29 October 2014

Jesus Warns Against Confusing Material Wealth for Spiritual Blessing

Luke 16:19-31

There's a reason why the prosperity doctrine (If you are faithful to Christ, then you will be materially blessed) is so appealing. We all want to get rich and be successful. And so, while so many of us are looking for the formula to material wealth, the prosperity doctrine places Christianity alongside all the other popular self-help books.

It's understandable. We read about historical figures like Solomon who, because he sought wisdom first, was blessed with great wealth. And, we think and many teach, "Okay, this is the model." The problem is while we like to think about the Abrahams, Josephs, Davids and Solomons, we tend not to think about the economic conditions of the Elijahs, Jeremiahs and Isaiahs. 

(We also tend to leave out the portion of Solomon's story that not only did he not finish well personally, he did not finish well politically. His wealth was apparently built, as most rich politicians are, off of the wealth of his people. We know this because when his son, Rehoboam, went against wise counsel of alleviating the people's tax burden, the kingdom of Israel split in two.)

The big problem with the prosperity doctrine is THE big problem with most false doctrines trying to take hold within Christianity: Jesus teaches against the doctrine. The two major lessons from this teaching from Jesus is don't confuse material wealth for spiritual blessing and God has already told his people what they need to know.

21 October 2014

Jesus Teaches Against Divorce

Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

"'Til death do we part." - A part of traditional wedding vows made before God, family and friends. 

Five years ago, I worked for a Christian organisation advocating for family values in the public square. We asserted to our government representatives that if our society were to remain strong then our laws, taxes and funding should prioritise preserving the most basic societal relationship, the family.

Our committee consisted of five men, one single and four married. Now, one is single, two are married and two are divorced. On top of that, another well-respected man whose job and reputation was built on a traditional family platform, left his long-time wife to marry another woman and seems to have no remorse about it whatsoever. Apparently, it is easier to talk to others about family than it is to maintain one.

06 October 2014

Jesus Says The Law Still Matters

The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?  It's a fair question, isn't it? If we are forgiven for what we have done, then what we continue to do doesn't matter? If the self-righteous are warned about their sin, then does any effort toward holiness matter?

From the garden of Eden, we have been persuaded by the question, "Did God really say?" Yes, Jesus gives stern teaching to the self-righteous, but he also sends a warning to the self-reliant: The Law still matters. 

02 October 2014

Jesus Wants Us To Be Wise Stewards

The Parable of the Shrewd Manager - Coptic
Luke 16:1-15

Disclaimer: The views on this post or all other posts are solely mine and may not reflect the author of the teaching, Jesus. I may be wrong and/or completely off my rocker. Thankfully, The Teacher is a gracious teacher. If He has given you clearer insights on this teaching, please add to the discussion. There is only one person who knows exactly what He is teaching, but my Sensei stubbornly wants me to search for the answer.

This is such a difficult teaching from Jesus, I have never heard a sermon or a Bible study discussion on this parable. Any preacher will tell you that one of the advantages of expository (or from the text) preaching is not being responsible for the subject of teaching on any given Sunday as going through a particular part of the Bible will dictate what will be taught. As this blog is an expository blog through a harmony of the Gospels, we come upon one of those teachings not easily chewed over.