Manna for Today

 

Do You Fear God or Man? (Luke 12:1-12)

Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 3 What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.

4 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

8 “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. 9 But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God. 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

11 “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”  (Luke 12:1-12) 

Learn it:

            Jesus begins to teach his disciples as a crowd of a thousand people begin to gather around them.  They are getting so close that people are trampling on one another!  It is in this context that Jesus warns them about the Pharisees.  He does not want them to get led astray by their false teachings.  He knows how lies can spread through a culture.  He wants them to know that God knows everything that we say, and nothing will be hidden from him. 

            He continues teaching that they should not be afraid of man and their threats.  He tells them there is nothing they can do to them because their souls are in the hands of God.  He will always take care of them.  Just as God cares for five common sparrows God knows the number of hairs on our heads!  We should fear, or really, trust him.  He again warns them that there are consequences for rejecting him!  We need to be bold in our faith and not worry about what others think of us.  God will always be with us and it is through his Spirit that we will have the words to say. 

Live it:

 

            Jesus wants his disciples to be bold in their faith.  He wants them to be confident in his teachings and not get swayed by popular teachings.  People are not going to like the gospel they are preaching and be offended by it.  Jesus tells them to not be afraid of their threats.  The names of the people that are against the gospel may have changed today but there will always be people that reject the teachings of Christ.  We must keep our identity in Christ.  Are we more afraid of society and possibly looking like a fool or are we more afraid of what God will think of us?  Man can only harm our bodies, but God has power over our souls.  By God’s grace we can be sure we will spend eternity in him, but don’t we also want to hear, “well done, good and faithful servant”?  How can you be bold in your faith today?  


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The Six Woes (Luke 11:37-53)

42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.

43 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.

44 “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which men walk over without knowing it.”

45 One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.”

46 Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.

47 “Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your forefathers who killed them. 48 So you testify that you approve of what your forefathers did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs.  (Luke 11:37-48)

52 “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”

53 When Jesus left there, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, 54 waiting to catch him in something he might say.  (Luke 11:52-53)

Learn it:

            Jesus gets done teaching crowds of people and enters into the house of a Pharisee.  Upon entering the house, the Pharisee’s notice that Jesus does not wash his feet and they wonder why he is not fulling the Jewish customs.  Jesus perceives these questions within the Pharisees, and it leads him into these six “woes”.  He warns them against being so legalistic about their tithing, loving pride, and do not set a good example for their followers.  They are so focused on following the rules and being loved that they forgot to love others.

            Then an expert in the law speaks up saying that Jesus is being mean, so Jesus focuses his attention to them.  These experts in the law keep creating new laws and customs for people to follow.  This is becoming burdensome to the people.  He also says that they have the keys to knowing God’s will, but they are actually hindering people coming to know God!  People see them and think, “Why would I follow their God when his followers are so mean?”  After Jesus gives them these warnings, they are very upset.  They want Jesus to say something wrong and find a way to stop him. 

Live it:

            We as Christian’s must learn a lesson from the Pharisee’s and experts in the law.  We have to be careful that we are not so focused on the rules we read in Scripture that we neglect pursuing justice and loving people.  An example that we read in Scripture is about remembering the Sabbath.  Yes, it’s a good thing to find rest during the week.  Some people choose to have a day of rest on Sunday or on Saturday.  We should not let our day of rest stop us from helping someone if they reach out to us.  We should be willing to sacrifice our rest in order to help them. 

            This is where our actions and speak volumes.  If the world sees Christians seeking justice and loving the world, it will open them up to talking about God.  But the opposite is true as well.  If Christian’s are so focused on following all of God’s rules and trying to be right, it will push people away.  It’s a difficult thing we as Christians have to find balance in.  Being in the world but not of the world.  


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Life is Full of Choices (Luke 11:24-36)

When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.”

27 As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”

28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

29 As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.

33 “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. 35 See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. 36 Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you.”  (Luke 11:24-36)

Learn it:

            Luke is taking us through a series of teachings that tells the reader they have a choice to make.  In verses 24-26, Jesus teaches us about a person who has demons removed from him.  His “house”, body, is empty and it needs to be filled.  When Jesus temporarily frees someone, they must be filled with something house.  If they do not fill it with something good, the demon will come back with even more demons!  There is a choice they have to make. 

            A woman calls out to Jesus that his mother should be blessed because of the wonderful son she has given birth to.  This is a common thing back then to praise a mother for their wonderful children.  Jesus then responds that true blessing should go to a person that has heard the Word of God and obeyed it.  The person that made the right choice should be blessed. 

            Then Jesus casts a warning out to the people who keep asking for signs.  They are hesitant to believe that Jesus is God and they want more signs.  Jesus condemns them because what was more important than the signs was the teachings of Jonah and Solomon.  Some people listened to them and now someone greater than them is here.  People must choose to listen to him.  Jesus makes one last appeal by using the imagery of light.  When we go about our lives, we can either fill our bodies with light or darkness.  Whatever we take in, it will dictate how we live our lives.  It is up to us to decide what we want people to see. 

Live it:

            As Christians, we have the responsibility to live the choice out that we made to follow Christ.  It not only affects us personally but spiritually as well.  When we heard the gospel and accepted Jesus, he washed us clean we are filled with the Holy Spirit.  We must continually be filled with the Holy Spirit and not return to our previous sin.  We have been given freedom from our past.  We must choose to follow the Holy Spirit and be obedient to the teachings of Christ.  When we do that people will see a change in our lives.  Hopefully, that will cause them to ask questions and will open up doors to share the gospel with them.  Life is full of many choices and how we live our lives changed by the gospel hopefully it will open the door to evangelizing to the world around.  What choices are you making today to follow after God?   


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Where Does His Power Come From? (Luke 11:14-23)

Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. 15 But some of them said, “By Beelzebub, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.” 16 Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven.

17 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. 18 If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebub. 19 Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 20 But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.

21 “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. 22 But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up the spoils.

23 “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.  (Luke 11:14-23)

Learn it:

            Luke has normally been spending more time focusing on the miracles of Jesus but in this story, Luke decides to focus more on how the crowd responds to Jesus.  Jesus cast the demon out of a man, and he begins to speak again.  One would think that this is a great thing that has been done.  But people begin to debate about where Jesus gets his power from.  Some say they come from Beelzebub, which is Satan, and some are undecided and are waiting for more signs. 

            Jesus decides to focus on the people that say his power is from Satan.  He tells them that it cannot be from Satan because a divided kingdom will fall.  There would be chaos and it is just not a possibility.  He gives them a clear warning that if his power is from God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived.  The comes with more troubling news, that if you are not with him then you are against him.  If you are against him, you will be scattered! 

Live it:

            This passage is a reminder for us of how powerful Jesus was and is.  There is nothing that can stand against him.  His power is greater than Satan’s.  He was challenging the crowd that there are only two options to where is power is coming from.  It is coming from either Satan or God.  There is no middle ground.  That is a choice that every person has to make during their life if they hear about the gospel.  They either will hear it and accept it or hear it and reject it. 

 

            If you have accepted Jesus then you have access to this same power that Jesus has.  It has awesome implications for the community of believers.  There is nothing that we cannot overcome.  We will only be defeated if we fail to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit.  We are not going through life on our own and we need to be surrounded by fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  How can you rely on someone today with something you are struggling with?  How can you help lift up a fellow believer? 


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Pastor’s Corner