A quote from Edwin Hatch in his book “The Influence of Greek Ideas and Usages Upon the Christian Church” on the first page:
“It is impossible for any one, whether he be a student of history or no, to fail to notice a difference of both form and content between the Sermon on the Mount and the Nicene Creed. The Sermon on the Mount is the promulgation of a new law of conduct; it assumes beliefs rather than formulates them; the theological conceptions which underlie it belong to the ethical rather than the speculative side of theology; metaphysics are wholly absent. The Nicene Creed is a statement partly of historical facts and partly of dogmatic inferences; the metaphysical terms which it contains would probably have been unintelligible to the first disciples; ethics have no place in it. The one belongs to a world of Syrian peasants, the other to a world of Greek philosophers.”
Continue reading →
“And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” (Matthew 11:2-3)
This was a good reminder for me, just in thinking about doubt, and spiritually hard times, that even the best, those we would consider the most spiritually mature, have doubts. Here is John the Baptist, in jail, wondering what is going on, having already announced that this Jesus was the Son of God who takes away the sin of the world, and yet things aren’t exactly as he thought they would be. Jesus isn’t what even he expected. But there is a difference I think, as I ponder this passage, a difference between John and the Pharisees. Because John sought Christ out, he sought Christ to know the truth – whereas the Pharisees didn’t want the truth, but only sought to make Jesus say something wrong so that they could condemn Him to death. The difference is striking.
May I always remember to turn to Jesus in hard times, when I don’t understand what is going on, and be willing to take the answer He gives.
“Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to see the beam of wood in your own?” (Matthew 7:3)
In one of my classes my professor told the story of a prominent preacher who taught for many years that the elder qualification of “the husband of one wife” (1 Timothy 3:2) meant that, even if a man’s wife died, if he wanted to be an elder, he could never re-marry. This man taught this in his church and enforced it on the lives of his flock. That is until the day his own wife died. Continue reading →
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32)
Jesus speaks these words right before revealing to Peter that he will deny Jesus three times before the rooster crows. How devastating the words must have been to Peter. After following Christ for so long, only to hear his Master tell him that he will deny Him three times. But even in the midst of this dismal prediction, Christ gives Peter assurance. Continue reading →
“Thus says the LORD: ‘If My covenant is not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth, then I will cast away the descendants of Jacob and David My servant…” (Jeremiah 33:25-26a)
It is good to remember the faithfulness of God, and that the basis for his promises is not man – but rather himself. Israel did nothing to gain God’s favor – therefore they can do nothing to ultimately separate themselves from God. The covenant God made with them is as sure as day and night and as sure as God’s sovereign appointing of the ordinances of heaven and earth! Continue reading →
“And the priest must make atonement for the person who sins unintentionally – when he sins unintentionally before the Lord – to make atonement for him, and he will be forgiven…But the person who acts defiantly, whether native-born or a resident foreigner, insults the Lord. That person must be cut off from among his people. Because he has despised the word of the Lord and has broken his commandment, that person must be completely cut off. His iniquity will be on him.” (Numbers 15:28, 30-31)
Today in chapel we heard a message that had a section on the seriousness of sin. How we so easily make sin no big deal. It is our nature to make little of our sin – we think ourselves as relatively ok in comparison with the other gross “sinners” around us.
Continue reading →
“But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was going to betray him) said, “Why wasn’t this oil sold for three hundred silver coins and the money given to the poor?” (Now Judas said this not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief. As keeper of the money box, he used to steal what was put into it.)” – John 12:4-6 NET
Confrontation is something as Christians most of us know about – and most of us know about it first hand. It can be a very painful experience – well, not can – it mostly IS, but sometimes it is better than others. It might depend on the way the person confronts you, if you even really know them (having a relationship with someone really helps a lot, regardless of how they say it), or it might depend on our own attitude – whether or not we are willing to admit that we might possibly have sinned, or have a pattern of sin in our lives.
Continue reading →