Sin, Faith, Duty

by Andrew Forrest

Luke 17:1-3

Causing other people to sin or otherwise trip up spiritually is a serious sin in the eyes of Jesus. Watch out!

Luke 17:3-6

Be ready to confront sin, and eager to forgive it. (Don’t be like the elder brother in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.) And, though forgiveness is difficult, Jesus says that even with just a smidge of faith, cool stuff will happen when you put his teaching into practice!

Luke 17:7-10

Obedience doesn’t gain you honor or reward—it’s just what’s expected. (I need to read this section to my children!)

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE

Luke 17:1-10

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This is another vivid parable–Jesus is a master storyteller!–that confronts us with a shocking implication: many of us go about our lives and never really see the poor.

How can you really see someone in poverty today?

(Learning a name is a good place to start.)

Today’s Scripture:

Luke 16:19-31


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This is a difficult parable, but part of the problem is our habit of treating the parables of Jesus allegorically, in that we expect every detail to have a theological correspondence. This is not the right way to interpret parables–rather, the parables are startling stories drawn from everyday life that make surprising spiritual points.

So, in this case, don’t try to figure out who the unjust steward is and who the master is and what the oil represents. Instead, focus on the main point, which I take to be this:

If people in this world know how to use their possessions in a way that works with this world’s values, how much more should the followers of Jesus know how to use their possessions in in a way that works with the values of the world to come!

In other words, a Christian ought to use his money in accordance of the values of the Kingdom of God.

Does that help?

Today’s Scripture:

Luke 16:1-18


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The Two Brothers

by Andrew Forrest

In the Parable of the Lost Sons, Jesus shows how there are two ways of destroying relationships:

  • The younger son shows the “external way of destroying relationships: outright sin, rebellion, and selfishness;
  • The older son shows the “internal” way of destroying relationships: self-righteousness, pride, and resentment.

Note how both ways destroy relationships, but they each do so in different ways. And note how the father wants reconciliation with both sons, regardless.

The danger to the younger son is obvious: his behavior is immediately self-destructive. But the danger to the older son is more subtle and insidious, and in some ways scarier: he thinks he is right even as his self-righteousness is keeping him out of the party.

I suspect that most of us have more in common with the older son than the younger.

How is your pride keeping you from being reconciled with someone today?

Today’s Scripture:

Luke 15:11-32


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God Loves the Lost

by Andrew Forrest

When the Pharisees grumble that Jesus eats with sinners, he tells 3 parables, the first 2 of which we read today: the Parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin. What’s the point he’s making?

That God loves lost people.

To whom can you show that love today?

Today’s Scripture:

Luke 15:1-10


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Count the Cost

by Andrew Forrest

Jesus doesn’t want anyone to accuse him of not being forthright about the cost of being a disciple. He uses hyperbolic language (“You have to hate your own family”) to show that the only way discipleship works is for faith to be first, and everything else second. (How do I know that Jesus doesn’t literally want us to hate our families? Well, to honor your father and mother is one of the Ten Commandments, among other reasons.)

Then, the little Parables of the Tower Builder and Warring King make the same point: understand that following Jesus comes with a cost, and don’t say he didn’t warn you. And if you aren’t willing to pay the price, discipleship just won’t make sense for you–you might as well be salt without saltiness.

For me, this raises the question, “Why would anyone choose to become his disciple, knowing that discipleship is so costly?” Here’s my answer: because his way leads to life, and no other way will ultimately give us what we want.

Today’s Scripture:

Luke 14:25-35


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God is throwing a huge party, and wants everyone to be there. How will you reply?

I preached on this parable this past Sunday, and that was the main point.


Today’s Scripture:

Luke 14:7-24


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The Pharisees where sticklers for the Sabbath, but only when it worked for them. Jesus makes the point that they’d find a loophole for helping their children or their livestock on the Sabbath, but that they hide behind the law when it comes to this poor afflicted man with dropsy.

Today’s Scripture:

Luke 14:1-6


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