Exposed

*Luke 12:1-5 (ESV)*
In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.
Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.

“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do.
But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!

 

I believe this passage is pretty self-explanatory, but do think it is important to recognize that Jesus spoke of the “leaven of the Pharisees” as their continually self-perpetuating, infections sin…  of hypocrisy.  

Basically, this indicates that they were engaged in play-acting.  And in particular, the warning was related to their religious activity and true attitude toward God.

However, Jesus also promised that there will come a time when every dusty corner of our hearts will be emptied of all secrets.  Therefore, it is beneficial for us to develop a genuine respect the God who will judge rightly all we have ever said, done and even though.

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Happy New Year!!!

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Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.



This is perhaps one of the most beautiful meditations in all of scripture.
And it is perhaps the last thing one would expect to read in the book of Lamentations.

But there it is, right in the middle of the mournful expression of loss and grief and despair…
It serves as a beacon of Hope, and light of encouragement, to all who have placed their trust in the goodness of our Creator and His plan for His people.

Gospel (OT-NT Parallel)

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Isaiah 40:1-3 (NKJV)
“Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” Says your God.
2 “Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, That her warfare is ended, That her iniquity is pardoned; For she has received from the LORD’s hand Double for all her sins.”

3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God.

Isaiah 9:6-7 (NKJV)
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

Luke 2:10-14 (NKJV)
10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
11 “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
12 “And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Matthew 5:17-18 (NKJV)
Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
18 “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

John 19:30 (NKJV)
So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

Mark 16:5-6 (NKJV)
And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.

But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.


 

God has sent Light and Life into the World via the Person of His Son.

He has demonstrated His desire for us to be at peace with Him.

He has cleared the way.

This is Good News.

Privilege Requires Responsibility

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Luke 16:10-12 (ESV)
One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.
If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?
And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So now this passage has gotten stuck in my head.

If you’re interested in my thoughts, it would be good to begin by reading the preceding 9 verses of Luke 16.

(Commentary)

~ Jesus was talking to people (natural-born Israelites) who were preoccupied with receiving the promised perfect Kingdom of God (Luke 17:20-21; Acts 1:6-8)

~The problem is that they had mismanaged the information God had entrusted to them regarding that Kingdom, and were about to lose their former privileged position as Kingdom stewards (Matthew 21:33-43)

~According to Matthew 21:45-46, the religious leaders understood the reprimand contained in Jesus’ message to be about them…and they did not respond well.

~ Romans 10:2-4 specifically details their error to be misapplication of the Law as a means of personally attaining necessary righteousness that is accessible through faith in Christ alone. By adopting this alternative view, the leaders of Israel subsequently rejected the Christ who came to establish the Kingdom.

~Because of their negligence and hostility toward Jesus, He predicted:
Matthew 21:43 (ESV) Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.

~Not too long after Jesus’ crucifixion and ascension, Jerusalem was destroyed (70ad) and the Kingdom message of the Gospel was entrusted to the Gentile-dominated Christian Church.

~Personally, I have not yet found any biblical evidence to support the idea that the Kingdom was permanently taken from all who originally were given the trust.

Actually, much of the OT prophetic writings indicate that there would be a time that God allows the contrary people to be punished for their disrespect and that they would be dominated by their enemies, yet at least some would eventually accept their Messiah and be purified by Him.
Paul also discussed this hope in his letter to the Roman Christians.

~Anyway, there are probably many personal applications regarding responsibility and integrity that we could derive from the Luke 16 passage.

•for instance, if I cannot manage to properly care for a rental car or house, when I’ve signed a well-defined agreement…why should anyone believe that I would do better as an owner, making up my own rules?

James (3:1-12) wrote that those who do not “bridle their tongues”, ought not be trusted to accurately teach the Word of God to others.

•If a business employee will steal from, or lie to, either their employer or clients, why would anyone think the individual should be trusted as a business owner?

•If a man does not visibly demonstrate respect for the wife, daughter, or even girlfriend, of another man…even when that man isn’t in the room…how could he be trusted to care for a family of his own?

That’s all for today. Thank you for reading along 🙂

What Are You Afraid Of?

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Proverbs 29:25 (ESV) The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.

Matthew 10:27-28 (ESV) What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Psalm 118:4-8 (ESV) Let those who fear the LORD say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”

Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free.

The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
The LORD is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.

It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(Commentary)

Sometimes, we let fear of disapproval or the implied/open threats of others be what determines our course in life. And it’s not an imaginary struggle, as I don’t think anyone appreciates being actually ostracized, bullied or otherwise mistreated by condescending, angry or pushy acquaintances.

Other times, we can be specifically focused on actively gaining some personal advantage by pleasing the people around us.

Personally, I’ve tended to struggle with speaking my mind around others when conflict appears to be the inevitable end result.
Thus, “keeping the peace” has always been a high priority, regardless of what I think I’d rather do.
Showing respect for the non-sinful interests of others is good. However, remaining silent about a legitimate concern is a sin.

Sometimes, my motive for doing even the right things has been to feel appreciated and useful. That’s an attempt to self-medicate an unhealthy view of self-worth.

Anyway, one of the reasons this type of interaction should be considered a “snare”, is that it enslaves us to doing the will of others. That is dangerous, because

1. The moods, interests, intellectual stability, and desires of people are not static. It’s exhausting to try to figure out which tune they are playing today and how to keep in step with it.
2. Their plans for us may not be as straightforward as they appear, and may not have our best interest anywhere in sight.
3. In order to faithfully follow another individual’s preferred path, one must learn to ignore his/her own conscience before God.

By contrast, God’s plan and intention for us is always good and trustworthy. (Psalm 103:17; Isaiah 54:8, 61:8
His way is the path of love and eternal Life. (Matthew 21:27-30; John 14:6; John 6:67-69; 1 John 4:16)
He even gives us the ability to walk in the direction He instructs us to go. ( Isaiah 41:10; Psalm 28:7-8; Philippians 4:12-13; Romans 14:4)

Hebrews 13:1-6 (ESV) Let brotherly love continue.

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

How Can I Help You?

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Matthew 20:25-28 (ESV)

But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.

It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,
and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,
even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

We instinctively know how to look after our own best interests.  Fallen human nature tends to be highly attuned to the various ways it can extract comfort from the people and environments that surround us.

According to Jesus’ revelation, though, God intends for us to learn how to think about how we can cheerfully consider the needs of others before we grab for the chance to please our own selves.

He even set the perfect example of sacrificial service by giving up everything in order to reconnect us  with our Creator. The least we can do in return is to practice setting aside our self-focused attitudes and begin  to recognize the many opportunities we’ve been given to step out of the spotlight for the sake of another.

Mind Over (earthly) Matters

 

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Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8 (ESV)


Life is not always kind, or even “fair”.  When external stress and pressures build up, it can be oh-so-tempting to  sink into an pattern of pessimistic thinking that only serves to pull us farther into a pit of depression.

It is true that some earthly situations are not easily resolved.  And others may never be exactly “right”, according to our own estimation.  But that does not mean there is no hope of a better future for the Christian…if not here, then when we enter eternity, for sure.

We can always choose for our thoughts to dwell in either our temporary sorrows or on the promise of a blessed forever home in God’s presence.