6/10/2018Alan Adams Matthew 13, 25; Mark 4; Luke 8
In terms of talent, output, and wealth, a casual observer cannot but "see" unequal distribution. It's a fact. What precisely did Jesus mean, when He said, "To everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away" (Matthew 25:29)?
The willingness and ability to hear God's word is the starting point of salvation and blessings. Some in Isaiah's day, when hearing the preaching of the word, could only hear, "Blah, blah, blah." It's good to examine things that interfere with hearing God's word.
A ship without a rudder, or one with a damaged or defective rudder, is destined for shipwreck. Similar somewhat to items on an aptitude test, Inspiration notes that: What a bit is to the horse and a rudder to a ship, so the tongue is to the human body. We are sailing across life's sea, and the tongue is our rudder. The lessons are obvious.
"Those who sleep in Christ Jesus" is actually an awakening and exhilirating thought. The idea of departed faithful Christians' sleeping is from our perspective. They, in fact, are quite alive, awake and well.
One of the comparatively few kings who did things "right in the eyes of the Lord" was Jehoshaphat. His story should be read. One must note, however, that God wrecked the king's fleet at Ezion-Geber. A serious student must ask, Why?
Paul mentions two examples of Christians, who "concerning the faith" had "suffered shipwreck." Using the whole "maritime" theme as an overlay, this chapter (1 Timothy 1) shows us how to avoid shipwreck.
Paul plainly says that the empty grave into which had been placed the corpse of Jesus of Nazareth will lead to the emptying of all graves. The apostle has left us a "map" from that one empty grave that shows the way to all empty graves.
Mary and Jesus were guests at a wedding feast. They ran out of wine, and Mary brought the problem to the attention of her son. He ultimately used a great miracle to solve the problem. What, then, before the miracle, did he mean when he responded, "Woman, what does your concern have to do with me?"
Israel was so pitifully weak, that the Philistines forbade them to have blacksmiths to prevent their having swords and spears. Not only that, but the Hebrews had to see out Philistine blacksmiths just to have their farm implements sharpened. God's people are in danger of being that pathetically weak, as well.
Paul longed for his brethren with the "affection of Jesus Christ." Affection is the translation of the Greek, splangknon, which is the origin of the English, splanknology: the study of the viscera. Something deeply, internally, felt is the idea.
Jacob had two wives, Leah and Rachel. The story is bizarre, and enlightening. The "son of Jacob," Jesus has only one, "wife," the church. Yet there are hundreds of "churches," each distinct and different, and all claiming "wife" status with Jesus. People say there's really no difference. One might as well claim that there's no difference between Leah and Rachel; and, that makes no sense.
God's people, of all ages, ought to first inquire for the word of the Lord before proceeding on any course of action. Some do; some give lip service to the concept. The story of the sad alliance between Jehoshaphat and Ahab tells us much about people and their motivations in this regard.
Shepherds, wise men, Herod, Simeon, Joseph and Mary all had something in common: at one time or another, they wanted to know "Where is Jesus?" Following events that lead to his crucifixion, burial, resurrection and ascension, the list grows even longer. The sermon concerns itself with those first mentioned. The question itself is profound and portentous, and one each person should ask.
An arrogant and ruthless Ammonite king laid siege to Jabesh Gilead, and gave them an ultimatum: Be killed, or sue for peace. The term for suing for peace was " I may put out all your right eyes and bring reproach on all Israel." Saul saved their lives, their right eyes, and left indelible lessons.
Whereas the church at Corinth came together, "in assembly," among other things, to eat the Lord's Supper, Paul said, "It is not to eat the Lord's Supper." In essence, they said, This is why we are here; and, Paul said, No, it's not. Many lessons lie within.
Given the way some treat the subject, when one hears mention of the Holy Spirit in hushed, mysterious, tones, he could almost expect to hear in the background theme music from the Twilight Zone. The Book of Galatians has so much to say about His nature and work; about His place in our hearts and lives; and, about our lives in Him.
The events that lead to young Samuel's becoming the protégé of Eli is a remarkable story within itself. The voice of the Lord calling Samuel, and Eli's explaining it to him is also a story full of lessons and application.
Paul, by the Spirit, commands Christians, "Be filled with the Spirit." How precisely does one obey that command. It is not at all mysterious, because, Paul, uses specific grammar and syntax to explain the manner in which Christians shall follow his order.
Out of the backdrop of "love," the Lord turns His attention to "hate," particularly as it relates to the world's feelings toward His disciples. His words about conditions and causes are instructive and sobering