Thursday, July 31, 2008

Disciples and Apostles

Disciples and Apostles
I regret the delay: my DSL service was interrupted. Dan.

Monday, July 28, 2008: Matthew 4:17–20
From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him.

Background: this is the start of Jesus Christ’s ministry.
Did Peter and Andrew’s call make them Jesus Christ’s disciples? No. To become His disciples they had to first leave all and follow Him.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008: Matthew 10:1–2a
And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.
Now the names of the twelve apostles are these:

Background: this is the early part of Jesus Christ’s ministry.
Were the disciples of Jesus Christ also Apostles? No, but the 12 Apostles were all disciples.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008: Luke 6:12–16
Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor.

How did the disciples of Jesus Christ become Apostles? Jesus Christ called His disciples to Him after a night of prayer, choose 12 and named them Apostles.

Thursday, July 31, 2008: Luke 24:46–48
Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.

Background: this is Jesus Christ after resurrection but just before ascension.
What were the apostles to be (eye) witnesses to? Christ suffered and rose from the dead. A sinner’s repentance leads to remission of sins in the Name: Jesus Christ.

Friday, August 1, 2008: Hebrews 3:1
Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus,

Were the original twelve the first Apostles? No, Jesus Christ was THE APOSTLE sent from and by God.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Good Samiratan, Ugly Lawyer?

Monday, July 21, 2008: Luke 10:25
And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

Background: the parable of the Good Samaritan (and the Jerusalem ministry of Jesus Christ) is only in Luke’s Gospel.
What was strange about the lawyer’s question? The lawyer had to be challenging what Jesus Christ had said. The lawyer’s error was in the expectation that he himself could do something to ‘earn’ eternal life.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008: Luke 10:26–28
He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?
So he answered and said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”
And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.

Can anyone obey the commandments? None but the Son of God, Jesus Christ. He had eternal life as a consequence.
Why, then, did Jesus Christ have to die? A man perfect in God’s sight was the only sacrifice to pay the penalty of sin for mankind.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008: Luke 10:29–32
But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.

Why did the priest and the Levite (the family from which priests were chosen) pass by?
If they touched blood, they would become unclean themselves. This parallels “I’m late for work!”

Thursday, July 24, 2008: Luke 10:33–35
But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’

Who is a Samaritan? A person regarded as inferior to Jews and not to be associated with.

Friday, July 25, 2008: Luke 10:36–37
So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?
And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.

What was the effect of the question at the end of the parable? Jesus Christ gently lead the lawyer to answer his own question.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A More Excellent Way to Love

Monday, July 14, 2008: 1 Corinthians 12:31 & 13:1–3
But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Background: Paul’s (AD 55) answer to the Corinthian Church about the most important spiritual gift ends with an intriguing ‘more excellent way.’
How does ‘have not love,’ render the use of your spiritual gift? Not having love makes you (or your gift) noise, nobody, and profitless.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008: 1 Corinthians 12:31 & 13:4–7
But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

How does having love change your use of spiritual gifts? Your spiritual gifts become God’s Body-building way, molding you and your interaction with others into a reflection of Christ.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008: 1 Corinthians 12:31 & 13:8–10
But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

How is love different from spiritual gifts? God is love: love is perfection. Spiritual gifts are limited and fleeting; they evaporate into our future perfection.

Thursday, July 17, 2008: 1 Corinthians 12:31 & 13:11–12
But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

How is the way of love analogous to growth? Putting on love is the evidence of God’s actions in your spiritual growth. This is growth of hope in the knowledge of eternity.

Friday, July 18, 2008: 1 Corinthians 12:31 & 13:13
But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

How is love the greatest? Faith is based on Christ’s finished work of love; hope is built on His resurrection from the dead. Both are only needed till we see Him.
Love for us is why He did this: shouldn’t we love Him in return?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Church = Body?

Monday, July 7, 2008: 1 Corinthians 12:14–16
For in fact the body is not one member but many.
If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body?
And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body?

Background: Paul, in Ephesus, replies to questions from the Corinthian Church in AD 55 during his 3rd missionary journey. (He had established the Corinthian Church in AD 52 during his 2nd journey) The question about which Spiritual Gift is most important is addressed in Chapter 12. After giving a list, Paul uses the metaphor of a body to explain the Church using its gifts. Just like a body exists for a short time and dies, the Church meets as a body occasionally. (Twice on Sundays and once during the week, perhaps.)

Can a member disqualify himself from the body? Using any excuse for not attending a meeting of the Church is like a hand detaching itself from the Body.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008: 1 Corinthians 12:17–19
If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be?

Can you choose which member you are in the Church? No, God decides according to His pleasure: you are to recognize your gift and use it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008: 1 Corinthians 12:20–22
But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.
And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.

Will your Church be better off without one nasty member? This is like the mouth rejecting the stomach because it hurts! No, all the members are needed.

Thursday, July 10, 2008: 1 Corinthians 12:23–25
And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.

We cover parts of our body and not others: what is the Church in analogy? We treat new members with care, not burdening them with strong spiritual food.

Friday, July 11, 2008: 1 Corinthians 12:26–27
And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.

Is this a reference to the local Church you attend? Yes, you feel for a member who is going through difficulties. But you are not aware of problems in a Church down the street. In extension, you cannot stay home: you must become a member of a Church.

Conclusion: the chapter ends with Paul showing a better way! This is LOVE, the subject of Chapter 13, which will be for next week.