"The Bible is a story about a dragon fight." ~ Douglas Wilson, Future Men Jesus is the dragon-slayer to end all dragon-slayers. It is good for a little boy to dream about fighting and slaying dragons and giants. I am glad to have two little ones with feet on the ground that enjoy a good sword fight and one coming this October who I pray joins the battle as soon as he can.
It was 10 years ago this very evening that I met my wife in person for the very 1st time! Little did either of us know where we'd be these 10 years later, but I don't think it's an overstatement to suggest that we both had an inkling, perhaps, that it might be something similar to what we are currently enjoying. Paige and I hit it off quickly and quickly realized we had similar ideas of where we wanted to go and where we wanted to go with our lives. So here's to 10 years ago and a memory of the Salt Company kickoff in Ames, IA which I treasure.
the passage begins with a "therefore" which requires you to place your teaching within the general context and in particular the main point immediately preceding your passage: which was being rich in this world and poor towards God leads to your everlasting destruction in the life to come.
the command following the "therefore" is simple and straightforward. "Don't be anxious about your life."
Jesus goes on to explain what He means by "life" by giving a few examples: food and clothing. I don't think He means to say that these are all that make up one's "life" but rather that these are two obvious and easy areas of everyone's lives to identify as opportunities to trust God as a providing Father or anxiously, feverishly work to protect one's self from potential disaster.
also,worthy of noting is that Jesus commands "Don't be anxious."
it isn't a suggestion or a tip or a lifehack for a better livelihood. it is a command from Jesus our God and Savior. "Don't be anxious about your life."
anxiety or anxiousness about worldly things is the sin of unbelief which is ultimately why Jesus commands us to separate ourselves from it.
Jesus then gives one example each of food and clothing by pointing to ravens and lillies, both of which are provided for by God without any anxious toil on their part.
Jesus' point here is punctuated by Him saying emphatically that God loves us more than birds and flowers. anymore, this isn't necessarily an assumed notion, but it is nevertheless still true. Jesus became a person to save people to call them brothers to have blood like us so that He could spill His blood for us as a ransom in order to redeem us from our sin. He didn't become a bird or a lily to identify with them. He is their God, but He is our Father and we are His children through faith in Jesus Christ.
it is also worth noting that this lesson and command to no be anxious is aimed at the heart of those already confessing belief and faith in Jesus, the parable that ends your passage gives plenty of opportunity to aim at the ignorant and unbelieving who will suffer at the wrath of the Lamb for their ignorance and unbelief in Him.
“Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth 'thrown in': aim at Earth and you will get neither.”― C.S. Lewis,The Joyful Christian
Anxiety about this life amounts to nothing. It doesn't give you more life, it doesn't make your current life better, it doesn't make life more fulfilling, it doesn't convince death and destruction and moths and rust and decay to deviate from their God-ordained purpose. The thorns and thistles of this world are a curse from God that also provides the blessing of teaching our hearts to desire a better country, that is a heavenly one.
13 These all died in faith without having received the promises, but they saw them from a distance, greeted them, and confessed that they were foreigners and temporary residents on the earth. 14 Now those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they were thinking about where they came from, they would have had an opportunity to return.16 But they now desire a better place—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.
I adore LUKE 12:32. I find it to be a GREAT source of hope and comfort about the kind of God we serve and the kind of future we have ahead of us if we remain faithful to Him and trust His hand for better or for worse.
Marriage vows include a promise to keep covenant under conditions of poverty or prosperity, sickness or health, better or worse and that is a promise made to a person who will most assuredly sin against you. How much more the loyalty and promise we can make to our God and Father who never sins and desires eagerly to give us His first and best and serve us by handing us a Kingdom already prepared by Himself.
Lastly, you pointed out the 4 categories this morning:
believes master is coming soon and is working to please Him until He comes back
believes master is coming sometime, maybe and so in the meantime are acting like they own the joint and demonstrate their evil by choosing to run a loose ship with carousing, gluttony and mean-spirited, harsh treatment of others who stick around the true Master's house.
believes master is coming sometime, but doesn't do anything (good or bad) they don't try to take over the house as headmaster, but they do ignore the Master's desires and disgrace His value by doing nothing to demonstrate the reality that they live in His house. this is the sin of Adam watching his wife eat the apple. the common sin of men specifically and people in general.
didn't know master was coming back and was acting like they were the master of the house because they didn't know someone else would ever come back and claim authority over it.
the severity is from worst to least #2, #3, #4 with #1 receiving no beating or negative consequence for their waiting and working under the rule of the Master of the home even in His absence or delayed return.
“Unbelief squashes; faith teaches. Faith takes a boy aside, and tells him that this part of what he did was good, while that other part of what he did got in the way. And this is how to do it better next time.” ― Douglas Wilson,Future Men It is easy to see the chaos and sin in boys' energy and aggression. But it takes faith to see the glory of God growing in the lives and hearts of little men as they break your lamps, ruin your carpet and dig up your yard. it takes faith to teach boys how to be men. It takes nothing more than worldliness and religion to neuter boys of their energy and aggression. "In the past, a common taunt against Christianity was that the 'church' was an activity for little old ladies of both sexes." The problem with boys isn't that they aren't more like girls. The problem with boys is that they are sinners, just like little girls, but their sin is so much more destructive and disruptive to peace and quiet. So it is easier to castrate them and avoid the clean up in aisle 5 rather than teach them how to harness and aim their energy and aggression toward righteousness which alone can rise up to defend the weak and powerless against the flexed muscles of the powerfully wicked. We need strong, good men to protect us from strong, wicked men. Too often the church has been guilty of sucking the strength from young men in order to guard against them growing up to be strong, wicked men in whose paths we tremble. The Christian approach has been to take away Popeye's spinach in order to avoid the fear of Popeye turning out to be a villain. But Bluto is out there and he is strong and he is setting his sights on Olive Oil. Her only hope is that someone good and strong will rise up to take on her wicked and strong captor. However, the Popeyes we prefer are too weak and too frail to fight off Bluto's raw power. The Popeyes we love blog ferociously against the actions of Bluto, but lack they courage and follow through to actually oppose him on his own turf. We like our Popeyes good and weak while waiting and wishing for the Blutos of the world to die. We desire a world of weakness. A good, powerless world in which we feel safe and sound. Additionally, robbing men of strength does nothing to address their wickedness. It just makes their wickedness of the slimy, pathetic, lazy, shady, backbiting variety of which the world certainly does not benefit from multiplying. God, grant me the faith and strength to raise my boys to rise up to fight giants, kill wolves and slay dragons by faith through the strength God has given them.
1 John 2:14
I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
4For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.
5But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us.
Paul told the Galatians that they could only be made right with God through faith in Jesus Christ.
Others had come and said you needed faith in Jesus PLUS you had to be circumcised in order to be made right with God.
So Paul's response in this letter is to tell the Galatians that if they choose to cut part of themselves off then they will be cut off from Christ because their confidence is in their flesh (or recent lack thereof) instead of in Christ ALONE.
But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong.
Peter knew that the only way to be right with God was through faith in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. It is the message he worked so hard to get to the Jews that they might believe and have life.
But Peter was also tempted to believe that being Jewish or acting Jewish had a little more street cred than not being Jewish.
It's easy to do.
I do it.
I sometimes get sucked up into the surface of things and forget the substance of things and I have to constantly be reminded of the simple truth of Jesus solely, Jesus wholly, Jesus ever only be.
It is good to be surrounded by God-fearing, Gospel-filled friends who can point this out, like Paul did for Peter, when we accidentally add to or take away from the only thing that saves: Jesus all by Himself.
Eight years. Book it! I love you my lady. I feel like we're getting more and more in stride as the days go by. I'm more confident in your love for me and mine for you now than I was the day I asked you to say, "I do." We're growing together in God and in relation to each other. I love being married to you and am often overjoyed at the thought of the family we have cultivated together. I like our life together.
Ephesians 5:7-14 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Light always defeats darkness. Wherever there is light, darkness forfeits ground. The darkness cannot turn the lights off. Dark rooms are destroyed once they are lit up. We are sleepwalking in the valley of the shadow of death, but His light wakes us from our stumbling to the slaughter. You are called to get to know this new reality as the dominating feature of your new existence, forsaking the former life of living only as the walking dead.
9 Sheol beneath is stirred up to meet you when you come; it rouses the shades to greet you, all who were leaders of the earth; it raises from their thrones all who were kings of the nations. 10 All of them will answer and say to you: ‘You too have become as weak as we! You have become like us!’ 11 Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, the sound of your harps; maggots are laid as a bed beneath you, and worms are your covers. I do not want to go to there. Nope. Not even a little. This is the terrible end of all pride and grand-standing before God. God humbles the proud and makes them lay down on maggots only to then cover them with worms. The boaster's mouth is stopped; their imaginings vanish in the reality of their defeat in death.
I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. If a person can live well enough to gain access to Heaven then Jesus was slaughtered for no reason. If a person can get to Heaven without Jesus, God was cruel to allow His Son to suffer such violence only to serve as an example of selflessness. Right standing with God is only available through faith in Jesus by the grace of God. If you say there is any other way, you nullify the grace of God and elevate human merit to a place of idolatry.
If I do the right thing with the wrong motive, God sees my heart and, it’s still wrong. If I do the wrong thing with the right motive God sees my heart but, it’s still wrong. So I say, the goal is to do the right thing with the right motive. But it is always right to do what is right regardless of what is going on inside my heart.
If I have a wrong motive, I should work on that.
If I do the wrong thing, I should learn what the right thing is.
So I tell my kids. If you know the right thing to do…do it. It’s always right to do what is right.
Happy Birthday Dad! 77 years ago this day you were born. 77 years. Oh, the places you've been, things you've seen, the jobs you've done, the people you've loved, the life you've lived. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! 38 years ago this day you were married. 38 years. Oh, the places you've been, things you've seen, tears you've shed, laughs you've had, triumphs you've won, trials you've endured.
6 We are working together with God. We ask you from our hearts not to receive God’s loving-favor and then waste it. 2 The Holy Writings say, “I heard you at the right time. I helped you on that day to be saved from the punishment of sin. Now is the right time! See! Now is the day to be saved.”
That pretty much says it, eh?
Don't waste the grace you've been given.
Don't take advantage of mercy.
Work together with God because He already worked hard for you.
4 While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life.5 God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
While a good deal of time is probably spent yearning for a body that no longer breaks down and sins, the truest desire is not to be DONE with the old body as to be unclothed and free from the body altogether, but rather to be CLOTHED more with righteousness and a body that behaves as it ought to without the influence or interruption of sin.
We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this.
I love this.
Paul points out a couple things about the kind of evangelism true Christians engage in.
First, it does not compromise morality for the sake of growing numbers.
God hates sin and all sinful behavior is rejected by His followers.
Second, it does not compromise integrity for the sake of growing numbers.
God has spoken and it is not our job to add to or take away from His words in order to win people to thinking favorably about Him.
So we don't trick sinners by pretending sin isn't a big deal and we don't deceive them telling them only part of the story or leaving parts of the story out or adding parts to the story that make God seem more likable and Christ more tolerable to the unsaved as though it were our job to protect Him from their judgment.