First, what is a parable? Is it, as some have said, an earthly story with a heavenly meaning? Actually it is a comparison drawn from the scenery and events of everyday life designed to communicate a spiritual principle or enforce a moral responsibility.
In the previous article I made reference to the Parable of the Sower and focused on Satan's strategy for subverting gospel proclamation. Perhaps we would do well to look more closely at this parable. Before doing so, I encourage you to carefully read Mark 4:1-20.
In Mark 4:15 Jesus tells us that when the gospel is preached Satan will often come and "take away" the word that is "sown in" the people who hear it. How seriously have we thought about the Enemy's efforts to undermine our gospel proclamation? Perhaps it's time we did.
Biblical passages such as Hebrews 10:26-31 make a lot of people extremely uncomfortable with its talk of judgment (v. 27a), the fury of fire consuming sinful people (v. 27b), punishment (v. 29a), and vengeance (v. 30).
"Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity" (Ps. 32:1-2a). I seriously doubt if David, King of Israel, ever spoke more comforting and encouraging words than those. There is perhaps no greater joy than knowing that one's sins have been forgiven.
Would it surprise you to know that on the night before choosing the twelve apostles Jesus spent a whole night in prayer: "In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.
There is an important practical lesson for us to learn in the choice of the twelve by Jesus (see Mark 3:13-19). As a result of the decision made by our Lord, Matthew, a tax collector and Roman collaborator, finds himself on the same side as Simon the Zealot, the sworn enemy of Rome who is determined to throw off the yoke of oppression. A Zealot was as far removed from a tax collector as a radical Islamic jihadist is from a passionate tea party conservative.
I'm both rebuked and encouraged by something I recently noticed in Mark 1 and the portrayal of the early days of our Lord's earthly ministry. Mark 1:21-28 describes how Jesus entered the synagogue on a Sabbath day and taught powerfully and authoritatively.
Sometimes it's helpful to state the obvious-to step back and remind ourselves of the forest so that we don't get lost in all the trees. Within academia, hyper-specialization and the tyranny of the pedantic often obscure the obvious; within our everyday life, routine and the tyranny of the mundane often veil the obvious. So we need continual reminders of the obvious-not only in our relationships and everyday life, and also in our theology and spiritual life.
The book of Hebrews devotes considerable space to the glorious truth that the high priesthood of Jesus, which is according to the order not of Aaron but of Melchizedek, is superior to everything that preceded him and all that may follow.
Our focus in both the previous article and this one is the remarkable statement found in Hebrews 10:17 where God declares that "I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more" (Heb. 10:17).
When the author of Hebrews delineates for us the blessings of the New Covenant we find perhaps the best summation of the essence of Christianity to be found in the NT. Where we go wrong is in identifying Christianity with external rituals and rules and activities or perhaps with the local church you attend or the denomination of which you are a part.
As I've been preaching through the book of Hebrews I've often wondered to myself: What does this book have to do with life in 2014? Its language seems so foreign and its images so distant and its symbolism so strange
In the case of Jesus, he was morally and spiritually unstained. He had no moral blemish on his record. There was never an instant that he fantasized wicked or perverted thoughts or spoke an unkind word or chose to violate a divine law. He was holy, innocent, and unstained.
Sometimes we need to put things on pause and reflect deeply on the simplest and most basic of Christian truths. The author of Hebrews helps us with this, telling us in chapter seven and verse twenty-five of his letter that Jesus "is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them." A couple of brief observations should suffice.
The Christian world-view is a way of "seeing" and "interpreting" reality through the lens of God's revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ as found in Scripture. What, then, does the Bible tell us is God's ultimate aim for all that exists and thus the framework within which we must make sense of life?
Up till now in John 10, Jesus has been unfolding a figure speech. Verse 6 says, "This figure of speech Jesus used with them." And in that figure of speech, he says that there is a sheepfold, and he is the door to the sheepfold (verse 7), and he is the good shepherd (verse 11). And he has sheep that are his in the Jewish flock (verses 1-3), and he has sheep that are his outside the Jewish flock-"other sheep" that are not of that fold (verse 16).
I recently heard of a church where the leadership has decided to ordain a woman as an Elder. This congregation had, until now, been solidly (or so it seemed) complementarian in its view of the relationship of men and women in local church leadership. What are we to make of this decision on their part?
The immediate problem we face in trying to answer this question is the fact that few churches or denominations today
I will start and end with my main point and, in the middle, cover a wide terrain of Scripture to support it. My main point is that God promises those of you who remain single in Christ blessings that are better than the blessings of marriage and children, and he calls you to display, by the Christ-exalting devotion of your singleness, the truths about Christ and his kingdom that shine more clearly through singleness than through marriage and childrearing. The truths, namely, That the fami
(2) We are to submit to every man-made law that does not require us to sin or to compromise our Christian integrity.
Before I explain what I mean, a word of explanation is in order concerning the phrasing of v. 13. First of all, the phrase "human institution" is literally, "human creation" or "human creature."
In the previous article we began a short study of 1 Peter 2:13-17 and what it tells us about our response to human government. Here is the passage again. "Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme
Imagine this: You are a young and poor girl in love, living in Nazareth, looking forward to marriage, when suddenly your life is changed forever when you are told that you are to become the mother of the greatest person in history, the Messiah - Jesus Christ, and yet you are a virgin.
Have you ever been confronted by someone who said something like, "God told me to tell you"? Such statements often are followed by a "word of knowledge" such as, "If you only had more faith, you would be healed." Or, perhaps, "If you were living right, you would not have lost your job."