My posts come from my personal daily scripture readings and a part of my personal accountability. If we are going to grow as followers of Christ, we must be in the Word! If you miss these a few days, something has kept me from it; but if they're gone for too many days, call me on the carpet. We need to hold one another accountable. Join me on this journey as our lives are to Reflect the Image-and Jesus IS the image. Peace, Carla Sunberg
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An Encouragement for those who love God
Alice with her Pa, reading a book together. I think this is what loving God is supposed to look like!
Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.
(Luke 1:1–4 NRSV)
The gospel narrative begins with an explanation of purpose. Many have tried to put in writing the story of Jesus but in some ways, their work has fallen short. It’s the name Theophilus that grabs our attention. His name means “one who loves God” — with a type of friendship love. It’s deeply personal and reflects an on-going relationship between an individual and God. This gospel then, is an invitation to all who love God to sit and listen. You are to be encouraged as being both excellent and very strong, for those who love God, who are true disciples are people who are on a journey, one which is not easy. This doctrine of Jesus Christ is reaffirmed for the one who loves God, as truth and instruction.
I have to confess that I am deeply troubled by previously high-profile “Christians” who seem to be walking away, entirely, from their faith: this includes best-selling authors and those who have graced large and popular pulpits around the world. What has happened to them? Where did things go wrong?
Over and over again in Paul’s epistles we read of his discouragement about those who have left the faith. He had his own high-profile disciples who turned their backs and walked away. They became caught up in the popularity of a movement and enjoyed the attention they received when the crowds came to hear them speak, but I believe they all lacked the same thing that these high-profile people have lacked today — they didn’t love God. They liked the church, they liked Christianity (as long as it was popular and didn’t ask anything of them), they were busy serving and doing, but they had never really become a “friend of God.”
This one who loves God and is a friend of God doesn’t seem to purport to have it all together, or Luke may not have thought that he needed to write this account. Maybe the voices of the world were crushing in upon him and Theophilus had some doubts. Luke is writing to the one who has learned to love God; to walk daily with the Lord and enjoy a friendship that is beyond explanation.
Foundational to any work or ministry, is the deep need to love God. Without this love and relationship, everything else fails. This is why Luke spoke of Theophilus’ excellence and strength. We don’t know anything else about Theophilus, whether he wrote any books or was popular on the speaking cycle but what we do know is the most important fact about him — he loved God.
For generation after generation Christianity has lived in danger of being swallowed up by the culture. Christianity is not to be defined as a cultural expression. Christianity is to be an invitation into a deeply personal relationship with a loving God. Jesus came to make that reality possible and when we preach or teach any other gospel, we are being disloyal to the one who paid the price to make all of this possible. That’s what Luke was attempting to affirm in his gospel. Therefore, it becomes an encouragement to those who genuinely love, and have become a friend of God.
Lord, I‘m afraid I fail you often, but may my love for you continue to increase. Amen.
Rom. 6:22 But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Two sides of life are presented here in great contrast. One is a life of sin and enslavement to evil. The other side of life is freedom which provides the advantage of sanctification (or holiness as some translate the word) that leads to eternal life. The options here are a life of sin, slavery and death; or freedom, holiness and eternal life.
The advantage of holiness or sanctification is the benefit of the life of freedom. Jesus died so that we might be made holy like him and this is something that is offered as a “fruit” or “advantage” right now. The end is eternal life — but the living of life is that it can be lived out in holiness.
The next verse is really just an affirmation of the verse 22. Sin will lead …
Ex. 33:4 ¶ When the people heard these harsh words, they mourned, and no one put on ornaments. Ex. 33:5 For the LORD had said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘You are a stiff-necked people; if for a single moment I should go up among you, I would consume you. So now take off your ornaments, and I will decide what to do to you.’” Ex. 33:6 Therefore the Israelites stripped themselves of their ornaments, from Mount Horeb onward.
The people had sinned before God by making and worshiping the golden calf! They had taken their golden jewelry — the earrings and other items they had gotten from the Egyptians and used them to create an idol. Now, in an act of humility and repentance they were to take off all of their jewelry and ornaments. It was a time of mourning over their sin and it included intentional action on the part of the Israelites. Application:
We don’t do all that well with humility and repentance! It seems that we live in a time when we try to carry on…
Scripture: Mark 8:31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” Observation:
Peter had openly declared that Jesus was the Messiah when suddenly the conversation shifted to suffering, rejection and death. With his affirmation of Jesus as Messiah, Peter had brought with him all of the connotations of that term. Jesus was to be a great military leader, a Davidic Messiah, who would save the people from the earthly authorities. Jesus’ description was a paradigm that didn’t fit into Peter’s thinking.
Peter’s rebuke of Jesus was severe. The language reflects a long and unpleasant conversation. The…