Category: The Gospel and the Christian Life

The Lord is my Shepherd part 2

Introduction This post is part two of three in a series looking at Psalm 23.  If you haven’t please read part one first: http://servantsofgrace.org/2011/03/23/the-lord-is-my-shepherd-part-1/ In part one I explained the context and what Psalm 23 means. In part two of three today, we will look at what Psalm 23 has to teach us by exploring life as a pilgrimage. In part 3 we will conclude our look at what Psalm 23 can teach us by looking at setting a table before us and dwelling in the house of God. Life as a Pilgrimage Psalm 23 offers several images that can impact on how the believer lives their life of faith. The idea of pilgrimage through dangerous territory to the house of God is interwoven with the images of shepherd and flock in psalm 23. Pilgrimage was one of the foundational elements of Israelite identity, even before the exile. Israel remembers her earliest ancestors as “wandering Arameans” (Deut 26:5) who survived the sojourn in Egypt before receiving the Promised Land. Abraham too left home and family to travel endlessly in search of the new home God had promised. After the Exodus, Israel as a nation experienced forty years or more of wandering before entering the Promised Land. During the Exile the exilic community came to think of their life outside the land as a new form of Egyptian bondage and...

Read More

The Lord is my Shepherd Part 1

Introduction Psalm 23 is usually classified as a psalm of confidence in the Lord’s care. It uses two images: the Lord as Shepherd who cares for the sheep (vv.1-4), and the Lord as Host who cares for his guest (vv.5-6). These images would be familiar from everyday experience (for David’s own, 1 Sam. 17:34); but they also evoke other ideas common in the ancient Near East (including the Old Testament), with the deity as shepherd of his people and the deity as host of the meal. In worship, the faithful celebrate God’s greatness and majesty; and when they sing this psalm, they see his majesty in the way he personal attends to each of his covenant lambs. He is the shepherd for Israel as a whole; and in being such, he is the shepherd for each faithful Israelite as well. Psalm 23 Just as a shepherd cares for his sheep, so the Lord cares for his people, providing for their needs, guiding them, and protecting them. The deity as shepherd motif is common in the Bible (Genesis 48:15; 49:24; Psalm 28:9; 80:1; 95:7; 100:3; Rev. 7:17). The Lord is the Shepherd of the people as a whole, as well as individual members. Want here in Psalm 23:1 refers to what one lacks in terms of needs. Green pastures and still waters are peaceful places for rest and feeding. The...

Read More

The spirit of Apathy

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) defines apathy as, “1. The Absence or suppression of passion, emotion or excitement. 2) Lack of interest in or concern for things that others find moving or exciting.” The Church at Sardis was known for being alive but Jesus called them dead. Revelation 3:1 says, “ 1″And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 3Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.” The Gospel is not just something we do with external rituals, regulations or habitual habits. The Gospel is our entire life that is supposed to be revolving around the personhood and work of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is not just a to-do list or one more thing we do during the course of our daily lives. The problem at Sardis was that they had fallen into the sin of apathy. These Christians at Sardis had forgotten what it meant to be watchful standing alert for the coming of Christ. Paul’s counsel to the Corinthian church went much along the same lines as that...

Read More

Boasting, Pride and Humility Part 2

Introduction In part one of our look on boasting (http://servantsofgrace.org/2011/02/23/boasting-pride-and-humility-part-1/) we learned the importance of humility and the dangers of pride. Today we are going to continue our study on boasting by looking at Galatians 6:4, 13-14, 2nd Thessalonians 1:4, James 1:9; 3:13, 4:16 and conclude by applying what we have learned about this topic. Galatians 6:4, 13-14 Galatians 6:4 falls within the broader context of Galatians 5:13-6:10 a section in Galatians in which Paul is instructing the Galatians on life in the Holy Spirit and love. Freedom from the law Paul teaches does not lead to libertinism, for believers by the power of the Spirit live a new life characterized by love. Test means to approve something after testing it. Believers first must be sure their lives are right with God before giving spiritual help to others (Matthew 7:3-5). If a believer rejoices or boasts, it should be only boasting in the Lord for what God has done in him (2 Cor. 10:12-18), not for what he supposedly has accomplished compared to other believers (1 Cor. 1:30-31).   Galatians 6:13-14 falls within the context of Galatians 6:11-18 a section in which Paul gives his final warning to the Galatians. Paul summarizes the main themes of the letter and challenges the reader to stay true to the gospel. To require circumcision according to Paul is to deny the cross...

Read More

Boasting, Pride and Humility Part 1

Introduction Bost (halal, means “to praise”; kauchaomai, “to vaunt onself,” is used in a good and bad sense in the Bible. To praise God: “In God we have made our boast all day long” (Psalm 44:8); to praise oneself, to vaunt (Psalm 10:3). Paul describes what it means to boast in a good way in 2nd Corinthians 7:14, “Forwhatever boasts I made to him about you, I was not put to shame. But just as everything we said to youwas true, so also our boasting before Titus has proved true.” Paul also explains why boasting in the sense of self-righteousness is bad in Romans 2:17,23 and Ephesians 2:9. 2nd Corinthians 10:8, 13, 15, and 17 give the fullest picture of boasting in the New Testament. In today’s post we will look at 2nd Corinthians 10:8, 13, 10:15, 17, 11:30, 12:5-6, 12:9 and conclude by applying what we have learned. Tomorrow we will look at 12:9, Galatians 6:4, 13, 14, 2nd Thessalonians 1:4, James 1:9, 3:14, 4:16, and conclude by applying what we have learned. 2nd Corinthians 10:8, 13, 10:15, & 17 2nd Corinthians 10 falls within the context of 2nd Corinthians 10:1-13:10 which is Paul’s appeal to the rebellious minority in Corinth. This is the third major section of the letter, and Paul directly appeals to those who are still rejecting his gospel and apostolic authority. For in his...

Read More