Tonight we convened for another week of Bible study with yet another welcome addition to the group in Malika.
We started off with a bit of housekeeping, getting a list of some attributes of ‘The Christian Life’ which we’re to read through over the next week and identify 3 strengths and 3 weaknesses to assist the group leaders in deciding what to study after we finish our current Essential Jesus (Luke) series, and also to assist in prayer points for each person. We then had a little followup to last weeks discussion. Mike gave us some wisdom from J.C. Ryle and D.A. Carson on turning the other cheek and loving our enemies; the major discussion point of last week: The principles apply in a broad sense, whilst they don’t call for Christians to be pacifists, we’re not to suffer personal abuse and sacrifice. These points were pretty much inline with our discussion, yay Bible study group!!
Tonight’s testimonies came from Imanuel and James. We then read through the particularly meaty chapters 7-9 of Luke and then went on to look at certain observations or questions raised:
- Jesus pushes forward in his ministry
- “Whoever is no against you is for you.”
- Jesus shows love and forgiveness.
- Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna, and many other women supported them (Jesus & the 12 apostles) financially
- Choked by the worries and riches and pleasures of life; and they never mature to produce fruit. & Good soil produces fruit
- Christians aren’t stagnant
- Jesus could have said “I heal you”, yet he more often than not says “Your faith has healed you.” Why is that??
It’s encouraging to read and see that Jesus was active in his ministry. It encourages us to keep going and push forward in our own ministry. We also read that Jesus ‘sets himself to go to Jerusalem‘. Jerusalem was the place where Jesus was to die and he knew that; so it’s encouraging to read also that He was willing to die.
When speaking to other religions that are similar to Christianity, like Catholics, it can be easy to stir up arguments but this statement of Jesus tells us that we shouldn’t necessarily do so. It’s an interesting thing to think about though, as it’s talking about doing good works in Jesus‘ name, yet there’s no mention of the theology or beliefs behind the motives. Whether that is implied or not is ambiguous. People that do do good works in this day and age probably aren’t doing it for the sake of Jesus but tend more to be self serving, so that they can get ahead or work towards heaven, which misses the point of Jesus.
Definitely something that we can thank God for. We see him showing such things to sinners like the woman with the alabaster jar of perfume. He also actively shows it through his healing ministry, which a different showing of his power, a more personal power.
This was an interesting inclusion in the book. There seems to be such a focus, at least in our church, on fulltime ministry, like going through MTS, that those that work seem to be labeled as ‘less Godly’ which isn’t the case. Everyone in the body of Christ has a role. Those that financially support help to enable the ministerial staff to do the great work that they do, plus it gives opportunity to minister to those in the workforce, who may not have the opportunity to hear the good news otherwise. Also this seems like a juxtaposition from the rest of what is said about money/riches in the rest of Luke where it is seen in a bad light, but here it is for the good of the Kingdom. And the triple here is that it was the women that were supporting. Not something common in those days.
An old truth that we are reminded of is that these worries, riches and pleasures of life can hinder our Christian lives and potentially draw us away. We must be wary of this and not get bogged down in such things, but strive to be like the seeds in the good soil where we will be able to produce good fruit.
Another encouraging thing that we can see from the parable of the sower and the seeds is that no plants here are stagnant, they don’t grow a bit and then stop, rather they are either growing or they’re choking. It also serves as a warning to make sure that we’re not choking.
A difficult question to answer, and one that raises other equally difficult questions along with it. We came up with some plausible answers:
- Jesus was healing physical and spiritual sickness
- It was out of character for Jesus to express pride in his works. It would also have drawn unwanted attention to him as the Son of God, something that would have prevented him from continuing his ministry.
These three chapters I summed up as:
Jesus continues to teach, heal and challenge. Many hear, many fear, but few are faithful.