From the beginning of human history, leaders have exercised the power to absolve debt, guilt and sin. Christians believe that Jesus has the power to absolve his followers of all transgressions. What about those that do not live according to His prescription? Are there sins that neither Jesus nor anyone else can absolve? Particularly in our day, can our leaders that are indiscreet about their transgressions, be absolved? What does the Bible teach about sexual impropriety? There are several areas that do not fall under Jesus' jurisdiction.
Jesus used the vine to illustrate His relationship with His followers (Jn.15: 1-17). He is the true vine, His followers are the branches and God, the Father, is the gardener. The reason for this three-fold relationship is to produce fruit. Now, the vine and the branches can live without bearing fruit. But, since we measure productivity, we cut down fruitless vine and burn it. In order to become fruitful, we trim the useless branches so that the healthy ones can produce. To my dismay, I am not very good in trimming correctly. I did cut productive branches instead of the unproductive ones.
Beatus is the Latin rendering of the Hebrew “ashri” and the Greek “makarios.” The English “blessed” is similar to the Hebrew “barak” and the Greek “eulogetus” and therefore not suited for the use in the Beatitudes. Both, “barak” and “eulogetus” are a worshipful praise to God. The “ashiri” and “makarios” are Jesus' commendation to those that endure hardships in this world (Mt.5: 1-12).
The world problem instigator demanded that Jesus should turn stones into bread and Jesus answered, “Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God,”(Mt.4: 4; Deut.8: 3; NIV). Our Lord wants us to pray daily for our bread (Mt.6: 11).
Paul argued that if our hope in Christ was only for this life; then, we are the saddest people in the world (I Cor.15: 19). We are being fooled to live as if there is no tomorrow or a hereafter (I Cor.15: 32-33). The longing for security is an endless endeavor. We are experiencing presently how fragile material security is. For Christians, Christ has bridged that uncertainly and warranted a lasting security that begins in this life and continues in the other.
The Church in Sardis made much about the name of Jesus; but did little to live by it. Most of the members were religious, in name only. They appeared being alive, when in reality, they were dead. They could fool the world, but not the Lord. Only a few souls were pleasing the Lord (Rev.3: 1-6). What was hindering these people from living up to the name of the Lord? It had much to do with Sardis itself.
We have arrived. The “Age of Babel” has returned. Remember “The Tower of Babel” where the human race tried to merge into one nation under one head with one headquarters. Fortunately, God capsized the attempt because He is for a variety and nations that can govern themselves without interference from others more powerful forces.
am indebted to our pastor on his superb sermon on: “Why do you call me Lord, Lord and do not obey me,”(Lk.6: 46). The Greek has, “…and do not do what I say.” I would like to stay with what we say. Just how important is it what we say and how we say it?
Define democracy through Webster and then compare it with the political system of the U.S.A. The contrast is almost incomprehensive. Let us consider some basics.
The personal letter of Paul to Timothy, regarding women has caused more than one problem (Tim 02: 90-15). In Paul's world, women were guilty of sin and could redeem themselves by bearing children. They had to be silent, submissive and faithful servants. Above all, take note of the, “I do not permit a woman to teach and have authority over a man.” How humiliating that was for Paul or for any Jew during his time.