Faithfully Communicating the Message

1 Corinthians 1:18-25. I am both thankful for and concerned about all the talk about relevance today. On the one hand, there is a real danger that Christians may lose touch with society. We don’t want to become like the Amish who seem quaint and irrelevant to the real world. There is value in observingContinue reading “Faithfully Communicating the Message”

Sowing and Reaping—5

Growth. So far in this series of posts we have considered agriculture in the ancient world, noted the basic truth that sowing leads to reaping, identified the seed as the word of the kingdom, and explored the different types or soils or hearts that receive the word. Our consideration of the soils led us toContinue reading “Sowing and Reaping—5”

Four Differences between Secular and Spiritual Resolutions

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 There have been times in my life when I made New Year’s Resolutions and times when I haven’t. Sometimes I have been down on making them because it seems so difficult to keep them. A recent online article suggests about 1/4 of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions and about 1/3 say theyContinue reading “Four Differences between Secular and Spiritual Resolutions”

How to Respond to the Birth of Christ

Luke 2:8-20 In two weeks we will return to our exploration of the good news told in Acts. As Christmas approaches, however, I want to call attention to what the shepherds have to teach us about responding to the birth of Christ. Then, next week, we will notice consider some helpful truths about (New Year’s)Continue reading “How to Respond to the Birth of Christ”

How to Do Good Deeds

Matthew 5:13-16. One important avenue for influencing others toward God is the good deeds we do. Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:13-16 gives us some helpful insight about this. Twice in this passage Jesus uses the words, “You are.” The wording of the original text places some emphasis on the word “you.” That indicates the teachingContinue reading “How to Do Good Deeds”

Great Commissions 5

Acts. In Acts 1:1-8, Luke gives us another account of Jesus’ final commission to the twelve. Here we find three important foundation stones before the actual commission (in v. 8). The first foundation stone is that, after his suffering and death, Jesus presented himself to the apostles and gave many convincing proofs that he reallyContinue reading “Great Commissions 5”

Great Commissions 4

John. John’s account of Jesus’ final commission to his followers (John 20:19-23) puzzles me in some ways, and there are things about it I don’t understand. Instead of going into all those matters, though, I’ll focus on the key things that seem clear. After his resurrection but prior to commissioning his disciples, Jesus appears toContinue reading “Great Commissions 4”

Great Commissions 3

Luke. Luke’s account of Jesus’ final instructions to his followers is my new favorite (24:45-49). It begins by describing the basis for the commission that follows. The basis is that the Messiah (or Christ) had to suffer, rise from the dead, and enter his glory (24:26, 46). This was God’s plan from the beginning, andContinue reading “Great Commissions 3”

Great Commissions 2

Mark. Another account of Jesus’ final commission to his followers may be found in Mark 16:15-16. You may know that there is a question about whether Mark 16:9-20 was a part of Mark’s original Gospel (see footnotes in your Bible). I won’t go into that here, except to say that a number of biblical scholarsContinue reading “Great Commissions 2”

Great Commissions 1

Matthew. We are accustomed to referring to Matthew 28:18-20 as “the Great Commission.” A commission is “an instruction, command or duty given to a person or group of people” (Oxford Languages), and this passage certainly qualifies as that. In fact, however, there are five passages where Jesus gives final instructions to his followers. We willContinue reading “Great Commissions 1”