messages

Followup to Luke 6:27-36

My message Sunday from Luke 6:27-36 probably left some unanswered questions. One person wrote on a Response Card: "So is it wrong to have security system on your home/property?" Questions like this one are tough to answer. Was Jesus teaching that the most loving way to live is completely exposed in every way to any way in which someone wants to take advantage of you? One commentator, Darrell Bock, wrestled with this question. I'll leave a lengthy quote here for you to consider:

Is Jesus speaking in hyperbole here when he refers to saints being taken advantage of in the context of religious persecution? Hyperbole is not, of course, an unusual rhetorical style for a prophetic declaration. Its recognition allows one to focus on the central and concrete application behind the rhetorically presented image. How then does one know when hyperbole is present? There are at least two keys to identifying this figure of speech: (1) Does the strict, literal application of the remark lead to an absurd result, and (2) do examples of application in the early church illustrate more concretely the intended application?
Let’s see how this applies. (1) When, for example, Jesus suggests that the one who takes a disciple’s cloak be allowed to take his tunic too, it seems clear that Jesus is not arguing a disciple should willingly be stripped literally down to their skin and go about naked! The point has to do with the risk taken in being totally exposed, even to the point of being totally taken advantage of. (2) We can note that even though Paul continually exposed himself to great danger for the sake of the gospel, there were occasions when the church sent him away from a dangerous area for his own protection (e.g., Acts 16:40; 17:10, 13–14). Thus, sometimes it was prudent to protect oneself from persecution by moving a ministry elsewhere. On the other hand, Stephen forgave his enemies who were putting him to death, just as Jesus had done on the cross (Acts 7:60). Sometimes God calls us to give even our lives.
We live in a world that is often hostile to the gospel today, so we share the ancient context with the disciples who turned to Jesus. Our suffering may or may not take the same form as it did in the time of Jesus, depending on where we live, but the call to love others with an exceptional love remains. God promises that those who respond with mercy will receive much from God’s hand—maybe not those things the world sees as valuable, but real blessings that come from God’s hand. To the one who pardons comes pardon; to the one who gives come gifts from God’s hand.
Quoted from Darrell L. Bock, Luke, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996), 194–195.

Immaculate Conception

Sunday's message focused on the virgin birth of Christ. I mentioned in that message that the theological term "virgin birth" is less precise than saying the "virgin conception." I also mentioned that the virgin birth (conception) is different than the "immaculate conception." The immaculate conception is a Catholic false doctrine with no scriptural basis. I got enough questions after the message about this that I thought I would post a short quote to give you some more information. Note that "the Church" in this article refers to the Roman Catholic Church: 

“The Church teaches that for Mary to be ‘a fit habitation for Christ’ God decided to preserve her from the defilement of Adam’s sin. In 1854 the Church formally defined this doctrine, known as Mary’s Immaculate Conception…. Note that the Immaculate Conception refers to Mary’s conception, not to Christ’s conception or to the virgin birth. She, says the Church, was created without a sin nature and was ‘ever absolutely free of all stain of sin, all fair and perfect,’ remaining ‘free of every personal sin her whole life long.’ Her holy innocence and sanctity are so excellent that ‘one cannot even imagine anything greater, and which, outside of God, no mind can succeed in comprehending fully.’”
James G. McCarthy, The Gospel According to Rome, pp. 186-87

As Protestants who seek to be biblical in our doctrine, we do not believe the Immaculate Conception is true. This Wikipedia article has even more helpful information: The Immaculate Conception.

Finally, the Immaculate Reception is a third thing entirely. See that here:


Visualize the Solar System

Our current weekend message series, Centered, uses our solar system or an atom as a way of describing what is most important to each of us in life. 

This has nothing to do with the series, really, but look at this great video that depicts our solar system to scale, starting with the earth as the size of a marble. It is so worth the 7 minutes it will take you to watch it. The final scene where the sun rises is amazing.

-via Shawn Blanc's newsletter