Counting the Cost

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Jesus demands full commitment and the renunciation of all things. God gives salvation in Jesus as a free gift, but it costs us everything. To this end we all do well to count the cost to see whether we will follow the Lord and obtain life or turn aside in our own ways unto death.

Counting the Cost

Now there went with him great multitudes: and he turned, and said unto them, “If any man cometh unto me, and hateth not his own father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. Whosoever doth not bear his own cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

For which of you, desiring to build a tower, doth not first sit down and count the cost, whether he have wherewith to complete it? Lest haply, when he hath laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all that behold begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build, and was not able to finish.’
Or what king, as he goeth to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and asketh conditions of peace.

So therefore whosoever he be of you that renounceth not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:25-33).

Counting the Cost
Jesus' Instruction

 
 
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Abuse of Authority

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God has given authority to people as a stewardship; they are to serve those under their charge as those who will have to give an account. Yet people are sinners, and authority gets abused. Why do people abuse authority? What does abuse of authority look like? What should Christians do about the abuse of authority?

Abuse of Authority

Abuse of Authority
Authority

 
 
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Serving Jesus in America

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The Christian’s relationship with any nation-state is fraught with tension and difficulty: presenting oneself as an obedient subject while maintaining a greater loyalty to God and the Kingdom of Jesus. This challenge is all the more complicated in the United States of America, a representative republic. How can we most effectively serve Jesus in America?

Serving Jesus in America

Serving Jesus in America
Serving Jesus Today

 
 
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Serving Jesus in the Community

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Christians are to see themselves as in exile, but also are to do good to those around them. How do we most effectively serve Jesus in the community? His parable of the good Samaritan provides the way.

Serving Jesus in the Community

And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and made trial of him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
And he said unto him, “What is written in the law? how readest thou?”
And he answering said, “‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.'”
And he said unto him, “Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.”
But he, desiring to justify himself, said unto Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus made answer and said, “A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho; and he fell among robbers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance a certain priest was going down that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And in like manner a Levite also, when he came to the place, and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he was moved with compassion, and came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on them oil and wine; and he set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
And on the morrow he took out two shillings, and gave them to the host, and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, I, when I come back again, will repay thee.’

Which of these three, thinkest thou, proved neighbor unto him that fell among the robbers?”
And he said, “He that showed mercy on him.”
And Jesus said unto him, “Go, and do thou likewise” (Luke 10:25-37).

Serving Jesus in the Community
Serving Jesus Today

 
 
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Serving Jesus in His Church

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Jesus is to be Lord of the church. The church is to embody Jesus to the world. Do we reflect the love of God in Christ to one another and to the world? How else can the world know of Him?

Serving Jesus in His Church

Serving Jesus in His Church
Serving Jesus Today

 
 
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Serving Jesus in Education

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Education is a critical aspect of life in the modern world. Many assume it is a place one will lose their faith in Christ; and yet, if Jesus is the truth, and the Treasury of wisdom and knowledge, then we have nothing to fear. Students and educators do well to serve Jesus as Lord in education, and embody His character and principles in the classroom.

Serving Jesus in Education

Photo credit: unsplash-logoDebby Hudson

Serving Jesus in Education
Serving Jesus Today

 
 
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The New Covenant

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Jeremiah has a message of hope in the midst of the gloom. God does not abandon His covenant people, even if His covenant people abandon Him. He yet has a purpose for those whom He exiled. There will be a new covenant, with better promises, and a better hope.

The New Covenant

At that time, saith YHWH, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people. Thus saith YHWH, The people that were left of the sword found favor in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest. YHWH appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Again will I build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: again shalt thou be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry. Again shalt thou plant vineyards upon the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant, and shall enjoy the fruit thereof. For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the hills of Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto YHWH our God.

For thus saith YHWH, Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout for the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O YHWH, save thy people, the remnant of Israel. Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the uttermost parts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall they return hither. They shall come with weeping; and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by rivers of waters, in a straight way wherein they shall not stumble; for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born. Hear the word of YHWH, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off; and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For YHWH hath ransomed Jacob, and redeemed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. And they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow unto the goodness of YHWH, to the grain, and to the new wine, and to the oil, and to the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all. Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old together; for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith YHWH.

Thus saith YHWH: A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children; she refuseth to be comforted for her children, because they are not. Thus saith YHWH: Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for thy work shall be rewarded, saith YHWH; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope for thy latter end, saith YHWH; and thy children shall come again to their own border.

I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus, Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a calf unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art YHWH my God. Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth. Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a darling child? for as often as I speak against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my heart yearneth for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith YHWH. Set thee up waymarks, make thee guide-posts; set thy heart toward the highway, even the way by which thou wentest: turn again, O virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities. How long wilt thou go hither and thither, O thou backsliding daughter? for YHWH hath created a new thing in the earth: A woman shall encompass a man.

Thus saith YHWH of hosts, the God of Israel, Yet again shall they use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again their captivity: YHWH bless thee, O habitation of righteousness, O mountain of holiness. And Judah and all the cities thereof shall dwell therein together, the husbandmen, and they that go about with flocks. For I have satiated the weary soul, and every sorrowful soul have I replenished. Upon this I awaked, and beheld; and my sleep was sweet unto me. Behold, the days come, saith YHWH, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast.

And it shall come to pass that, like as I have watched over them to pluck up and to break down and to overthrow and to destroy and to afflict, so will I watch over them to build and to plant, saith YHWH. In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.

Behold, the days come, saith YHWH, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith YHWH. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith YHWH: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know YHWH; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith YHWH: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.

Thus saith YHWH, who giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, who stirreth up the sea, so that the waves thereof roar; YHWH of hosts is his name: If these ordinances depart from before me, saith YHWH, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith YHWH: If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, then will I also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith YHWH.

Behold, the days come, saith YHWH, that the city shall be built to YHWH from the tower of Hananel unto the gate of the corner. And the measuring line shall go out further straight onward unto the hill Gareb, and shall turn about unto Goah. And the whole valley of the dead bodies and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, shall be holy unto YHWH; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever (Jeremiah 31:1-40).

The New Covenant
Prophetic Restoration

 
 
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Authority in the Household

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It is rightly recognized that the household is the basic unit of society. Households look different today than they did in the past. God is concerned primarily with how those in the household relate to each other, and in Christ.

Authority in the Household

Authority in the Household
Authority

 
 
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Civil Government

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God has ordained government to uphold justice and given its agents power; governments are empowered by Satan to advance the purposes of the powers and principalities of this age. These statements seem contradictory, and yet are both revealed in the New Testament and operative at the same time. We do well to consider the fraught nature and challenges of the relationship between Christians and civil government.

Civil Government

Civil Government
Authority

 
 
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Preserving the Unity of the Spirit

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God has provided a powerful calling for Christians in Christ. They do well to work to preserve the unity of the Spirit, in all things working to become one with God and one another as God is one in Himself.

Preserving the Unity of the Spirit

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all. But unto each one of us was the grace given according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended on high, he led captivity captive, And gave gifts unto men. (Now this, He ascended, what is it but that he also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ: till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a fullgrown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we may be no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; but speaking truth in love, may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, even Christ; from whom all the body fitly framed and knit together through that which every joint supplieth, according to the working in due measure of each several part, maketh the increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love.

This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye no longer walk as the Gentiles also walk, in the vanity of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart; who being past feeling gave themselves up to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye did not so learn Christ; if so be that ye heard him, and were taught in him, even as truth is in Jesus: that ye put away, as concerning your former manner of life, the old man, that waxeth corrupt after the lusts of deceit; and that ye be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, that after God hath been created in righteousness and holiness of truth. Wherefore, putting away falsehood, speak ye truth each one with his neighbor: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing that is good, that he may have whereof to give to him that hath need. Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but such as is good for edifying as the need may be, that it may give grace to them that hear. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, in whom ye were sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and railing, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, even as God also in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:1-32).

Preserving the Unity of the Spirit
Paul's Letter to the Ephesians

 
 
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