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Sunday, March 2, 2008

Leviticus 25:47-27:13; Mark 10:32-52; Psalm 45:1-17; Proverbs 10:22 (New Living Translation)

Sorry, have been out of town...but, back to work

Old Tesatament

1. The right of redemption..."the right to be bought back, even after they have been purchased."

2. The year of Jubilee

- The year of Jubilee in both the Jewish and Christian traditions is a time of joy, the year of remission or universal pardon.

- In Mosaic law, each fiftieth year was to be celebrated as a jubilee year, and that at this season every household should recover its absent members, the land return to its former owners, the Hebrew slaves be set free, and debts be remitted.

- The Jubilee year was announced by a blast on an instrument made from a ram's horn, during that year's Yom Kippur. The biblical rules concerning Sabbatical years are still observed by many religious Jews in the State of Israel, but the regulations for the Jubilee year have not been observed for many centuries.

3. Blessings for obedience.

What does obedience look like?

- Do not make idols.

- Keep my Sabbath.

- Follow my decrees and obey my commands.

What do you get?

- Great harvest and prosperity.

- Peace.

4. Punishment for disobedience

What do you get for disobedience?

- Trouble

- Disease

- War and terror

- Disaster

- Death, destruction and scattering of the remaining population.

5. But God is eternally looking out for our good. He expects us to see the error of our ways. He doesn't force us. Remember He gave us free will..."then at last their stubborn hearts will be humbled, and they will pay for their sins. Here again, we see that it is our heart...our heart that God wants.

- “But despite all this, I will not utterly reject or despise them while they are in exile in the land of their enemies. I will not cancel my covenant with them by wiping them out, for I am the Lord their God. For their sakes I will remember..."

- Do you see the beginning of these verses? DESPITE ALL THIS...Wow! Despite all this, He will remember.

- Not every tiny thing we've ever done wrong. Not that we stumbled down the wrong path. Not that we forgot to say thank you. Not that we forgot to say our prayers last night.

- He will remember that He made a covenant with us. He will remember that despite all this, He loves us and wants us back.

- Do we offer this same kind of loving grace to the people around us? To our family members? Our not-so-easy-to-get-along-with co-workers? Or would that be you?

New Testament

6. Jesus had shown His followers several keys to living as a disciple. Now in a series of incidents that Mark linked together, Christ warned against the pathways that may cause distraction. Jesus' disciples, today as then must be careful not to fall into these religious traps. Legalism, humanism, authoritarianism.

7. Legalism (Mark 10:1-6)

- The Pharisees are again trying to discredit Jesus.

- The question:"Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" This is a trap. If Jesus said no, He would seem to speak against the Law of Moses. If He said yes, He would contradict His own words about permanent relationship.

- Jesus' response showed a totally different perspective on the Law than was held by the Pharisees. The Pharisees held that the Law was "the" standard of perfection. They beleived that God had given that perfect standard to mark out the way of salvation. And the also beleived that they, by their zealous effort to keep the Law, would win His approval.

- Jesus had a different perspective. He explained,"It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law." Look back to Creation, Jesus taught, and you will see God's intention. Marriage is to be a lifelong commitment.

- The reference to hard hearts is a reference to sin. It was only because sin warped and distorted this most intimate of relationships that Moses permitted divorce. God was willing to lower His standards, to provide imperfect human beings with a way to escsape destructive marriage.

- It is not conformity to the letter of the law, but intent, that God judges.

8. Humanism (Mark 10:17-34)

- First, Jesus corrects the rich young man- "only God is truly good." The error is that we seek goodness in human motives and actions, without realizing that only God is good.

- Next, Jesus speaks of a great lack. Jesus tell him to sell everything he owned. The young man's face fell. What happened here? This young man has the best of everything that we strive for- at least by human standards. But the first commandment says, "You shall have no other gods before Me."

- Jesus' instruction to sell all was a vivid demonstration that this lovely young man, so sensitive in his dealings with others, actually did have another god before God. When the Son of God commanded him to sell his possessions, he made a choice- money.

- The disicples once again misunderstand. If the wealthy find it difficult, who then can be saved?

- No matter how kind and considerate the humanist may be, mere human goodness can never win entrance to God's kingdom. But, "All things are possible with God."

9. Authoritarianism

- The third danger is desire for the wrong kind of authority within the beleiving community. We again have the story of James and John trying to get special places next to Jesus.

- Jesus uses a metaphor here, and I think what He is trying to say to us is that to follow Him, it will take complete dedication to God's will, and the suffering that this will entail.

- There is no hierarchy. No kings, lords or rulers as in the earthly sense.

- There is no hierarchy in the church, the body of Christ. The greatest shall be the lowest: the one who dedicates himself not to be served by those to whom he gives orders, but to give service that they might become all that God wants them to be.

10. The blind see.

- A blind man was given his sight, and was told, "Your faith has healed you."

- It is the same with us. Jesus gives us the spiritual sight to see the emptiness in legalism, the futility of mere humanism, and the error of hierarchialism.

- What is it that truly can heal the disciple and lead him along the pathway to power?

- Jesus answers us in His words to the blind who can now see. "Go, you faith has healed you." And as with Bartimaeus, "immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road."



11. "The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich..."

See you next post...

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