that you first read the scripture texts for the entry, and then the paraphrase and commentary. It is also recommended that you look up the scripture references, unless you recognize and recall them from memory.

I will post weekly by Saturday, noon, (God willing), Pacific time (UTC-8:00) for the week of the Church Season which begins on Sunday. Please scroll down for the desired day, or save the week to your desktop/hard drive.

Podcast Download: Week of 9 Pentecost C

Sunday – 9 Pentecost C

First posted July 25, 2010;

Podcast: Sunday 9 Pentecost C

Genesis 18:1-10a (10b-14) – The Lord Visits Abraham;
Psalm 15 – Admission to God’s Temple;
Colossians 1:21-28 – Christian Maturity;
Luke 10:38-42 – Mary and Martha

Genesis Paraphrase:

The Lord appeared to Abraham (Abram) at the oaks of Mamre (near Hebron), as Abraham sat at the door of his tent during the noon siesta. Abraham opened his eyes and there were three men standing before him. He ran to them and welcomed them and offered them the opportunity to wash their feet and rest and have a simple meal of bread, and they accepted his offer. So Abraham told Sarah to make three cakes of meal, and he went and selected a calf which he prepared and gave to his visitors, with curds and milk. He stood by under the tree as his visitors ate.

The visitors asked for Sarah by name, and told Abraham that they would return the next year and that Sarah would have delivered a son (in fulfillment of God’s promise; Genesis 12:1-3). Both Sarah and Abraham were beyond the age of childbearing. Sarah was listening at the door of the tent, and she laughed to herself, and the visitors asked Abraham why Sarah had laughed; was anything too difficult for the Lord to do? The visitors assured Abraham that, when they returned in the spring, that Sarah would have given birth to a son.

Psalm Paraphrase:

Those who want to gain admission to the Temple of the Lord on the Holy mount (Zion) must be blameless in God’s judgment, doing what is right according to God’s Word, and speaking what is true.

They must not slander or do evil; they must not reproach a neighbor. They must despise a reprobate but honor those who fear God. When they make a commitment, they must fulfill it, even if it is to their disadvantage. They must not loan money at usurious interest, and must not accept bribes against the innocent. Those who conform to this standard will never be undone.

Colossians Paraphrase:

We, who once were hostile to the Gospel, and did what was evil according to God’s Word, have now been reconciled through the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross, so that we might be presented blameless and irreproachable before the Lord in his Day of Judgment, provided that we do not deviate from the Gospel which we have heard [from “born-again” disciples like Paul, who is the prototype and example of all modern, post-resurrection, born-again (John 3:3, 5-8) disciples (students) and apostles (messengers; of the Gospel) of Jesus Christ].

Paul rejoiced in his suffering for the Gospel on our behalf, and he believed that he was finishing any suffering lacking in Christ’s own ministry on behalf of his Church. Paul received a divine commission to be a minister of the Gospel, to make the message known and to reveal the mystery of God’s plan for Creation, which had been concealed from us for generations, but now revealed to his saints (those committed to serving God). He has revealed his plan so that his saints can know the riches of his glory among the Gentiles (non-Jews) and his inheritance which we have in Jesus Christ: the hope of dwelling in God’s glory. So we proclaim Christ to everyone we encounter, warning and teaching everyone in all divine wisdom, so that they might be spiritually mature (at the Day of Judgment). Paul devoted his entire life to this, following his mid-life conversion, and so have I.

Luke Paraphrase:

Jesus came to Bethany and entered the home of Mary and Martha (and their brother, Lazarus). Mary and Martha were well-known in Bethany, and in Jerusalem, a couple miles away.

Martha began to prepare an elaborate meal, and Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to his teaching. Martha became upset because her sister wasn’t helping her, and asked Jesus to rebuke Mary, but Jesus said that only one thing was necessary (only a simple meal of bread was necessary to satisfy the obligation of hospitality according to Middle Eastern custom at the time). Mary had chosen what was more important: to listen and learn from Jesus’ teaching. Jesus was not going to take that from Mary.

Commentary:

Abraham was only obligated to offer the visitors bread, but he went well beyond, offering beef, curds and milk as well. His visitors gave him news that he was desperately seeking.

God had promised to give him a son who would establish a nation. Abraham had waited a long time for that fulfillment. Abraham and Sarah had even tried to help the fulfillment of God’s promise through Hagar, Sarah’s servant (Gen. 16:1-2; 21:9- 10).

Three men appeared to Abraham, and at least one was the Lord. Who were the other two? I hold the controversial view that they were the Trinity, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God has been progressively revealing himself, first through the goodness of Creation, and then through the Bible, beginning with his call to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3). I believe that God chose to appear as three men to begin to reveal his triune nature.

God was declaring his Word of the fulfillment of his promise of a son for Abraham, and Sarah had laughed. God was revealing his Word ahead of time, so that when it was fulfilled they would know that it had been God’s Word. God’s Word is always true. The test of God’s Word is its fulfillment (Deuteronomy 18:21-22). God wants us to know and believe his Word, so that we will trust and obey it.

We must be blameless in God’s judgment. But we are unable to keep all God’s Word all the time. Under the Old Covenant (Testament) of Law, animal sacrifices had to be made constantly for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus initiated the New Covenant of Grace, to be received by faith (trust and obedience) in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9). Jesus became the one and only sacrifice acceptable to God, once for all time and all people who trust and obey Jesus. All our sins are forgiven by the blood of Jesus, shed on the cross

Jesus is the Word of God, fulfilled, embodied and exemplified (John 1:1-5, 14). Jesus’ word is the Word of God (John 14:10, 24), with the creative force of God’s Word (Mark 4:39-41; Compare Genesis 1: 9).

Jesus’ blood, shed on the cross, makes it possible for us to be cleansed and receive the “anointing” (“baptism”) of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). The anointing of the indwelling Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16).

By the indwelling Holy Spirit we are freed from the Old Covenant of God’s Law given to Moses, provided that we live in trust and obedience to the Holy Spirit, which is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ within us (Romans 8:9b).

Paul is the example of what every Christian can and should be. He was discipled by a “born-again (John 3:3, 5-8; Acts 9:10) disciple until Paul was born again, and then Paul began proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, making “born-again” disciples, and teaching them to repeat the process (Acts 9:20; 2 Timothy 1:6-7, 2:2). He wasn’t ordained (licensed) by Church headquarters in Jerusalem. Paul was already formally educated in the Old Testament scriptures. Once he knew the Gospel, following his conversion, most of the rest of the New Testament is by or about Paul.

Notice the parallel between the generous meal Abraham set before his Lord, and the meal Martha was trying to provide for Jesus. In his case Abraham was not distracted or bothered by the preparation, and he came and stood by while the Lord ate. He listened to the Lord’s message. In Martha’s case, she was being anxious and distracted by what was not really necessary, and she wanted to take Mary away from listening to the Lord.

It is easy for us to get caught up in busyness, even within the Church; with Church activities and programs. It is of first importance for us to read and trust and obey Jesus’ teachings in the four Gospels in the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Then we must be “discipled” by born-again disciples and the rest of the New Testament, within the Church (the New Jerusalem; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5, 8), until we receive the anointing of the indwelling Holy Spirit, before going into the world with the Gospel. We need to read the Old Testament as well. There are numerous Bible-in-one-year reading plans (see Free Bible Study Tools, sidebar, right).

Our discipleship is just beginning when we are born-again. Christ himself disciples us through the indwelling Holy Spirit, and we must learn to discern his “voice” and learn to trust and obey him. Jesus’ original disciples were with him practically night and day for three and a half years, and still weren’t ready to go into the world until they had been received the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We cannot to do it in less time.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Monday – 9 Pentecost C

First posted July 26, 2010;

Podcast: Monday 9 Pentecost C

Psalm 138 – Deliverance from Trouble;

Paraphrase:

With all my heart I give thanks to my Lord. I sing his praises before all other “gods.” Before his temple I bow down and give thanks to his name for his steadfast love and faithfulness. His Word and his name are exalted above every other thing. He answered me on the day that I called. He increased my strength of soul (the eternal part of me).

He will be praised by all the rulers of the earth; by his mouth they have heard your Word, and shall sing of your way, because of your great glory.

Although the Lord is great, yet he regards those who are lowly; but the haughty are far from knowing him.

Even though I walk in the midst of trouble, you will preserve my (eternal) life! He will prevail against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand (Jesus) will deliver me from them! God’s purpose for me will be fulfilled. His steadfast love is eternal! He will not forsake the people of his Creation.

Commentary:

The meaning and purpose of life in this Creation is to come to find, know, and have fellowship with God, our Creator. His eternal purpose has always been to create an eternal kingdom of his people who trust and obey him. Jesus has been designed into this Creation from the very beginning (John 1:1-5, 14).

When we have come to know and have fellowship with the Lord, we will want to praise and thank him for all that he has done for us. We will know that he is the one true God, above all so-called “gods.” We will want to be in his temple to worship and thank him. As we walk in obedience to his Word, in the Bible and in Jesus Christ, the living Word John 1:14) we will experience his steadfast, unwavering love and faithfulness.

When we call upon him in faith (obedient trust) he will hear and answer us (see Conditions for Answered Prayer, sidebar right). Through the “baptism” of his indwelling Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17), he will strengthen our souls.

We are born physically alive but spiritually unborn into this Creation. We are all created to be eternal beings. This lifetime is our only opportunity to be spiritually “born-again” to eternal life. The “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16). If we are not spiritually “reborn” we will spend eternity in hell, separated forever from God and every good thing which only God provides.

There is a Day coming, when everyone will bow to Jesus and acknowledge him as Lord (ruler; “boss;” Philippians 2:10-11). In that day no one will have any choice but to obey what he commands, but then it will be too late to change our eternal destiny.

The Lord favors the humble. No one has any reason for exalting himself before the Lord, but human nature is inclined to try; we want to be our own lords. It was one of the original sins which caused mankind’s fall in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:5).

God is absolutely faithful and trustworthy. We will have trouble in this lifetime, much of our own making, but God will bring us through whatever we encounter, if we will trust and obey him. God wants us to be saved and to be his eternal people.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Tuesday – 9 Pentecost – C

First posted July 27, 2010;

Podcast: Tuesday 9 Pentecost C

Genesis 18:20-32 — Sodom and Gomorrah;

Paraphrase:

The Lord had appeared to Abraham as three men (see 9 Pentecost Sunday C entry).

The Lord revealed to Abraham that he intended to go to Sodom and Gomorrah because he had heard of their sin, which was very grave, and intended to find out if the outcry against them was true. They turned to go to Sodom, but Abraham went and stood in their way. He drew near and asked the Lord if he would not spare the place if fifty righteous people were found there. Abraham reminded the Lord that the Lord is the righteous judge, who would not condemn righteous people along with the wicked. The Lord replied that if fifty righteous were found there, he would spare the place for the sake of the righteous. The answer didn’t completely satisfy Abraham, and he “bid down” the number of righteous people for which the Lord would spare the place to ten. The Lord promised not to destroy the place if just ten righteous people could be found. Then the Lord went his way, and Abraham returned to his campsite.

Commentary:

The world today is being spared from the wrath of God because of believers in (those who trust and obey) Jesus Christ; they are the righteous, in God’s judgment. We may observe the immorality of our culture, particularly in America, and are tempted to think that God owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology!

God does lift his favor and protection from the nations of the world and allow them to experience the consequences of unbelief. I believe that the flooding in New Orleans, fires in California, similar “acts of God” (as insurance agencies call them) are intended by God to be a warning for us. God can do those things and yet spare the righteous.

There is a day coming when believers will be caught up into heaven (The Rapture: “catching up”). Paul taught (1 Thessalonians 4:14-18) that those who had died in Christ would be caught up with those who were alive in Christ, to be forever with him in heaven.

Many believe in a “secret rapture;” believers will suddenly be caught up, and the unbelieving world will be “left behind” to face the reign of Antichrist, seven years of the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:15-31 = Mark 13:14-27), and the wrath of God. Paul, however, writes of the Rapture, in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2, of our being gathered to Christ (Matthew 13:30; 24:31), meaning that the rapture awaits the coming apostasy (rebellion against God) and the coming of the Antichrist.

I hold the controversial opinion that the Lord revealed himself to Abraham as three men to begin to reveal his triune nature (the Trinity: God the Father; God the Son; God the Holy Spirit; One God in three persons or expressions).

The Lord reveals, to his people, what will come in the future, through his Word (in the Bible and in Jesus Christ, the “living Word;” John 1:1-5, 14), by the indwelling Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34, only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). The test of God’s Word is its fulfillment (Deuteronomy 18:21-22). The Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16).

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Wednesday – 9 Pentecost C

First posted July 28, 2010;

Podcast: Wednesday 9 Pentecost C

Colossians 2:6-15 – Living in Christ;

Since we have received Jesus Christ as our Lord, so let us live in him; let us become rooted, built up and [firmly] established in faith (obedient trust), as Paul taught, and let us abound in thanksgiving.

“See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:8-9). In him who is the supreme ruler with authority over all, we have come to what is truly and fully life. In him we received spiritual circumcision, not by the hand of man, but in Christ, the putting off of our physical nature. And in baptism into Christ we were buried with him, and were raised with him by faith in God’s power to raise us from the dead.

We were eternally dead through our sins and the “uncircumcision” of our flesh, but God made us eternally alive with him, forgiving us all of our sins. He canceled the warrant against us, which required our judgment and condemnation. He set aside and nailed our condemnation to the cross. He disarmed Satan and his minions, triumphing over them and making a public example of them at the cross of Jesus Christ.

Commentary:

How do we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord? We must confess that we are sinners (have disobeyed God’s Word, in the Bible and in Jesus Christ, the “living Word;” John 1:14). We must invite Jesus to come in and take control of our lives, committing ourselves to trust and obey Jesus (Revelation 3:20; John 14:15-17, 21, 23; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right).

Living in Jesus requires discipleship. We must learn his teachings, recorded in the New Testament, and then we must be discipled by him by the “baptism” of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3, 5-8), which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17).

A Christian is by definition a disciple of Jesus Christ (Acts 11:26c) who has been “born-again” by the “baptism of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3, 5-8). Christian faith (obedient trust in Jesus) is a spiritual growth process to spiritual maturity at the Day of Christ’s Second Coming.

There are those who profess to be God’s people who deny the deity of Jesus. Jesus warned that there would be false prophets and false teachers in the last days (Matthew 24:24). If they come to your door, Colossians 2:8-9 is a good text to know and recite.

They also deny the Trinity. The word Trinity is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, but the concept is mentioned throughout. God is one God in three persons (expressions) Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. [Matthew 28:19; Genesis 18:1-2 (3-10)].

We are all born physically alive but spiritually unborn into this world. There is eternal life beyond this physical lifetime. This lifetime is our one and only opportunity to be spiritually reborn to eternal life. The baptism of the indwelling Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16). It is possible for one to know with complete assurance for oneself that one is “reborn” (Acts 19:2).

We begin to experience true eternal life now in this lifetime in this world, and we know that we will live eternally in God’s kingdom restored to paradise in heaven with Jesus. Now we have only a foretaste of the presence of Jesus, but it is wonderful.

The Old Covenant of Law given to Moses taught us that we must be circumcised. Circumcision of the flesh is of no avail. We must be spiritually “circumcised,” so that we may no longer be slaves to our flesh; our human desires. That is only possible through the baptism of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

We are all sinners (disobedient of God’s Word), and have fallen short of the righteousness of God (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10). The penalty of sin is [eternal] death (Romans 6:23). God loves us and doesn’t want anyone to perish eternally (Romans 5:8; John 3:16-17). Jesus is God’s one and only provision for our forgiveness and salvation, designed into Creation from the very beginning (John 1:1-5, 14; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right).

The rulers of this world didn’t understand God’s plan (although the Jews had the Old Testament Scriptures), so they crucified Jesus (as God knew they would). As the result God’s plan was fulfilled; he triumphed over them and made a public example of them!

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Thursday – 9 Pentecost C

First posted July 29, 2010;

Podcast: Thursday 9 Pentecost C

Luke 11:1-13 – Teachings on Prayer;

Paraphrase:

Jesus had gone to a (quiet; isolated) place to pray, and when he was finished, his disciples asked him to teach them how to pray, like John the Baptizer had taught John’s disciples.

Jesus said, “When you pray, say, ‘Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation” (Luke 11:2-4).

Then Jesus asked them who wouldn’t go to a friend at midnight and ask for food to set before and unexpected guest. But his friend is in bed and doesn’t want to be bothered. Though the friend will not help because of friendship, he will help because his friend keeps bothering him until he does.

Jesus declared, “Ask, and it will be given you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). Jesus declared that everyone who asks will receive; whoever seeks will find, and to those who knock, it will be opened to them.

Jesus asked who would give a snake to a son who asks for fish; who would give a scorpion to his child who asks for an egg. We are sinners, but know to give good gifts to our children. “…how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him” (Luke 11:13b)!

Commentary:

The prayer that Jesus taught the disciples is known as The Lord’s Prayer but it really should be thought of as The Disciples’ Prayer. Our prayers do not have to be long and grand in language; just simple, sincere phrases suffice.

We need to learn to live one day at a time, and ask the Lord each day to supply the things we need for that day. We need to remember that we are sinners in need of forgiveness and to ask for forgiveness daily. In order to receive the Lord’s forgiveness, we must forgive everyone who sins against us, daily, as often as necessary. The Lord doesn’t lead us into temptation; we fall into temptation when we follow our own will. When we seek his leading daily, he will lead us so that we don’t fall into temptation.

God the Father is so much more willing to help us and give us good things if we ask (see Conditions for Answered Prayer, sidebar, right), than we are, even to our families and friends. The best gift that God can possibly give us is his indwelling Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9b). Through the indwelling Holy Spirit we have personal daily fellowship with God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

He wants us to have the Holy Spirit, but first he wants to make sure that we are committed to trusting and obeying the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Only Jesus baptizes with (gives the gift of) the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 1:31-34), only his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). Premature spiritual rebirth through the gift of the Holy Spirit would be disastrous (Hebrews 6:4-6).

Christians are by definition “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) disciples of Jesus Christ (Acts 11:26c). Discipleship is not optional; not a category only for “super-Christians.”

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Friday – 9 Pentecost C

First posted July 30, 2010;

Podcast: Friday 9 Pentecost C

1 Corinthians 10:6-13 – Exhortations;

Paraphrase:

The record of the Israelites’ debauchery in the wilderness is written as a warning to us, not to desire what is evil, as they did. We must not be idolaters, as they were; we must not indulge in immorality as some did: twenty-three thousand were destroyed in a single day because of immorality. We must not demand that the Lord prove himself, as some did, and were destroyed by poisonous snakes. We must not complain against the Lord, or face destruction, as some of them did.

These things happened to Israelites and are recorded in the Bible for our instruction, who are facing the end of time. Watch out! If you think you are secure, be careful that you do not stumble! We have not been tempted by anything too hard to resist. When we are tempted, we also receive the means of escape, so that we can prevail over the temptation.

Commentary:

God has been progressively revealing himself and his purpose for Creation, in Creation itself, then in the Bible, then in Jesus Christ, and ultimately in the “baptism” of the Holy Spirit which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). The meaning and purpose of life in this Creation is to seek find and have personal fellowship with our Creator (Acts 17:26-27), and this is only possible through Jesus Christ (John 14:6), by the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

God has always intended, from the very beginning of Creation to establish an eternal kingdom of his people who willingly trust and obey him. He has designed this world to allow for the possibility of sin (disobedience of God’s Word, so that we will have the freedom to choose whether to trust and obey God’s Word or not. But God is not going to tolerate rebellion and disobedience forever, or at all, in his eternal kingdom. So this Creation and we ourselves are limited by time.

When one can see the entire Bible as a whole, it’s coherent structure is awesome! God began revealing himself in the call of Abraham, in the founding of the people of Israel. Everything that God did with Israel, recorded in the Bible, is also intended to be a metaphor for life in this Creation.

We are all in bondage to sin and death in the “Egypt” of this present world order. Jesus is our “Moses” who leads us out of “Egypt,” through the “Sea” of baptism into Jesus Christ, who separates us from our spiritual enemies. Jesus is our “Moses” who leads us through the wilderness of this lifetime, with the baptism of the indwelling Holy Spirit, the “pillar of cloud and fire” (Exodus 13:21-22) to lead us. Jesus is our “Joshua” (Joshua or Jeshua is the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek: “Jesus,” the language of the New Testament), who leads us through the “River” of physical death, on dry ground, without getting our “feet wet” (i.e., without being affected), into the eternal “Promised Land of God’s kingdom restored to Paradise in heaven.

God deliberately intends that everything he did with the Israelites points to spiritual truth he is doing with us. God gave Moses the Word of God in the Old Covenant; he gave us the Word of the God in Jesus Christ, the “living Word,” (John 1:1-5, 14), in the New Covenant. Jesus is the “New Moses,” the mediator of the New Covenant of Grace through faith in Jesus. Jesus is the sacrificial “Lamb” of the “New Passover.” His flesh provides the sacrificial feast, and his blood provides the cleansing and salvation from sin. Jesus instituted the “New Passover” in the “Last Supper” on the eve of his crucifixion.

In this world we will have temptations to test our faith, but God will not allow us to be tempted beyond our power to resist. We must make the effort to resist. We must not immediately give in to temptation. We are to learn to resist temptation and this is only possible if we will make the effort to resist.

Before I was “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) I used to give in to temptation, because I thought that sooner or later I would. By resisting, I found that the Lord would reinforce my resistance and that surrender to temptation is not a foregone conclusion.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Saturday 9 Pentecost – C

First posted July 31, 2010;

Podcast: Saturday 9 Pentecost C

Luke 16:1-9 – The Dishonest Steward;

Paraphrase:

Jesus told his disciples a parable (a fictional tale of common worldly experience, to teach spiritual truth), about a dishonest steward. The steward of a rich man was accused of wasting his master’s goods. The rich man called the steward to give account, and the steward worried about how he could save his job. Otherwise he would not be able to earn a living.

He decided what to do to endear himself to his master’s debtors, so that when the steward lost his job he might receive aid from the debtors. He called his master’s debtors and reduced their debts on the record.

The master commended his steward for his prudence; the people of this generation are smarter (in worldly ways) than the children of light (righteousness). So we are advised to make friends by “unrighteous mammon” (material wealth), so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations” (Luke 16:9).

Commentary:

People seem to know instinctively what to do to save themselves from disaster in this material world. But they don’t seem to sense the spiritual disaster about to befall them, and the means to save themselves, spiritually. What the steward did was unrighteous, but it was to his advantage in this lifetime.

Why not do what is righteous in God’s judgment, and to our advantage to save us spiritually for eternal life? We cannot save ourselves, but we can accept the salvation which God has provided in Jesus Christ. Why not use the worldly instinct we’ve been given, for our spiritual benefit?

We can stave off disaster in this material world with material resources, for a time, but ultimately material resources will fail. Only what is spiritual will remain. We should use the time we have been given in the material world to develop our spiritual resources, so that they will be available when material resources fail.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Week of 8 Pentecost – C – 07/10 -16/2016

July 9, 2016

 

Week of 8 Pentecost – C

This is a Three-Year Lectionary based on the Lutheran Book of Worship 3-year Lectionary (for public worship), “Prayers of the Day…” (Propers), p. 13-41, Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, 1978. It is based, with only minor variations, on the Revised Common Lectionary, used by many denominations, including the Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches:

http://www.commontexts.org/

and:

http://www.commontexts.org/rcl/usage.html

The daily readings are the Propers (Lections) for the following Sunday, so that the daily devotions can prepare us for worship. Additional Lections are from Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church, “Scripture lessons for Matins and Vespers,” United Lutheran Church of America, General Rubrics VIII. Scripture lessons for Matins and Vespers, p. 299 – 304, Philadelphia, 1918.

The previous 2- year Bible Study based on the Lutheran Book of Worship, Daily Lectionary for personal devotions p.179-192, Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, 1978, is available at:

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/ (Please bookmark this link).

This ‘blog is mirrored at:

http://shepherdboy-mydailywalk.blogspot.com/

Shepherdboysmydailywalk’s Blog

.mp3 Podcasts via Linux Festival text-to-speech and Panopreter Basic text-to-speech are available at:

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/dw_bible2/a_year/Wklx_a.html

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/dw_bible2/b_year/wklx_b.html

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/dw_bible2/c_year/wklx_c.html

Please Note:

This ‘blog is now available in mobile-optimized format:

http://winksite.mobi/shepherdboy/MyDailyWalk

Free to distribute; for personal use, Bible Study Groups, and Adult Christian Education. Disk Image and/or .zip file to burn the complete Bible Study to CD are available at:

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/#Burn_Site_to_CD

To get the most from these studies, it is suggested that you first read the scripture texts for the entry, and then the paraphrase and commentary. It is also recommended that you look up the scripture references, unless you recognize and recall them from memory.

I will post weekly by Saturday, noon, (God willing), Pacific time (UTC-8:00) for the week of the Church Season which begins on Sunday. Please scroll down for the desired day, or save the week to your desktop/hard drive.

 

Podcast Download: Week of 8 Pentecost C

Sunday – 8 Pentecost – C

First Posted July 18, 2010;

Podcast: Sunday 8 Pentecost C

Deuteronomy 30:9-14 – Covenant Renewal;
Psalm 25:1-9 — Deliverance from Enemies;
Colossians 1:1-14 — Exhortations;
Luke 10:25-37 – The Good Samaritan;

Deuteronomy Background:

Deuteronomy is the renewal of the Covenant of Law, a rediscovery and reinterpretation of Exodus and the teachings of Moses in the light of later understanding.

Deuteronomy Paraphrase:

If God’s people will turn to the Lord with all their heart and soul, and trust and obey God’s Word (in Deuteronomy, and in the Bible as a whole), then God will prosper his people in their work, and in their possessions because he will again delight in them as he did in their forefathers.

The renewed Covenant is not too difficult or remote for God’s people to do. It is not far off in heaven, or across the ocean, that they would have to make great effort to hear and do it. The Word of God is near us, in our hearts and mouths, so that we can do it.

Psalm Paraphrase:

The psalmist (David, the great human shepherd-king of Israel, and forerunner of Christ), commends his soul (his existence; life) to the Lord, in whom he trusts entirely, and prays that the Lord will not allow him to be put to shame or to allow the psalmist’s enemies to have victory over him. May no one who waits for the Lord be put to shame; rather, let the wantonly treacherous be ashamed!

Help me to know your ways and teach me to live according to your precepts, Lord. Lead me to discover and learn your truths, for you are my God, my savior. I wait for you all day long.

Remember your mercy and steadfast love, Lord, for they have been your nature from of old. Don’t remember the sins (specific acts of disobedience; general sinful nature) and rebellion of my youth; instead, please remember me according to your steadfast love, for the sake of your goodness.

Because the Lord is good and upright, he teaches sinners how to live according to his way. The Lord leads and teaches the humble how to live according to his way; to live by what is right [according to his Word].

Colossians Paraphrase:

In his letter to the Christians of the Church at Colossae in Asia Minor (present-day Turkey), Paul greeted them as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God (rather than by appointment by men), and in the name of his protégé and fellow missionary, Timothy. He blessed them with the grace and peace which is only from God the Father.

Paul gave thanks to God for the Colossians because he had received reports of their faith in Jesus, and their love for all the saints (all who are consecrated to God; believers in Christ), because of their hope [in the Gospel; of eternal life] in heaven (by Epaphras; Colossians 1:7-8). They had heard this by the preaching of the truth, the Gospel, as they learned it from Epaphras (a Colossian convert sent by Paul to preach the Gospel to the Colossians), Paul’s fellow missionary, and minister of Christ in Paul’s behalf (since Paul was in prison for preaching the Gospel).

From the day of Epaphras’ report to Paul, Paul had never ceased praying for the Colossian Church, praying that it (and its members) be filled with the spiritual wisdom and understanding of the knowledge of God’s will, so that they could [individually and collectively] lead lives fully pleasing and worthy of the Lord, and bearing [spiritual] fruit in all sorts of good deeds, and thus increasing the [general] knowledge of God [among all people]. Paul prayed that the Colossian Christians would be strengthened by unlimited power, endurance and patience with joy, according to the Lord’s glorious might, with thanksgiving to God who has qualified us to share in the saints (believers in Christ) of light (Jesus is the light of righteousness; John 1:4-5; 3:19-21; 8:12; 2 Corinthians 6:14). Through Jesus we are delivered from the domination of darkness into the kingdom of light; in Jesus we have forgiveness of sin and redemption from slavery to sin and eternal death.

Luke Paraphrase:

A lawyer (scribe; teacher of the Law of Moses), attempted to test Jesus by asking what one must do to inherit eternal life. In reply, Jesus asked him what the Law said. The lawyer quoted Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18, that one must love God with all their being, and their neighbor just as they love themselves (a summary of The Ten Commandments). Jesus said that the lawyer had answered correctly and that if he did as he had said, he would have eternal life.

But the lawyer wanted to justify himself (make himself appear righteous), so he asked Jesus who the lawyer must consider his neighbor. In reply, Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan: A person was going from Jerusalem to Jericho, was assaulted by robbers, and left for dead. A priest and a Levite (lay-associate of the priest; representing the most righteous of the Jews) were passing by. They saw the victim and crossed the road to avoid coming into contact with him. But a Samaritan* (a person considered by Jews to be of corrupt race and religion; not a true Jew racially or religiously), when he saw the victim, had compassion on him, gave him first aid, and carried him to an inn (the equivalent of a modern emergency room), where he arranged for the victim’s care at the Samaritan’s expense.

Jesus asked the lawyer which of the three demonstrated that he was the neighbor of the victim. The lawyer supposed that it was the Samaritan, who had compassion for the victim, and Jesus told the lawyer to do likewise.

Commentary:

God’s Word contains both great promises and ominous warnings.
God’s Word is eternal, and is always fulfilled, over and over, as the conditions for its fulfillment are met. We will either receive the promises by trusting and obeying God’s Word, or we will receive the curses God’s warnings were intended to help us avoid.

In the record of God’s dealing with God’s people in the Bible, when the people trusted and obeyed God they were blessed, and when they disobeyed they suffered. In this passage, God promises that the people, who had forgotten and neglected God’s Word returned to obedient trust, God would bless and prosper them again, as he had their ancestors.

This Word applies to us, particularly in America, today. Do we think we are prospering and will continue to prosper without obedient trust in the Lord?

God promised a renewed Covenant that would not be impossible for them to fulfill. Deuteronomy is the renewal of the Old Covenant of Law, but which foreshadows the New Covenant (Testament) of Grace through faith in Jesus, initiated on the night of Jesus’ betrayal and arrest (Matthew 26:26-28).

The Old Covenant of Law was impossible for God’s people to keep all the time (James 2:10), and so continual sacrifices were necessary for the forgiveness of their sins (Hebrews 9:22). Jesus became the one and only sacrifice, once for all time and all people willing to receive it by faith, for the forgiveness of all our sins. If we believe (trust and obey) Jesus, all our sins are forgiven.

Jesus is the only one who “baptizes” with the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 1:31-34), only those who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). By the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit, the Word of God (in the Bible and in Jesus Christ, the living Word, the fulfillment, embodiment and example of God’s Word lived in this world in human flesh (John 1:1-5, 14) is in our hearts and on our lips (Acts 2:16-18; Joel 2:28-29).

Our ultimate enemies are spiritual: sin, eternal death, and Satan, who enslaves us in sin and death. Those who trust and obey Jesus Christ are freed from the slavery to Satan, sin and death. There is a Day of Judgment coming, when everyone will be accountable to the Lord for what they have done in this lifetime (John 5:28-29). Those who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior and have trusted and obeyed his teachings will receive eternal life in paradise restored in heaven with the Lord. Those who have rejected Jesus and have refused to trust and obey him will receive eternal destruction in hell with all evil (Matthew 25:31-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10).

In the Day of Judgment, everyone will bow and confess that Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11), but it will be too late to change our eternal destinies. In that day, many will be ashamed, even those who have professed to be “Christians” (Matthew 7:21-27).

The Lord wants to teach us the way to live the best possible life. That is only possible through his Word. But the Lord won’t force us to learn and live according to his ways.

The Lord cannot teach the proud and arrogant. Only those who are humble can be taught by him. Jesus declared that he came not to heal those who [think they] are well, but those who [realize that they] are sick (Matthew 9:12). Someone once said that there are only two kinds of people in the world: sinners who think they’re righteous, and the righteous who know that they are sinners.

Paul (Saul of Tarsus) is deliberately intended by God to be the prototype and example of a modern, post-resurrection, “born-again” disciple (student) and apostle (messenger; of the Gospel) of Jesus Christ, as all believers can become. Paul was called to apostleship by the Spirit of the risen Jesus (Acts 9:5). Paul was on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians, and Jesus convicted him of spiritual blindness (Acts 9:1-4, 8). Paul repented, accepted Jesus as Lord (Acts 9:5-9), was discipled by a “born-again” disciple, Ananias (Acts 9:10-17), and was “baptized” with the indwelling Holy Spirit (Acts 9:18). Then, guided by the Holy Spirit, he began proclaiming the Gospel (Acts 9:20-22).

Jesus commanded his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (the Holy Trinity) and teaching them to obey all that Jesus taught (The Great Commission: Matthew 28:19-20). Paul immediately began fulfilling that command.

Paul is the example of disciple-making that the Church and individual born-again believers are to follow. We are to wait within the Church, being discipled by born-again disciples, until we have been filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5, 8). It takes born-again disciples to make born-again disciples. If the unregenerate (un-born-again) knew what they were missing and how to get it, they wouldn’t be unregenerate. Then we are to proclaim the Gospel and make other born-again disciples.

Paul’s “discipling” of Timothy is one of numerous examples of the principles of disciple-making. Paul discipled Timothy until Timothy received the baptism of the indwelling Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 1:5-7), and then Paul told Timothy to repeat the process (2 Timothy 2:2).

Unfortunately, in too many instances in the nominal Church, the Church has settled for making members and building buildings, instead of making disciples. Mainline denominations are teaching the false doctrine of Salvation by Grace (which is true), without the requirement of discipleship (which is false; see False Doctrines, sidebar, right). Discipleship is not optional; not only for “super-Christians!” Christians are by definition, born-again disciples of Jesus Christ, the only authentic Christians there are (Acts 11:26c).

Paul’s apostleship was not by human appointment; Paul did not have to go to Church headquarters in Jerusalem to be licensed to be an apostle. Too often, the nominal Church today fails to make born-again disciples from whom to select born-again leaders, and then controls the leadership selection process, so that only those who will teach the denominational doctrines are licensed. The result is the self-replication of unregenerate leadership.

I think it is worth noting that in many instances the nominal Church today is in the same situation as Judaism at the time of Jesus’ first coming. Judaism in the first century had forgotten their obligation to be shepherds of God’s people, and were running the religion according to their own agenda and for their own benefit.

Since Paul was unable to come to the congregation himself, Paul had sent Epaphras, a fellow missionary, to found the Church at Colossae by the preaching of the Gospel, and was now discipling the congregation by letter from prison. Paul was teaching the principle of “Spiritual Growth.” Accepting Jesus as Lord is not the end of the process, but only the beginning.

Believers are given the indwelling Holy Spirit to lead them in discipleship through spiritual growth to Christian maturity. Only those who are committed to obedience to Jesus Christ are given the Holy Spirit. From then on the Holy Spirit will lead them, one day at a time, in spiritual growth, as newly born-again disciples read, meditate, and pray on God’s Word daily.

The first thing new believers need to do, before they are born-again, is to read the entire Bible. There are numerous one-year Bible reading plans available (see Free Bible Study Tools, sidebar, right). One should set aside a specific time each day to read the Bible with meditation and prayer (“daily devotions”).

Once one has read the Bible and been born-again, the Holy Spirit will be able to continue discipling the believer through daily devotions. Various denominations publish booklets for daily devotions, but beware that not all are doctrinally sound. This Bible study, My Daily Walk, is an example of daily devotional material which I believe is Biblically sound.

W. C. Fields, a celebrity comedian and notorious atheist is reported to have been seen reading a Bible. When asked why, he said that he was just looking for loopholes.** The lawyer in the text of the Good Samaritan was also “just looking for loopholes.”

The point of the parable of the Good Samaritan is that everyone is our neighbor, but the question is, to whom are we willing to be neighbor? The lawyer wanted to be regarded as righteous. The priest and the Levite in the parable would have been regarded by Jews as righteous, but they were more concerned for their own appearance of righteousness than for the physical needs of the victim. If the victim were dead, they would become ceremonial unclean for a period of time. The Samaritan was regarded as impure in both race and religion, and yet it was the Samaritan who fulfilled the second great commandment to love one’s neighbor as oneself (Matthew 22:35-40).

When we read God’s Word in the Bible, are we willing to hear truth and accept correction, or are we looking for rationalizations to excuse ourselves? When Jesus said that anyone who loves his family more than Jesus is unworthy of him (Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26), are we willing to honestly examine ourselves, and accept correction? Family (along with money, career, possessions, power, success, etc) is one of the modern idolatries. An idolatry is anyone or thing that one loves as much as, or more than, the Lord. When one has to choose between what family and what the Lord wants them to do, and chooses to satisfy family, one has committed the sin of idolatry.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?


*Samaritans were the disabled and poor remnant of the Northern Kingdom of the divided monarchy of Israel not deported by the Assyrians at the defeat and destruction of the Northern Kingdom in 721 B.C. Because of the Assyrian policy of pacifying conquered territories by exporting natives and importing aliens from other conquered territories, the people intermarried and co-mingled religions, resulting in the Samaritans.

**http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001211/bio (“Personal Quotes”  #6)


Monday – 8 Pentecost – C

First Posted July 19, 2010;

Podcast: Monday 8 Pentecost C

Psalm 15 – Admission to God’s Temple;

A psalm of David, the great human shepherd-king of Israel and forerunner and ancestor of Christ.

Paraphrase

Who can abide in your house, O Lord? Who can live on your holy hill?

Whoever does what is right, according to God’s Word, and is blameless in God’s judgment shall never be cast out. One shall not slander or do evil to another, nor reproach a neighbor. One shall not approve those who are impure, but shall honor those who fear (have the appropriate awe and respect for the power and authority of) the Lord. One shall not renege on (deny; revoke) his promise when it proves to be difficult or costly for him to fulfill. One shall not lend money at interest or accept bribes against those who are innocent.

Commentary:

The psalm refers to the Lord’s tent, the tabernacle (the portable temple used during the wilderness wandering; (Exodus 25:8-9; 29:42; Hebrews 8:5). By extension it refers to the temple on the temple mount in Jerusalem, and ultimately to the Lord’s house in heaven.

The answer to the question of who will dwell in the Lord’s House is that it is only those who trust and obey God’s Word revealed in the Bible and in Jesus Christ, the “living Word,” fulfilled, embodied, and exemplified in human flesh in this world (John 1:1-5, 14). The standards of righteousness listed in the psalm are true under both the Old Covenant (Testament) of Law and under the New Covenant of Grace through Faith (Matthew 26:26-29; Ephesians 2:8-9).

The differences between the two covenants is our motivation and ability to fulfill them. Fear of eternal condemnation was the motivation of the Old Covenant of Law, and it was impossible for God’s people to fulfill all the requirements of the law all the time (James 2:10; Galatians 2:16). Under the Old Covenant, animal sacrifices had to be offered continually for forgiveness of sin. The Old Covenant temple sacrificial system came to an end at the cross of Jesus Christ (Matthew 27:51). The motivation of the New Covenant is love for the Lord for what he has done for us as the one and only sacrifice acceptable to God, on the cross, once for all time and all people willing to receive it by faith in Jesus. By living in obedience to the indwelling Holy Spirit we are freed from the obligation and condemnation of the Law (Romans 8:1-13). We are enabled to fulfill the requirements of the law by the power of the Holy Spirit within us.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Tuesday – 8 Pentecost – C

First Posted July 20, 2010;

Podcast: Tuesday 8 Pentecost C

Genesis 18:1-10a (10b-14) – The Promise of a Son;

Paraphrase:

The Lord appeared to Abraham at the oaks of Mamre (slightly north of Hebron in Southern Israel; an ancient sacred place. Ancient worship took place under oak trees). Abraham was sitting in the doorway of his tent during the noontime siesta. He opened his eyes and three men were standing before him. When he saw them he ran to greet them and bowed before them, addressing them as Lord. He begged them not to pass him by. He offered water to wash their feet, a rest under the tree, and bread to refresh them, and then they would be free to go (the Middle Eastern standard of hospitality of the time). They accepted his offer, and so Abraham hastened to his tent and told his wife, Sarah, to make cakes of bread, and he went to his herd and selected a tender and good calf to be prepared by his servant. Then he presented the food, with curds and milk to the three visitors under the tree, where they ate. (Abraham prepared a more generous spread than he implied in his offer.)

Then they asked for Sarah, Abraham’s wife, by name. Abraham told them she was in his tent, and they told Abraham that the Lord would return in the spring and Sarah will have borne a son. Sarah was eavesdropping from inside the tent. Both Abraham and Sarah were beyond childbearing age, and so Sarah laughed, wondering how she and her husband could produce children after they had grown too old.

The Lord asked Abraham why Sarah had laughed and thought it impossible for her to have a child after she had passed the age of childbearing. He asked Abraham if there was anything too difficult for the Lord. The Lord said that he would return in the spring and that Sarah would have a son.

Commentary:

This is a little difficult to understand. The Lord apparently visited Abraham in three persons. I choose to see this as a foreshadowing of the Trinity: God in three persons (or expressions), Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; but I realize that my view is controversial. There is no doubt, however, that the Doctrine of the Trinity is Biblically accurate (for example: Matthew 28:19-20; John 14:8-11, 15-18, 23).

I am a “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) Christian, having been filled with the indwelling Holy Spirit. I have a personal relationship with God the Father, and God the Son (John 20:28) through the indwelling Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9). It is not necessary to understand how this can be, in order to believe it, anymore than it is necessary to understand from whence the wind comes or where it goes, as Jesus points out according to John 8:3.

God had promised to give Abraham a descendant, “the son of the promise,” through whom God’s promise to Abraham (Abram) would be fulfilled (Genesis 12:1-3; 15:2-4). Now both Sarah (Sarai) and Abraham were past childbearing age and the Lord promised that they would have the son of promise next year.

The son of God’s promise to Abraham foreshadows Jesus Christ, the Son of the promise of the Messiah (Christ). It was a long time before that promise was fulfilled, also. The account of Abraham’s offering of Isaac, the son of the promise, as a sacrifice is deliberately intended by God to foreshadow God’s own sacrifice of his Son of the promise, Jesus, on the cross.

God tested Abraham’s faith (obedient trust), but didn’t allow Abraham to complete his sacrifice. Instead, the Lord “provided himself the lamb for the sacrifice” (Genesis 22:8 RSV). God did provide an alternative, so that Isaac was not sacrificed (Genesis 22:1-14). And God literally fulfilled that promise in Jesus Christ. Jesus is fully God (Colossians 2:8-9; John 20:28; compare Acts 14:8-18), and Jesus is the Lamb of God (John 1:35-36), the perfect unblemished lamb of the New Passover, whose flesh provides the feast in Holy Communion (Eucharist; the Lord’s Supper), and whose blood marks the people of God to be “passed over” by the destroying angel (Matthew 26:26-28; compare Exodus 12:1-13). Jesus is the substitutionary sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins, so that we don’t have to die for them ourselves (see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right).

Sometimes it takes a long time for the Lord’s promises to be fulfilled. Waiting on the Lord is a discipline we need to learn. As we do, we will grow in faith as the fulfillment reveals God’s faithfulness and power to do what seems impossible to us.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Wednesday – 8 Pentecost – C

First Posted July 21, 2010;

Podcast: Wednesday 8 Pentecost C

Colossians 1:21-28 – Christian Maturity;

Paraphrase:

We were all once estranged and hostile to God, doing what was evil. But now [Jesus] has reconciled us in his body of flesh by his death, so that we are holy, blameless and irreproachable in his Day of Judgment, provided that we continue in faith (obedient trust), not wavering in faith, but stable and steadfast, in the hope created in the Gospel, of which Paul is a minister, which the Colossian believers heard, and which has been proclaimed to everyone on earth.

Paul is able to rejoice in his sufferings for the sake of believers, and he regards his sufferings as completing Christ’s afflictions on behalf of the Church. Paul became a minister of the Church by divine appointment given to him on behalf of believers, to make fully known God’s Word, the mystery hidden for ages but now revealed to his saints (believers in Christ; those consecrated to God’s service). God chose to make known to them the great riches available to the Gentiles by the glory of this mystery, which is the presence of Christ within us, the hope of [sharing in God’s] glory. “Him (Christ Jesus) we proclaim, warning every man [person] and teaching every man [person] in all wisdom, that we may present every man [person] mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28 RSV). Paul has been working to accomplish this with all the energy which the Lord inspires within him.

Commentary:

We are all sinners who have disobeyed God’s Word and fallen short of God’s standard of righteousness (Romans 3:23; in the Bible and in Jesus Christ, the “living Word,” fulfilled, embodied and exemplified in human flesh in this world (John 1:1-5, 14). The penalty for sin (disobedience of God’s Word) is [eternal] death (Romans 6:23).

We were estranged from God by sin, as Adam and Eve were ejected from God’s presence and eternal life in paradise in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-24). But Jesus became the one and only sacrifice acceptable to God for the forgiveness of our sins. Through his death on the cross, all who believe (trust and obey) Jesus are judged holy, blameless and irreproachable at the Day of Judgment, provided that we do not waver in faith and hope of the Gospel (see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right).

Most people have heard the Gospel of Jesus, but there are many who have not believed to the extent of applying Jesus’ teachings in their daily lives. Paul (Saul of Tarsus) became a minister of the Gospel by divine call. He was himself converted on the road to Damascus, where he intended to persecute Christians (Acts 9:1-22). Once Paul had been “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) by the “baptism” of the Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17), he was able to make fully known the mystery of God’s purpose, which had been unknown to mankind for ages.

God has been progressively revealing his plan for Creation from the very beginning, first through the goodness of Creation itself; then, through the history of God’s dealing with God’s People, Israel, recorded in the Bible, beginning with the call of Abraham (Abram; Genesis 12:1-4). Jesus is the ultimate revelation to the world, of God’s purpose, in human form. The “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit is the ultimate revelation of God and his purpose for Creation to believers individually and personally.

That ultimate revelation and empowerment by the indwelling Holy Spirit makes it possible for Paul, and for all born-again Christian disciples to proclaim and make fully known the mystery of the Gospel, and to teach every person to grow spiritually to Christian maturity at the day of Christ’s return.

It takes a born-again disciple to make born-again disciples. If the “unregenerate” (un-born-again) knew what they were missing and how to get it, they wouldn’t be unregenerate. Unfortunately, in too many instances, the nominal Church has failed to make “born-again” disciples and has settled for making “members” and building “buildings.” Since there is no pool of born-again disciples to select from, there are no born-again leaders in those nominal Churches.

Christians are by definition, disciples of Jesus Christ (Acts 11:26c) who have been born-again by the baptism of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The mission of the Church is to make born-again disciples of Jesus Christ, teaching them to obey all that Jesus teaches (Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5, 8).

Christian disciples are students of Jesus Christ. We first learn about Jesus through the Bible and the discipling of born-again Christians. Once we are born-again the process is not complete; it’s just beginning! From then on, we are discipled by the indwelling Holy Spirit, one day at a time, as we read, meditate and pray daily on God’s Word. During Jesus’ physical ministry on earth, his Twelve original disciples spent three years practically day and night with Jesus, but they weren’t ready to go into the world with the Gospel until they were “baptized” with the indwelling Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-13). We cannot expect ourselves to be ready in less time, can we? We cannot accomplish God’s mission in our own human strength (Zechariah 4:6); only by the guidance and empowerment of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Thursday – 8 Pentecost – C

First Posted July 22, 2010;

Podcast: Thursday 8 Pentecost C

Luke 10:38-42 – Mary and Martha;

Paraphrase:

Jesus entered a village (Bethany, just outside Jerusalem) and well-known women, Martha and her sister Mary, welcomed him into their home. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and listen to his teaching, but Martha was busy preparing and serving an elaborate meal. Frustrated, she asked Jesus if he didn’t care that Martha’s sister was not helping her. But Jesus told Martha that she was anxious and troubled by many things, whereas only one thing is necessary. “Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42b).

Commentary:

According to Middle Eastern hospitality at the time, a host needed only to provide one simple dish. Martha thought she was showing her love for the Lord and serving him by preparing a more elaborate meal, but it was actually Mary who was showing her love for the Lord and serving him by listening to his teaching.

Jesus corrected Martha gently out of love for her. It is unloving to let someone go uncorrected because we don’t want to risk hurting their feelings or making them angry.

We also need to be receptive to criticism so that we can change and grow to spiritual maturity. Proverbs 9:8 teaches us that wise people appreciate correction, but foolish people (scorners) hate it.

There is a lesson for all of us here. Sometimes we get caught up in “busyness,” even in church-related activities, but the most important thing we can do and the best way to show our love for the Lord and serve him is by listening to the Lord on a daily basis, and doing what he teaches (John 14:15).

It is important to set aside a specific time each day to read a portion scripture, meditate and pray on it, listening to what the Lord wants you to hear and learn. If one has not read the entire Bible yet, that is the place to start. There are various Bible-in-one-year reading plans (see Free Bible Study Tools, sidebar, right). Then one should continue the habit, using devotional booklets published by their denomination, or by online resources such as My Daily Walk (and see http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/ for additional lectionary and church year calendar resources).

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Friday – 8 Pentecost – C

First Posted July 23, 2010;

Podcast: Friday 8 Pentecost C

Romans 8:12-17 – The Spirit and Adoption;

Paraphrase:

Fellow believers, we are obligated to live not according to our fleshly desires, but in obedience to the indwelling Holy Spirit. If we live according to the flesh, we will die (eternally) in our flesh, but if we live according to the Spirit, we will live (eternally). It is those who are led by the Spirit who are sons (and daughters) of God. We have not received the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but rather the spirit of adoption as sons and daughters of God. The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirits that we are children of God, when we cry “Abba, Father” [Abba means “Father” in Aramaic; Jesus used it in his prayers, and it passed into the liturgy (formal worship ritual) of the first-century Church]. And if we know that we are God’s children, we can be sure that we are his heirs, and fellow heirs with Christ. But in order to be glorified with him we must be willing to also suffer with him.

Commentary:

Those who are in Christ [The “baptism,” (anointing, gift of) the indwelling Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16)], have been freed from slavery to sin and death, provided that they live in obedience to the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1-8). The Lord does not give the indwelling Holy Spirit to people who are not committed to obedient trust in him (John 14:15-17).

One is spiritually “reborn” by the baptism of the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 3:3, 5-8). It is a personally discernible ongoing event (Acts 19:2). It is the personal assurance that we are in Christ and have eternal life (see “seal and guarantee,” above). Through the indwelling Holy Spirit we have a personal relationship with the Lord: God the Father and Jesus Christ (John 14:23). When we worship or have personal devotions, the “touch” of the indwelling Holy Spirit assures us that we are children of God. So we can be sure that we have eternal life in God’s heavenly kingdom; paradise restored.

The Lord doesn’t want to enslave us by his indwelling Holy Spirit but to free us from slavery to sin, eternal death and Satan. The whole point of this Creation is to allow us the freedom to choose whether to trust and obey God, and the opportunity to learn by trial-and-error that God’s way is our best interest. God’s purpose has always been to establish an eternal kingdom of his people who willingly choose to trust and obey him.

The world hated and tried to destroy Jesus, but failed because that was not God’s will. His disciples can expect no better treatment from the world, but can rely on God to also bring us through whatever suffering we encounter for Jesus’ sake, to eternal life in glory with Jesus.

One can personally experience a taste of the glory of the Lord’s presence that is to come, but it is only a foretaste. It is not intended to satisfy us, nor can or should it. I have heard of people who experienced that foretaste, felt satisfied, and walked away.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Saturday – 8 Pentecost – C

First Posted July 24, 2010;

Podcast: Saturday 8 Pentecost C

Matthew 7:15-23 – False Prophets;

Paraphrase:

Beware of false prophets: they disguise themselves as sheep, but are really ravening wolves. They are distinguishable by their “fruit” (deeds). Thorns do not produce grapes, and thistles do not produce figs. Likewise sound plants produce good fruit, and bad plants produce evil fruit. Good plants cannot produce evil fruit and bad plants cannot produce good fruit. Every plant which does not produce good fruit will be cut down and burned, and by what they produce they will be judged.

It is not those who call Jesus, “Lord,” who will be saved but those who do (trust and obey) God’s Word (in the Bible and in Jesus, the “living Word;” John 1:1-5, 14) who will enter the kingdom of heaven. On the Day of Judgment, many will claim that they had prophesied, cast out demons, and done great miracles in Jesus name, and Jesus will tell them to depart, because he had never known them.

Commentary:

There were false prophets in the first-century Church and there are many in the Church and in the world today. The only way we can protect ourselves against false prophets and false teachings is to read and know the Bible. One doesn’t have to labor over the study of the Bible. Simply reading it entirely is sufficient, and there are numerous Bible-in-one-year reading plans available (see Free Bible Study Tools, sidebar, right). Without having read the entire Bible, one has no standard by which to judge good and evil “fruit.”

How can a person call Jesus “Lord” and not do what he says (Luke 6:46)? Do we understand our relationship to our Lord? Our relationship is voluntary on our behalf, now, but it is ultimately involuntary; in the Day of Judgment, Jesus will be Lord, whether we like it or not. In that Day, Jesus will command and we will have no choice but to obey (Philippians 2:10-11).

There are many “church members” who think they are doing the works of God. But they are unregenerate (not “born-again; John 3:3, 5-8). They have not been “baptized” with the indwelling Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a personally discernible, ongoing, daily event (Acts 19:2).

It is only by the baptism of the indwelling Holy Spirit that we have a daily personal relationship with Jesus. It is only by this baptism that we are personally known by Jesus. A person may think they are doing the Lord’s ministry, but unless they are born-again, they don’t know the Lord’s will, and the Lord doesn’t know them.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Week of 7 Pentecost – C – 07/03 – 09/2016

July 2, 2016

Week of 7 Pentecost – C

This is a Three-Year Lectionary based on the Lutheran Book of Worship 3-year Lectionary (for public worship), “Prayers of the Day…” (Propers), p. 13-41, Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, 1978. It is based, with only minor variations, on the Revised Common Lectionary, used by many denominations, including the Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches:

http://www.commontexts.org/

and:

http://www.commontexts.org/rcl/usage.html

The daily readings are the Propers (Lections) for the following Sunday, so that the daily devotions can prepare us for worship. Additional Lections are from Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church, “Scripture lessons for Matins and Vespers,” United Lutheran Church of America, General Rubrics VIII. Scripture lessons for Matins and Vespers, p. 299 – 304, Philadelphia, 1918.

The previous 2- year Bible Study based on the Lutheran Book of Worship, Daily Lectionary for personal devotions p.179-192, Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, 1978, is available at:

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/ (Please bookmark this link).

This ‘blog is mirrored at:

http://shepherdboy-mydailywalk.blogspot.com/

Shepherdboysmydailywalk’s Blog

.mp3 Podcasts via Linux Festival text-to-speech and Panopreter Basic text-to-speech are available at:

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/dw_bible2/a_year/Wklx_a.html

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/dw_bible2/b_year/wklx_b.html

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/dw_bible2/c_year/wklx_c.html

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Free to distribute; for personal use, Bible Study Groups, and Adult Christian Education. Disk Image and/or .zip file to burn the complete Bible Study to CD are available at:

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/#Burn_Site_to_CD

To get the most from these studies, it is suggested that you first read the scripture texts for the entry, and then the paraphrase and commentary. It is also recommended that you look up the scripture references, unless you recognize and recall them from memory.

I will post weekly by Saturday, noon, (God willing), Pacific time (UTC-8:00) for the week of the Church Season which begins on Sunday. Please scroll down for the desired day, or save the week to your desktop/hard drive.

 

Podcast Download: Week of 7 Pentecost – C 

Sunday 7 Pentecost – C 

First posted  July 11, 2010; 
Podcast: Sunday 7 Pentecost – C 

Isaiah 66:10-14 – Rejoice with Jerusalem;
Psalm 66:1-11, 14-18 – Hymn of Praise;
Galatians 6:1-10, 14-16 —   Exhortations;
Luke 10:1-12 (17-20) – Mission of the Seventy;

Isaiah Paraphrase:

Let all who love Jerusalem rejoice and be glad for her. Let those who mourn for her rejoice in great joy, that we may be suckled and nurtured in her bosom; that we may drink deeply from the abundance of her glory.

The Lord declares that he will give her prosperity like a great river and the wealth of nations will come to her like a flooding stream. She will suckle us, carry us upon our hip and fondle us on her knee. The Lord will comfort us in Jerusalem as a mother comforts her child.

Our eyes will see, our hearts rejoice; our bones will flourish like grass. All will know that the Lord’s hand is upon his servant and against his enemies.

Psalm Paraphrase:

Let all the earth make loud rejoicing to God; let them sing glory to his name and give him glorious praise! Tell the Lord that his deeds are awesome! His enemies cringe before his great power. All the earth will worship and sing praises to the Lord and to his name.

Look and see what the Lord has done; his deeds among people are awesome! “He turned the sea into dry land; men passed through the river on foot” (Psalm 66:5-6).

Then his people rejoiced in him who rules forever by his great power. His eye is upon the nations- let the rebellious not exalt themselves!

Let all people bless our God. Let his praise be heard; he has preserved our lives and has not let us stumble. The Lord allowed us to be snared by the net; he allowed us to experience affliction.

I will fulfill the promises I made when I was in trouble. I will offer sacrifices of rich things: fat rams, bulls and goats.

Let me declare what the Lord has done for me, all you who fear (have appropriate awe and respect for the power and authority of) God. I cried aloud and praised him with my voice. If I had cherished evil in my innermost self he would not have listened.

Galatians Paraphrase:

If a brethren is ensnared in temptation, those “born-again” mature Christians should restore him gently. We must be alert, remembering that we, too,  are vulnerable to temptation. We are to fulfill the law of Christ to love one another, and one way is to share one another’s burdens. We must not think that we are better than we are, or we will be just deceiving ourselves. We should examine our own deeds so that we will have a realistic idea of our own spiritual growth, not based on a comparison of others, because we will each be accountable for our own deeds.

Let those who are taught the Word be generous to their teachers.

Don’t deceive yourselves. God is not fooled; whatever a person sows, that is what he will reap. Those who sow to the flesh will reap fleshly corruption; those who sow to the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let’s not become tired of doing what is right, for we will reap in due time, if we don’t give up. So then, at every opportunity, let let us do good to all people, but especially to our Christian brethren.

Let us not seek glory in any thing other than the Cross of Jesus Christ. The world has been crucified to us and us to the world by the cross. Circumcision (keeping the Jewish religious laws) won’t save us; and not keeping them will not condemn us. What matters is  “rebirth; a new creation. Peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this rule, upon the Israel of God.

Luke Paraphrase:

Jesus was heading for Jerusalem where he knew he would be crucified. He appointed seventy of his followers to go two-by-two into all the villages along the way that Jesus would pass through. Jesus told them that the harvest was plentiful but there weren’t enough laborers. He told them to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send laborer into the harvest.

Jesus warned them that they would be going out like lambs into the midst of wolves. They were not to take money, or extra clothes or shoes. They were not to sidetracked from their mission by socializing with other travelers on the road. Whenever they entered a house they were to bid peace upon it, and if the household was peaceable, the peace would remain upon them. If not, the peace would return to the disciples.

They were not to go door-to-door but stay and accept the hospitality of whatever household welcomed them, because laborers deserve compensation for their labor. They were to eat whatever was provided, to heal the sick, and to proclaim that the kingdom of God has come near to them. When they enter a town that will not welcome them they are to shake the dust of that town from their feet in the street as they leave as testimony against that town, warning that the kingdom of God has come near. Such towns will fare worse in the Day of Judgment than Sodom (which was destroyed by God with fire from heaven; Genesis 19:24).

The Seventy returned rejoicing that even the demons had been subject to them in Jesus’ name. Jesus replied that he had seen Satan cast down from heaven to earth. Jesus has given his disciples authority over all serpents, scorpions, and the enemy. But the real reason to rejoice is that the disciples names are recorded in heaven.

Commentary:

The true Church is the New Jerusalem, and Christians are the New Israel, the New People of God. There are areas of the nominal Church which are not yet cleansed and purified. We mourn for those shortcomings, but can be assured that she will be restored without blemish at the Day of Jesus’ return.

The true Church is the heir to the wealth of nations. The Church is the only source of spiritual nurture, comfort and love. It is obvious to the spiritually discerning that the hand of the Lord is upon his servants and against our enemies, but is camouflaged by the mix of false churches and false teachings mixed among the Church.

There is a day coming when everyone will glorify the Lord and acknowledge his great deeds (Philippians 2:10-11). In that day it will be too late to change our eternal destinies (John 5:28-29). We will realize that he is great but we may not be allowed into his eternal presence in paradise. It would be so much better to learn of his great deeds now, so that we can accept him as our Lord and be spiritually “reborn” to eternal life.

The Bible is the record of God’s dealings with his people, Israel. The central act of salvation is the Exodus. This recorded historical event is deliberately intended by God to be a parable, a metaphor, for life in this world.

We are all in bondage to sin and death in the “Egypt” of this present world order. Jesus is the unblemished Passover lamb who provides the passover feast, whose blood marks us as God’s people to be passed over by the destroying angel. Jesus is the New Moses who leads us out of Egypt, separates us from our spiritual enemies through the water of baptism into Jesus Christ, and who leads us through the wilderness of this lifetime by the the Holy Spirit which is the spirit of fire and cloud (Exodus 13:21-22).

Jesus is the New Joshua (“Jesus” is the Greek equivalent of “Jesuhua;” the post-exilic form of “Joshua”). Jesus leads us through the Jordan River of physical death on dry ground; physical death doesn’t taint us) and into the eternal Promised Land of God’s eternal kingdom in heaven; Creation restored to perfect paradise.

God taught his people that there was no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood, leading up the the ultimate sacrifice, once for all time and all people who are willing to receive it by faith (obedient trust) in Jesus Christ. Jesus introduced a New Covenant on the night of his betrayal and arrest. There is now no other sacrifice acceptable to God for the forgiveness of sin but Jesus’ death on the cross. The sacrifice that God desires from us is the sacrifice of obedient trust in his Word.

Note that there are conditions to answered prayer. God is under no obligation to hear and answer our prayers if we are unwilling to hear, trust, and obey his Word in the Bible and in Jesus Christ (see Conditions for Answered Prayer, sidebar, right, home).

The Church is called to be spiritual teacher. We have been given God’s Word, the Bible as the textbook. Jesus taught and demonstrated the method of teaching: discipleship. We are to become “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) “disciples” of Jesus Christ by spending time with him in his word and being mentored by mature “born-again” Christian disciples. As new believers are discipled to spiritual rebirth by the baptism of the indwelling Holy Spirit, we are called to testify to what the Lord has done for us, and to go and make other born-again disciples and to teach them to repeat the process.

Paul (Saul of Tarsus) is deliberately intended by God to be the prototype and example of a “modern, post-resurrection, disciple (student) and apostle (messenger; of the Gospel)” of Jesus Christ. Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-9), being discipled by Ananias (Acts 9:10-18), his subsequent discipleship of Timothy (Acts 9:20-22, 2 Timothy 1:6-7) and teaching Timothy to repeat the process (2 Timothy 2:2), is the example the Church is to follow.

Has that been your experience? Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Monday 7 Pentecost – C 

First posted July 12, 2010;
Podcast: Monday 7 Pentecost – C 

Psalm 25:1-9 b — Deliverance from Enemies;

Paraphrase:

I lift up my soul to thee O Lord; I trust in thee, my God. May I never be ashamed; may my enemies never exult over me. May not any who wait for thee be ashamed; may the wantonly wicked be ashamed.

Teach me thy paths, O, Lord and help me to know thy ways. You are my God and my salvation; Lead me into thy truth and teach me; I wait upon thee all the day long.

In your mercy remember me, and your steadfast love for me, for they have been eternal. Don’t remember the sins and transgressions of my youth; but in your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord.

Commentary:

This lifetime has intentionally been created to be our opportunity to seek, find, and have fellowship with God our Creator. This Creation is intended to be our opportunity to learn to trust and obey God’s Word.

God has revealed his purpose for Creation in his Word, the Bible, and in Jesus Christ, the “living Word,” the Word of God fulfilled, embodied, and exemplified in Jesus Christ (John 1:1-5. 14). His intention has always been to establish an eternal kingdom of his people who willingly trust and obey God’s Word.

God has given us his Word in the Bible and in Jesus Christ. He wants us to learn his ways and walk in his paths. This lifetime is our opportunity to learn to follow the teaching and example of Jesus Christ and to become spiritually “born-again (John 3:3. 5-8) sons and daughters of God by the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17).

The Lord wants us to trust the promises of his Word, so that he can fulfill them and show us that his promises are faithful and true. This is the way that we grow to spiritual maturity.

The Lord is abundantly willing and able to forgive and forget the sins of our youth and our not-so-youthful sins, if we are willing to trust and obey Jesus.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Tuesday 7 Pentecost – C 

First posted July 13, 2010;
Podcast: Tuesday 7 Pentecost – C

Deuteronomy 30:9-14 – Covenant Renewal;

Background:

Deuteronomy means “second law,” the renewal of the Covenant of Law. The Covenant of the Book of Exodus was reinterpreted in contemporary terms.

Text Paraphrase:

God’s promise is that he will prosper us in the yield of our bodies and the yield of our possessions and our land as he prospered our fathers, if we will trust and obey the Word of the Lord our God, which is recorded in the Bible, and demonstrated in Jesus Christ; if we will turn to obedient trust in the Lord with all our hearts and souls.

The Commandment of the Lord which he gives today is not too difficult or too far off for us to do. We don’t have to ascend into heaven to bring it down, nor beyond the sea, that we must send someone to fetch it. The Word is very near to us; it is on our lips and in our hearts, so that we can do it.

Commentary:

Jesus is the New Covenant, the Covenant of Grace (unmerited favor; a free gift) which is in our hearts and on our lips. Jesus gave us the Commandment of Love (Matthew 22:36-40) to replace the Commandment of sin (disobedience of God’s Word) and [eternal] death.

The Old Testament is the record of God’s dealing with Israel. As God’s people trusted and obeyed God’s Word, God prospered them with children, possessions and inheritance in the Promised Land. God promises to do the same things for us.

The Israelites were unable to keep all of the Law of Moses, all of the time, so had to offer continual sacrifices for the forgiveness of sin (disobedience of God’s Word). Jesus, on the night of his betrayal and arrest, introduced the New Covenant of Grace (unmerited favor) to be received by faith. Jesus became the one and only sacrifice acceptable to God for all time and all people willing to receive it, for the forgiveness of sin.

Jesus made it possible for us to be cleansed from sin so that we could individually be temples of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit within us is the Word of God written on our hearts and on our lips. The Holy Spirit makes it possible for us to fulfill the requirements of God’s Commandments (Romans 8:1-13), provided that we live in obedience to the Holy Spirit.

Only Jesus gives the gift (“baptism”) of the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). The Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16). It is possible to know with certainty for oneself if one has been spiritually “reborn” (John 3:3, 5-8; Acts 19:2).

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Wednesday 7 Pentecost – C 

First posted July 14, 2010;
Podcast: Wednesday 7 Pentecost – C

Colossians 1:1-14 – Exhortations;

Paraphrase:

Paul was an apostle of Jesus Christ by God’s will. Timothy was Paul’s protege, whom Paul had discipled, and who became a pastor and fellow missionary with Paul. Paul greeted the Church at Colossea in Asia Minor (present-day Turkey), which had been founded by the preaching of Epaphras, a Colossian whom Paul had sent there with the Gospel message.

Paul greeted the congregation with the grace (unmerited favor) and peace of God. Paul rejoiced and gave thanks to God for the faith of the Colossians in Jesus Christ and their love of the Saints (all who are dedicated to God’s service), because of the hope of eternal life in heaven that is theirs through the Gospel. That Gospel had been growing and bearing fruit in them as it had in the whole world (throughout the Roman Empire). Epaphras, a fellow Colossian, had been sent by Paul to first proclaim that Gospel to them, and had reported to Paul their love which they had through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Since then, Paul and his fellow missionaries had continually prayed for the Colossian Church, that they would be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, and with all spiritual knowledge and understanding, so that they could lead lives that would glorify and please God in every respect, and that they would bear fruit in good works, and grow in the knowledge of God.

Paul’s prayer for them was that they would grow in strength, and endurance, with patience and joy through God’s power within them, giving thanks to God the father for qualifying them to share in the inheritance of the saints in [the kingdom of] light [of righteousness], since he has transferred us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of his Son, through whom we are redeemed by the forgiveness of sin (disobedience of God’s Word).

Commentary:

Paul (Saul of Tarsus) was an apostle equal to the original Eleven remaining apostles designated by Jesus during his physical ministry. Paul was deliberately intended by God to be the prototype and example of a modern, post-resurrection, “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) disciple (student) and apostle (messenger; of the Gospel) of Jesus Christ, as each of us can and should be.

Paul was converted on the road to Damascus by the conviction of the risen and ascended Jesus, was discipled by a “born-again” disciple, Ananias, until Paul was “born-again.” Then he began proclaiming the Gospel and making disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 9:1-22), in fulfillment of the Great Commission which Jesus gave to his disciples (Matthew 28:19-20) to be carried out after they had been “born-again” (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5, 8).

Timothy is an example of Paul’s disciple-making ministry. Paul discipled Timothy until Timothy was “born-again” (2 Timothy 1:6-7) and then taught Timothy to repeat the process (2 Timothy 2:2). Epaphras was a Colossian disciple whom Paul had probably “discipled” and then sent to establish a Church in Colossae.

Paul discipled Epaphras, and then Epaphras discipled the Colossian Christians. Paul prayed and Epaphras worked to lead the Colossian believers to grow spiritually in the knowledge of God’s will, and in the personal knowledge and understanding of God, so that they could learn to please and glorify God, by good works.

Christian discipleship is a spiritual growth process toward Christian maturity at the Day of Christ’s return. We need to learn to discern God’s will for us personally, and this is only possible through daily Bible reading with prayer and meditation, As we begin to seek God’s personal will for us, with the commitment to doing it, he will reveal it, one day at a time.

As we begin to trust and obey him he will show us that his will is our best interest and is absolutely trustworthy and true. This is how we grow in faith in his will to spiritual maturity

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Thursday 7 Pentecost – C 

First posted July 15, 2010;
Podcast: Thursday 7 Pentecost – C 

Luke 10:25-37 – The Good Samaritan;

Paraphrase:

A lawyer asked Jesus what one must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus asked him what the law said, and the lawyer replied that one must love the Lord with heart, mind, soul and strength; and his neighbor as himself. Jesus told him that he had answered correctly and that by doing what the law commanded he would live eternally.

But the lawyer wanted to justify himself, so he asked who he was to regard as his neighbor. Jesus replied with the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Jesus said that a man was going from Jerusalem to Jericho and was attacked and robbed, and left for dead. A priest passed by and saw and avoided the man, and so likewise a Levite (assistant to the priest). But a Samaritan (a person of mixed race and religion; not a true Jew in either race or religion) saw and attended to the injured person. He gave him first aid and took him to an inn on the Samaritan’s own animal, where he arranged for him to be cared for at the Samaritan’s expense.

Then Jesus asked the lawyer which of these people proved to be the neighbor of the victim. The lawyer supposed it was the one who had shown the victim mercy. Then Jesus told him to go and do likewise.

Commentary:

The lawyer (scribe; teacher of the Law of Moses) knew what the Law said. His question was how to apply it. The issue was who is one’s neighbor. Everyone we come in contact with is our “neighbor.” The issue is whom we will choose to regard and treat as our neighbor.

The lawyer was trying to justify himself (to make himself appear to be guiltless), while avoiding fulfilling the law. He wanted to fulfill the law, but only in certain circumstances which he defined.

The priest and the Levite were officially commissioned by God to care for God’s people. They were God’s representatives to do God’s will, but chose to serve their own will rather than God’s. In contrast, the Samaritan was regarded as corrupt genetically and spiritually, and yet the Samaritan fulfilled God’s law, and the “men of God” did not.

Jesus taught in parables: fictional stories of common earthly experiences used to teach spiritual truths. The parable illustrated the spiritual reality of Judaism at the time of Jesus’ physical coming, and it is also true of the Church and Christianity today. The Jewish leaders were to be “shepherds” of God’s people on God’s behalf, but were using their position for their own benefit. They enjoyed their status in the community without fulfilling the obligations of their office.

In too many instances today the nominal Church is in the same position. Ministry is a career choice. Leaders are enjoying the benefits of their office without fulfilling their responsibility to make disciples of Jesus Christ. They have settled for making church members and building church buildings.

Disciple-making requires effort on the part of both “discipler” and disciple. Discipling requires concern for the condition of the discipleship candidate and personal cost for his care. And often the candidate would prefer an easier alternative. I personally have experienced individuals who had to be continually encouraged to finish reading the Bible, and to read it daily. I have personally encountered individuals who would rather speculate on “End Times” (Matthew 24:3-44; compare Acts 1:6-7; 1 Timothy 1:4-7; 2 Timothy 4:3-4) than to learn the discipline of obedience to God’s Word.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Friday 7 Pentecost – C 

First posted July 16, 2010;
Podcast: Friday 7 Pentecost – C

Romans 6:19-23 – Two Slaveries;

Paraphrase:

Paul used earthly analogies to teach spiritual truths, because we find it hard to understand what is spiritual, since we have not previously experienced it in this life. We were once slaves of sin, and yielded ourselves to more and greater sins, but now we should consider ourselves slaves of righteousness for the goal of sanctification, which is the process of becoming entirely devoted and consecrated to God.

When we were slaves of sin we were  free of obligation to righteousness, but now we are ashamed of the sins we committed, and realize that the end result of sin is [eternal] death. Now we have been set free from slavery to sin and have become slaves of God, but in return, we receive sanctification which yields eternal life. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Commentary:

Paul was following the example of Jesus, who taught in parables, which are common earthly experiences used to teach spiritual truth. We tend to think that the physical world in which we live is real and substantial, whereas the spiritual world seems the opposite, but this physical world will pass away and only what is spiritual will remain.

Jesus taught that we will serve one of two masters: we will either serve God, or we will serve Mammon, “the god of riches,” the present ruler of this world, who is Satan (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13). Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, offering him  all the riches of the world if Jesus would worship Satan (Matthew 4:8-9), and Jesus resisted the temptation by quoting Deuteronomy 6:13: that we are to worship the Lord our God and serve him only (Matthew 4:10).

We are all sinners who fall short of God’s standard of righteousness (doing what is good, right and true, according to God’s Word, the Bible; Romans 3:23). The penalty for sin is eternal death (Romans 6:23). Jesus died on the cross as the one and only sacrifice acceptable to God for the forgiveness of our sin (Romans 5:8; John 3:16-17), so that we wouldn’t have to die for them ourselves. Jesus ransomed us from slavery to sin, so that we could choose to serve God in gratitude for his sacrificial love for us (see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home).

Jesus asked what good it would be to own all the material riches in the world, but lose one’s eternal soul (eternal life; Matthew 16:26)? All these material things will ultimately pass away, but we are eternal beings. We will all either spend eternity with the Lord in paradise restored in heaven, or we will spend eternity in Hell, which is the total absence of God and every good and necessary thing.

We are all born into this world physically alive but spiritually “unborn.” This lifetime is our only opportunity to be spiritually “reborn” to eternal life (John 3:3, 5-8). Spiritual “rebirth” is by the baptism of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17).

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Saturday 7 Pentecost – C 

First posted July 17, 2010;
Podcast: Saturday 7 Pentecost – C

Mark 8:1-9 – Feeding Four Thousand;

Paraphrase:

During Jesus’ Galilean ministry, great crowds came to Jesus in the wilderness to hear him teach. They had apparently consumed whatever food they had brought with them and were hungry, having spent three days listening to Jesus teach.

Jesus called his disciples to him and told them that he was concerned for the people, who might not have the strength to return to their homes without being fed. Jesus’ disciples asked him how they could feed this large crowd in the wilderness. Jesus asked them what food they had and they told him they had seven loaves of bread and a few fish. Jesus took loaves and fish and having blessed them and given thanks to God, he broke them up and told his disciples to distribute the pieces to the people.

The people ate as much as they wanted, and the disciples collected seven baskets full of leftover pieces. About four thousand people had been fed.

Commentary:

Jesus cares about the physical needs of people as well as their spiritual needs, and taught his disciples to do likewise. James taught that it is not sufficient to pray and believe that God will clothe the naked and feed the hungry, without providing what physical resources they can (James 2:15-16; compare 1 John 3:17).

In America in recent years, government has cut back on welfare programs, and in some cases has tried to shift responsibility for poverty assistance to the Church. Neither the Church nor the poor are the cause of poverty; it is the disproportionate distribution of resources, caused by business and economic activity, and the failure of government to regulate those activities, as witnessed in the recent “economic meltdown.” The Church needs to hold the government accountable for regulation of the economy and for welfare assistance.

In an Associated Press report on June 26, 2009, the California Budget Project said that the gap between the middle class and the wealthiest one percent of Californians is growing, and that it is part of a long-term pattern.* This is not just a California phenomenon; it is nation-wide.

In too many instances nominal Churches and church members are anti-welfare. I have personally experienced congregations who don’t want to know and hear about poverty. Their attitude about Social Ministry (concern for the physical needs of people) is that it should be an “inreach” to benefit church members, and that evangelism should be the “outreach.” That very attitude indicates that there needs to be more evangelism within the nominal Church.

Jesus used miracles of physical healing, feeding and resurrection to show that he is also able to heal, feed and resurrect spiritually. For the same reason, he taught in parables, which are common earthly experiences used to teach spiritual truths. The Church is to carry on that ministry. We are physical people in a physical world. Material things seem so much more substantial and real that spiritual things, but God declares that the physical world is passing away, and that only what is spiritual will remain (Matthew 5:18; 2 Corinthians 4:18; 1 John 2:17; Revelation 21:1).

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?


*Income Gap Widens….

http://www.cbp.org/pdfs/2009/090906_labor_day.pdf

p.11-13 (thumbnails 13-15).

2012 update:

http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/i/income/income_inequality/index.html

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-09-12/u-dot-s-dot-poverty-rate-stays-at-almost-two-decade-high-income-falls

Video Showing the Huge Gap Between Super Rich and Everyone Else

2016 update:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_inequality_in_the_United_States 

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/economic-inequality-it-s-far-worse-than-you-think/

http://inequality.org/income-inequality/


 


Week of 6 Pentecost – C -6/26 – 07/02/2016

June 25, 2016

Week of 6 Pentecost – C

This is a Three-Year Lectionary based on the Lutheran Book of Worship 3-year Lectionary (for public worship), “Prayers of the Day…” (Propers), p. 13-41, Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, 1978. It is based, with only minor variations, on the Revised Common Lectionary, used by many denominations, including the Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches:

http://www.commontexts.org/

and:

http://www.commontexts.org/rcl/usage.html

The daily readings are the Propers (Lections) for the following Sunday, so that the daily devotions can prepare us for worship. Additional Lections are from Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church, “Scripture lessons for Matins and Vespers,” United Lutheran Church of America, General Rubrics VIII. Scripture lessons for Matins and Vespers, p. 299 – 304, Philadelphia, 1918.

The previous 2- year Bible Study based on the Lutheran Book of Worship, Daily Lectionary for personal devotions p.179-192, Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, 1978, is available at:

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/ (Please bookmark this link).

This ‘blog is mirrored at:

http://shepherdboy-mydailywalk.blogspot.com/

Shepherdboysmydailywalk’s Blog

.mp3 Podcasts via Linux Festival text-to-speech and Panopreter Basic text-to-speech are available at:

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/dw_bible2/a_year/Wklx_a.html

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/dw_bible2/b_year/wklx_b.html

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/dw_bible2/c_year/wklx_c.html

Please Note:

This ‘blog is now available in mobile-optimized format:

http://winksite.mobi/shepherdboy/MyDailyWalk

Free to distribute; for personal use, Bible Study Groups, and Adult Christian Education. Disk Image and/or .zip file to burn the complete Bible Study to CD are available at:

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/#Burn_Site_to_CD

To get the most from these studies, it is suggested that you first read the scripture texts for the entry, and then the paraphrase and commentary. It is also recommended that you look up the scripture references, unless you recognize and recall them from memory.

I will post weekly by Saturday, noon, (God willing), Pacific time (UTC-8:00) for the week of the Church Season which begins on Sunday. Please scroll down for the desired day, or save the week to your desktop/hard drive.

 

Podcast Download: Week of 6 Pentecost – C

Sunday 6 Pentecost – C

First posted July 4, 2010
Podcast: Sunday 6 Pentecost – C

1 Kings 19:14-21 – Elisha’s Call;
Psalm 16 – Refuge in the Lord;
Galatians 5:1, 13-25 – Christian Freedom;
Luke 9:51-62 – Costs of Discipleship;

Theme: The Call to Discipleship;

1 Kings Background:

Elijah had fled to Mt. Horeb (Mt. Sinai), because Jezebel, the pagan queen of the Northern Kingdom of Israel sought to kill him (1 Kings 19:1-3). God asked Elijah what he was doing there (1 Kings 19:13b).

Text Paraphrase:

Elijah said that he was very [zealous] for the Lord; and the people of Israel had broken down the altars to the Lord and killed the prophets of the Lord. Elijah thought he was the only one left still faithful to the Lord, and they were trying to kill him.

The Lord told Elijah to return to the Syrian desert (“wilderness of Damascus;” in the far north of Israel, and there he was to anoint Hazael to be king of Syria, and Jehu to be king of Israel. Elijah was to anoint Elisha to be Elijah’s replacement as prophet of the Lord. Those apostates (unfaithful) who escape death by Hazael will be killed by Jehu, and Elisha shall slay the rest. But seven thousand people in the Northern Kingdom who have not turned from faith in the Lord will remain.

So Elijah left Mt. Horeb and found Elisha plowing a field with a yoke of twelve oxen, and as Elijah passed by he placed his mantle on Elisha. Elisha left the plowing and ran after Elijah, and asked for time to say goodbye to his parents and then he would follow Elijah. Elijah told him to go and then come back, because he had done something very significant to Elisha.

Elisha went and killed the oxen and used the wooden yokes to cook their flesh for a feast of the people. Then he got up and returned and served Elijah.

Psalm Paraphrase:

The psalmist (attribution to David, the great human shepherd-king of Israel) says that he takes refuge in the Lord and asks God to preserve him. The psalmist realizes that there is no good apart from the Lord and has accepted him as his personal Lord. He delights in the saints (those consecrated to the Lord’s service) in the land; they are noble. Those who choose another “god” are just multiplying their griefs. The psalmist refuses to offer blood sacrifices to them or even speak their names.

The psalmist acknowledges that he has chosen to trust in the Lord and that his destiny is in the hand of the Lord. He testifies that, as a result, he has experienced good and that he is confident that he will continue to experience good  in the future.

The psalmist is grateful that the Lord has given him guidance. He has been taught during his sleep. The Lord is always his first priority, so he won’t come to disaster.

Therefore he can rejoice and feel secure. The Lord won’t abandon him to Sheol (death and the grave), “nor let thy godly one see the pit” (death; grave; Psalm 16:10b).

The Lord reveals the path to true, eternal, life. The psalmist has experienced the joy of the Lord’s presence, and is sure that in his right hand (Jesus) are eternal pleasures.

Galatians Paraphrase:

Christ has set us free from slavery to sin and death, so that we can be free to serve the Lord. So we should firmly resist any attempt to re-enslave us.

We have been invited to receive freedom, but not to use that freedom for physical indulgence. Instead we are to use it to serve one another in love. The entire law (of Moses; the Old Testament) can be summed up in the command to love our neighbor just the same as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40). Beware that if we “bite and devour” one another we will also be “consumed” by them.

Our obligation is to live according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and not yield to the temptations of our physical nature. The Holy Spirit is given to resist the temptations of our flesh, to prevent us from indulging ourselves physically.

Those who are led by the Spirit are not accountable to the law. The deeds motivated by flesh are: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, factionalism, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and so forth. Be aware that those who persist in doing such things are not going to inherit eternal life in God’s kingdom.

But the fruit of the Holy Spirit yields love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. No law is necessary to restrain such conduct.

Those who have committed to Jesus Christ, have crucified their physical nature of passion and desire. If we have been born to eternal life by the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit, we must live according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Let us not have self-conceit, and no taunting or envy of one another.

Luke Paraphrase:

Jesus knew that he was going to go to Jerusalem where he would be crucified and then would be raised from the dead to eternal life on the third day, and he told this to his disciples at least three times (Matthew 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19).

When the time had come, Jesus headed for Jerusalem with his disciples, and he sent messengers ahead to prepare food and lodgings in a village of Samaria, but the Samaritans refused to receive him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When James and John, two of Jesus’ closest disciples heard this, they asked Jesus if they should call down fire from heaven to destroy the village (as Sodom and Gomorrah had been: Genesis 19:24). But Jesus told them that they had been called to save, not destroy, the (spiritually, eternally) “Lost.” And they went on to another village.

On their way to Jerusalem a man declared that he was willing to follow Jesus, but Jesus told the man that the “Son of man” (Jesus; the Son of God) had no place on earth to call home. Jesus invited another person to follow him, but that person wanted to return and bury his father first. Jesus told him to let the (spiritually) “dead” to bury their dead; instead this person should go and proclaim the kingdom of God.

Another declared that he would follow Jesus, but wanted to return home and say goodbye to his family first. Jesus replied that anyone who sets his hand to the plow and then looks back is unworthy of the kingdom of God.

Commentary:

Elijah thought he was the only faithful servant of the Lord left in the land, but the Lord knew who were his faithful servants, and there were more than Elijah thought. In times like the present, it can sometimes seem that there are no other faithful Christian disciples left and we are all alone. But God knows who his faithful servants are.

Elijah was understandably fearful for his life, but when God said to return to the territory ruled by Jezebel, the wicked Queen, he trusted and obeyed God’s Word. He fulfilled the third injunction to “anoint” Elisha to succeed him as prophet of God. It was Elisha who fulfilled the first two.

From the beginning of God’s dealing with Israel, he was teaching them that God’s prophets, priests and kings were to be designated by “anointing” (with olive oil). When his servants anointed God’s designated, in obedience to God’s Word, with olive oil, God anointed the chosen with the Holy Spirit. David is a prime example (1 Samuel 16:13).

In this instance, Elijah’s mantle (cloak) is the symbol of his office. With his cloak, Elijah parted the waters of the Jordan River. When the mantle passed to Elisha, Elisha was able to part the Jordan also (2 Kings 2:8).

God also taught the Israelites that no cleansing can occur without blood sacrifice, and that the sacrifice took place in the context of a feast. Elisha sacrificed twelve yoke of oxen and prepared a feast for the people.

Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice, once for all time and all people willing to receive it by faith (obedient trust), and the Lord’s Supper (Holy Communion; Eucharist), the New Passover, which Jesus established on the night of his betrayal and arrest, is the feast. The Lord’s Supper is a spiritual feast. Jesus is the perfect unblemished Lamb of Passover, sacrificed for the forgiveness of our sin on the cross. His blood, received by faith, marks us as God’s people to be “passed over” by the destroying angel (Spirit; Exodus 12:1-13). His flesh provides the feast; he is the “bread of [eternal] life” (John 6:35, 48). The wine of Communion is the blood of Jesus, which marks us as God’s children). The anointing of the Holy Spirit is the “living” water of eternal life (John 7:37-39).

As long as we think we can take care of ourselves the Lord will let us try; but ultimately we will fail, perhaps when it is too late to be saved. Blessed are those who realize their need for a Savior and Lord. When we commit ourselves to trust and obey the Lord we become his “Saints.” Those who chose other “gods,” like money, power, career, success, family, or pleasure will discover, perhaps too late that they have multiplied grief.

Pagans offer blood sacrifices to idols, but idols are not gods; they are the creation of mankind’s imagination. They can do nothing. They are counterfeits; the true God is the only sovereign God. He alone hears and and answers prayer, only for his trusting and obedient people (see Conditions for Answered Prayer, sidebar, top right, home).

When we commit to trust and obey the Lord we will experience his faithful love and his power to answer prayer. Because we have experienced his faithfulness and power in the past we can be confident that we will continue to experience it in the future. This is the example of discipleship. The Lord wants us to trust and obey his Word so that we can experience his faithfulness and power to fulfill his Word.

Studying discipleship isn’t hard work. We can learn by the Holy Spirit even while we are sleeping!

Jesus is the Holy one of God whom God did not abandon to the grave after his crucifixion. God raised Jesus from physical death to eternal life. Jesus’ resurrection is the demonstration of existence after physical death, and is attested to by over five hundred eye-witnesses, and every truly “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) Christian disciple since Paul (Saul of Tarsus). God didn’t abandon Jesus to the grave, and he won’t abandon us either, if we trust and obey him.

God has revealed the path to eternal life in Jesus Christ. When we trust and obey Jesus we will experience the joy of the Lord’s presence, now in this lifetime, and can be certain that we will experience it eternally in God’s heavenly kingdom after physical death.

We are all sinners (disobedient of God’s Word) and have fallen short of God’s Word, recorded in the Bible and exemplified in Jesus Christ. Those who sin are enslaved by sin (John 8:34). Jesus sets us free from sin and eternal death, so that we can be free to serve the Lord.

We must not use that freedom to indulge ourselves, but use it to love and serve others in Jesus’ name for the sake of the Gospel of forgiveness and salvation from eternal destruction. We are freed from the restrictions of the Law of Moses, provided that we live according to the guidance and empowerment of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1-13).

The Lord tests us to see if we are committed to trusting and obeying Jesus before baptizing us with the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 14:15-17). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ within us (Romans 8:9) Premature spiritual rebirth would be a spiritual disaster for us (Hebrews 6:4-6).

Jesus was heading to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, where he knew he would be crucified. The Samaritans were unwilling to receive him because they believed that Mt. Gerizim was the proper place to worship God (John 4:20-21). Sanballat had built a temple for the Samaritans on Mt. Gerizim and had established a priesthood rivaling Jerusalem.

Samaritans were of mixed race and religion. A remnant of the Northern Kingdom, Israel, of the Divided Monarchy, were not deported by the Assyrians when the Assyrians destroyed the Northern Kingdom in 721 B.C., at the fall of Samaria. The Assyrian policy of subduing conquered lands by deporting the people to other conquered lands resulted in mixed marriage among the remnant and aliens.

But some Samaritans were more receptive to Jesus than the Jews. Where Samaritans were willing to receive him, their faith was rewarded with salvation (John 4:39-42). Jesus came not to destroy but to seek and save the spiritually “Lost” (compare John 3:16-17).

Jesus taught his disciples to shake off the dust of their feet as testimony against those who would not receive them, and to go on to the next village (Matthew 10:14-15). The disciples won’t have to call down fire to destroy them like Sodom and Gomorrah. God will do that in the day of judgment, but will meanwhile give them plenty of time to repent and come to salvation.

Jesus’ disciples can expect the Gospel message to be rejected by some. We’re not to waste our time trying to convince the unreceptive, but to go on to people who are receptive.

We’re all born physically alive but spiritually dead (unreborn). This lifetime is our opportunity to be “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) to eternal life and this is only possible through faith (obedient trust) in Jesus by the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). There are plenty of spiritually dead people to bury the dead. Spiritually alive disciples of Jesus should spend their time proclaiming the Gospel so that some of the spiritual dead can be “reborn.”

In order to be disciples of Jesus Christ we must be willing to leave our former lives, homes, and families  in order to follow Jesus. We must not let longing for the old way of living draw us away from following Jesus. The “Old Days” really weren’t that good. We may have had the fleeting pleasures of sin, but the rewards of sin is eternal death; the loss of eternal life in paradise with the Lord.

Elisha hadn’t set his hand to the plow of the ministry of God’s Word yet. His sacrifice of the twelve yoke of oxen was an act of worship and  consecration to God. He essentially gave away his material possessions, the yoke of oxen, to feed the poor, and cut off his old life. There would be no oxen to return to. Then, he followed Elijah with persistence until the very moment Elijah ascended in the whirlwind (2 Kings 2:1-2, 4, 6. 11-12).

Jesus’ disciples are called to leave their old lives behind and follow Jesus persistently until the day of his return at the Second Coming.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Monday 6 Pentecost – C

First posted July 5, 2010;
Podcast: Monday 6 Pentecost – C

Psalm 66:1-11, 14-18 – Hymn of Praise;

Paraphrase:

Sing aloud with joy to God, everyone. Glorify his name in song; make his praise glorious. Tell the Lord that his deeds are awesome! His enemies cringe before his great power. All the earth shall worship the Lord and sing praises to his name.

Look and see what the Lord has done. He has done awesome deeds among us. He made a way to pass through the sea on dry ground; through the river without getting wet feet. We rejoiced there in him who rules for ever by his great might and keeps watch on the nations; may the rebellious not exalt themselves!

May all people bless our God, may his praise be heard, for he has sustained our lives and has not let us stumble. The Lord has tested us as silver is refined. He allowed us to be snared in a net; he allowed us to experience affliction.

I will fulfill what I promised when I was in trouble. I will offer the sacrifices of finest rams, bulls and goats.

Come and listen to what the Lord has done for me, all who fear (have proper awe and respect for the power and authority of) God. I cried aloud and extolled him with my voice. If I had loved sin in my innermost self the Lord would not have listened.

Commentary:

God wants to reveal himself to us so that we can know his great goodness, power, faithfulness and love. God first reveals himself to us in the goodness of Creation. The evil that exists in the world was not created by God; it is caused by human sinfulness.

God began to reveal himself personally to us in the call of Abraham (Abram) and the history of his dealing with Israel recorded in the Bible. The great central act of salvation in the Exodus from Egypt, wilderness wandering, and entry into the Promised Land, is deliberately intended to be a parable, a metaphor for life in this world. We’re all in bondage to sin and death in the “Egypt” of this present world order.

The Exodus was initiated with the institution of Passover (Exodus 12:1-13). The Passover points to the New Passover, the Lord’s Supper, instituted by Jesus on the night of his betrayal and arrest (Matthew 26:26; Psalm 66:1-11, 14-18-28), and to the ultimate feast in the Kingdom of God in Heaven (Matthew 26:29). Jesus is the perfect Lamb of the New Passover, and his blood, shed on the cross, marks his people to be “passed over” by the destroying angel. His body and blood are received by faith (obedient trust).

God delivered Israel from the pursuing Egyptians by parting the Red Sea and allowing them to pass through on dry ground. The parting of the Sea corresponds to water baptism into Jesus Christ.

After wandering in the wilderness for forty years, they were led through the Jordan River on dry ground and into the Promised Land. Jesus is the “Moses” and the “Joshua” (Jesus is the Greek equivalent of “Jeshua,” the post-exilic form of “Joshua”) who leads us out of “Egypt,” through the wilderness of this present lifetime, through the “River” of physical death (on dry ground; i.e, without being tainted by death) and into the eternal “Promised Land” of God’s eternal kingdom.

We first experience God’s great deeds through the Biblical record, but as we trust and obey Jesus, we will come to experience God’s great deeds personally in our lives (see Personal Testimonies, sidebar, right, home).

God taught the Israelites that sacrifice was necessary for the forgiveness of sin, preparing them to receive the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, once for all time and all people willing to receive it by faith (obedient trust). The sacrifice that God desires from us is the sacrifice of our own self-interest in order to do his will.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Tuesday 6 Pentecost – C

First posted July 6, 2010; 
Podcast: Tuesday 6 Pentecost – C

Isaiah 66:10-14 – Rejoice with Jerusalem;

Paraphrase:

Let all who love Jerusalem rejoice and be glad with her; let all who mourn for her rejoice and be glad. You will be suckled and satisfied with the abundance of her glory.

The Lord declares that he will extend a river of prosperity to her; the wealth of nations will overflow to her. She will suckle you, carry you on her hip, and dandle (fondle) you on her knee. The Lord will comfort you in Jerusalem as a mother comforts her child. Your heart will see and rejoice; your bones will flourish like grass. All will know that the hand of the Lord is with his servants, and against his enemies.

Commentary:

The Church is the New Jerusalem, the City of God on earth, which points to the eternal city in heaven. But the nominal Church on earth is imperfect. Parts of the nominal Church are not nurturing or providing good parenting. We need to mourn for those parts of the nominal Church, but we can be assured that God will cleanse and restore her, removing what is imperfect.

As believers we need to be discerning. We need to read and know the Bible so that we can use the Bible as the standard against which to compare Church doctrine, in order to avoid false teaching and false teachers within the nominal Church.

There are several false teachings in the nominal Church today that were present in the first-century Church and are refuted in the New Testament. One very disturbing false teaching, present in mainline denominations today, is that the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit is automatically conferred by some Church rite such as water baptism. This has the effect of discouraging and preventing believers from seeking and being spiritually “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) by the “baptism” of the Holy Spirit which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17; see False Teachings, sidebar, right, home).

The Church is supposed to suckle and nurture new believers until they have been “born-again.” That is the process of discipleship and spiritual growth, which Jesus commissioned his disciples to carry out (Matthew 28:19-20), and which Paul (Saul of Tarsus), the prototype and example of a modern, post-resurrection, born-again disciple (student) and apostle (messenger; of the Gospel) practiced and demonstrated (Acts 9:1-22; 2 Timothy 1:6-7; 2:2).

The indwelling Holy Spirit is the river of spiritual prosperity enriching us, and through us, the world. We will inherit the wealth of the nations. We will thrive and flourish like lush grass. We will demonstrate that the hand of the Lord is with us, for all who care to see.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Wednesday 6 Pentecost – C

First posted July 7, 2010;
Podcast: Wednesday 6 Pentecost – C

Galatians 6:1-10, 14-16 – Exhortations;

Paraphrase:

If anyone is overtaken in sin (disobedience of God’s Word) those who are “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) should gently restore him. Be careful, that you are not also tempted. In fulfillment of Christ’s command we should share one another’s burdens. We should not deceive ourselves by thinking we are something when we are not. We should examine ourselves honestly, instead of comparing ourselves to others; then our evaluation will be on our own merit and not dependent on others, because we will each be accountable for our own behavior.

Let those who are taught be generous to their teachers.

Let us not deceive ourselves: what we sow is what we will reap. Those who sow to their flesh will from their flesh reap corruption; but those who sow to the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not grow tired of doing what is good, for in due time we will reap a reward, if we do not become discouraged. So let us do good to all people, especially to our fellow believers.

Let us not take glory in anything but the cross of Jesus Christ, by which we have died to the world, and the world to us. It is not a matter of circumcision or uncircumcised, but of new birth. Let peace and mercy be upon all who live by this rule; they are the [New] Israel of God.

Commentary:

Instead of condemning sinners we are called to restore them. We must remember that we are also vulnerable to sin. If we truly love one another we will care about their problems and try to alleviate them. If we think we are better than they are, we are only deceiving ourselves. We will be accountable for our own actions, not in comparison to others.

We must recognize that we are in need of spiritual teaching – of being led in discipleship by mature disciples. It is impossible for the unregenerate (un-born-again) to make born-again disciples. If they knew how, they wouldn’t be unregenerate. Unfortunately, there are many unregenerate teachers in the nominal Church today.

Paul (Saul of Tarsus) is deliberately intended by God to be the prototype and example of a modern, post-resurrection born-again disciple (student) and apostle (messenger; of the Gospel) of Jesus Christ. Paul was convicted by the Spirit of the risen and ascended Jesus (Acts 9:5b) on the road to Damascus where he intended to persecute Christians. He repented (Acts 9:9) and accepted Jesus as his Lord (Acts 9:5a). He was “discipled” by a born-again disciple (Acts 9:10), Ananias, until he was “born-again” (Acts 9:17-18), and then Paul began to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) which Jesus gave to his born-again disciples (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5, 8; Acts 9:20-22; 2 Timothy 1:6-7) and teaching them to repeat the process (2 Timothy 2:2).

It is not a matter of keeping the Law of Moses (the Old Testament Law), but of spiritual rebirth (Romans 8:1-13) by the “baptism” of the Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). The Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16).

Christians are the New Israel, the new people of God, and the true Church is the New Jerusalem on earth.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Thursday 6 Pentecost – C

First posted July 8, 2010;
Podcast: Thursday 6 Pentecost – C

Luke 10:1-12 (17-20) – Mission of the Seventy;

Jesus was heading for Jerusalem with his disciples, where he knew he would be crucified (Matthew 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19). He sent out seventy of his followers in pairs to every place where Jesus was about to come. Jesus declared that the [spiritual] harvest was plentiful but there were few laborers, so his disciples should pray to the Lord of the harvest to provide laborers.

Jesus sent the seventy as lambs among wolves. They were to take no purse, extra clothing or sandals, and they were not to stop and visit with travelers along the way. They were instructed to bid peace upon any house they entered. Their peace would rest on the household if they were peaceable people; but if not their peace would return to the messengers.

They were instructed to remain in one house, not going from door-to-door. When they entered a town that welcomed them they were to eat whatever was provided. They were to heal the sick and to declare that the kingdom of God had come near to them. But if a town would not welcome them they were to declare from the street that they were shaking off the dust of that place from their feet as testimony against that place; nevertheless they were to declare that the Kingdom of God had come near. On that day it will be more tolerable in Sodom than in that town.

When the seventy returned they rejoiced that even demons had been subject to them in Jesus’ name. Jesus told them that he had witnessed the fall of Satan from heaven to earth like a lightening bolt. Jesus declared that he had given them power over serpents, scorpions, and all the powers of evil; nothing would harm them. But instead of rejoicing over their power over demons, they should rejoice that their names are recorded in heaven.

Commentary:

There is a great spiritual hunger in the world today, but people are looking for satisfaction of that hunger in all the wrong places! People are interested in spiritual and supernatural things, but reading the Bible is the farthest thing from their minds.

Jesus is about to come again, on the Day of Judgment, when everyone who has ever lived will be accountable to him for what they have done in this lifetime in this world. Jesus has sent his disciples ahead, to announce his imminent coming. They are offering spiritual healing in his name, and the peace that is only possible in Jesus’ name.

We need not fear that we will give his peace to the wrong people. His peace does not remain upon people who do not welcome Jesus.

We need not go door-to-door. In any community, any household which welcomes us is sufficient. From there we can declare the Gospel message of forgiveness of sin, and restoration to fellowship with God and eternal life in God’s Kingdom.

We offer spiritual healing in Jesus’ name. We testify that we have personally experienced spiritual healing. God’s eternal kingdom restored to perfect paradise in heaven is all around us now, but we cannot see it now, or enter it ultimately in eternity, unless we welcome Jesus into our lives now in this lifetime.

God does not call down fire from heaven immediately on those who refuse to welcome Jesus. He gives us a lifetime to learn and to repent. But ultimately, if we have failed to accept God’s grace (free gift; unmerited favor) in Jesus Christ we will suffer the same fate as Sodom (and Gomorrah) which were destroyed by fire from heaven because of their wickedness and unrepentance (Genesis 19:24).

The indwelling Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17), is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16). The indwelling Holy Spirit gives us power over evil, and gives us the assurance that our names are recorded in the Book of Life in heaven.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Friday 6 Pentecost – C

First posted July 9, 2010;
Podcast: Friday 6 Pentecost – C

Romans 6:3-11 – Dying and Rising with Christ;

Romans Paraphrase:

When we are baptized into Christ, we are baptized into his death. We have been buried with him in death, so that we can share in his resurrection to new life by the glory of God the Father.

If we have been united with him in death, we will also be united with him in his resurrection. Our old nature, our sinful flesh, has been crucified, so that we might no longer be slaves of sin. Those who have died are freed from sin. If we believe that we have died with Christ we believe that we will also live eternally with him. Christ, having been raised from physical death, will never die again; death no longer has power over him. He died once for all to sin, so that he can now live to serve and glorify God. So we must also consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to serve and please God, through Jesus Christ.

Commentary:

Water baptism by immersion is an apt symbol, a visual metaphor, of physical death and resurrection. But water baptism is a covenant between God and the candidate. Because it is a spiritual rite, the amount of water is not conditional, as the Eucharistic Feast (the Feast of Holy Communion; the New Passover; the Lord’s Supper) is not conditional upon the amount of the elements of bread and wine.

Because it is a covenant, it can be entered into by the candidate himself, or a representative, such as his parents in the case of infant baptism. In the case of infant baptism, the candidate must affirm the covenant when he becomes of age. God is faithful! When we keep our part of the covenant, he will keep his part! I personally testify that I was baptized as an infant, and affirmed the covenant at middle-age. I have no need to be “re-baptized,” or immersed. The “baptism” of the Holy Spirit attests to the covenant between God and myself.

We must endeavor to die daily to the flesh so that we can live to serve and please God. We can resist temptation to sin (disobey God’s Word) by the indwelling Holy Spirit. When we yield to temptation, we become further enslaved; when we resist, we become further freed.

“Born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) Christians personally experience the risen Jesus. Because we know with certainty that Jesus lives eternally, we can believe that we will also live eternally with him!

The indwelling Holy Spirit gives us the power to resist temptation, so that we can be free to serve and please the Lord. We must not use that freedom to indulge our own human desires.

Is Jesus your Lord? Are you Jesus’ disciple? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Saturday 6 Pentecost – C

First posted July 10, 2010;
Podcast: Saturday 6 Pentecost – C

Matthew 5:20-26 – True Understanding of the Law;

Matthew Paraphrase:

Jesus declared that our righteousness must exceed that of the scribes (teachers of the Law) and Pharisees (strict legalistic sect of Judaism), or we will not be able to enter the kingdom of heaven.

In [Old Testament] times, people were forbidden to kill, and those who killed were accountable to judgment [eternal condemnation], but Jesus taught that those who are angry with their brother are liable to condemnation. Those who insult their brother are liable to the council (the Jewish religious court) and those who call their brother a fool are liable to Hell’s fire.

Jesus taught that when making an offering at the altar, we should first be reconciled to our brother if there is any ill will between us, and then we can make our offering to the Lord. We should seek reconciliation with our accuser early, while going to the court, before being delivered to judge, guard and prison. Once that happens one cannot be released until the last requirement of the law has been satisfied.

Commentary:

The scribes and Pharisees emphasized the letter but not the spirit of the Law. Jesus’ point is that it is not enough to avoid actual murder of our brothers. When we allow ourselves to remain angry with them, to insult them and call them fools we have violated the spirit of the Law. Those things are not harmless; they lead to actual murder.

When we want to present an offering to the Lord we should first make sure that we are not at enmity with our brothers. The offering that the Lord desires is our obedience to his Word.

It is much better to take the initiative to resolve disagreements with our brethren before they become lawsuits. Once we get to court we will be fully accountable to the least detail of the law.

So also, it is well for us to initiate reconciliation with our brethren now, according to God’s Word, rather than hold grudges and maintain enmity and strife until the Day of Judgment, when we will be accountable to the Lord for everything we have done in this lifetime.

Anger against our brethren does not accomplish the work of God or glorify him (James 1:20). Our mission is to proclaim the Gospel of forgiveness, reconciliation with God, and salvation from eternal condemnation. How can we accomplish that without being willing to forgive, be reconciled, and offer salvation to our brethren?

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Week of 5 Pentecost – C – 06/19 – 25/2016

June 18, 2016

Week of 5 Pentecost – C

This is a Three-Year Lectionary based on the Lutheran Book of Worship 3-year Lectionary (for public worship), “Prayers of the Day…” (Propers), p. 13-41, Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, 1978. It is based, with only minor variations, on the Revised Common Lectionary, used by many denominations, including the Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches:

http://www.commontexts.org/

and:

http://www.commontexts.org/rcl/usage.html

The daily readings are the Propers (Lections) for the following Sunday, so that the daily devotions can prepare us for worship. Additional Lections are from Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church, “Scripture lessons for Matins and Vespers,” United Lutheran Church of America, General Rubrics VIII. Scripture lessons for Matins and Vespers, p. 299 – 304, Philadelphia, 1918.

The previous 2- year Bible Study based on the Lutheran Book of Worship, Daily Lectionary for personal devotions p.179-192, Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, 1978, is available at:

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/ (Please bookmark this link).

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To get the most from these studies, it is suggested that you first read the scripture texts for the entry, and then the paraphrase and commentary. It is also recommended that you look up the scripture references, unless you recognize and recall them from memory.

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Podcast Download: Week of 5 Pentecost – C

Sunday 5 Pentecost – C

First Posted June 27, 2010
Podcast: Sunday 5 Pentecost – C

Zechariah 12:7-10 – The Ideal King;
Psalm 63:1-8 – Spiritual Thirst;
Galatians 3:23-29 – The Purpose of Law;
Luke 9:18-24– Peter’s Confession;

Zechariah Paraphrase:

The Lord will give victory to the households of Judah first, so that the house of David and inhabitants of Jerusalem don’t exalt themselves over Judah. In that day the Lord will surround the inhabitants of Jerusalem with a shield, so that the feeblest among them will be like David and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of God leading them. In that day the Lord will destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

In that day the Lord will give the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of compassion, so that when they behold the one whom they have pierced (Jesus) they will mourn as for a first-born and only child.

Psalm Paraphrase:

I seek the Lord for he is my God. My soul thirsts for him as a weary person would in a desert where there is no water. I have experienced his presence in his sanctuary and beheld his glory and power. I will praise the Lord, for his steadfast love is better than life. I will raise up my hands and call upon his name, blessing him as long as I live.

When I think of him as I lay in my bed, and meditate on him during the night when I can’t sleep, my soul is satisfied as with feasting on rich food, and with joyful lips I give him praise; for he has been my help, and I sing for joy as he shelters me in the shadow of his wings. His right hand upholds me; therefore my soul clings to him.

Galatians Paraphrase:

The law [of Moses] was given to restrain God’s people until [the New Covenant of] faith was established [by Jesus]. So the law was our caretaker, until Christ (Messiah; both mean [God’s] “anointed”) came, so that we can be justified [found not guilty in God’s judgment], by faith [obedient trust in Jesus]. We aren’t under the custodianship of the Old Covenant of Law, now that faith has come. By faith, we all become [“adopted”] children of God. Whoever is baptized into Jesus has been clothed in Christ. Former distinctions between Jews and Greeks, slaves or free, male or female no longer apply; for we are all the same in Jesus Christ. In Christ we are all children and heirs of Abraham, according to God’s promise (Genesis 12:1-3).

Luke Paraphrase:

Jesus had gone with his disciples away from the crowds so that he could pray alone. And he asked his disciples who people were saying that Jesus was. The disciples said that some said Jesus was John the Baptizer, some thought he was Elijah, and others thought he was a prophet from long ago who had risen from the dead. Then Jesus asked his disciples who they believed him to be, and Peter responded that Jesus was the Christ of God. Then Jesus commanded the disciples to tell this to no one. Jesus told them, referring to himself as the Son of man, that he must suffer many things and be rejected by the Jewish elders, priests and teachers of Law, killed, and raised from death on the third day.

Jesus told everyone that anyone who wanted to be Jesus’ follower must  give up his own interests and take up his own cross daily and follow Jesus. Whoever tries to save his own life in this world will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Jesus’ sake will save it for eternity. What benefit is there for a person if he gains everything in this world, but loses his life? At the day of judgment, Jesus will be ashamed of anyone who has been ashamed of Jesus now in this lifetime. Jesus was telling them the truth when he said that some of those standing there would not die before seeing the kingdom of God.

Zechariah Commentary:

The passage from Zechariah is the prophecy of the Battle of Armageddon that will trigger end of this age and the Second Coming of Christ and the Day of Judgment.

Victory is the Second Coming and the millennial (thousand year) reign of Christ on earth (see Revelation 20:1-7) for disciples of Jesus Christ. I’m not an expert in “End Times” (“Last Days”) prophecy (Armageddon, the Second Coming, the Millennial Kingdom). I believe that preaching on End Times is useful for the conversion of unbelievers. I was personally converted by End Times preaching. I also personally experienced a vision of the panic and madness of the the Last Days. That experience is part of what brought me to repentance and conversion. Once converted I’ve personally focused on discipleship and spiritual growth.

But Jesus warns his disciples not to be caught up in endless speculation about end times (Acts 1:6-7). I have personally “discipled” an individual who preferred to speculate on End Times rather than focus on learning discipleship, despite my warnings (compare 1 Timothy 1:4-7; 2 Timothy 4:3-4).

Jesus is the first-born and only [begotten] son of God (John 1:18; 1 John 4:9; Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:34-35). We can be children of God by adoption, through faith in Jesus (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:4-5).

The Messiah (Christ; both words mean [God’s] “anointed” [prophet, priest, king]) will come from the descendants of David (Matthew 1:1; 1:20; 21:9). Jesus is God (Colossians 2:8-9; John 20:28). Jesus’ word is the Word of God (John 14:10, 24), with the creative force of God’s Word (Mark 4:39-41; Compare Genesis 1: 9).

Remember that David killed Goliath when he was just a boy (1 Samuel 17:23-37). Jesus is God, with the Spirit of God, leading Jerusalem against their enemies.

The Bible is the Word of God, which is eternal, and thus which is fulfilled over and over as the conditions for its fulfillment are met. The [true] Church is the New Jerusalem on earth. Jesus is the angel (Spirit) of God leading it. The Lord will give victory to the Church and the Lord will give victory to individual disciples.

Psalm Commentary:

I join with the Psalmist in testifying that the Lord satisfies my spiritual thirst. I have experienced his presence in his sanctuary when his glory filled the place and the windows seemed to rattle (Acts 2:2; 4:31). I was raised in a mainline denomination, “high” (formal) church. Church members didn’t raise their hands in praise. When I was “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) in that church, I began raising my hands in praise instinctively. Soon thereafter I read From Sea to Shining Sea, by Peter Marshall and David Manuel, who quoted a description of a person who experienced revival in the Great  Awakening of 1800, and described the experience I had.*

I testify that the Lord’s presence and touch is better than any material pleasure, such as rich food, or in my case nicotine. I was unable to quit smoking until the Lord came to me and touched me as I craved a smoke.

I testify that the Lord has been my help in the most seemingly impossible situations. He has been my shelter and has upheld me with his right hand (Jesus).

Galatians Commentary:

God gave his Law (the Old Testament or Covenant) to Moses. It teaches us what God requires for justification (verdict of “not guilty” in God’s judgment). But it also shows us that we are not able to keep God’s Law in our own physical ability.

Jesus is God’s only [begotten] Son. We cannot become Jesus, but we can become like Jesus; his brothers and sisters by adoption through faith in Jesus.

Those who are baptized into Jesus Christ in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and who trust and obey all that Jesus teaches (Matthew 28:19-20), receive the righteousness of Jesus like a robe which covers our spiritual “nakedness;” our spiritual unrighteousness. It isn’t the physical children of Abraham who are heirs to God’s promise (Genesis 12:1-3), but the spiritual children, who have the faith of Abraham (Romans 4:12-13; Galatians 3:7-9, 14).

Luke Commentary:

Who we believe Jesus to be is of eternal consequence for us individually and personally. Many people today believe that Jesus was a good person; a great teacher. Some nominally Christian cults deny his deity.

Jesus is God in human form (Colossians 2:8-9; John 20:28). Seeing Jesus is seeing God (Matthew 11:27; compare John 14:7-11). Jesus’ word is the Word of God, with the creative force of God’s Word (Mark 4:39-41; Compare Genesis 1: 9). Jesus’ name is the name of the Lord; the name of God.

Jesus referred to himself as the Son of man, which was true, but which allowed people to decide for themselves who Jesus is, with a hint from Daniel 7:13-14. Jesus sternly told his disciples not to tell people who Jesus is, because he wants people to decide for themselves.

The meaning and purpose of life in this temporal world is to seek, find and have fellowship with God, our Creator (Acts 17:26-27). This is only possible through faith (obedient trust) in Jesus Christ (John 14:6). This world has been designed to allow us the freedom to choose whether to trust and obey Jesus or not.

Jesus could command us to believe in him and we would have no choice but to obey (Philippians 2:10-11). That day is going to come, when we must acknowledge Jesus as Lord, but then our eternal destiny will be fixed and unchangeable.

Do we love our present lives in this temporal world? Jesus warns us that, if we do, we will will miss eternal life in a perfect world in his presence. It seems counter-intuitive to give up life now to achieve true, eternal life. It seems counter-intuitive to accept suffering now in order to receive satisfaction eternally. But Jesus is the example and demonstration of this truth.

The kingdom of God is all around us now, but we cannot see it unless we have been spiritually “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8). Those who have been born-again see it now, before they have died physically, and will see and enter it in eternity. Those who haven’t been born-again, and don’t see God’s kingdom now, never will, in all eternity.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?


*Marshall, Peter, J., Jr. and Manuel, David, “From Sea to Shining Sea,” p . 86-87,  Fleming H. Revell, Baker Books, P.O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids, Mich. 41956-6287. ISBN 0-8007-5308-9 (paper)


Monday 5 Pentecost – C

First posted June 28, 2010;
Podcast: Monday 5 Pentecost – C

Psalm 16 – A Psalm of Trust;

(Attributed to David, the great human Shepherd-king of Israel.)

Paraphrase:

I take refuge in the Lord; he will preserve me. I declare that he is my Lord and that I have nothing good apart from him!

I delight in the saints (those consecrated to God’s service); they are truly worthy. Anyone who chooses another “god” only multiplies their sorrows. I will not partake of their drink offerings of blood, nor will I speak their names.

I have chosen the Lord as my portion and my destiny; my destiny is in his hand. My paths have led me into pleasant places; my inheritance is good.

I bless the Lord because he guides me and teaches my heart while I sleep. The Lord is always before me. Since I rely on him I shall not be shaken.

So my heart is joyful and my soul is glad; my body is secure, because the Lord has not allowed me to die, nor allowed his godly one to see the grave.

He has showed me the path to life. I have experienced the fullness of joy in his presence, and the pleasures of his right hand are eternal.

Commentary:

I personally have experienced a time when there was no place for me to go but to take refuge in the Lord, and he did preserve me! The Lord is so much better than anything else in this world!

Those who love the Lord will delight in their Christian brethren in him. There is no way that we could participate in any form of pagan worship.

One must commit oneself and one’s destiny to the the Lord. Unless we do, there is no hope beyond this lifetime. When we commit to the Lord, we experience abundant life now in this present world, and we will have the certain assurance (John 6:68-69) that we will live eternally with the Lord in paradise restored in heaven (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16). We will experience the foretaste of the joy of the presence of the Lord now in this lifetime.

I personally testify that the Lord has guided and taught me, even while I slept in security in him (compare Psalm 127:1-2). I have learned that when I let the Lord watch over me, I cannot be shaken. Nothing can happen to me that he cannot handle! Even physical death cannot harm me, because I know from personal experience that Jesus lives, and that I too will live eternally in his presence!

I had no idea what “life” was all about, until the Lord showed me. I resisted committing myself to the Lord because I wanted to find out what life was all about, first. I found out, and it was a painful experience.

The meaning and purpose of life is to seek, find and have fellowship with God, our Creator (Acts 17:26-27), and this is only possible through faith (obedient trust) in Jesus Christ. We have been born physically alive but spiritually unborn. This lifetime is our only opportunity to be “born-again” to spiritual, eternal life (John 3:3, 5-8).

Only Jesus baptizes with the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 1:31-34), only his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home). The baptism of the indwelling Holy Spirit is a personally discernible, daily, ongoing event (Acts 19:2). The Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16).

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Tuesday 5 Pentecost – C

First posted June 29, 2010;
Podcast: Tuesday 5 Pentecost – C

1 Kings 19:14-21 – The Call of Elisha;

Background:

Elijah had fled to Mount Horeb (Mt Sinai), because Queen Jezebel was seeking to kill him. There God revealed himself to Elijah and commanded him to “anoint” Elisha.

Text Paraphrase:

The Lord had asked Elijah what he was doing in a cave at Mt Horeb, and Elijah replied that he was very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts, but the people of Israel (the Northern Kingdom) had abandoned the covenant, had torn down the altars to the Lord, and killed God’s prophets. Elijah believed that he alone was left, and they were seeking to kill him.

The Lord told Elijah to return to wilderness of Damascus (the Syrian Desert) and that he was to anoint Hazael to be king of Syria, and Jehu to be king of Israel. He was also to anoint Elisha to be Elijah’s successor as prophet of God. The Lord prophesied that the apostates (those who had forsaken faith in God), not slain by Hazael, would be slain by Jehu, and that Elisha would slay any who remained. But the Lord declared that there were seven thousand in Israel who had not worshiped the idol, Baal, who would be saved.

So Elijah followed God’s command and found Elisha plowing a field with a yoke of twelve oxen. Elijah placed his mantle upon Elisha as he passed him. Elisha left the oxen, caught up with Elijah, and asked to kiss his father and mother; then he would join Elijah. Elijah told him to go, and then return to him, because Elijah had done something significant to Elisha.

Elisha went back and butchered the oxen and prepared a feast for the people and they ate. Then he rejoined Elijah and served him.

Commentary:

Ahab was king of the Northern Kingdom of the Divided Monarchy. He was wicked, because he had disobeyed God’s command not to marry a pagan, and had made Jezebel, a Phoenician pagan woman, Queen of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. She was the most wicked Queen of the Northern Kingdom of Israel of the Divided Monarchy. She introduced the idolatry of Baal worship into Israel.

Elijah had challenged Baal worship and Jezebel had sworn to kill Elijah. Elijah had fled about as far as he could get from Jezebel at the cave in Mt. Horeb.

Elijah felt that he was the only one of God’s people left who had not compromised himself with idolatry. But God knows who is faithful, and there were more than Elijah thought.

God uses political leaders to accomplish his purpose, whether they acknowledge God or not. Hazael and Jehu became instruments of God’s justice, to destroy the unfaithful.

God has been teaching his people about God’s “anointing” from the beginning of his call to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3). God anoints his prophets, priests and kings with his indwelling Holy Spirit. Jesus is the Messiah; the Christ (both words mean [God’s] “anointed” [prophet, priest and king] in Hebrew and Greek, respectively). Elijah “anointed” Elisha, not with olive oil, which was usual, but with his mantle (cloak), the symbol of his prophetic office.

God had been teaching his people about sacrifice. There is no forgiveness without physical sacrifice; without physically shedding blood (Hebrews 9:22). The sacrifice of animals only provided temporary forgiveness, and had to be repeated over and over.

The sacrifice of animals provided a sacrificial feast. The blood of the animal provided forgiveness of sin (disobedience of God’s Word) and cleansing of unrighteousness, and the flesh provided the main course of the feast.

Jesus is the host of the ultimate Passover feast; he is the perfect Lamb of God whose blood marks God’s people to be “passed over” by the destroying angel, and whose flesh provides the feast of the New Passover. The Lord’s Supper is the New Passover, instituted on the night of Jesus’ betrayal and arrest. (Matthew 26:26-28). Jesus’ blood marks us to be passed over by the destroyer, and his flesh provides us with the energy and resources to escape from bondage to sin and death in the “Egypt” of this present world order, travel through the “wilderness” of this lifetime, cross the “river” of physical death, and enter into the eternal “Promised Land” of God’s kingdom restored to paradise in heaven.

We are to be called, and to call others. Are we hiding in a cave as far from God’s call as we can get? Are we afraid to convey God’s call to others because they may react with hostility?

God’s call usually separates us from our own self-interests and our families and loved ones. Are we willing to say “goodbye” to families and loved ones and “yes” to God’s call? Elisha went on to do great things as prophet of the Lord (2 Kings 1:8-15).

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Wednesday 5 Pentecost – C

First posted June 30, 2010;
Podcast: Wednesday 5 Pentecost – C

Galatians 5:1, 13-25 – Christian Freedom;

Paraphrase:

Christ has set us free from slavery (to the law; to sin and death), so we should stand firm and not allow ourselves to be re-enslaved. We have been given freedom from bondage to the law, but we must not use that freedom to gratify the lusts of our human flesh, but instead serve one another out of the motivation of love. After all, the entire law is summed up in the command to love one’s neighbor as we love ourselves (Matthew 20:26; 22:36-40). If we fight and abuse one another we will be consumed by them.

Instead, we are to walk in obedience to the Holy Spirit, and not succumb to the desires of physical gratification. The desires of the flesh are in opposition to the desires of the Spirit, in order that the Spirit would prevent us from acting upon our sinful nature. But if we are obedient to the Spirit we are no longer obligated to the law.

These are the works of the flesh: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit (factionalism; disunion; heresy), envy, murder, drunkenness, carousing, and similar behavior. Those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the Spirit produces fruit in good works: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. No law is needed to restrain such behavior. Those who are in Christ have crucified the desires and passions of the flesh.

If we have life by the Spirit, we should walk in obedience to the Spirit. So we shouldn’t have self-conceit, nor should we envy or provoke one another.

Commentary:

The law was given to Moses at Mt Sinai (Mt. Horeb), in order to restrain the people of God until the Messiah (Christ), Jesus, came and made it possible for God’s people to be spiritually “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) and filled with the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 14:15-17).

No one can fulfill the requirements of God’s law (God’s Word), but they teach us God’s standard of righteousness and make us aware of our need for forgiveness of our sin (disobedience of God’s Word). Under the law, we are condemned to eternal death, because of our slavery to sin.

The indwelling Holy Spirit makes it possible to live according to God’s Word, and frees us from slavery to the law of sin and death, provided that we are obedient to the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1-14). The Lord will not give us the indwelling Holy Spirit unless are committed to putting to “death” the desires of the flesh and living in obedience to the Holy Spirit.

In the first-century Church there were Jewish Christians, referred to as “Judaisers” and the “circumcision party,” who insisted that Gentile (non-Jew; pagan) converts must obey the Jewish laws, such as circumcision.

Paul was deliberately intended by God to be the prototype of the “modern, post-resurrection, born-again disciple and apostle” of Jesus Christ. He was formally educated in Judaism, and was a Pharisee, the strictest legalistic sect of Judaism. But, once converted, Paul vigorously defended the freedom we have been given in Christ.

Paul is teaching here that having been freed from the law of sin and death, we should not submit to the demands of “legalism” (see False Teachings, sidebar, right, home). But he is also teaching that we must not follow the false teaching of “Cheap Grace”* (which see, False Teachings), that since we are saved by grace (God’s free gift; unmerited favor) that we are free to do whatever we please.

The Jews had expanded the Ten Commandments into hundreds and hundreds of laws, down to the tithing of the tiniest details like household spices, while blind to their failure to fulfill the overarching law of loving one’s neighbor. Beware; those who fail to obey the command of love and who pursue their own self-interest will learn that they have destroyed themselves in the process.

God designed this world to allow for the possibility of sin, in order to give us the freedom to choose whether to trust and obey God or to pursue our own perceived self-interest. But God is not going to tolerate sin forever, or at all in his eternal kingdom or it wouldn’t be heaven. This lifetime is our only opportunity to learn to trust and obey God, and to discover that God’s will is our very best interest.

We can use the freedom God has given us to indulge our selfish natures, or we can use it to serve and glorify God. Our choice will be obvious by what we do.

The Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16). The indwelling Holy Spirit is a personally discernible, ongoing, daily experience; one can know with certainty for oneself if one has been “born-again” (Acts 19:2).

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?


*See: The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Collier Books, Macmillan Publishing Co., NY 1963 ISBN 0-02-083850-6


Thursday 5 Pentecost – C

First posted July 1, 2010;
Podcast: Thursday 5 Pentecost – C

Luke 9:51-62 – On the Way to Jerusalem;

Paraphrase:

Jesus knew that the time had come for him to be crucified (as he had told his disciples at least three times in advance; Matthew 16:21; 17:22-23a; 20:17-19), so he was heading for Jerusalem with his disciples. He sent messengers ahead of him to arrange accommodations for them in a village of the Samaritans but the Samaritans wouldn’t receive him, because Jesus was going to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem (which Samaritans considered the wrong sanctuary; John 4:20). When disciples James and John heard this, they asked Jesus if they should call down fire on the village (as had happened to Sodom and Gomorrah; Genesis 19:24-25). But Jesus rebuked them (because his mission was to save people, not to destroy them; RSV, note “f”). So they went on to another village.

As they were walking along the road, a man said to Jesus that he would follow Jesus wherever Jesus went. Jesus replied that the lowest animals have holes or nests to live in, but the “Son of man” (God’s Son; Jesus) had no place to call home.

To another person, Jesus invited him to follow Jesus but the person asked for time to bury his father first. Jesus replied that the person should let the dead bury the dead, but that this person should go and proclaim the Kingdom of God. Another individual declared his intention to follow Jesus but asked for time to say goodbye to his family. Jesus replied that no one who takes hold of the plow and then looks back is worthy of the Kingdom of God.

Commentary:

Jesus has been designed into Creation from the very beginning (John 1:1-5, 14). Jesus is God’s one and only provision for the forgiveness of sin (disobedience of God’s Word) and salvation from eternal destruction, which is the penalty for sin (Romans 6:23; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home).

The history of God’s dealing with Israel, recorded in the Old Testament, has been leading up to this moment. Jesus’ mission is to save us for eternal life in God’s heavenly kingdom; paradise restored.

I venture to say that many people in the world today feel that the Church condemns them. I suggest that they are feeling guilty by the conviction of God’s Word. Jesus didn’t come to condemn them but to save them (John 3:16-17). If we are unwilling to be corrected by God’s Word we are condemning ourselves to eternal destruction (John 3:18-21).

The Samaritans were the remnant of the Northern Kingdom, Israel, of the divided monarchy, who had not been deported when the Assyrians destroyed the Northern Kingdom. The Assyrians had a policy of deporting the occupants of conquered lands to other conquered lands and bringing in others to settle and pacify the land. So the Samaritans were Jews intermarried with aliens and thus were of mixed race and religion. The Judeans, who considered themselves the authentic Jews, had no dealings with Samaritans, whom they considered “mongrels.”

Following Jesus requires self-denial and sacrifice. One must be willing to give up home and family, if necessary, in order to follow him. When one accepts the call one must do so without looking back; without regretting the loss of his former interests.

Jesus said that the [spiritually] dead should bury the dead, but the spiritually alive should follow Jesus. We are all born into this world physically alive but spiritually “unborn.” This lifetime is our one and only opportunity to be spiritually “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) to eternal life. This is only possible through the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). The baptism of the indwelling Holy Spirit is a personally discernible, ongoing, daily experience; no one can be born-again and “hardly know it.”

The joy of the personal presence and fellowship of Jesus is better than anything we have ever done. Other pursuits may satisfy us for a while, but nothing satisfies ultimately and eternally like Jesus.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Friday 5 Pentecost – C

First posted July 2, 2010;
Podcast: Friday 5 Pentecost – C

1 Peter 3:8-15 – Christian Lifestyle;

Paraphrase:

Christians should have unity among their Christian brethren since they share in the same indwelling Holy Spirit. We should be sympathetic, loving, tender-hearted, and of humble mind. We must not return evil for evil, or reviling for reviling, but instead bless, for we have called to be a blessing, in order that we might be blessed (compare Genesis 12:1-3).

Peter quotes Psalm 34:12-18, teaching that those who desire a good, long life must refrain from speaking evil and deception. They should turn from doing evil and do what is right, seeking and pursuing peace. The Lord’s eye is upon the righteous, and he hears their prayers (see Conditions for Answered Prayer, sidebar, right, home). But the Lord opposes those who do evil.

If we do what is right most people won’t have any reason to do us harm. But if we do suffer for righteousness’ sake, we will be blessed (by our Lord). So let us not fear those who would do us evil, but let us reverence Christ in our hearts as our Lord. Let us always be prepared to defend our hope to those who challenge that hope, but we should do it with reverence and gentleness.

Commentary:

Authentic Christians are those who are “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8), having been  “baptized” with the indwelling Holy Spirit. Calling one a Christian or “born-again” doesn’t make it so. Water baptism and church membership don’t make one a Christian.

In the first-century Church after the first Pentecost, every believer was a born-again Christian. Peter naturally assumed spiritual “rebirth.” Jesus taught his disciples to make disciples and teach them to await and expect spiritual rebirth (Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5, 8).

Paul (Saul of Tarsus) is deliberately intended by God to be the prototype and example of a modern, post-resurrection, born-again disciple (student) and apostle (messenger; of the Gospel) of Jesus Christ. Paul testified to his own spiritual rebirth (Galatians 1:13-17, recorded in Acts 9:1-22). Paul was discipled by a born-again disciple, Ananias (Acts 9:10-15) until Paul was reborn (Acts 9:17-18), and then Paul began to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) which Jesus gave to his disciples to be carried out after they were reborn. His protege, Timothy is an example. Paul discipled Timothy until Timothy was born-again (2 Timothy 1:6-7), and then taught Timothy to repeat the process (2 Timothy 2:2).

At Ephesus, Paul asked disciples whether they had been filled with the Holy Spirit, and they said they had never heard of the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:2). Paul asked them into whose baptism they had been baptized, and they told him John the Baptizer’s (Acts 19:3). Paul told them that John baptized [with water] for repentance to prepare them to receive Jesus (Acts 19:4; compare Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16). Then they were baptized in the name of Jesus and received the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:5-6).

The Church has inherited the ministry of John the Baptizer. The Church is to baptize with water for repentance and spiritual cleansing, so that the candidate is prepared to receive Jesus personally through the “baptism” of the Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). The indwelling Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16). It is impossible to be “baptized” (“infilled”) with the Holy Spirit and not know it, as Acts 19:2 illustrates.

Sadly, in too many instances in the nominal Church today, the “Church” is being lead by “unregenerate” leaders, and teaching that the Holy Spirit is automatically conferred by the church rite of water baptism. This is doing great eternal damage to their members, actually discouraging and preventing them from seeking the baptism of the Holy Spirit (see False Teachings, sidebar, right, home). It is impossible for the unregenerate to lead others to spiritual rebirth. If those leaders knew how, they would not be unregenerate!

There are many unregenerate church members and leaders today, which is why there is so much dissension in the nominal Church between leaders, members and denominations. A person’s and institutions’ actions indicate their spiritual condition.

There are conditions for answered prayer. God is not obligated to hear and answer our prayers if we are not willing to know, trust and obey his Word in the Bible and in Jesus Christ, the “living” Word, fulfilled, embodied and exemplified (John 1:1-5, 14). Just adding Jesus’ name to the end doesn’t obligate God to hear and answer our prayers.

Worldly people have always hated the righteous. Jesus is the perfect, sinless righteous one, and the world hated and crucified him. There are still many people today who hate God the Father and Jesus Christ. In America it is much more prevalent and obvious now than when I was growing up. So we must realize that just because we do what is right according to God’s Word, we aren’t going to avoid hostility and abuse. But our greatest testimony to the world is how we respond to hostility and abuse.

More and more people openly ridicule Christians for their faith in God’s Word and in Jesus Christ. I’ve talked to people who have done so to me. One person claimed that Christian faith was a variety of mass hysteria, although he didn’t use those exact words, and he asked why Christians feel so obsessively compelled to convert others. I replied that if a friend discovered an incredible bargain on an item of universal daily necessity at the local mall, wouldn’t that person want to share that information with his friend? Wouldn’t his friend appreciate being informed of the deal?

In order to prepare to defend what we believe, we need to read the Bible from cover-to-cover, and we need to read portions daily. Numerous times I’ve had an opportunity to testify to someone following my early-morning devotions, where the text of the day was relevant. Paul told Timothy to study the Word (2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16).

Next, begin memorizing scriptures and references to outline God’s Plan of Salvation, such as my own list (sidebar, right, home), so that when an opportunity arises, we will be able to explain God’s plan and our purpose in this Creation. But we must never force our beliefs on others. We must testify with love and concern for the unbelievers, with gentleness and reverence. We may receive anger and argument on the part of the unbeliever, but we must not respond the same way.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Saturday 5 Pentecost – C

First posted July 3, 2010;
Podcast: Saturday 5 Pentecost – C

Luke 5:1-11 – Miraculous Catch of Fish;

Paraphrase:

Jesus was on the shore of the Lake of Gennesaret (Sea of Galilee), and a great crowd was pressing forward to hear God’s Word. Jesus saw two boats beached nearby and he got into one belonging to Simon (Peter), and asked Peter, who became one of Jesus’ Twelve disciples, to anchor the boat slightly offshore, and Jesus sat down in the boat and taught the crowd.

When Jesus finished speaking he asked Peter to move the boat out into deeper water and let down the net for a catch. Peter told him that he and his partners had fished all night and had caught nothing. But Peter was willing to trust Jesus’ word and do as he said. When the net was released it encompassed a great shoal (“school”) of fish. There nets were beginning to break and they called to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They filled both boats to the point that they were beginning to sink.

When Peter saw what was happening he fell down at Jesus’ feet and, addressing him as Lord, asked Jesus to leave, because Peter knew he was a sinner and unworthy to be in Jesus’ presence. Peter, and James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Peter were astonished by the tremendous catch. Jesus told him not to be afraid, and said that from then on they would be fishing for and catching people. When the boats were landed they left everything and followed Jesus.

Commentary:

The crowd was eager to hear Jesus preach God’s Word. Jesus is the “living” Word, the fulfillment, embodiment, and example of God’s Word lived in human flesh in this world (John 1:1-5; 14). Jesus’ word is the Word of God (John 14:10, 24), with the creative force of God’s Word (Mark 4:39-41; Compare Genesis 1: 9). Jesus is God in human flesh (Colossians 2:8-9; John 14:7-9; 20:28).

The people were so eager to hear that in pressing forward those behind were forcing Jesus into the water. Jesus was able to sit in the boat to teach, and sound travels amazingly well over relatively calm water.

Peter, James and John were commercial fishermen with their father Zebedee. They had a lifetime of fishing the Galilean Sea and knew it well. Fishing is best at night. But Peter was willing to set aside his expert knowledge and trust and obey Jesus’ word.

Jesus seeks out sinners, those who are spiritually “Lost.” We are all sinners (have all disobeyed God’s Word) but Jesus can’t do anything for a person who won’t recognize and acknowledge his sinfulness (Matthew 9:12b-13; Luke 5:31-32). We aren’t worthy to be in Jesus’ presence, but he can forgive and cleanse us so that we can receive the gift of his indwelling presence within us by his atoning (compensating; amending) sacrifice on the cross.

Jesus chose to reveal himself to these three future disciples through their earthly experience. He showed them what they could easily recognize was beyond human ability or earthly expectation. Jesus can and does that for each of us, personally and individually, as we are willing to trust and obey his word (see Personal Testimonies, “Discipleship” and “Spiritual Growth.”

The Jewish religious leaders demanded “signs,” miracles showing that Jesus was the Messiah (Christ), Son of God, and there were signs done by Jesus in their presence, even in the temple, but they refused to “see” and accept them. They were experts in “religion” and the Bible, yet didn’t believe.

The Church, at least in America, and America itself are in exactly the same position as Judaism and Israel at the time of Jesus’ First Advent (coming). In many instances, in the nominal Church, religious experts know a lot “about” God, but don’t know God personally (compare Job 42:5). They are running the nominal Church as their private empire; a career choice. They refuse to see the “signs” of Jesus’ miracles all around them, and rebuke those who claim to be healed and “born-again” by the “baptism” of the Holy Spirit.

I personally testify that I was raised in the Evangelical Lutheran Church. My father was an ordained pastor. I knew no other pastor until Dad retired. The minister called to replace Dad was “Spirit-filled.” I was “born-again” under his preaching, and other evangelical influences. He was my first “pastor” who was not related, and he was great!

Then I was called to join the Church of the Nazarene. The pastor there at the time I joined was a great, Spirit-filled preacher and pastor, but he was forced out and the replacement was my worst nightmare of an unregenerate minister. I have left the Nazarene Church and currently attend a Southern Baptist Mega-Church. The senior pastor is born-again and a great Bible believer and teacher.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Week of 4 Pentecost – C – 06/12 – 18/2016

June 11, 2016

Week of 4 Pentecost – C

This is a Three-Year Lectionary based on the Lutheran Book of Worship 3-year Lectionary (for public worship), “Prayers of the Day…” (Propers), p. 13-41, Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, 1978. It is based, with only minor variations, on the Revised Common Lectionary, used by many denominations, including the Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches:

http://www.commontexts.org/

and:

http://www.commontexts.org/rcl/usage.html

The daily readings are the Propers (Lections) for the following Sunday, so that the daily devotions can prepare us for worship. Additional Lections are from Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church, “Scripture lessons for Matins and Vespers,” United Lutheran Church of America, General Rubrics VIII. Scripture lessons for Matins and Vespers, p. 299 – 304, Philadelphia, 1918.

The previous 2- year Bible Study based on the Lutheran Book of Worship, Daily Lectionary for personal devotions p.179-192, Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, 1978, is available at:

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/ (Please bookmark this link).

This ‘blog is mirrored at:

http://shepherdboy-mydailywalk.blogspot.com/

Shepherdboysmydailywalk’s Blog

.mp3 Podcasts via Linux Festival text-to-speech and Panopreter Basic text-to-speech are available at:

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/dw_bible2/a_year/Wklx_a.html

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/dw_bible2/b_year/wklx_b.html

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/dw_bible2/c_year/wklx_c.html

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http://winksite.mobi/shepherdboy/MyDailyWalk

Free to distribute; for personal use, Bible Study Groups, and Adult Christian Education. Disk Image and/or .zip file to burn the complete Bible Study to CD are available at:

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/#Burn_Site_to_CD

To get the most from these studies, it is suggested that you first read the scripture texts for the entry, and then the paraphrase and commentary. It is also recommended that you look up the scripture references, unless you recognize and recall them from memory.

I will post weekly by Saturday, noon, (God willing), Pacific time (UTC-8:00) for the week of the Church Season which begins on Sunday. Please scroll down for the desired day, or save the week to your desktop/hard drive.

 

Podcast Download: Week of 4 Pentecost – C

Sunday 4 Pentecost – C

First Posted June 20, 2010;
Podcast: Sunday 4 Pentecost – C

2 Samuel 11:26-12:10, 13-15 – Nathan Rebukes David;
Psalm 32 – Thanksgiving for Healing ;
Galatians 2:11-21– Paul Rebukes Peter;
Luke 7:36-50 – Jesus’ Anointing;

Samuel Background:

David, the great human shepherd-king of Israel, had adulterous relations with Bathsheba, wife of Uriah the Hittite, and she got pregnant. So David arranged for Uriah to be killed in battle, to conceal his sin (2 Samuel 11:1-25).

2 Samuel 11:26-12:10, 13-15 Paraphrase:

When Bathsheba learned that her husband, Uriah was dead, she mourned according to custom. When her mourning was finished, David sent for her and had her brought to him. He married her and she gave birth to a son. But the Lord was displeased with what David had done.

The Lord sent Nathan, the prophet, to David. Nathan told David a parable of a lamb: There were two men, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had many flocks and herds, but the poor man had only one ewe (female) lamb. The lamb was like a member of his family, eating and sleeping with him, and he raised it like one of his children.

A traveler visited the rich man, and the rich man was unwilling to take a lamb from his own herd to prepare for his guest, so he took the poor man’s lamb. When David heard this he was angered and said that the rich man deserved to die, and should repay the poor man with four lambs to compensate him for the rich man’s lack of pity.

Nathan told David that David was the rich man in the parable. God had anointed David to be king over Israel and Judah, had delivered David from the Saul (David’s enemy and predecessor). The Lord had given David Saul’s house and Saul’s wives, and the houses (territories; peoples) of Israel (2 Samuel 5:1-5) and Judah (2 Samuel 2:1-4). If that was not enough, the Lord would have doubled that. Why then had David despised the Word of God and done evil in God’s judgment? David had slain Uriah by the sword of the Ammonites in battle, and taken his wife to be David’s wife. So the sword would never depart from David’s House (2 Samuel 12:10a), because of his disrespect for the Lord.

David confessed to Nathan that he had sinned. Nathan pronounced that the Lord had forgiven David; David would not die for it. But because David had utterly disrespected the Lord, the son born from the adulterous relationship would die. Then Nathan left and went home.

Psalm 32 Paraphrase:

The person whose sin is forgiven and blotted out is blessed. The person to whom the Lord does not charge with sin and deceit in his spirit is blessed.

The psalmist (David) testifies that when he denied his sin he was beset with guilt. He groaned all day and his body wasted away. The Lord was convicting him heavily and the psalmist’s strength dried up is by summer heat.

Then the psalmist admitted his sin to the Lord and didn’t try to conceal his iniquity; When he confessed his transgressions to the Lord, the Lord forgave the psalmist’s guilt.

So let all who reverence God pray to him. Then in times of troubles, when they feel beset as by a great flood of waters, they will not be swept away; the flood will not reach them. The Lord is their refuge, preserving them from trouble. He surrounds them with deliverance.

“I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, else it will not keep with you” (Psalm 34:9).

The wicked will have much anguish, but those who trust in the Lord will be surrounded by his steadfast love. Let the righteous rejoice and be glad in the Lord! Let those who are upright in heart shout for joy!

Galatians 2:11-21 Paraphrase:

When Cephas (Aramaic for “Peter”) came to Antioch, Paul personally rebuked him, because he had been having meals with Gentiles until certain people came from James (in Jerusalem). Then Peter stopped eating with the Gentiles for fear of the “circumcision party” (“Judaizers;” a faction of Jewish Christians who insisted that Gentiles must keep the Laws of Moses, including circumcision and Jewish dietary laws). The other Jewish Christians  present followed Peter’s example of insincerity, including even Barnabas.

When Paul saw that these Jewish Christians were not straightforward with the Gospel truth, Paul told Peter in front of all that if Peter, who was a Jew, lived like a Gentile, how could he compel Gentiles to live like Jews? “We ourselves, who are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, yet know that people are not justified (found guiltless) by works (keeping) of the Law but through faith (obedient trust) in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law, because by works of the Law will no one be justified” (Galatians 2:14-16).

If in trying to be justified in Christ we are found to be sinners, is Jesus to blame for our sin? Of course not! But if we reestablish the restrictions of the Law from which we have been freed, we prove to be transgressors (compare Romans 8:1-8). Through reading the scriptures we learn that no one can can be justified by the Law because no one can keep all the law all the time (James 2:10); through the Law we are (eternally) dead, but through Christ we are able to live to serve God.

We have been crucified with Christ; so we no longer live for ourselves, but through Christ who lives in us. Now the lives we live in the flesh are by faith in the Son of God, who loved us and gave his life for us. If we could be justified (judged righteous) by keeping the Law, Christ would have died for no purpose, and God’s grace (his free gift; unmerited favor), would be nullified.

Luke 7:36-50 Paraphrase:

Jesus was invited to eat in the home of a Pharisee (a member of a strict legalistic faction of Judaism) named Simon. As Jesus sat (reclined) at table, a woman, who was a sinner who had heard where Jesus was, came, bringing an alabaster jar of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet began washing his feet with her tears and drying them with her hair, kissing his feet and anointing them with ointment. When Simon, the Pharisee host, saw this, he thought to himself that Jesus must not be a prophet, or he would know the sort of woman she was; that the woman touching Jesus was a sinner.

Jesus knew what he was thinking, and told Simon a parable (a fictional story of a common earthly experience used to teach spiritual truth): A creditor had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii and the other owed fifty. They could not repay, so the creditor forgave both debts. Which debtor would love the creditor more? Simon supposed that the one who was forgiven more would love more. Jesus told Simon that his answer was correct.

Then Jesus directed Simon to look at the woman. When Jesus had entered Simon’s house, Simon had given him no water to wash his feet, but this woman had washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. Simon hadn’t greeted Jesus with a kiss, but the woman kissed Jesus’ feet over and over. Simon hadn’t anointed Jesus head with oil, but she had anointed his feet with ointment. So, one can know that she had been forgiven much because she loved much. But those who are forgiven little, love little.

Then Jesus told the woman that her sins had been forgiven. The other guests began to question among themselves who Jesus was, to forgive sins. And Jesus told the woman that her faith had saved her and that she could go in peace.

Commentary:

David’s sin was about to be exposed. Bathsheba was pregnant and Uriah and the entire city would know that Uriah was not the father, because Uriah had been on the battlefield. So David tried to conceal his sin by arranging to have Uriah killed in battle, and thus committed a worse sin.

The Lord sent Nathan, the prophet, to confront David, the King. Confronting power with truth is always risky. David could have had Nathan killed on the spot.

David couldn’t see the guilt of his own actions, as is often the case in ourselves. Whatever we do seems right to us in our own judgment. When David saw the actions impersonally, in the parable, he immediately recognized the injustice.

When we commit sin (disobedience of God’s Word) we do deserve to die [eternally] because God’s Word declares that the penalty for sin is [eternal] death (Romans 6:23; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home). But God is willing to forgive, if we are willing to recognize and confess our sin.

God has blessed us all with life and the goodness of Creation, beyond what we deserve. If we pray in faith (obedient trust) in Jesus’ name, God will give us what we truly need (but not necessarily everything we want; see Conditions for Answered Prayer, sidebar, right, home).

God wants us to honor and obey his Word so that we can have the good life God intends for us. David had broken the Commandments not to kill and not to commit adultery, and the Commandment to love God by trusting and obeying his Word. David had risked all the good things that God had given him, and the good things God had for him in the future.

David was willing to accept the Lord’s rebuke through Nathan and recognize and confess his sin. Nathan was an anointed prophet of the Lord by the Holy Spirit which he had been given, with the authority to declare God’s Word and the authority to pronounce absolution of sin.

Up until the adultery and murder, David had a great career. God forgave David his sin, but there were consequences. The son of adultery with Bathsheba died. The prophecy of the sword in the House of David was fulfilled. Amnon, David’s son by Ahinoam, raped Tamar, Amnon’s sister (2 Samuel 13:1-22). Two years later Absalom invited all David’s sons to a festival of sheepshearing, and the servants killed Amnon during the festivities, in Absalom’s revenge for Tamar’s rape (2 Samuel 13:23-33.

Absalom later led a revolt and usurped the throne, forcing David to flee Jerusalem (2 Sam. 15:13-16). Civil war broke out. Absalom was killed, and David mourned. Then a dispute broke out between Israel and Judah. Nathan’s prophecy was certainly fulfilled. (David died trusting in God and in God’s promises.)

When we recognize and confess our sins the Lord is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us of guilt but if we deny our sins we call God a liar and cut ourselves off from forgiveness and salvation from eternal death (I John 1:8-10).

The psalmist testifies that the Lord is the only one who can forgive our sins, cleanse us from guilt and deliver us from the eternal consequence of sin. The psalmist asks us to listen to his teaching from his personal experience. But the psalm is also prophetic. The Lord himself wants to teach and guide us by his Word.

Paul (Saul of Tarsus) is deliberately intended by God to be the prototype of a modern, post-resurrection, “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) disciple (student) and apostle (messenger; of the Gospel) of Jesus Christ. Paul was confronted by the risen and ascended Jesus as Paul was on the road to Damascus to persecute Christians. Jesus used the miracle of physical blindness to teach Paul that Paul was spiritually blind.

Paul accepted Jesus’ rebuke (Acts 9:4-5) acknowledged him as Lord, repented (Acts 9:8-9), became obedient to Jesus (Acts 9:6, 8), was “discipled” by Ananias, a born-again (Acts 9:10-16 Christian disciple, until Paul was born-again (Acts 9:17-18). Then guided by the Holy Spirit, Paul began to proclaim the Gospel (Acts 9:19b-22) and make born-again disciples of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 1:6-7) and taught them to repeat the process (2 Timothy 2:2).

The Church at Antioch had been troubled by Judaisers, and Paul and Barnabas went to Church headquarters in Jerusalem to get a ruling on the issue (Acts 15:1-29). In that Church council, Peter testified that God had shown him by revelation that God made no distinction between Jew and Gentile converts (Acts 15:7-11; see Acts 11:1-18). It was James who presided over the Council meeting to consider the case of the Gentiles, who formulated the apostolic decree which confirmed that the Gentiles were not subject to the Law of Moses. The decree bound Gentiles only to the commandments given by God to Noah and thus to all mankind (Acts 15:29)

It is ironic that Peter, Barnabas and James had been key participants in the apostolic decree and that Peter, Barnabas, and the delegates of James had succumbed to the pressure of the Judaizers. Paul confronted Peter, a key leader of the Church in Jerusalem, with Peter’s insincerity. It is notable that his insincerity was contagious, and this is often the case in the Church today, where people compromise Biblical Apostolic Doctrine because of peer pressure within the Church.

There are several false teachings in the first-century Church which are refuted in the Bible, which are present in the Church today. One is called “works-righteousness:” teaching that salvation is earned by works (keeping) of the Law (doing good deeds). Here Paul refutes that teaching by clearly stating that salvation is by faith (obedient trust) in Jesus rather than by doing works of the Law (Galatians 2:16).

In his Letter to the Ephesians, he amplifies that salvation is by Grace (a free gift; unmerited favor) which is received by faith (obedient trust), not by works of the Law. (Ephesians 2:8-9). We will do good works because we are “saved” and are filled, guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit to do what God has prepared for us beforehand (Ephesians 2:10).

Saving faith is not a “work” we do by believing “hard enough.” Our “yes” to Jesus as our Savior and Lord is the “mustard seed” of faith  which the Lord causes to grow to maturity as we trust and obey his Word (Luke 13:19).

The deed of love done to Jesus by the sinner woman was evidence of her faith and her forgiveness. Jesus does have the power and authority to forgive sins (Luke 5:24) in response to faith in the recipient. Jesus delegated the authority to forgive or retain sins to his disciples (John 20:23).

The point of the parable of the creditor and two forgiven debtors is that we are all sinners who fall short of God’s standard of righteousness (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10). Someone once said that there are two kinds of people in this world, the sinners who think they’re righteous, and the righteous who know they’re sinners. Simon, the Pharisee, thought he was righteous because he thought he kept the Law of Moses. He only kept some of the Law some of the time.

Simon thought he had no need of forgiveness because he thought he was righteous according to the Law. He didn’t love Jesus because he didn’t think he needed a Savior.

Under the Old Covenant (Testament) of Law, sacrifices had to be made continually for forgiveness of sins, because people were always sinning. Jesus became the only sacrifice acceptable to God, once for all time and all people who are willing to receive it by faith. The old sacrificial system ended at the cross of Jesus Christ. If we attempt to live by works of the Law, by being a “good person,” Jesus will be of no benefit to us, because his salvation must be received by faith in Jesus (Galatians 5:3-5).

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Monday 4 Pentecost – C

First Posted June 21, 2010;
Podcast: Monday 4 Pentecost – C

Psalm 63:1-8 – The Soul that Thirsts;

Paraphrase:

I seek thee, O God; you are my God. My soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in an arid desert without water. In the sanctuary I have seen you and beheld your power and glory. I will praise you with my lips, because your steadfast love is better than life! As long as I live I will bless you; I will lift up my hands in praise to you and call on your name.

My soul is feasted as with rich food. With joyful lips I will praise you aloud, in the night watches, when I meditate on you. I will sing for joy in the shadow of your “wings,” for you have been my source of help. Your right hand upholds me, so my soul clings to you.

Commentary:

This psalm is attributed to David who, with his army of several hundred men, was being pursued by King Saul. David took refuge in the wilderness of Ziph in the Negeb Desert on the southern border of Judah (1 Samuel 26:1-4).

David experienced physical thirst and exhaustion in the wilderness, but he recognized that his spiritual thirst and exhaustion was more urgent, and he knew where to find spiritual thirst-quenching and rest in the Lord. He sought the Lord in the sanctuary of God’s house, and he beheld God’s glory and power. He found that God’s love is steadfast (unfailing), and is better than physical life.

In the midst of the pursuit by his enemy who was determined to destroy him, and in the hardship of the wilderness, he knew that his great joy was to bless and praise the Lord and call upon his name. He had learned that the Lord could abundantly satisfy his spiritual hunger. When he couldn’t sleep during the night because of worry he found the Lord’s help by meditating on the Lord. God is like a great eagle protecting her young; they find security in the shadow of his wings. That security makes it possible to praise the Lord in times of trouble.

When we trust in the Lord we will come to know (John 6:68) that there is abundant help only in him. Jesus is the right arm and hand of God (Psalm 110:1; 138:7; Hebrews 1:13; Romans 8:34).

We are all in the spiritual wilderness and in spiritual night of darkness in this world. We all have spiritual hunger, thirst, and exhaustion and are all seeking to satisfy them. But many are seeking spiritual satisfaction in the wrong places.

There is spiritual satisfaction only in Jesus Christ; all other attempts will ultimately disappoint. David sought spiritual satisfaction in the sanctuary of God’s house and he saw the Lord and his glory and power. He experienced God’s steadfast love and found it better than physical life!

The whole meaning and purpose of life in this Creation is to seek and find God (Acts 17:26-27). When we seek the Lord he will allow himself to be found by us, if we seek him with all our hearts (Deuteronomy 4:29). We can seek him in God’s Word, the Bible, and in Jesus Christ, God in human flesh (Colossians 2:8-9; John 20:28), the “living Word” (John 1:14).

Jesus is the only way to know divine eternal truth, the only way to be forgiven of sin (disobedience of God’s Word; Acts 4:12; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home), the only way to be restored to fellowship with God which was broken by sin, and the only way to have eternal life (John 14:6). If we trust and obey Jesus’ teachings, he will reveal himself (John 14:21) and God the Father to us (John 14:23; Matthew 11:27; compare John 14:7-11).

If we trust and obey Jesus, we will personally experience God’s glory and power. We will come to know him and have fellowship with him through the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a personally discernible, ongoing daily event (Acts 19:2).  The Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16).

In order to have the help and protection of the Lord we have to stay close to him by trusting and obeying his teachings. We need to read the Bible from cover-to-cover, and we need to read portions daily, because the Lord wants us to seek his guidance and help one day at a time (Matthew 6:11).

Our “yes” to Jesus as our personal Savior and Lord is the “mustard seed” of faith (trust and obedience; Matthew 13:31-32). If we begin to trust and obey Jesus, he will show us that he is faithful and able to deliver us from every trouble. As we experience his help we will come to know with certainty beyond mere belief that he is the Lord (John 6:68-69). This is my personal experience and testimony.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Tuesday 4 Pentecost – C

First Posted June 22, 2010;
Podcast: Tuesday 4 Pentecost – C

Zechariah 12:7-10 – The Ideal King;

Paraphrase:

This is God’s Word of prophecy concerning Israel: The Lord declares that it is he who created heaven and earth, and formed the spirits of people within them. He is going to make Israel a cup of drunken staggering to all the surrounding peoples coming against Judah in the siege against Jerusalem.

In that day the Lord will make Jerusalem like a heavy stone for all people who try to lift it; and they will hurt themselves grievously. And, together, all the nations of the earth will come against it. The horse will be stricken with panic and the rider with madness by the Lord in that day. The Lord will watch over Judah; he will strike the eyes of the horses of the [enemy] peoples with blindness. In that day the families of Judah will realize that the the inhabitants of Jerusalem have been given strength by their God, the Lord of hosts (multitudes; armies).

In that day the Lord will make the households of Judah like a blazing pot set upon wood, or a flaming torch among sheaves; all the [foreign] peoples round about will be devoured, while Jerusalem shall remain inhabited.

The Lord will give glory to the households of Judah first, so that they will not be diminished by the glory of Jerusalem and the house of David. In that day the Lord will place a shield around the people of Jerusalem. The feeblest of them will be as mighty as David, and David’s house will be mighty like God, like the angel of the Lord, leading them. The Lord will destroy all the nations which come against Jerusalem in that day.

The Lord will give the household of David and the residents of Jerusalem a spirit of compassion and supplication, so that when they see the one whom they have pierced (Jesus; John 19:33-37; 20:20), they will mourn for him as for a first-born and only child (Luke 2:7; John 1:14, 18 KJV).

Commentary:

Chapters 9-14 of Zechariah were written by disciples of Zechariah sometime in the fourth and third centuries B.C.. Zechariah’s prophecies were made during 520-518 BC and are recorded in Chapters 1-8.*

This is the prophecy of the Battle of Armageddon that will usher in the end of the age and the return of Jesus Christ: the “Second Coming.” The pagan nations will gather and attack Israel, but it is they who will be destroyed. Jesus’ millennial (thousand-year) reign [on earth] will be established.

Jesus Christ is the Son of David (Matthew 1:1; 21:9), and the eternal heir to the throne of David (2 Samuel 7:5-13; Psalm 89:20-29). David is the forerunner and illustration of the Christ (Messiah; both words mean [God’s] “anointed” [eternal Savior and King] in Greek and Hebrew, respectively). David was the great human shepherd-king of Israel. Jesus is the perfect, sinless (Hebrews 4:15) and ideal, good shepherd-king of Israel (John 10:14-15).

I have had a vision a long time ago of the panic and madness of the Last Days. That experience is part of what brought me to repentance and conversion.

The [true] Church is the New Jerusalem. The Lord will place a shield around his people. His people will be as mighty as David, who slew Goliath. Jesus is the leader of God’s people, in the strength and power of God (Colossians 2:8-9; John 20:28). Jesus’ “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) disciples will have experienced his great power personally in their lives. I have! I have experienced his shield of protection, and his empowering of me.

We see the “Gentiles” (pagan nations) gathering against Israel right now in the world today. We also see pagans gathering against the Church. But these things cannot take place until God’s will permits it, just like Jesus was not crucified until God’s timing was fulfilled.

A note of warning: Preaching on “End Times Prophecy” is useful to confront and convince people to repent and turn to the Lord, just as the Lord did for me. But new believers must not get hung up on End Times speculation. Jesus specifically warns his (not yet born-again) disciples not to speculate on times and seasons which the Lord has fixed by his authority (Acts 1:6-7).

Nominal Christians have damaged the Gospel message by professing to know when the end will come. Further, new believers have been hindered in their spiritual growth by being caught up in endless speculation (1 Timothy 1:4. I personally have encountered a new believer who preferred to speculate on “End Times” rather than to learn discipleship, and carry on the mission of the Gospel.

I personally am no authority on End Times because I have not pursued that subject. Preaching on End Times Prophecy led to my conversion, thirty years ago. Then I read the Bible from cover-to-cover, began reading portions of the Bible daily with meditation and prayer, began trusting and obeying Jesus’ teachings, sought the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17) and then began proclaiming the Gospel (compare Paul’s conversion, Acts 9:1-22).

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?


*The Oxford Annotated Bible, Revised Standard Version, Ed. by Herbert G. May and Bruce M. Metzger, Zechariah introduction, p. 1148, New York, Oxford University Press, 1962.


Wednesday 4 Pentecost – C

First Posted June 23, 2010;
Podcast: Wednesday 4 Pentecost – C

Galatians 3:23-29;

Paraphrase:

Before (the New Covenant of) faith came, we were restrained under the Law (of Moses; the Old Covenant recorded in God’s Word, the Bible), until “faith” was revealed. Law was our “caretaker” until Christ came, so that we could be justified (judged blameless; pardoned; the opposite of condemned) by faith.

Now that faith (obedient trust; in Jesus Christ) has come, believers are no longer under the restraint of our “caretaker.” All believers are sons (and daughters) of God by faith. Those who have been baptized in Christ have been clothed in Christ. There is no longer any distinction between Jew and Greek, nor slave and free, nor male and female, because we’re all the same in Christ. Moreover, if we are in Christ, we are [spiritual] children of Abraham, and heirs of God’s promise.

Commentary:

Jesus came to establish a New Covenant (Testament) of grace to be received by faith (obedient trust; Ephesians 2:8-9). Until that time, God’s people were under the Old Covenant of Law, recorded in the Old Testament of the Bible. God’s people were unable to keep the Law, and the priests had to offer continual sacrifices for the forgiveness of the sins of themselves and the people.

God has been revealing his plan for Creation through the history of his relationship with Israel recorded in the Bible. The Law was intended to teach people God’s standard of righteousness (doing what is right, good and true according to God’s Word) and to restrain God’s people until the time for the New Covenant to be established by the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The Old Covenant system of sacrifices was intended to show God’s people that they could not satisfy the requirements of the Law by their own human strength (James 2:10) and that blood sacrifice was necessary for the forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 9:18-22).

Old Covenant sacrifices involved a feast of the slain animal, after parts were offered on the altar. The original Passover was intended to foreshadow and illustrate what God would do in Jesus Christ. A perfect lamb was to be slain. The lamb’s blood would mark the Israelites to be “passed over” by the destroying angel when the first-born of the Egyptians was slain; and the lamb’s flesh provided the feast (Exodus 12:1-14).

Jesus has been God’s one and only plan for Creation from the very beginning (John 1:1-5, 14). At the right moment in history, according to God’s will and timing, Jesus came in the flesh to establish the New Covenant, and to die as the one and only sacrifice acceptable to God (Acts 4:12), from then on, for the forgiveness of sin, to be received by faith in Jesus.

Jesus is the “unblemished lamb” sacrificed on the cross for our forgiveness. His blood marks believers as God’s people, and his flesh provides the feast of the New Passover, the Lord’s Supper (Holy Communion; Eucharist), in the elements of wine (or grape juice) and bread (John 6:35, 48-50). Jesus instituted the New Passover during the celebration of the Jewish Passover with his disciples on the night of his betrayal and arrest (Matthew 26:26-28; and see note “g” RSV; Hebrews 8:8-13, 12:24).

The blood of Jesus cleanses believers and makes it possible for them to become temples of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). The “baptism” of the Holy Spirit is a personally discernible, ongoing daily experience (Acts 19:2). The Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16).

This gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit is not automatically conferred by the “Church” by water baptism (see False Teachings, sidebar, right, home). The true Church “disciples” new believers and encourages them to seek the “baptism” of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49; Acts 1: 4-5, 8).

We are all sinners and fall short of God’s standard of righteousness (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10), and the penalty for sin is [eternal] death (Romans 6:23). Jesus is God’s only provision for our forgiveness and salvation (Acts 4:12; John 14:6; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home).

This lifetime in this world is our opportunity to seek, find and have fellowship with God our Creator (Acts 19:2), and be spiritually “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8), and this is only possible through faith in Jesus Christ. This lifetime is our opportunity to learn by trial-and-error that God’s way is good, possible to do, and our very best interest (Romans 12:2).

This lifetime is our chance to choose whether to live in God’s eternal kingdom, according to God’s standard of righteousness, or not. God has designed this temporal world to allow for sin (disobedience of God’s Word) so that we can have the freedom to choose whether to trust and obey God or not. But God is not going to tolerate rebellion and disobedience forever, and not at all in the perfect paradise of his kingdom in heaven or it wouldn’t be heaven. Under the Old Covenant, his people were motivated by fear; under the New Covenant we are motivated by love and by the empowerment of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1-13).

The only distinction which matters is whether one is in Christ or not. A Christian is a disciple of Jesus Christ (Acts 11:26c) who has been born-again by the baptism of the indwelling Holy Spirit. It is not the physical children of Abraham but the spiritual children of Abraham who are the heirs of God’s promises in the Bible (Galatians 3:7-9).

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Thursday 4 Pentecost – C

First Posted June 24, 2010;
Podcast: Thursday 4 Pentecost – C

Luke 9:18-24 – Peter’s Confession;

Paraphrase:

With his disciples, Jesus had gotten away from the crowds, in order to pray, and he asked his disciples who people were saying that Jesus was. They replied that some said Jesus was John the Baptizer, others said he was Elijah or one of the prophets of old that had risen from the dead. Then Jesus asked his disciples who they thought Jesus was and Peter declared that Jesus was the Christ (Messiah) of God. But Jesus commanded them to tell no one.

Then Jesus told them that he, “the Son of man,” would have to suffer much and be rejected by the Jewish elders, priests and teachers of the Law of Moses. Jesus would be killed and would rise again from death on the third day.

Jesus said, to all, that anyone who decides to follow Jesus must deny his own self-interest and must pick up his own cross every day and follow Jesus. Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for Jesus’ sake will save it.

Commentary:

Each of us must decide for ourselves who Jesus is. Jesus referred to himself as the Son of man, which was true, but which allowed people to decide for themselves whether he was the Son of God (Luke 1:31-35), with a hint from Daniel 7:13-14.

Jesus wants people to follow him by their own free will. Jesus warned his disciples not to try to tell anyone that Jesus was the Christ (Messiah; both mean [God’s] “anointed” [prophet; priest; king] in Greek and Hebrew respectively). They must come to that realization on their own. One cannot be saved by taking their parents’ or their pastor’s word that Jesus is the Christ.

I have talked with some who thought that John the Baptizer was intended by God to be the Christ, but failed. Not so! John was the fulfillment of the prophecy of the return of (a prophet like) Elijah to herald the coming of the Christ (Malachi 3:1, 4:5; Matthew 17:10-13), and in fact, Elijah did return (Matthew 17:1-8) and was witnessed by the three disciples of Jesus’ inner circle: Peter, James and John.

The mission of John the Baptizer was to prepare people to receive the Christ by spiritually cleansing them by water baptism for repentance (Luke 3:1-9), and to point them to Christ (John 1:31-34; Luke 3:21). This is the role that the Church has inherited. Only Jesus’ disciples baptized with water; not Jesus himself (John 4:2). Only Jesus baptizes with the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 1:31-34), only his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17).

Jesus’ word is the Word of God, with the creative force of God’s Word (Mark 4:39-41; Compare Genesis 1: 9). Jesus could command us and we would have no choice but to obey. There is a day coming when Jesus will command us either to enter his eternal kingdom or to depart into eternal hell (John 5:28-29; Philippians 2:9-11).

Jesus prophesied his crucifixion and resurrection at least three times (Matthew 16:21; 17:22; 10:17-19; compare Luke 18:31-34). The defining characteristic of God’s Word is it’s fulfillment; God’s Word is always fulfilled (Deuteronomy18:21-22), and it is eternal: it is fulfilled over and over as the conditions for its fulfillment are met.

Worldly people hated Jesus and tried to destroy him. His disciples cannot expect to be treated better, if they are being true to Jesus’ teachings (John 15:18, 25). Jesus’ disciples need not fear them; the worst that the worldly can do is to kill us physically, but God will raise us to eternal life (Matthew 10:28; Luke 12:4).

Disciples of Jesus Christ must be willing to set aside their personal interests in order to follow Jesus. We really don’t know what we want and truly need. Left to ourselves we will self-destruct. When it is too late, we will find that what we pursued was eternally worthless and ultimately unsatisfying. If we love our lives now in this fallen world, we will lose the chance for eternal life in paradise restored in God’s kingdom in heaven.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Friday 4 Pentecost – C

First Posted June 25, 2010;
Podcast: Friday 4 Pentecost – C

Romans 8:13-23 – Spirit and Sonship;

Paraphrase:

If we live according to the flesh we will die [eternally], but if we put to death the deeds of the flesh we will live [eternally]. “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons [children] of God” (Romans 8:14). We are not given the spirit of slavery, so that we fall back into fear, but we receive the spirit of sonship [adoption]. “When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:15b-16), and if children, then we are heirs, if we are willing to suffer for the Gospel as Jesus suffered, in order to be glorified with him.

The Apostle Paul considered that the suffering for the sake of the Gospel was insignificant compared to the glory which will be revealed to us. Creation has been in bondage to futility, as it awaits, with eager longing, the revealing of the children of God. God subjected Creation to futility, not by its own will, but by the will of God, in hope [of release], since Creation will be eventually set free from bondage to decay and will obtain the glorious liberty of God’s children. All this time Creation has been groaning as in the travail of childbirth, and not only Creation, but we ourselves groan as we await the redemption of our bodies and adoption as children of God.

Commentary:

We’re all going to die physically, sooner or later. But God has intended for us to live eternally with him in paradise restored in his eternal kingdom. This temporal lifetime is our one and only opportunity to learn to trust and obey God and to be “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) to true, eternal life, which is only possible through faith (obedient trust) in Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home) by the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Only Jesus “baptizes” with the Holy Spirit (John 1:31-34), only his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). The Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16). The “anointing” of the indwelling Holy Spirit is a personally discernible, ongoing, daily, experience (Acts 19:2); it is  impossible to be filled with the Holy Spirit and “hardly know it.”

It is impossible to overcome the weakness of our physical nature without the help of the Holy Spirit. God is not going to give us the gift of his indwelling Holy Spirit unless he is reasonably certain that we intend to be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit. We can expect to be tested to see whether we are committed to obedient trust in Jesus before we’re given the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Premature spiritual rebirth would be a spiritual disaster for us (Hebrews 6:4-6).

By the anointing of the indwelling Holy Spirit we have a foretaste of glory in God’s eternal kingdom. It isn’t true that we cannot know whether the Gospel of eternal life is true until we die physically. Those who believe come to certain, assured knowledge (John 6:68-69). Eternal life begins now in this temporal world, for those who believe.

“Abba” is the Aramaic word for “Father.” The phrase was used in the first-century Church in worship. It is impossible to truly praise the Lord without the anointing of the indwelling Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3; Romans 8:15-17).

Don’t expect worldly people to treat Christians any better than they treated Jesus. We’re going to encounter tribulation and suffering for the sake of the Gospel. But we can experience the joy of the presence of the Lord through the gift of the Holy Spirit now, and be assured that the suffering is well worth while.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Saturday 4 Pentecost – C

First Posted June 26, 2010;
Podcast: Saturday 4 Pentecost – C

Luke 6:36-42 – Christian Lifestyle;

Paraphrase:

We should be merciful in dealing with others as God our Father has been merciful to us. Let us not judge others, and then we won’t be judged ourselves. Let us not condemn others, and then we won’t come under condemnation. If we want forgiveness, we must forgive others. If we give generously to others, God will give to us generously, in our laps, in full measure, overflowing.

Jesus taught in parables (stories of common earthly experiences used to teach spiritual truth). How can a blind man lead a blind man; they’ll both fall into a pit! A disciple is not greater than his teacher, but when fully taught will be like his teacher. We tend to notice tiny flaws in others more readily than we notice large flaws in ourselves. How can we presume to correct someone else before dealing with our own flaws? Let us first deal with our own flaws, and then we will be able to help our brother clearly.

Commentary:

One of the great problems of our human nature is that we tend to do whatever seems right in our own eyes (Deuteronomy 12:8; Judges 17:6, 21:25; Proverbs 12:15). The reason is because we have no “King” (God; Lord); we want to be our own “king” (Genesis 3:5b). When people do what is right in their own judgment there is chaos and anarchy.

In society today, particularly in America, many people reject an absolute standard of right and wrong. They think, “How can one say what is right for someone else?” So people do whatever is right in their own judgment.

There is an absolute standard, and that standard is the Word of God, recorded in the Bible. The Bible contains both precious promises and ominous warnings. The Word of God is eternal and is fulfilled over and over, as the conditions for its fulfillment are met. If we obey God’s Word we will receive the blessings; if we disobey, we will receive the penalties God’s warnings were intended to help us avoid.

When we’re our own “god,” it seems O.K. to judge and condemn others. We don’t feel the need of forgiveness because we think we’re doing right according to our own standard. We don’t value mercy for ourselves, or give it to others. Or we may think that by being generous, forgiving and merciful to others that we are entitled to the same forgiveness, generosity and mercy.

Being non-judgmental of others doesn’t mean that we have to suspend our discernment. We have been born into a world of spiritual darkness. We are spiritually blind until the Lord opens our spiritual eyes to understand God’s Word. (Luke 24:45).

This lifetime is our opportunity to seek, find and have fellowship with God our Father, and this is only possible through faith (obedient trust) in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12; John 14:6; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home). Only Jesus “baptizes” (anoints) with the Holy Spirit (John 1:31-34), only his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). The Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16).

This lifetime is our one and only opportunity to be spiritually “born-again” to eternal life (John 3:3, 5-8). It is impossible to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and “hardly know it” (Acts 19:2). The baptism of the indwelling Holy Spirit is personally discernible, ongoing, daily experience.

We have a hard time understanding spiritual things. The material realm seems so much more “real” and substantial to us. We can see and touch what is material. But material substance will pass away and only what is spiritual will remain. Jesus used parables to teach spiritual truth in a way we can understand from our earthly experience.

In the world and even in the nominal Church today there are many blind guides. In particular, the nominal Church has failed to make born-again disciples of Jesus Christ and has settled for making “members.” The result is that there are no born-again disciples of Jesus Christ to select for Church leaders. Too often nominal Church leaders are “blind guides” because they have not been spiritually reborn by  the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

It takes born-again disciples of Jesus to make born-again disciples. If unregenerate (not born-again) leaders knew what they lacked and how to get it, they wouldn’t be unregenerate.

We need to become disciples of Jesus Christ first, staying within the Church (the New Jerusalem) being discipled by born-again disciples until we have been born again, before going into the world with the Gospel (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5, 8; Matthew 28:19-20). Paul’s (Saul of Tarsus’) conversion is the example of a modern, post-resurrection, born-again, disciple (student) and apostle (messenger; of the Gospel) of Jesus Christ, as we all can and should be (Acts 9:1-20).

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Week of 3 Pentecost – C -06/05 – 11/2016

June 4, 2016

This is a Three-Year Lectionary based on the Lutheran Book of Worship 3-year Lectionary (for public worship), “Prayers of the Day…” (Propers), p. 13-41, Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, 1978. It is based, with only minor variations, on the Revised Common Lectionary, used by many denominations, including the Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches:

http://www.commontexts.org/

and:

http://www.commontexts.org/rcl/usage.html

The daily readings are the Propers (Lections) for the following Sunday, so that the daily devotions can prepare us for worship. Additional Lections are from Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church, “Scripture lessons for Matins and Vespers,” United Lutheran Church of America, General Rubrics VIII. Scripture lessons for Matins and Vespers, p. 299 – 304, Philadelphia, 1918.

The previous 2- year Bible Study based on the Lutheran Book of Worship, Daily Lectionary for personal devotions p.179-192, Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, 1978, is available at:

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/ (Please bookmark this link).

This ‘blog is mirrored at:

http://shepherdboy-mydailywalk.blogspot.com/

Shepherdboysmydailywalk’s Blog

.mp3 Podcasts via Linux Festival text-to-speech and Panopreter Basic text-to-speech are available at:

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http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/dw_bible2/b_year/wklx_b.html

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Podcast: Week of 3 Pentecost C

3 Pentecost – Sunday – C

First Posted June 13, 2010;

Podcast: 3 Pentecost Sunday C

1 Kings 17:17-24 – Widow’s Son Raised from Death;
Psalm 30 – Restoration from Death;
Galatians 1:11-24 – Paul’s Apostleship;
Luke 7:11-17 – Widow’s Son Raised from Death;

1 Kings Paraphrase:

Elijah had boarded with a widow of Zarephath (in Phoenicia) during a drought (1 Kings 17:1-10a). During his stay, the widow’s son became ill and stopped breathing. The widow accused Elijah of bringing this calamity upon her because of her sin. Elijah took the son upstairs to his room and accused God of bringing calamity upon the widow with whom Elijah was staying. Then Elijah stretched himself upon the son three times and prayed that the Lord would cause the son’s soul to return to him, and the son revived. Elijah took the child down to his mother and assured her that the child was living. The widow replied that now she was certain that Elijah was a man of God and that the Word of God which he spoke was true.

Psalm 30 Paraphrase:

The psalmist (David, the shepherd-king of Israel) praised God for healing. The Lord had not allowed the psalmist’s enemies triumph over him. He had cried to the Lord for healing, and the Lord had brought him up out of the land of the dead, and restored him to life from among those in the grave.

Let all those who are consecrated to the Lord’s service praise him and give thanks to his holy name. “For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

When he was prosperous, the psalmist thought he was secure in himself, but it was by the Lord’s favor that he had become established and strong; when the Lord took away his favor, then the psalmist was dismayed.

Then the psalmist cried to the Lord and pleaded. He asked what would be gained by his own death; then he would no longer be able to praise the Lord and and testify to his faithfulness. He asked the Lord to be gracious and help him.

Then the psalmist declared: “Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing; thou hast loosed my sackcloth (garb of ritual mourning) and girded me with gladness, that my soul may praise thee and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to thee for ever” (Psalm 30:11-12).

Galatians Paraphrase:

Paul (Saul of Tarsus) was not preaching a Gospel devised by mankind. He hadn’t received it from humans nor had he been taught by them; he received it directly by revelation from [the risen and ascended] Jesus Christ. The Galatians had heard of Paul’s former life in Judaism; how he had persecuted the Church in an attempt to destroy it. Paul was advanced in Judaism far beyond his peers because of his zeal for Jewish tradition. But God had designated Paul before his birth to be the one to preach Christ to the Gentiles, and in his timing, God revealed Christ to Paul. Paul didn’t go to Jerusalem to confer with the apostles designated by Jesus during Jesus’ physical ministry. Instead, Paul went straight away to Arabia, and then returned to Damascus.

Only after three years [of preaching the Gospel] Paul went to Jerusalem and spent fifteen days with Cephas (Peter; not enough time to be taught). The only other disciple he saw was James, the Lord’s brother. (Paul testifies that this is the truth.) After that, he went into [the Roman province of] Syria and Cilicia. Paul was still not recognized by sight in the churches of Judea; they had only heard of Paul as preaching the Christian faith he once persecuted and tried to destroy. So they glorified God because of Paul’s conversion.

Luke Paraphrase:

Jesus went with his disciples to the city of Nain (on the southern border of the Roman province of Galilee), and a great crowd followed him. As he approached the gate he encountered a funeral procession of an only son of a widow. A large number of her fellow residents accompanied her. The Lord [Jesus] had compassion on her and told her not to weep. He approached the bier and touched it, and the bearers stopped still. Jesus commanded the son to arise and he did so, and began talking.

Everyone who witnessed this was terrified, and all glorified God. They acknowledged Jesus as a great prophet, and that God had visited his people. This news spread throughout the entire country of Judea and the surrounding region.

Commentary:

God has always intended, from the beginning of Creation, to establish an eternal kingdom of his people who willingly choose to trust and obey him. This lifetime is our one and only opportunity to seek, find, and come to know and have fellowship with God, our Father, our Creator (Acts 17:26-27), and our only opportunity to be spiritually “reborn” (John 3:3, 5-8) to eternal life.

We are all born physically alive into this world, but spiritually “unborn.” This lifetime is our only opportunity to be spiritually “born-again.” Finding and having fellowship with God and spiritual rebirth are only possible through faith (obedient trust) in Jesus Christ (John 14:6), by the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a personally discernible ongoing daily event; it is impossible to be “born-again” and “hardly know it” (Acts 19:2). The Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16).

God has been progressively revealing his plan for Creation in the Bible through his dealings with Israel. Elijah was deliberately intended by God to be a forerunner and illustration of Christ.

Jesus Christ has been designed into Creation from the very beginning (John 1:1-5, 14). God has designed this world to allow for sin (disobedience of God’s Word). We have all sinned and fall short of God’s righteousness (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10). The penalty for sin is eternal death (Romans 6:23). God loves us and doesn’t want anyone to perish eternally (Romans 5:8; John 3:16-17). Jesus is God’s one and only provision for forgiveness of our sin, and salvation from eternal death (Acts 4:12; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right).

David was deliberately intended by God to be the forerunner and illustration of the Christ. Jesus is the “Good Shepherd” (John 10:11), the “Son of David” (Matthew 1:1; 21:9; 22:42), and God’s “anointed” (Messiah and Christ each mean “anointed” in Hebrew and Greek, respectively) eternal savior and king.

Our spiritual enemies are sin, death and Satan. Only Jesus can deliver us from our spiritual enemies. I personally testify that when I was beset by my spiritual enemies, I cried to the Lord and he delivered me; he healed me spiritually and delivered me from spiritual death to eternal life.

I had trusted in my own ability, and I thought that my success was my own achievement, not realizing that it was only by God’s favor. When he withdrew his favor, I suffered. That was a great blessing, because I came to know that I needed God’s favor. I was able to repent and turn to the Lord in faith (obedient trust). The Lord heard my prayer and my supplication. He was gracious to me and helped me. He literally turned my mourning in dancing and girded me with gladness.

Paul was deliberately intended by God to be the forerunner and illustration of a “modern, post-resurrection, “born-again” disciple (student) and apostle (messenger; of the Gospel) of Jesus Christ, as all of us can be. Paul was God’s choice to replace Judas Iscariot, Jesus’ betrayer (not Matthias: Acts 1:15-26).

I claim to be the fulfillment of the promise of God through Paul. The Gospel that I preach is by revelation from the risen and ascended Jesus Christ, who confronted me with my sin on the road of life and converted me. My Gospel is not devised or taught me by mankind but by revelation by the risen and ascended Jesus. I haven’t conferred with leaders of the Church, nor been validated by them. The Bible is my validation: Read it!

Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise foretold in Elijah (Luke 7:16). Jesus is the only one who can restore us from physical death to eternal life.

The widow of Nain believed that Elijah was a man of God, but her faith became certainty as she trusted in him (compare John 6:68-69).

Is Jesus your Lord? Are you Jesus’ disciple? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

3 Pentecost – Monday C
First Posted June 14, 2010;

Podcast: 3 Pentecost Monday C

Psalm 32 – Thanksgiving for Healing

(This psalm is attributed to David, the great human shepherd-king of Israel).

Paraphrase:

The psalmist testifies that the those whose sin is forgiven and forgotten are blessed. Those who the Lord does not judge as sinful and deceitful are blessed.

The psalmist testifies that he was afflicted with suffering and wasted away when he did not acknowledge his sinfulness. God’s hand was heavily upon him, causing him to groan day and night; his strength was died up [like dew] by the summer heat.

Then he acknowledged his sin and did not conceal his iniquity. He decided to confess his sin to the Lord, and the Lord forgave him of guilt for his sin.

So let all who are godly (who emulate God’s nature) pray to the Lord. In times of troubles, when assailed as in a flood, they shall not be swept away. The Lord is a hiding place and refuge for us. He preserves us from trouble and surrounds us with deliverance.

Let me instruct and teach you in the right way; I will keep my eye on you and offer you my counsel. Don’t be like a mule or a horse which doesn’t understand; which must be restrained by bit and bridle, or it will not cooperate.

Many are the pangs of the wicked; but those who trust in the Lord are surrounded by his steadfast love. Let the righteous (those who do what is good, right and true, according to God’s Word), and those who are upright in their innermost selves, rejoice and be glad; let them shout for joy [in the Lord].

Commentary:

David was deliberately intended by God to prefigure and illustrate the Messiah (Christ), God’s “anointed” eternal Savior and King, Jesus Christ. I concur with my namesake’s testimony; it has been my own personal experience. The Lord is willing and abundantly able to forgive and forget our sins [disobedience of God’s Word in the Bible and in Jesus Christ, who is the fulfillment, embodiment, and illustration of God’s Word lived in human flesh in this world (John 1:14)].

We have all sinned and fall short of God’s standard of righteousness (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10) and the penalty for sin is [eternal] death (Romans 6:23). If we deny our sin we will only go from bad to worse. Only when we recognize and confess our sin can we be spiritually healed and restored to eternal life and fellowship with God our Creator (Acts 17:26-27). Jesus is God’s one and only provision for our forgiveness and eternal salvation (Acts 4:12), and our only way to know divine eternal truth and have fellowship with God our Father (John 14:6; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right).

The Lord Jesus Christ is the only refuge that is eternally secure. In times of trouble we can call to him and he will protect, preserve and deliver us. I testify that this has been my personal experience.

Let me [or any truly “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) disciple (student) and apostle (messenger; of the Gospel)] teach new believers. New believers are to be “discipled” by born-again disciples within the [true] Church (the modern equivalent of “Jerusalem,” the City of God: Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5, 8 ), until they have been born-again [the Apostle Paul is the Biblical example (Acts 9:10-18)] before going into the world with the Gospel (Acts 9:20).

Is Jesus your Lord? Are you Jesus’ disciple? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

3 Pentecost – Tuesday C
First Posted June 15, 2010;

Podcast: 3 Pentecost Tuesday C

2 Samuel 11:26-12:10, 13-15 – Speaking Truth to Power;

Background:

King David had committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, who became pregnant (2 Samuel 11:1-5). Then to avoid public censure, David had Uriah killed in battle (2 Samuel 11:14-21).

Text Paraphrase:

When Bathsheba heard that her husband was dead she mourned for him, and when the period of mourning was finished, David had her brought to him and she became his wife and delivered the son conceived in adultery. But what David had done displeased the Lord.

So the Lord sent Nathan the prophet to David, and Nathan told David the parable of a ewe (female) lamb. There was a rich man who had many flocks and herds, and a poor man who had only a single ewe. The ewe was regarded as a member of the poor man’s family; she ate and slept with the poor man. The rich man had a guest visiting, and was unwilling to take one of his own lambs to prepare for dinner for his guest, so he took the poor man’s lamb. When David heard this he became angry with the obvious injustice, and he told Nathan that the man who had done so deserved to die, and should restore four lambs to the poor man for the rich man’s deed and his lack of pity.

Then Nathan told David that David was that rich man. Nathan declared the Word of the Lord that God had anointed David to be King of Israel. God had delivered him out of the hand of King Saul (David’s predecessor) and had given David Saul’s house and Saul’s wives, (as was the custom of the time; 2 Samuel 16:21-22; 1 Kings 2:17-25). God had given David the house of Israel and the house of Judah; and if all that were not enough God would have doubled that. Why then had David despised God’s Word and done what was evil in God’s judgment? David had taken Uriah’s wife and had caused Uriah’s death by the sword of the Ammonites. So God declared that David’s house would never be free of strife, because David had disregarded God and had taken Bathsheba as his wife.

Then David confessed to Nathan that he had sinned against the Lord, and Nathan pronounced David’s absolution: God had forgiven David’s sin and David would not die for it, but that the son born of adultery would die, because by that deed of adultery, David had utterly scorned the Lord. Then Nathan returned to his house. And the Lord struck the child of David’s adultery and it became sick.

Commentary:

Speaking truth to power is a risky business. The king could have had Nathan killed on the spot.

Moreover, our human nature makes us think that whatever we do is alright. What we would recognize as obvious injustice in the behavior of others is not easy for us to recognize and acknowledge in ourselves.

No matter how much we have, we always seem to want more. Material possessions and worldly accomplishments can never truly satisfy.

Our eternal salvation depends upon God’s forgiveness, and that forgiveness is only through faith (obedient trust) in Jesus Christ. The body and blood of Jesus shed on the cross is the only sacrifice acceptable to God for our forgiveness and salvation. God has appointed Jesus to be the judge and the standard of judgment by which all will be judged.

We have all sinned and fall short of God’s righteousness (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10), and the penalty for sin (disobedience of God’s Word, in the Bible and in Jesus Christ, the “living Word;” John 1:14) is (eternal) death (Romans 6:23). Jesus is God’s only provision for our forgiveness and salvation (Acts 4:12; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right).

Unless we recognize and acknowledge our sinfulness, we cannot receive God’s forgiveness. But too often in society and even in the Church today people are unwilling to hear talk about sin, death, and hell. People were no different in Israel in the time of Jesus’ physical ministry. Jesus spoke truth to the people in Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown, and they thought his teachings were so offensive that they tried to throw him off a cliff (Luke 4:16-30). As a result Jesus moved to Capernaum. The people lost the benefit of the teaching and healing only Jesus can provide (Matthew 13:54-58).

Paul told Timothy that the time would come when people would not endure sound teaching but would get for themselves teachers who would “tickle their ears” with teachings to their liking (2 Timothy 4:3-4), settling for myths rather than truth. That time has come!

Jesus is Truth (John 14:6)! Unless we are willing to hear unpleasant truths about ourselves, we cut ourselves off from the source of truth and the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17).

Like David, we all deserve to die eternally, but God loves us and doesn’t want us to perish eternally (Romans 5:8; John 3:16-17) and he will forgive our sin and give us eternal life. But our sins may cause earthly consequences that cannot be undone and we may have to live with those consequences.

I didn’t repent and come to saving faith in Jesus until midlife. Up to then, I had done a lot of things which seemed right to me at the time, but of which I’m now ashamed. How much better it would have been for me to have come to be spiritually “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) earlier in my life, so that I wouldn’t have so many shameful regrets, and would have had more time to do the one thing in life which has eternal value: Proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Is Jesus your Lord? Are you Jesus’ disciple? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

3 Pentecost – Wednesday C
First Posted June 15, 2010;

Podcast: 3 Pentecost Wednesday C

Galatians 2:11-21 – Justified by Faith;

Paraphrase:

When Cephas (the Aramaic equivalent for “Peter;” the head of the Church) came from Jerusalem to Antioch (in central Asia Minor; present day Turkey) Paul rebuked him because Peter was guilty (of insincerity). Before certain men came from James (from the Church headquarters in Jerusalem; the leader of the question of Gentile converts: Acts 15:13-29: 21:18-24), Peter had been eating with the Gentiles (not according to Jewish dietary laws), but when the men arrived he withdrew from table fellowship with Gentiles, for fear of the “circumcision party” (Judaizers; a Christian faction who insisted that Gentile Christians must be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses). The other Jews followed Peter’s example and also acted insincerely. But Paul rebuked Peter in front of the entire group, when he saw that Peter was not being honest about the Gospel truth.

Paul told him that if Peter, who was born a Jew, lived like a Gentile (not under the Law of Moses) how could he compel Gentiles to live like Jews? “We ourselves, who are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, yet who know that a [person] is not justified (reckoned righteous) by works (keeping) of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law, because by works of the law will no flesh be justified” (Galatians 2:15-16). If in trying to be justified by faith in Christ, we are guilty of breaking the Law of Moses, does that make Christ an agent of sin? Certainly not! But we become transgressors if we rebuild the things which have been torn down (the restrictions of the Law).

Paul had died to the Law so that he could live to serve God. He (and we) have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives within us; we now live in the flesh by faith in God’s Son, who loved us and sacrificed himself for us. Let us not nullify the grace (unmerited favor; free gift) of God, for then Christ will have died for no reason, if justification were by keeping the Law.

Commentary:

Judaizers were present in the first-century Church and they are present today. We can’t earn our way into heaven by doing certain “good deeds.” Salvation from eternal condemnation is a free gift to be received by faith (obedient trust; Ephesians 2:8-10). Saving faith is acting upon what we profess in Jesus Christ according to the Bible.

Insincerity is contagious. If Church leaders practice insincerity so will their parishioners (Galatians 2:13). I have personally witnessed this phenomenon. Note that Jesus is truth (John 14:6; 15-17) and that we cannot have fellowship with Jesus unless we are committed to truth.

If we believe (trust and obey) Jesus, we are freed from the restrictions of the Law so that we live according to the guidance and empowerment of the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1-13), which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). The Law was intended to restrain us by fear of punishment until the coming of the Holy Spirit. By the Holy Spirit we are enabled to fulfill the Law from love rather than from fear.

Is Jesus your Lord? Are you Jesus’ disciple? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

3 Pentecost – Thursday C
First Posted June 17, 2010;

Podcast: 3 Pentecost Thursday C

Luke 7:36-50 – Anointing at Bethany;

Background:

According to Matthew (Mt 26:6-13), Mark (Mark 14:3-9) and John (John 12:1-8), this incident took place in Bethany during the week before Jesus’ crucifixion, at the home of Simon the Leper, a Pharisee, or at the home of Lazarus. John’s account reports that the woman was Mary of Bethany. There’s no evidence to identify the woman as Mary Magdalene.

Text Paraphrase:

A Pharisee asked Jesus to have dinner with him, and as Jesus sat at table, a woman of the city, a sinner, heard where Jesus was and came with an alabaster flask of ointment. From behind him at his feet, she wept and began washing Jesus’ feet with her tears and drying them with her hair. Then she kissed his feet and anointed them with ointment. The Pharisee thought to himself that if Jesus were a prophet he would have known the sort of woman who was touching him, because she was a sinner.

Jesus knew Simon’s thoughts and began to tell him a parable (a fictional story of a common earthly experience to teach spiritual truth). Jesus said that a creditor had two debtors; one owed fifty denarii and the other five hundred. When neither could pay he forgave them both. Which debtor would love the creditor more? The Pharisee said that the one who had been forgiven more would be more grateful, and Jesus affirmed his judgment.

Then Jesus told him to look at the woman. Simon hadn’t given Jesus water to wash his feet, hadn’t greeted him with at kiss, or anointed Jesus’ head with olive oil, as was the custom of honoring a guest. But the woman had washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, dried them with her hair, and anointed them with ointment. Her love expressed in these gestures indicates that she knows she has been forgiven much; but he who feels little need for forgiveness love little. Then Jesus told the woman that her sins were forgiven, and the guests at the table began to question among them selves who Jesus was, who presumes to forgive sin. Jesus told the woman to go in peace; her faith had saved her (from eternal condemnation).

Commentary:

Simon didn’t feel that he needed forgiveness; he believed that he had “earned salvation” by keeping the Law of Moses; by doing “good deeds.” He didn’t consider himself a sinner. There are people like that in the world and even in the nominal Church today. They think that they don’t need forgiveness because they don’t rob and murder. They think they can earn salvation by keeping the Jewish dietary and sabbath laws.

The truth is that we have all sinned and fall short of God’s righteousness, exemplified in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10), and the penalty for sin (disobedience of God’s Word, in the Bible and in Jesus Christ, the “living Word:” John 1:14). is [eternal] death. God loves us and doesn’t want any to perish eternally, but for all to live eternally in God’s Kingdom restored to paradise in heaven (Romans 5:8; John 3:16-17). Jesus Christ is God’s one and only provision for our forgiveness and salvation (Acts 4:12), which he designed into Creation from the very beginning (John 1:1-5, 14; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right).

The spiritual truth is that by attempting to earn salvation by doing good works (Galatians 2:16), one loses the benefit of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross (Galatians 5:2-4).

Is Jesus your Lord? Are you Jesus’ disciple? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

3 Pentecost – Friday C
First Posted June 18, 2010;

Podcast: 3 Pentecost Friday C

1 Peter 5:6-11 – Exhortations;

Paraphrase:

Let us humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand, so that in due time he will exalt us. Let us cast all our worries on him, for he cares about us. Our enemy, Satan, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for prey to devour, so let us be sober and watchful. Knowing that suffering will be required of all Christians, let us keep firm in faith, and resist him. After we have suffered a little while, God who is completely gracious toward us (freely giving us his undeserved favor) will personally restore, establish and strengthen us. May he reign eternally over all things. So be it.

Commentary:

If we understand who God is, and our proper relationship to God, we will humble ourselves to him. The problem is that mankind wants to be “like God” (Genesis 3:5 RSV). That was one of the temptations that led to the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden.

God is God alone; he will tolerate no other. But he is forbearing toward us. He gives us time to learn by trial and error that he alone is God and there is help in no other god. If we want to be our own “god” he will let us try, but sooner or later we will run out of resources.

Anything we worship as much or more than God is idolatry. Some modern idols are success, fame, money, power, home, family, and pleasure.

There are many things in this world we can worry about. If we try to establish our own security through accumulating wealth, material possessions, burglar alarms, panic rooms, gated communities, and so forth, we will discover that security always takes just a little more than we have. On the other hand if we trust in the Lord for our security we don’t have to worry. Whatever happens, we and our loved ones are safe in the Lord. The Lord can bring us through whatever troubles we encounter.

We need to remember that our real enemy is Satan. He looks for an opportune moments to tempt us, so we have to be on guard. We need to be sober in the figurative sense of being serious, and we need to remember that our judgment and inhibitions are lowered when we drink alcohol. We need to persevere in faith and resist temptation. We need to be in daily fellowship with the Lord through devotional Bible reading, mediation and prayer, so that we have the spiritual resources to recognize traps set for us by Satan, and to resist temptation.

All Christians are going to have to endure suffering for the Gospel. The World hates Jesus, and his disciples cannot expect better treatment. God uses suffering to teach us that he is able and faithful to bring us through, and to develop our perseverance.

Is Jesus your Lord? Are you Jesus’ disciple? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

3 Pentecost – Saturday C

First Posted June 19, 2010;

Podcast: 3 Podcast Saturday C

Luke 15:1-10 – Parables about the Lost;

Paraphrase:

Tax collectors and sinners were coming to Jesus to hear his teaching, and the Pharisees and scribes criticized Jesus among themselves, that Jesus was welcoming sinners and eating with them.

Knowing their criticism, Jesus told them a parable about a lost sheep. If a man had a hundred sheep and one got lost, wouldn’t the man leave the other ninety-nine in the wilderness and seek the one lost sheep until he found it. And when he found the lost sheep he brought it back, rejoicing, carrying it on his shoulders. When he got home, he called his friends and neighbors together to celebrated that the lost sheep had been found. Likewise, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance.

Similarly, if a woman has ten silver coins and loses one, won’t she light a lamp and sweep her house, searching diligently for it until she finds it? And when she finds it she will invite her friends and neighbors to celebrate with her, for having found the lost coin. So also there will be great rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner.

Commentary:

Tax collectors were Jewish collaborators with the occupying Roman government, and were detested by their fellow Jews. Pharisees were a strict legalistic party of Jewish leaders, and scribes were teachers of the Law of Moses on which the Old Covenant was based.

Scribes and Pharisees considered themselves righteous by keeping the Law of Moses, but they only kept certain parts of the Law (Luke 11:42-52). They thought they didn’t need to repent, and that they were justified in criticizing the perfect sinless Son of God (Hebrews 4:15). They didn’t rejoice that “sinners” were coming to Jesus and repenting and being saved.

We are all lost sheep. We have all sinned and fall short of God’s standard of righteousness (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10). The penalty for sin (disobedience of God’s Word) is [eternal] death (Romans 6:23). God loves us and doesn’t want anyone to perish eternally (Romans 5:8; John 3:16-17). Jesus is God’s one and only provision for our forgiveness and salvation (Acts 4:12; John 14:6; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right). In order to be saved we must acknowledge our sin, repent, and turn to faith (obedient trust) in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.

Jesus personally seeks us in our “lostness” and he will lovingly carry us back to his “flock” if we allow him. I personally testify that when I was “lost” I considered myself “good.” Then in the wilderness of spiritual lostness, I experienced spiritual danger. I realized I wasn’t so “good” after all. Jesus found me where I was, and was patient with me until I was willing to trust him to carry me back.

It isn’t those who call Jesus their Lord who are saved (Matthew 7:21-27) but those who become obedient to God’s Word (Luke 6:46), revealed in the Bible and in Jesus Christ, the “living Word,” God’s Word fulfilled, embodied, and exemplified (John 1:14).

Calling ourselves Christians doesn’t make it so. A Christian is a disciple who is “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) by the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). The “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit is a personally discernible ongoing daily event (Acts 19:2). The Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16).

Is Jesus your Lord? Are you Jesus’ disciple? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Week of 2 Pentecost – C – 05/29 – 06/04/2016

May 28, 2016
 

This is a Three-Year Lectionary based on the Lutheran Book of Worship 3-year Lectionary (for public worship), “Prayers of the Day…” (Propers), p. 13-41, Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, 1978. It is based, with only minor variations, on the Revised Common Lectionary, used by many denominations, including the Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches:

http://www.commontexts.org/

and:

http://www.commontexts.org/rcl/usage.html

The daily readings are the Propers (Lections) for the following Sunday, so that the daily devotions can prepare us for worship. Additional Lections are from Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church, “Scripture lessons for Matins and Vespers,” United Lutheran Church of America, General Rubrics VIII. Scripture lessons for Matins and Vespers, p. 299 – 304, Philadelphia, 1918.

The previous 2- year Bible Study based on the Lutheran Book of Worship, Daily Lectionary for personal devotions p.179-192, Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, 1978, is available at:

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/ (Please bookmark this link).

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http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/dw_bible2/c_year/wklx_c.html

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To get the most from these studies, it is suggested that you first read the scripture texts for the entry, and then the paraphrase and commentary. It is also recommended that you look up the scripture references, unless you recognize and recall them from memory.

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Podcast: Week of 2 Pentecost C

2 Pentecost – Sunday – C

First posted June 6, 2010;

Podcast: 2 Pentecost – Sunday – C

1 Kings 8:(22-23, 27-30) 41-43 – Solomon’s Prayer of Dedication;
Psalm 117 – Praise the Lord!
Galatians 1:1-10 – The Galatian Apostasy;
Luke 7:1-10 – The Centurion’s Slave;1 Kings Paraphrase:

On the occasion of the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem, in the presence of the congregation of Israel, Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord and spread out his hands toward heaven and prayed. He acknowledged that there is no other God like the God of Israel, in heaven or earth, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love toward those who walk in obedience to God with all their hearts.

Solomon acknowledged that God cannot be contained in a building. All of heaven and earth cannot contain the Lord, but Solomon prayed that the Lord would be attentive to the prayers of his servants who pray toward the temple, which bears the name of the Lord. When his servants pray toward the temple, may God hear their prayers and forgive their sins.

Solomon further prayed that God would hear and answer the prayers of Gentiles when they come to the temple to pray, having heard of the Lord’s “great name, his mighty hand and outstretched arm” (1 Kings 8:42a). Solomon prayed that the Lord God would hear and answer the prayers of foreigners who call upon the name of the Lord toward the temple, so that all the people of earth may know the Lord’s name and fear (have appropriate awe and respect for the power and authority of) the Lord, and know that the temple Solomon had build is dedicated to the name of the Lord.

Psalm 117 Paraphrase:

“Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all people! For great is his steadfast love toward us; and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord” (Psalm 117:1-2)!

Galatians Background:

Paul had preached the Gospel in Galatia, in central Asia Minor (present-day Turkey) on his second missionary journey. The Churches he had founded there as a result were later infiltrated by “Judaisers,” falsely teaching that Christians must keep the Jewish Law of Moses (“legalism;” see False Teachings, sidebar, right).

Galatians Paraphrase:

Paul’s Apostolic authority is not conferred by humans, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Jesus from physical death. He greeted the Galatian Christians with the grace and peace which are from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus gave his physical life as [the one and only acceptable] sacrifice for our sins (disobedience of God’s Word), so that we could be delivered from the present evil age, by God’s will, who is worthy of eternal glory. Amen (so be it).

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel- not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:6-9).

Does Paul seem to be seeking human approval or God’s approval? Is he trying to please humans? If he were pleasing humans he would not be serving Christ.

Luke Paraphrase:

Jesus had been teaching a large crowd, as was his custom, and when he had finished he entered Capernaum. There was a Centurion (a Roman soldier; a Gentile) who had a slave whom the Centurion valued, who was sick and at the point of death. When the Centurion heard of Jesus he sent Jewish elders to ask Jesus to heal his slave. The elders considered him worthy because the Centurion loved Israel and had built the Jews a synagogue.

Jesus went with the elders and when he got near to the Centurion’s house, the Centurion sent friends to Jesus, saying that the Centurion did not consider himself worthy to have Jesus enter his house; that was the reason the Centurion hadn’t gone to Jesus directly. But the Centurion asked Jesus to say the word, and his had faith that his servant would be healed. The Centurion was used to having authority over others, and giving commands and having them carried out. Jesus was amazed at this and told the crowd around him that he hadn’t found such faith in Israel. When the messengers returned to the house they found the slave recovered.

Commentary:

God has always intended, from the beginning of Creation, to establish an eternal kingdom of his people who willingly choose to trust and obey God. God has designed this world to allow us the freedom to choose whether to trust and obey God and the opportunity to learn by trial and error, knowing that we would all choose to do our own will rather than God’s will.

According to God’s plan, we have all sinned (disobeyed God’s Word) and fall short of God’s righteousness (doing what is right, good, and true according to God’s Word; Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10). The penalty for sin is eternal death (Romans 6:23). God loves us and doesn’t want anyone to perish eternally (Romans 5:8; John 3:16-17). Jesus is God’s one and only provision for our forgiveness and salvation from eternal death (Acts 4:12; John 14:6; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right). Jesus has been deliberately designed into Creation from the very beginning (John 1:1-5, 14).

God didn’t intend for salvation to be only for the Jews (Isaiah 49:6), but he began his plan of salvation with his call to Abraham (Abram), promising to make of his descendants a great nation (Israel), through whom all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:1-3, RSV note “q”).

During Jesus’ physical ministry on earth, he focused on his mission of the Gospel (“good news;” of forgiveness and reconciliation with God) to Israel, but he responded to the faith (obedient trust) of Gentiles he encountered, like this Centurion and the Syrophoenician woman (Matthew 15:21-28). Jesus concentrated on making disciples (students), who would become apostles (messengers; of the Gospel), who would repeat the discipling process and carry on the mission of Christ to the end of the world in both the senses of time and distance.

God has been progressively revealing himself and his plan for Creation, first in the goodness of Creation itself, then in the history of God’s dealing with Israel recorded in the Bible, then in Jesus Christ who is the fullness of God in human flesh, and ultimately in the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit to his “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) disciples individually and personally.

God wants us to trust in his Word, in the Bible and in Jesus Christ, the “living Word” (John 1:14), so that he can show us that his Word is absolutely true and worthy of trust and obedience. As we trust and obey God’s Word he will show us his steadfast love and faithfulness.

The Jews and Gentiles who accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord and began to trust and obey his teachings became Christians, “born-again” disciples of Jesus Christ (Acts 11:26c). The Christian Church became the New Israel, the new people of God.

Born-again Christians are individually and collectively the temple of God, dedicated in the name of the Lord, God the Father, God the Son Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19-20), the doctrine of the Trinity (see entry for week of Trinity; 06/07-06/13/09). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9),

There were several false teachings arising in the first-century Church which are present today and are refuted in the New Testament. One is “Legalism,” “Works-Righteousness:” salvation by doing “good deeds,” keeping the Jewish laws like circumcision, the Jewish sabbath (Saturday), or Jewish dietary laws. Salvation is not by keeping the Law of Moses; the Jews could never do it, and sacrifices had to be made continually for their sins (Galatians 2:16). Salvation is by God’s grace (a free gift; unmerited favor) to be received by faith (obedient trust) in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). One who has been “born-again” is living in obedient trust in the indwelling Holy Spirit and has been set free from the old covenant (testament) of law (Romans 8:1-8).

There is an extra-biblical (teaching from some other book beside the Bible) cult today that offers “another gospel,” which they claim to have received from an angel, which is refuted in Galatians 1:6-9. In order to protect oneself from false teachers and false teachings one must read the entire Bible, and read portions daily.

In too many instances in the nominal Church today, leaders have become “men (and women)-pleasers,” teaching what people want to hear, what makes them feel good, at the expense of the things they need to hear to grow spiritually. Jesus is truth (John 14:6); the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth (John 14:16-17). If we are unwilling to hear the truth about our sinful nature and our need for repentance, we cannot know divine, eternal truth.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

2 Pentecost – Monday C

First posted June 7, 2010;

Podcast: 2 Pentecost – Monday C

Psalm 30 – Thanksgiving for Healing;

Paraphrase:

I will praise you, O Lord, because you have lifted me up and have not let my enemies triumph over me. Lord, when I cried to you for help you healed me. You restored my soul from the dead, my life from from the grave.

Let all his saints (those consecrated to the Lord’s service) sing praises and give thanks to his holy name. His anger is only momentary, but his favor is lifelong. “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5b). When I was enjoying prosperity, I thought that would never change. By your favor, Lord, you had established me like a strong mountain. But when you hid your face, I was shaken.

To you, Lord, I cried and pleaded: Would there be any gain in my death, if I go to the grave. When I return to dust, will I be able to praise you and testify to your faithfulness? Hear and be gracious to me, Lord, and be my helper!

“Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing; thou has loosed my sackcloth (garment of ritual mourning) and girded me with gladness, that my soul may praise thee and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to thee forever” (Psalm 30:11-12).

Commentary:

This can be the prayer of thanksgiving for all of us who call upon the Lord in faith (obedient trust) in times of trouble. This psalm is my own experience and testimony.

The Lord is willing and able to deliver us from our physical enemies. Over and over, the Lord has done so for me. As we trust in God’s Word, and the testimony of the psalmist in today’s text, for example, the Lord will fulfill his promise to deliver us. As the result, our faith grows, and when trouble occurs we can recall the faithfulness of the Lord to us in the past.

Also, and more importantly, in this world we all have spiritual enemies at work against us: sin, death, and Satan. We have all sinned (disobeyed God’s Word; Romans 3:23, 1 John 1:8-10), and the penalty for sin is eternal death (Romans 6:23). Only the Lord can lift us up above our spiritual enemies, and restore our souls to life from death and the grave (see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right).

Jesus Christ is God’s one and only provision for the forgiveness of our sins, our restoration to fellowship with God, our Father, our Creator, which was broken by sin, and our restoration to eternal life from the dead (Acts 4:12; John 14:6). This is only possible through the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). By the baptism of the indwelling Holy Spirit we are “born again” (John 3:3, 5-8) to spiritual, eternal life. The Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16).

God is like a good father. He disciplines us for our own good (Hebrews12:5-11). His momentary anger is intended to lead us to repentance and righteousness (doing what is good, right and true, according to God’s Word), so that we might have a good life now and eternally. When we do what is right, he rewards us with his favor, prospering our activities, and also allowing us to feel his love for us personally.

Too often we take credit when we are successful materially, and blame God when things go wrong. When we’re not living according to God’s Word, he lifts his favor from us and allows us to experience troubles, in hope that we will recognize our need for his favor and protection.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

2 Pentecost – Tuesday – C

First posted June 8, 2010;

Podcast: 2 Pentecost – Tuesday C

1 Kings 17:17-24 – Elijah raises the Widow’s Son;

1 Kings Background:

Elijah, the prophet, delivered a message from God to Ahab, the wicked king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, that there would be drought in the land until God’s Word, delivered through Elijah, ended it. Then at God’s command Elijah left the territory under Ahab’s authority and eventually boarded with a widow and her son in Zarephath in Phoenicia.

1 Kings Paraphrase:

The widow’s son became so sick that he stopped breathing. The widow accused Elijah, the man of God, of confronting the widow with her sin and causing her son’s death. Elijah took her son to the upper room where Elijah was staying and laid him on Elijah’s bed. Elijah prayed to the Lord, asking why the Lord had brought calamity upon the widow with whom Elijah was staying? Then Elijah stretched himself out upon the son three times and prayed that the Lord would let the son’s soul return to him again. The Lord heard and answered Elijah’s prayer and the son revived. Then Elijah brought the son down and delivered him to his mother, showing her that her son was alive. The widow replied that she was now certain that Elijah was a man of God and that he spoke the true Word of God.

Commentary:

Prophets of God deliver unpopular messages; they speak truth to power. Worldly people hate God’s prophets because they hate God. They want to be “god.” They hate truth because it exposes their sin (disobedience of God’s Word) and unrighteousness (not doing what is right, good, and true, according to God’s Word).

The Northern Kingdom, Israel, had broken away from Judah. King Ahab had married a pagan and had established the idolatry of Baal in the kingdom, two very wicked transgressions against God’s Word.

Elijah declared a drought by God’s command. God had tried various ways of calling the Northern Kingdom to repent and return to faith (obedient trust) in God’s Word. One way God calls his people to repentance is by lifting his favor from them, in hopes that they will recognize and acknowledge their need of God’s providence. God is abundantly able and faithful to provide his providence and protection to his prophets in the midst of famine and tribulation.

The widow thought that her son’s death was her punishment for her sin, but she trusted in Elijah as the man of God. Elijah trusted in God to do what was right. The result was that the faith of both grew and was strengthened. God heard and answered their prayers.

When God’s people were in bondage to sin and death in Egypt, God required the death of the the first-born of the pagan Egyptians to secure the release of his people. When God tested Abrahan (Abram) by commanding Abraham to sacrifice his son of the promise, Isaac, God provided a substitutionary animal sacrifice. Jesus is the substitutionary Lamb of God, the Lamb of the New Passover, God’s first-born and only begotten Son, whom God provides, so that our own first-born sons and we ourselves don’t have to die eternally for our sins.

Israel had a proverb with the sense that the fathers had eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth were set on edge (Ezekiel 18:2). The meaning was that the children would pay for the sins of their fathers. But God promised that everyone will be accountable only for his own sin (Ezekiel 18:3-4). God doesn’t cause the deaths of our children to punish our sin.

Elijah is intended by God to be the forerunner to foreshadow the Christ, God’s anointed eternal Savior and King. Jesus raised the dead (Lazarus: John 11:38-44, the son of the widow of Nain: Luke 7:11-15, and Jairus’ daughter: Luke 8:41-56), and Jesus was himself raised from physical death to eternal life. Over five hundred witnesses testified to Jesus’ resurrection, and so does every authentic born-again Christian. Jesus’ miracles of physical resurrection were intended to show that Jesus has the power to raise the physically dead to spiritual, eternal life.

Ahab and the Northern Kingdom did not heed the repeated calls of the prophets to repent and return to obedient trust in God’s Word. The ultimate result was that the Northern Kingdom was conquered by the Assyrians in 721 B.C.. The people were carried off to other conquered lands where they intermarried, and the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom effectively ceased to exist. (The weakest remnant which remained in the land intermarried with aliens brought in to resettle, and became the Samaritans, of mixed race and religion, at the time of Jesus’ physical ministry.) The Southern Kingdom of Judah was the only remnant of Israel.

The widow accused God of punishing her sin by killing her son, but she came to the man of God in faith, and she trusted in God’s Word spoken through him. As a result, her son was restored to her.

If we raise our children in a godly home, a home which trusts and obeys God’s Word, we can entrust our loved ones to God’s care, providence, and protection. We can be assured that troubles that we experience are not God’s punishment of our sin. We can be confident that even if our loved ones die, they will be restored to us in eternity in God’s heavenly kingdom.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

2 Pentecost – Wednesday – C

First posted June 9, 2010;

Podcast: 2 Pentecost – Wednesday C

Galatians 1:11-24 – Vindication of Paul’s Apostleship;

Paraphrase:

The Gospel which Paul (Saul of Tarsus) was proclaiming was not a message devised by humans. It had not been taught to Paul by human wisdom, but had been received by revelation by Jesus Christ. Paul had formerly been zealous for Judaism; he was formally educated beyond his peers (Philippians 3:3-6; Acts 22:3), and he had persecuted the Church, trying to destroy it. But God had set Paul apart, before he was born, and in God’s timing he called Paul by grace (undeserved favor; as a free gift) and revealed God’s Son to him, so that Paul could preach Christ among the Gentiles. And Paul did not confer with humans, nor go to Jerusalem (Church headquarters) to confer with the original Apostles (who had known Jesus during Jesus’ physical ministry on earth). Instead Paul went into Arabia and then to Damascus.

Paul didn’t go to Jerusalem until three years after his conversion, and then he conferred with Cephas (Simon Peter) for fifteen days. He saw none of the other apostles except Jesus’ brother, James. (Paul swears that, before God, he is telling the truth.) Then Paul went to Syria and Cilicia (Tarsus, the capital, was Paul’s hometown; Acts 9:30). Paul was, up to this point, known only by reputation: that he who formerly persecuted Christians was now preaching the faith he had once tried to destroy. So, because of Paul, they glorified God.

Commentary:

Paul (Saul of Tarsus) was deliberately intended by God (Galatians 1:15) to be the prototype and illustration of the modern, post-resurrection, “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) disciple (student) and apostle (messenger; of the Gospel) of Jesus Christ, as we all, today, can be. Paul was on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians when he was converted by the risen and ascended Jesus (Acts 9:1-20).

I also believe that Paul was the one God intended to be the replacement for Judas, the betrayer. The original disciples were told to wait in Jerusalem (the modern equivalent is the Church) until they had received the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49; Acts 1 :4-5, 8), and then they were to go into the world to proclaim the Gospel and carry on the mission of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19-20). While they were waiting, they decided to choose a replacement for Judas, and selected Matthias by “chance” since they did not yet have the guidance and empowerment of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Acts 1:15-26). Matthias is never heard of again in the New Testament, but after his conversion, most of the rest of the New Testament is by or about Paul.

Paul was as much an Apostle as the Eleven remaining original Apostles designated by Jesus during Jesus’ physical lifetime (Luke 6 :12-16). He was taught the Gospel directly from Jesus as were the original apostles.

Paul had been preaching the Gospel for three years before he met any of the original Apostles, and his Gospel never changed. In fact, Paul corrected Peter (Galatians 2:11-16) when Peter leaned toward the “legalism” (salvation by keeping the Law of Moses; “works-righteousness”) of “Judaisers” (false teachers in the Church who insisted that Christians must obey the Laws of Moses; see False Teachings, sidebar, right). When he met with Simon Peter in Jerusalem, he was only there for fifteen days; not enough time to have been discipled by Peter.

The leaders of Judaism didn’t accept the authority of Jesus. They had not taught him and had not authorized his ministry. They were running Judaism as their private empire, instead of being stewards of God on behalf of God’s people. The result was that the Jews failed to recognize and receive their Savior, the promised Messiah (Christ; both words mean [God’s] “anointed” Savior and Lord [eternal King]).

The nominal Church is in the same position today as Judaism at the time of Jesus Christ. The Church has failed to make “born-again” disciples of Jesus Christ and has settled for making church “members.” The result is that there are no born-again disciples to select for “Apostles;” for Church leadership. Church leaders are chosen from those who have been taught denominational doctrine in denominational seminaries, and have been authorized by denominational leadership.

That is not the method Paul modeled! Paul was “discipled” by a born-again disciple, Ananias (Acts 9:10), until Paul was “reborn” (Acts 9:17-18), and then Paul was discipled, guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Gospel (Acts 9:20).

During Jesus’ physical ministry, he demonstrated the mission of the Church to make born-again disciples and to teach them to repeat the process (Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5, 8). Paul was carrying out this process. Paul was discipled by Ananias, and then began making disciples of Jesus, and teaching them to do the same. Timothy is an example (2 Timothy 1:6-7; 2:2)

The solution is to read the entire Bible for oneself, to commit to being a disciple of Jesus Christ, and to seek the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). If possible seek to be discipled by born-again disciples, but I personally testify that if a born-again “discipler” cannot be found, the Lord himself will disciple you, according to the Bible!

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

2 Pentecost – Thursday – C

First posted June 10, 2010;

Podcast: 2 Pentecost – Thursday C

Luke 7:11-17 – The Widow of Nain’s Son;

Paraphrase:

Soon after healing the Centurion’s slave at Capernaum (Luke 7:1-10), Jesus went to a city called Nain (at the southern border of Galilee) with his disciples, and a large crowd followed. Drawing near to the city gate, he encountered a funeral procession carrying out a young man, the only son of a widow, with a large crowd from the city accompanying her. The Lord had compassion on her when he saw her, and he told her not to weep. Jesus came up and touched the bier and the bearers stopped still. Jesus commanded the dead man to arise, and the dead man sat up and began to speak. Jesus handed him to his mother, and fear seized all the onlookers. They also glorified God, saying that a great prophet had arisen among them, and that God had visited his people. News of this resurrection spread throughout Judea and the surrounding areas.

Commentary:

Jesus’ miracles of physical healing, feeding, and resurrection were intended to show us that he can also, and more importantly, spiritually heal, feed and raise us from physical death to eternal life. Until we are “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) by the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17), we cannot perceive what is spiritual, because those things are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:12-14). Until we are filled with the indwelling Holy Spirit we are physically alive but spiritually dead (“unborn”). The Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16).

In the history of God’s dealing with Israel, recorded in the Old Testament, God used certain people to foretell and foreshadow God’s plan for Creation. Moses foreshadowed the Messiah, Jesus Christ (“Messiah” and “Christ” each mean [God’s] “anointed” [Savior and eternal King] in Hebrew and Greek, respectively), as the one to come who would lead God’s people out of bondage to sin and death in the “Egypt” of this world, and through the spiritual “wilderness” of this lifetime. Joshua foreshadowed Jesus (whose name in Hebrew is “Joshua”), who leads us through the “river” of physical death without getting our feet “wet” (not being affected by physical death; Joshua 3:13-17) and into the eternal “Promised Land” of God’s eternal kingdom in heaven. Elijah, who raised from death the son of the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:17-24; see entry for 2 Pentecost Tuesday, above), foreshadowed Jesus’ resurrection of the son of the widow of Nain.

The widow of Zarephath had believed that Elijah was a man of God when she took him in as a boarder, but when he restored her son from the dead she was totally certain. Jesus’ resurrection of the son of the widow of Nain was intended to reveal that Jesus is the Son of God.

We first come to know Jesus through the testimony of the New Testament scriptures. As we believe that he is the Son of God, the promised eternal Savior and Lord and begin to trust and obey him (as the widow of Zarephath had trusted and obeyed Elijah:1 Kings 17:10-16), we will come to experience personally the Lord’s miraculous powers in our lives and our faith will become certain knowledge (compare John 6:68-69; see Personal Testimonies, sidebar, right). We will come to know that in Jesus Christ, God has visited his people. Jesus is God in human flesh (Colossians 2:8-9; John 20:28).

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

2 Pentecost – Friday – C

First posted June 11, 2010;

Podcast: 2 Pentecost – Friday C

1 John 3:13-18 – Words vs. Deeds;

Paraphrase:

Christians should not be amazed that the world hates them (John 15:18-20). Our love for our brethren testifies that we have moved from (spiritual) death to life. Those who do not love remain dead. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer and murderers do not have eternal life in them. We know love because Jesus gave us life by dying for us on the cross (John 15:13). So we should give up our lives for our brethren’s sake. How does God’s love abide in one who sees his brother or sister in need and yet closes his heart and refuses to help. Saying that we love without the accompanying deeds of love reveals hypocrisy (James 1:22).

Commentary:

The world hates Jesus because people hate God. Worldly people want to be “god.” The original sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden was that they wanted to be “like God” (Genesis 3:5). We want to be “god” because we want to do our own will, rather than God’s.

The world hates Jesus because he is perfectly obedient to God’s will. He is the example of how to live in this world in human flesh in obedience to God’s Word. God sent Jesus into the world, and Jesus came into the world, each knowing that the world would hate and try to destroy Jesus.

God has designed this world from the very beginning to allow us the freedom to choose whether to trust and obey God’s Word and the opportunity to learn by trial and error that God’s will is our very best interest. God knew that given the freedom to choose we would all choose our own will rather than God’s. Disobedience of God’s Word is the definition of sin, and all of us have sinned and fall short of God’s righteousness (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10), which is testified to in the Bible and exemplified in Jesus Christ. The penalty for sin is [eternal] death Romans 6:23).

God loves us and doesn’t want anyone to perish eternally (Romans 5:8; John 3:16-17). Jesus is God’s one and only provision for our forgiveness and salvation from eternal death (Acts 4:12; John 14:6). Jesus has been designed into the structure of Creation from the very beginning (John 1:1-5, 14).

God sent Jesus into the world knowing that he would be crucified. On the cross, Jesus became the one and only sacrifice acceptable to God for our forgiveness and salvation. If the rulers of this world had understood this they wouldn’t have crucified Jesus (1 Corinthians 2:8). It was not possible for them to destroy Jesus; in trying, they fulfilled God’s Plan of Salvation (which see, sidebar, right).

God loved us while we were his enemies; while we hated God. Jesus loved us enough, while we hated and opposed him, to die an “excruciatingly”(the word means “from the cross;” crucifixion becoming the epitome of) painful death (John 15:13), so that we could live eternally in God’s kingdom, paradise restored, in heaven.

How we respond to Jesus is of eternal consequence for us personally and individually. We can respond by hating him and trying to destroy him, or we can recognize and accept the love, forgiveness and salvation he offers through his sacrifice on the cross.

We are all born into this world physically alive but spiritually “dead” (“unborn”). This lifetime is our opportunity to be “born-again” to eternal life. Those who accept Jesus as Savior and Lord, will respond in love, trust and obedience, and will be spiritually “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) by the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit which only gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17).

Through the indwelling Holy Spirit we personally experience the love of God and Jesus for us, and we are able to respond in love to them. Through the indwelling Holy Spirit we are able to love others, even the “unlovable,” as God and Jesus do. We can be guided and empowered to lay down our lives for the Gospel and our fellow humans, not necessarily in physical death, but by surrendering our self-interest and our resources, for the interests of our brethren.

Hatred of our brothers or sisters takes their spiritual lives. How can we offer spiritual healing and eternal life through the Gospel to those we hate and try to hurt and destroy? Hatred and unforgiveness of others is evidence that one has not been forgiven and saved by the Lord.

It is easy to say we love others, and it is easier to love the lovely and those who love us. The way to show our love for the Lord is to keep his commandments (John 14:15), which in essence are to love God and our brethren (Matthew 22:35-40), and we demonstrate that love by doing deeds of love.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

2 Pentecost – Saturday – C

First posted June 12, 2010;

Podcast: 2 Pentecost – Saturday C

Luke 14:16-24 – The Great Banquet;

Background:

Jesus was eating with a Pharisee (a leader of a legalistic Jewish sect) and the Pharisee’s guests. A person at the Pharisee’s table declared that one who eats bread in the kingdom of God will be blessed (Luke 14:15).

Luke:

In response, Jesus told a parable about a man who gave a great banquet and invited many. At the appointed time, he sent his servants to summon his guests, but they began making excuses. One said that he had purchased a field and needed to inspect it. Another said that he had bought five yoke of oxen and needed to examine them. Another said that he had just married and thus couldn’t come. The servant reported these to his master. Then the master told his servant to go into the streets and lanes of the city and bring the poor, crippled and blind. The servant did so, but there was still room for others, so the master sent his servant to search the highways and bushes and compel to come those he found, so that the master’s house would be filled. Jesus told those present that none of those invited to his banquet (and who made excuses) would taste it.

Commentary:

Many would agree that it would be great to partake of the Marriage Feast of the Lamb in heaven (Revelation 19:9; the fulfillment of the New Passover Feast) with the Lord. But we must act now so that we will be ready to go when the time comes.

We should keep a “loose grip” on the things of this world so that they won’t interfere with our acceptance of the invitation. We must not let real estate, or automobiles, or family relationships, or any material thing or activity cause us to be unready when the summons comes.

The Lord makes his invitation to all who are willing and available to accept it when the summons is given. The Lord wants as many as possible to be his guests. The “least desirable” individuals in society are the least hindered, and no less valued in heaven.

On the night of his betrayal and arrest, Jesus celebrated the Passover Feast (Exodus 12:1-13) with his disciples, and during that time he instituted the New Passover Feast, the Lord’s Supper (Holy Communion; Eucharist). It is a spiritual feast; the material elements are tiny: a bite of bread and a sip of wine. But the spiritual elements are great: Jesus’ body and blood are the sacrifice which provides the main course of the feast, and the blood which marks us as people of God to be passed over by the destroying angel. The Lord’s Supper which we celebrate is a foretaste of the Marriage Feast of the Lamb, which will be fulfilled in God’s Kingdom in heaven (Matthew 26:29). The Marriage Feast will be the celebration of the union of the true Church, the bride, with Christ in heaven.

A “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) Christian disciple personally experiences the presence of Jesus as the host at the celebration of Holy Communion. We have a foretaste of the heavenly fulfillment.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Week of Holy Trinity – C – 05/22 – 28/2016

May 21, 2016

Week of Holy Trinity – C

This is a Three-Year Lectionary based on the Lutheran Book of Worship 3-year Lectionary (for public worship), “Prayers of the Day…” (Propers), p. 13-41, Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, 1978. It is based, with only minor variations, on the Revised Common Lectionary, used by many denominations, including the Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches:

http://www.commontexts.org/

and:

http://www.commontexts.org/rcl/usage.html

The daily readings are the Propers (Lections) for the following Sunday, so that the daily devotions can prepare us for worship. Additional Lections are from Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church, “Scripture lessons for Matins and Vespers,” United Lutheran Church of America, General Rubrics VIII. Scripture lessons for Matins and Vespers, p. 299 – 304, Philadelphia, 1918.

The previous 2- year Bible Study based on the Lutheran Book of Worship, Daily Lectionary for personal devotions p.179-192, Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, 1978, is available at:

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/ (Please bookmark this link).

This ‘blog is mirrored at:

http://shepherdboy-mydailywalk.blogspot.com/

Shepherdboysmydailywalk’s Blog

.mp3 Podcasts via Linux Festival text-to-speech and Panopreter Basic text-to-speech are available at:

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/dw_bible2/a_year/Wklx_a.html

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/dw_bible2/b_year/wklx_b.html

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/dw_bible2/c_year/wklx_c.html

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This ‘blog is now available in mobile-optimized format:

http://winksite.mobi/shepherdboy/MyDailyWalk

Free to distribute; for personal use, Bible Study Groups, and Adult Christian Education. Disk Image and/or .zip file to burn the complete Bible Study to CD are available at:

http://shepherdboy.byethost12.com/#Burn_Site_to_CD

To get the most from these studies, it is suggested that you first read the scripture texts for the entry, and then the paraphrase and commentary. It is also recommended that you look up the scripture references, unless you recognize and recall them from memory.

I will post weekly by Saturday, noon, (God willing), Pacific time (UTC-8:00) for the week of the Church Season which begins on Sunday. Please scroll down for the desired day, or save the week to your desktop/hard drive.

Podcast: Week of Holy Trinity C

Holy Trinity Sunday – C

First Posted May 31, 2010;
Podcast: Holy Trinity Sunday C

Proverbs 8:22-31– God’s Wisdom;
Psalm 8 – God’s Glory; Mankind’s Honor;
Romans 5:1-5 – Peace with God through Christ;
John 16:12-15 – Guidance by the Holy Spirit;

Proverbs 8:22-31 Paraphrase:

God’s wisdom was established as the first act of creation, before the depths of the sea and the springs of water, before mountains and hills were formed, before the land with its fields, before the dust of the earth. Wisdom attended the establishment of the heavens, the skies and the horizon, the fountains of the deep, the limits of the seas and the foundations of the earth. Wisdom was like a master workman. Wisdom was God’s delight, and wisdom rejoiced before the Lord always, delighting in mankind.

Psalm 8 Paraphrase:

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is thy name in all the earth” (Psalm 8:1)! God’s glory established above the heavens is praised by the songs of babies and infants. Because of his enemies the Lord has established a bulwark to keep out enemies and avengers (those who bear a grudge).

When one considers the vastness of the universe and the magnitude of sun, moon, and stars, what is mankind, that the Lord notices and cares for him.

But God has made mankind only slightly lower than God, and has given him glory and honor. God has given mankind dominion over all Creation; all the creatures God has created.

The name of our Lord is majestic throughout the earth.

Romans 5:1-5 Paraphrase:

When we rely on faith (obedient trust) in Jesus for our justification (Christ’s righteousness attributed to us; the opposite of condemnation), we have reconciliation and peace with God. Through Jesus we have access to God’s grace (unmerited favor) and we rejoice in the hope of sharing in God’s glory. We can even rejoice in suffering, knowing that suffering produces endurance, character and hope. Our hope will not disappoint because we have been given the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit, through whom we experience God’s love.

John 16:12-15 Background:

After the Last Supper, Jesus was giving the disciples his farewell discourse, to prepare them for his arrest, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension into heaven.

John 16:12-15 Paraphrase:

There were other things Jesus wanted his disciples to know but they could not absorb and understand them yet. But when they had received the promised “baptism” of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, he would guide them into all truth. The Holy Spirit would not teach them his own opinions, but would faithfully teach them what God had declared, and would reveal what would occur in the future. The Holy Spirit will glorify Jesus. All that God the Father has belongs to Jesus and the Holy Spirit will declare to the disciples all that belongs to Jesus.

Commentary:

Trinity Sunday celebrates the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. The word “trinity” appears nowhere in the Bible, but the concept is found throughout. God is one God in three persons, or expressions: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit. There are denominations and cults in the nominal Church which deny and teach against the Trinity.

Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, fully God and fully human (Colossians 2:8-9; John 1:14; 20:28; 1 John 4:9). Jesus was begotten of a human female virgin by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18-23; Luke 1:30-35).

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Jesus (Romans 8:9). Jesus is the fullest revelation of God to us in human form in the eyewitness testimony of the Bible. The Holy Spirit is the fullest revelation of God the Father and Jesus Christ to us personally and individually (Matthew 11:27; John 14:21-23).

Jesus is the bulwark that God has established against his enemies. Satan and the forces of evil were defeated at the cross of Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:15; 1 Corinthians 2:6-8). Baptism into Jesus Christ is prefigured, by God’s deliberate intention, in the history of Israel passing through the Red Sea, unscathed, while their enemies were destroyed (Exodus 14:21-31).

This Creation was founded according to God’s divine, eternal wisdom, which is unlike what the world falsely calls wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:17-2:8). Worldly wisdom changes; divine wisdom is eternal and unchanging. Jesus is the wisdom and power of God (1 Corinthians 1:24).

Jesus is the fulfillment, embodiment and example of God’s Word lived in this world in human flesh. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through and for him (John 1:1-5, 14). Jesus’ word is the Word of God (John 14:10, 24), with the creative force of God’s Word (Mark 4:39-41; Compare Genesis 1: 9).

Jesus is the name of our Lord which is exalted throughout the earth (Philippians 2:9-11). There is no other name by which we can be saved (Acts 4:12). There is no other way to know divine eternal truth, no other way to forgiven and restored to fellowship with God which was broken by sin, and no other way to have eternal life (John 14:6).

The Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16). The “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit is a personally discernible ongoing daily event (Acts 19:2). Through the indwelling Holy Spirit we personally experience the love and goodness of God toward us.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Holy Trinity Monday – C

First Posted May 24, 2010
Podcast: Pentecost Monday C

Psalm 117 – Praise the Lord!

“Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us; and the faithfulness of the Lord endures for ever. Praise the Lord!”

Commentary:

As our Creator, God is our father; and God is God, whether we acknowledge him as God and Father or not. God has been progressively revealing his loving kindness, steadfast love and faithfulness to us, first in the goodness of Creation, then in the history of his dealing with Israel in the Bible, then in earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, and finally to us personally and individually by the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17).

God created this world very good (Genesis 1:31). The evil that exists in this world is the result of mankind’s sin (disobedience of God’s Word). God allows the possibility of sin so that we have the freedom to choose whether to trust and obey God’s Word or not, and the opportunity to learn by trial and error that trusting and obeying God’s will is our very best interest (Romans 12:2).

By the indwelling Holy Spirit, his “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) disciples personally experience God’s steadfast love and faithfulness. By the indwelling Holy Spirit we have personal knowledge of and fellowship with God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:21-23). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Jesus (Romans 8:9).

The Holy Spirit guides us according to God’s Word and Jesus’ teachings (John 14:26; John 16:13). As we begin to trust and obey the Holy Spirit, he will show us that what he says is trustworthy and absolutely reliable, and our faith will grow to spiritual maturity at the Day of Christ’s Return (see Personal Testimonies, sidebar, right).

There is a Day of Judgment coming, when everyone who has ever lived will be accountable to Jesus for what they have done in this lifetime (Matthew 25:31-46). In that day, every knee will bow in submission, and every tongue will acknowledge that Jesus is Lord, to God’s great glory (Philippians 2:9-11). But at that day, the eternal destinies of each of us will be fixed and unchangeable.

This lifetime is our only opportunity to be spiritually reborn to eternal life by the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Those who acknowledge Jesus as Lord and trust and obey him now will have been spiritually reborn in this lifetime, will have a personal relationship with Jesus, and will enter eternal life in God’s heavenly kingdom. But those who have refused to acknowledge Jesus as Lord now, and have refused or failed to trust and obey him, will be condemned to eternal destruction, eternal death, in hell with all evil (John 5:28-29; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10).

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Holy Trinity Tuesday – C

First Posted June 1, 2010;
Podcast: Holy Trinity Tuesday C

1 Kings 8:(22-23, 27-30) 41-43 – Solomon’s Prayer of Dedication;

Paraphrase:

The entire congregation of Israel was assembled before the altar in the temple at its dedication, and Solomon stood before the altar and prayed. Solomon acknowledged that there is no god like the Lord, the God of Israel, on earth or in heaven, who is faithful in keeping his covenant and showing steadfast love to his servants who serve him with all their hearts.

Solomon acknowledged that God cannot be contained in the temple; God fills the Universe. But Solomon prayed that the Lord God would have his eyes and ears open to hear the prayers of Solomon and the people of Israel when they pray toward the temple; and may God forgive his servants (his people who trust and obey God) when God hears their prayers.

Solomon also prayed that God would hear the prayers of foreigners, who are not of the congregation of Israel, when they come from far-off countries and pray toward the temple; that they may come because they have heard of the Lord’s great name (his character and reputation), his mighty hand and outstretched arm (his faithfulness, power and willingness to hear and answer prayers of faith; see Conditions for Answered Prayer, sidebar, right). Solomon prayed that God would hear and answer the foreigners’ prayers of faith so that all the people of earth might know the Lord’s name and fear him (have appropriate awe and respect for God’s power and authority), as the people of Israel do, and that they might know that the temple Solomon had built is dedicated in the name of the Lord.

Commentary:

In Bible times, names were more than labels; they believed that the character, reputation and self of the individual were concentrated in his name. Life-changing circumstances called for a change of name, as when the angel of the Lord changed Jacob’s name to Israel (Genesis 32:27-28). Knowing a person’s name gave another individual access to that person. God wants the world to know his name so that we can call upon him in faith. Solomon dedicated the temple in the name of the Lord so that all people could have access to the Lord, the God of Israel when they prayed in faith (obedient trust) in his name.

God’s character is steadfast love, faithfulness, power, and willingness to hear and answer us when we pray in faith in his name. God is the God who is (Exodus 3:13-14); the one true God. There are many idols, so-called “gods:” the false gods of paganism. Modern examples of idols are money, power, career, family materialism, and hedonism. Any thing or person we value as much as or more than the Lord is idolatry. Trusting in any name other than the Lord God is ultimately futile. Only God can hear and answer our prayers of faith.

The defining characteristic of God’s Word is its fulfillment (Deuteronomy 18:21-22). God’s Word is always fulfilled, and it is eternal, so it is is fulfilled over and over, as the conditions for its fulfillment are met. God wants us to trust and obey his Word so that we will experience his power and faithfulness personally.

Jesus is the Word of God fulfilled, embodied and exemplified in human flesh (John 14:15-17). Jesus’ word is the Word of God (John 14:10, 24), with the creative force of God’s Word (Mark 4:39-41; Compare Genesis 1: 9).

Jesus is the ultimate revelation of the name of the Lord. Jesus is God revealed in human flesh (Matthew 11:27; John 14:7). The whole fullness of God dwelt bodily in Jesus (Colossians 2:8-9) in human flesh. Jesus was fully human and fully divine. Jesus is the Christ (Messiah; both words mean “anointed”) God’s designated eternal prophet, priest and king. Jesus is God’s designated eternal Savior; there is no other name under heaven given among men, by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). Jesus is the only way to know divine, eternal truth, the only way to be forgiven our sin (disobedience of God’s Word) and restored to fellowship with God which was broken by sin; and the only way to have eternal life in God’s kingdom in heaven (John 14:6).

The meaning and purpose of life in this world is to seek, find and come to know and have fellowship with God, our Creator (Acts 17:26-27), and this is only possible through faith in Jesus by the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, believers are spiritually “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) to eternal life. The infilling of the Holy Spirit is a personally discernible, ongoing, daily experience (Acts 19:2). Through the indwelling Holy Spirit we have daily access to God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:21-23). The Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16).

Through the indwelling Holy Spirit we become individually and collectively the temple of God dedicated in his name. We are filled, guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the name of the Lord throughout all this world (Matthew 28:19-20), so that all people might come to know and have access the Lord.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Holy Trinity Wednesday – C

First Posted June 2, 2010;
Podcast: Holy Trinity Wednesday C

Galatians 1:1-10 – The Galatian Apostasy;

Background:

The Galatian Church (in the Roman province of Galatia, in Asia Minor -present-day Turkey- which Paul had previously founded) was infiltrated by false teachers, “Judaisers,” who insisted that Christians were bound by the Law of Moses.

Paraphrase:

Paul (Saul of Tarsus) begins his letter by asserting his apostolic authority. Paul is as much an Apostle as the Eleven original Apostles, not by or through human authority and teaching, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father (Acts 9:1-6, 15-16).

Writing to the congregations of Galatia, Paul offers them grace and peace which are from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, reminding them that Jesus gave his life for the forgiveness of our sin (disobedience of God’s Word) to save us from the evils of the present age, by God’s will (see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right), who is worthy of eternal glory.

Paul said, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel- not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, If any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 6-9).

Paul asserted that he was not trying to please men, or he would not be serving Christ. Paul was not seeking the favor of men, but the approval of God.

Commentary:

Paul had been a member of the Pharisees, the strictest, legalistic, faction of Judaism. He had been on his way to persecute Christianity, which he considered a heresy regarding Judaism, when he was converted on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-22).

Paul is deliberately intended by God to be the prototype and example of a “modern, post-resurrection, born-again (John 3:3, 5-8) disciple (student) and apostle (messenger; of the Gospel) of Jesus Christ, as we can also be. He was as much an Apostle as the original Eleven, because of the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:313-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17).

God has designed this world to allow us the freedom to choose whether to trust and obey God’s Word, and the opportunity to learn by trial and error that God’s will is our very best interest (Romans 12:2b). So God has designed this Creation very good (Genesis 1:31), but with the possibility of sin (disobedience of God’s Word). The evil in this world is the result of human sin.

We have all sinned and fall short of God’s righteousness (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10). The penalty for sin is eternal death (Romans 6:23). Jesus is God’s one and only provision for our forgiveness and salvation from eternal destruction (Acts 4:12; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right). Jesus has been designed into Creation from the very beginning (John 1:1-5, 14).

There are heresies (false teachings) in the nominal Church today which were present in the first-century Church and are refuted in the New Testament. One example is the “Judaisers;” “Legalism;” the teaching of salvation earned by doing “good deeds” (see False Teachings, sidebar, right). There are extra-biblical (doctrines based on books other than or in addition to the Bible) cults within the nominal Church today which teach that their members must observe the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday) and keep Jewish dietary laws (vegetarianism), for example.

There is another extra-biblical cult which claims to be the Church of Jesus Christ, and sends missionaries door-to-door, teaching “another gospel,” which they claim to have received from an “angel, ” which is refuted in the text for today.

Another extra-biblical cult which sends missionaries door-to-door denies that Jesus is God. This false teaching is refuted in Colossians 2:8-9, John 20: 28, Matthew 11:27 and elsewhere in the New Testament.

The only way to protect oneself from false teachers and false teachings is to read the entire Bible for oneself. Any average reader can easily read the entire Bible in one year, and there are several one-year reading plans available (see Free Bible Study Tools, sidebar, right). I recommend plans which include readings from both Old Testament and New Testament daily. The Old Testament must be understood from the perspective of the New Testament, and the New Testament helps one get through the “begats” (genealogy) and the legalistic details of the Old Testament Law.

Paul is the example of the modern Apostle who presents the entire Gospel of Jesus Christ, not just the parts that make us feel good. The problem in the nominal Church today is that leaders try to make the Gospel “seeker friendly.” Preaching on sin and eternal death in hell isn’t popular. Instead of requiring discipleship, nominal Churches settle for making members by providing services to satisfy the worldly needs of worldly people: support groups for divorce, substance abuse, singles, etc. I’m not saying that the Church can’t offer support for these worldly needs, but they need to be Biblically based and involve discipleship.

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Holy Trinity Thursday – C

First Posted June 3, 2010;
Podcast: Holy Trinity Thursday C

Luke 7:1-10 – The Centurion’s Slave;

Paraphrase:

A Centurion had a slave, who was dear to him, ill and at the point of death. When the Centurion heard that Jesus was in Capernaum, he sent Jewish elders to Jesus asking him to heal the Centurion’s slave. The elders told Jesus that the Centurion was worthy because he thought highly of the nation of Israel, and had built their synagogue.

Jesus went with the elders and as they approached, the Centurion sent friends to them, telling Jesus not to trouble himself further. The Centurion felt unworthy to have Jesus in his home, and as a man of authority, the Centurion was accustomed to giving commands and having them carried out. He believed that Jesus could say the word and the Centurion’s slave would be healed. When Jesus heard this he was amazed and said that he had not heard such faith in even in Israel. When the messengers of the Centurion returned to him they found the slave healed.

Commentary:

God had been preparing his people, Israel, to expect and receive the Messiah (Christ; God’s “anointed” eternal Savior and King), for thousands of years. The Jews had the Old Testament scriptures, and yet most failed to recognize and receive Jesus as the Messiah.

God didn’t intend his salvation to be only for Israel; he wanted to include all people. Christ’s physical ministry was focused on Israel. Jesus was making disciples who would be “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5, 8; Acts 2:1-18), and then would continue Christ’s mission to the end of the earth in both senses of distance and time (Mathew 28:19-20).

Relatively few Jews responded to Jesus in faith, but there were enough who did to carry out and fulfill God’s plan. Jesus did respond to faith wherever he found it, healing the syrophoenician woman’s daughter (Matthew 15:21-28), a Gentile military officer’s* son (John 4:43-53) and this Centurion’s servant, for example.

The Jews saw the miracles Jesus did in response to faith in both Jews and Gentiles, and yet refused or failed to respond in faith in Jesus.

God’s Plan of Salvation (sidebar, right) depends on faith (obedient trust) in Jesus Christ. God deliberately designed it that way, because he wants each one of us to be free to accept or reject Jesus’ salvation for ourselves. For those who need “proof” in order to “believe” there is none; but for those who believe, there is abundant proof.

This Centurion truly believed in Jesus, and he acted on that faith. He believed in Jesus’ power and authority to command healing for his servant. The Centurion didn’t need to see Jesus perform some religious ritual over his servant or say some “incantation” in the servant’s presence. His faith was rewarded by “proof:” The servant, who had been at the point of death was healed and well.

The Jewish elders were willing to ask Jesus to heal a Gentile’s servant, on the basis that the Gentile was a friend of Israel and had built their synagogue. The Centurion himself felt unworthy to receive Jesus into the Centurion’s home.

The Jewish elders were in need of spiritual healing, but they would not ask Jesus to heal them; they wouldn’t even acknowledge their need for spiritual healing. But they were willing to ask Jesus to heal a Gentile’s servant, perhaps seeking “proof” that Jesus was the Messiah. But even when they heard of the Centurion’s servant’s healing, they did not believe in Jesus and turn to him to be healed.

We have all sinned and fall short of God’s righteousness (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10). The penalty for sin is eternal death (Romans 6:23). Jesus is God’s one and only provision for the forgiveness of our sins and salvation from eternal condemnation (Acts 4:12). Are we willing to acknowledge our spiritual terminal illness and, in faith, ask Jesus to heal us?

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?


*The Oxford Annotated Bible, Revised Standard Version, Ed. by Herbert G. May and Bruce M. Metzger, John 4:46n, p. 1290, New York, Oxford University Press, 1962.


Holy Trinity Friday – C

First Posted June 5, 2010;
Podcast: Holy Trinity Friday C

1 John 4:16-21 – Commandment of Love;

Paraphrase:

We know and believe the love of God for us. God is love, and if we live according to love we live in God and God lives in us. When God’s love is matured in us we need not fear the day of judgment, because he is present in this world as are we. Love rules out fear. Fear concerns punishment, and those who fear have not become mature in love. We are able to love because he first loved us. We cannot claim to love God while hating our brethren; that would be a lie. If we cannot love our brethren whom we see, we cannot love God whom we do not see. His commandment is that if we love God, we should love our brethren also.

Commentary:

Love cannot be commanded. When children are born, they care only about themselves. Good parents sacrifice their self-interest to provide care and nurture for their children, and their children perceive their parents’ love. The children become able to love because they perceive that they have been loved.

God’s love for us is demonstrated in the cross of Jesus Christ. God gave his only begotten Son to die on the cross as the only acceptable sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sin (disobedience of God’s Word), once for all time, and for all people who are willing to receive it by faith (obedient trust) in Jesus (Acts 4:12; John 14:6).

Through the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17), we individually and personally experience God’s love for us every day.

We have all sinned and fall short of God’s standard of righteousness (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10) and the penalty for sin is eternal death (Romans 6:23). God doesn’t want any of us to perish eternally but to live eternally in paradise restored in his eternal heavenly kingdom. God loved us while we were still sinners, disobeying his Word (Romans 5:8). Jesus is God’s one and only provision for our forgiveness and salvation (Acts 4:12; John 14:6; see God’s Plan of Salvation; sidebar, right), who has been designed into Creation from the very beginning (John 1:1-5, 14).

God wants us to trust and obey his Word, in the Bible and in Jesus Christ, the living Word (John 1:14), out of love for what he has done for us in Jesus Christ, rather than from fear of punishment. But God is God, whether we acknowledge him or not. His will will be done, whether we cooperate with it or not. If we do not trust and obey his Word out of love, we will be accountable to his judgment on the Day of Christ’s Return.

There is a Day of Judgment coming when Christ will return to judge the living (“quickened”) and the dead in both physical and spiritual senses. Jesus is the righteous judge and the standard of judgment by which all will be judged. Those who have accepted Jesus as Lord, will have trusted and obeyed Jesus and will have been “born-again” by the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit. They will have had a personal daily fellowship with Jesus through the indwelling Holy Spirit, and Jesus will know and acknowledge them as his disciples. They will enter eternal life in God’s kingdom in heaven. Those who have not accepted Jesus as Lord, who have refused or failed to trust and obey Jesus will be condemned to eternal destruction in hell with all evil (Matthew 25:31-46; John 5:28-29; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10).

Is Jesus your Lord (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46)? Are you Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31)? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus (John 14:21)? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Holy Trinity Saturday – C

First Posted May 29, 2010
Podcast: Pentecost Saturday C

Luke 16:19-31 – The Rich Man and Lazarus;

Background:

Jesus taught in “parables,” fictional stories of common earthly experiences to teach spiritual truths.

Luke:

A rich man (commonly called “Dives,” which is Latin for “Rich Man”) had a poor beggar, Lazarus (not the brother of Mary and Martha of Bethany), at the gate of his home. Lazarus had open sores on his body, and desired to eat the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. Worse yet, dogs came and licked Lazarus’ sores.

Lazarus died and was carried by angels into the presence of Abraham (the patriarch of Israel). The rich man also died and was carried into Hades (Hell; the doom and misery of the spiritually lost). Being in eternal torment, the rich man looked and saw Lazarus far off in the presence and comfort of Abraham. So the rich man called out, asking Abraham to send Lazarus to dip his finger in water and cool the rich man’s tongue, because the rich man was in torment in the fires of Hell.

But Abraham reminded the rich man that in the rich man’s lifetime on earth he had enjoyed all the pleasures of life, while Lazarus had suffered. Now Lazarus was comforted while the rich man was in torment. In addition, there was a chasm set between Hell and Heaven, which prevented any from crossing between.

Then the rich man asked Abraham to send Lazarus to his brothers to warn them so that they would not wind up in Hell with the rich man, but Abraham replied that the brothers had the Bible scriptures, and should heed them. The rich man said that his brothers wouldn’t pay attention to the scriptures, but would repent if someone from the dead would go to them. But Abraham said that if they didn’t heed the scriptures they wouldn’t heed one who arose from the dead.

Commentary:

The worldly philosophy is that we only go around once in life, and that we should “grab all the gusto” that we can.

The Word of God declares that the meaning and purpose of life in this world is to seek, find, know and have fellowship with God our Creator (Acts 17:26-27). This is only possible through Jesus Christ (John 14:6), by the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17), who has been designed into Creation from the very beginning (John 1:1-5, 14).

The rich man knew the reality of Hell, and wanted to warn his brothers who were still alive in this temporal world. He realized that his brothers would not take warning from the Bible scriptures, but might from one who was raised from physical death. But Abraham realized that if they didn’t believe the Bible they wouldn’t believe one who had arisen from physical death either.

We have the testimony of the Bible scriptures and the resurrection of Jesus Christ from physical death to spiritual eternal life. Will we believe and repent and be saved from eternal destruction in hell?

Jesus has arisen from physical death to eternal life. Jesus’ resurrection was witnessed by over five hundred eyewitnesses recorded in the Bible (1 Corinthians 15:1-9). Everyone has access to the Bible. Everyone who has accepted Jesus as Lord and has trusted and obeyed Jesus, including me, personally testifies that Jesus is alive; he has arisen from physical death to eternal life. Have you repented and turned from eternal death to eternal life?

Is Jesus your Lord? Are you Jesus’ disciple? Are you trusting and obeying Jesus? Have you received the indwelling Holy Spirit since you first truly believed (Acts 19:2)? Are you making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20)? Do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity (1 John 5:11-13; Ephesians 1:13-14)?


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