Monthly Archives: March 2014

Sunday Recap: By This We Know Love


Sunday our high school group planted this cross on the property of our church building.  The words on it are from 1 John 3:16:  “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.”

Don’t miss what that is really saying:  Jesus on the cross is how we know love.  There were and are lesser types of love in the world, but God (who is love, 1 John 4:8) defined what love truly is in giving His Son on the cross.

This is one of the greatest things about Christianity and really an argument for it being the true religion. The story of its founder and the event of its founding (the cross) is the purest definition of love the world knows. God sent His Son to make the ultimate sacrifice, not just for his friends and family, but all men – even His enemies. There is nothing selfish or impure about the cross.

Furthermore, the unselfish cross is not only what He did for us but it is the example of how we are to live our lives.  When we struggle with how to show love in our various relationships we should look to the cross and act like Jesus.  Sometimes unloving things are done in the name of Christianity, but pure, unprejudiced, self-sacrificing love is the fruit of true Christianity.

Question: What aspect of love does the cross best illustrate for you?

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Filed under Christianity, Cross, Love

Sunday Recap: Who Ever Perished Being Innocent?

“”Who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright ever cut off?”  (Job 4:7).  This is the question Job’s friend Eliphaz asked Job as he tried to explain to Job the reason for his sufferings.

Eliphaz is defending the idea that when bad things happen to men it is because they are guilty of some sin. This is really a fairly common idea even today. When bad things happen we tend to think what did I do wrong? why has God allowed this to happen?

Like a lot of what Job’s friends say, there is a little truth behind what he says here. Sometimes it is true that we experience painful consequences because of sinful choices we have made. Also, in the final judgement those who have not been saved through Jesus will be lost due to their sin. But as a comprehensive answer to the problem of human suffering the basic premise of Eliphaz is false.

Whoever perished being innocent? Name some who perished being innocent and show that Eliphaz’s argument is false.



Filed under Old Testament

Sunday Recap: Fun With Talents

Sunday we thought about two parables in which Jesus talked about talents. A talent was a the most valuable coin in Jesus day, some say worth about a years wages. Others say the value of a talent was  from around 1000 to over 300,000 US dollars.

THE PARABLE OF THE TWO DEBTORS (Matthew 18).  The debt man owes to God is like a man who owed his master 10,000 talents. Its was an unrepayable debt. In fact the story says “he was not able to repay” and certainly 10,000 years wages would be unrepayable.

THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS. The 5 talent man invested in his master’s business.  He was given 5 more plus the 1 talent the 1 talent man wasted.  That gives him a total of 11. All of his talents (including his original 5) were given to him by his master.

Both parables begin, “the kingdom of heaven is like….”.  They both teach about the kingdom and about talents.  It may be a stretch (feel free to say, “sorry Jimmy, thats a stretch!”), but what does it say to us that even the most “talented” man in Jesus’ stories is still 9,989 talents short on his debt to God?

Granted we might not ought to connect the two parables in that way, but what does Luke 17:10 tell us our attitude ought to be even when we have done all things we have been commanded?  Finally, how do these truths impact your thinking about your relationship with God?

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Filed under Grace, Parables

Sunday Recap: Blessed Be The Name Of The Lord

Kind of a trick question: In light of what we studied Sunday morning (Job 1 and 2) which of these is the right time to say “Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21)?

  • When your plans for the day are ruined by unexpected circumstances.
  • When someone surrenders their life to Jesus.
  • When your car breaks down.
  • When an unexpected check arrives in the mail.
  • When you get the job you were hoping for.
  • When you or a loved one is injured in a car accident.
  • When a couple has a baby.
  • When the Doctor says you have cancer.
  • When the Doctor says your cancer is in remission.
  • All of the above.

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Filed under Job, Old Testament

Job’s Very Real Anguish

Last Sunday we looked at Job 3.  Job’s losses are recorded in chapters 1 and 2. In chapter 1 he lost his possessions, servants, and his seven sons and three daughters. In chapter 2 he lost his own health.  We noted his remarkably strong and courageous initial response – he expressed his grief, but he kept his faith in God: “the Lord gives, the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (1:21).

In chapter 3, some time has passed and his tone has changed. Chapter 3 records him crying out to God. 7 times he asks “why?”.  “Why was I born?” Why can’t I just die? We are not suggesting he lost his faith, but he seems to be breaking down and is overwhelmed by his anguish.

One point we considered is that godly people don’t always just “sing and be happy”. His losses were fearfully painful and we see here very real anguish expressed by a very godly man.

We also  thought about how when someone suffers great loss, the initial responses  are sometimes very brave.  The first few days they are occupied with decisions and are surrounded by friends, and may simply be in a state of shock.  Job 3 made us think of how sometime later, after a funeral, when everyone is gone, reality begins to settle in. Those can be the toughest days.

What can we learn from Job’s very real grief in chapter 3, about how we can help those who are suffering?


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Filed under Grief, Job, Trials

Sunday Recap: Guilty, Vile, and Helpless?

Sunday, in attempting to understand if we are really “Guilty, Vile, and Helpless” (like the 3rd verse of the song “Hallelujah What A Savior” says), we threw out the question, what is the worst sin?  As we studied some participated in a poll question. See the results below:


A couple of observations:

We are not a homophobic church. 0% said homosexuality was the “worst sin”.

25%  chose “Lack of love, Compassion, Forgiveness” as “the worst sin”. Interestingly, the same text (Romans 1) that clearly identifies same sex relationships as sinful concludes with the sins of being “unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful”.  I believe the one who is “unforgiving and unmerciful” is worse because they, having been forgiven by God themselves, are pushing away, turning off,  and refusing to help people that Jesus died for!  See also Luke 17:1-5.

The most popular answer in the poll (All Sin is Equal) is also a good answer. James 2:10 says, “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all”.

That makes us all guilty and therefore helpless and therefore forever indebted to God for His grace.

If you did not get a chance to vote Sunday, or have an additional thought about this, feel free to share your thoughts with the group.

You can hear the sermon, “Guilty, Vile, and Helpless” here.

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Filed under Homosexuality, Judging, Sin