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. 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Ephesians 4:17-24 (DB of 6/1/2018)

Key verse: 24

A FEW RULES FOR CHRISTIAN BEHAVIOR

In this passage and the following, Paul focuses on the Christians in pagan churches, showing them the path to take after conversion.

1. The old man (17-22)

Up to now, the pagans had lived the only way they knew, as described in verses 17-19. Yet, after conversion, they gave up their bad habits and adopted new behavior which affected their personality and life. The apostle stands his ground concerning the main cause for idolatry and excess living that disfigured greco-roman life in the first century. It was, in sum, the vanity of their intelligence, and it had two consequences. A man non-renewed was darkened in his understanding of spiritual reality. He suffered due to separation from God, being guilty of ignoring and refusing to submit to Him. Such resistance inevitably leads to numbness and insensitivity towards God, what Paul calls "hardness of heart" (18).

2. The new man (23-24)

Because of Jesus, the pagans now shed their old nature. The call to shed the old man like we shed clothing may seem to be an act of despair, since the fallen creature finds himself in a desperate situation. Yet, Paul addresses Christians for whom the renewing of the spirit, started during conversion, is a continuous experience. Grace, like nature, detests emptiness. Quiting bad habits does not suffice. We must also be clothed with the new man, given during the new birth through the Holy Spirit. This second nature must dominate more and more a Christian's moral life, helping him to triumph over his internal struggles. Regeneration and control through the Spirit restore the image of God which had been shattered by sin. The corrupted man who has now been redeemed by Christ and transformed by the Spirit finds again what he had lost in Adam: justice (being right before the Creator) and holiness (the condition necessary for communing with a holy God). Both are required by the truth of God. 

Friday, January 5, 2018

Ephesians 4:8-16 (DB of 5/1/2018)

UNITY OF THE FAITH (B)
Key verse  4:13
Paul continues talking about the unity in the faith. Not only is unity necessary between people of different origins but it is also necessary in the Body of Christ.
1. Jesus went up and thereafter he descended (8-12)  
Paul underlines the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the living hope in God's Kingdom given that it is the only efficient element that can reunite everyone. Jesus who is Spirit (2Co 3:17) came down on the Day of Pentecost in order to give man the gift of God. God's goal is to build the Body of Christ after Jesus's departure. Jesus who then came down established his servants to edify the Church. All of its ministers are men of God. Firstly, there are the apostles and the prophets who make up the foundation,(2 :20) then there are the evangelists like Philip and Timothy and lastly there are the pastors and the teachers (two different titles for the same person) who are perhaps in charge of the churches that the apostles had built. They play a triple folded role : perfect the saints' faith, serve and edify the Church.
2. The growth of the Church (13-16)
During His visit once more on Earth Jesus wanted to make the Churches grow in their faith. Becoming untied in the faith is a sign of great maturity for the saints. All Christians must have the same knowledge and relationship with the Son of God. As their faith grows, the Christian becomes a made man in the faith who continues to grow in order to imitate the Christ. The Church is constantly under attack and the faithful ones are called to defend it. However, if they are not mature in their faith, they are easy prey for Satan and fall for any human philosophy. By their human traditions, men trick and seduce the newly converted. Therefore, Jesus sent them His servants especially the teachers who can defend their faith by the Word. The truth mixed with love is so powerful that it can counter Satan's lies and his attempts to manipulate fragile minded men. It can also make Christians grow. Each part of the Church, be it big or small, is paramount in order to make the Church united in Christ who is its leader. The Christian has to follow his example to grow. The Church has to edify itself continuously in the discipline of love that is the most sublime attribute (16).

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Ephesians 4:1-7 (DB of 4/1/2018)

THE UNITY OF FAITH

key verse: 3

Here, Paul highlights the unity of faith. In the church, different types of people were mixed: on one hand, people of pagan origin; on the other, Judeo-Christians. Because of their different backgrounds, it was hard for them to form one body. This is why Paul emphasizes unity. 

1. Maintain the unity of the Spirit (1-3)

Paul calls himself a prisoner for the Lord. He didn't have liberty in Jesus, for he had been bought by Jesus' blood. Now, he is the property of Jesus. Paul exhorted the Ephesians to walk in a manner worthy of their calling. If we have been bought by Jesus' blood, though we were unforgiveable sinners, we must from now on live according to the grace that has been given us. Despite the present hardships of our mission, we must rejoice like Paul as he did in the remaining suffering of Christ.To this end, we must be humble, gentle, patient and loving in order to build up the church and spread the Gospel. We must have the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

2. The uniqueness of the object of belief (4-7)

Physically, we have one body, just as we have one Spirit. After being born again, we have one hope. At the time of this birth, we obtained a new hope and a holy calling. We did not choose God, but God chose us so that we would go and bear fruit. Moreover, the God in whom we believe and the Lord in whom we trust are one and our faith is also one and unique for all without distinction of background. It is only the measure of grace that differs from one to another. Everyone must accept this measure of grace without comparing himself to others or causing discontent. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Ephesians 3 :8-13 (Daily Bread of 2/1/2018)

HUMILITY AND PAUL'S MISSION
Key verse 3:8
Here Paul speaks about his identity and his mission. In this way he reveals how much he is a man of God worthy of his title. Let's learn about his attitude sp that that we will be able to do the mission that we have been given.
1. The least amongst the saints (8-11)  
Paul considers himself as being the least amongst the apostles. Once he confessed that by God's grace "I am what I am". In spite of his vast knowledge and his great theology, he was humble as was Moses in the Old Testament. The more humility that is involved the more one's divine mission will excell by he who carried it out. Through Paul's preaching many souls were able to get to know Jesus's unfathomable riches. Paul's mission is twofold : first of all he has to reveal God's mystery to the World in order to build a Church and then to manifest God's wisdom in the spiritual World in the Heavens through the Church members' faith.
2. They are your glory  (12-13)
We have faith in him and this faith makes us free to come before God. When we were living in sin we were unable to come before Him as we feared His jugement. However, now that we have faith in Jesus's blood which was abundantly and freely shed for our sins, we can boldly enter into God's presence. Paul encourages the Ephesians to not become discouraged because of their tribulations. Once Paul said that his flesh suffered for those who did not take part in the suffering lf Christ's body ; the Church (Col 1 :25). These tribulations are thus a necessity of beneficial value for the Church.  Even though they were, from a human's perspective, little glorious and full of shame, to Paul they were a source of exceedingly great joy. From now on the Ephesians would no longer have any fear but they boast and glorify God's name before their neighbours. It's a really big privilege to have such a great man of God who is ready to die for Christ.

Ephesians 2:11-22 (Daily Bread of 29/12/2017)

HE IS OUR PEACE
Key verse 2:14
Jesus played a big role in human history. This role is perfectly resumed in verse 14. This work also takes place powerfully in every man's heart.
 
1.  Jesus destroys the wall of separation (11-15) 
The history of mankind is covered with division, conflict and  non-stop antagonism. The history between the Jews and the Pagans goes beyond imagination. They hated one another and kept themselves clear one from the other. The Jews condescendingly saw the Pagans as creatures of lesser value whereas the Pagans saw the Jews as arrogant helpless people. The Pagans, who were uncircumsised, were also also look down upon and prohibited from having any rights. The wall of separation between the two was thus far harder that of the wall of Berlin or the lne between Mexico and the United States. It was indestructible. However, Jesus came and he died on the cross in order to break it down. He therefore reconciliated these two groups of people who were normally without hope of reconciliation. Therefore, the enemity was changed into perfect peace. Moreover, on an individual level Jesus's death annuls the commandements's stipulations. The Jews wanted to justify themselves through the law and the Pagans through their personal capacities and intelligence, but the wall between them and God remained intact. However, Jesus destroyed this wall by his death on the cross so as to give profound peace to every single one of them.
2. The two groups form one single dwelling place  (16-22)
Paul explained that through Jesus's death they were able to come together. Jesus is the good news of salvation for them both. From now on they can come before God as they are sanctified by Jesus's blood and thus members of God's family. Jesus crucified for our sins is the cornerstone and the saints and the apostles the means of spreading the Word of God. God made one people out of the Jews and the Pagans by giving them the same teaching through the apostles. Therefore, similarly to the stones that form a building when they are well put into place, these two groups come together perfectly to God's house which is the Church. Individually every one is a living stone in spite of their differences of personality, background, lifestyles and philosophy they form one solid building made by God : the Church.