Thursday, January 18, 2018

Isaiah 3:1-4:1 (DB of 18/1/2018)

THE LORD ENTERS INTO JUDGEMENT WITH THE PEOPLE

key verse: 14a

This morning's word describes the anarchy in the kingdom of Judah, as well as the sentencing of Jerusalem's women. 

1. Do not make me leader (1-15)

The Eternal God judges the evil nation. He takes away the powerful men and the entire nation falls into anarchy. There will be material scarcity (1,7). The leaders, experts and war heros will be erased from the earth, causing severe lack in administration. Moreover, the mentality of the inhabitants will be so corrupted that no one will want to manage the country. People will turn to the youngest and least experienced to ask them to govern the country. But no one will accept. Respect will disappear such that youths will attack elders and the despised will attack the honorable. The inhabitants will be arrogant and impious (8). Their deeds will turn against them, but evil will not last long, for the Eternal God will enter into judgement with His people, especially the elders and leaders who abuse power in crushing the poor. 

2. The Lord will take away the finery (16-4:1)

In a land under anarchy, women and children will rule over the people (12). Women will lose their role as mothers of prayer for the country and will seek their own gain in a life brazenly luxurious. In spite of the nation's poverty, the daughters of Zion will become proud, without thinking of how to positively influence men. God will take away their finery in which the walked the streets of Jerusalem. Twenty-one items of finery will occupy the mind without defense. God will judge them and take away even the hair on their heads, making them bald. They will desperately seek a partner. Though this worldliness seems striking, each generation has known its own grave absurdities that fill all minds. The human glory represented by this finery contrasts greatly with the glory to come.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Isaiah 1:19-31(Daily Bread of 16/1/2018)  

ZION WILL BE REDEEMED 

Key verse 1:27 
Isaiah continues talking about curses and blessings that will fall upon the people. We can see here hat God will judge His people but His motive is love. 
1. The town of decadence  (19-23)  
Like Moses had told the people before they entered into Canaan (the country from which milk and honey came), Isaiah said that there is a line that God draws between those who are obedient and those who are rebellious. Those who are obedient will get the best reward whereas those who rebellious will be punished. Be rebellious is the same as refusing to obey so it is a deliberate action. Thus one cannot avoid the consequence of this action under the pretext of a variation in situation.  . thTherefore Jerusalem which was once faithful city, will be transformed into a prostitute. There were once lived many just, will become a place wherein assassins roam. Practise injustice by oppressing the defenceless will become like eating bread. This people that was once like silver before God, will become no more than a desolate land without value. God will judge them and He will send fire upon them. Isaiah speaks about this at the beginning of his book in order to underline the reason behind God's judgement. 
2) Zion will be redeemed (24-31)
The fire is approaching and burning up. God uses the metaphor that He used in verse 22 to reflect the fervent love and mercy that accompanied His judgement. It is this love, the opposite of indifference, that will the people's infection amongst His people and His enemies. Thus the line of judgement that will distinguish those who live and those who die will pass through Zion. This line will not be drawn between Jews and Pagans but between those who will believe in God and be converted and those who will remain rebellious. For the rebellious, eternal fire is their reward and for the obedient, justice. They will be completely restored. The labyrinths and the gardens refer to man's strength and his organisational strategies which all appear to be very pretty and in which he places his trust. He trusts in the strength of mankind and in his marvellous work but this is very risky. There is a modern concept to be taken out of this warning and it is that man's capacities can contribute to his ruin. What really matters in a man's life is God's forgiveness which comes from His Son, Jesus.

Isaiah 2:1-22 (daily bread of 17/01/18)

THE PEOPLE CONVERGE IN ZION

What a stricking observation ! In the future Jerusalem will be renowned, whereas for now Jerusalem is violated. In front of this vision of future the people had to repent, that's why we read this words; "come back" (5).

1. The future Jérusalem (1-4)

Even if the nation was fundamentally guilty in this time, Isaiah wasn't fully desperate. He had God's vision that one day all the sitation will be changed. The city who was formerly named "holy city" will recover its name and the nations will not be longer mocking but it will fully respect the nation of Israel and its capital Jerusalem. God says that his mountain of Zion will be the uppermost among all the hills to light the nations. So the nations will say "let's go up to Jerusalem to be instruct". It will use by God as source of world peace. It's a wonderful mercy that in spite of the present ignominy of the people God restore it as the helm of the nations. It's only by God's mercy. We were sinners worthy of condemnation but God had high we as his holy people. Glory to God !

2. The present Jérusalem (5-22)

In front of this vision, the people had to repent. But the photo of the country was very terrible. The country was full of idols. The economy of the country was in the full opulence. However this opulence led the people to a incorrigible pride. But God isn't innocuous. God will not indefinitely tolerate evil of mankind. God will lower pride of manking and will bend their arrogance. All that is high and that make mankind pride will be lowered and destroyed. In this time, only the Eternal God will be high. Mankind has a lot things to boast. He must live with fear and trembling and see his works as nothing before God. The text repeats twice the fact to hide in the rocks and in dust, because God's judgment will be formidable (10, 19, 21). In this time, idolatry will be disappeared. It's all the human works in which we trust. This idolatry will be stopped because there is only a breath in the nostrils of a man.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Ephesians 6:1-9 (Daily Bread of 12/1/2018)

OBEY YOUR SUPERIORS

Key verse 6: 5

In this section, Paul speaks about the duties in the house especially those that they children and the servants have to fulfill.

1. Children, obey yours parents (1-4)  

Paul explains that amongst the 10 commandment, the fifth one deals with the act of honouring one's parents and it speaks of the blessing that accompanies this act. This blessing makes man happy and lets him life longer. Parents have their responsibilities especially the father. The father must love his wife as Jesus loves the Church. His role is important not only for his wife, whom he must take care of and over whom he has authority, but also for his children. He has to lead his children along the right path by teaching them God's Word. To do this, he needs to live according the truth himself. Often a double life irritates children. Moreover, when talking about not irritating one's child it does not mean raise them up by being kind and without reproaching them. The father has to warn his children who meek and mildness so that they would not take the wrong path. He has to set them free from this path so that they would not become one of the devil's victim.

2. Servant obey your masters (5-9)

The servants who have been freed from their sins by Jesus Christ should not use this as a pretext to revolt against their masters. Jesus' blood has freed them from all bonds in spiritual terms. However, on a social level they need to respect their obligations. Their attitude is the most important. Servants must have the correct attitude by submitting themselves to the divinely established order in the society's hierarchy. More importantly, they need to act as men of God so as to walk before Him and not before men to please them in appearance. As slaves of God, they must do His will. However, this must be done without fear but with joy and a willing spirit. God will then bless their work. The servant will reap what he sewed on earth during judgement day. The master also has to respect his duties with regards to his servant. God did not give them their superiority to abuse of this power over their enslaved but to accomplish their duty before him. He has to think of God and act according to His will with fear and trembling as God does not consider one's social status.

Ephesians 5 :3-14 (Daily Bread of  9/1/2018)

AS SAINTS SHOULD BE

Key verse 5:3

Paul used to say that all of the bad sentiments be removed from the hearts of the Ephesians. How easy is it for us to fall into this trap. Paul explained what is the clear attitude that a Christian must have when facing these evils.

1. Not even mentioned amongst you (3-5)  

The Christian should not let these evils slip surreptitiously in them. Impurity and misconduct do not form part of Christianity.  Christians. These words should not be in their vocabulary. The reason behind this I because Paul explains that they who do this cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. Christians must not abuse God's grace. Paul told them that they could not return to their old sin as God's grace would keep them clear of it. However, not only this terrible sin but all the other sins like buffoonery, bad language, etc. need to be removed from their lives also. These things are unworthy for a Christian as that is demonstrative of their lack of grace. We need to appreciate the life that God gave us and we need to use it wisely according to the goal for which God created it.

2. Do not have anything to do with them (6-14)

The most dangerous thing for a Christian is a false doctrine. If one allows oneself to be seduced by such a thing then one is asking for God's anger to fell upon them. Hence the need to be very precarious. In the past, the Ephesians were in the darkness and this indistinguishable from the world. However, through God's grace and forgiveness they were able to enter His community. From now on they need to bear fruit that comes from their penitence and they need to abstain from their old lives. They are called to become the lamps that shine in the darkness. How can they do this? Paul explains that they need to denounce all misconduct. Here the word denounce does not mean to divulge an act down on secret but it means calling others to penitence by warning them of the imminent judgement so that they would come to the light and be saved. This is painful but once it is done and the sin revealed, the sin will lose its power and become neutralised. Therefore, we need to be alert with regards to sin.   

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Ephesians 5:22-33 (DB of 11/1/2017)

key verse: 33

THE CHRISTIAN FAMILY

In this section, Paul makes an analogy between Christ and the Church, based on Genesis 2:24. Of course, this text applies to human relationships but more importantly, it prefigures the intimate union between the heavenly Spouse and his bride, the Church. From this correlation between Christ and His Church, between husband and wife, Paul concludes four lessons:

1. Jesus is the head of the Church, His body. Man, due to his place in creation, has authority over the woman. 2. Christ asks obedience from His people who are subject to Him. In the same way, the wife must submit to her husband in everything (24), and this not only in public worship. 3. Jesus Christ gave His love to the Church and showed its depth in all that He accomplished in order to redeem her (25b). Inspired by the relationship Christ-Church, Paul states in verse 28 the culminating point: in the same way, husbands should love their wives. 4. Christ views His Church as a part of Himself, as His Body. He takes care of it. In mariage, likewise, the husband is responsible for his wife.

1. Wives, submit to our own husbands (22-24)

Authority belongs to both Christ and the married man. Wives must submit because husbands have the obligation of loving. A husband's tenderness is measured by the greater tenderness of Christ for His spouse. The purpose and effect of Christ's work for His Body is sanctification: the Church is taken out of the world of sin and placed in the world of holiness (26).

2. Husbands, love your wives (25-33)

The analogy continues. Just as husbands love their wives, Christ loves His Body, the Church. Husbands nourish and cherish their wives, which suggests deeply caring, and in the case of a spouse for his wife, implies "protection, affection and material provision". In the same way, the Lord takes care of the Church. Paul starts with the relationship between Christ and the Church and arrives at mariage, not vice versa, which is why we don't see the words "Wives, love your husbands". Christ loves the Church, and the Church obeys Him. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Ephesians 4:25 - 5:2 (daily bread of 8/01/2018)

Key verse: 5:2

BE IMITATORS OF GOD

Paul lists some virtues that we must acquire to become Christian. Then, he urges the faithful to be imitators of God. How the very imperfect creature can become an imitator of God ? 

1. Some virtues to imitate (25-32)

It's surprising that some faithful in Ephesus stole and lied. But it was the reality of the church. The Church is stranger, according to the words of a nameless Christian, there is full of fights and disorders in the bosom of the Church. That happened when the faithful didn't fight with God's word to obey it. All are sisters and brothers in Christ, so we must to love one another thinking more about their interest than our interest. Then, anger is an evil which prevents the Christian to bear fruit. The Christian must control it, but as we are in the weak flesh, it's easy to run wild to our anger, because we are naturally irascible, but even if we feel angry we musn't sin. We must make up before sunset. Otherwise, we will easily become a prey of Satan (27). We musnt' unfarily covet the possessions of one another, we rather must honestly work to earn our living and give to the needy people. Finally, we must not grieve the Holy Spirit. 

2. Be imitators of God (5:1-2)

The faithful are called to grow in their faith up to stature of Jesus Christ. To grow we need an example. God is our perfect example. We must imitate his attributes like love, peace, patience, goodness, etc. God so loved the world which was very hateful because of his disobedience that God gaves his only Son to save the world. We must above all imitate Christ's love. Christ had received all kinds of mockeries on the cross, but he remain silent because he wanted accomplish God's will to salvation of the sinners. So he has given himself to God refusing joy that was proposed to him and he became fragrance and sacrifice that found favor with God. We must imitate this Jesus up to become a sacrifice of ramson to the lost sheeps. So God abundantly blesses our to be a precious instrument of salvation of several persons.