And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XII, Number 25 June 28, 2009
In this issue:
I am sitting at SeaTac Airport on Friday afternoon waiting for my flight home. And, I’m people-watching. Some are running and others are talking on cell phones; some are sipping on straws. But all are them have something in common; they are headed somewhere. And by the way, so are you.
You can learn a lot from watching people. Those guys who just ran past me are probably late for a flight connection. I wonder; do any of us run through life without ever grasping the real purpose of our lives? If that describes you, mediate again upon Ecclesiastes 12:13 and Luke 10:41-42. The things we should be “running” after (pursuing) are “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness” (1 Tim 6:11).
You can tell something about folks by the clothing they wear, too. For example, it is easy to spot the pilots and flight attendants here in the airport – even from a distance. Their uniforms identify who they and what they do. If you think your clothing does not say something about you, you are mistaken. The clothing you chose to wear shows what is in your heart (modesty and sobriety, or the lack thereof, 1 Tim 2:9-10; Prov 7:10).
Some people are just waiting around. They have an appointment with an airplane, and they do not intend to miss their flight. That’s because they want to get to where the plane will take them. Simple enough.
You and I are on a journey. Where are you going? (I assume we all want to go to heaven.) What are you doing on your journey? The choices and decisions you make will affect whether you get to where you want to go. Christians are “pilgrims and strangers” in this world (1 Pet 2:11). If we are more comfortable with the thinking, values and goals of the world than we are with those contained in the gospel of Christ, a “flight” correction is in order – immediately! (Rom 12:1-2)
Only Jesus will take you where you want to go; salvation is only in Him and by His authority (Acts 4:12). But you must live by faith and obey Him in all things (2 Cor 5:7; Heb 5:9).
Finally, remember others are watching you – including the Lord! (Heb 4:13) What do others see about you as they are people-watching?
When we consider the parable Jesus gives in Luke 15:11-32, most of us would immediately call to mind the “prodigal son.” In fact this parable is frequently titled such, but is this parable’s purpose to teach about the younger prodigal son?
Before we dive any deeper into the explanation of this parable we must first establish the context. In Luke 15:1-2 we find Jesus teaching “publicans and sinners.” Jesus’ attention to these erring people did not sit well with the Jews at all. The scripture states that they “murmured, saying, ‘This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.’” Clearly the Pharisees and scribes repudiated the thought of conversing and giving so much attention to sinners. It was on the basis of their murmuring we find the context of all of Jesus’ parables in Luke 15.
In Luke 15:12 Jesus begins the parable with the focus on the younger son. This young prodigal demands his father’s inheritance and leaves the family only to squander everything that had been given to him. It is at this point in the parable we find so much application in regards to our own transgression and falling away from God. Numerous points of principle and application have focused on the younger son, yet while these points are certainly warranted Jesus’ main purpose of the parable has yet to be completely revealed.
As we continue through verse 20 we find that the younger brother comes to his senses and returns to his fathers house. Luke 15:20-24 shows the father’s joyous reception given for his lost son who had returned. However, in verse 25-28 we find a stark change in the story.
Instead of rejoicing at the knowledge of the safe return of his younger brother, the older son becomes angry and refuses to join in the celebration (vs. 28). When the father confronts the elder son we then find the jealousy and indignation of the older brother made manifest. It is at this point the father responds saying “It is right that we should make merry and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.” The parable ends with that final statement from the father to the elder son.
That closing statement shows the purpose of the parable. It was given to convict the Pharisees and scribes of their jealousy and indignation of those who were living sinfully. At this point we find a root of the problem for the Jews. They understood that Jesus came from God (Jn. 3:2), but He did not praise or laud over the self-righteous Pharisees, rather He taught the sinners. They were insulted and acted exactly like the jealous older brother.
We are not exempt from the same temptation of jealousy which beset the Pharisees and the eldest brother. When we hear of others’ spiritual growth or progress do we genuinely rejoice or are we inwardly jealous and condescending? When those of us who have been Christians for years see the joy or dedication of new Christians, do we act jaded or arrogantly dismiss them? Are we truly concerned about the welfare of souls around us or merely focused on whether God notes and repays our good deeds? May we not be like the elder brother, but may we rejoice in the Father’s forgiveness!
Glad Tidings, March 1, 2009
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: 1 John 3:4-10
I. SIN IS NOT A BIOLOGICAL PHENOMENON.
A. Sin is not in Our Genes, Rom 5:12; Ezek 18:20; Deut 24:16.
II. SIN IS NOT IN HUMAN NATURE.
Man’s Constitution is not Sinful (Created by God), Rom 3:23; Eccl 7:29; Eph
III. SIN IS NOT TRANSFERABLE.
Men have Always Tried to Blame Others for Their Sins, Gen 3:12-13; Exo
IV. SIN SEPARATES (Sin causes death, Jas 1:15).
Sin Separates Man from God, Isa 59:1-2; Col 1:21.
V. SIN IS DEFEATED IN JESUS CHRIST.
A. You Can Overcome Sin in Jesus, Jno 8:34-36; Eph 1:7; Heb 9:13-14; Rev 1:5; Rom 6:3 (Acts 22:16); Rom 6:12; 1 Jno 3:4-10 (1:9; Acts 8:22).
"One thing happens to all"
Three famous entertainers died in America this week; Ed McMahon (86), Farrah Fawcett (62) and Michael Jackson (50). Although they had earned millions and millions of dollars over the course of their careers, their money did not prevent their deaths. Although they had millions of fans, their fame did not give them immortality. Although wealthy, famous, beautiful and talented, none of these things prevented their demise.
Which brings us to our point; we must live for the time that we will die. “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Heb 9:27). There is no escape from our appointment with death: “one thing happens to all” (Eccl 9:3). Are you getting ready for your death? Are you ready for the judgment?
Death is a great equalizer. Death comes to us all. Death is not prevented by fame and celebrity, wealth or physical beauty. We must be wise enough to live for the day of our death. Death will be a great day of release and passage into rest for the people of God (Rev 14:13). To expect that we have many years ahead of us and on that assumption are not urgent in obeying God is indeed foolish (Lk 12:19-20). If you need to become a Christian, why are you putting it off? Is it because you think you will live forever? You will not. Do you want to live forever with God? If so, then address the sin in your life in God’s way and obtain forgiveness and salvation in the Son (1 Jno 5:11-13). Christian, if you need to repent of sin, do not wait (Acts 8:22). Confess your sin in prayer to your Father (1 Jno 1:9).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 06/29/2009
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA