Today’s reading is Romans 1.

Today, we read the central verse of our theme for the entire year. Paul was unashamed of the gospel. There is so much we could say about that. Remember, Paul was unashamed because the gospel is uparallelled–it is the power of God. The gospel is unsurpassed–it is for salvation. The gospel is unlimited–it is for all who believe. The gospel is unbiased–it is for the Jew and the Greek. The gospel is untarnished–it is the righteousness of God. No wonder Paul was unashamed. Let us also be unashamed and share this powerful good news with as many as we can.

BTW: You can delve more into each of these by listening to our sermon series: “Unashamed.” Click Here to find all five lessons. 

Tomorrow’s reading is Romans 2.

Continue reading “Unashamed!”

Blessed are the Poor

Today’s reading is Luke 6.

One of the big mistakes we make when we get to the Beatitudes in Luke’s account of the gospel is to immediately jump back to Matthew’s version of them, decide what they mean there, and then just read it into Luke. Whether these are records of two different teaching events where Jesus said something similar or whether they are two versions of the same event, Jesus clearly didn’t mean contradictory things. However, Matthew and Luke are using them to make distinct, but complementary, points. Matthew focuses on spiritual humility, but Luke really is focusing on financial poverty. However, notice Luke’s good news for the poor, the hungry, the mourning, the despised. His good news is not, as so many try to make it today, a better life now. His good news is not, “Turn to me and I will give you sumptuous meals, fine clothes, the house on the hill, and leisurely retirements.” Rather, it is “Turn to me and I will give you the kingdom of God and your reward in heaven will be great.” In fact, the very thing many today make out to be the reward is what Jesus says the rich, well-fed, merry, honored people have now, and it is all the reward they are going to get. That is not a good thing. Why would we want to make that the great blessing of turning to Jesus. No, this doesn’t mean we ignore helping those around us in need. That is covered when Jesus teaches us to do good and give expecting nothing in return. However, let’s understand what the good news really is. It is so much better than social justice, benevolence, and equity. It is eternal life. It is the kingdom. It is the very presence of God throughout all eternity. The true good news is unsurpassed. And I am unashamed. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 7.

Continue reading “Blessed are the Poor”