Church Blog (Page 5)

Church Blog (Page 5)

Two Petitioners, Two Postures, Two Petitions

Two very different characters stood in very different places. The Pharisee stood “by himself;” the tax collector stood “far off.” And in that posture, everything is revealed. The Tax Collector Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the tax collector was a good guy. He wasn’t. He was a scoundrel. John the baptist would not have instructed tax collectors to collect no more than was permitted if they weren’t, in fact, cheating as a rule. And in chapter 19, we’ll…

Always Pray and Never Lose Heart

Sometimes Jesus’ parables are difficult to understand. But Luke gives us the meaning of the parable of the persistent widow and the unjust judge. We ought always pray, and never lose heart. A Shameless Judge and a Helpless Widow The characters are caricatured. A judge who neither fears God nor respects men is only moved by self-interest. But a widow, the epitome of helpless weakness, can offer him nothing. Nevertheless, she moves him to act on her behalf by pestering…

Remember Lot’s Wife and Don’t Miss the Boat

Are you ready for Jesus’ return? That’s the question Luke would have you ask yourself in Luke 17:20-37. The Pharisees asked when the kingdom would come, and the disciples ask, “Where?”, but Jesus would have you prepare by asking a different question: Are you ready? The Kingdom of God The Pharisees ask when the kingdom will come. But the kingdom is in their midst already, as the king stands before them, and as those who have bowed the knee to…

Gratitude of Those Shown Grace

Luke 17:11-19 introduces us to ten men who have a disease which bars them from participation in the covenant community. They suffer from an ailment that essentially excommunicates them from the Old Testament church. Ten Lepers Cry for Mercy The disease they suffer from is not necessarily Hansen’s disease. Even Psoriasis would qualify as “leprosy” under the Law. We aren’t so much to sympathize with their physical suffering as with their emotional distress. They are “unclean” by virtue of their…

The Duty of Our Faith: to Rebuke and Forgive

It is the Duty of our faith to rebuke and forgive our brothers. Luke 17:1-10 is not a grouping of disconnected proverbs from Jesus. Rather, there is a logic that holds them all together and makes sense of their placement here in Luke’s Gospel. The Context This is the end of the scene that began in chapter 15, when tax collectors and sinners drew near to Jesus and he received them. The Pharisees did not approve of opening the doors…

Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus: the eternal consequences of a sated oblivion

Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus The parable of the rich man and Lazarus doesn’t just appear out of nowhere. It comes in a context that began in Luke 15:1-2. Tax collectors and sinners are flocking to Jesus. In the language of our previous passage, they are forcefully entering the kingdom of God. But the Pharisees do not approve. Jesus has gone back and forth from that occasioning incident, first telling the Pharisees three parables of lost things, then…

The Kingdom Like Black Friday: Everyone Forces His Way into It

Jesus said, somewhat enigmatically, “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.” (Luke 16:16) Nobody truly yet casually comes to Christ. The Context These verses are set between two parables, the parable of the unjust steward and its application, and the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. But to appreciate these verses, we must actually look to a larger block of…

Emulate a Thief? ~ The Unjust Steward

The Parable of the Unjust Steward, found in Luke 16:1-13, is widely regarded as Jesus’ hardest parable. The church has struggled with it for ages. The nature of the difficulty lies in the fact that a man acts unrighteously, defrauding his boss, and yet he appears to be praised by his boss and held up by Jesus as an example for his disciples to follow. The Setting This parable shares the same context as the well-known Parable of the Prodigal…

Two Prodigal Sons; One Father Scorning the Shame

In Luke 15, Jesus tells three parables (the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin & the Prodigal Son) showing that there is joy in heaven when a sinner repents (Luke 15:7, 10, 32). God is profligate, promiscuous even, with his mercy. And he is exceedingly pleased when those to whom he so graciously offers it humble themselves to receive it. Three Found Things Jesus tells three parables in Luke 15. The lost sheep and lost coin parables set up the third,…

Hate Your Parents? ~ Luke 14:25-35

In Luke 14:25-35, Jesus tells us, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Some will dismiss Christianity altogether because of such a statement, much as they dismissed Jesus when he said they must eat his flesh and drink his blood (John 6:48-58). But let us, instead, wrestle in faith with this difficult language. Hate Your…

Dispensationalism: Weighing its Claims against the Scriptures

Dispensationalism’s Core Distinction Dispensationalism’s core claim is that Israel and the Church must be carefully distinguished. In essence, it claims that God has two peoples with parallel but separate destinies. It is this distinction that drives Dispensationalism’s eschatological distinctives, viz. pretribulational premillennialism. Therefore, if it can be shown that Israel and the Church are not separate peoples of God, but together form the one people of God and are heirs according to the promises of God, then the impetus for…

Kingdom Banquet No Shows

Parable of the Great Banquet Luke 14:15-24. One of the dinner guests jumped to bless those who would share in the kingdom banquet. He surely assumes that he will be among those so blessed. But Jesus cautions the dinner guests about such optimism, while also correcting their misunderstanding of the kingdom itself. The Kingdom is Now The man pronounced a benediction on those who will feast in the kingdom. But Jesus’ parable describes a banquet that is ready. In fact,…