Week of 15 Pentecost – C – 08/28 – 09/03/2016

August 27, 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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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 15 Pentecost – C

Sunday 15 Pentecost – C 

First posted September 5, 2010;
Podcast: Sunday 15 Pentecost – C

Proverbs 25:6-7 – Humility;
Psalm 112 – Reward of Righteousness;
Hebrews 13:1-8 – Christian Lifestyle;
Luke 14:1, 7-14 – On Humility;

Proverbs Paraphrase:

One should not exalt oneself in the presence of the king, or stand in the place of those who are great. It is better to be invited to come up to a position of higher honor than to be put lower in the presence of the prince.

Psalm Paraphrase:

Let us praise the Lord! The person who fears (has appropriate awe and respect for the power and authority of) the Lord, and delights in the Lord’s commandments, will be blessed! His descendants will be great in the land. The upright will be blessed in their generation. They will have wealth and riches, and their righteousness will be everlasting. “Light rises in the darkness for the upright; the Lord is gracious, merciful and righteous” (Psalm 112:4).

Things will go well for a person who is generous and lends, and is just in all his dealings. The righteous will not be shaken, but will be remembered forever. He whose heart is firm, trusting in the Lord, will not fear evil tidings. He will be unafraid, with a steady heart, until his desires are fulfilled upon his adversaries. Those who share freely and give to the poor will be exalted and their righteousness will endure forever. The wicked hate to see the deeds of the righteous. They gnash their teeth, but they pass away, and their desires amount to nothing.

Hebrews Paraphrase:

Let us continue to love one another with brotherly affection. Let us not fail to show hospitality to strangers, for some have unknowingly had angels as their guests. Let us remember prisoners as though in prison ourselves. Let us not forget those who are ill-treated, since we are also vulnerable to ill-treatment. Let marriage be upheld and undefiled by all, for the immoral and adulterous will be liable to God’s judgment. Let us avoid the love of money, and be content with what we possess, because the Lord has promised never to fail or forsake us (Joshua 1:5c).

We need not fear, since the Lord is our helper; what then can people do to us (that the Lord cannot handle; Psalm 118:6)? Let us remember our spiritual leaders who taught us the Word of God, and follow the example of their lives and faith. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Luke Paraphrase:

Jesus was invited to dinner at the home of a Jewish leader who was a Pharisee (a member of a strict legalistic sect of Judaism). When Jesus noticed how the invited guests chose their places of honor, he told a parable: When invited to a wedding feast, one should choose the place of least honor, instead of the highest place. Otherwise a more eminent guest may come, and both host and oneself be embarrassed to have to give place to the more eminent guest. Instead, by choosing the lowest place, both host and oneself will be honored in front of all by being invited to move up to a higher position. So everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Commentary:

The Lord’s ways are different than worldly ways. In the world everyone seems to try to build himself up and make himself important. But even worldly people realize that it isn’t wise to exalt oneself above a great and powerful ruler who has the ability to humiliate them and make them suffer.

In our human nature, we want to be our own “lord.” We want to be the one to make the rules. Many people deny the existence, power and authority of God for that very reason. To acknowledge God’s Lordship means that we must surrender our own will in order to do God’s will.

The trouble with being our own “lord” is that we aren’t all-wise, all-knowing, and all-powerful. There will always be someone bigger, stronger, and smarter than we are. Sooner or later we will come to the end of our own resources.

God has created this world with enough resources for everyone. The problem with worldly ways is that we build ourselves up at the expense of others. We accumulate possessions at the expense of others’ needs.

We really don’t know what we need or want. What we think we want turns out not to be what we need, and does not satisfy. How many people are pursuing worldly status and possessions which will all pass away, and missing the true meaning and purpose of life in this world?

What is the real meaning and purpose of life? I believe that it is the opportunity to seek, find and have fellowship with God our Creator (Acts 17:26-27). I believe that it is the opportunity to be spiritually “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) to true, eternal life. These are only possible through faith (obedient trust) in Jesus Christ.

This lifetime is our opportunity to learn to trust and obey God, by trial-and-error. This world has been designed by God to allow us the freedom to choose whether to trust and obey God or not, but Creation, and we ourselves, are limited by time, because God is not willing to tolerate rebellion and disobedience forever, or at all in his eternal kingdom.

God knew that by giving us the freedom to choose for ourselves whether to trust and obey God, we would all choose our own will rather than obedience to him. Disobedience of God’s will is the definition of sin.

We have all sinned and fall short of God’s standard of 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). Jesus is God’s one and only provision for our forgiveness and salvation from eternal condemnation, designed into Creation from the very beginning (John 1:1-5, 14; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home).

We are all born physically into this Creation, but we are spiritually unborn. What is physical will pass away. Only what is spiritual is eternal. Only through faith in Jesus can we be spiritually reborn to spiritual, eternal life, because only Jesus gives (“baptizes with”) the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 1:31-34), only 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 (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)?

Monday 15 Pentecost – C 

First posted September 6, 2010;
Podcast: Monday 15 Pentecost – C 

Psalm 10:12-15, 17-19 – Deliverance from the Wicked;

Paraphrase:

O Lord, arise and lift your hand; don’t forget those who are afflicted. The wicked reject God and think to themselves that God will not hold them accountable.

You see and make note of trouble and aggravation, so as to deal with it. The unfortunate should commit themselves to hope in the Lord, because he is the helper of the fatherless.

Break the hold of the wicked and evildoer. Root out his evil until there is none left.

The Lord listens to the requests of the meek. He gives them encouragement. He will hear and give justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that worldly people may no longer cause terror.

Commentary:

The wicked and evildoers seem to thrive and succeed for a time, and they continue their evil and wickedness because they think they will not be held accountable. But there is a Day of Judgment coming for everyone who has ever lived. The Lord knows each one of us and everything we do. We cannot conceal and deny what we have done in this lifetime.

The way of the world is for the rich and powerful to dominate the poor and powerless. God’s way is to not fight back but to submit, humbly trusting in the Lord for help and ultimate justice.

Jesus is the perfect example of God’s way. He was God in human form; he is the King of the Universe. He did nothing evil or wicked, ever, and yet worldly people afflicted and killed him. But he trusted in God’s Word and humbled himself, even unto physical death. And God gave him help and ultimate justice: God raised him from physical death and made him the eternal King above all kings.

Jesus and the Word of God promise that Jesus is going to return to judge the earth at the end of the age. The judge and the standard of judgment will be Jesus Christ. Those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord (“boss”) and have trusted and obeyed Jesus will have been spiritually reborn (John 3:3, 5-8) during this lifetime, and will enter God’s eternal kingdom in heaven. Those who have rejected Jesus and have refused or failed to trust and obey him will be condemned to eternal destruction in Hell with all evil (Matthew 25:31-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10).

No one knows when Christ will return but it could be at any moment. Whether or not we are still living when Christ returns, we will all be accountable to him for what we have done in this lifetime. No one knows whether we will be alive tomorrow. Today is the day of salvation, our only sure chance to turn to Jesus and be saved from eternal condemnation.

We have been given God’s Word in the Bible and in Jesus Christ, the “living Word,” fulfilled, embodied and exemplified in human flesh (John 1:1-5, 14). We have been given the freedom to choose whether to believe God’s Word or not.

God’s Word contains both great promises and terrible warnings. We will either receive the promises by obedient trust in Jesus Christ, or we will receive the penalties the warnings were intended to help us avoid.

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 15 Pentecost – C 

First posted September 7, 2010;
Podcast: Tuesday 15 Pentecost – C 

Proverbs 9:8-12 – Scoffers and Wise Men;

Paraphrase:

A scoffer will hate you for correcting him, but a wise man will appreciate correction. Teach a wise man and he will be even wiser. Teach a righteous man and he will learn even more. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight” (Proverbs 9:10). By the Lord your days and the years of your life will be lengthened. A wise person receives the benefit of his wisdom; but the scoffer receives the penalty of his unbelief.

Commentary:

Mark Twain is reputed to have said that ignorance is not so much not knowing, as knowing so much that isn’t so. An ignorant person remains ignorant by refusing to be taught. A wise person becomes wise by being willing to learn from others.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Proverbs 9:10. No matter how much a person knows, he doesn’t know anything worthwhile if he doesn’t fear (have appropriate awe and respect for the power and authority of) God. No matter how much one knows “about” God; it doesn’t matter unless he knows God personally (Job 42:5-6).

I believe that the meaning and purpose of life 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), only 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).

One is spiritually “reborn” (John 3:3, 5-8) to eternal life by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. 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).

The indwelling Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of God within us (Romans 8:9; John 14:21, 23). It is only by the indwelling Holy Spirit that we can have a personal daily fellowship with Jesus and God the Father (and note the doctrine of the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit; Matthew 28:19).

God’s Word promises that the way to lengthen the days and years of your life is by faith in Jesus. By faith in Jesus, our lives will not end at physical death but will continue in paradise in God’s eternal kingdom for eternity. We can begin to know this with certainty for ourselves now, by the baptism of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The only people who don’t know for sure where they will be after physical death are the “lost” who are eternally perishing, because they have not been spiritually “born-again” by faith in Jesus Christ.

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 15 Pentecost – C 

First posted September 8, 2010;
Podcast: Wednesday 15 Pentecost – C

Philemon 1 (2-9) 10-21 – Paul’s Plea on behalf of Onesimus;

Background:

Earlier, Paul had converted Philemon on a missionary journey to Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). Later while under house arrest in Rome, Paul had been helped by Onesimus (meaning “useful”), a slave of Philemon, and Onesimus had been converted to Christianity. Philemon had legal rights over the run-away slave, but Paul was appealing to Philemon’s charity for a fellow Christian. In the first century, the Church met in private homes.

Text Paraphrase:

Paul wrote to Philemon and Apphia (assumed by some to be Philemon’s wife), and Archippus, a “fellow soldier” of Paul (perhaps a minister in the house church). Grace and peace were conventional Greek and Hebrew greetings, respectively, but are only truly possible through Jesus Christ.

Paul always gave thanks to God in prayer for Philemon, and for his love of all the believers, and he prayed that Philemon’s testimony would increase the knowledge of the blessings that are ours in Christ. Paul felt blessed and comforted by Philemon’s love because Philemon had encouraged other believers.

As an Apostle (a messenger of the Gospel; commissioned by Christ), Paul had the authority to command Philemon, but Paul chose to appeal to him (in Christian charity) on behalf of Onesimus (the name means “useful”), who is Paul’s spiritual child, as a Christian convert, who had become truly useful to Paul, and to Philemon, now that he was a convert.

Paul was sending Onesimus (the run-away slave), whom Paul loved, back to his owner. Paul would have been glad to have kept Onesimus with him to serve him on Philemon’s behalf, during Paul’s imprisonment, but Paul preferred to leave it to Philemon’s free choice.

Paul suggested that perhaps it was for the best that Onesimus had run away, so that ultimately he might return to Philemon, no longer a slave but a brother (by faith in Christ) of both Paul and Philemon. So Paul asked Philemon to welcome Onesimus as he would welcome Paul. If Philemon thought Onesimus owed Philemon anything, Paul promised to repay, reminding Philemon that Philemon owed Paul his own soul. Paul asked Philemon, as his brother, to refresh Paul’s heart in the Lord.

Commentary:

Slavery was legal in the first century A.D.. Philemon had a legal right to own and punish Onesimus as Philemon chose. But because both were now Christians, they were brothers, and also brothers of Paul.

This is the fulfillment of the Word of God that in Christ there is no distinction between slave (bond) and free (1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 6:8; Colossians 3:11).

Paul was an apostle, and had the authority to command Philemon, but Paul chose to appeal to Philemon’s Christian love for Christian brethren. Onesimus was no longer a run-away slave but a Christian brother. Now he was really useful both to Paul and to Philemon in the house church in Colossae (the Church of the Colossians).

This is an example of how Christians are to no longer live according to worldly standards, but according to God’s Word. I personally testify that I have experienced a brotherhood with other believers out in the world. In the nominal Church it is sometimes less likely to experience that brotherhood, because church members choose to live according to worldly standards rather than Christian standards.

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 15 Pentecost – C 

First posted September 9, 2010;
Podcast: Thursday 15 Pentecost – C 

Luke 14:25-33 – Cost of Discipleship;

Paraphrase:

Large crowds were following Jesus, and he told them that anyone who didn’t “hate” father, mother, brothers, sisters, wife, children, and even his own life, couldn’t be Jesus’ disciple. Jesus said that his disciples must be willing to pick up and carry their own crosses in order to follow Jesus.

Jesus told several parables (stories of common earthly experiences to illustrate spiritual truth): A person who wants to build a tower must first calculate the cost to see whether he can afford to finish it; otherwise he will be ridiculed for having started something he could not finish.

Similarly, an earthly king considering war with another king should first determine whether he can win against more numerous forces of the enemy. If not, then the king should send an emissary seeking peace while the enemy is still far away. So a person cannot be Jesus’ disciple unless he renounces all that he has.

Commentary:

Jesus was attracting large crowds, but many were coming to Jesus for what he could do for them physically: for physical healing and feeding. Jesus’ miracles of healing and feeding were intended to show that he can also, and more importantly, heal and feed spiritually. Physical healing only lasts until the next illness; physical feeding only lasts until the next mealtime. Spiritual healing and feeding are eternally valuable.

A Christian is by definition a disciple, a “follower” of Jesus (Acts 11:26c), who learns and does what Jesus teaches. A disciple who does so will be spiritually “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8; 14:15-17).

But there is a cost of discipleship. One must be willing to give up one’s own will in order to do the Lord’s will. Doing the Lord’s will is going to sometimes be uncomfortable. The world doesn’t treat Jesus’ disciples any better than they treated Jesus. Many who followed Jesus at first, fell away when the going got rough (John 6:66-69).

There are lots of “fair-weather” (nominal) Christians who go to Church when it suits them, when the Church offers programs they’re interested in. Theirs is a form of “religion,” an attempt to manipulate God to do their will, rather than a discipling relationship with Jesus as their Master, learning to know and do the Lord’s will.

Some people are offended when the Church talks about sin, eternal death and Hell. They only want to hear messages that make them feel good. Paul warned Timothy that the time was coming when people would not tolerate sound teaching, but would choose teachers who taught what the people wanted to hear (2 Timothy 4:3-4). That time has long since come. There are many false teachers and “peddlers”  of God’s Word (“corrupters;” 2 Corinthians 2:17) in the world and in the nominal Church today (see false teachings, sidebar, top right, home).

Unless we realize that we are all sinners who fall short of God’s standard of righteousness in his Word (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10), we can’t repent and receive the forgiveness we need, to avoid eternal damnation, which is the penalty for sin (Romans 6:23). And faith (obedient trust) in Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for our forgiveness and salvation (see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, top right, home).

Jesus didn’t mean that we must actually hate other members of our families or ourselves; only that we must love Jesus so much more in comparison. Some actually will have to die physically for Christ and the Gospel, but not many of us have had to shed our own blood (Hebrews 12:4).

This lifetime is spiritual warfare. If we are going to be disciples of Jesus Christ we face a spiritual battle with supernaturally powerful forces of evil. We cannot accomplish anything in our own physical strength (Zechariah 4:6). We must be equipped with the spiritual armor of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God (2 Corinthians 6:7; Ephesians 6:11-17).

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)?

Friday 15 Pentecost – C 

First posted September 10, 2010;
Podcast: Friday 15 Pentecost – C

Galatians 5:25-6:10 – Life in the Spirit;

Paraphrase:

Since “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) Christians have (eternal) life in the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16), we should live according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Let us not be conceited; let us not envy or provoke one another.

If anyone is overcome by temptation, his spiritual brethren should help to restore him with gentleness. Let us be careful that we are not also tempted. Let us help one another in our trials, for that is the fulfillment of the commandment of Christ to love one another. Let us not deceive ourselves by thinking of ourselves more highly than we should. Instead let each of us honestly evaluate our own deeds, instead of boasting of ourselves based on comparisons with others, because each of us will be accountable for our own acts.

Everyone who is taught the Word should share good things with his teacher.

Don’t be deceived: One will be repaid according to what one has done. God is not going to be mocked. Those who live according to their fleshly desires will receive physical decay, but those who live according to the Spirit will receive eternal life by the Spirit. Let’s not get tired of doing what is right, because we will ultimately receive a reward, if we don’t give up. So then, every time we have a chance, let us do what is good to all people, but most especially to our brethren in faith.

Commentary:

One cannot become spiritually “born-again” except by a personal commitment to trust and obey Jesus’ teachings (John 14:15-17). We are given the indwelling Holy Spirit so that we can fulfill God’s Word by living according to the guidance and empowerment of the Holy Spirit, out of love for what God has done for us in Jesus Christ, rather than out of fear of punishment (Romans 8:1-11). So then, we should no longer live according to our human nature and worldly ways.

If someone is overcome by temptation, instead of criticizing, judging and condemning him (or her), we should gently help him be restored by leading him to repent (turn away from sin) confess, and receive forgiveness through faith (obedient trust) in Jesus. If we truly love others we will care about their spiritual condition and their eternal destiny.

We should remember that we are all sinners (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10), and if not for the grace (undeserved favor) of God (Ephesians 2:8-9), we would all be condemned. We should also remember that we are all also subject to temptation, and that we all fall short of God’s standard of righteousness, in God’s Word and in Jesus Christ, the “living Word, fulfilled, embodied and exemplified (John 1:1-5, 14).

Instead of comparing ourselves to others, particularly those who we regard as “worse” sinners, we should honestly evaluate our own actions in comparison to Jesus Christ and God’s Word. Let us remember that each of us will be accountable to the Lord for what we have done individually in this lifetime.

I have received the Gospel freely, without being charged, and it is my great pleasure to make it freely available to others.

We have all been born physically alive into this Creation, but spiritually unborn. This Creation and we ourselves are limited by time. This lifetime is our only opportunity to be spiritually “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) to eternal life in God’s heavenly kingdom. We can choose to live in our physical bodies in this physical world and ultimately die, physically and eternally, or we can choose to trust and obey Jesus and be spiritually reborn, so that we we can live eternally in a New Creation with him.

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 15 Pentecost – C 

First posted September 11, 2010;
Podcast: Saturday 15 Pentecost – C

Matthew 6:24-34 – God or Mammon?

Paraphrase:

Jesus said that no one can serve both God and Mammon (Aramaic; the language of Jesus; for “wealth”). One will either love and serve one or the other but not both. So, then, don’t worry about your physical life and needs. After all, this lifetime is about more than that. Notice that birds don’t labor for their necessities; God provides for them, and you are more precious than birds.

Who can add a single moment to his lifetime by worrying? Why worry about clothing; doesn’t God provide for the lilies of the field without their effort to provide clothes for themselves. Even Solomon, the King of Israel whom God gave wisdom, wealth, honor, and long life (1 Kings 3:9-14), was not more well-clothed. So if God can provide for the most ephemeral plants, can’t he also provide for us? Don’t doubt it!

So don’t worry about what you will have to eat, drink or wear. Unbelievers seek these things, and God your Father knows that you need all of them, but first seek his kingdom and righteousness, and then you will also have these other things as well. So don’t worry about tomorrow; tomorrow can worry about itself. Just let today’s troubles be enough to worry about.

Commentary:

This text is a portion of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-7:29) which is a collection of the teachings of Jesus.

Physical life is short, no matter what we do to prolong it. What is more important is spiritual life. We are all born physically into this time-limited Creation, but are spiritually unborn. Spiritual life is not limited by time; it’s eternal. This lifetime is our only opportunity to be spiritually reborn to eternal life.

Only Jesus is able to give us spiritual rebirth (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, 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).

Worldly wisdom teaches us to secure physical food, clothing and shelter before anything else. But if we try to do so, we will never get around to anything else, because we will never have physical security; it will always require “just a little more” than we have. Instead, if we seek spiritual food, clothing, and shelter first, God will also supply all that we need physically in abundance as well.

I personally testify that I have experienced his providence. At a time in my life when everything worldly within me screamed that I needed a job, and physical food, clothing and shelter, the Lord showed me that he is able to supply my physical needs in abundance, as I sought spiritual needs first. For over thirty years he has provided for my my physical needs beyond expectation, as I applied his Word in my daily life.

I had to learn to live one day at a time in faith in the Lord. Worldly wisdom tells us to plan ahead. It is hard to surrender our future to the Lord and just live one day at a time, but we will discover that we have no actual control of the future. Nothing is more secure than giving our future to the Lord.

The only way to secure our eternal destiny is to accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord and trust and obey him. There is no certainty that we can postpone our decision until later; today is the only day we can be sure of; today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).

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)?

Week of 14 Pentecost – C – 08/21 – 27/2016

August 20, 2016

Week of 14 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:

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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.

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 14 Pentecost – C 

Sunday 14 Pentecost – C 

First posted August 29, 2010;
Podcast: Sunday 14 Pentecost – C 

Isaiah 66:18-23 – Zion’s Hope;
Psalm 117 – Praise the Lord;
Hebrews 12:18-24 – Mt. Zion and Mt. Sinai Contrasted;
Luke 13:22-30 – The End of the Age;

Isaiah Paraphrase:

The Lord knows everyone’s thoughts and deeds, and is coming to gather all nations and peoples of all languages. They will come and see his glory. He will reveal a sign (a miracle revealing his power and glory) in their midst. He will send the survivors (those who survive God’s judgment) to Tarshish (perhaps Carthage, a Phoenician port on the coast of Spain), Put (Libya), and Lud (western Egypt), “who draw the bow” (warfaring nations; Isaiah 66:19b) to Tubal (east of the Black Sea, and Javan (Greece) and distant coastlands that have not heard of God’s fame or seen his glory; and the survivors will make God’s glory known to them. They will bring our brethren (fellow believers) to the Lord from all the most distant lands by various forms of transportation, like the Israelites brought cereal offerings in clean vessels to the temple. The Lord will take some of them to be his priests and Levites.

The new heaven and earth which the Lord will create will remain before him (forever), and so will the name and descendants of Israel. Month by month and sabbath by sabbath all people shall come to worship in the Lord’s presence.

Psalm Paraphrase:

Let all nations praise the Lord! Let all people extol him! The Lord’s love for us is great and steadfast, and his faithfulness will endure forever. Lord, we praise you!

Hebrews Paraphrase:

We have come not to Mt Sinai, where people were not allowed to touch the mountain, where there was blazing fire, darkness, gloom and storm, and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose message made the people beg that no further messages be spoken directly to them. They could not bear to hear the command that no one, or even their animals, could touch the mountain, on penalty of being stoned to death. Even Moses trembled with fear (Deuteronomy 9:19).

Instead we have come to Mt Zion and the City of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to innumerable angels gathered for a festival, “and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel” (Hebrews 12:23-24).

Luke Paraphrase:

Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem and teaching in the towns and villages on the way. Someone asked if only a few would be saved, and Jesus replied that we should try to enter by the narrow door, because many will try to enter and will be unable. Once the householder has arisen and shut the door, the many will stand outside and knock and beg to be admitted, but the householder will deny knowing them. They will say that they ate and drank in his presence and he taught in their streets. But the householder will continue to deny knowing them and will call them workers of evil. They will mourn and grind their teeth when they see the patriarchs and prophets of Israel in the kingdom of God and themselves rejected. People from the most distant parts of earth will come and sit at table in the kingdom of God, but some who are last will be first, and some first will be last.

Commentary:

There is a Day of Judgment coming when Christ will return to judge the living (“quickened”) and dead in both physical and spiritual senses. He is sending out his disciples, the “saved,” once they have been “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5, 8), to the most distant parts of the earth to preach the Gospel and make born-again disciples of Jesus Christ.

One type of cereal offering was the offering of the firstfruits of the grain harvest, so these Gentile (non-Jew) converts will be brought into the House of the Lord as firstfruit of the spiritual harvest, and some will become priests and Levites. We have seen this happening since the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the first-century Church (Acts 2:1-13).

In the new heaven and earth that the Lord will create at the end of this age, we will all worship in God’s presence in the House of the Lord on the heavenly Mt Zion. All the saved will personally experience the Lord’s great and steadfast love and faithfulness, by the indwelling Holy Spirit we have been given. Through the indwelling Holy Spirit he speaks to us in a non-scary way.

The first-born are those who have died and gone to heaven before the Second Coming of Jesus at the Day of Judgment. We are the just (found righteous in God’s judgment) people made perfect (complete; by the blood of Jesus).

Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant (Testament) which he initiated on the night of his betrayal and arrest (Matthew 26:26-28). Under the Old Covenant, blood was sprinkled on things and people to cleanse them and make them fit to serve the Lord. The blood Jesus shed on the cross “sprinkles” us to cleanse us and make us righteous in God’s judgment so that we can serve and worship him. Abel was the righteous son of Adam murdered by his brother. Abel’s blood calls to God for vengeance, but Jesus’ blood calls to God for our forgiveness.

Jesus warns us that we should make every effort to enter the narrow door that leads to eternal life, now while we have the opportunity. Jesus is going to return unexpectedly, and the door will be closed. People, even church members, who haven’t been spiritually reborn before Jesus comes, will be eternally shut out of his kingdom. They will call to him to gain admittance, claiming to have prophesied, cast out demons, and done many great works in his name, but Jesus will declare that he never knew them, and tell them to depart, because they are workers of evil (Matthew 7:21-23).

Jesus is the narrow door (John 10:9). He is the only way (John 14:6).

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 14 Pentecost – C 

First posted August 30, 2010;
Podcast: Monday 14 Pentecost – C

Psalm 112 – Rewards of the Righteous;

Paraphrase:

Let the Lord be praised. The person who fears the Lord and delights in the Lord’s commandments will be blessed.

Mighty in the land will be the descendants of the righteous; blessed will be the generation of the upright. They will possess wealth and riches, and their righteousness will endure forever.

The upright will have light in darkness; righteous, gracious and merciful is the Lord. A person who is generous and lends, and is just in the conduct of his affairs will do well.

The righteous will never be shaken, and will be remembered forever. They will not fear evil tidings; trusting in the Lord, their hearts will not be troubled. They will not be afraid; their hearts will be steady and they will see their desire upon their enemies.

They give freely to the poor; their righteousness will endure forever; their status is exalted. The wicked are angry to see the success of the righteous; the wicked grind their teeth and disappear; their desires accomplish nothing.

Commentary:

The righteous are those who fear (have appropriate awe and respect for the power and authority of) the Lord, and do what is right, good and true, according to God’s Word in the Bible, and in Jesus Christ, the “living Word,” fulfilled, embodied and exemplified (John 1:1-5, 14).

The Lord is faithful and able to prosper the righteous, not necessarily with material wealth and possessions. He is able to provide the necessities abundantly to his people and to make them go farther, while what the wicked have gained slips from their grasp.

The wicked may seem to prosper for a while, but will ultimately fail and come to nothing. The wicked hate the deeds and success of the righteous.

In America lately we have seen the wicked prosper for a time. We’ve seen tax breaks for the rich, denial of welfare for the poor and denial of healthcare for needy children. We’ve seen a few of the wicked manipulate government and loot our assets.

Ultimately the righteous will spend eternity in paradise with the Lord, but the wicked will spend eternity in torment in Hell. The righteous will have no fear of loss or even death, because they will know with certainty that the Lord is able to protect and preserve them. The wicked will worry constantly about losing their possessions and lives.

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 14 Pentecost – C 

First posted August 31, 2010;
Podcast: Tuesday 14 Pentecost – C

Proverbs 25:6-7 – Pride or Humility?

“Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great; for it is better to be told, ‘Come up here,’ than to be put lower in the presence of the prince” (Proverbs 25:6-7).

Commentary:

God is king above all kings. How many people understand that it isn’t smart (even in worldly wisdom) to exalt themselves before worldly kings, but they exalt themselves before God?

Recently a U.S. Federal Congressman found himself in trouble for calling President Obama a liar during his speech on healthcare. I like Obama, but he is so much less significant than God. Yet how many are calling God a liar by rejecting his Word?

Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 19:16). Jesus is God in human flesh (Colossians 2:8-9; John 20:28). How many of us exalt ourselves over Jesus by denying his lordship and kingly authority?

Do we understand what it means to be our Lord? Our Lord is our boss; when he says “jump,” we should be asking, “how high?”

People exalt themselves before God the Father and Jesus Christ because of unbelief. And they get away with it because of the Lord’s grace (unmerited favor) and forbearance, which is intended to allow them time to come to faith (obedient trust). Because we aren’t immediately struck by lightning, we shouldn’t assume that there is no God.

There is a Day of Judgment coming at the end of the Age of grace (unmerited favor; a free gift). That Day is coming unexpectedly, and then it will be too late to change our eternal destinies. This is the only time we have to seek and find God and be “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 Holy Spirit is a personal, daily, ongoing, discernible 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)?

Wednesday 14 Pentecost – C 

First posted September 1, 2010;
Podcast: Wednesday 14 Pentecost – C 

Hebrews 13:1-8 – Christian Living;

Paraphrase:

We are urged to continue in brotherly love. We are to show hospitality to traveling Christians (because inns of the time were occupied by bandits and prostitutes), and some have thus entertained angels* (Abraham: see Genesis 18:1-8; and Lot: 19:1-3).

We are to remember prisoners as though in prison with them; we are to remember the ill-treated, since we are in physical bodies that can also suffer ill-treatment.

Let marriage be respected and undefiled by all people. God’s judgment is coming upon the immoral and adulterous

We are to avoid the love of money, and be content with what we have, because the Lord has promised never to fail or forsake us.

The author of the Letter to the Hebrews quotes Psalm 118:6 to the effect that since the Lord is our helper we need not be afraid; for what can mankind do to us (that the Lord can’t handle)?

Let us remember our leaders and those who told us the Word of God; consider how their lives turned out, and let our faith match theirs. “Jesus is the same yesterday and today and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Commentary:

All the Law in the Old Testament can be reduced to two commandments: To love God with every aspect of our being, and to love our neighbor just as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39). Jesus specifically commanded his disciples to love one another so that all people would know that they were Jesus’ disciples (John 13:34-35).

Christians are by definition, “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) disciples of Jesus Christ (Acts 11:26c). We should find it easy and pleasing to love with brotherly affection our Christian brethren.

When the Spirit of the risen Jesus knocks on the “door” to our hearts we must open it and welcome him in and he will have the kind of fellowship with us as if “dining” with us daily (Revelation 3:20). When we invite him into our hearts to be our Savior and Lord (“boss”), we will be spiritually “reborn” by the baptism of the indwelling Holy Spirit. We will be entertaining “angels”* on a daily basis.

Only Jesus baptizes with the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 1:31-34), only his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17, 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).

Jesus warns that we cannot serve God and mammon (Matthew 6:24; “mammon” is Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke, meaning “Wealth”). We’ve seen some examples in the last year where the love of money ruined a lot of people’s lives.

Let us remember and pray for those in prison, and those who are ill-treated, particularly those around the world who are suffering for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and also for those who are falsely imprisoned, abused, denied adequate food, clothing, shelter and adequate medical care. There are numerous opportunities to volunteer in some area of “Social Ministry” (ministry to the social needs of the poor and those in need), through our local congregations.

Let there be no immorality or adultery, especially in the Church. In the first-century church at Corinth, Paul chastised the congregation for tolerating immorality and for their factionalism. He also chastised them for seeking secular lawsuits against fellow-members (1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 6:1-11), and for the false belief of some that they were saved without the requirement of obedience (1 Corinthians 6:12-20; see false teachings, sidebar right, home: “Cheap Grace”). These sorts of things are still going in the nominal Church today. God’s judgment is coming on those who do such things.

When we seek to know and do God’s will for us on an individual basis, he will reveal it to us, and he will provide the resources and ability we need to accomplish it. When we step out in faith (trust and obedience), we will learn from personal experience that the Lord is able and faithful to provide for us, and that he will never fail or forsake us. We need not fear any circumstance; the Lord is able to bring us through it.

Who was instrumental in sharing the Gospel and the example of faith with you? Who led you in dicipleship? 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 Jesus on the road to Damascus. He accepted Jesus’ rebuke (Acts 9:4), acknowledged Jesus as his Lord (9:5), repented (Acts 9:9), became obedient to Jesus’ command (Acts 9:6, 8), was discipled by a born-again disciple, Ananias, until Paul was “reborn” (Acts 9:17-18), and then immediately began proclaiming the Gospel, making born-again disciples (2 Timothy 1:6) and teaching them to repeat the process (2 Timothy 2:2). Paul was fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) which Jesus had given to his disciples, but only after he had been born-again (Luke 24:49; Acts I:4-5, 8).

Jesus is unchanging; the same things apply to us today that applied to Paul in his day.

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)?


* “Angel” can be understood as “spirit;” consider Acts 12:15 and Revelation 1:1; 22:6, 16).


Thursday 14 Pentecost – C 

First posted September 2, 2010;
Podcast: Thursday 14 Pentecost – C 

Luke 14:1, 7-14 – On Humility;

Paraphrase:

One sabbath Jesus dined at the home of a Pharisee (a member of a strict legalistic sect of Judaism) who was a religious leader. When he saw how they chose the places of honor, Jesus told a parable about people who are invited to a marriage feast:

Instead of choosing the seat of honor, one should choose the humblest seat. Then instead of embarrassing both host and guest by having to defer to a more honored guest, the guest will be honored in the presence of others by being invited to take a more honored seat. Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Jesus told his host not to invite his friends, his relatives or rich neighbors when he gives a banquet, lest they invite him in return and he be repaid. Instead the host should invite the poor and handicapped, and he will be blessed, because they cannot repay him. Instead he will be repaid at the resurrection of the just (the righteous in God’s judgment).

Commentary:

Jesus did not fit the worldly concept of a king. He came not to be served but to serve and he taught his disciples to do likewise (Luke 22:25-27). When he entered Jerusalem the week before his crucifixion, he entered not like a worldly king in a chariot, but humbly, riding on a young donkey (Matthew 21:1-11).

Jesus’ word is the Word of God, with the creative force of God’s Word (Mark 4:39-41; Compare Genesis 1: 9). Jesus could have commanded and we would have to  acknowledge him as king. Jesus deliberately referred to himself as the Son of man, which is true, because he had a human mother, but which also allows us to decide for ourselves whether he is the Son of God, with a hint from Daniel 7:13 (compare Revelation 1:13;  14:14).

There is a Day coming when Christ will return in great glory and power, unlike his earlier entry into Jerusalem. In that Day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that he is Lord (and King; 1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14).

In the days of Jesus’ physical ministry, the Jewish leaders had forgotten that they were servants of the Lord on behalf of God’s people. They were using their office to exalt themselves (Matthew 23:5-7).

Unfortunately, in too many instances, the same situation exists in the nominal Church today. Ministry is seen as a career choice, and an opportunity to have influence over other people. Church leadership is seen as an opportunity to be exalted.

Too often we’re only interested in doing favors for those who are in a position to do favors for us, or have something to offer that we want.

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 14 Pentecost – C 

First posted September 3, 2010;
Podcast: Friday 14 Pentecost – C 

Galatians 5:16-24 – Walk by the Spirit;

Paraphrase:

Paul was “discipling” the Galatian Christians. He told them to live according to the Holy Spirit, and not to gratify their carnal desires. Carnal desires are opposed to the ways of the Spirit, and indeed the Spirit is given to overcome carnal desires, to prevent us from whatever we please. But those who are obedient to the Spirit are not under the law (with its condemnation).

Immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, dissension, factionalism, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and so on, are all works of the flesh (carnal desire). Those who do such things will not inherit eternal life in God’s heavenly kingdom. But the fruit of obedience to the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; no law is necessary to restrict such behavior. “And those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24).

Commentary:

Christians must “die” daily to the desires of the flesh in order to live in the Spirit. The flesh wants what it wants, but we must resist, in order to live according to the Spirit.

If we live in the flesh, we will die eternally in the flesh. Imagine being eternally trapped in a physical body that gets sick and decays, separated forever from health and life and every good thing that God provides: that is Hell.

If we live according to the Spirit we will never die eternally. When we die physically, we’ll go on living forever in paradise restored in God’s heavenly kingdom.

We’re all born into this world physically alive but spiritually unborn. This lifetime is our only opportunity to be spiritually “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) to eternal life, and this is only possible through faith (obedient trust) in Jesus Christ, the only one who “baptizes” with the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 1:31-34), only 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).

It is only by the presence of the Holy Spirit within us that we can overcome our carnal nature; our fleshly desires. It is only by the indwelling Holy Spirit that we can know and experience true love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It is only by the indwelling Holy Spirit that we can know and experience daily personal fellowship with God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

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 14 Pentecost – C 

First posted September 4, 2010;
Podcast: Saturday 14 Pentecost – C

Luke 17:11-19 – Ten Lepers Cleansed;

Paraphrase:

Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem and was passing between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village he encountered a group of ten lepers who called to him from a distance to have mercy on them. When Jesus saw them he told them to go and show themselves to the priests, and they were cleansed as they went to do so. One, a Samaritan, when he saw that he had been cleansed, turned back praising God and fell down at Jesus’ feet, giving thanks to him. Jesus said, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the other nine” (Luke 17:17)? Then Jesus told the man to rise and go his way; the man’s faith had made him well.

Commentary:

At the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry, Israel was divided into three Roman provinces: Galilee was a Roman province in the northern portion of Israel, and Samaria was a Roman province in central Israel. Judah was the southern Roman province.

The Samaritans were of mixed race and religion, resulting from the conquest of the Northern Kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians in 721 B.C.. Most of the Israelites of the Northern Kingdom had been deported and aliens from other conquered lands had been brought in to pacify the land. Although they retained the Jewish traditions, they worshiped at a temple on Mt. Gerizim in Samaria, rather than at Jerusalem. The Jews of the Southern Kingdom of Judah did not regard them as true Jews.

Leprosy is contagious, so lepers were required to stay away from healthy people. In order to be restored to the community fellowship, including public worship, they were required to be certified as disease-free by priests. It required faith (obedient trust) in Jesus for people who were obviously leprous to present themselves to priests; and they were healed on the way, as they trusted and obeyed Jesus’ command. The irony is that the nine who apparently considered themselves “real” Jews, didn’t return to praise God and give thanks to Jesus for their healing, but the one they considered “impure” did.

Old Testament prophecies said that the revealing of the Messiah (Christ;  God’s “anointed”) would be accompanied by miracles of physical healing (Isaiah 29:18-19; 35:5-6; Matthew 11:2-5. Jesus’ miracles of physical healing, feeding, and resurrection were intended to reveal who he is, and that he can also heal, feed and resurrect spiritually. The nine leprous Jews were healed physically, but they didn’t recognize and acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah, so they didn’t receive the spiritual healing that only Jesus can provide, while the leprous Samaritan did.

We’re all born spiritually leprous. We’re all sinners who fall short of God’s standard of 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), separated eternally from God and God’s people. Jesus is the only one who can heal us and restore us to fellowship with God and God’s people which was broken by sin (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home).

We’re all born physically into this world, but we’re unborn, spiritually. This lifetime is our only opportunity to be spiritually “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) to true, eternal life. This is only possible through faith in Jesus Christ, who is the only one who “baptizes” with the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 1:31-34), only 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 (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)?

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Week of 13 Pentecost – C – 08/14 – 20/2016

August 13, 2016

August 17, 2013

Week of 13 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

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Podcast Download: Week of 13 Pentecost – C

Sunday 13 Pentecost – C

First posted August 22, 2010;
Podcast: Sunday 13 Pentecost – C

Jeremiah 23:23-29 – God’s Omnipresence;
Psalm 82 — God’s Judgment on Idolatry;
Hebrews 12:1-13 – Spiritual Discipline;
Luke 12:49-53 – The Coming Judgment;

Jeremiah Paraphrase:

God is both near to us individually, and also present everywhere throughout the universe at all times; there is no place one can hide so that God cannot see him. God has heard the lies of false prophets who lie in his name, saying that they have had a dream.

How long will false prophets continue to lie, who lie from their own deceitful hearts and try to make God’s people forget God’s name by their lies, as their fathers forgot God’s name in exchange for Ba’al? Let the false prophets tell their dreams, but let him who has God’s Word speak it faithfully. Can straw compare to wheat? God’s Word is like fire, and like a hammer which shatters rock.

Psalm Background:

In the ancient Near East, it was believed that the world was ruled by a council of gods. The Psalmist visualized God standing in the midst of that council and pronouncing judgment upon all the others.

Psalm Paraphrase:

In the divine council God has taken his place and holds judgment in the midst of the other gods. He condemns them for judging unjustly and showing partiality to the wicked.

He commands them to give justice to the weak and fatherless, and to uphold the right of the destitute and afflicted. They are to rescue the needy and powerless from the power of the wicked. The gods of the council lack knowledge and understanding. They go about in darkness; and as a result the foundations of earth have been shaken. Because they govern unjustly, they will all perish like any mortal and any human ruler, even though they are sons of God.

Arise, O God, judge the earth; for to thee belong all the nations” (Psalm 82:8)!

Hebrews Paraphrase:

We are surrounded a great cloud of witnesses, those who have succeeded at discipleship and have gone on to God’s eternal kingdom, (as exemplified in Hebrews 11). So we need to put away anything that would interfere with our participation, and persevere in the race set before us, recalling the example of Jesus who is the pioneer (“trail-blazer”) and perfecter of (demonstrator; enabler; of perfect) faith (spiritual maturity). He hated the shame of the cross, but he endured it because he focused on the joy that was promised him through it. And so he is enthroned at the right hand of God.

Let us reflect on the hostility he had to endure from sinners; then we will not grow fainthearted and weary. After all we have not had to resist to the point of shedding our own blood. And let us not forget that, as his children, God exhorts us not ignore the discipline of the Lord, nor become discouraged when punished by him. Everyone he loves, he disciplines, and he chastises all whom he receives (quote from Proverbs 3:11-12).

We must endure for the sake of discipline. He is treating us as his children. After all, good earthly fathers discipline their children. Those who are not disciplined are illegitimate, not true children. All the children of God have participated in discipline.

Our earthly fathers disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not more readily submit to our spiritual Father and gain eternal life? Our earthly fathers disciplined us to suit themselves, but our heavenly Father disciplines us for our good, so that we can share in his holiness. All discipline seems unpleasant at the moment, but later on, it produces a harvest of righteousness to those who have allowed themselves to be trained by it.

Luke Paraphrase:

Jesus declared that he had come into the world to cast the fire of judgment upon it, and he wished that the blaze had already been kindled. Jesus knew that he had a “baptism,” a commission from God, to fulfill, and he felt restricted by that obligation until it was accomplished. Jesus had come not to bring peace on earth, but division. There would be division between members within households, and division between the closest personal relationships: For example, Father versus son, mother versus daughter, and mother-in-law versus daughter-in-law.

Commentary:

The meaning and purpose of life in this world is to seek and find God and have fellowship with him (Acts 17:26-27). God has always intended to establish an eternal kingdom of his people who willingly choose to trust and obey him.

God has designed Creation 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. But God is not willing to tolerate disobedience and rebellion forever, or at all in his eternal kingdom, so God has placed a time-limit on Creation and on we ourselves.

We are all born physically alive but spiritually unborn. This lifetime is our one and only opportunity to be spiritually “born-again” to eternal life. That is only possible through faith (obedient trust) in Jesus Christ 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).

God’s Word contains both great promises and ominous warnings. Those warnings are intended to help us avoid the consequences of disobedience of God’s Word. God’s discipline is intended to help us grow to spiritual maturity at the Day of Judgment, so that we can live in fellowship with him in his eternal kingdom.

There is a Day of Judgment coming when Christ returns to judge the living (“quickened”) and the dead in both the physical and spiritual senses (1 Peter 4:5; John 5:28-28). Everyone who has ever lived on earth will be accountable for what each has individually done in this lifetime.

Jesus is God’s one and only provision for our forgiveness and salvation from eternal condemnation. Those who have accepted Jesus as Lord and have trusted and obeyed Jesus will enter eternal life in Heaven. Those who have rejected Jesus and have refused or failed to trust and obey Jesus will be condemned eternal destruction in Hell with all evil (Matthew 25:31-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10).

We can’t do evil in secret. God knows everything we do. When Christ returns, people will be fainting with fear (Luke 21:26), and will try to hide from judgment, but there will be nowhere to go to escape (Luke 23:30).

On the Day of Judgment it will be too late to change our eternal destinies. No one can be certain to live tomorrow. Today is the Day of Salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2).

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)?

Monday 13 Pentecost – C

First posted August 23, 2010;
Podcast: Monday 13 Pentecost – C

Psalm 117 – Praise the Lord!

“Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples” (Psalm 117:1)! The Lord has great and steadfast love for us, and his faithfulness is for ever. Let us praise the Lord!

Commentary:

The Lord’s steadfast love and faithfulness are revealed for all to see at the cross of Jesus Christ. God has designed a Savior, the Messiah (Christ), into Creation from the very beginning (John 1:1-5, 14).

We all need the Savior, because 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). Jesus is God’s only provision for our forgiveness and salvation (Romans 5:8; John 3:16-17; Acts 4:12; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home).

Throughout the Old Testament, God has been giving us a preview of the Savior: For example, God deliberately intends for Moses to prefigure Christ. Moses mediated the Old Covenant (Testament) of Law; Jesus mediates the New Covenant of Grace, which is to be received by faith (obedient trust) in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9). Jesus is the New Moses who leads us out of slavery to sin and death in the “Egypt” of this present world order, through the “Sea” of baptism into Jesus, through the “Wilderness” of this lifetime, led by the “Pillar of Fire” (Exodus 13:21-22), the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the “New Joshua” who leads us through the “River” of physical death, and into the eternal “Promised Land” in Heaven. David, the great human shepherd-king of Israel prefigures Jesus, who is David’s descendant, the “Good Shepherd” and eternal King. There are other examples.

Jesus is God’s “anointed” eternal prophet, priest and king. Messiah and Christ each mean [God’s] “anointed” in Hebrew and Greek, respectively. God had been teaching his people that God’s prophets (1 Kings 19:16; 1 Chronicles 16:22), priests (Exodus 29:29; Leviticus 4:3) and kings (1 Sam. 16:13; 2 Sam. 2:4) are to be “anointed” with oil at God’s direction.

The Holy Spirit is the “oil of gladness” with whom “born-again” Christians are “anointed” (“baptized”). Only Jesus baptizes with the indwelling 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).

By the baptism of the indwelling Holy Spirit, born-again Christians experience the great steadfast love and faithfulness of the Lord. As we walk in obedience to the Holy Spirit we come to know, by personal experience, his faithfulness.

Unfortunately, many, including his own people, who knew the Old Testament Scriptures, did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah, and did not recognize the love and faithfulness of God in him.

God’s Word is eternal and eternally true. What God says, happens! The test of God’s Word is its fulfillment (Deuteronomy 18:21-22). Because it is eternal, God’s Word is fulfilled over and over as the conditions for its fulfillment are met.

God’s Word contains both precious promises and ominous warnings. We will either know, believe and claim the promises, or we will receive the consequences that the warnings were intended to help us avoid.

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 13 Pentecost – C

First posted August 24, 2010;
Podcast: Tuesday 13 Pentecost – C

Isaiah 66:18-23 – Zion’s Future Hope;

Paraphrase:

God knows the thoughts and deeds of every person. He is coming to gather all peoples together, and they will behold his glory. He will reveal a sign (a display of his glory and power) in their midst.

The Lord will send those who survive [God’s Judgment] to Tarshish (perhaps Carthage, a Phoenician port on the coast of Spain), Put (Libya), and Lud (western Egypt), “who draw the bow” (warfaring nations; Isaiah 66:19b) to Tubal (east of the Black Sea, and Javan (Greece) and distant coastlands that have not heard of God’s fame or seen his glory.

The survivors will declare God’s glory to them. They will bring our brethren (believers) from all the nations, by every form of transportation, to the temple mount in Jerusalem, as an offering to the Lord, just as Israelites brought cereal offerings in clean vessels to the house of the Lord.

The Lord will take some of the Gentile believers as priests and Levites (temple servants). In the new heaven and earth that God will create, they will remain before him as will the name and descendants of Israel. Month by month and sabbath by sabbath they will come and worship before the Lord.

Commentary:

God knows the thoughts and deeds of every person, and every person will be accountable to God. There is a Day of Judgment coming, when Christ will return to judge the living and the dead in both physical and spiritual senses (1 Peter 4:5; John 5:28-29). Every person will see Christ’s return (Matthew 24:30; Revelation 1:7).

God will send those people who have believed in (trusted and obeyed) Jesus to testify to all people, even in the most distant lands, to bring them to the worship of God. Gentiles will be accepted as priests and Levites.

This prophecy began to be fulfilled first by Paul (Saul of Tarsus), 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 all can and should be. Paul was the first Christian missionary to preach the Gospel in Europe (Acts 16:11-40). Paul’s ministry was to the Gentiles (2 Timothy 1:11), because the Jews rejected his message. I am a fulfillment of that prophecy. The Christian Church is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Gentile priests and Levites.

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 13 Pentecost – C

First posted August 25, 2010;
Podcast: Wednesday 13 Pentecost – C

Hebrews 12:18-24 – Mt. Sinai and Mt. Zion Contrasted;

Background:

Mt. Sinai was where Moses met face-to-face with God, and received the Old Covenant (Testament) of Law (the Ten Commandments). Mt. Zion is the temple mount in Jerusalem which prefigures the heavenly temple in the City of God in Heaven.

Text Paraphrase:

Touching Mt. Sinai was forbidden to the people of Israel, at the penalty of death. The Lord descended in fire with the sound of a loud trumpet. God spoke with a voice like thunder. There was thick cloud, thunder and lightening, like a great tempest. God’s voice was so terrifying that the people asked that God not speak to them directly (Exodus 19:12-22; 20:18-21;  Deuteronomy 4:11-12; 5:22-27). Moses was so terrified that he trembled with fear (Deuteronomy 9:19).

Instead, believers have come to Mount Zion, and to the City of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to many angels in festal gathering, “and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to the judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just (righteous in God’s judgment) people made perfect (complete; by the blood of Jesus), and to Jesus, the mediator of a New Covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel” (Hebrews 12:23-24).

Commentary:

Under the Old Covenant of Law, God’s people were motivated by fear of punishment. No one could keep all the Law all the time (James 2:10), and the penalty for sin (disobedience of God’s Word is eternal death; Romans 6:23). Blood sacrifices had to be made continually for the forgiveness of sin.

Aaron was allowed to go up Mt. Sinai with Moses part of the way (Exodus 19:24; 24:9-11) but only Moses had a face-to-face relationship with God. God’s voice and his descent upon Mt. Sinai were so frightening that the people asked that God speak to Moses, who would then relay God’s Word to the people.

The Church is the New Jerusalem on earth, a foretaste of the heavenly Mt. Zion, the City of God, the heavenly Jerusalem.

Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant of Grace (unmerited favor; a free gift) to be received by faith (obedient trust) in Jesus, which he instituted on the  night of his betrayal and arrest at the Last Supper. He shed his blood on the cross, once for all time and people who are willing to receive it by faith, for the forgiveness of all our sins. Abel’s blood called out to God for vengeance, but Jesus’ blood pleads for our forgiveness.

When we receive the forgiveness Jesus offers, we will want to keep his commandments out of love and gratitude for what he has done for us. Jesus’ blood makes it possible for us to have a personal fellowship with Jesus and God the Father through 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 Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus (the Spirit of God; note the doctrine of the Trinity; Romans 8:9). We see the character of Jesus in the New Testament. He isn’t scary like the manifestation of God at Mt. Sinai. “Born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) Christians have been filled with the indwelling Holy Spirit. He speaks to us by the still, quiet voice of his Holy Spirit in a non-frightening way, and we experience his love and goodness through his Holy Spirit. He will ask us to do things we’d rather not do, but as we respond in faith (obedient trust) we will learn from experience that his will is good, possible for us to do, and in our very best interest (Romans 12:2, RSV).

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 13 Pentecost – C

First posted August 26, 2010;
Podcast: Thursday 13 Pentecost – C

Luke 13:22-30 – The End of the Age;

Paraphrase:

Jesus was teaching as he passed through towns and villages on his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him if only a few would be saved. Jesus replied that we should try to enter the narrow door, because many will try and will not be able. When the householder shuts the door, many will stand outside and knock, and he will deny knowing them. They will say that they ate and drank in his presence and he taught in their streets, but he will deny knowing them, will call them doers of iniquity, and will tell them to depart. Then they will weep and grind their teeth when they see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and themselves cast out. People will come from the four corners of earth and sit at the table in God’s kingdom. Watch and see: some who are last will be first, and some who are first will be last.

Commentary:

The door is narrow that leads to eternal life. The worldly try to suggest that there are many ways to spiritual enlightenment, but that is not true. Jesus is the only way, the only truth, the only means to true, eternal life (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home).

There are many nominal Christians in Churches today who think they are ministering the Gospel in Jesus’ name, who Jesus will deny knowing and will call evildoers (Matthew 7:21-23). Genuine Christians are by definition disciples of Jesus Christ (Acts 11:26c) who have 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). 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).

Sadly some mainline denominations are failing to make disciples of Jesus Christ, and are actually discouraging their members from seeking the baptism of the Holy Spirit, by teaching that spiritual rebirth is automatically conferred by water baptism (see False Teachings, sidebar, right, home).

The Jews were the first to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but most rejected it and him. God hasn’t given up on the Jews. There are Jews being saved today, and there will be many Jews saved during the Great Tribulation (a seven-year period preceding Christ’s return on the Day of Judgment; Mark 13:14-27; Matthew 24:21-30; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; Revelation 3:10; 7:14). There is divided opinion as to whether the “Rapture” (“catching up;” 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3; Matthew 13:30; 24:31) of the Church will occur before, in the middle of, or after the Great Tribulation. I believe the Rapture will be pre- or mid- trib. So some Jews, who were first will be last, and some Gentiles, who were last, will be first.

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 13 Pentecost – C

First posted August 27, 2010;
Podcast: Friday 13 Pentecost – C

Galatians 3:15-22 – The Purpose of Law;

Paraphrase:

The Law was given to Moses to help us recognize our sin, until the coming of the offspring (the Messiah; the descendant of David) to those to whom the promise (2 Samuel 7:5-13; Psalm 89:20-29) had been given (the Jews; God’s people; the Church). Jewish tradition taught that the Law was delivered by angels (Deuteronomy 33:2; Acts 7:38, 53) through an intermediary (Moses). The Law was a covenant between God and mankind, through Moses as mediator, but the promise of the Savior (Messiah; Christ) was given directly by God’s Word.

Then, is the Law contrary to the promises of God? Definitely not! Righteousness cannot be achieved by fulfilling the Law. God’s Word condemned all things to sin, so that what was promised through faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

Commentary:

The Law was like a “custodian,” a “nanny” (“governess;” 1 Corinthians 4:15), to restrain us until the coming of Christ. The Law teaches us the standard of righteousness that God requires, and demonstrates that we cannot achieve it by our own abilities.

Angel means Spirit (Acts 12:15). God is Spirit (John 4:24).

Moses was the mediator, between God and mankind, of the Old Covenant of Law. Jesus is the “New Moses,” the mediator of the New Covenant of Grace (unmerited favor; free gift) through faith (obedient trust) in Jesus. Moses led the people of God out of sin and death in Egypt, through the wilderness, to the Promised Land. Jesus is the “New Moses” who leads us out of sin and death in the “Egypt” of this world, through the spiritual wilderness of this lifetime, to the “Promised Land” of eternal life in God’s heavenly kingdom. Jesus is the “New Joshua” (“Jesus” is the Greek form of “Jeshua,” the post-exilic form of “Joshua”) who leads us through the “River” of physical death and into the eternal “Promised Land” of God’s eternal kingdom restored to paradise in Heaven.

Jesus is the institutor (Matthew 26:26-28) and mediator of the New Covenant (Matthew 26:26-28), the “New Passover.” Passover is the sacrificial feast that Israel celebrated when the final plague, the deaths of the first-born of Egypt, happened, to accomplish their release. A perfect, unblemished lamb was sacrificed to provide the main course of the feast, and its blood marked the Israelites to be “passed over” by the destroying angel.

Jesus is the perfect “Lamb of God,” (John 1:36) sacrificed on the cross, whose body provides the feast of the “Lord’s Supper” (Holy Communion; Eucharist), and whose blood marks us to be passed over by condemnation to eternal death.

The promise of a Savior has been fulfilled, without any requirement on our part to accept him. Those who choose to accept him as their personal Savior and Lord receive eternal life. Those who reject him receive eternal condemnation and destruction in Hell; (Matthew 25:31-46, 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)?

Saturday 13 Pentecost – C

First posted August 28, 2010;
Podcast: Saturday 13 Pentecost – C

Luke 10:23-37 – The Good Samaritan;

Paraphrase:

Jesus told his disciples privately that they were greatly blessed to be seeing and hearing what others, including kings and prophets, longed to see and hear, but weren’t able.

A lawyer stood up to test Jesus asking what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus asked him what the law (the Old Testament scriptures) said. The lawyer answered, saying that one shall love the Lord God with all one’s heart, soul, mind, and strength, and one’s neighbor as oneself. Jesus commended the lawyer for answering correctly, and said that if he did so he would live [eternally].

But the lawyer wanted to justify himself, so he asked who his neighbor was. Jesus replied that a man was going from Jerusalem to Jericho and he was attacked by robbers who stripped and beat him and left him half dead. A priest crossed to the other side of the road to avoid coming into contact with the victim, and a Levite (Temple Assistant) did the same. But a Samaritan* had compassion for the victim and went to him, poured oil and wine (ancient medicines) on his wounds and bandaged them. Then he put the victim on the Samaritan’s beast and took him to an inn where he attended to him. The next day he paid the innkeeper two day’s wages to take care of the victim and promised to return and repay any other costs incurred.

Then Jesus asked the lawyer which of the three proved to be the neighbor of the victim. The lawyer supposed that the Samaritan had been the neighbor of the victim, because he had demonstrated mercy for him. Jesus told the lawyer to do likewise.

Commentary:

God had promised to send a Savior, the Messiah (Christ), from the very beginning of God’s Word, in Genesis 3:15, immediately after the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden. Jesus has been designed into Creation from the very beginning (John 1:1-5, 14). God knew that by giving us the freedom to choose whether to trust and obey God’s Word or not we would all choose to do our own will, rather than his (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10). Disobedience of God’s Word is sin, and the penalty for sin is eternal death (Romans 6:23; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home).

For thousands of years the Israelites were looking forward to the coming Messiah, but many died physically without having seen the fulfillment of the promise (Hebrews 11:1-40).

Christians are by definition disciples of Jesus Christ (Acts 11:26c) who have 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). 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 Old Testament times, only a few select individuals had a close personal relationship with the Lord. Now, by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus’ disciples (Acts 2:1-13), we can all experience that relationship on a daily basis. We are able to see and hear what prophets and kings longed to experience and weren’t able. Do we realize how blessed we are?

The lawyer in this passage was an expert in the law (God’s Word). He knew the law, but mere knowledge is not sufficient; one must apply that knowledge in daily actions.

That’s the problem in too many nominal Churches today. They are led by people who know a lot about God, but don’t know God personally (Job 42:5-6). It takes born-again disciples to make born-again disciples. If unregenerate (un-born-again) leaders knew how to be born-again they wouldn’t be unregenerate! If the Church fails to make born-again disciples, there won’t be any born-again candidates for leadership!

The spiritual leaders of the Jewish religion were trying to remain ritually “clean” by avoiding contamination by dead bodies. The lawyer who tested Jesus was also trying to maintain ritual cleanness by his own efforts. In contrast, the Samaritan, who Jews regarded as genetically and spiritually contaminated,* was the one who obeyed God’s will.

Everyone is our neighbor; the issue is who we regard as our neighbor.

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 result of cross-breeding and spiritual assimilation with the remnant of Israel which had avoided deportation by Assyria because of poverty, weakness or ill health, and had intermarried with aliens brought in by the Assyrians to pacify conquered territories.


Week of 12 Pentecost – C -08/07 – 13/2016

August 6, 2016

August 10, 2013

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://shepboy.multiply.com/

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

Shepherdboysmydailywalk’s Blog

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Podcast Download: Week of 12 Pentecost – C 

Sunday 12 Pentecost – C 

First Posted August 15, 2010;
Podcast: Sunday 12 Pentecost – C 

Genesis 15:1-6 – The Covenant with Abraham;
Psalm 33 – Praise to Our Creator;
Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16 – Examples of Faith;
Luke 12:32-40 – On Watchfulness;

Genesis Paraphrase:

After Abraham (Abram) had rescued his nephew, Lot, from King Chedorlaomer and his three allies (Genesis 14:1-16), and his encounter with Melchizedek, King of Salem and Priest of God (Genesis 14:17-24), Abraham had a vision through which he received the Word of God. God promised to be Abraham’s shield, and that Abraham’s reward would be very great. But Abraham asked the Lord what the Lord would give him, since he was still childless, and his only heir would be his slave and steward, Eliezer of Damascus. But the Lord promised that Abraham’s own son, not Eliezer, would be his heir. Then the Lord took him outside and showed him the night sky. The Lord told Abraham that his descendants would be as vastly innumerable as the stars in the sky. “And he believed the Lord; and he [the Lord] reckoned it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6).

Psalm Paraphrase:

Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord! The praise of the upright is fitting. Let us praise the Lord with the accompaniment of stringed instruments. Sing to him a new song with skillful stringed accompaniment, and with loud shouts! The Lord’s Word is upright, and all his deeds are done in faithfulness. He delights in righteousness and justice, and the Lord’s steadfast love fills the earth.

The heavens were made by the Lord’s Word; by his breath all the living creatures were created. He restrained the waters as in a bottle, and the deeps as in storehouses.

Fear the Lord, all the earth; let everyone on earth be in awe of him! What he spoke came into existence; at his command it stood forth. He brings to nothing, all the counsel of the nations; he frustrates the peoples’ plans. The Lord’s counsel stands for ever. His meditations will endure through all generations. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage” (Psalm 33:12).

From heaven the Lord sees all the descendants of mankind. From his throne he looks forth upon all the inhabitants of the earth, and sees their deeds. “A king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a vain hope for  victory, and by its great might it cannot save” (Psalm 33:16-17).

Look and see, the Lord watches over those who fear him and rely on his steadfast love, in order to deliver their souls from death and sustain them during famine.

The Lord is our help and shield; let our souls wait patiently for the Lord. Let us trust in his holy name (his total person and character), so that we can rejoice in him. May his steadfast love be upon us as we hope in him.

Hebrews Paraphrase:

One aspect of faith is confidence that we will receive what we hope for, the certainty of things unseen. Our forefathers received the Lord’s approval because they had faith in him. By faith, we believe that the universe was created by God’s Word. What is visible has been created from what is unseen.

When the Lord called Abraham to go to a place he had never seen, which was going to be his inheritance, he obeyed, not knowing where he was going. He lived in tents in the land like a sojourner, with his son Isaac and grandson Jacob, who were his heirs, because he anticipated the (heavenly) city, built on foundations (unlike tents).

Because Sarah believed that the Lord is faithful, she received the ability to conceive and bear a child after she was past the age of childbearing. So from one old man (and woman) near the ends of their lives, were born descendants as numerous as the stars in heaven, or the grains of sand on the beach.

These all died in faith, not having received what had been promised, but having seen and greeted it in a vision of the future. They acknowledged that they were just passing through in this world, and were seeking a better homeland. They could have returned to their ancestral home if they had chosen to, but they sought a better, heavenly, homeland. So the Lord is not ashamed to be their God, and he has prepared an eternal city for them.

Luke Paraphrase:

Jesus told his disciples not to be afraid, because it is God the Father’s pleasure to give them the kingdom of heaven. We should sell [excess] possessions, and make donations for the poor. Then we will have purses that don’t wear out and heavenly bank accounts that do not fail, where there are no thieves, and there is no wasting away as by moth. Our hearts will be tied down wherever we store our treasure.

We must be prepared, like servants waiting for their master’s return from a wedding banquet, clothed and with lamps lit, so that they can open the door immediately when he comes and knocks. Those servants will be blessed, and their master will serve them their dinner. If he comes in the middle of the night (between 9:00 pm and 3:00 am), and finds them ready, they will be blessed.

But remember that if a homeowner knew when a thief was coming, he would be prepared and would not let his house be broken into and robbed. So we also must be ready, because because Christ’s return will be at an hour we do not expect.

Commentary:

God had promised to make of Abraham’s descendants a great nation, and promised to give his descendants a country for their inheritance (Genesis 12:1-3). Abraham went to the new land God showed him and was now living in the Promised Land as a foreigner, without possessing the land, and he still had no heir to inherit the promise. The Lord reaffirmed his promise to Abraham and gave him a “visual aid:” the stars of the night sky.

God’s Word is absolutely faithful and true. In fact, the test of God’s Word is its fulfillment (Deuteronomy 18:21-22). God wants us to trust his Word, in the Bible, and in Jesus Christ, the “living Word” (John 1:1-5, 14) so that he can show us his faithfulness, and thereby cause our faith in him to grow.

God doesn’t always fulfill his promises immediately. We need to learn to wait patiently for his fulfillment. It is a lesson we need to practice and learn by experience.

The only real security we can have in this world is faith (obedient trust) in the Lord. No matter what we do, we cannot protect ourselves against every worldly trouble. Security always requires more material and human resources than we possess. In Jesus Christ, we can be assured that he can bring us through whatever befalls us, even physical death. He wants us to rely on him so that we can learn that he is powerful and able and willing to deliver us from every trial. As we put our faith and hope in him we will personally experience his steadfast love.

Faith is not getting whatever we believe if we believe “hard enough.” Faith is obedient trust in God’s Word. As we do so we will grow in confidence in his Word. The kingdom of God is all around us, unseen. We are unable to see it except by faith (1 Corinthians 2:12-14). The Lord is near to each one of us, and he promises that when we begin to trust and obey him, he will reveal himself to us (John 14:15-17). We can’t see him physically, but we can experience him spiritually, and know with certainty that he is the risen and ascended Jesus (1 John 4:1-2).

When I was first learning to walk with the Lord I had to learn to give up worldly confidence and worldly security. We’re so used to instant answers and information by phone or computer; it is hard to wait for the Lord to answer. I had to resist phoning my pastor for advice so that I could receive the Lord’s guidance.

Some things the Lord may lead us to do seem contrary to worldly wisdom, like when Abraham obeyed the Lord to leave his ancestral home to go to a new, unknown land. Please note that the Lord will never ask us to do anything to harm ourselves or others; if you think he is, you got it wrong! He isn’t going to tell us to throw ourselves in front of a bus, for instance. But we need to learn from experience that his guidance is trustworthy and true.

Many, particularly in America, have  closets, garages and storage lockers full of stuff they don’t use or need, while others are doing without. At times I have felt really burdened with possessions that were deteriorating or were no longer useful. Have a garage sale; donate to Church-run charities. God created this world with enough resources for everyone. The reason for poverty is unjust distribution of resources. Some have more than they need; while others lack.

Jesus has promised to return and take his disciples to be with him forever in his eternal kingdom (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18). We should be ready for his return at any moment.

I truly believe that Christ’s return is imminent. America and the American Church are the New Israel, the New Promised Land, and the New Jerusalem, the New City of God on earth. America and the nominal Church, at least in America, are in much the same position as Israel and Judaism at the time of Christ’s first coming. The temple had been corrupted by secular interests (Luke 19:45-46); the priests and leaders had forgotten they were to be stewards of God’s people, and the priesthood had become a means of social status and power (Luke 20:46-47).

In many nominal churches today, ministry is a “career choice,” and churches are being run as personal empires for the leadership, for status and power. In too many instances secular influences have invaded the Church. America and the Church are urgently in need of revival. If Christ returns right now, are we any more ready for his return than the Jews were prepared for his first 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 12 Pentecost – C 

First Posted August 16, 2010;
Podcast: Monday 12 Pentecost – C

Psalm 82 – God’s Judgment on Idolatry;

Background:

In antiquity it was believed that the earth was ruled by a council of gods. The psalmist visualized the Lord God standing in the midst of the council and judging the other members for ruling unjustly.

Psalm Paraphrase:

In the midst of the divine council, God has declared judgment on the others for judging unjustly and showing partiality to the wicked.

Let the rulers of earth give justice to the weak and fatherless, and  uphold the rights of the afflicted and destitute. May they rescue the weak and needy and deliver them from the power of the wicked.

All the rulers of earth are children of God; God’s Word declares them gods (idols; compare John 10:34). They will all die like any other people, and will fall like any other prince.

“Arise, O God, judge the earth; for  to thee belong all the nations” (Psalm 82:8)

Commentary:

The world is ruled by a council of “gods.” Satan is present ruler of this world. Earthly rulers are regarded as above ordinary people, but they are children of God because he is their Creator. They are all mortal; the Lord is the one and only true God.

Earthly leaders will ultimately be accountable to God for their performance of their duties. I don’t have to look very far to find leaders who show partiality to the wicked and deny justice to the poor, weak and afflicted.

They have power and wealth now for a short time, but they will ultimately be accountable to God. Note well that those leaders who have shown partiality to the rich and powerful, and have denied justice to the poor, weak and afflicted will be condemned to eternal destruction in Hell with all evil. That includes governors and legislators who deny healthcare and financial aid to poor and disadvantaged children!

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 12 Pentecost – C

First Posted August 17, 2010;
Podcast: Tuesday 12 Pentecost – C 

Jeremiah 23:23-29 – False Prophets;

Paraphrase:

God is both the God who is nearby, but also the God who is omnipresent (present everywhere at once), so there is nowhere one can go that God can’t find and see him. God’s presence fills heaven and earth. God is aware of the prophets who tell lies in his name, saying that they have had divine revelation in a dream!  How long will lying prophets continue to prophesy lies from their deceitful hearts; who think they can cause God’s people to forget God’s name (his whole character and person), like their fathers who forgot the name of God in exchange for Ba’al?

Let the prophet who has had a dream tell his dream, but let the prophet who has the Word of God declare it faithfully. The prophet’s messages will be like straw compared with wheat. God’s Word is like fire and like a sledgehammer which breaks rock!

Commentary:

We cannot do anything that we know is wrong and hope that God won’t find out. God knows the inner motives of our hearts. We can fool people by outward appearance, but we can’t fool God.

The Word of God is unlike the word of mankind. God’s Word has creative power (Genesis 1:3). “The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). Jesus is the Word of God, fulfilled, embodied and exemplified in human flesh in this world (John 1:1-5, 14). Jesus’ word is the Word of God, with the creative power of God’s Word (Mark 4:39-41; Compare Genesis 1: 9).

Jesus is Truth (John 14:6). We cannot come to Jesus without being truthful, inwardly and outwardly. Often we don’t want to acknowledge, confess, and hear truth, but unless we do we cannot receive Jesus.

There are many false prophets in the world today (Matthew 24:24; 1 John 4:1). Paul prophesied that the time would come when people would not endure sound teaching, but would choose to be taught by teachers who would make them feel good about themselves (2 Timothy 4:3-4). That time has long since come!

The difference between the Word of God and the imagination of false prophets is like wheat and straw, but can we tell the difference? Straw would make one feel full, but has no nutritional value, and cannot sustain life, whereas one can live on wheat. Are we willing to hear truth even if it makes us uncomfortable?

There are plenty of examples of “prophets” in the nominal Church today who tell “dreams,” to make people “feel good.” There are many examples of nominal church “members” who have the outward appearance, but not the inner commitment, of discipleship by Jesus Christ.

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 12 Pentecost – C 

First Posted August 18, 2010;
Podcast: Wednesday 12 Pentecost – C 

Hebrews 12:1-13 – Spiritual Discipline;

Paraphrase:

We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, an audience of those believers who have successfully competed in discipleship before us (Hebrews 11:1-40). Now we are like athletes competing for a goal, so we must put aside those things which would interfere with our performance, and pursue with perseverance the testing which has been given us.

Let us keep our eyes upon Jesus who is the pioneer (the one who showed us the way) and perfecter of (who demonstrated and enables perfect) faith (spiritual maturity). He despised the shame of the cross, but he endured it because of the glory that was to be his through it. As the result, he has been enthroned in heaven at the right hand of God. Let us remember the hatred that he endured. Then we, by comparison, will not get tired or give up. After all, we have not resisted to the point of actually shedding our own blood.

And don’t forget that God’s Word addresses us a sons. The anonymous author of this Letter to the Hebrews quotes Proverbs 3:11-12, teaching that God’s discipline and punishment is that of a loving father intended to bring us to spiritual maturity.

We must endure for the sake of discipline. God is treating us as his children. What good earthly father doesn’t discipline his children? We have all participated in discipline; if we go undisciplined then we are illegitimate, not true children of God. Our earthly fathers disciplined us and we respected them. Shouldn’t we be much more subject to our spiritual father and have eternal life?

Our earthly fathers disciplined us for a short time as they pleased, but God disciplines us for our good, so that we can share in his holiness. At the time all discipline is painful; but eventually it results in righteousness in people who are trained by it.

“Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your week knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed” (Hebrews 12:12-13).

Commentary:

A Christian is by definition a disciple of Jesus Christ (Acts 11:26c). Discipleship involves discipline. We must be willing to give up what we want, in order to do what the Lord wants us to do.

Disciples are like athletes in training. We must be willing to give up anything that will interfere with our performance. Discipleship requires effort and endurance in order to reach the goal and win the reward.

Jesus is our “Coach.” He underwent the same discipline we face, but to the maximum extreme, and he won the championship! The testing we face is not nearly as difficult as his. We can trust his guidance and follow his example of submission to discipline and his perseverance. When we experience suffering and abuse for the sake of the Gospel, let us remember what Jesus suffered. Then our own suffering will be endurable and we will persevere.

Disciples are like athletes, performing in the world arena, surrounded by a crowd of fans and spectators. Our fans are those disciples who have successfully competed in discipleship before us. Worldly spectators may “boo” and taunt us, but our fans cheer us on.

When I first was learning to be a disciple, I became involved in Social Ministry (concern for the poor and needy) in my congregation, and conducted a back-to-school free clothing exchange. As we set up and opened, I had the distinct sensation of being watched and rooted for by a cloud of successful disciples who had gone on to heaven.

When we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord we become adopted children of God. Discipleship is the process by which we are taught to be God’s children. Discipleship is not optional. We either are disciples, or we are illegitimate; “church members,” perhaps, but not authentic Christians.

Unfortunately in many nominal Churches today including mainline denominations, these Churches have failed to make disciples, and have settled for making “members.” In fact, some Churches have actually discouraged discipleship by teaching what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called “Cheap Grace:”* The teaching of Salvation by Grace (unmerited favor; which is true), but without the requirement of discipleship and obedient trust in Jesus’ teachings (which is false). Some Churches actually discourage their members from seeking spiritual “rebirth” by the baptism of the Holy Spirit, by teaching that the Holy Spirit is automatically conferred at water baptism; see False Teachings, “Cheap Grace” and Spiritual rebirth, sidebar, right, home).

The only way we can show love and gratitude to Jesus and God the Father for what they have done for us in Jesus Christ is by our obedient trust of God’s Word in the Bible, and fulfilled, embodied, and exemplified in Jesus Christ (John 1:1-5, 14). Jesus taught that his disciples are those who do what he teaches (Luke 6:46; Matthew 7:21-27). Jesus promises to reveal himself to and abide with his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17; 21), and he does this by the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34).

By the baptism of the Holy Spirit, his disciples are “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) to eternal life. Then the indwelling Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the risen Jesus (Romans 8:9), “disciples” us to spiritual maturity. He helps us understand the Bible scriptures (Luke 24:32, 45). He teaches us all things and recalls to our memory all that Jesus taught during Jesus’ physical ministry on earth (John 14:25-26). The Holy Spirit will help us to know and do God’s will for us personally, will give us the resources to endure discipline and accomplish our mission in Jesus Christ. 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)?


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


Thursday 12 Pentecost – C 

First Posted August 19, 2010;

Podcast: Thursday 12 Pentecost – C 

Luke 12:49-53 – The End of the Age;

Paraphrase:

Jesus said that he had come to cast fire (judgment) upon the earth, and he wished that it had already begun. Jesus had a “baptism” (a commission; a command from God; his crucifixion) to be carried out, and he felt constrained (bound; having to endure trials) until his commission had been accomplished. Jesus knew and declared that his mission was not to bring peace on earth, but division. Households would be divided: some for and some against Jesus; father versus son, mother versus daughter, mother-in-law versus daughter-in-law.

Commentary:

Baptism is a covenant between the candidate and God. In infant baptism the covenant is between the parents and God on the candidate’s behalf, to be “affirmed” (“confirmed”) by the candidate when the candidate reaches the age of informed consent.

Jesus did not baptize with water; only his disciples did (John 4:2). The Church is the heir to the water baptism of John the Baptizer, for repentance and spiritual cleansing, to prepare people to receive Jesus (John 3:1-6) 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). By the baptism of the Holy Spirit we are spiritually “born-again” to eternal life. Jesus did not baptize with water; only his disciples did (John 4:2).

Jesus had to endure and persevere in excruciating (the word itself refers to) suffering of the cross, in order to fulfill the commission he had been given by God. There were many things that he personally would rather not have had to do, but he was obligated to fulfill God’s will and commission.

Jesus knew that his coming would cause division even among the closest of relationships. The vast majority of his own people refused to welcome and receive him, and demanded his crucifixion (John 1:11;  Matthew 27:23-25).

Worldly people hate Jesus because they do evil. Evil is anything contrary to God’s Word. Evil is symbolized as spiritual darkness, and righteousness as light (John 3:19). Jesus’ coming brought judgment upon the world (John 3:18). We judge ourselves by our response to Jesus.

We are all sinners 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. Jesus is God’s only provision for our forgiveness and salvation from eternal destruction. Only as we acknowledge our sinfulness can we  receive the forgiveness and salvation which only Jesus provides (see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home). The righteousness of Christ is attributed to us by God through faith (obedient trust) in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:21-22; 4:4-5).

Jesus has promised to return at the end of the age to judge the living (“quickened”) and the dead, in both physical and spiritual senses (John 5:28-29; 1 Peter 4:5). Those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord, and have trusted and obeyed his teachings will enter eternal life in heaven with Jesus. Those who have rejected Jesus as their Savior and Lord, who have refused or failed to trust and obey Jesus’ teachings will be condemned to eternal death and destruction in hell with all evil (Matthew 25:31-46; 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)?

Friday 12 Pentecost – C 

First Posted August 20, 2010;
Podcast: Friday 12 Pentecost – C 

2 Corinthians 3:4-11– New Covenant;

Paraphrase:

Paul’s confidence in his ministry of the Gospel was from God through Jesus Christ. Paul didn’t claim to be sufficient for the ministry in himself; his sufficiency was from God. It was God who qualified Paul to be a minister of a new covenant. The new covenant  is not based on written laws, but upon the Spirit. The written law condemns us to [eternal] death, but the spirit gives [eternal] life.

If the giving of the law of death, carved in stone (the Ten Commandments), came with so much splendor that Moses had to cover his face because of its radiance, although fading, won’t the dispensation of the Spirit be accompanied by even greater splendor? If the dispensation of condemnation was accompanied by splendor, won’t the dispensation of righteousness exceed it? In that case, what was once considered splendor will have no splendor, in comparison to the splendor which surpasses it. If what faded away was accompanied by splendor, what is unfading must have more splendor.

Commentary:

Paul (Saul of Tarsus) 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. Paul didn’t decide on his own to become a minister of the Gospel, and he didn’t learn the Gospel from men or receive authority from men to preach it (Galatians 1:11-12, 15-17). Paul received it directly from Jesus by the “dispensation” (gift; “anointing”) of the Holy Spirit upon him (Acts 9:1-22).

The Old Covenant (Testament) of Law was mediated by Moses (Moses was the intermediary between God and God’s People), based on the Law which he received on stone tablets from God on Mt. Sinai (Mt. Horeb). No one can keep all the Law, all the time (James 2:10; Galatians 2:16), so the Old Covenant required constant sacrifices for the forgiveness of sin (disobedience of God’s Word; the Law).

Jesus mediates the New Covenant (Testament) of Grace to be received by faith (obedient trust; Ephesians 2:8-9) in Jesus, which he initiated at the Last Supper, on the night of his betrayal and arrest (Matthew 26:26-28). Jesus’ death on the cross, once for all time and all people willing to receive it by faith, is now the one and only sacrifice acceptable to God for the forgiveness of sin (see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home).

The Lord’s Supper was Jesus’ last celebration of the Feast of Passover with his disciples. Jesus gave his body to provide the bread, and his blood marks us to be “passed over” by the destroying angel.

Jews were forbidden by the Law from drinking blood, or consuming flesh with its blood (Genesis 9:4). Blood was believed to contain the spirit, the life force, of the animal. The Lord doesn’t want us to be filled with the spirit of animals; he wants us to be filled with his Holy Spirit. We are spiritually born-again to eternal life by the dispensation of the Holy Spirit upon us.

The blood sacrifice of Jesus on the cross makes it possible for us to be spiritually cleansed by faith, so that believers can individually and collectively become the temple of the 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).

To receive the Holy Spirit we must be committed to live according to his guidance. If we are obedient to the Holy Spirit, we are no longer obligated to the Law, because we will be able to fulfill the requirements of the Law not from fear but from love (Romans 8:1-11).

When Moses came from meeting with God, on the mountain, or at the tabernacle (portable temple), his face shone with the glory of God’s presence, and the people were afraid to see it, so Moses put on a veil until the radiance faded (Exodus 34:33-35). By the Holy Spirit within born-again believers, we experience the presence and glory of God personally, and we reflect that unfading glory in our faces and in our lives.

Unfortunately, in parts of the nominal Church today, “ministry,” for some, is a career choice rather than the call of the Lord; they are learning their denominational “version” of the Gospel from men, and they must be “licensed” by Church headquarters in order to preach.

In too many instances the nominal Church has failed to make born-again disciples, and settled for making “members.” In some instances even in mainline denominations, the Church is actually discouraging its members from seeking spiritual rebirth (see False Teachings, sidebar, right, home). Churches who fail to make born-again disciples don’t have any born-again candidates for ministry and leadership.

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 12 Pentecost – C 

First Posted August 21, 2010;

Podcast: Saturday 12 Pentecost – C

Mark 7:31-37 – Healing;

Paraphrase:

Jesus had been in the region of Tyre and Sidon, cities on the coast of the Mediterranean in the Roman Province of Syria at the time. They returned and went to the region of Decapolis, a federation of ten cities east of the Jordan River in Northern Palestine. A man who was deaf and had a speech impediment was brought to Jesus for healing.

Jesus took the man aside privately, put his fingers in the man’s ears and spat and touched the man’s tongue, and said “Ephphatha” the Aramaic world meaning, “Be opened,”  The man’s ears were opened and his tongue was released so that he spoke plainly.

Jesus told the people not to tell anyone, but the more he commanded them, they proclaimed it all the more zealously. And the people were utterly astonished, and said that Jesus did everything well; he even heals the deaf and mute.

Commentary:

Jesus’ miracles of physical healing, feeding, and resurrection were intended to show that he can also heal, feed and raise from the dead, spiritually. Jesus tried to heal quietly, away from the crowd, without sensationalizing the healing.

Huge crowds coming to Jesus were only interested in what Jesus could do for them physically (John 6:25-27), and the crowds were making it difficult for Jesus to carry out his mission of preaching the Gospel. Those who came to Jesus only for physical miracles received only that, and missed out on the spiritual healing, feeding and resurrection only Jesus can provide.

They wanted physical miracles, but they weren’t committed to trusting and obeying Jesus. They thought they were doing God’s will by proclaiming Jesus; they thought they knew better than Jesus what was good for Jesus’ ministry.

A lot of people are like that today. They want the Lord to provide their requests, without being committed to trust and obey him (see Conditions for Answered Prayer, sidebar, right, home). Too often people think that because they want to do God’s will, that whatever they decide to do is God’s will. People may pray to discover God’s will and then do whatever they think is right, without waiting for God to reveal it and guide them.

One of the main purposes of discipleship is learning to surrender our own wills, and to seek to know and do the Lord’s will. We must learn to hear what the Lord says and wait for the Lord’s guidance.

The place to start is with daily devotions, or “quiet time,” to read a portion of the Bible, with meditation and prayer. The Lord wants to reveal his will for us one day at a time (Matthew 6:11, 34), but only if we are committed to doing it. Why should he reveal his will to someone who is not going to do it?

The place to begin with Bible-reading is to read it entirely in small portions daily. There are numerous 1-year-Bible-reading plans available (see Bible Study Tools, sidebar, right, home). I recommend one which has both Old and New Testament readings daily. When we think we hear the Lord saying something directly to us, we should “pray it back,” to be sure we understand. Remember that the Lord will never ask us to do anything to harm ourselves or others.

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 11 Pentecost – C- 07/31 – 08/6/2016

July 30, 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-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

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 Download: Week of 11 Pentecost – C

Sunday – 11 Pentecost – C

First Posted August 8, 2010;

Podcast: Sunday – 11 Pentecost – C

Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:18-26 – All is Vanity;
Psalm 49:1-11 – Transience of Life;
Colossians 3:1-11 – New Life in Christ;
Luke 12:13-21 – The Rich Fool;

Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:18-26 Paraphrase:

Everything in life in this world is vanity, insubstantial and fleeting, like a breath. We toil all our lives and the fruit of our labor passes on to someone who hasn’t worked for it. Who knows whether he will be wise or a fool. Yet he will own everything our labor and wisdom has produced. One can despair at the fact that everything to which we have applied our strength, skill, wisdom, knowledge and labor to create will be enjoyed by someone who has not worked for it. That is vanity and a great wrong. What has a person to show for all his labor and strain? His labor is full of pain and frustration; even at night he can find no rest. All is in vain.

The best one can hope for is to enjoy food and drink and find enjoyment in his labor. And this is a gift from God, because apart from God, who can enjoy food and drink or his work? God gives wisdom, knowledge and joy to those who please him, but to those who displease him, he gives the work of gathering and storing, only to give his accumulation to others who please God. This is in vain, like trying to catch the wind.

Psalm 49:1-11 Paraphrase:

Listen, everyone! Hear, all people of the world, both rich and poor, great and lowly! I will speak wisdom and my heart’s meditation will be understanding. I will listen to a proverb, and solve my riddle to the accompaniment of the harp.

In times of troubles, when the evil of my persecutors surrounds me, those who rely on their wealth and boast of their riches, why should I be afraid? No one is wealthy enough to ransom his life from the grave, or pay God for eternal life, because his life is precious beyond material riches.

We will see that even the wise die, along with the fools and the stupid; and all will leave their wealth to others. Though lands have been named after them, yet their graves will be their eternal homes. They cannot hold on to their worldly glory. Man is no better than an animal; both will perish.

The fate of those who have foolish confidence and are pleased with their worldly station is this: They are appointed for death just like sheep. Their shepherd is death. They will descend straight into the grave, where their bodies will rot. The land of the dead will be their eternal home. But God will ransom his people from the power of death, for he will welcome me (into his eternal kingdom).

Don’t worry about the rich and famous. When they die they can take none of that with them. They will not retain wealth and glory in death. While they live they think themselves happy, and they are praised when they are successful, yet they will die and never again see light. The glory of man perishes with his death, like an animal.

Colossians 3:1-11 Paraphrase:

If we have been raised with Christ (by faith in the Lord) let us seek things that are eternal, where Christ reigns, in God’s kingdom. So let us focus on heavenly things, not on what is earthly. So we must consider ourselves dead and entombed with Christ in God. When Christ appears, we will appear with him in glory. So let us put to death earthly things: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness (idolatry). The wrath of God is coming upon such things. We once lived according to such things, but now we must put them away from us: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and dirty talk. And let us not lie to one another; since we have put off the old (sinful) nature and have put on the new nature, in which we are being renewed by the knowledge of the likeness of our Creator. So there are no longer distinctions between Jew and Greek, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian and Scythian,* slave and free. Instead Christ is all-important and in all.

Luke 12:13-21Paraphrase:

A man, in the crowd gathered around Jesus, asked him to command the man’s brother to share his inheritance with the man. But Jesus asked the man, who had appointed Jesus to be judge over the division of a worldly estate? Jesus warned the man to avoid all covetousness, because life does not consist of material possessions.

Jesus then told the Parable of the Rich Fool: A rich man had lands that produced abundant crops, and he realized that he needed more space to store them. He decided to tear down his barns and build bigger ones. Then he could retire and take it easy, living on what he had stored up. But God called him a fool, and declared that the rich man would die that very night and that someone else would inherit his wealth. This is the fate of those who store up material riches for themselves and are not rich in their love for God.

Commentary:

Many people in the world today are seeking security and success in all the wrong places. God’s Word warns that security and success are not found in material riches and worldly acclaim. Is the meaning and purpose of life really to accumulate the most clothes before you die, as a bumper-sticker suggests?

I believe that 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 (John 14:6).

We are all born into this temporal world physically alive but spiritually unborn. 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).

If we seek first material security we will never obtain it because security always takes “just a little more” than what we have, and we will never get around to seeking God’s eternal kingdom (Matthew 6:31-33).

God has always intended, from the very beginning of Creation, to establish an eternal kingdom of his people who willingly choose to trust and obey God. God has designed this Creation to allow the freedom to choose whether to trust and obey God or not, and the opportunity to learn by trial-and-error that God’s way is our best interest. But God is not going to allow rebellion and disobedience forever, or at all in his eternal kingdom, or it wouldn’t be heaven. So this Creation and we ourselves are limited by time.

When we’re baptized into Jesus Christ, we’re baptized into his death, so that we can also be raised with him to eternal life. We must spiritually crucify our worldly nature. As we begin to trust and obey Jesus, we are spiritually “reborn” to eternal life by the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Through obedience to the Holy Spirit within us we are being transformed into the likeness of God.

The true Church is the congregation of “born-again” disciples of Jesus Christ. What matters is that each believer is baptized with the Holy Spirit. Converted Jews have no advantage over converted gentiles. Circumcision and keeping of Jewish law is of no advantage; gentiles are not required to become “Jews.” Slavery was present in the first-century church and is still present in the world today. Slavery does not hinder salvation, and freedom is not more advantageous. In America history, some slaves were stronger believers than some free professing 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)?


*Scythians were foreign believers; barbarians were unconverted foreigners. We should have as much concern for the spiritually lost as for recent converts.


Monday – 11 Pentecost – C

First Posted August 9, 2010;

Podcast: Monday – 11 Pentecost – C

Psalm 33 – Creator and Lord;

Paraphrase:

Let the righteous praise the Lord and rejoice in him. Sing praises to him with stringed instruments. Sing a new song to him loudly, with skillful accompaniment.

Upright is the Word of the Lord, and he is faithful in all his deeds. The Lord delights in righteousness and justice, and the earth is full of his steadfast love.

The heavens were made by the Word of God, and all the hosts of heaven were created by the breath of his mouth. As in a bottle, he restrained the seas, and stored the waters of the deeps as in a warehouse.

Fear the Lord, all the earth; be in awe of him, everyone. Everything has been created by his Word. The schemes of the nations come to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. His counsel will stand forever; his thoughts to all generations. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage (Psalm 33:12)!

From heaven, the Lord watches and sees everyone; he who created the hearts of mankind sees the deeds of all the inhabitants of earth. “ A king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not saved by his great strength. The war horse is a vain hope for victory, and by its great might it cannot save” (Psalm 33: 16-17).

Watch and see! The Lord watches over those who fear (have appropriate awe and respect for the power and authority of) him, who hope in his steadfast love. He watches over them to deliver their souls from death and preserve their lives in famine.

May our souls wait for the Lord, because he alone is our help and shield. Let our hearts be glad in him; let us trust in his holy name! Let the steadfast love of the Lord be upon us as we trust in him!

Commentary:

The righteous are those who believe in (trust and obey) Jesus. None of us are righteous by our own efforts, but we can have the righteousness of Jesus attributed to us by faith in him.

If we will read God’s Word, in the Bible, we will discover that his Word is absolutely good. God’s Word contains both great promises and awesome warnings. The warnings are intended for our good, also, to help us to avoid the consequences of disobedience of God’s Word. We will either obey God’s Word and receive the promises, or we will disobey and receive the consequences.

As we apply God’s Word in our daily lives we will discover by experience that God’s Word is absolutely true and reliable. The test of God’s Word is its fulfillment: God’s Word is always fulfilled (Deuteronomy 18:21-22); and because it is eternal, it is fulfilled over and over as the conditions for its fulfillment are met.

God’s Word is powerful and active (Hebrews 4:12). He created these heavens and this earth by his Word; he commanded, and they were created. 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 Word of God, fulfilled, embodied, and exemplified in this world in human flesh (John 1:1-5, 14).

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10a, Psalm 111:10). Anyone who doesn’t fear the Lord, doesn’t know anything important. They don’t have a real understanding of the concepts of God and Lord and their relationship to him. Mankind’s worldly wisdom changes; a recent example is the re-categorization of the planets in our solar system. God’s wisdom is eternal and unchanging.

God knows each of us individually and personally. The meaning and purpose of life in this temporal world is to seek, find and know God, 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).

Mankind’s efforts to protect and save himself are ultimately futile and unsuccessful. Only the Lord can save and preserve us, and give us eternal life.

When we begin to trust and obey God’s Word, in the Bible and in Jesus Christ, we will come to experience and know with certainty that the Lord’s love is steadfast, and that his Word is absolutely faithful and true.

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 – 11 Pentecost – C

First Posted August 10, 2010;

Podcast: Tuesday – 11 Pentecost – C

Genesis 15:1-6 – The Covenant with Abraham;

Background:

God had promised to make a great nation from the descendants of Abraham (Abram; Genesis 12:1-3). Then Abraham had to rescue Lot, Abraham’s nephew, and his household, who had been taken captive by Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, and his allies.

Paraphrase:

After this, the Lord appeared to Abraham in a vision. He told Abraham that the Lord was his protector, and that Abraham would be greatly rewarded. But Abraham asked what the Lord would give him, because Abraham continued to be childless and his Syrian steward, Abraham’s slave, would be Abraham’s heir. “The Word of the Lord came to him” (Genesis 15:4a), assuring Abraham that he would have a son who would be his heir, rather than the Syrian slave.

The Lord brought Abraham outside, during the night, and gave him a “visual aid.” The Lord told Abraham to look at the night sky and number the stars, if Abraham could. Then the Lord told Abraham that Abraham’s descendants would be as innumerably vast as the stars of heaven. And Abraham believed the Lord, and the Lord accounted Abraham righteous.

Commentary:

In order to be the father of a great nation, Abraham had to have a son. God promised to give Abraham a son and heir, but it was a long time before the promise was fulfilled. Eventually Abraham and Sarah (Sarai) tried to help God fulfill his promise. Sarah gave her handmaid to Abraham as a concubine, so that they could have an heir through Hagar (Genesis 16:2). That turned out badly.

The Lord has given me several visual aids. I live in the migration route of the Bald and Golden Eagles. The Lord has shown me what it means to mount up with wings as eagles (Isaiah 40:31). The Lord has shown me the night sky when the stars were visible, at my home when the sky was clear, and on high mountains, when every star was visible.

The Lord accounts faith (obedient trust; in Jesus Christ) as righteousness (the judicial verdict of rightness and goodness, according to God’s Word and judgment). Faith is not like wishing on a star. Faith is not like making a wish before blowing out birthday candles. Saving faith is not getting whatever we believe, if we believe “hard enough.” Saving faith is trusting and obeying Jesus as the one and only sacrifice acceptable to God for all time and all people who receive it by faith, for the forgiveness of sin (disobedience of 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)?

Wednesday- 11 Pentecost – C

First Posted August 11, 2010;

Podcast: Wednesday – 11 Pentecost – C

Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16 – Examples of Faith;

Paraphrase:

Faith is the assurance of our hopes; our certainty of things we can’t yet see. The patriarchs received divine approval because they had faith [in God]. By faith we know that this world was created from “nothing,” by the Word of God.

By faith in God’s Word, Abraham left his ancestral home to go to a new land he did not know, where God promised to give him an inheritance. He and his son and grandson lived in tents in the land he had been promised, like sojourners, not having received possession of it. But he focused on the promise of a city of buildings on foundations (unlike tents), which God would establish.

By faith, Sarah received the power to conceive after she was past child-bearing age, because she believed that God could fulfill what he promised. So from one man, close to the end of his life, descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven, or the grains of sand by the sea, were born.

All these believers died without having received what had been promised, but having seen and welcomed it from a distance, acknowledging that they were merely strangers and exiles in this world. Those who acknowledge this know that they are seeking a homeland. They could chose to return to the land which they had left, but they are clearly seeking a better land, a heavenly home. So God is pleased to be their God, and has a city prepared for them.

Commentary:

Faith is the assurance of our hope [of salvation and eternal life]. Faith is not getting whatever we want, if we believe “hard enough.” Faith is not like wishing on a star, or over birthday candles. Faith is obedient trust in God’s Word, in the Bible, and in Jesus Christ, the fulfillment, embodiment and example of God’s Word lived in this world in human flesh (John 1:1-5, 14).

Faith is the absolutely necessary requirement for a relationship with God our Creator. The “mustard seed” of faith (Matthew 13:31-32) is our “yes” to God’s Word. He will take our “mustard seed” and cause it to be come a supernaturally large “tree” of spiritually mature faith.

As Abraham trusted and obeyed God’s Word he learned that God is faithful and able to fulfill his promises, but that fulfillment is not immediate. We must endure and persevere. Abraham and Sarah waited a long time for the fulfillment of the promise of an heir, upon which the promise of God depended. Abraham never gained possession of the land which had been promised, but he saw and dwelt in it.

God’s promise to Abraham was fulfilled. His descendants are innumerable. Abraham was the father of a great nation. He has entered the eternal city of God in heaven.

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” to eternal life (John 3:3, 5-8), and this is only possible 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, daily, ongoing 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).

God’s purpose has always been to establish an eternal kingdom of his people who willingly trust and obey Jesus. This lifetime is our opportunity to learn to trust and obey God, and to learn by trial-and-error that God’s way is our best interest. God has given us the freedom to choose whether to live eternally with him, or not.

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 -11 Pentecost – C

First Posted August 12, 2010;

Podcast: Thursday -11 Pentecost – C

Luke 12:32-40 — Watchfulness;

Paraphrase:

Let us not fear, because it is God’s pleasure to give us the kingdom of heaven. Let us sell excess possessions and give the proceeds to the poor. That way we will obtain purses that don’t wear out, and will accumulate treasure in heaven, which won’t fail, cannot be stolen, and where moth doesn’t consume. Our hearts will be wherever our treasure is.

Let us be clothed, and with lamps lit, like servants awaiting their master’s return from a marriage feast, ready to open the door at once when he knocks. Their master will treat them like guests and will come and serve them. If he comes between 9:00 pm. and 3:00 am., and finds them alert and prepared, they will be blessed. But remember that a householder, if he knew when a thief would come, would not let his house be broken into. Likewise, we must be ready all the time, because the Lord will return at an unexpected time.

Commentary:

God wants us to inherit eternal life in his heavenly kingdom. We don’t have to worry about not making it. We just need to cooperate with his plan, which is Jesus Christ (see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right).

Material possessions will not give us eternal security. They will only tie us down in this material world. God blesses us with everything that we truly need in this lifetime. The way to obtain eternal treasure is to share God’s concern and our resources with the poor.

Jesus has promised to return at the end of the age, the end of time, the end of the age of grace (God’s unmerited favor), to judge the living and the dead in both physical and spiritual senses (John 5:28-29). Those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord (boss), and have learned to trust and obey Jesus will enter eternal life in God’s kingdom in heaven, paradise restored. Those who have refused to accept Jesus, who have not trusted and obeyed Jesus, will be condemned to eternal destruction, separated forever from the love and providence of God (Matthew 25:31-46).

Christ’s return is imminent! No one knows the day or hour (Matthew 24:36). We are in the same situation today as the Jews were in the day of Christ’s first coming. They were unprepared for his coming, and failed to receive him. Are we more ready than they?

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 – 11 Pentecost – C

First Posted August 13, 2010;

Podcast: Friday – 11 Pentecost – C

1 Corinthians 15:1-10 – Paul’s Gospel;

Paraphrase:

Paul was reminding the Corinthian Christians of the basics of the Gospel which he had preached to them and which they received. By believing this Gospel, they were being saved (from God’s eternal condemnation) if they held firmly to it. Otherwise their faith would have been in vain.

Paul had faithfully and accurately transmitted what he himself had received: In accordance with the scriptures, Jesus died for our sins and was buried, and in accordance with scripture (Isaiah 53:5-12), he was raised again on the third day (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:31-32). He appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the Twelve (original disciples), then to over five hundred brethren (believers) at one time, most of whom were still alive at the time of Paul’s writing, although some had died. Then he appeared to James, Jesus’ brother (Galatians 1:19), then to all the apostles (messengers of the Gospel; the Twelve) and lastly he appeared to Paul, who considered himself as having been born late, (spiritually, since he apparently hadn’t known Jesus during Jesus’ physical life and ministry). Paul considered himself the unworthy and least of the Apostles because he had formerly persecuted the Church. But by God’s grace (unmerited favor) Paul had become an Apostle (equal to the Twelve), and Paul had made the most of God’s grace in preaching the Gospel. Paul worked harder than the other Apostles, but what he accomplished was not by his own ability, but by the grace of God. So it was not important who preached the Gospel, but that it was preached, and that as the result the people had believed.

Commentary:

The Gospel in a “nutshell,” in its most basic elements, is that Jesus died for our sins, so that we wouldn’t have to die for them eternally ourselves. Jesus became the only sacrifice acceptable to God for the forgiveness of sin, to be received by faith (obedient trust) in Jesus (see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right).

Jesus died physically on the cross. The Roman soldiers made sure, by piercing Jesus’ side with a spear (John 19:34).

Jesus arose from physical death to eternal life on the third day. This was witnessed by and attested to by his disciples and over five hundred eyewitnesses, most of whom were still alive at the time of Paul’s letter. In Jewish Law, testimony needs only to be confirmed by two or three witnesses.

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 and apostle of Jesus Christ, as we can and should be. God deliberately intended Paul to be the replacement for Judas, one of the Twelve, Jesus’ betrayer.

Paul (Saul of Tarsus) was on the road to Damascus to persecute Christians when he was confronted by the risen and ascended Jesus (Acts 9:1-22). Paul repented (Acts 9:9), accepted Jesus as Lord (Acts 9:5), was discipled by a born-again disciple, Ananias (Acts 9:10) until Paul received the indwelling Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17-18), and then Paul immediately began to preach the Gospel (Acts 9:20-22).

Paul didn’t have or need the approval of the Eleven Apostles in Jerusalem. Years later, when he went to Jerusalem and met with them they accepted him as a fellow apostle (Acts 15:1-29). Paul hadn’t received this Gospel from men, but directly from Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:11-12).

There were false teachers in the first-century church who denied Jesus’ death and resurrection and this heresy is still circulating in the nominal Church today. Paul and every truly born-again Christian since personally testifies that Jesus is eternally alive. We have personal, daily 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, daily, ongoing experience (Act 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 purpose for Creation through his Word, the Bible scriptures, and through Jesus Christ, the “living Word” (John 1:1-5, 14). God taught the Israelites to recognize sin (disobedience of God’s Word) through the giving of the Law to Moses (The Ten Commandments), and taught that the only forgiveness of sin is through the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22).

God taught the Israelites the commemoration of Passover, where a perfect, unblemished lamb was sacrificed. The lamb provided the flesh for the Passover feast, and the blood of the lamb marked the houses of the Israelites to be “passed over” by the destroying angel. The Passover marked the release of the Israelites from sin and death in Egypt.

The Passover Feast pointed to the promised Messiah (Christ; God’s “anointed” Savior). Jesus became the lamb of the “New Passover,” which he initiated in the “Last Supper” on the eve of his crucifixion. His flesh is the “bread of eternal life,” the main course of the New Passover feast, and his blood marks believers to be passed over by the destroyer in the Day of Judgment. Jesus became the only sacrifice acceptable to God for the forgiveness of sin and salvation from eternal condemnation, to be received by faith (obedient trust) in 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)?

Saturday – 11 Pentecost – C

First Posted August 14, 2010;

Podcast: Saturday – 11 Pentecost – C

Luke 18:9-14 – Pharisee and Tax Collector;

Paraphrase:

Jesus told a parable (a fictional story of common earthly experience used to teach spiritual truth) of a Pharisee and a tax collector, who both went into the temple separately to pray. “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself” (Luke 18:11), saying that he thanked God that he was unlike other people, including the tax collector nearby. He was pleased that he fasted twice a week, and tithed (gave ten percent) of all that he received.

The tax collector stood far off and wouldn’t even lift his face toward heaven. He beat his breast, acknowledged that he was a sinner, and asked for God’s mercy. Jesus declared that the tax collector went home justified (judged right with God), unlike the Pharisee, because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and everyone who humbles himself will be exalted.

Commentary:

We are all sinners (disobedient of God’s Word) and fall short of God’s righteousness (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10), and the penalty for sin is eternal death (Romans 6:23). Jesus is God’s one and only provision for our forgiveness and salvation (Romans 5:8; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right), designed into Creation from the very beginning (John 1:1-5, 14).

There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who think they’re righteous, and those who know they’re sinners. Jesus came to save sinners. He cannot save those who think they’re righteous, because one must first acknowledge one’s sin and one’s need for forgiveness and salvation.

The Pharisee prayed with himself. God is not obligated to hear and answer prayer, if we are not committed to trust and obey his Word (see Conditions for Answered Prayer, sidebar right). The Pharisee had the outward appearance of obedience, but not the inner commitment. The Pharisee fasted and tithed, and went to the temple to be seen praying, but he had no love and concern for others, including the tax collector.

The Law was given to Moses to teach the Israelites what God required in order to be judged right with God. The record of Israel’s lack of ability to fulfill the requirements of the Law demonstrated that it is impossible to keep all God’s Law all the time (James 2:10; Galatians 2:16). Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant of grace (unmerited favor) which makes it possible for us to be accounted righteous through faith (obedient trust) in Jesus; it is not our own righteousness but the righteousness of Christ attributed to us by faith (Romans 3:22-24; Philippians 3:9).

If we knew God’s nature in comparison to ourselves, we would not be inclined to exalt ourselves. The original sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden was to want to be like God (Genesis 3:5b). That is our problem today: we want to be our own god, not submit to another.

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

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:

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

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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

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.

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.

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).

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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

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 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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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 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

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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)?


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