Bible Readers

With Pastor Dave Roussel

Tag: Psalms 25

Never Argue The Meaning Of A Book With The Author

January 25 – Today’s Readings – Matthew 20-22 and Psalms 25

I couldn’t limit my comments to only one section of the reading today, so bear with me as I ramble a bit.

First of all, NEVER argue with Jesus about His Book! Wow did those religious guys ever get in trouble! What strikes me in all of this is that these fellows were trying to manipulate Scripture in order to justify themselves or to make The Word “fit” their particular desires. The tragedy is that we still see people doing the same today. They justify all kinds of sin and compromise in their lives by twisting the Word ever so slightly. It’s a funny thing – the Serpent has been doing this since the beginning of history in the garden of Eden – “Did God really say?” [Genesis 3:1] It’s little wonder that Jesus had some harsh words for these fellows. The only way to read the Bible effectively is to allow God to speak to you – to consent to the Word shaping your life. If we begin to hear only the things we want to hear then we become exactly like those religious hypocrites of old.

Jesus has an incredible way of making things both very simple and very difficult at the same time. “Love the Lord” and “Love your neighbor” – what a great way to sum up the commandments of God! Yet – this teaching demands that we place our very lives into the hands of Jesus – that we lay down our own plans – that we take up our cross and follow Him. It demands our all. Only when we are surrendered do we receive the grace to live this way. Only a true child of God has this capacity – and even then – we find ourselves falling short constantly.

The Lord’s teachings are so often completely contrary to the Devil’s ways – “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant”. Jesus delights in touching the most vulnerable areas of our hearts when He challenges us this way. It’s only when we die to ourselves that He can really become “Lord” in our lives. Imagine a wealthy man telling his servant; -“Boy, sit in the lawn chair by the pool and sun tan while I bring you a refreshing fruit juice to drink.” We know it’s not going to happen – yet this is exactly what the Lord has done in our lives. We are “unprofitable servants”, but the Lord has put a towel around His waist and has washed our feet.

I can’t finish without mentioning the 2 brothers who were both asked to work for Dad. The first, said “no”, then later repented and went – the second said, “yes sir” but then didn’t go. I was discussing this with one of my daughters and we concluded that it really is our lifestyle that counts more than our words. Wouldn’t it be nice if our words and our lifestyles were both lined up and in obedience to Jesus?

Questions:

1. Take a moment to check out the “hypocrite factor” in your own life.

2. In your own words, describe how you can “love your neighbour as yourself”.

3. Ask the Lord for creative ways to be “a servant of all”.

4. What has the Father asked you to do, but you still haven’t done it?

Freedom

July 25 – Today’s Readings – 1Corinthians 8-10 and Psalms 25

The “spiritual freedom” that some of the Corinthian Christians were so proud of seemed to also have a dark side to it. They were boasting about the man who was sleeping with his father’s wife! – Why? – “Because we are all under grace. – All things are permissible for us – don’t you know.”

They were eating food sacrificed to idols because they were “free”, but in the process, some of the brothers were falling back into idol worship – thinking that they could mix idolatry with God-worship. They even seemed to be getting drunk at communion because they were “not under the law” -– “For as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. – One remains hungry, another gets drunk.” (1Corinthians 11:21)

Some time ago, a man came into our church foyer and confronted our pastor, telling him that he smoked pot, got drunk and did all kinds of other things because he was no longer following the “*#”+#^* church rules” – he was under “grace”. As Pastor tried to gently correct his thinking, the man got right up in his face telling him that he didn’t have to listen to any of this “#*^%#”. We somehow persuaded him to quietly make his exit but not before getting a good dose of Corinthian Church deception. There is a very sad ending to this story as the man in question died a very premature drug-induced death as a direct result of his “spiritual freedoms”.

Are we not free in Christ? OF COURSE WE ARE! – Of all people, we have true freedom – freedom from sin and death and judgment – freedom from guilt and bitterness that consumes people – we are free from the grip of the kingdom of darkness but have become slaves of righteousness. We are free from the clutches of the devil and free from the chains that once bound us. We are free to love as Jesus loved us and free to walk in purity. The grace of God gives us the ability and the motivation to say no to sin – “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:11-12)

I know I’m preaching to the converted, but we need to be aware that there are all kinds of twisted doctrines out there. Consider, for example the re-occurring news reports of polygamy and the twisted thinking that goes along with it. Without clear thinking and Godly leadership people are prone to believe a lie. Let’s keep praying for all those who stand in the pulpit every Sunday morning – that their teaching would be the pure and simple Word of God preached with power and authority!

Questions:

1. Give another example of people who were deceived by overstating or twisting what should have been “sound doctrine”.
2. Describe how ordinary Christians can have overcoming grace. Hint – it has something to do with pride.

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