Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What is Possible? Matthew 19

In Summary:

Matthew 19 is fun. Say that with me, “Matthew 19 is fun.” After all, who doesn’t love a discussion of divorce followed by a statement about eunuchs? Then we see Jesus welcome children (contrary to the adult disciples) and chase off a potential financial backer. The chapter wraps up with Peter asking whether or not the disciples could expect much from following Jesus.

It is necessary, first, to look at the geography of this chapter. Verse 1 tells us that Jesus has departed Galilee and is coming into Judea. It’s His last trip of that nature. The Cross is in sight. Even with so weighty a moment ahead of Jesus, the Pharisees are ready to test Him. (In their defense, they didn’t know about the upcoming Crucifixion. They hadn’t quite hatched that plan.)

So they ask Jesus to side with one or the other of their views on divorce and remarriage. The answer and its application to today are rooted in a fuller understanding of culture, text, and context than I want to undertake here. The short form is that divorce is never a good thing and only happens because of people’s hard hearts. Is it unforgivable? Certainly not. Is it unavoidable? Not always—people are sinners, and people marry sinners. Sometimes, that results in a truly unavoidable situation. But divorce is rarely a good answer. It’s like chemotherapy: you hope it kills the problem before it kills you, and then that you recover from the treatment. So you don’t do it if there’s other options.

We spend a lot of time splitting hairs over this passage that we often lose the view that’s most important: there are no divorces without people. And people need Jesus. Keep the focus on helping people come to Jesus and let the rest sort itself.

The reasoning for this question should be considered. It’s this: the Pharisees had internal conflicts. They wanted Jesus to take a side. Instead, He took His own view. It’s the same thing Joshua encounters in Joshua 5:14. Don’t ask God to take your side. Be sure to take His.

In Focus:

For focus, let us look at Matthew 19:26. The disciples have seen Jesus drive off a good prospect in the Rich Young Ruler. A good prospect? That’s what we would call him in many churches: he’s moral and wealthy! We want him! Jesus, though, tells him to pitch the wealth and come with nothing. He leaves, and the disciples think it is impossible for anyone to be saved.

Jesus reminds them of this truth: “With God, all things are possible.” (see Luke 1:37 for this again) That line centers this chapter. Marriage? The idea that 2 people can live together for life and honor God with their relationship? Impossible!

That eunuchs have a place in the Kingdom? That man can live without marriage? Impossible! That children are the example and the owners of the Kingdom? Impossible! The wealthy can be saved? The poor, the righteous, the ones without will have enough? Impossible!

Yet Jesus highlights that NOTHING! is impossible with God. With people? Plenty of impossiblities. Jesus challenges the disciples to trust that His commands, His will are possible. Because with Him, with God all things are possible.

In Practice:

These days, it feels like everything comes with a disclaimer. Even “With God, all things are possible” needs a disclaimer. Some things of lesser value are impossible for you and me. I cannot run a marathon tomorrow. Neither Mattehw 19:26 or Philippians 4:13 promise that. I have not prepared for it.

These statements on the power of God are about the power of God to enable people to obey Him. Not to do groovy things or to attain earthly success.

So, when we see commands like “love your neighbor” or “go into all the world…” and think they are impossible, we’re right. It’s impossible. The only way to do it is by obeying and trusting God. We start, then, with prayer. We pack the middle with prayer. And then we finish with prayer.

Think of the Big Mac. Bread, stuff, bread, more stuff, and then bread. Obeying God through life is the same way: pray, then do stuff, then pray some more, then do more stuff. Then pray. And repeat.

Never let the impossiblity of the task stop your obedience. Let it only increase your dependence on God.

In Nerdiness:

Nerdstuff: 1. What about marriage? Stick with it. In some cases, survival requires escape. So don’t enter lightly. But the context is a debate between two choices: unrestrained divorce and limited divorce. And the unrestrained was by men chasing new wives whenever they wanted them. Jesus’ answer needs to be seen in that context—it’s just as much adultery to pitch your wife out and marry a new woman as it was to have an affair. And prying a woman from her husband? That makes her a complicit sinner. You can’t make your adultery respectable by shifting paperwork.

2. Be careful provoking Jesus by trying to stop Him doing something. Note that He goes right ahead and lays hands on the children.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Sermon Recap for October 23

Well, last night was business meeting. I’m not going to post that. It was mostly dull.

I referenced in the service yesterday. Click the link to find out more.

Morning Sermon: The Sweetest Speech: Ephesians 4:29-32 (Audio)

(For the record, people aren’t clapping for me coming to the pulpit.)

The Sweetest Speech

Ephesians 4:29–32 NASB95
    Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
    Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
    Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
    Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Unwholesome  Words

Words of  Edification

  Egg fu what?  Edification

  Building up, strengthening, healing

Grieving  God in our Words

    a.    Bitterness

    b.    Wrath

    c.    Anger

    d.    Clamor--Noisy

    e.    Slander

Christlikeness  in Speech




  Grace giving

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sermon Recap for Oct 16

Good afternoon! It’s been a week for the birds, so I haven’t gotten even the sermons posted. But, here they are!

Sunday Morning: The Worthiest Walk, Ephesians 4:1-6 (Audio here)

The Worthiest Walk

The Worthiest Walk

Doug Hibbard / General

Ephesians 4:1–16

Ephesians 4:1 NASB95

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,

Ephesians 4:1-6


Examples like Paul

Surrendered Fully to Jesus

Not always look like success

Not always accepted by the world

"Walk in a manner worthy"

Following ONE LORD!

Ephesians 4:4–6 NASB95

There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

When we chase a multitude of gods, division happens

When we feel superior to others, division happens

When we divide over issues other than the faith, division happens

And what did Jesus say about division in the house?

Mark 3:25 NASB95

“If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.

Mark 3:25

We are to be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit

When we walk with God, we are unified.

Division happens when we walk away from Him.

What do we do?

1. Know Jesus.

Have hope!

2. Know the Word of God.

Understand your calling!

3. Heed the Spirit .

Be peaceful!

4. Be Equipped .

Grow into maturity !

Page . Exported from Logos Bible Software, 4:35 PM October 19, 2016.

Evening Service: Colossians 2

We observed the Lord’s Supper in the evening service. Here’s the video.