Covetousness & Idolatry

Several times in the NT, Paul associates covetousness with idolatry. In 1 Corinthians, the sin of covetousness is listed right next to idolatry twice in two verses (1 Cor. 5:10-11). But it is explicitly tied together elsewhere: “For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is…

Of Demons, Chaos, & America

In a bit of a rabbit trail during Sunday’s sermon, I noted that God’s war on Egypt was a thoroughly spiritual warfare. That is, God was at war with the demon-gods of Egypt (cf. Ex. 12:12). Pharaoh was the earthly representative of that pantheon, and clearly in Egyptian mythology, he held a deified status. Thus,…

Jesus and Our Demons

Luke XLI: Lk. 11:14-28 [Audio here] Introduction Perhaps C.S. Lewis put it best when he said that people tend toward two opposite dangers when it comes to demons: unbelief on the one hand and unhealthy obsession on the other. Lewis said he thought the devils were equally pleased with both errors and “hail a materialist…

Foundations of Mercy & Mission #5: Sin, Slavery, and the Gospel

Gen. 4:1-16, Rom. 7:1-6, Mk. 15:16-39 Introduction As we continue to lay a biblical foundation for carrying out the mission of Jesus in this world, the world around us continues to give us reason to ask the question: How should we carry out this mission? What are we to think and believe? And what are…

The Bond of Perfectness

1 Cor. 13 & Col. 3:14-20 In the reading from Colossians Paul says, “Above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Col. 3:14). Paul has just finished telling the Colossians to put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, and forgiveness. In some ways it might seem kind of redundant to…

Civil War, Culture War, and the Cross

Apart from the peace of the cross of Jesus, our attempts at dealing with the severe effects of the fall will only create more tension, resentment, and violence. “… through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross…” (Col. 1:20). Think about…

Forgiven Kingdom

Luke XXIX: Lk. 7:36-50 Introduction Last time we were in Luke, we saw how Jesus challenged people’s expectations. John questioned Jesus, the Pharisees and lawyers rejected Him, while the tax collectors and sinners justified Him. These same themes continue in the following episode as Jesus continues eating and drinking with sinners. A Dinner After Jesus…

Clothed With Love

First Sunday in Christmas 2015: 1 Sam. 2:18-20, 26, Col. 3:12-17, Lk. 2:41-52 Introduction When Jesus was born, He was wrapped in swaddling cloths. These indicate that even though He was God, He was an ordinary baby, and that He was cared for and loved. The lessons today are all about clothing, family, and calling….

Jesus Our Living Brother

Luke XIV: Luke 3:21-38 Introduction As you read the Bible you should bring your questions to the text and seek answers. But you should also remember that the Bible itself poses questions to you by how it is shaped and framed. So for example, “Why does Luke give us this genealogy of Jesus here? And…

Luke VII: When Mercy & Justice Met

Lk. 1:57-80 Introduction One of the most fundamental questions we face as human beings is the question of justice. There is a universal instinct to insist on equity, fairness, justice, and yet it is a double edged sword that quickly cuts the one with a rigorous demand for it. We know that we need mercy…