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.

Continue reading “Come to the Banquet”

Love in Truth

Journal Entry // November 23, 2022

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (ESV)

1 John 3:18

What is the indicator that love permeates my heart? Is it the words that I speak or the actions I exhibit? I think that both are important to truly having love for your brothers and your neighbors. It is important to speak and talk to everyone in a loving way. It is also important to demonstrate my professed love with action and deeds. It is not enough to give verbal ascent to loving someone. It is minimalistic to only give words of love as we converse. I need to let love so permeate my heart that I demonstrate my profession with action. That I love both in my speech and in my deeds. This is the outworking and overflow of the love of Christ in me.

Continue reading “Love in Truth”

Nearsighted Blindness

Journal Entry // November 19, 2022

For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. (ESV)

2 Peter 1:9

The qualities that should supplement our faith that Peter is referring to in this passage are virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. These are the qualities that every believer should see being manifest in their life. These qualities should be present and growing in an ever-increasing abundance. They are the status indicators of our heart and soul that reveal to us our inner motivation and desires. They are important insights that need to be carefully reviewed and understood. For if we are lacking in these qualities and our faith is not being worked out and demonstrated with the fruit of these qualities, then we are blind. Blind to the truth of the gospel. Blind to the cleansing and washing away of our sin by the precious blood of Christ.

Continue reading “Nearsighted Blindness”

The Praying Savior

Journal Entry // November 11, 2022

Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. (ESV)

Hebrews 7:25

Jesus “always lives to make intercession” for me. He is even now interceding for me before the throne of grace and inviting me to draw near to God. That through Christ, I can draw near to God and have fellowship and communion with the Holy One because Jesus has saved me to the uttermost. Even though I know this truth and I believe it fully, I find it extremely difficult to live this out on a daily basis. I find it unbelievable at times that through Jesus I can draw near to the Lord. I have been saved to the uttermost, but I still allow sin to cling to me. This clinging sin challenges my understanding of being saved to the uttermost. This habitual unrighteousness calls me a hypocrite when I want to draw near to Jesus. It is only the loving intercession of Jesus standing before the throne of God pleading for my soul that counters these lies with the truth. It is the perfect intentional consistent intercession of Jesus that pulls me back to the reality of my loving God who wants me to come to him. I have been saved to the uttermost and through Jesus I can be in the near presence of the Lord at all times.

Continue reading “The Praying Savior”

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.

Continue reading “Workers in the Vineyard”

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.

Continue reading “A Lost Sheep, A Lost Coin, A Lost Son”

Exposing Darkness

Journal Entry // August 31, 2022

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. (ESV)

Ephesians 5:11

What is the essential factor in our everyday battle against sin and darkness? The key element of our walk with Christ is to expose the unfruitful works of darkness. We are to bring into the light those thoughts, words, actions, habits, mindsets, desires, and pleasures that are kept hidden away in the secret dark crevices of our hearts. We are not to be complicit or engage with these unfruitful works but to expose them. We are to expose them to ourselves, to a trusted friend, to church leadership, and to Christ. We should first start with ourselves and with Christ, then bring in others as we find ourselves in need of accountability and correction. The key action here is to expose the darkness in our hearts so that it no longer remains hidden or obscured. We need to expose these dark unfruitful works that are secret and private and bring them into the light of Christ. Exposing them to the gospel and letting Christ bring transformational forgiveness through our repentance.

Continue reading “Exposing Darkness”

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.

Continue reading “God’s Kingdom Consummated”

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.

Continue reading “People of the Kingdom”

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.

Continue reading “The Work of the Enemy”