20 BSF Matthew Week 20, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

Jesus continues to dispel the myth of what a saved person looks like.

At the time that Jesus was on the Earth, it was simply assumed that a fellow Jew who was wealthy had been blessed by God.  Those who were poor were not.  So, wealth was not just a reflection of work or circumstance, it was a reflection of God’s view of the individual.

This wealthy man who approached Jesus assumed he was in.  The Mark passage makes this even more clear because he asks about his “inheritance.”  Someone would normally receive inheritance from their family, so for him to inherit it, meant that he already had an entitlement to it.  He had followed the commandments, he had done his duty.  What other good work did he need to do to remove any possibility of doubt?

But Jesus looks at him and loves him.

Jesus sees what he worships above God, the thing he doesn’t want to let go of because of what it means to himself and to others, to his pride and ego.  Anything we refuse to let go of to follow Christ is something we put greater value on that we do on Jesus.

The apostles struggled.  To them, this man had received huge blessings from God.  To them, wealth = higher standing in God’s family, it was a yardstick measure showing God’s satisfaction with an individual.

But Jesus says it is just another situation in life, not a reflection of God’s love.  There is no correlation between the size of God’s grace and blessing in a christian’s life and the size of that person’s checking account (as much as the preachers of the prosperity gospel may like).  Either wealth or poverty can be a blessing or a stumbling block.  They can draw people closer to Christ or take them farther away.  If the man had made sizable donations to charities would not have made any difference.  It isn’t about the money – it is about what comes first in your life.

One last thing – sometimes we need a little more tough love!  Jesus told the wealth man these things not to punish him, but because he loved him.  How often do we pray that Christ point out the the things in our lives that we are putting above Him as opposed to the number of times that we ask Him to “bless us” with more money.

My Answers:

11.
a.
Ephesians 2: 8-9, by grace save through faith, not by works so no man can boast. (he assumed works).  Eph 1:5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ (he assumed in family)

b.
By looking at him and loving him.  He demonstrated what this man was putting before God in his life.

12.
a.
1. no gods before me, 2 worship any graven images.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, strength.  Love your neighbor as yourself

b.
His wealth

13.
a.
He loved him

b.
Creates a sense of entitlement and of salvation being something earned and acquired.

20 BSF Matthew Week 20, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

What does a christian look like?  When we think about it, our immediate thoughts turn to outward appearances and probably someone who looks a lot like us.

But Jesus looks at the heart.  A Christ-Follower is someone who has given their heart over to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

A christian may be male or female.  A christian may be married or single.  If someone is single, they don’t have to marry to be a christian nor does marrying make them more of a christian.  God is in control.  Being married is a gift.  But being single is also a gift.  They are different gifts, but one is not better than the other (OK, the Apostle Paul had a bias for being single, but you understand my point).  Both are gifts.  The key is to use the gift for the glory of God.

The same is true of age.  A christian may be young or old.  There is no minimum age for asking Jesus into your life.  Young christians (I’m talking age not maturity of faith) are amazing examples of unconditional love, both giving and receiving.  I am very proud to call these children, brothers and sisters in Christ.

My Answers:

8.
a.
Intimacy is a part of marriage.  Some can’t.  Some choose to forgo it for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.  Those who can should accept it

b.
He saw a life of celibacy as a gift from God.  But for those who don’t have this gift to remain celibate/chaste, they should marry and for those who marry they should live as a married couple, sharing in intimacy with each other.

9.
a.
1 john 2:15-17… for all that is in the world, lust of flesh, eyes, pride of life, is not of the Father.  Rom 12:2, Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind

b.
By demonstrating the love I have for my wife and model the respect and appreciation I have for her in ways that others can see

10.
a.
For Him to pray for them and for Him to place his hands on them

b.
They may have felt He had more important matters to attend.  They were operating as gatekeepers, only allowing through those “worthy” of an appointment

c.
Failure to acknowledge them as faithful followers, brothers and sisters.  Failure to address them at their level.  Failure to pray for them and bless them.  Failure to be humble.

d.
Be on their level and welcome them.  Encourage them.  Not talk down to them.  Show them the love of Christ – take time for them!

 

20 BSF Matthew Week 20, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

The pharisees asked this question of Jesus to “test him”, i.e., to trap him.

Basically there were two camps, one that believed you could divorce for “any reason” and another that believed you could only divorce for “some reasons.”  Either option He chose, alienated one of the camps.

But, I believe, the question itself is the trap.  Let me put it another way.

This is the same as saying:

“Jesus, we have this beautiful, priceless and irreplaceable crystal vase.  Is it better to break it by throwing it to the ground or is it better to break it by smashing it with a hammer?”  Jesus, (with great tact), informs them they are num-nuts and what they should be focused on is protecting the vase so it does not get broken.

All of this focus on divorce misses the point entirely.  Take care.  Treat a marriage as what it is: something precious and valuable and irreplaceable.  Something ordained by God.

But what about those with a broken vase?  What about those who have divorce in their past?  God meets us where we are.  He doesn’t say to the lost sheep, find your way back to the flock and then we’ll talk.  He goes and finds the sheep where it is, while it is still lost.  In 1 Cor 6 Paul explained that some of the members of the church had been thieves, greedy, sexually immoral, drunkards… but you were washed, sanctified, justified in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Jesus didn’t say get your life in order first and then come to me.  He said come to me and I will help transform your life.

My Answers:

6.
a.
He continued ch 18 theme of forgiveness: shouldn’t divorce.  If divorce for any reason other than sexual immorality then any other relationship is adultery

b.
Any relationship after marriage is adultery (except in the death of a spouse)

c.
do not separate.  If spouse is an unbeliever stay together, but if they decide to leave, let them go.

7.
a.
The man who hates and divorces his wife does violence to the one he should protect.  He does not look on with favor or plea

b.
It is true – to teach a nation that was focused on itself

c.
Christ is the model.  Love as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy.  Husband and wife=1 body.  care for spouse as you would your own body.

d.
The love He had for us, cleansing us in the water through the word, to prepare us to be holy and blameless

e.
God meets us where we are now, 1 Cor 6:8-11, thieve, greedy, sexually immoral, drunkards….that is what some of you were but you were washed, sanctified, justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ; Matt 18:12, lost sheep=rejoice

20 BSF Matthew Week 20, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

To me, the discussion about the Law of Moses and divorce is like a discussion about daredevil safety equipment.  Let’s put it this way.  If you are going to ride a motorcycle at high speeds and jump it over a bunch of flaming cars, someone is going to suggest you have on a really good helmet and flame retardant clothing.

The better idea is to not do it.  But since some people are set and determined to do it anyway, sufficient guidelines and protective gear is designed.

When Moses outlines these “laws” about divorce, I don’t think he is saying this is a good idea or the right thing to do.  I think he is simply saying, you are going to do this anyway because you are hard hearted, so let’s take these steps to minimize the damage.

My Answers:

4.
God created male and female in His image.  He joined them together and commanded them to be fruitful.  They become one flesh, man must leave his father and mother and be united with his wife

5.
a.
Prohibited from returning to a relationship where a husband sends her out of their house

b.
Their hearts were hard

c.
God will allow me to do things that are wrong.  That doesn’t make them right, but if I’m hard headed and hard hearted enough He will allow it.