Week of 19 Pentecost – C – 09/25 – 10/01/2016

September 25, 2016

Week of 19 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:

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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 19 Pentecost – C 

Sunday 19 Pentecost – C 

First Posted October 3, 2010;
Podcast: Sunday 19 Pentecost – C 

Amos 6:1-7 – Woe to the Comfortable;
Psalm 146 – Helper of the Poor and Helpless;
1 Timothy 6:6-16 – Love of Money;
Luke 16:19-31– The Rich Man and Lazarus;

Amos Paraphrase:

Woe is coming on those who are comfortable and at ease in Zion (Jerusalem; Capital of the Southern Kingdom of Judah; the Church). Woe also to those in Samaria (Capital of the Northern Kingdom, Israel) who feel secure. The upper class in both kingdoms imagine themselves great people, and their kingdoms greater than the neighboring kingdoms. They think they will not be held accountable for the injustice they do.

Woe to those who live in luxury and eat the finest foods; who entertain themselves with music on instruments they create for themselves, like David did (1 Chronicles 23:5). With the finest of oils they anoint themselves, but don’t grieve over the ruin of Joseph (the beloved son of Israel, also known as Jacob, grandson of Abraham). They will be the first to go into exile, and their revelry and ease will end.

Psalm Paraphrase:

Let us praise the Lord! My soul will praise the Lord as long as I live; as long as I exist, I will praise the Lord.

“Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help” (Psalm 146:3). When he dies, he returns to the dust of the earth, and his plans perish.

“Happy is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God” (146:5), the Creator of heaven, earth and sea, and everything in them; whose faithfulness is forever. He gives justice for the oppressed and food to the hungry.

The Lord frees the prisoners, heals the blind, lifts up the humble and burdened. The Lord loves the righteous, protects travelers, sustains widows and orphans; but brings ruin to the wicked.

The Lord our God will reign over Zion (the City of God) forever. May the Lord be praised!

1 Timothy Paraphrase:

Godliness (reflecting God’s nature and character) and contentment are of great benefit to those who practice them. We didn’t bring anything into this world and can’t take anything with us when we leave. Let us be happy with basic necessities like food and clothing. Those who want wealth and material possessions fall into a trap, and many sensless and hurtful desires bring ruin and destruction to both themselves and others. “For the love of money is the root of all evils” (1 Timothy 6:10); because of that desire, some have strayed from faith and have suffered many heartaches.

But Timothy (and all godly people) should make a commitment to avoid this and make righteousness (doing what is right according to God’s Word), godliness, faith, love steadfastness and gentleness their aim. Faith is a struggle in this world, and we need to reach out and claim the eternal life we were promised when we made the “good confession (that Jesus is Lord, to God’s glory) in the congregation. So in the presence of God, the Creator of life, and Jesus Christ, who, on trial before Pontius Pilate, made the good confession before Pontius Pilate (John 18:33-37), Paul advised Timothy and all believers to keep the command (Jesus’ teachings; the Great Commandments: Matthew 22:36-40) unstained and irreproachable until Christ returns; and this will happen at the perfect time by the only Sovereign God, the King of kings and Lord of lords, immortal, invisible, who dwells in unapproachable light (Psalm 104:2). He alone is worthy of honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

Luke Paraphrase:

Jesus told a parable (a story of common earthly experience used to teach spiritual truth) of a rich man, and a poor man named Lazarus. The rich man dressed in fine cloths and dined luxuriously on rich foods every day. A poor man named Lazarus (a begger), covered with sores, lay every day at the rich man’s gate. He wanted to be given the food that fell from the table of the rich man. Worse, dogs licked his sores.

The poor man died and was carried into the presence of Abraham (founding father of the nation of Israel). The rich man also died and was buried. In Hell, the rich man was in torment, and he saw Abraham and Lazarus far off. The rich man called to “Father Abraham” and asked him to send Lazarus to cool the rich man’s tongue with a wet finger, because of the flames of Hell. But Abraham reminded his “Son,” the rich man, that he had received good things in life, while Lazarus had suffered evil things. Now Lazarus was comforted in Abraham’s presence, while the rich man suffered. Also, there was a great chasm between Abraham and the rich man, so that it was impossible for anyone to cross from one to the other.

So then, the rich man asked Abraham to send Lazarus to warn the rich man’s five brothers, so that they could avoid torment in Hell. But Abraham told the rich man that the brothers had Moses and the prophets (God’s Word; the Jewish Bible; our Old Testament); let them hear the Scriptures. But the rich man said that they would not listen to the Scriptures, but would repent if someone would return from the dead. Abraham replied that if the brothers didn’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they wouldn’t be convinced if someone arose from the dead.

Commentary:

God’s Word is always fulfilled, and it is fulfilled over and over as the conditions for its fulfillment are met. In fact, fulfillment is the defining characteristic, the “hallmark,” of God’s Word ( Deuteronomy 18:21-22). The Northern Kingdom of Israel, of the Divided Monarchy, didn’t heed the warnings of God’s Word, and it was fulfilled by the the fall of Samaria to the Assyrians in 721 B.C.. The ten tribes of  the Northern Kingdom were carried of into exile, and because of assimilation, effectively ceased to exist. The remnant of weak and poor of  the Northern Kingdom remained, but were assimilated into the aliens brought in by the Assyrians to pacify the conquered land, and became the Samaritans at the time of Jesus.

The two tribes of  the Southern Kingdom of Judah didn’t learn from the example of the Northern Kingdom, and did not heed God’s Word of warning, so they were conquered by Nebuchadnezzar and carried of into exile in Babylon for seventy years from 587 to 517 B.C., as the prophet, Jeremiah, had foretold (Jeremiah 25:12).

After seventy years, Judah, the remnant of  Israel returned to the Promised Land, a renewed people. But they forgot the lessons learned from the Exile, and were unprepared for the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.(Christ is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word Messiah). Consequently Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed in 70 A.D. by the Roman Army, and the Jews were scattered throughout the world. Israel ceased to exist as a nation until re-established following World War II. The temple has never been rebuilt.

Nominal Christian nations today, especially America, are well-advised to heed the warning of Amos’ prophecy. Are we comfortable and at ease in our nations today? Do we imagine ourselves to be great nations? Do we think we will not be held accountable by the Lord for the economic and social injustices we are committing?

Today many are living in luxury and indulgence, without concern for the poor and disenfranchised. But the day is coming when that revelry and ease will end, and they will be forced into exile.

The history of God’s dealing with his people recorded in the Bible shows that when his people turn away from trust and obedience in the Lord, the Lord lifts his providence and protection, which they have enjoyed without realizing and acknowledging its source. Without that providence and protection, God allows people to experience suffering and trouble, in hope that they may repent and return to obedient trust in God’s Word.

The Bible also reveals that the Lord has compassion upon the poor and oppressed, and that he expects us to do likewise. Those who seek worldly wealth, pleasures and acclaim, will ultimately come to eternal ruin.

Jesus told a parable (a fictional story of common earthly experience, used to teach spiritual truth) about a rich man and Lazarus. The rich man enjoyed wealth, comfort and pleasure, while ignoring the plight of the poor, hungry, sick, Lazarus, at his very gate, whom he must have walked right past every day. God does ultimately punish those who ignore the warnings of his Word, and ultimately blesses and comforts those who have suffered injustice.

The history of God’s dealings with his people recorded in the Bible is also deliberately intended by God to be a series of parables (metaphors) for life in this world. For example, 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, and through the “wilderness” of this lifetime. Jesus is our “Joshua” (Jesus is the Greek equivalent of “Jeshua,” which is the post-exilic form of  “Joshua”) who leads us through the “river” of physical death, (without getting “wet feet;” Joshua 3:14-17; i.e., without being affected by physical death), and into the eternal kingdom of Heaven.

Another intentional metaphor is the Exile. In one sense, we are all in exile in the “Babylon” of this world. Jesus is the one who leads us back to the “Promised Land” of God’s eternal kingdom, as “renewed” people of God. Those who aren’t renewed by faith (obedient trust) in Jesus, remain in eternal exile in the “Babylon” of  Hell.

The Bible is the Word of God, and Jesus Christ is the “living Word,” the fulfillment, embodiment, and example of God’s Word lived in this world in human flesh (John 1:1-3, 14).

The Jews had the Bible texts, but failed to recognize and acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus did rise from physical death, and his resurrection was witnessed by over five hundred eyewitnesses (1 Corinthians 15:3-7), and by every truly “born-again” Christian since, including Paul (1 Corinthians 15:8; compare Acts 9:3-5).

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

Monday 19 Pentecost – C 

First Posted October 4, 2010;
Podcast: Monday 19 Pentecost – C 

Psalm 95:6-11 – God’s Kingship;

Paraphrase:

“O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand” (Psalm 95:6-7).

Would that you would heed his voice today! Don’t harden your hearts, as the Israelites did in the wilderness at Meribah (Exodus 17:1-7), and at Massah (Numbers 20:1-13; compare Psalm 106:32-33), when they demanded proof of the Lord, although they had seen his works. The Lord loathed that generation for forty years. He said of them that they erred in their hearts and were not obedient to God’s ways. So God swore that they wouldn’t enter his rest.

Commentary:

The Lord is our Shepherd (Psalm 23:1). Jesus is God made visible in human flesh (Colossians 2:8-9; John 20:28; John 1:18; 14:7). Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10:14).

His sheep know his voice and follow him (John 10:4). Jesus asks: Why call him Lord and not do what he says (Luke 6:46; compare Matthew 7:21-27)? With practice, Christian disciples learn to know his voice and follow him. Christian discipleship is a spiritual growth process.

Meribah means “to test” in Hebrew, and Massah means “find fault.” The places were springs at Kadesh (Numbers 20:13; 27:14; Deuteronomy 32:51). It was there that the Lord provided water from the rock (Exodus 17:5-6). In that region water lies below the limestone surface.

Coming out of Egypt, through the wilderness, before arriving at Mt. Sinai, the people were thirsty and complaining. They had been hungry and had grumbled about lack of bread and meat, and God had provided manna (bread from heaven) and quail (Exodus 16:3). Still, they doubted that God would provide them with water (Exodus 17:3).

Numerous times, the Israelites had seen God’s works of deliverance, from the ten plagues that gained their release in Egypt (Exodus 7:8-11:10), the crossing of the Sea (Exodus 14:22-31), the manna and quail, and the water from the rock (Exodus 17:5-7). But at the border of the land God had promised to give them, they disobeyed his command to enter and possess it. That was the final act of rebellion which caused God to condemn them to forty years of wilderness wandering (Numbers 14:2b-10, 20-35).

The adults who rebelled against God’s command to enter the Promised Land died in the wilderness, except for Joshua and Caleb, who had advocated entering the Promised Land (Numbers 14:26, 31-35). God had intended to give them rest from their wandering in their own Promised Land, but they wouldn’t enter when he commanded, so he forbade them to enter.

The history of the Exodus from Egypt, wandering through the wilderness, and entry into the Promised Land is deliberately intended by God to be a parable, a metaphor, for life in this world. We’re all in slavery to sin and death in the “Egypt” of this current world order. Satan is “Pharaoh.” We pass through the “Sea” of baptism into Jesus Christ on “dry ground” while unbelievers are prevented and ultimately destroyed.

We are led through the wilderness of this lifetime by the “pillar of fire and cloud” (Exodus 13:21-22), which is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, our “Moses.” Jesus is the “rock” (1 Corinthians 10:4) in the wilderness who provides “living water” (the Holy Spirit; John 4:10; compare 7:38-39). Jesus’ body, sacrificed on the cross is the bread of life which came down from heaven (John 6:31-35, 41, 48-51).

Jesus is our “Joshua” (“Jesus” is the Greek form of the name), who leads us through the “river” of physical death on “dry ground,” (without being affected by it) and into the eternal Promised Land of God’s kingdom in heaven: The rest from our earthly struggles and wanderings which God has prepared for us.

God calls us to enter that Promised Land; that rest; and now is the time to begin. We have the good report of Jesus’ testimony. Born-again Christians are “Caleb,” who also have the fore-taste of heaven through the indwelling Holy Spirit, and testify that it is a good land. The Lord has done many great works for us. Do we recognize and acknowledge them? Will we trust and obey God’s command to enter and possess the Promised Land, or will we be condemned to die eternally in the wilderness?

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 19 Pentecost – C 

First Posted October 5, 2010;
Podcast: Tuesday 19 Pentecost – C 

Deuteronomy 10:12-21 – What the Lord Requires;

Paraphrase:

What does the Lord require of his people but to live according to God’s ways, to love and serve him with all our souls, and to keep his commandments, which are for our own good. The heaven of heavens and the earth and everything in it belong to the Lord. But the Lord chose the patriarchs of Israel and their descendants above all other peoples. So let’s not be stubborn anymore. Let us “circumcise” our hearts.

The Lord our God is great, mighty, and terrible; he is God above all gods, and Lord above all lords, perfectly impartial, and who cannot be bribed. He gives justice to the widow and orphan. He loves the sojourner and gives him food and clothing. Remember that we were sojourners in Egypt. We are to fear the Lord God, serve him, and cling to him. We will be bound by an oath in his name. He is our God, whose great and terrible works on our behalf we have witnessed. It is he whom we praise!

Commentary:

God has given us his Word 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). His Word is given to us for our best interest, so that we can have the good life that God intended and designed us to have. In order to get the benefit of his Word we must do it; we must apply it daily in our lives.

God has shown his love for us in the goodness of Creation, and in Jesus Christ, whom he sent to die in place of us, so that we could live eternally with him in heaven. He has called us to be the special people of God through faith (obedient trust) in Jesus, as he chose Israel through Abraham. But we are free to accept or reject his call, as was Israel.

When we realize his love and all the good things he has done for us, we will want to love and serve him and keep his commandments (John 14:15). The only way we can return his love is by obedient trust in his Word.

We become his people, not by some outward ritual, but by an inner commitment; by becoming obedient to his Word from our hearts and souls (the part of us which is eternal). As we become obedient to his Word in Jesus Christ, we will be “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8), by “baptism” 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 Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16).

God is perfectly impartial and is not influenced by bribes, or by the rich and powerful. He gives justice to the poor and powerless because they are the ones who are deprived of justice by the rich and powerful of this world.

We are all, in a sense, sojourners in the “Egypt” of this world. It is the Lord who provides the food, clothing and necessities of life in this world to each of us. He is worthy of our praise and thanksgiving!

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 19 Pentecost – C 

First Posted October 6 , 2010;
Podcast: Wednesday 19 Pentecost – C

2 Timothy 1:3-14 — Truth Entrusted to Us;

Paraphrase:

Paul recalled Timothy’s tears (at their last parting) and longed to see Timothy, so that Paul might be filled with joy. Paul was thankful to God for his own religious heritage as he recalled the faith of Timothy’s mother and grandmother. He urged Timothy to apply the gift of the Holy Spirit that he had received through his discipling by Paul. The gift of the Holy Spirit is not one of timidity, but of power, love and self-control.

Paul urged Timothy not to be ashamed to testify to the Gospel, or of Paul who was imprisoned (for testifying to the Gospel), but to be willing to suffer for the Gospel in the power of God. God saved us and gave us a holy calling (to serve God and proclaim God’s Word), not because we are worthy but because of his own goodness and grace (undeserved favor) which he gave us in Christ ages ago (Christ has been designed into Creation from the very beginning; John 1:1-5, 14). Now Christ, our Savior, has been revealed, and has abolished death and revealed life and immortality through the Gospel.

Paul was appointed an apostle (messenger) and teacher of that Gospel, and so was suffering because of it. Paul didn’t feel ashamed of his suffering because he knew Jesus, was certain of what he believed, and was sure that Jesus is able to guard what had been entrusted to Paul until the Day of Christ’s return. So Paul urged Timothy to follow Paul’s example, in the faith and love that he had in Christ, and to guard the truth entrusted to him by the Holy Spirit which dwelt within him.

Commentary:

Timothy was apparently already a Christian when Paul came to Lystra, in Asia Minor (present-day Turkey; Acts 16:1). Paul discipled Timothy until Timothy was “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) by the “baptism” (gift) of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Believers are to wait within the Church (the New Jerusalem), being discipled by mature, born-again  Christians, until they have been born-again, before going into the world with the Gospel (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5, 8).

The gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit is given to be used. Born-again Christians should not be timid, but should act in the power, love, and self-control which the Holy Spirit supplies; not in our own strength, nor without love or self-control.

We should not be intimidated by the reaction of worldly people to the Gospel. We’re going to suffer for the Gospel, if only through ridicule, unpopularity, and opposition, but we are to accept that suffering in the power which the Holy Spirit provides. When we suffer for the Gospel, the Holy Spirit comforts us greatly.

I personally testify that it requires effort for a newly born-again Christian to learn to testify publicly, and that we will experience opposition to the Gospel message. As we keep “rekindling” the gift of the Holy Spirit, we will gain ability and experience.

Jesus has been designed into Creation from the very beginning (John 1:1-5, 14). We are all born into this world physically alive, but spiritually unborn. This Creation has been designed to allow us the opportunity to be spiritually “reborn” to eternal life. Jesus has revealed eternal life and immortality through his physical death and resurrection. Over five hundred eyewitnesses to the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:3-8), and every born-again Christian since, personally experiences the risen Jesus and testifies that he is eternally alive.

Jesus came to proclaim and teach the Gospel (good news) of forgiveness of sin, reconciliation with God, and eternal life. The Gospel was not devised by man, but was taught by Jesus during his public ministry, and by revelation to his born-again disciples (Galatians 1:11-12), and recorded in the New Testament of the Bible.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God; the Spirit of Jesus (Romans 8:9). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17) who guides born-again Christians into all truth (John 16:13).

All born-again Christians are appointed to be apostles and teachers of the Gospel. Born-again Christians will have a daily personal relationship with Jesus. They will know in whom they believe, and will learn by experience that Jesus is able to guard them and the truth they have been given until he returns on the Day of Judgment.

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 19 Pentecost – C 

First Posted October 7, 2010;
Podcast: Thursday 19 Pentecost – C 

Luke 17:1-10 – Forgiveness and Faith;

Paraphrase:

Jesus warned his disciples that they would surely experience temptation, but anyone who tempts a disciple and causes him to sin will suffer such consequences that he would be better off being tied to a millstone and drowned in the sea. We must watch out for ourselves. If a brother (or sister; believer) sins we should rebuke him; if he repents we should forgive him. If he sins against us seven (or however many) times in a day and repents, we must forgive him.

The disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith, and Jesus replied that if they had faith as tiny as a mustard seed, they could command a mulberry tree to be uprooted and planted in the sea, and it would obey.

Jesus told them a parable about the duty of a servant. If a master has a servant plowing a field, when the servant returns, will his master have the servant sit down and eat while the master serves his servant? No; he will have the servant first feed his master, and then the servant may eat. Does the master thank his servant because the servant has done what the master commanded? So then, when disciples of Jesus have done what they have been commanded, they should say that they are unworthy servants, because they have only done their duty.

Commentary:

If a believer falls into temptation, his sin will be forgiven if he repents. Repentance is more than just regret; it is a change of mind, and a commitment to change our purpose and life.

The fate of an unbeliever who causes a believer to sin will be terrible, because if he remains without faith in Jesus, he has no forgiveness, and will ultimately be condemned to eternal death in Hell with all evil. Sin is disobedience of God’s Word. The penalty for sin is eternal death (Romans 6:23). Jesus is God’s one and only provision for our forgiveness and salvation (Acts 4:12; John 14:6; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home).

If a fellow believer commits sin we should try to restore him, in love (Galatians 6:1). The Lord will forgive us no matter how many times we need it, so we must follow the Lord’s example. If the Lord forgives the repentant sinner, so should we.

Faith isn’t a matter of quantity or size. Just having any faith at all is sufficient. Faith is not like wishing on a star, or over birthday candles. Faith is not getting whatever we believe if we believe “hard enough.” True saving faith is trust and obedience in Jesus Christ. If we truly believe in Jesus we’re going to do what he says.

The Lord is our master. As his servants, we shouldn’t expect to be pampered and rewarded for doing what he commands us; it is our duty, as his servants. We can’t expect to take it easy after having finished one assignment; we must keep working until Jesus returns.

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 19 Pentecost – C 

First Posted October 8, 2010;
Podcast: Friday 19 Pentecost – C 

Ephesians 4:22-28 – The New Nature;

Paraphrase:

Christians are to stop living according to our old carnal nature of deceitful lusts, and change our thinking and our actions to live according to the new nature which is the likeness of the righteousness and holiness of God.

Let us no longer deceive one another, but speak honestly with our brethren, for we are all members of one body. Get angry, but don’t sin; don’t prolong anger, since that would make one vulnerable to temptation. Let the thief stop stealing and get an honest job, so that he will be able to give to the poor. Don’t say anything evil. Say only what is uplifting, as suits the occasion, gratifying listeners. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). Put away all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander and malice; instead, be kind tenderhearted, and forgiving of one another, as God has forgiven us through Jesus Christ.

Commentary:

Before we believed in Jesus, we lived according to the standards of the world, pursuing self-interest. But now, believers are to live according to God’s Word in the Bible, and in the example and teaching of Jesus Christ, the “living Word,” fulfilled, embodied, and exemplified (John 1:1-3, 14). We are to seek to please the Lord, rather than ourselves.

We should be honest and forthcoming, especially with our Christian brethren. In the wider sense, all people belong to the family of mankind.

It is alright to get angry; there are injustices that we need to be angry about, but let it be controlled and constructive anger. We must not hold  grudges; instead we must forgive, remembering how much the Lord has forgiven us.

Most people admit to having a bad temper. I used to have a terrible temper myself. I would become verbally, but not physically, abusive. I have learned to control my anger, so that perhaps I may calmly tell the person I’m angry with what I’m angry about, but I also forgive and forget. Remembering how much the Lord has forgiven me, the sins of others against me seem slight in comparison.

We should give to others in need, instead of taking for ourselves. We should work at honest jobs, if possible, so that we can help others, rather than being a burden. In my case, I was unemployed for a long time, but the Lord wonderfully provided for me and my family. I work for the Lord, in a job he gave me, and he has provided my income.

We should be careful of our talk. There’s an old saying that, if one cannot say something good, one shouldn’t say anything at all. We should refrain from speaking evil, which includes criticizing someone “behind their back,” and gossip. Obvious examples of evil talk are profanity and dirty jokes. Let our talk glorify the Lord and encourage our listeners.

The Holy Spirit is the seal and guarantee that one is in Christ and has eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9b, 11, 15-16). Through the indwelling Holy Spirit we have personal daily fellowship with God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. We are given the Holy Spirit so that we can be able to serve and please God, and we should use the gift for that purpose. When we deliberately do what is contrary to God’s Word it grieves the Lord.

In the thirty years or so that I’ve been a Christian, I’ve had a gradual but radical change in attitude and behavior. I used to think I was a pretty good guy, but now I’m ashamed of many things I used to do. There aren’t many people who knew me then who are still in touch today who are able to see the change in me.

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 19 Pentecost – C 

First Posted October 9, 2010;
Podcast: Saturday 19 Pentecost – C

Matthew 9:1-8 – Healing a Paralytic;

Paraphrase:

Jesus returned from the east side of the Sea of Galilee to his own city (Capernaum). Some people brought a paralytic, lying on a bed, to Jesus. Jesus saw their faith, and, addressing the paralytic as his son, told him to be encouraged, his sins were forgiven.

Some of the scribes (teachers of the Law of Moses; the Bible) who were present said to themselves that Jesus was blaspheming. Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked them why they were thinking evil in their hearts. Jesus asked them if it were easier to say “your sins are forgiven,” or “rise and walk?” Jesus pronounced forgiveness because he wanted people to know that the “Son of man” had authority to forgive sins.

Then Jesus told the paralytic to get up, pick up his bed and go home, and the man did so. The crowd was afraid when they saw what Jesus had done, and they gave glory to God for giving men such authority.

Commentary:

Jesus had moved to Capernaum after his hometown, Nazareth, had thrown him out because they were offended by his preaching in their synagogue (Luke 4:16-31).

We’re all sinners who fall short of God’s standard of righteousness (Romans 3:23). The penalty for sin is eternal death (Romans 6:23). Jesus is God’s one and only provision for the forgiveness of sin (Romans 5:8; John 3:16-17; Acts 4:12). Forgiveness and salvation from eternal condemnation are the grace (free gift; unmerited favor) of God, to be received by faith (obedient trust) in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home).

The paralytic and his friends believed that Jesus could heal the paralytic. They acted on that faith by coming to Jesus. Jesus told the paralytic to get up and carry his bed home, and the paralytic did what Jesus told him.

Jesus’ miracles of physical healing, feeding and resurrection are intended to show that Jesus also can heal, feed and raise us spiritually, to eternal life. Jesus’ pronouncing of forgiveness of sin was to show that he had authority to forgive sin.

The scribes believed that only God had the authority to forgive sin. They were authorities and teachers of the Bible, which prophesies and describes the Messiah (Christ; God’s anointed Savior and eternal King), and they were in the Messiah’s presence but didn’t recognize or acknowledge him. Instead of rejoicing in the healing and giving glory to God, they accused Jesus of blasphemy.

Jesus is God in human flesh (Colossians 2:8-9; John 20:28). Jesus’ word is the Word of God with the creative force of God’s Word (Mark 4:39-41; Compare Genesis 1: 9). The scribes knew all about God, but didn’t recognize Jesus as the Son of God.

Jesus usually described himself as the Son of man, which is true, because of his human mother. It also allows people to form their own conclusion as to whether he is also the Son of God, which is also true, because he was conceived by the Holy Spirit in a virgin (Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:34-35).

We are all born physically alive but spiritually unborn. This lifetime is our opportunity to be spiritually “born-again” (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).

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 18 Pentecost – C – 09/18 – 24/2016

September 17, 2016

Week of 18 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.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.

Podcast Download: Week of 18 Pentecost – C

Sunday 18 Pentecost – C

First Posted September 26, 2010;
Podcast: Sunday 18 Pentecost – C

Amos 8:4-7 – Indictment of God’s People;
Psalm 113 – Helper of the Humble;
1 Timothy 2:1-8 – Prayers for All People;
Luke 16:1-13 – The Dishonest Steward;

Amos Paraphrase:

Listen, you who take advantage of the needy and bring down the poor; you who can’t wait to sell food at high prices, who give undersized measures for high prices and use inaccurate scales to cheat. You buy the poor for money and the needy for shoes, and sell the poorest quality provisions. The Lord promises that he will never forget what you are doing.

Psalm Paraphrase:

Let us praise the Lord! Let his servants praise his name! May his name be blessed from now on, for evermore; from dawn to dusk! The Lord is great above all nations, and his glory is higher than the heavens!

Who can compare to the Lord our God. He is seated high above, but he sees all that happens in heaven and on earth. He lifts up the poor and needy from dust and ashes. He seats them among the princes of the people. He gives barren women homes and the joy of being mothers of children. May the Lord be praised!

1 Timothy Paraphrase:

Paul was discipling his ministerial protege, Timothy. Paul taught him that prayers should be made for all leaders, so that believers could lead quiet, peaceable, and godly lives. It is acceptable to God, who desires that all people should be saved and come to know divine, eternal truth: that there is one God and one mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ. Jesus gave himself as a ransom for all people, and this has been testified to at the perfect time. Truly, Paul was appointed a preacher and apostle (messenger; of the Gospel) and teacher of the Gentiles (pagans; non-Jews) for this purpose. So then may all people in every place (of worship) lift holy hands in prayer (a common posture of prayer) without anger and quarreling.

Luke Paraphrase:

Jesus told his disciples a parable (a story of common earthly experience to teach spiritual truth) about a dishonest steward: A rich man heard that his steward was wasting his goods, so he called the steward to give an accounting. The steward realized that he was going to lose his job. He wasn’t strong enough for hard physical labor, and didn’t want to beg. So the steward decided to ingratiate himself with his master’s debtors by reducing their bills, so that when he was fired, they would welcome him into their homes. The master commended his steward for the steward’s prudence in worldly affairs, because worldly people are wiser in worldly matters than the people of God (children of light). So Jesus told them to use worldly wealth to make friends for themselves, so that when worldly wealth fails they would have somewhere to fall back on.

Commentary:

God has created this world to be very good (Genesis 1:31). The bad things that exist in this world are the result of human sin (disobedience of God’s Word). God has allowed the possibility of sin because he wants us to have the freedom to choose whether to trust and obey his Word or not, and the opportunity to learn by trial-and-error that God’s Word is good, acceptable (possible) and perfect (our very best interest; Romans 12:2).

God is the provider of every good and necessary thing, and he provides abundantly for all. The reason that some lack necessities is because of injustice in the distribution of the resources God has provided.

God intended us to be able to live quiet, peaceable, and godly lives. The reason we can’t is because of human sin. We should pray and work for knowledge of and obedient trust in God’s Word, so that this objective may be attained.

I believe that the meaning and purpose of this lifetime in this Creation is to allow us the opportunity to seek, find and have fellowship with our Creator (Acts 17:26-27), and to be spiritually “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) to eternal life.

We are all born physically alive into this creation, but spiritually unborn. This Creation, and we ourselves, are limited by time, because God is unwilling to allow disobedience and rebellion forever, or at all in his eternal kingdom.

God has designed this Creation so that we all need forgiveness of sin (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10), and he has designed a Savior, Jesus Christ, into Creation from the very beginning (John 1:1-5, 14; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home). Jesus’ death on the cross is the only sacrifice acceptable to God for our forgiveness and salvation from eternal condemnation.

Jesus 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 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 Lord has given us two commandments which summarize his entire Law (Word; Matthew 22:36-40): to love him (so that we will trust and obey his Word), and to love other people as much as we love ourselves. If we did that, there would be no poor and needy people; we would all live quiet, peaceable, and godly lives.

Worldly people know how to use the worldly system to their temporal advantage. Godly people need to learn how to use God’s Word to their eternal advantage.

There is a Day of Judgment coming soon, when everyone who has ever lived will be accountable to the Lord for what they have done in this lifetime. God promises not to forget the sins of those who have victimized the poor and needy. Those who have accepted Jesus as Lord (“boss”) and have trusted and obeyed Jesus will have been spiritually reborn in this lifetime and will enter eternal life in God’s kingdom in heaven. Those who have rejected Jesus as Lord, who have refused or failed to trust and obey Jesus, will be condemned to eternal destruction in hell with all evil (Matthew 25:31-46; 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)?

Monday 18 Pentecost – C

First posted September 27, 2010;
Podcast: Monday 18 Pentecost – C

Psalm 146 – Hymn of Praise to God;

Paraphrase:

I will praise the Lord as long as I exist; as long as I have life.

I will not put my trust in humankind; even the most highly regarded are unreliable. When they die, their plans perish with them.

The people who are happy are those who trust and hope in the Lord. He is the Creator of heaven and earth and sea, and everything that is in them. He alone is faithful; he executes justice for the oppressed and feeds the hungry. The prisoners he sets free; the blind he heals. He lifts up those who are bowed down, and helps those who are widowed and orphaned. He loves the righteous, but he brings ruin to those who are wicked.

The Lord will reign over Zion for ever. May he ever be praised.

Commentary:

Only the Lord is truly good (Matthew 19:17). Because he is good, he will give justice to the oppressed, feed the hungry, heal the blind, lift up the humbled, and help the widowed and orphaned. He will release those who are unjustly imprisoned, but he will bring the wicked to ruin.

Trusting in any human being is going to ultimately fail and disappoint, because humans are fallible and temporal. Hope in this material world is hopeless, because this will all pass away.

This lifetime is intended by God to be our opportunity to seek, find, and have fellowship with him (Acts 17:26-27). This lifetime is our opportunity to learn that his will is good, acceptable (possible) and perfect (our very best interest; Romans 12:2).

This lifetime is our opportunity to learn to know, trust and obey God’s Word. God has given us his Word in the Bible, and in the “living Word,” Jesus Christ, the fulfillment, embodiment, and example of God’s Word, lived in this world in human flesh (John 1:1-5, 14). If we will begin to apply God’s Word in our daily lives, we will learn that it is reliable and true, and our faith in God’s Word will grow.

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 18 Pentecost – C

First Posted September 28, 2010;
Podcast: Tuesday 18 Pentecost – C

Amos 6:1-7 — Warnings;

Background:

Amos was not a professional prophet; he was a layman, led by God to prophesy against the Northern Kingdom of Israel of the divided monarchy, during the reign of Jeroboam II (786-746). It was a time of military security and economic affluence.

Text Paraphrase:

Woe to those who are comfortable and feel secure in Zion (Jerusalem; capital of the Southern Kingdom of Judah), and in Samaria (the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel). These people in the upper class in both kingdoms imagine themselves to be great people, and their kingdoms to be greater than the surrounding kingdoms. They think they could do injustice and not be held accountable.

Woe to those who are living in luxury and comfort, with rich food, and amuse themselves with music on instruments of their own invention, like David (see 1 Chronicles 23:5). They drink wine by the bowlful, and anoint themselves with the finest oils, and are not grieved over the impending ruin of Joseph (the beloved son of Israel/Jacob). So they  [the Northern Kingdom] will be the first to go into exile.

Commentary:

Amos’ warnings weren’t appreciated or heeded. The religious leaders of the day expelled him from the royal sanctuary at Bethel for his preaching bad tidings in good times. As a result, his prophecy was fulfilled.

The Northern Kingdom was conquered by the Assyrians with the fall of Samaria in 721 B.C.. The able-bodied were relocated to other conquered lands and the ten northern tribes effectively ceased to exist. Those who remained, intermarried with aliens brought in by the Assyrians to repopulate the land, and became the Samaritans, of mixed race and religion, at the time of Christ.

The Southern Kingdom didn’t heed the warning and the example of the Northern Kingdom’s downfall. As the result they were conquered by Nebuchadnezzar and exiled to Babylon (Chaldea) for seventy years in fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy (Jeremiah 25:11-12).

Israel and Judah thought that because they were “God’s people,” nothing bad was going to happen to them, although they were not obeying God’s Word. They thought their military security and economic affluence were signs of God’s favor. They were warned, but failed to repent and return to obedient trust in God. In both instances, they had plenty of warning and time to repent, but they thought they would never be held accountable for the injustice they were doing.

Judah’s seventy-year exile in Babylon was effectively a life sentence for people who were adults at the time they went into exile. God brought back a remnant so that he could complete his purpose to bring forth the promised Savior who had been designed into Creation from the beginning (John 1:1-5, 14).

The defining characteristic of God’s Word is its fulfillment (Deuteronomy 18:21-22), and because it is eternal, it is fulfilled over and over, as the conditions for its fulfillment are met. We need to hear the warning and examine ourselves. Do we think success and affluence are signs of God’s approval? Have we strayed from obedient trust in God’s Word? Do we think that church membership saves us from being accountable to God for what we do?

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 18 Pentecost – C

First Posted September 29, 2010;
Podcast: Wednesday 18 Pentecost – C

1 Timothy 6:6-16 – Godliness with Contentment;

Paraphrase:

Godliness with contentment is of great benefit for  those who practice it. We didn’t bring anything into this world and can take nothing out of it. Let us be content with the basic necessities like food, clothing (and shelter; Paul was a tentmaker by trade). Those who aspire to wealth become ensnared in temptation, and into desires that are senseless and hurtful, and ruin and destroy people (themselves and others). “For the love of money is the root of all evils” (1 Timothy 6:10a); because of it, some have strayed from the faith and suffered many heartaches.

But Timothy (and all godly people) should make it their firm commitment to shun all this. Strive for righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness. Faith is a struggle in this world, and one must take hold of the eternal life we were promised when we made the “good confession,” affirming Jesus as Lord, to the Glory of God, witnessed by the congregation. Jesus made the good confession before Pontius Pilate. (John 18:33-37).

Paul advised Timothy to keep the commandment (Jesus’ teachings; The Great Commission: Matthew 28:19-20) without stain and irreproachable on the Day of Christ (Christ’s return on the Day of Judgment). And that day will be revealed at the proper time by the Sovereign God, the “King of kings and Lord of lords.” He alone possesses immortality; he dwells in unapproachable light (Psalm 104:2). He is invisible: no mortal has or ever can see him. He alone is worthy of honor and dominion forever. Amen.

Commentary:

Christians should make the pursuit of godliness (reflecting God’s nature and character revealed in Jesus Christ) their priority, and be content with what they have. God provides generously for his people. Jesus promises that if we seek God’s Kingdom and righteousness, we will have all the other things we need as well (Matthew 6:25-33; but not everything we may want).

It took me a long time to learn and experience this truth, but I certainly have, and so testify. First God took away half our income, then all our savings, our silverware and jewelery. These were all things we thought we could rely on to get ourselves out of trouble. I didn’t see how we could make it. He took those things away to teach us to trust him to provide for us.

Over the years since, we’ve never lacked for clothing, food, shelter, bikes and then cars for our children, their college educations, great health care, and many luxuries beside. As I began to trust and obey the Lord and follow his plan for my life, he began to give us all that we needed and more beside.

If we pursue worldly necessities first, we’ll never get around to seeking and finding the kingdom of God, because security in worldly things always takes just a little more than what we’ve got.

God makes plenty of resources to go around for everyone. The reason some don’t have enough is because others want more than they need or is their “fair” share. We’ve recently begun to experience an economic crisis in America and throughout the world because of the “love of money.” Many people were financially ruined and destroyed by the collapse of the stockmarkets, banks, corporations, and by Ponzi schemes.

Christians are subject to the same temptations as worldly people, and succumbing to those temptations will cause people to stray from obedience to God’s Word.

The promise of eternal life must be claimed by each Christian personally by faith (obedient trust) in Jesus. “But to all who received him, who believed in his name (his entire person and character) he gave power to become children of God” (John 1:12-13). We have to receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord (Revelation 3:20). We have to use the power we’ve been given to become children of God: We have to trust and obey Jesus.

By God’s will and purpose, the children of God are spiritually “born-again” 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). It possible for one to know personally for oneself, if one has been baptized with the Holy Spirit (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).

I believe that the “commandment” that Paul is referring to is the “Great Commission” to go into the world, after being “born-again” (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5, 8), and make “born-again” disciples, teaching them to obey all Jesus teaches (Matthew 28:19-20; note the doctrine of the Trinity). Paul had personally demonstrated his obedience to that command. Paul (Saul of Tarsus) was discipled by a born-again disciple, Ananias (Acts 9:10-12; 17-18), after Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-9), until Paul was “reborn,” (Acts 9:17-18) and then Paul immediately began to make the good confession everywhere Paul went: that Jesus was Lord (Acts 9:19b-22). Timothy is an example of Paul’s disciplemaking (2 Timothy 1:6-8), teaching the newly-reborn disciples to repeat the process (2 Timothy 2:2).

Jesus is God in human flesh (Colossians 2:8-9; John 20:28). No one has ever seen God because God is Spirit; the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9). Only Jesus can reveal God to us through himself: “All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him” (Matthew 11:27; compare John 14:7). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus (Romans 8:9; note the doctrine of the Trinity).

There is a Day coming when Christ will return to judge everyone who has ever lived in this world. Jesus is the righteous judge and the standard of judgment. Those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord and have trusted and obeyed him will have been born-again in this world and will enter eternal life in God’s kingdom in heaven. Those who have refused or failed to accept him as Savior and Lord will be condemned to eternal destruction in Hell with all evil

On the Day of Christ’s return, everyone will bow before him and and acknowledge Jesus as Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11), but then it will be too late to change our eternal destinies.

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 18 Pentecost – C

First Posted September 30, 2010;
Podcast: Thursday 18 Pentecost – C

Luke 16:19-31 – A Rich Man and Lazarus;

Paraphrase:

Jesus told a parable (a story of a common earthly experience to teach spiritual truth) of a rich man, and a poor man named Lazarus. The rich man dressed in fine clothes and dined sumptuously every day on rich food. A poor man named Lazarus, covered in sores, lay at the rich man’s gate, desiring to be fed what fell from the table of the rich man. Even worse, dogs came and licked Lazarus’ sores. Lazarus died and was carried to Abraham’s bosom (heaven) by angels.

The rich man also died and was buried. The rich man went to Hell, and from there he saw, far off, Abraham and Lazarus. The rich man called and asked “Father Abraham” to have mercy upon him, and send Lazarus to dip his finger in water to cool the rich man’s tongue, for he was in anguish in the flames of Hell. Abraham addressed the rich man as “son” and told him to remember that the rich man had received good things in life, while Lazarus had received evil things, but now Lazarus was comforted, and the rich man in anguish. Besides that, there is a chasm between heaven and Hell so that it is impossible to pass from one to the other.

So the rich man asked Abraham to send Lazarus to his father’s house, to warn his five brothers, so that they wouldn’t wind up in torment in Hell. But Abraham replied that the rich man’s family had Moses (the Law) and the prophets (the Jewish Bible; our Old Testament); let them listen to them. But the rich man said that they would not do that, but if someone would come to them from the dead they would repent. Abraham replied that if they would not listen to Abraham and the prophets, neither would they be convinced if someone arose from the dead.

Commentary:

The point of the parable is that there is sufficient information in the Scriptures (the Bible) for one to be “saved” (from eternal condemnation: to believe and repent). At the time of Jesus’ physical ministry, the Jews knew the Old Testament Scriptures, but they were not applying them.

In a sense, the rich man was violating the seventh, nineth and tenth commandments about coveting and stealing (taking) what is your neighbor’s (Exodus 20:15, 17). Jesus summed up the Ten Commandments into two: loving God and loving one’s neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40).

God provided enough resources for everyone. The reason some go without is because of unjust distribution of those resources. The rich man had more than he needed, while Lazarus went without; and the rich man was unwilling to share even the scraps from his table with Lazarus. He certainly didn’t love Lazarus.

The rich man, even in death and Hell, regarded Lazarus as his servant, to cool the rich man’s tongue; and his errand boy to take a message to his family. Similarly, The Jewish leaders dressed in fine robes and had special status and benefits in society, but had no regard for Jesus, the Son of God.

The Scriptures had been foretelling and describing God’s “anointed” (Christ and Messiah each mean “anointed in Greek and Hebrew, respectively) Savior and eternal King throughout, and yet they did not recognize Jesus as the promised Messiah.

Jesus raised several people from the dead including another man named Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, of Bethany, just a couple miles from Jersualem, and the Jewish leaders knew it, and in fact plotted to crucify him partly because of it (John 11:43-53). The Jews did crucify Jesus. And even when Jesus’ resurrection was witnessed by over five hundred eyewitnesses (1 Corinthians 15:3-8), many of the Jews refused to repent and believe in Jesus.

We have the New Testament eyewitness accounts of Jesus Christ as well as the Old Testament, and we have the testimony of every truly “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) Christian, that Jesus is the Christ and is risen and eternally alive. Each truly “born-again” Christian has personally experienced the presence of the risen Jesus.

A Christian is a disciple of Jesus Christ (Acts 11:26c) who has 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).

Many people in our world today and even in our Churches haven’t read the Bible completely and daily, and haven’t personally experienced Jesus’ resurrection.

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 18 Pentecost – C

First Posted October 1, 2010;
Podcast: Friday 18 Pentecost – C

1 Corinthians 1:4-9 – Testimony of Christ Confirmed;

Paraphrase:

Paul was thankful to God for the grace which the Corinthian Christians had received in Jesus Christ. They had been enriched in speech and knowledge, as they confirmed the testimony to Christ, so that they lacked none of the spiritual gifts, as they waited for Christ to be revealed. He will sustain them guiltless at the Day of Christ’s return.

God, who called them into fellowship with Jesus Christ, his son, is faithful.

Commentary:

Salvation is by grace (unmerited favor; a free gift) to be received by faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). Saving faith is obedient trust in Jesus Christ; faith is not like wishing on a star; its not getting whatever one believes if one believes “hard enough.” Paul rejoiced in the Corinthians who had believed in the Gospel and had received that grace.

Their testimony that Jesus is Lord was confirmed by their words (testimony of Jesus Christ), knowledge, and the evidence of their spiritual gifts given them through their baptism of the Holy Spirit  The Holy Spirit gives “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) Christians what to say at the moment it is needed for witnessing (Mark 13:11; Luke 12:11-12). The Holy Spirit (of the risen Jesus; Romans 8:9) opens the minds of born-again Christians to understand the scriptures (Luke 24:45), teaches all things, reminds us of Jesus’ teachings (John 14:26), and leads us into all truth (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts necessary for born-again Christians to accomplish what they are called and guided by the Holy Spirit to do (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).

They were using that speech, knowledge, and those gifts as they awaited Christ’s return. We’re not to be hanging around all the time with other Christians in Church, or letting the Pastor do all the evangelism.

Christians are called to go into the world to make born-again disciples and teaching them to obey all that Jesus teaches (Matthew 28:19-20), only after they themselves have been born-again (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5, 8; the Church is the “New Jerusalem”). New believers are to be baptized in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (the Holy Trinity).

And Christ will sustain them guiltless in that day. Christians are by definition disciples of Jesus Christ who have been born-again [“you must be “born-again;” John 3:7 KJV]. Christian discipleship is a spiritual growth process. Living daily by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we will grow spiritually as we learn to trust and obey the Lord. We will come to know with certainty his faithfulness, power, and love. We can be assured that we will be mature and blameless at the Day of Christ’s Return.

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 18 Pentecost – C

First Posted October 2, 2010;
Podcast: Saturday 18 Pentecost – C

Matthew 22:34-46 – The Great Commandment

Background:

The Pharisees and Sadduccees were rival factions of Judaism.

Text Paraphrase:

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadduccees, the Pharisees came together, and one of them, a lawyer, to test him, asked Jesus which was the great commandment in the Law. Jesus replied that the great commandment was to love God with all one’s heart, soul, and mind. This is the great first commandment, but there is a second commandment which is like it: to love one’s neighbor as one’s self. Jesus said that all the law and prophets (the Jewish Bible) is fulfilled in these two commandments.

While the Pharisees were still gathered around, Jesus asked them a question, asking them whose son they thought the Christ (Messiah) to be. They replied that he was the son of David, so Jesus asked them how, inspired by the Holy Spirit, David had called him Lord. Jesus quoted Psalm 110:1: “The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I put thy enemies under my feet”?

Jesus asked how the Christ could be David’s Lord and also his son. No one was able to answer him, nor did anyone dare ask anymore questions.

Commentary:

The first three of the Ten Commandments have to do with our relationship with God. We are to have no other gods (idols). We are not to use his name profanely, superstitiously, or to lie or deceive. We are to keep the Sabbath holy (set apart for God’s service).

The other seven have to do with our relationship with other people (our neighbors): our responsibility to our parents; our responsibility to not kill, to not commit adultery, to not testify falsely, to not covet anything that belongs to our neighbor.

The Ten Commandments are themselves a summary of all the Law of Moses, but Jesus reduced them to two. If we love God we will do what the first three command. If we love our neighbor as we love ourselves we will do what the rest command.

In Luke’s account the lawyer wanted Jesus to define who the lawyer’s neighbor was (Luke 10:29). The lawyer wanted to limit his responsibility, so that he could show that he had fulfilled the commandment and was righteous (acceptable to God).

Everyone is our neighbor. The question for the lawyer and for us is: Who will we choose to be a neighbor to? Jesus warns that we aren’t fulfilling the commandment by loving only those who love us; and by greeting only our brethren, we do no better than pagan, worldly people (Matthew 5:46-47).

Jesus asked the Pharisees what they understood about the Christ. Was he merely the human descendant of David, or was he God’s Son in human flesh? The first “Lord” in the quoted Psalm refers to God; the second (“my Lord”) refers to Christ.

Jesus is the Son of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit, in the virgin Mary (Matthew 1:18-20; Luke 1:34-35). His heavenly father is God the Father; his earthly father is a descendant of David (Matthew 1:20). So Jesus is the Son of David and the Son of God;  fully God (Colossians 2:8-9), and fully human (Hebrews 415b).

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 17 Pentecost C – 09/11 – 17/2016

September 10, 2016

Week of 17 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:

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.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:

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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 17 Pentecost C 

Sunday 17 Pentecost C 

First posted September 17, 2010;
Podcast: Sunday 17 Pentecost C 

Exodus 32:7-14 – The Golden Calf;
Psalm 51:1-18 – Penitential Psalm;
1 Timothy 1:12-17 – Jesus Saves Sinners;
Luke 15:1-10 – Parables of the Lost;

Exodus Background:

The Israelites had just experienced their deliverance by God from slavery to sin and death in Egypt, and had entered into a covenant with God to be his people, mediated by Moses (Exodus 24:3). Moses went up to God on the mountain, and was gone for forty days and nights (Exodus 24:18). The people didn’t know what had become of Moses and figured he was never coming back, so they went to Aaron, the high priest, and told him to make an idol of a calf of melted gold to lead them, they worshiped and sacrificed to it, and declared that this idol was the god who had brought them out of Egypt (Exodus 32:1-6).

Exodus Paraphrase:

The Lord told Moses to go down to the people because they had broken the covenant with God and had corrupted themselves with idolatry. The Lord declared that the Israelites were stubborn and rebellious and that he was going to destroy them; but he would still keep his promise to the patriarchs to make of them a great nation.

Moses pleaded for mercy for the Israelites, saying that the Egyptians would say that God had brought the Israelites into the wilderness to slay them. Moses asked God to remember, Abraham, Isaac, and Israel (Jacob), father, son and grandson, the patriarchs of Israel; and asked God to remember his promise to multiply their descendants, as uncountable as the stars of heaven, and to give them the Promised Land. The Lord changed his mind and decided not to destroy the Israelites.

Psalm Background:

Ascribed to David when he was confronted by Nathan the prophet, because of David’s adultery with Bathsheba (see 2 Samuel 11:1-12:13).

Psalm Paraphrase:

O God, be merciful to me, according to your unwavering love; blot out my sins according to your abundant mercy. Wash me and cleanse me thoroughly from my sin!

I acknowledge my transgression, and cannot forget the sin I have committed. This sin is really against you; I have done what you consider evil, so you are justified and blameless in your judgment against me. But remember that I was conceived and born in sin.

You want us to be truthful in our innermost being, so teach me wisdom in my most private thoughts. Purge me of sin as with ceremonial sprinkling with hyssop (an aromatic herb; a Jewish ritual). Wash me as white as snow. Let me be filled with joy and gladness, and let the bones you have broken (the punishment you have administered) be healed and restored to rejoicing. Stop looking at my sins, and blot them out.

Give me, O Lord, a pure heart and a new and right spirit. Don’t cast me forever from your presence nor take your Holy Spirit from me. Let me again experience the joy of your salvation and sustain me willingly with you Spirit.

Then I will be able to teach sinners and restore them to fellowship with you. Save me from the penalty of (eternal) death, Lord; you are my Savior, and I will testify aloud of your deliverance.

Enable me to testify and I will declare your praise. You don’t want animal sacrifices, or I would gladly give them. The sacrifice you desire is a broken and contrite heart. In your perfect will and timing, do good to Zion and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

1 Timothy Paraphrase:

Paul (Saul of Tarsus) was thankful to God for the ministry of the Gospel which had been given to him, because Jesus had considered him faithful, even though Paul had formerly blasphemed Jesus and persecuted the Church. Paul had received mercy because the Lord recognized that Paul had acted in ignorance and unbelief; and the grace (unmerited favor) and love of God which are in Jesus Christ had overflowed to Paul. It is certainly true that Jesus has come into the world to save sinners.

Paul considered himself the worst of sinners because of his past, but believed that he had been given mercy so that others could see an example of the perfect patience of the Lord, and so could believe in him for eternal life. “To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:17).

Luke Paraphrase:

Tax Collectors (Jews, hated for collaborating with the Roman occupying government) and sinners were coming to hear Jesus’ teaching. And Pharisees (members of a strict, legalistic faction of Judaism) and scribes (authorities and teachers of scripture) were criticizing Jesus among themselves for fellowshipping with sinners.

So Jesus told them several parables: What person who had a hundred sheep would not leave the flock to search for one who strayed until he found it? And when it was found he would carry it home on his shoulders and tell his friends, so that they could celebrate with him! Likewise there is great rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine righteous who don’t need to repent.

What person having ten silver coins,* who loses one, will not search the house diligently until it is found? And when it is found, won’t the person tell his friends so that they can rejoice with him? Likewise, the angels will rejoice in heaven over one lost sinner who repents.

Commentary:

Jesus is our “Moses” who leads us out of the “Egypt” of slavery to sin and death, and through the “wilderness” of this lifetime. Water baptism is the  “Red Sea” through which we were baptized into Jesus Christ. Jesus has ascended into heaven and has promised to return to lead us into the eternal Promised Land of God’s eternal kingdom in heaven.

Many think that Jesus’ return has been delayed, and that perhaps he is never coming back. Many turn to modern idolatries: money, power, status, career, family, pleasure, and so forth, for worldly security.

We are sinners from the moment of conception, because our flesh wants what it wants. We are all sinners who fall short of God’s righteousness (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10). The penalty for sin is eternal death (Romans 6:23). Jesus is our “Moses” who pleads for our forgiveness, but we must receive that forgiveness by faith (obedient trust) in Jesus. Jesus is God’s only provision for our forgiveness and salvation (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home).

We are all sinners, but we must be confronted with and confess our sin, as Nathan confronted David. Only when we are willing to acknowledge our sin and repent (change our ways) can we receive forgiveness.

Jesus is truth (John 14:6), and we cannot receive Jesus if we are not honest with ourselves in our innermost being. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is the only sacrifice acceptable to God to cleanse us from all sin and make it possible for the Holy Spirit to enter and abide in us.

The Holy Spirit is the new and right (righteous; doing what is right, good and true according to God’s Word) Spirit that can fill us. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9) through whom we experience the close personal daily presence of the Lord and the joy of his salvation.

Only by the guidance and empowerment of the indwelling baptism of the Holy Spirit can we teach sinners, restore them to fellowship with the Lord and to eternal life. Only by the indwelling Holy Spirit can we praise and testify to the Lord (1 Corinthians 12:3; Romans 8:15-17; Zechariah 4:6).

Jesus came into the world not to condemn sinners but to save them (John 3:17). Jesus cannot save us unless we are willing to acknowledge our sin (Matthew 9:12-13).

Saved sinners, including me, realize how much they need and receive forgiveness. They have personally experienced how the baptism of the Holy Spirit guides them and sustains them and has changed their lives. By the indwelling Holy Spirit the Lord is able to use them for the ministry of the Gospel, the “good news” of forgiveness, reconciliation with God, and eternal salvation. By the indwelling Holy Spirit, they are able to testify to the grace (undeserved favor), forgiveness and love that has overflowed to them through Jesus Christ, so that others can see the Lord’s perfect patience, and can believe in him and receive eternal life.

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 17 Pentecost C 

First posted September 20, 2010;
Podcast: Monday 17 Pentecost C 

Psalm 113 – Helper of the Poor;

Paraphrase:

Let everyone praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, all his servants; let the Lord’s name be praised.

May the name of the Lord be blessed from this time forth and evermore. Let the name of the Lord be praised from dawn to dusk. Exalted above all nations is the Lord, and his glory is higher than the heavens.

Who can compare to the Lord our God? Seated on high, he sees far down, seeing all that happens in heaven and on earth. Out of the dust he lifts the poor, and up from the ash heap he lifts the needy, and lets them sit among princes, the leaders of his people. He gives homes to barren women, and children to make them joyous mothers. May the Lord be praised!

Commentary:

The Lord is worthy of all praise for all that he has done in creating us and this universe. He has created it good (Genesis 1:31). The bad things that exist in this world were caused by mankind’s sin (disobedience of God’s Word).

God has designed this Creation to allow us the freedom to choose whether to trust and obey God’s Word or not. Disobedience of God’s Word is the definition of sin.

The name of the Lord is not just his label, but his entire person and character. Jesus is the name of the Lord (Philippians 2:9-11). Jesus is God in human form (Colossians 2:8-9; John 20:28).

God is not remote and uninvolved in his Creation. God is near to each one of us, at our very side, and he wants us to seek and find him (Acts 17:26-27). He knows all about each one of us; he sees everything we do. We will all, ultimately, be accountable to him for everything we have done in this lifetime (Matthew 25:31-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10).

God has made Creation with abundant resources for all. The reason some don’t have necessities is because of economic and social injustice; inequitable distribution of those resources. God is righteous (doing what is right, good, and true) and just. He favors the poor and needy, because they have been victims of injustice. He exalts the humble, and humbles the exalted (Matthew 23:12; 1 Peter 5:5-6). Those who are exalted in this world have nothing to be exalted about before the Lord (Romans 4:2).

There is a day coming when everyone will bow and acknowledge that Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11).

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 17 Pentecost C

First Posted September 21, 2010;
Podcast: Tuesday 17 Pentecost C 

Amos 8:4-7 – Indictment Against Unjust Merchants;

Paraphrase:

Listen, you who abuse the poor and needy, looking for every opportunity to sell food for profit. Listen, you who cheat with small measure and large prices, and scales that overcharge. Listen, you who buy the poor for money, and the needy for shoes, and sell them the lowest quality food (and merchandise).

The Lord has sworn that he will not forget what you have done.

Commentary:

The Lord has created this world “good” (Genesis 1:31), with adequate resources for all. The reason that some don’t have necessities is because of social and economic injustice; inequitable distribution of resources.

The evil that exists in this world is because of human sin (disobedience of God’s Word). God has designed this Creation to allow us the freedom to choose whether to trust and obey God’s Word or not, and the opportunity to learn, by trial-and-error, that God’s will is our best interest. But God is not going to allow rebellion and disobedience forever, or at all in his eternal kingdom, so this Creation, and we ourselves, are limited by time.

The Lord favors the poor and needy because he is just and righteous (doing what is right, good, and true), and they are victims of social and economic injustice.

We have all sinned and fall short of God’s righteousness (Romans 3:23, 1 John 1:8-10). The penalty for sin is eternal death (Romans 6:23). Jesus is God’s one and only provision for our forgiveness and salvation from eternal destruction (see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home).

There is a Day of Judgment coming, when everyone who has ever lived will be accountable to the Lord for what we, individually, have done in this lifetime. Those who have acknowledged their sin, have accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord (“boss”) and have trusted and obeyed Jesus will have been spiritually “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) during this lifetime, and will enter the “Promised Land” of God’s eternal kingdom in heaven restored to paradise. Those who have denied their sinfulness, who have rejected Jesus as Savior and Lord, who have refused or failed to trust and obey Jesus will be condemned to eternal destruction in hell with all evil.

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 17 Pentecost C 

First posted September 22, 2010;
Podcast: Wednesday 17 Pentecost C

1 Timothy 2:1-8 – Prayers of the Church;

Paraphrase:

Paul was teaching his ministerial protege, Timothy, to offer prayers, supplications, intercessions and thanksgivings for all people, including all political leaders, so that the people may lead quiet, peaceable, respectable, and godly lives. This is good and fitting in God’s eyes, since he desires all people to come to know (divine, eternal) truth. There is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and humans: Jesus Christ, who gave himself to ransom us all, and this testimony is given to all, at the right time. Paul (and all “born-again” disciples) have been given this ministry as preachers and apostles (messengers; of the Gospel; the “good news” of forgiveness, reconciliation with God, and salvation from eternal condemnation), and as teachers of the Gentiles (pagans) in faith and truth. This is the truth and no lie.

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 was converted on the road to Damascus (9:1-22), was discipled by a born-again disciple, Ananias (Acts 9:10-12), until Paul was born-again (Acts 9:17-18), and then began making born-again disciples in obedience to Jesus’ Great Commission to his born-again disciples (Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5, 8). One example is Timothy (2 Timothy 1:6-7); and Paul was teaching them to repeat the process (2 Timothy 2:2).

God wants all people to come to know divine, eternal truth. 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 divine, eternal truth, as contrasted with what the world falsely calls truth (1 Corinthians 1:17-25; 2:1-7). Worldly truth changes, as the recent reassessment of the planets in our solar system demonstrates.

Jesus is the only way to know God, the only way to know divine, eternal truth, and the only way to have eternal life (John 14:6). Jesus is God’s only provision for our forgiveness of sin (disobedience of God’s Word), our only provision for salvation from eternal death, which is the penalty for sin, and our only way to have eternal life (see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home).

Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross is the only sacrifice acceptable to God for the forgiveness of our sin. It is for all people and all time, to be received by faith (obedient trust) in Jesus.

As we receive this message of forgiveness, reconciliation, and salvation, we are called, guided and empowered, 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), to share it with 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)?

Thursday 17 Pentecost C 

First Posted September 23, 2010;
Podcast: Thursday 17 Pentecost C

1 Timothy 2:1-8 – Prayers of the Church;

Paraphrase:

Paul was teaching his ministerial protege, Timothy, to offer prayers, supplications, intercessions and thanksgivings for all people, including all political leaders, so that the people may lead quiet, peaceable, respectable, and godly lives. This is good and fitting in God’s eyes, since he desires all people to come to know (divine, eternal) truth.

There is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and humans: Jesus Christ, who gave himself to ransom us all, and this testimony is given to everyone at the right time. Paul (and all “born-again” disciples) have been given this ministry as preachers and apostles (messengers; of the Gospel; the “good news” of forgiveness, reconciliation with God, and salvation from eternal condemnation), and as teachers of the Gentiles (pagans) in faith and truth. This is the truth and no lie.

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 was converted on the road to Damascus (9:1-22), was discipled by a born-again disciple, Ananias (Acts 9:10-12), until Paul was born-again (Acts 9:17-18), and then began making born-again disciples in obedience to Jesus’ Great Commission to his born-again disciples (Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5, 8). One example is Timothy (2 Timothy 1:6-7); and Paul was teaching them to repeat the process (2 Timothy 2:2).

God wants all people to come to know divine, eternal truth. 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 divine, eternal truth, as contrasted with what the world falsely calls truth (1 Corinthians 1:17-25; 2:1-7). Worldly truth changes, as the recent reassessment of the planets in our solar system demonstrates.

Jesus is the only way to know God, the only way to know divine, eternal truth, and the only way to have eternal life (John 14:6). Jesus is God’s only provision for our forgiveness of sin (disobedience of God’s Word), our only provision for salvation from eternal death, which is the penalty for sin, and our only way to have eternal life (see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home).

Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross is the only sacrifice acceptable to God for the forgiveness of our sin. It is for all people and all time, to be received by faith (obedient trust) in Jesus.

As we receive this message of forgiveness reconciliation, and salvation, we are called, guided and empowered, 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), to share it with 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)?

Friday 17 Pentecost C 

First Posted September 24, 2010;
Podcast: Friday 17 Pentecost C

Ephesians 4:1-6 – Life Worthy of Calling;

Paraphrase:

Paul, a prisoner for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, was discipling the Ephesian Church (in modern-day Turkey), which he had founded (on his second missionary journey; Acts 19:1-41). He urged the Ephesian Christians to live lives that testified to their Christian commitment, in lowliness and meekness, with love, being patient and forbearing of one another, trying to maintain the bond of peace through the unity of the Holy Spirit.

Christians are one body, called by one Spirit, with one hope (eternal life) which belongs to that calling. There is only one Lord, one faith, one baptism  (Jesus Christ), and one Father, who is in, and through, and above all.

Commentary:

How Christians live is silent testimony to their faith. If we don’t apply Jesus’ teachings in our daily lives, we aren’t good witnesses.

There is a bond between “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) believers. We are one body, motivated by one Holy Spirit, with one hope of eternal life in the presence of the Lord in God’s kingdom in heaven.

Jesus is the only way, the only truth, the only true eternal life (John 14:6). Jesus is God’s only provision for our forgiveness of sin, restoration to fellowship with God which was broken by sin, and to eternal life in God’s eternal kingdom (Acts 4:12; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home).

Jesus is the Lord above all lords (1 Timothy 6:14-15; Revelation 17:14). Salvation from eternal condemnation is only by faith (obedient trust) in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Jesus himself did not baptize with water; only Jesus’ disciples did (John 4:2). The Church is the heir to the water baptism ministry of John the Baptizer. Water baptism is for repentance to prepare people to receive Jesus Christ personally through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). The 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).

Only one water baptism is necessary, and it is not the amount of water, or the age of the candidate, that makes it efficacious. I personally testify that I was “sprinkled” as an infant. I believe that water baptism is a covenant between God and the candidate, or in the case of an infant, the candidate’s parents or guardians. I do not need to be “immersed” as a believing adult. All I needed to do as an adult was to act in faith upon that water baptism, to learn, trust and obey Jesus’ teachings, and I was “baptized” with the indwelling Holy Spirit. Should I be “re-baptized?” I think definitely not!

I believe that water baptism is a sacrament, along with Holy Communion (Eucharist; the Lord’s Supper). I believe that a sacrament is a sacred covenant with God involving one or more physical elements and God’s Word. In the case of water baptism, the element is water; the covenant is repentance and spiritual cleansing in order to be prepared to receive Jesus Christ (Luke 3:3-5). In the case of Holy Communion, the elements are bread and wine (or grape juice), the body and blood of Jesus Christ, sacrificed on the cross for the forgiveness of sin (Matthew 26:26-28).

Holy Communion is a sacrificial feast. The body is sacrificed and the participants partake. It is not the amount that makes it a feast, but the spiritual result. Wine is an apt symbol because of the alcohol (spirit) it contains.

Jews were specifically forbidden to drink blood or eat flesh with its blood (Genesis 9:4), because of the belief that the blood contained the spirit of the animal. The Lord doesn’t want us to be filled with the spirit of animals but with his Holy Spirit. This doesn’t mean that anyone who partakes of the wine (or grape juice) of communion is automatically filled with the Holy Spirit. Unbelievers are drinking judgment upon themselves, because they have not believed (1 Corinthians 11:29).

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 17 Pentecost C 

First Posted September 25, 2010;
Podcast: Saturday 17 Pentecost C

Luke 14:1-11 – Healing on the Sabbath;

Paraphrase:

Jesus went to dinner one sabbath at the house of a leader of the Pharisees (a strict legalistic sect of Judaism). There was a person present who had dropsy (a collection of serous fluid -“serum”- in the body). Jesus asked the Pharisees and lawyers (scribes) present whether it was lawful to heal on the sabbath, but they refused to answer him. Then Jesus healed the person of his dropsy and told him to go his way. Jesus asked the Pharisees and scribes, what person would not help remove livestock that had fallen into a pit on the sabbath, and no one could make a reply.

Then Jesus told a parable about those who are invited guests, and how they choose places of honor. Jesus said that when one is invited to a marriage feast, one should not choose the place of greatest honor, since someone more important may have been invited. Then both host and guest will be embarrassed in front of the other guests to yield the place to the more important guest. Instead, one should choose the least honorable place; then the host will invite one to take a higher place and will be honored before all. The point is that everyone who honors himself will be humbled, and everyone who humbles himself will be exalted.

Commentary:

The scribes and Pharisees believed that they were entitled to positions of honor because they kept Jewish laws and rituals. Abstaining from work on the sabbath was one example, but that rule was intended for their own benefit, not for the disadvantage of others.

Strict observance of the sabbath law would have meant that the person who had dropsy couldn’t receive healing because it was the sabbath. Jews routinely made exceptions for livestock, since they considered them valuable, and realized that the livestock couldn’t wait to be rescued from danger. Of course they should have recognized that people are more valuable and shouldn’t have to wait, either.

The scribes and Pharisees were invited guests in the presence of the Messiah, the Son of God, but they chose to honor themselves more highly than Jesus, because they felt worthy by their keeping of the Law. We may think we’re good, compared to other people, but we all fall short of God’s standard of righteousness (goodness; Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home). We should honestly evaluate ourselves against God’s Word, in the Bible, and in Jesus Christ, the fulfillment, embodiment, and example of God’s Word in human flesh (John 1:1-5, 14).

There are lots of people in the world today who consider themselves “good people,” who think they deserve to go to heaven when they die. That isn’t the standard by which they will be judged. Church membership won’t save us; teaching Sunday School or singing in the choir won’t save us. Only a personal relationship with Jesus through the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit will save us (Matthew 7:21-27).

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

There is a Day of Judgment coming when Christ returns. Everyone who has ever lived will face that judgment, during our lifetime, or when we die. The judge and the standard of judgment will be Jesus Christ. Those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord (“boss”) and have trusted and obeyed Jesus’ teachings will have been spiritually “born-again” during this lifetime, and will enter eternal life in God’s kingdom in heaven; paradise restored. Those who have rejected Jesus as Lord, who have refused or failed to trust and obey Jesus, will be condemned to eternal destruction in hell, separated eternally from 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)?

Week of 16 Pentecost – C – 09/04– 10/2016

September 3, 2016

Week of 16 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.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.

Podcast Download: Week of 16 Pentecost – C

Sunday 16 Pentecost – C

First posted September 12, 2010;
Podcast: Sunday 16 Pentecost – C

Proverbs 9:8-12 – Scoffers and Wise People;
Psalm 10:12-15, 17-19 – Deliverance from the Wicked;
Philemon 1 (2-9) 10-21 – Reconciliation;
Luke 14:25-33 – Cost of Discipleship;

Proverbs Paraphrase:

A scoffer (unbeliever) hates reproof (correction), but a wise person appreciates it. One can teach a wise man to be wiser, and a righteous person will become more righteous. “The fear (appropriate awe and respect for the power and authority) of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight” (Proverbs 9:10). The Lord promises that he can add days and years to our lives. Each person will receive the reward of their belief or unbelief.

Psalm Paraphrase:

Lift up your hand (of authority) and get up, Lord; don’t forget the afflicted. How can the wicked reject God and say to themselves that God will not hold them accountable? God notes all the troubles and aggravations caused by the wicked and will make them accountable. The hapless and fatherless are wise to commit themselves to the Lord’s vindication.

The Lord hears the prayers of the meek and encourages them; he will do justice to the orphaned and oppressed, so that worldly people may have no power to terrify further.

Philemon Background:

The Apostle Paul (Saul of Tarsus) was writing to Philemon, who had been converted by Paul on a previous missionary journey. In the first century A. D., slavery was legal, and Philemon had a slave named Onesimus (meaning “useful”) who had run away. Later Paul converted Onesimus while Paul was in prison. Now Paul was sending Onesimus back, with a letter from Paul, encouraging Philemon to receive his run-away slave as a brother in Christ.

Philemon Paraphrase:

In the first century, the Church met in private homes. Apphia may have been the wife of Philemon, and Aarchippus may have been a minister or, some suggest, a son, in the house-church.

Grace and peace, the two traditional greetings in Greek and Hebrew, respectively, are only truly possible in Jesus Christ.

Paul gave thanks to God for Philemon in his prayers, because of Philemon’s love for the Lord and for all the saints (believers), and prayed that the sharing of Philemon’s faith would increase the knowledge of the good things that believers obtain in Christ. Paul himself appreciated Philemon’s love for Paul, and rejoiced that Philemon was refreshing the souls of the saints.

As an apostle, Paul had the authority to command Philemon to do what was necessary, but preferred to appeal lovingly to him in Christian charity on behalf of Philemon’s run-away slave, Onisemus. Paul was under house arrest in Rome for preaching the Gospel, and during that time had converted Onisemus. Paul regarded him as his spiritual child, whose spiritual father Paul had become.

Onisemus’ name means “useful” and Paul reminds Philemon that Onisemus had been “useless” to Philemon (because he had run away) but now he was indeed useful both to Paul and Philemon. Paul would have been happy to let Onisemus stay with him to serve him on Philemon’s behalf during Paul’s imprisonment, but instead was returning Onisemus to his owner. Paul didn’t want to do anything without Philemon’s permission, so that Philemon’s goodness would not be coerced but instead, of his own free will.

Paul suggested that perhaps the parting had been for the best, because now Onisemus was returning to Philemon not as a slave but as a brother of both Paul and Philemon in faith. If Philemon regarded Paul as his partner in the Gospel, Paul asked him to receive Onisemus as he would receive Paul himself. Paul promised to repay Philemon any debt Onisemus owed, and reminding Philemon that he owed an incalculable debt for Philemon’s own conversion by Paul’s preaching. So Paul asked Philemon to do Paul this favor and refresh Paul’s heart in Christ, through this favor.

Luke Paraphrase:

Large crowds were following Jesus, and he said to them that anyone who wants to be his disciple (“follower;” student), must hate father, mother, brothers, sisters, wife and children, and even his own life. A disciple must be willing to carry his own cross and follow Jesus’ teaching and example.

Jesus used several parables (stories of common earthly experiences to teach spiritual truths) to illustrate the cost of discipleship. A person wanting to build a tower must calculate beforehand how much it will cost; otherwise he may run out of money and not be able to finish the building, and will be ridiculed by others.

Similarly, a king contemplating war with a rival king must first consider whether he can with lesser forces defeat the more powerful rival. Otherwise he should send an emissary to seek terms of peace, long before they reach the battlefield. So then, anyone who is unwilling to renounce all that he has, cannot be Jesus’ disciple.

Commentary:

In a sense we are all spiritually run-away slaves. We all belong to God because he is our Creator, and has purchased us by the blood of Jesus on the Cross. We were created to be useful servants of the Lord, but we’re more interested in serving ourselves.

Jesus is the example Paul follows, who makes known the Gospel of reconciliation to us and intercedes on our behalf to God for us to be restored to fellowship with God as a child, rather than a slave, in God’s love for us. Jesus offers to pay whatever more we owe, in order to be restored.

Paul was emulating Christ’s role, in mediating between Philemon and Onisemus. The Lord makes his appeal to us to live according to Christ’s example not out of fear by command by his authority, but out of love in response to what Christ has done for us.

The fear (awe and respect for the power and authority) of the Lord is the beginning of true, divine wisdom, by which the World was created, not what the world falsely calls wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:17-25; 2:1-8). God knows the deeds of the wicked and will hold them ultimately accountable at the Day of Judgment. The wicked deceive themselves by thinking they can get away with evil, although they may, for a time.

Real spiritual insight comes not from knowing a lot “about” God, but by knowing God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ personally on a daily basis, and this is only possible through the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17).

Philemon was willing to accept correction by Paul, when Paul did it gently and lovingly. Paul was helping Philemon grow as a disciple of Jesus Christ. We need to be able to hear and accept correction in order to grow spiritually in discipleship.

Many people in the world and even in the nominal Church today don’t want to hear any preaching on sin, eternal death, and Hell. Unless we’re willing to receive correction, how can we repent (change our ways) and grow spiritually to Christian maturity?

Paul warned Timothy, his ministerial protege, that the time was coming when people would not tolerate sound teaching, but would get teachers who would “tickle their ears” with teaching that made them feel good (2 Timothy 4:3-4). That day has come long ago. There are many false teachers and “peddlers” (or corrupters) of the Word  (2 Corinthians 2:17), who will tell people what they want to hear, instead of confronting them where they need correction.

Lots of people were interested in following Jesus as long as they were getting free food and healthcare. When Jesus warned them that they would have to give up their families and possessions to follow Jesus they drifted away. It isn’t pleasant to hear that discipleship is going to cost us something, even everything, but it is necessary for us to know at the beginning so that we are able to persevere when the going gets tough.

Jesus didn’t mean that we must actually hate our families in order to be Jesus’ disciples. He meant by contrast that we must love Jesus so much more, and when forced to choose, choose Jesus.

This lifetime is a spiritual battlefield. Satan and his followers are our supernaturally powerful enemy. We cannot prevail in our own physical resources; we must be empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit (Zechariah 4:6), equipped with the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-17).

Christians are disciples of Jesus Christ who have been “born-again” by the “baptism” of the Holy Spirit. They are to be discipled within the Church  by born-again disciples (as Paul was doing with Philemon and teaching Philemon to do also), until they have learned to know, trust and obey Jesus’ teachings and been filled with the Holy Spirit, before being sent out into the world with the Gospel (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5, 8; Matthew 28:19-20).

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

Monday 16 Pentecost – C

First posted September 13, 2010;
Podcast: Monday 16 Pentecost – C

Psalm 51:1-18 – Psalm of Repentance;

Ascribed to David the great human shepherd-king of Israel, when he had been rebuked by Nathan, the prophet, after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba (see 2 Samuel 11:1-2:13).

Psalm Paraphrase:

O God, be merciful to me according to your steadfast love; blot out my transgression in your abundant mercy. Cleanse me thoroughly from my sin and wrongdoing. I am aware of my transgressions and can’t forget my sin. I realize that it is really against you alone that I have sinned, and have done evil in your judgment, so that you are right and blameless in pronouncing judgment. But remember that I was conceived and born in sin.

You want us to be truthful in our innermost beings, so teach me wisdom in my most private heart. Cleanse me (metaphorically), as with a ceremonial cleansing with hyssop (an aromatic herb). Cleanse me so that I can be whiter than snow. Restore to me joy and gladness; then the bones you have (metaphorically) broken  will rejoice. Turn your face away from  my sin and blot out my unrighteousness.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God and put a new and right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit” (Psalm 51:10-12).

Then I will be able to teach sinners your ways and they will be restored to you. O God, you are my salvation; deliver me from death, and I will praise you for your deliverance of me.

O Lord, open my lips and my mouth will give forth your praise. I would offer a burnt offering, if that would please you, but you have no pleasure in sacrifice. The sacrifice you desire is a broken heart and contrite spirit; these you will not reject. In your good pleasure bless Zion, and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

Commentary:

David didn’t realize his sin and repent until confronted by Nathan the prophet. Then David was able to confess and repent of his sin. God forgave him and spared David’s life, but there were still consequences David suffered.

We are all sinners who fall short of God’s standard of righteousness (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10). The penalty for sin is eternal death (Romans 6:23). We all need to be confronted with our sin so that we can repent and turn to the Lord. Jesus is God’s one and only provision for forgiveness and eternal salvation (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home).

Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross is the only sacrifice acceptable to God for the forgiveness of all our sins and our spiritual cleansing so that we can individually be temples of the indwelling Holy Spirit. It is by the indwelling Holy Spirit that we experience the joy and gladness of salvation. By the guidance and empowerment of the Holy Spirit God does create a clean heart and a new and right spirit within us. The Lord is willing and able to uphold us. The sacrifice the Lord desires from us is obedient trust in him.

It is by the Holy Spirit within us that are spiritually reborn to eternal life. We need to be “born-again” by the indwelling Holy Spirit in order to lead other sinners to forgiveness and restoration to fellowship with God. It is only by the indwelling Holy Spirit that we are able praise and glorify the Lord.

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

Tuesday 16 Pentecost – C

First posted September 14, 2010;
Podcast: Tuesday 16 Pentecost – C

Exodus 32:7-14 – The Golden Calf;

Background:

Moses was on the mountain top for forty days and forty nights, receiving the Ten Commandments (Exodus 24:18). When the people realized that Moses was delayed they gathered around Aaron and told him to make idols to lead them, because they didn’t know what had become of Moses.

Text Paraphrase:

The Lord told Moses to go down to the people for they had broken the covenant with God (Exodus 24:3) and had corrupted themselves with idolatry. The people had made a golden calf and had offered worship and sacrifice to it. The people called the golden calf the god who had brought them out of Egypt. So God told Moses that the People of Israel were disobedient, and that he intended to destroy them, but he would still make of Moses a great nation.

But Moses pleaded with God, asking him not to destroy the Israelites, because the Egyptians would say that God had brought Israel into the desert to slay them and destroy them from the earth. Moses asked God to remember Abraham, Isaac and Israel (Jacob; father, son and grandson; the patriarchs). Moses reminded God that he had sworn to these patriarchs to multiply their descendants as uncountably vast as the stars of heaven, and they would inherit the Promised Land God would give them forever. And the Lord changed his mind about the evil he had intended to do to his people.

Commentary:

The people of Israel had experienced delivery from slavery and death in Egypt, and had entered into a covenant with God to be his people. Yet within forty days, while Moses was on the mountain with God, they had broken the covenant and taken up idolatry.

Faith (obedient trust) requires patient endurance. What the Lord promises doesn’t always happen as soon as we would like.

Moses is the prototype and example of Jesus Christ. Jesus has ascended into heaven to prepare a place for us, and has promised to return to bring us there also (John 14:2-3). Believers have been expectantly awaiting his return for two thousand years.

There are many in the world from the first century until today who think that Christ is never going to return (2 Peter 3:3-10), and have turned to worldly things, which are idolatries, instead of trusting and obeying Jesus.

In a sense we are all the people of God, because God is our Creator, whether we acknowledge him or not. God doesn’t want to strike us dead when we disobey his Word. His forbearance is intended to give us time to learn to trust and obey his Word by trial-and-error.

God has promised that we can inherit the Promised Land where we can live forever with the Lord in his eternal kingdom in heaven: paradise restored. But Jesus is the only way (John 14:6). Jesus is our “Moses” who intercedes for our forgiveness. Jesus is God’s only provision for our forgiveness and salvation from eternal destruction (Acts 4:12). The only way to be saved is by faith (obedient trust) in Jesus (see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home).

But there is a Day of Judgment coming, when Christ returns, and his return will be sudden and unexpected. In that day, everyone who has ever lived on earth will be accountable for what we have done in this lifetime. Those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and have trusted and obeyed Jesus will have been spiritually “born-again” in this lifetime, and will enter eternal life. But those who have rejected Jesus as Lord, who have refused or failed to trust and obey Jesus will be condemned to eternal destruction in Hell with all evil (Matthew 25:31-46; 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)?

Wednesday 16 Pentecost – C

First posted September 15, 2010;
Podcast: Wednesday 16 Pentecost – C

1 Timothy 1:12-17 – God’s Grace to Paul;

Paraphrase:

Paul (Saul of Tarsus) was thankful to the Lord Jesus Christ for judging him faithful and appointing him to the Lord’s service, although Paul had once persecuted the Church and blasphemed Jesus. But the Lord was merciful to Paul because Paul had acted in ignorance and unbelief. Through the faith and love that are in Jesus Christ, God’s grace overflowed to Paul.

It is absolutely true and reliable that Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Paul considered himself the foremost of sinners, and he believed that the grace the Lord gave him demonstrates the Lord’s perfect patience to others who would believe in the Lord for the hope of eternal life. “To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen (1 Timothy 1:17).

Commentary:

We are all sinners who fall short of God’s standard of righteousness (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10). The penalty for sin (disobedience of God’s Word) is eternal death (Romans 6:23). But God loves us and doesn’t want anyone to perish eternally, so he designed a eternal Savior, Jesus Christ, into Creation from the very beginning (John 1:1-5, 14). Jesus is God’s only provision for our forgiveness and salvation (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home).

God has been gracious and patient with all of us. None of us deserve his grace (unmerited favor) and forbearance. His purpose for that grace and forbearance is to bring us to repentance and salvation

I believe that Paul (Saul of Tarsus) was 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 all can be. Paul was confronted on the road to Damascus as he went with the intent to persecute Christians. When Jesus confronted Paul with Paul’s sin, Paul repented (changed his behavior), accepted Jesus as his Lord, and became obedient to Jesus. He was discipled by a “born-again” disciple until Paul was “born-again” and then, guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit, began preaching the Gospel and making “born-again” disciples of Jesus Christ (Acts 9:1-22; 2 Timothy 1 :6-7; 2 Timothy 2:2).

The Lord can transform us from sinners and unbelievers into apostles (messengers; of the Gospel) 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 experience. 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).

But in order to be saved and transformed, we must be willing to be confronted with our sin and acknowledge that we have sinned. We must be willing to repent, accept Jesus as Lord, and become trusting and obedient to 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)?

Thursday 16 Pentecost – C

First posted September 16, 2010;
Podcast: Thursday 16 Pentecost – C

Luke 15:1-10 – Parables of the Lost;

Paraphrase:

Tax collectors (hated as Jewish collaborators with the Roman occupying government) and sinners were coming to hear Jesus teach. The Pharisees (members of a strict legalistic Jewish sect) and scribes (teachers of scripture) criticized Jesus among themselves for associating and having fellowship with sinners.

So Jesus told them several parables (stories of common earthly experiences used to teach spiritual truth). What person who had a hundred sheep and had one get lost would not leave the flock to search for the one that was lost? And when he found it he would carry it home on his shoulders, rejoicing, and tell all his friends to rejoice with him for having found his lost sheep. Likewise in heaven, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one lost sinner who repents that over ninety-nine righteous people who don’t need to repent.

Similarly, if a woman had ten silver coins* and lost one, wouldn’t she sweep the house thoroughly until she found it? Wouldn’t she tell her friends that she had found the lost coin so that they could join her rejoicing? So likewise there is great rejoicing in heaven over one lost sinner who repents.

Commentary:

Pharisees and scribes believed that they were righteous because they thought they kept the Law of Moses. No one can actually keep all the Law all of the time (James 2:10; Galatians 2:16), so we are all guilty of failing to keep the Law (the Word of God), which is the definition of sin (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10).

Jesus told his critics that he came not to save the righteous, but sinners (Luke 5:31-32). Someone has said that there are only two kinds of people: the sinners who think they’re righteous, and the righteous, who know they’re sinners. The truth is there are no righteous; but only those who realize and acknowledge that they are sinners can receive the spiritual healing which only Jesus can provide.

We’re all sinners who fall short of God’s standard of righteousness (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10), recorded in God’s Word, the Bible and demonstrated in Jesus Christ, the “living Word,” fulfilled, embodied and exemplified in Jesus Christ (John 1:1-5, 14). The penalty for sin is eternal death (Romans 6:23). Jesus is God’s only provision for our forgiveness and salvation (John 14:6, Acts 4:12; see God’s Plan of Salvation, sidebar, right, home).

There are “scribes” and “Pharisees” in the nominal Church today who think they’re saved because they’re church members, teach Sunday School, or sing in the choir; or because they have participated in some church ritual such as water baptism (Acts 19:1-7). True Christians are disciples (students; “followers” of Jesus’ teachings) of Jesus Christ (Acts 11:26c) who have been “born-again” 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 experience. 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)?


*worth perhaps sixteen cents in 1962. RSV note “t.”

At the time, apparently a day’s wage:

The Oxford Annotated Bible, Revised Standard Version, Ed. by Herbert G. May and Bruce M. Metzger, Matthew 20:2n, p. 1172, New York, Oxford University Press, 1962.

Friday 16 Pentecost – C

First posted September 17, 2010;
Podcast: Friday 16 Pentecost – C

Ephesians 3:13-21 – Prayer for Wisdom;

Paraphrase:

Paul, a prisoner for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, was writing to the Church in Ephesus, which Paul founded in Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). He asked them not be discouraged by Paul’s imprisonment, since it was for their benefit.

Paul was praying for the Ephesian Christians that they would be spiritually strengthened, by the dwelling of Christ within them by faith (obedient trust in Jesus). Paul prayed that with Christian love as their foundation they might experience and know, with all saints (believers), the boundless love of Christ and be filled with the fullness of God. Paul commended them to the Lord, who by the power of the Holy Spirit working within believers is able to accomplish more than we can possibly ask or imagine. May he be glorified in the Church through Jesus Christ for all generations unto eternity.

Commentary:

Paul founded the Church at Ephesus on his third missionary journey, where he stayed for three months (Acts 18:19-21). Although he was in prison, Paul kept discipling new believers by letter.

If Paul had not been willing to risk imprisonment for the Gospel, the Ephesians might not have heard the Gospel and been saved.

Paul was a “born-again” (John 3:3, 5-8) disciple who had been discipled by a born-again disciple of Jesus Christ, Ananias (Acts 9:10-12), until Paul had been born-again. Now Paul was repeating the process (compare 2 Timothy 1:6-7; 2:2).

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).

Christian discipleship is a spiritual growth process. If we love Jesus for what he has done for us on the cross to save us from eternal condemnation for our sins (disobedience of God’s Word) we will keep his commandments, and he will reveal himself to us (John 14:21). Through his indwelling Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of God (Romans 8:9), we will experience the boundless love of Christ and will be filled with the fullness of God.

By the guidance and empowerment of the Holy Spirit within us we can accomplish more than we can ask or imagine.

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 16 Pentecost – C

First posted September 18, 2010;
Podcast: Saturday 16 Pentecost – C

Luke 7:11-17 – Son of the Widow of Nain;

Paraphrase:

Soon after healing the slave of a Centurion at Capernaum (Luke 7:1-10), Jesus went to a city called Nain, with his disciples and a large crowd. As he approached the gate he encountered a funeral procession for the only son of a widow, with a large number of people from the city following. The Lord had compassion for the widow, and he went to the bier and the bearers stopped. Jesus commanded the dead man to arise, and he sat up and began to speak. Jesus handed him to his mother, and fear seized all who witnessed it and they gave glory to God, saying that God had visited his people. The news of this event spread throughout the surrounding area.

Commentary:

Capernaum was Jesus’ headquarters after his hometown synagogue in Nazareth threw him out (Luke 4:16-31). Jesus was unable to do many miracles in Nazareth because of their unbelief (Matthew 13:54-58). They knew so much “about” Jesus, but they didn’t know him personally enough to see and recognize who he was (Job 42:5).

One reason Jesus had compassion for the widow of Nain was because her son was her only means of support.

Jesus’ miracles of physical healing, feeding and resurrection were intended to reveal who Jesus is, the Messiah (Christ; God’s “anointed” Savior and eternal King), and to demonstrate that Jesus also has the power to heal, feed and raise us spiritually. Only God can raise the dead to life. Jesus is God in human flesh; God has visited his people in Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:8-9; John 14:8-11; 20:28).

Many people were drawn to Jesus for what he could do for them physically, but unless they accepted him as Lord and became his disciples, they missed what only Jesus could do for them spiritually. Physical healing only lasts until the next illness; physical feeding only lasts until the next mealtime. Jesus raised the dead physically, but ultimately they died again physically. Only spiritual healing, feeding and resurrection are for all eternity.

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 by the “baptism” of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which only Jesus gives (John 1:31-34), only to his disciples who trust and obey Jesus (John 14:15-17). The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a personally discernible, ongoing, daily 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)?

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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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 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:

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

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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

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

Please Note:

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

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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 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

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

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

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

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

Please Note:

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

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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 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)?


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