Tag Archives: eternal life

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 23

Track 1: One Thing You Lack

Job 23:1-9, 16-17
Psalm 22:1-15
Hebrews 4:12-16
Mark 10:17-31

Today, let us examine one of the costs of being a disciple of Christ. Reading from Mark’s Gospel:

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’” He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.   (Mark 10:17-22)

Is Jesus telling us all to sell what we own and give the money to the poor? That might be true for some of us. The key is the phrase: “You lack one thing.” When we are concerned about growing in Christ, we need the direction of the Holy Spirit. Jesus could see that the rih man was bound by his wealth. What are we bound by?

God will tell us what we are missing ir we will listen. Like the rich man, he loves us. He wants to restore our soul and reform us in his image. We read from Hebrews:

The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account.   (Hebrews 4:12-13)

God knows us. He sees everything. Yet we must remember that Jesus is on our side. Again, from Hebrews:

Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.   (Hebrews 4:14-16)

God extends his grace and mercy to us. But we must grab it with all our being. We should not take it for granted. Nominal Christians assume all is well without laying their souls before God. Jesus paid to high a price for us not to pay any price. The Spirit gently speaks to us: “One thing you lack.” What wez lack, God generously provides through the blood of his Son. Are we seeking him? Are we listening?

 

Track 2:

Amos 5:6-7,10-15
Psalm 90:12-17
Hebrews 4:12-16
Mark 10:17-31

The Gospe speaks about a man who was rich, but was seeking the kingdom of God:

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’” He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.   (Mark 10:17-22)

The rich man grieved because he did not want to give up his position. Riches have a tendency fir one to feel secure, eliminating aby fear of lack. This is a false since of security. Amos warns against this thinking.

you have built houses of hewn stone,
but you shall not live in them;

you have planted pleasant vineyards,
but you shall not drink their wine.   (Amos 5:11)

All our blessings come from God who can take them away at any time.

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Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 16

Track 1: The Glory of the Lord 

1 Kings 8:[1, 6, 10-11], 22-30, 41-43
Psalm 84
Ephesians 6:10-20
John 6:56-69

Today we read about Solomon dedicating the temple he constructed to God. From 1 Kings:

Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the ancestral houses of the Israelites, before King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion. Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place, in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the most holy place, underneath the wings of the cherubim. And when the priests came out of the holy place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.   (1 Kings 8:1, 6, 10-11)

And reading from 2 Chronicles:

It was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord,

“For he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever,”

the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, 14 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.   (2 Chronicles 5:13-14)

You know when the weight of glory has filled the house of God when nobody can remain standing. The Azusa Street Revival, beginning in the spring of 1906, largely spawned the worldwide Pentecostal movement. People who attended has a taste of God’s glory. Many could only move by crawling on their hands and knees as they experienced the weight of the glory cloud.

Solomon administered under the law of Moses when he came under the weight and  power of God. The Apostle compared this glory with an even greater glory under the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

Now if the ministry of death, chiseled in letters on stone tablets, came in glory so that the people of Israel could not gaze at Moses’ face because of the glory of his face, a glory now set aside, how much more will the ministry of the Spirit come in glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, much more does the ministry of justification abound in glory! Indeed, what once had glory has lost its glory because of the greater glory; for if what was set aside came through glory, much more has the permanent come in glory!   (2 Corinthians 3:7-11)

The Prophet Joel wrote of this permanent glory:

Then afterward
    I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    your old men shall dream dreams,
    and your young men shall see visions.
Even on the male and female slaves,
    in those days, I will pour out my spirit.

I will show portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.   (Joel 2:28-31)

That day is fast approaching. What will it be like? Will we experience this glory? Yes, God is going to pour it out on all flesh. Will we be prepared for it? Will our churches be prepared for it?

That is the question. It depends under whether or not Christ is our head. Many Christians attend churches where the headship of Christ is not honored. The Gospel has been watered down. For what reason?

When Jesus was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum he said:

 “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”   (John 6:56-69)

He teaching was misunderstood by many. We read:

Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”   (John 6:56-69)

Reading from the Book of Hebrews:

We do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower[g] than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God[h] he might taste death for everyone.

It was fitting that God,[i] for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings.   (Hebrews 2:9-10)

We must follow Jesus. He alone is the Lord of G;Glory. Seeker churches will not do. Churches who do not recognize the presence of the Lord in Communion service will not do. Those who rule out supernatural miracles and healings will not be prepared for the glory. Nominal Christianity will not prepare one for the glory. Will we say like Peter:“Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God?”

 

Track 2: Suggestions

Joshua 24:1-2a,14-18
Psalm 34:15-22
Ephesians 6:10-20
John 6:56-69

The Old Testament and Gospel readings speak of choices. Joshua challenged the tribes of Israel: “Choose this day who you will serve.” Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods.” But they did what they said they would not do.

In the Gospel, after Jesu taught about Holy Communion, many of his disciples left him. Serving God requires us to follow his commandments and his teachings. What are some of the things that may stand in way?

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Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 14

Track 1: The Living Communion

2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33
Psalm 130
Ephesians 4:25-5:2
John 6:35, 41-51

Absalom was a son of King David. He had ambitions to become king in place of his father. He failed to realize that God appointed and anointed David the king of Israel.  His rebellion eventually led to his death.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.   (Galatians 2:20)

To fully live one must give up oneself. Absalom did not understand this. He could only take. He did not realize what God was prepared to give him in return for himself, as did his father David.

Jesus set the example for us. He gave us his all on the cross to purchase our salvation. But we must give him our all as well. When we do that we are invited to his banquet. He becomes our spiritual food:

Jesus said, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”   (John 6:53-58)

By this teaching we should understand how important the Holy Communion is to Christ living in us. Thus, it is not optional but vital to our Christian journey.

In the Book of Revelation we read:

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.   (Revelation 3:20)

Jesus is not speaking to unbelievers here, but to the Church. He wants to sup with us. The Holy Communion of the Lord’s Supper has been given to us so that we may participate in the a foretaste of heavenly banquet.

Christ living in us should not be a mystery to the Christian. The Apostle Paul wrote:

I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: the which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.   (Colossians 1:24-27)

David loved his son Absalom and wept over his death. God weeps over us when we do not understand his love and rebel against him. Let us not be Absalom’s. Absalom sought glory for himself, for God has a far greater glory which will be revealed to those who put their trust in his Son Jesus and partake of his banquet.

 

Track 2: Suggestions

1 Kings 19:4-8
Psalm 34:1-8
Ephesians 4:25-5:2
John 6:35, 41-51

Elijah was on a physical journey to Mount Horeb. The angle encouraged him to eat food or the journey would be too great for him. We are on a spiritual journey. We need spiritual food or we may not reach our destination. Jesus is that food:

Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”   (John 6:35)

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