We often forget just how radical Jesus was in the first century. His teachings were so far from the teachings of his time, in particular, the teachings about how we should treat our enemies, strangers, and foreigners. The verses today, part of the Sermon on the Mount, give clear instructions about how we are to treat our enemies.
Yesterday, we affirmed (from Genesis 1:27) that we are all created in the image of God. We hold the imago Dei in our souls. And part of our work here in this life is to recognize that divine DNA in ourselves and in each other. Coming to know and love this image of God helps us grow into our true selves,
I was created in the image of God. So were you. So was every human being on earth. This is so important to understand, not just for our personal lives, but for our work and purpose in the world.
Yes, that’s a real word. It means “falsely attributed works.” From 300 B.C.-300 A.D., predominantly Jewish, but some Christian, writings gained wide circulation because the authors claimed the names of major Old Testament patriarchs and New Testament apostles. The following texts are some examples:
When our families get together for birthdays, holidays, etc., I’m the designated prayer. I don’t mean to say my presence and person is the prayer. I’m the one asked to offer a prayer for the gathering. Don’t you wish you had a preacher in the family!?
Reflect on the kind of faith Paul has to write this. Now, read the following in light of the passage you just read: “And Saul approved of their killing him. That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria.
Aristotle once said, “A common danger unites the bitterest enemies.” For many of us, even in the church, division and conflict are more characteristic than unity. We often look at flesh and blood, other people, as our adversary. We see each other as the common danger because of competing self-interests.
Until Christ comes again, the world will not be as God intends. The first century world Jesus lived in was full of realities he didn’t endorse. He didn’t change all of those realities in accordance with his will then either. There were men and women he didn’t heal.
The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson came out in the year 2000 as I was getting ready to begin high school. It was on the New York Times bestseller list and sold millions of copies. If my memory is accurate, the book was designed around the devotional practice of praying
In verse 32, we find a particular word that we first saw in the third chapter of Ephesians. Again, Paul refers to a “profound mystery” that has now been revealed. Last week, Pastor Shea said this about the “mystery” of the Gospel.
I’m convinced that passages like Ephesians 5:22-33 are some of the most easily misunderstood and misinterpreted passages in the Bible. We are looking at half of that passage today. We will read the second half tomorrow.
I am sure that you are aware that parents tend to repeat themselves. Often times that is driven by a child’s inability to listen, but that’s not always the reason for a parent’s repetition. Sometimes it’s simply something that is really important, an expression of love or a reminder to a child of their value to their parent.
I love Ephesians 5:14. We actually used this as a corporate prayer, which we read together, during the series we shared in the month of February focused on the Roots of our faith and our heritage as Methodists.
In the first chapter of John’s Gospel, he says this about Jesus: No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
Perhaps you have heard the phrase before, Honesty is always the best policy. If you take a moment to Google that, you will find a variety of articles affirming and denying this idea. Is the honest response always the appropriate response? What if being honest hurts another’s feelings?