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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Humility

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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The Work of the Enemy

Book Reflection // August 13, 2022 // View the Series

The Parables of Jesus by James Montgomery Boice

Chapter 2 // Matthew 13:24-43

Just like the previous parable that focused on the different types of soil that receive the gospel seed, Boice classifies this triplet of parables as dealing once again with the Kingdom of God. In this section Boice takes a bit of a different approach than what I have heard in the past and what I have seen in my small circle of Christian influence. Boice groups these three parables (weeds, mustard seed, and leaven) as speaking directly about the influence and work of evil in the Kingdom of God as it spreads throughout the world. These parables highlight the work of the enemy in our lives and the life of the church. Jesus tells us these parables to highlight the strategies and designs of our enemy to infiltrate, influence, and ultimately hinder the work of God in this world.

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The Seed and the Soil

Book Reflection // August 6, 2022 // View the Series

The Parables of Jesus by James Montgomery Boice

Chapter 1 // Matthew 13:1-23

In this book by Boice, he classifies this parable as one dealing with the Kingdom of God. In particular he marks this particular parable as unique in this category since it is dealing more so with the origin of the Kingdom. Meaning that this specific parable is focused more on the beginnings of the spreading of the grace and gospel of Christ throughout the world. The uniqueness of this parable is that Jesus uses the picture of seeds being scattered and planted in different types of soil to represent the different stages of readiness to receive the gospel message of hope and salvation – hard heart, shallow heart, strangled heart, and an open heart.

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The Ministry of Intercession

Book Reflection // July 17, 2022

The Ministry of Intercession by Andrew Murray

The reason I started reading this book was two-fold. One, I have enjoyed reading other books by Andrew Murray and have greatly appreciated the way he conveys his passion for Christ in his writing. Second, I was looking for a book on prayer that was more focused on the motivation behind prayer and would be a source of encouragement and challenge. I really enjoyed this short but focused dive into understanding the intercessory nature of prayer and Murray’s call for the church and its people to engage more deeply and consistently with prayer. I appreciated how often Murray brought me to engage with the Bible as I read through the different chapters. There was a deep passion for the Word of God in his writing and his desire for us all to engage with Jesus in prayer. This book challenged some of my misunderstandings and wandering away from the simple truths of praying in the name of Jesus. He motivated me to not only pray more, but to engage on a deeper level with Jesus as I pray. What I appreciated most about his writing was that it presented a beautiful picture of a life thoroughly engaged with the heart of Christ. Murray simply sought to present the heart of Jesus to me and let the Words of Christ work in me. My prayer is that I will be more engaged in prayer. That I will continue to see prayer not as a necessary addition to the journey, but the lifeline of this journey connecting me with the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.

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