Friday, September 28, 2018
Sorry but I am no longer posting any lessons. After 10 years and fast approaching 80, I have decided to give up my teaching. If you would like to contact me personally my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, always happy to help with answers and opinions.
Monday, August 20, 2018
Adult Uniform Sunday School Lesson for August 26, 2018
To exemplify the love and life of Christ in our daily lives
Background: Ephesians 4:25–5:2; Colossians 3:1-17
Colossians 3:5-17 (CEB)
5 So put to death the parts of your life that belong to the earth, such as sexual immorality, moral corruption, lust, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). 6 The wrath of God is coming upon disobedient people because of these things. 7 You used to live this way, when you were alive to these things. 8 But now set aside these things, such as anger, rage, malice, slander, and obscene language. 9 Don’t lie to each other. Take off the old human nature with its practices 10 and put on the new nature, which is renewed in knowledge by conforming to the image of the one who created it. 11 In this image there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all things and in all people.
12 Therefore, as God’s choice, holy and loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Be tolerant with each other and, if someone has a complaint against anyone, forgive each other. As the Lord forgave you, so also forgive each other. 14 And over all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 The peace of Christ must control your hearts—a peace into which you were called in one body. And be thankful people. 16 The word of Christ must live in you richly. Teach and warn each other with all wisdom by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through him.
Therefore, as God’s choice, holy and loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. (Colossians 3:12)
First I would like to apologize for not posting last week, On Sunday the 12th of September, a large tree in our yard was struck by lightning and we lost a lot of electronics and our internet for several days. We are fortunate that the damage was not more severe, it blew the top out of the tree and it fell on our patio and screened in porch, but could have been much worse.
Now for this week’s thoughts. Our text is from Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae. Paul was never able to visit this church and the letter is one of Paul’s prison letters he wrote while in prison in Rome. Other letters Paul wrote while in prison include possibly Philemon, Ephesians, and Philippians.
In chapter 1 Paul explains the reason for the letter “7 You learned it from Epaphras, who is the fellow slave we love and Christ’s faithful minister for your sake. 8 He informed us of your love in the Spirit. 9 Because of this, since the day we heard about you, we haven’t stopped praying for you and asking for you to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, with all wisdom and spiritual understanding.”
Paul is trying to take those in Colossae to a better place where the old is gone and they take on a new life. Being a Christian brings a new birth, the things we used to do we do no more. Also our hearts are changed and we seek peace instead of anger, we seek holiness instead of abiding in sin, Our life is expected to reflect the life of Christ
Being a Christian means we all are one in Christ, no more Greek and Jew, black or white, educated and uneducated we are all one in Christ. The confusion comes when we incorporate that into a bigger picture of those that have not chosen Christ. Being in Christ does not mean you are not welcoming the world into your circle of friends. We need to be inclusive with other believers, but not necessarily with those that choose not to believe in Christ. 5 So put to death the parts of your life that belong to the earth, such as sexual immorality, moral corruption, lust, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry)........ 8 But now set aside these things, such as anger, rage, malice, slander, and obscene language.
There are those that teach we must be inclusive in our teachings and our beliefs, that is not what I see. There is the world’s followers and there are Christ followers. We must not preach and teach that unity is more importa nt than holiness. Sin is still sin, and Christ offers the only remedy for that, a new life in HIm. Heaven and hell are real, heaven is for the redeemed and hell is for those that choose the way of the world. When we candy coat it and try to let everybody in, we defeat the purpose of the cross, Christ died for all of those that believe, and His will is that all will believe.
My hymn for this week is “Redeemed”.
Monday, August 6, 2018
Global Economic Justice
Adult Uniform Sunday School Lesson for August 12, 2018
To identify the reason and ways of living generous lives in Christ
Background: 2 Corinthians 8; 9
2 Corinthians 8:7-15 (CEB)
7 Be the best in this work of grace in the same way that you are the best in everything, such as faith, speech, knowledge, total commitment, and the love we inspired in you. 8 I’m not giving an order, but by mentioning the commitment of others, I’m trying to prove the authenticity of your love also. 9 You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Although he was rich, he became poor for our sakes, so that you could become rich through his poverty.
10 I’m giving you my opinion about this. It’s to your advantage to do this, since you not only started to do it last year but you wanted to do it too. 11 Now finish the job as well so that you finish it with as much enthusiasm as you started, given what you can afford. 12 A gift is appreciated because of what a person can afford, not because of what that person can’t afford, if it’s apparent that it’s done willingly. 13 It isn’t that we want others to have financial ease and you financial difficulties, but it’s a matter of equality. 14 At the present moment, your surplus can fill their deficit so that in the future their surplus can fill your deficit. In this way there is equality. 15 As it is written, The one who gathered more didn’t have too much, and the one who gathered less didn’t have too little.
You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Although he was rich, he became poor for our sakes, so that you could become rich through his poverty. (2 Corinthians 8:9)
My thoughts on this lesson are going be a bit different. As I read this text I can not help but think about the way we do church today.
In essence Paul created the first Sunday School contest or challenge. He pitted one church against another in order to achieve the goal. Today we do much the same thing when we often try and outdo the other churches on our community.
Paul begins chapter eight with these words, “Brothers and sisters, we want to let you know about the grace of God that was given to the churches of Macedonia. 2 While they were being tested by many problems, their extra amount of happiness and their extreme poverty resulted in a surplus of rich generosity. 3 I assure you that they gave what they could afford and even more than they could afford, and they did it voluntarily. 4 They urgently begged us for the privilege of sharing in this service for the saints. 5 They even exceeded our expectations, because they gave themselves to the Lord first and to us, consistent with God’s will. 6 As a result, we challenged Titus to finish this work of grace with you the way he had started it.
I guess in the words of Paul, “I am giving you my opinion about this.” Paul points out in the beginning verses how good and faithful the church at Corinth is at being the best at everything.
Paul then goes on to say “this is not a command, more of a request.” Frankly it sounds more like a contest. Not that anything wrong with that. I think the words Paul uses in verse 12 “A gift is appreciated because of what a person can afford, not because of what that person can’t afford, if it’s apparent that it’s done willingly” is some very wise words . Sometimes peer pressure creates a burden to those that can not afford to give. Somehow suffering and giving creates the idea that our Christianity depends on what we give. Jesus wants us to give out of our abundance, not out of some sort of penance.
As Christians that have been bought with a great price, our giving needs to be out of love. When the bible says “God loves a cheerful giver” He means it. Paul is trying his best to make the church at Corinth “cheerful givers.”
The quotation in verse 15 from Exodus 16:18 is in the context of the story of the manna. “The one who gathered more didn’t have too much, and the one who gathered less didn’t have too little.” As unlikely as the human evidence sometimes seems, God will provide for us.
My hymn for this week is “God Will Take Care of You.”
Monday, July 30, 2018
Adult Uniform Sunday School Lesson for August 5, 2018
To commit to leading a nonjudgmental and repentant life
Background: Romans 2:1-16
Romans 2:1-12 (CEB)
1 So every single one of you who judge others is without any excuse. You condemn yourself when you judge another person because the one who is judging is doing the same things. 2 We know that God’s judgment agrees with the truth, and his judgment is against those who do these kinds of things. 3 If you judge those who do these kinds of things while you do the same things yourself, think about this: Do you believe that you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you have contempt for the riches of God’s generosity, tolerance, and patience? Don’t you realize that God’s kindness is supposed to lead you to change your heart and life? 5 You are storing up wrath for yourself because of your stubbornness and your heart that refuses to change. God’s just judgment will be revealed on the day of wrath. 6 God will repay everyone based on their works. 7 On the one hand, he will give eternal life to those who look for glory, honor, and immortality based on their patient good work. 8 But on the other hand, there will be wrath and anger for those who obey wickedness instead of the truth because they are acting out of selfishness and disobedience. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 10 But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does what is good, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 11 God does not have favorites.
12 Those who have sinned outside the Law will also die outside the Law, and those who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law.
But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does what is good, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. God does not have favorites. (Romans 2:10-11)
This month we will look at Paul’s teaching, and we will begin with Paul’s letter to the church at Rome. At the time of Paul writing this letter he had never visited the church in Rome. He had received information about the church from others. Paul’s ultimate reason for writing was he was looking for financial help for the poor Christians back in Jerusalem. The church at Rome was one of the more wealthy of all the new churches.
If you read the first chapter of Paul’s writing, you can readily see that Paul is buttering up those Roman Christians. While Paul was not the founding pastor, he used good salesmanship tactics in addressing this church.
However, as we look at chapter two, Paul has abandoned the flowery speech, and has gone to a more familiar line of teaching. The problem as Paul sees it is they are being judgmental. Paul abandons his flowery speech to basically calling them hypocrites.
Being judgmental is something almost all of us can be found guilty. We like to think we are not, but the truth is we are very judgemental. It is not just about race, religion or politics. We judge others by the way they live, the number of tattoos, the length of their dress, the way they dress, their cleanliness and their weight and their habits. Just a few of the ways we judge.
As Paul begins to teach and preach to the Roman church, he states upfront in verse 20 of chapter 1 regardless of your situation you are without excuse for not worshipping the creator God. (1:20 Ever since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities—God’s eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, because they are understood through the things God has made. So humans are without excuse.)
Paul’s concern was whether Jew or Greek, whether knowing God through the Law or knowing God through faith as a new Christian. It ought to change your life. Knowing God should change your heart. If’ it doesn’t maybe you need to rethink your relationship.
Doing good is not restricted to Christians, or Jews or any other form of religion or belief. Those that act selfishly and disobedient are obviously not doing the will of the Creator. God wants us to be holy just as He is holy. Our Key Verse says it best. But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does what is good, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. God does not have favorites. (Romans 2:10-11)
My hymn for this week is one of the newer ones “Open The Eyes of My Heart”
Monday, July 23, 2018
Parable of the Great Dinner
Adult Uniform Sunday School Lesson for July 29, 2018
To realize God’s greatest hope and intention for our world
Luke 14:15-24 (CEB)
15 When one of the dinner guests heard Jesus’ remarks, he said to Jesus, “Happy are those who will feast in God’s kingdom.”
16 Jesus replied, “A certain man hosted a large dinner and invited many people. 17 When it was time for the dinner to begin, he sent his servant to tell the invited guests, ‘Come! The dinner is now ready.’ 18 One by one, they all began to make excuses. The first one told him, ‘I bought a farm and must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ 19 Another said, ‘I bought five teams of oxen, and I’m going to check on them. Please excuse me.’ 20 Another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ 21 When he returned, the servant reported these excuses to his master. The master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go quickly to the city’s streets, the busy ones and the side streets, and bring the poor, crippled, blind, and lame.’ 22 The servant said, ‘Master, your instructions have been followed and there is still room.’ 23 The master said to the servant, ‘Go to the highways and back alleys and urge people to come in so that my house will be filled. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will taste my dinner.’”
“Go quickly to the city’s streets, the busy ones and the side streets, and bring the poor, crippled, blind, and lame.” (Luke 14:21)
This week we are looking at another parable taught by Jesus. I am a firm believer that telling stories is an effective way of getting points across to a vast audience. Storytelling has been used as a means of teaching from the beginning of time. Jesus used it over and over again to make a point and as a way of teaching.
Our text today follows two stories that Jesus tells as an invited guest to a banquet. First, to the guest and the correct way to attend a banquet and the seating arrangement. Second, to the host and who to invite. (Luke 14:7-14)
The setting for the story is important, because it shows the audience of the parable. Jesus had been invited to attend a dinner hosted by one of the leaders of the Pharisees. Those invited were the cremedelacreme of the leaders of the Jewish religion. You can almost picture them all clamouring for the best seat in the house. Likewise, you can sense the pride of the host and his “A” list invitees.
Everyone that was someone was here, and Jesus uses the opportunity to give them a lesson in manners, generosity and humility.
The lesson for us is bit different, God wants His house and table full. How that is achieved depends on the response of those invited. The original invitation is to those within the church. Then to those that are the working class, and finally to those homeless, and disabled that have no hope.
As we look at the excuses weather for love or money, we can find them somewhat justifiable. Who of us have not offered similar excuses?
A seat at this table is not determined by our station in life, or our intellect. The invitation has gone out and our seat is only determined by our acceptance of that invitation. No man can keep us from the banquet, except ourselves.
The question for us is, who are we inviting? In our parable, the servants are sent out to invite, we are the servants of God. We are the ones extending the invitation.
My hymn for this week is “My house is full, but my fields are empty.”
Monday, July 16, 2018
Entering God's Kingdom
Uniform Adult Sunday School Lesson for July 22, 2018
To commit to serious cultivation of a holy and faithful life
Background: Matthew 7:15-23; Luke 13:22-30
Luke 13:22-30 (CEB)
22 Jesus traveled through cities and villages, teaching and making his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone said to him,
“Lord, will only a few be saved?” Jesus said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow gate. Many, I tell you, will try to enter and won’t be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and shuts the door, then you will stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you are from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 He will respond, ‘I don’t know you or where you are from. Go away from me, all you evildoers!’ 28 There will be weeping and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in God’s kingdom, but you yourselves will be thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west, north and south, and sit down to eat in God’s kingdom. 30 Look! Those who are last will be first and those who are first will be last.”
“Make every effort to enter through the narrow gate. Many, I tell you, will try to enter and won’t be able to.” (Luke 13:24)
In this week’s lesson we will look at another parable. Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, He has just given the parables of the mustard seed and yeast. Where He compares the kingdom of God to these two small insignificant things which end up making a huge difference. When someone within the crowd ask the question, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” Interesting that the question comes after Jesus has just talked about how God’s kingdom will grow from almost nothing to something spectacular.
Jesus uses the question as a teaching moment, and the answer can not give a lot of hope for those that are following for the show.
The most sure way of obtaining a place in God’s kingdom, is to listen and obey the teachings of Jesus. It will not be the most popular way and it will require more than lip service. I am certain that crowd did not accept that strict teaching anymore than today’s churches.
Today we have churches bending over backwards to attract the crowd, and do everything but teach a doctrine of denial and holiness. We hear it is unreasonable to expect humankind to live a life of denial, that our teaching is too hard. I think that is exactly what the Moses told the Israelites in Deuteronomy 30:11-14 (11 This commandment that I’m giving you right now is definitely not too difficult for you. It isn’t unreachable. 12 It isn’t up in heaven somewhere so that you have to ask, “Who will go up for us to heaven and get it for us that we can hear it and do it?” 13 Nor is it across the ocean somewhere so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the ocean for us and get it for us that we can hear it and do it?” 14 Not at all! The word is very close to you. It’s in your mouth and in your heart, waiting for you to do it. ) This doctrine is called antinomianism or (against the law) which says that saving faith is of such a nature as to remove the obligation of obedience to God’s law.
This teaching has crept into our churches today, the teachings of many is that God’s grace, somehow trumps obedience and faith. I think that is what Jesus is talking about when He talks about the narrow way and at some point the door is shut. By God’s grace salvation is offered to all, but not all accept the conditions. God’s holiness and our holiness can not be set aside.
My hymn for this week is, Holy, Holy, Holy.
Monday, July 9, 2018
The Widow and the Unjust Judge
Uniform Adult Sunday School Lesson for July 15, 2018
To acknowledge our need to be persistent and faithful followers of Jesus Christ
Luke 18:1-8 (CEB)
1 Jesus was telling them a parable about their need to pray continuously and not to be discouraged. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected people. 3 In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him, asking, ‘Give me justice in this case against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused but finally said to himself, I don’t fear God or respect people, 5 but I will give this widow justice because she keeps bothering me. Otherwise, there will be no end to her coming here and embarrassing me.” 6 The Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 Won’t God provide justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he be slow to help them? 8 I tell you, he will give them justice quickly. But when the Human One comes, will he find faithfulness on earth?”
Won’t God provide justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? (Luke 18:7)
Today’s text is one that has somewhat puzzled me for many years. In the parable God can not be the unjust judge, so what is the point.
But maybe the parable is all about the widow, almost all of us can relate to her situation, in that we do not get what we think we deserve. Or maybe it is just about prayer.
It seems that Jesus is using this as a teaching moment for the disciples. Our text begins with this statement “Jesus was telling them a parable about their need to pray continuously and not to be discouraged.”
I think the challenge for us today is to be faithful in our prayer life. Prayer needs to be more than getting a parking place close to the door. Since God wants to supply all of our needs, He needs us to share our needs and our desires. Not just a casual shout out, but a pleading prayer opening up as we would to our best friend.
I think Jesus is telling us and the disciples don’t be afraid to pester God with our petitions. When our petitions are brought before God, He wants us to be certain that what we are asking is really what we want. Unless we are persistent in our asking, it could be taken as today’s whim. God wants a relationship, there is no better way to establish that than sharing.
Sometimes we need to be more like Jacob and wrestle with God. Be in awe, but not afraid to ask for help. Pray with vigor and clenched teeth sometime, it is okay. Friends understand when we become frustrated with our circumstance.
God wants to be involved in our lives, that means we consult with Him constantly about our lives our family, our needs and our desires. Our prayers should be more than just a “sweet hour of prayer.” True friends share their hurts. More like “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our griefs and sorrows share. I think persistence is our duty, anything less seems like giving up.
My hymn for this week is “What a Friend We Have in Jesus. What father does not long to be friends with his children.
Monday, July 2, 2018
Jesus Criticizes Unjust Leaders
Uniform Adult Sunday School Lesson for July 8, 2018
To respond to Christ’s call to us to repent of hypocrisy in our lives
Background: Matthew 23
Matthew 23:1-8, 23-26 (CEB)
1 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and his disciples, 2 “The legal experts and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat. 3 Therefore, you must take care to do everything they say. But don’t do what they do. 4 For they tie together heavy packs that are impossible to carry. They put them on the shoulders of others, but are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. 5 Everything they do, they do to be noticed by others. They make extra-wide prayer bands for their arms and long tassels for their clothes. 6 They love to sit in places of honor at banquets and in the synagogues. 7 They love to be greeted with honor in the markets and to be addressed as ‘Rabbi.’ 8 “But you shouldn’t be called Rabbi, because you have one teacher, and all of you are brothers and sisters. . . .
23“How terrible it will be for you legal experts and Pharisees! Hypocrites! You give to God a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, but you forget about the more important matters of the Law: justice, peace, and faith. You ought to give a tenth but without forgetting about those more important matters. 24 You blind guides! You filter out an ant but swallow a camel.
25 “How terrible it will be for you legal experts and Pharisees! Hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and plate, but inside they are full of violence and pleasure seeking. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup so that the outside of the cup will be clean too.
“The legal experts and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat. Therefore, you must take care to do everything they say. But don’t do what they do.” (Matthew 23:2-3)
This our second lesson on Jesus Calls for Justice and Mercy. Last week we studied the unjust servant, when a servant is forgiven much by his lord, but treats his servants harshly.
This week we will look at what Jesus has to say about hypocrites. First and foremost, hypocrites can only exist within the church. Jesus addresses this problem directly with the leaders of the Jewish community.
The leaders, or as Jesus says, “those setting in Moses seat,” had a set of rules for the congregation and another set of rules for themselves. The office they held carried with it the responsibility of teaching the law. However, those in charge kept adding to the original law as delivered by Moses.
In addition they were so impressed with their own position they delighted in seeming to appear far more holy and devout than they really were. They constantly called attention to themselves and their devoutness, by making the leather pouches where they carried their scripture and the fringe on their robes longer than others just to attract attention. In addition they would stand on the corner and pray louder than others for all to see and hear how devout they were.
Jesus warning to the community was “don’t do as they do, but listen to the words that they teach,” because that is the law of Moses. The important basics that the religious authorities seemed to ignore are the essential things. These elements—justice, peace, and faith—are what make our relationship to God and others so exceptional.
Jesus went on to make another point by saying, “You filter out an ant but swallow a camel.” And you are so concerned about the outside of the cup, when you should be concerned about the inside.
In summing it all up, what comes from the inside is more important than the way you look or your station in life. All of us have a leaning toward hypocrisy. It is human nature to think we are better or more deserving than others, but our selfishness is visible to those around us. By faith we can overcome and be more like Jesus.
My hymn for this week is “More Like the Master.”
Monday, June 25, 2018
“Parable of the Unforgiving Servant”
Adult Uniform Sunday School Lesson for July 1, 2018
To recognize the importance of forgiving as we have been forgiven
Matthew 18:21-35 (CEB)
21 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Should I forgive as many as seven times?”
22 Jesus said, “Not just seven times, but rather as many as seventy-seven times. 23 Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle accounts, they brought to him a servant who owed him ten thousand bags of gold. 25 Because the servant didn’t have enough to pay it back, the master ordered that he should be sold, along with his wife and children and everything he had, and that the proceeds should be used as payment. 26 But the servant fell down, kneeled before him, and said, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I’ll pay you back.’ 27 The master had compassion on that servant, released him, and forgave the loan. 28 “When that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him one hundred coins. He grabbed him around the throat and said, ‘Pay me back what you owe me.’
29 “Then his fellow servant fell down and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I’ll pay you back.’ 30 But he refused. Instead, he threw him into prison until he paid back his debt.
31 “When his fellow servants saw what happened, they were deeply offended. They came and told their master all that happened. 32 His master called the first servant and said, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you appealed to me. 33 Shouldn’t you also have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ 34 His master was furious and handed him over to the guard responsible for punishing prisoners, until he had paid the whole debt.
35 “My heavenly Father will also do the same to you if you don’t forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
Shouldn’t you also have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you? (Matthew 18:33)
As we continue our study of Jesus’ parables, we come across a very difficult one for most of us. How many times should we forgive our brother?
I underlined brother because in the previous verses in this chapter Jesus seems to make a distinction between our brothers and sisters within the church or community. (17 But if they still won’t pay attention, report it to the church. If they won’t pay attention even to the church, treat them as you would a Gentile and tax collector.)
Peter ask a reasonable question, and he shows he has compassion, because the normal times for forgiveness in that day was three times. Peter stretches it to seven as if he knows Jesus will definitely say more than three. Peter and the rest of the disciples were probably shocked when Jesus pushed it to almost infinite number of 70 times 7 or 77 depending on your translation.
I guess you can take some heart in that this applies to your brothers and sisters in Christ. Just as in the parable, the discussion is between the King and His servants.
The parable certainly drives home the point about how we behave as a congregation of believers.
To put the parable in proper perspective, the first servant owed the king ten thousand bags of gold. Or 6 million days wages. Obviously more than could ever be repaid. The second servant owed the first servant only 100 coins or about 100 days wages. An amount that could have been repaid over a extended period of time.
Jesus’ point should not be dismissed, we have been forgiven more than we could ever repay in multiple lifetimes. Therefore, reasonable servants should be more than willing to forgive brothers and sisters in Christ and within the body of the church as often as required. We will be held to a higher standard, than those that did not know better. There is a reason it is included in the Lord’s prayer we love to recite. Forgiveness is not optional for believers.
My hymn for this week is “I Stand Amazed In the Presence of Jesus the Nazarene”
Monday, June 18, 2018
“Reaping God's Justice”
Adult Uniform Sunday School Lesson for June 24, 2018
To compare and contrast our personal understanding of justice with God’s will
Background: Luke 16:19-31; John 5:24-30
Luke 16:19-31 (CEB)
19 “There was a certain rich man who clothed himself in purple and fine linen, and who feasted luxuriously every day. 20 At his gate lay a certain poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. 21 Lazarus longed to eat the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. Instead, dogs would come and lick his sores.
22“The poor man died and was carried by angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 While being tormented in the place of the dead, he looked up and saw Abraham at a distance with Lazarus at his side. 24 He shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I’m suffering in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received good things, whereas Lazarus received terrible things. Now Lazarus is being comforted and you are in great pain. 26 Moreover, a great crevasse has been fixed between us and you. Those who wish to cross over from here to you cannot. Neither can anyone cross from there to us.’
27 “The rich man said, ‘Then I beg you, Father, send Lazarus to my father’s house. 28 I have five brothers. He needs to warn them so that they don’t come to this place of agony.’ 29 Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets. They must listen to them.’ 30 The rich man said, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone from the dead goes to them, they will change their hearts and lives.’ 31 Abraham said, ‘If they don’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, then neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.’ ”
But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received good things, whereas Lazarus received terrible things. Now Lazarus is being comforted and you are in great pain. (Luke 16:25)
Today’s lesson is one of a series of parables on perils of being rich. The Lazarus mentioned in this parable should not be confused with the brother of Martha and Mary that Jesus raised from the dead.
While the proceeding parable is about the farmer who thinks he needs bigger barns, our text is about being aware of what is going on around you.
The point of both is that at some point in the future there will be an accounting for what you have done, and not on what you acquired.
Our text makes no mention of the rich man being a bad person, except he seemed to ignore this man that was at his gate every day begging for some food, drink or comfort. Some may think that he not only ignored him, but he never really seemed to see him. However, as the story progresses, the rich man knew exactly who he was. The rich man's claim of not knowing, is soon exposed by Abraham. When he requested, “ Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I’m suffering in this flame.’
We should not preclude that all rich men are evil and destined to spend eternity in some sort of tormented hell, or that all poor beggars are going directly into a paradise. John 5:24 says 24 “I assure you that whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and won’t come under judgment but has passed from death into life.”
Jesus is trying to get those to whom he is talking “Pharisees” to understand the choice is now, sending someone back from the dead (which will happen in a few short years at the resurrection) will not necessarily change anyone's mind, unless they believe that Jesus is God’s Son.
Where we spend eternity depends on how we respond to the life, death and resurrection of God’s only Begotten Son. Jesus was pretty plain when He said, “if you love me keep my commandments.”
When our neighbor is a beggar, we are obligated to love them, feed and cloth them as a community of believers or as an individual. Our text does not tell us how Lazarus came to know Christ or believe in Abraham, but he probably prayed every day to be rescued from the hell he found himself in. Just a reminder we are all as lost as the rich man and Lazarus both unless we acknowledge our only chance for salvation is through Jesus the Christ.
My hymn for this week is “Have Thine Own Way Lord.”
Monday, June 11, 2018
Jesus Teaches About Justice
Adult Uniform Sunday School Lesson for June 17, 2018
To affirm through actions how we can live in the spirit of the Law
Background: Matthew 15:1-9; Mark 7:1-13
Matthew 15:1-9 (CEB)
1 Then Pharisees and legal experts came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 “Why are your disciples breaking the elders’ rules handed down to us? They don’t ritually purify their hands by washing before they eat.”
3 Jesus replied, “Why do you break the command of God by keeping the rules handed down to you? 4 For God said, Honor your father and your mother, and The person who speaks against father or mother will certainly be put to death. 5 But you say, ‘If you tell your father or mother, “Everything I’m expected to contribute to you I’m giving to God as a gift,” then you don’t have to honor your father.’ 6 So you do away with God’s Law for the sake of the rules that have been handed down to you. 7 Hypocrites! Isaiah really knew what he was talking about when he prophesied about you, 8 This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far away from me. 9 Their worship of me is empty since they teach instructions that are human rules.”
This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far away from me. (Matthew 15:8)
Today’s lesson presents an interesting challenge to today’s Church. How do we separate God’s commandments from tradition?
Our text this week is about whose authority are we to follow? The Pharisees took a rule dictated about the priest and applied it to all. Leviticus 22:4-7 4 Any descendant of Aaron who is afflicted with skin disease or has a discharge cannot eat of the holy things until he is clean. Anyone who touches anything made unclean by a dead body, or who has an emission of semen, 5 or who touches any swarming creature or another person who makes him unclean—whatever the uncleanness might be— 6 the person who touches these things will be unclean until evening. He must not eat of the holy things unless he has bathed his body in water. 7 Once the sun has set and he has become clean again, he may eat of the holy things, for that is his food.
Likewise, they had taken the Ten Commandments and made a more convenient law they called “corban.” Deuteronomy 5:16 puts the law concerning honoring parents this way: “Honor your father and your mother, exactly as the Lord your God requires, so that your life will be long and so that things will go well for you on the fertile land that the Lord your God is giving you.” The elders tradition of “corban” said if the children gave the money to the temple they did not have to take care of the parents in their old age. Jesus called this hypocritical.
Today we face similar problems, our seminaries teach that the bible is not necessarily God’s word, we have a cafeteria type approach, that is, we can pick and choose what to believe.
Discerning what is God’s will and what is man’s idea of God’s will requires being in touch with God constantly. God’s commandment is “if you love me , keep my commandments.”
My hymn for this week is “Constantly Abiding” Jesus is mine.