To Judge And Not To Judge

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned;  pardon, and you will be pardoned.    Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” (Luke 6:37,38 NASB)

This is one of those passages that gets thrown around, used as a “defense”, and basically misused a lot.  Because of this there is a responsibility that believers have which we’ve abdicated.  And because we’ve abdicated this responsibility many people never come to repentance.

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Who’s More Important?

And Jesus answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick.  I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31,32 NASB)

One of most difficult things for me is to go to the doctor.  I hate it.  Not because they make me uncomfortable, but because most of the time, in our discussion, there’s nothing really that can be done for my cold, flu or whatever, and we agree that I just need to tough out the cold, the flu, or whatever.  But what happens when something really is wrong?  Having that resistance to going to the doctor isn’t helpful, only I don’t know it at the time.

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Growing Upward

“And Levi gave a big reception for Him in his house; and there was a great crowd of tax collectors and other people who were reclining at the table with them.  The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?”  And Jesus answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick.  I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. ” (Luke 5:29-32 NASB)

This is one of my favorite accounts of Jesus. I love the whole scene as Levi responds in joy over his new life, Jesus enters into that joy with him, the Pharisees are offended, and Jesus calls them on it. But as I read more closely, it now seems to me Jesus’ criticism of the Pharisees is that they should have been doing this all along.  But I find plenty of growth areas for me as well.

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Learning Lessons: Episode 1, What If…?

My study group is going through a multi-media study called AHA based on a book by Kyle Idleman.  In it, after the third video there are five days of assignments with elements for morning and evening.  I’m going to start using this blog to complete my homework.  I figure after the ‘parable’ it can be something more than exposition and postulation about Scripture.

My choice of ‘Aha’ moment is based on my blog entry from August 18, “The Temptation of Gluttony?”  I chose this one because it was the most striking to me of my insights from Scripture.  Also because it only got one ‘like’ and no comments.  Which means that it didn’t resonate with anyone else the way it did for me.

In this assignment, I look at the ‘alarm’ that God is using to ‘wake me up.’  AHA is made up of ‘Awakening’, ‘Honesty’, and ‘Action’.  In this instance, the alarm is the realization that the first temptation isn’t really about obeying the devil, but really about being self-sufficient.  It was realizing that Jesus didn’t do even what He could do, but chose to be humbly dependent upon His Father.  That’s the alarm, the realization of what this temptation is about: the temptation to be self-sufficient.

If I ignore this alarm, what is the best possible scenario?

If I ignore this realization about the sin of self-sufficiency then I will continue to experience life with the philosophy that I’m responsible for what I can do, and God is responsible for what I can’t.  I will continue to live as if He and I work together, something like equals each with our part of the tasks to be responsible for.  I can expect to experience a measure of success as I am able to accomplish various things on my own.

I will experience the same level of God’s power in my life that I have so far.  I will experience the same depth in my prayers to my Master.  I can even expect that I will continue to experience the same depth of understanding of Scripture, at least in the details, if not the insight.  The life I live now before my Master will continue at the same level, no deeper, but possibly no more shallow either.

My marriage may be the same, my relationship with my daughter may be the same, and my service at church will probably remain the same.  I doubt I will appear much different to anyone, or even to myself.  I will live tied to the belief that I must do what I can in my relationship with God.

I suppose this isn’t bad or even ‘evil’ really.  But it doesn’t leave me enthused for the future.  And this is the best possible outcome I can imagine.

Now We Listen, Now We Don’t

And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.  And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”  And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” (Luke 4:20-22 ESV)

One of the many perplexing things Jesus does is His criticism of Nazareth.  It’s also recorded in Matthew 13:54-58 and Mark 6:1-6.  In those passages, there’s not much detail about Jesus reading Isaiah, nor about His response to their response.  No one tries to throw Him off a cliff either.

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Winning Converts?

He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Luke 3:7-9 NASB)

One approach to ministry that has always confused me is the ‘seeker sensitive’ approach.  It seems that in our day pop psychology has everyone so concerned about self; self-image, self-esteem, self-centered, and so on.  It’s like we’re breeding for narcissism and histrionics.  It is the extreme edge of our American independence. And it’s very dangerous. And it is, in my opinion, a poor basis for ministry.

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Baptism Revisited

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. (Luke 3:1-3 NASB)

Baptism is one of those hotly contested activities in Scripture that has divided followers of Jesus for two millennia.  So, here I am to finally put it to rest in 20 minutes and less than 1000 words… Okay, not that funny, but you may be asking why I bring it up at all?  Well, for two reasons really: 1) It’s in the Bible which I study relentlessly, and 2) I believe that its significance is such that I can’t simply skip it because ‘controversial’.  So I won’t.  And here I go…

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