A Brief Introduction To Matthew

This series started Sept 8. You might want to subscribe and follow Don’s great blog.

https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2017/09/08/a-brief-introduction-to-matthew/

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The Genealogy of Jesus Christ: Matthew 1:6-17

https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2017/09/10/the-genealogy-of-jesus-christ-matthew-16-17-3/

Rejoice Always

Part of Don’s great series of blogs on 1 Thessalonians. Check them out.

https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2017/08/14/rejoice-always-2/

Love lesson

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:8-10

In this short passage, Paul is nothing short of profound; deep in fact. Yet it is so simple that we might just fly past it and not notice how profound it is; a second grade child can easily understand it, and it requires a mature adult to miss it that is how simple it is.

Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Read Don’s blog: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2017/05/08/lesson-5-love-2/

Poor in Spirit

The first Beatitude speaks of those who are “poor in spirit”. Much has been made about the difference between Matthew’s language and that of Luke in Luke 6:20, for Luke merely says “the poor”. Does Matthew have more in mind than mere economic circumstances?

I’m happy to let others argue, but it seems to me that Matthew, a Jew, might be aware of the Old Testament idea of poverty not only in literal terms, but as a state of mind,  for the Hebrew word for “poor” has this additional connotation to it. In those days, a poor person not only had to deal with bad economic circumstances, they also had to contend with the fact that they had fewer rights in society, for then as now, they lacked the resources to enforce their rights; consequently they were at the mercy of others.

Read more: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2017/06/18/poor-in-spirit-3/

Be Transformed

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

As all of you know, whenever we see the word “therefore”, we are reading a passage that draws a conclusion from what has preceded it. While that is certainly true here, this one isn’t just referring to the verses just concluded, for this is the beginning of a new unit (12-15) and thus, “therefore” is drawing a conclusion from the preceding unit (1-11), which is a very important distinction. The first unit in Romans discussed grace; the second unit discusses our response to grace. Thus, Paul is telling us that in response to God’s amazing grace, we are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God.

Continue: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2017/05/04/be-transformed-2/

Humble Service

~ Don Merritt

Romans 12:3-8

Paul set out his proposition in verses 1-2, that we offer ourselves as living sacrifices and be transformed by the renewing of our minds as a response to grace in verses 3-8 we have our first lesson on how to go about it: Serve the body of Christ in humility.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. (12:3)

So, it would seem that the first step in the transformative process is that we adopt an attitude of humility. Right away, we can see that not being conformed to this world was something Paul was very serious about (v. 2) for in this age of “game”, “swagger” and “bling” humility is very much out of style. Verse 4 uses the metaphor of our bodies in the same way that Paul uses it in 1 Corinthians 12 as he shows that each of us has a unique part to play in the Body of Christ. While this is easy enough to grasp, he takes another shot at the attitudes of this world in verse 5 when he says each member belongs to all the others. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen Christians bristle at that one.

In verses 6-8 Paul refers to spiritual gifts that each of us has received by the Holy Spirit.

I hope you will consider this carefully: In a context of humble service, a context that is not only counter-intuitive but also counter-cultural for most of us, Paul tells us to exercise our spiritual gifts in humble service to the Body of Christ. Think about the magnitude of the implication of this…

Not only are we to adopt an attitude of true and honest humility, not only are we to consider or positions as members of and belonging to the Body of Christ, but we are to serve the Body of Christ. Yet even more striking than that, we are to rely upon our spiritual gift from God in our service, which is to say that we are not to rely on our own strength, ability or talent, but on God’s grace alone.

 

Comment at: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2017/05/05/lesson-1-humble-service-2/