In the Beatitudes (Matt. 5:1-12), Jesus described the characteristics of the Kingdom of Heaven’s citizens. Shockingly, the kind of people God values in his Kingdom are quite different than the kind of people the world values. Jesus now turns to address the role that his followers are to play in a world that deems their lifestyle undesirable and perhaps even dangerous....Keep Reading
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After his military victory against Chedorlaomer’s armies, Abram was met by two kings: Melchizedek, the king of Salem, and the unnamed king of Sodom. While Melchizedek celebrated Abram’s victory and blessed him, the king of Sodom offered him a business transaction: “Give me the persons, but take the goods for yourself.” (Genesis 14:21) Not wanting to be indebted to the king of Sodom, Abram refused to be rewarded by him. ...
After the flood, God told Noah and his descendants to “the fill the earth” (Gen. 9:1). Instead, they proudly settled in one place and attempted to build the tower of Babel (11:1-9). In judgment, God confused their language, causing them to separate from one another and form the nations of the earth (Gen. 10). Following the account of Babel is a genealogy (11:10-32) that brings us to Abraham, the man God will use to bless the nations he has scattered....
In this final section of the Sermon on the Mount so far, Jesus has used a series of contrasts to demand a response from his audience. They are to choose the narrow road as opposed to the wide road (7:13-14), listen to true teachers as opposed to false ones (7:15-20), and to do God’s will over and against merely professing to love him (7:21-23). Jesus turns to one more contrast to conclude his sermon....
Every good sermon closes with a call to action. Having established what life in the Kingdom of Heaven is to look like (Matthew 5:17-7:12), Jesus now invites us to choose whether we will follow the path he has laid out in this Sermon or the way of the world. ...
Jesus has taught his disciples and the crowds who it is that belongs in the kingdom of Heaven (vv. 3-12) and what their role in this world looks like (vv. 13-16). But what role does the law play in the lives of those Jesus has been calling “blessed”? Jesus now turns to address how the Old Testament fits in with what he has been saying....Keep Reading
In the Old Testament, God told Abraham that he would bless all the nations of the world. As his descendants grew into the nation of Israel, God made it clear that they would bless the nations by modeling God’s character for them, and to do this, they needed to be holy, or “set apart” from them. But instead of being different from the kingdoms around them, Israel cons...Keep Reading
Curriculum for our new eight-week series: "Genesis: In the Beginning"...Keep Reading
Having addressed the major issues and questions of the Corinthian church, Paul brings his letter to a close with instructions regarding the collection for the Jerusalem church, his own travel plans, and personal greetings....Keep Reading
In the first eleven verses of 1 Corinthians 15, Paul emphatically stressed the historical reality behind Jesus’ resurrection as well as the central place it holds in the gospel message itself, a message which is “of first importance”. It is crucial for the Corinthians to understand how important the resurrection is, and Paul will now explain why....Keep Reading
Before closing out his letter, Paul devotes an impressive fifty-eight verses to the topic of the resurrection, and it’s not until verse 12 that we learn why: some in the church were saying that “there is no resurrection of the dead”. Paul spends the first eleven verses highlighting how crucial Jesus’ resurrection is to the gospel itself and how well-attested it is....Keep Reading
The importance of some spiritual gifts were being exaggerated in Corinth while others were minimized. Those with more “impressive” gifts saw their gifts as proof of their spiritual superiority and as a means of serving themselves rather than others. So far in this section, Paul has reminded the church that God has given them numerous indispensable gifts (ch. 12), and t...Keep Reading
Many in the church at Corinth were exaggerating the importance of certain spiritual gifts such as tongues, prophecy, and knowledge, and the church was fracturing because of this. Those with these gifts deemed themselves more important than those who didn’t, and those who didn’t were tempted to feel useless and unimportant in the church. In chapter 12, Paul reminded the...Keep Reading
The Corinthians found no shortage of things to be divided over. There was Team Paul vs. Team Apollos (1:12), weak Christians vs. strong Christian (chs. 8-10), and wealthy Corinthians vs. poor Corinthians (11:17-34). In chapters 12-14 we’re introduced to yet another point of division: spiritual gifts. Instead of appreciating the many ways God gifted his people, many in th...Keep Reading