The Rich Fool

Book Reflection // June 11, 2023 // View Series

The Parables of Jesus by James Montgomery Boice

Chapter 11 // Luke 12:13-21

This is the second of the parables on wisdom and differs slightly from the previous parable in that there is no contrast between wisdom and folly. This is a story about folly itself with the emphasis on wisdom coming at the end. This parable speaks to our modern culture in many of the same ways it did for those present while Jesus was speaking. Modern worldly wisdom, much like ancient worldly wisdom, measures a person’s worth chiefly by the terms of his possessions and wealth or status. We wrap up our value and meaning of success by measuring the bank account of a person or looking at the material things that he owns. We honor the person who builds his own personal kingdom of wealth and we seek to emulate their path to “success”. Jesus brings us this parable to dispel that illusion and teach us to be rich toward the things of God.

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Five Foolish Women and Their Friends

Book Reflection // March 4, 2023 // View Series

The Parables of Jesus by James Montgomery Boice

Chapter 10 // Matthew 25:1-13

In this parable of the Five Wise and Five Foolish Virgins, Jesus presents a story that illustrates some essential traits that are the key difference between a person being considered wise and foolish. The two sets of women are very similar. In the end, the foolish women had every intention and desire to attend the wedding banquet but missed out due to their own faulty planning and preparation.

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The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Book Reflection // January 1, 2023 // View Series

The Parables of Jesus by James Montgomery Boice

Chapter 9 // Luke 18:9-14

The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector is among the most well-known of all the parables of Jesus, along with the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son. On the surface, this parable leads us to think that it is essentially about prayer. It is true that the focus of the story is on the contrasting prayers that are offered. Yet, what is being pointed out through these prayers is the pathway to salvation and who walks away justified. Justification is the essential point of this parable as Jesus is teaching us about escaping the wrath of God and being reconciled to God.

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The Narrow Door of Salvation

Book Reflection // December 31, 2022 // View Series

The Parables of Jesus by James Montgomery Boice

Chapter 8 // Luke 13:22-30

The parable of Jesus that we are considering in this chapter of Boice’s book may be less of a parable and more similar to an expanded illustration. This parable of the narrow door of salvation is in response to a question from someone who was apparently in the crowd during one of the many teaching stops that Jesus made in the various towns and villages along his journey to Jerusalem. The question is simple enough really, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” The questioner was likely interested in the theological speculation of the answer. Maybe even wondering where he stood at the moment. Trying to decide if he really needed to worry about this gospel good news that Jesus was preaching. If everyone is going to heaven, then why in the world would someone need to worry about this at all? Jesus being Jesus… He answers the question put before him without giving the answer in the expected format. Surely the questioner was just looking for a simple yes or no, a quick answer to then move on. The answer Jesus gives redirects the questioner, and ourselves, to the heart of the question. The heart of the question being our very own heart. We need not worry about the numbers of people that may or may not be in heaven. We should rather focus on our own heart and our entry into His heavenly kingdom. In this parable, Jesus will refocus our attention not on the numbers who will ultimately be saved but on three main issues: there is only one narrow door, that door is now open but will close soon enough, and our duty is to enter.

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Come to the Banquet

Book Reflection // November 26, 2022 // View Series

The Parables of Jesus by James Montgomery Boice

Chapter 7 // Mathew 22:1-14

Of the parables we have looked at thus far, this is may be the most straightforward and clear. It speaks of the gracious gospel invitation that God gives to each and every person along with the arrogant and prideful response of the men and women who received this invitation. At the heart of this message is a picture of God’s wrath and the eternal punishment in hell of those who refuse to come into the king’s presence wearing only the righteousness of Christ. This parable is a stern warning against our self-righteous folly and arrogant attempts to be our own God.

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Workers in the Vineyard

Book Reflection // October 15, 2022 // View Series

The Parables of Jesus by James Montgomery Boice

Chapter 6 // Mathew 20:1-16

This parable is the second of five parables that focus on salvation and is bracketed by a familiar phrase that Jesus liked to use, although he used multiple variations of this phrase. The two phrases are “But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.” (Matthew 19:30) and “The last will be first, and the first last.” (Matthew 20:16). Since the parable of the Workers in the vineyard falls between these two similar statements, it must be an illustration of this key concept and principle.  This parable is easily understood and seems simple enough on the surface, but difficulties arise when we look at the dealing of the businessman with his hired workers. There are three lessons we will look at as we consider this parable: God is no man’s debtor, God cares for people more than for things, and many but not all.

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Book Reflection // October 1, 2022

Humility by Andrew Murray

It has been a few weeks since I finished reading this short but powerful book on humility by Andrew Murray. Typically, I would dive right into writing my reflection as I engage with what I had learned in my reading. This book was a bit unique in that it raised numerous questions in my life that needed more immediate thought and attention. The concepts and implication of humility being prevalent in my heart have brought about a conviction that demands attention and meditation. I have been contemplating and meditating upon the role of humility in my life and the necessary changes that need to come about. This book has been instrumental in bringing my heart into alignment with the heart of Jesus. More than just a passing acknowledgment of truth being read, my mind and heart have been challenged to put into practice a life of humility that not only emulates the heart of Jesus but draws me ever closer to him.

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A Lost Sheep, A Lost Coin, A Lost Son

Book Reflection // September 3, 2022 // View Series

The Parables of Jesus by James Montgomery Boice

Chapter 5 // Luke 15:1-32

Starting with the chapter we are in today, we are moving into a section of parables that Boice collectively refers to as the Parables of Salvation. This section of parables will focus on the different aspects and features of salvation that Jesus relays to us through these particular parables. This passage from Luke may be the most well-known set of three parables that deal with salvation as Jesus talks about a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son. Although these three parables can be studied and considered on their own, they are meant to be taken together to get a more complete picture of the message Jesus is stating. There are four points to consider when looking at these parables together: the value of the lost object, the attitude of the owner/father, the nature of the recovery, and the problem with the older son.

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God’s Kingdom Consummated

Book Reflection // August 27, 2022 // View Series

The Parables of Jesus by James Montgomery Boice

Chapter 4 // Matthew 13:47-52

These parables that we have been looking at for the past few weeks have not only the common theme of describing the kingdom of God, but they also share repetitive points. Jesus uses repetition in a lot of his teaching and it is no different in this set of parables found in Matthew 13. There are very few points mentioned in any of the previous parables that are not also mentioned in one of the others. The parable before us today is focused on the new imagery of fishing but is making the same points as that of the wheat and tares growing together.

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People of the Kingdom

Book Reflection // August 20, 2022 // View the Series

The Parables of Jesus by James Montgomery Boice

Chapter 3 // Matthew 13:44-46

The parables put before us now are examples of the doctrines of election and irresistible grace. There is often a misunderstanding that comes along with these two doctrines. One is that God will drag the reluctant sinner against his wishes into heaven and the second being that God will deny salvation to someone who truly seeks him. These two parables are set against both of these mischaracterizations as they demonstrate that the first and necessary step in salvation is a new heart or regeneration by God alone. Only a sinner that has been given a new heart will then have a new desire for Christ and seeing the immense value of Jesus, that person will lose everything to simply have Jesus.

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