Tuesday, 26 March 2019

I Reading: Joshua 5:9-12: The people of God keep the Passover on their entry into the promised land.
II Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:17-21: God reconciled us to himself through Christ.
Gospel: Luke 15:1-3. 11-32: your brother here was dead and has come to life.
The Parable of the Prodigal Son: The Lost Son, Lk 15:11-24
The parable of the prodigal son is the greatest and most beloved story ever told in human language. God loves and reaches out to the most prodigal of men and He runs to embrace any prodigal son who repents and returns home. God forgives his prodigal son and restores him, no matter how terrible the sin and failure of the prodigal.
1.    He said, “Give me” (v.11-13)
a.    My inheritance
b.    My independence
c.     The result: he wasted his life in wild living
2.    He met the day when he suffered and was in need (v.14-16)
a.    He suffered being destitute
b.    He suffered natural disaster
c.     He suffered humiliation
d.    He suffered hunger
e.     He suffered the loss of friends
3.    He came to his senses and snapped out of his insanity, back to reality (v.17-19)
a.    Thought of his father and his enormous provision
b.    Thought of his plight
c.     Thought of humbling himself:
i.                Of repenting
ii.              Of confessing his sin and unworthiness
4.    He got up and returned to his father (v.20-21)
a.    He repented-turned from his sinful life
b.    He was accepted even before he confessed
c.     He confessed
5.    He was accepted when he returned to the father (v.22-24)
a.    The father restored him
b.    The father fed the son and celebrated his son’s return
c.     The father proclaimed his son’s new life

The Parable of the Older Son: The Self-Righteous Religionist, Lk 15:25-32
The second son or the older son represents the self righteous religionist-the mortal, the just, the good-the man who has never committed gross and visible sin. He is religious and does religious works; therefore he feels and believes he is accepted to God. In this parable Jesus pointed out five faults with the self-righteous religionist (Lk 11: 37-54; 18:9-12; Rom 2:17-29).
1.    Fault 1: he was in the field away from home (v.25-27)
2.    Fault 2: he shut himself out (v.28)
3.    Fault 3: he was self-righteous (v. 29)
a.    He claimed to be religious
b.    He claimed to be moral and just
c.     He felt he deserved more, that he was not recognized enough
4.    Fault 4: he lacked compassion and understanding of sinners (v.30)
5.    Fault 5: he failed to see two critical facts (v. 31-32)
a.    He had the same blessings available
b.    His brother was truly saved

Thought: The father restored the prodigal son:
a.    The “robe” restored him to a position of sonship and honour. It symbolized being clothed with the righteousness of Christ.
b.    The “ring” restored him to a position of authority. The son was now to represent the father and his kingdom.
c.     The “sandals” immediately restored and elevated him above servant hood, which means he became a free man. The son was now fitted with sandals to carry the Gospel of Peace wherever he went (Eph 6: 15).
d.    The “celebration” pictures reconciliation, full acceptance, and the great joy of the occasion.
e.     The father proclaimed his son’s new life.
i.                He was dead and is alive again.
ii.               He was lost and is found.

I Reading: Hosea 5: 15-6:6: What I want is love, not sacrifice.
Gospel: Luke 18:9-14: The tax collector went home again at rights with God; the Pharisee did not.
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax collector:
The Spirit needed for Prayer.
Two striking things are seen in this passage-both the spirit needed for prayer and the spirit needed for one to be saved.
1.    A parable of warning (v.9)
a.    To the self-righteous
b.    To those who despise or look down on other people
2.    The scene: two men are praying in the temple (v.10)
a.    One is a Pharisee
b.    One is a sinner
3.    The religionist prays (v.11-12)
a.    He stands-prays only with himself
b.    He thank God for making him what he is
c.     He rededicate himself-he reaffirms his commitment
4.    The sinner prays (v.13)
a.    He stands “at distance”
b.    He feels unworthy to face God
c.     He cries for mercy
5.    The major lesson: justification (v. 14)
a.    A humble approach is heard
b.    A proud approach is not heard

Thought: The vast majority of people are in this class of self-righteousness. Few people believe they will be rejected by God and refused entrance into heaven. They will feel they have enough goodness to make them acceptable to God. (cp. 2Cor 10:12; Job 9:20, 33:9, 35:2; Prov 16:2, 28:26, 30:12; Jer 2:35)

I Reading: Hosea 14:2-10: We will not say any more, “Our God” to what our own hands have made.
Gospel: Mark 12:28-34: The Lord our God is the one Lord and you must love Him.
The Question about the Greatest Commandment
The Sadducees and Pharisees met together to plan and plot against Jesus again (cp. Mt 22:34). This time they took a different approach. Earlier they had challenged Jesus as a body of questioners. Now they chose only one member from among their body to attack Jesus. He as a Teacher of the law (Scribe) who was most brilliant and versed in the law.
Jesus used the occasion to teach man the greatest provision and duty of human life: love. Love will provide for every need man has; therefore, love is the greatest duty of man.
1.    A Teacher of the law approached Jesus (v.28)
a.    Observed Jesus’  arguments
b.    Posed a test question: Which is the most important commandment?
2.    The greatest commandment (v.29-31)
a.    The Lord our God, the Lord is one
b.    The Lord our God is to be loved
c.     The Lord our God demands that we love our neighbours as ourselves
3.    The great vastness of the commandment (v.32-34)
a.    So great it causes honest and thinking men to agree
b.    So great it exceeds all offerings and sacrifices
c.     So great it almost assures salvation to those who understand it

Thought: Man/woman is to love God supremely and his/her neighbours. To love our neighbour involves some very practical acts that are spelled out in Scripture (cp. 1Cor 13:4-7; Lev 19:18).

I Reading: Jeremiah 7:23-28: Here is the nation that will not listen to the voice of the Lord its God.
Gospel: Luke 11:14-23: He who is not with me is against.

The Proof that Jesus is the Messiah, 11:14-28
Jesus has been rejected, denied and cursed by most men. Yet there is enormous evidence in this passage.
1.    Jesus proved that He was the Messiah-He cast a demon out of a man (v.14-16)
a.    The people were amazed: Who was Jesus?
b.    Some accused him: He was a deceiver, of Beelzebub
c.     Some tested him: Sought a sing
2.    Illustration 1: a kingdom and a house-He claimed to be another kingdom and house than Satan’s kingdom and house (v.17-18)
3.    Illustration 2: religious exorcist-He claimed the right to be respected, at least as much as other ministers (v.19)
4.    Illustration 3: the finger of God-He claimed to possess the power to usher in the kingdom of God (v.20)
5.    Illustration 4: a stronger man He claimed to be stager than Satan (21-22)
6.    Illustration 5: a shepherd and a flock-He claimed to be the pivotal figure of history (v.23)
7.    Illustration 6: an empty house He claimed that a man must turn form self-reformation to Him and be infilled with His very presence (v.24-26)
8.    Conclusion: The necessary thing-to hear the Word of God and keep it (v.27-28)
Thought: Jesus Christ should be exalted as the Messiah, the Son of God who alone can cast out evil. Therefore, He must be read, quoted and preached day in and day out. Jesus Christ must be honoured by every person or believer (Jn 5:23-24, 39, 40-47; 6:68; 7:46; Rev 3:8; Ps 29:2; Is 25:1).

I Reading: Deuteronomy 4:1.5-9: Take notice of the laws and observe them.
Gospel: Matthew 5:17-19: The man who keeps these commandments and teaches them will be considered great in the kingdom of heaven.

The Law and Jesus: Breaking the Law of God, Mt 5:17-20
Jesus was accused of destroying or abolishing the law of God. He has always been accused of minimizing God’s law. People have felt freer to live a looser life and to do as they wished. Jesus teaches about the complete understanding of Christ and the law and believer (Rom 7:4, 14-25; 8:2-4; Gal 3:10) in this passage.
1.    A person must know that Christ came to fulfil the law (v.17-18)
a.    The law is not to be abolished
b.    The law is perpetual more sure than heaven and earth
2.    A person must do and teach the law in order to be great in the kingdom of heaven (v.19)
a.    If a person disobeys and influences others he/she is ranked least
b.    If a person obeys and influences others he/she is ranked great
3.    A person must have more righteousness than a religionist to enter the kingdom of heaven (20)

Thought: The Old Testament is the Word of God according to Christ (2Tim 3:16; 1Pet 1:11; 2Pet 1:19-21).

I Reading: Daniel 3:25, 34-43: May the contrite soul, the humbled spirit be acceptable to you.
Gospel: Matthew 18:21-35: Your Father will not forgive you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.
The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant: The Spirit of Forgiveness
How often are we to forgive a person? Does God except us to forgive and forgive-no matter the abuse and number of times the wrong is done? Jesus Christ answered these and many other questions in this discussion.
1.    The spirit and practise of forgiveness (v.21-22)
a.    Peter asked about forgiving a brother: is forgiveness limited?
b.    Jesus answered: forgiveness is unlimited
c.     Jesus illustrated: is like the kingdom of heaven
2.    There is God’s spirit of forgiveness: like a king who settles his accounts with his servant (v.23-27)
a.    All must give account
b.    One is brought to him
c.     The servant owes a huge debt
d.    The servant is bankrupt
i.                He is to be sold
ii.              He is to lose all
e.     The servant faces him
f.      The servant cries for mercy
i.                Worships the king
ii.              Makes a commitment
g.    The servant experiences the compassion of a loving king: is freed and forgiven
3.    There is the servant’s spirit of unforgiveness (v.28-31)
a.    He faces a fellow servant who owes him: In comparison a very small sum
b.    He reacts severely
c.     He rejects the cry for mercy: refuses to forgive
d.    He acts materialistically and selfishly-according to law and justice
e.     He grieves the other servants: they carry the matter to the Lord
4.    There is the great day of accounting (v.32-34)
a.    Two bases of judgement
God’s forgiveness: offered in Christ
The servant’s wickedness: he lacks compassion and mercy
b.    The judgement
The Lord’s anger
The Lord’s justice: the man was condemned and punished
5.    There is the point: An unforgiving person will be judged (v.35)
Thought: Forgiveness must come from heart. We must live a life of forgiveness, compassion and mercy toward others.