Living the Christian life requires knowing the word of God well. In two encounters with some Bible experts, Jesus teaches us that there is something more to knowing God's word than just mastering the details of the words in the Bible. In the course of these encounters, Matthew shows us that Jesus is the One who has come to establish justice on the earth. His way is not through coercive force, but through the gentle and beautiful heart of God.
Jesus's invitation to discipleship is to let him rule our lives as our Lord and Teacher. He promises that if we do, he will save us. Further, the lessons he teaches, the way he guides us to live in righteousness brings rest to our souls rather than weariness.
Jesus introduced the famous images of "salt of the earth" and "city on a hill" in this early part of his Sermon on the Mount. He uses these images to teach his followers what he has called them to be for this world that is destined for destruction. If Jesus were to teach this lesson again today, rather than salt and lamplight, he might use the image of scented candles.
We are all a work in progress--God's work! This concluding section in the Gospel of Mark challenges disciples of Jesus to obey to the best of their understanding; to trust Lord Jesus (who loved them with his very life) to correct them and to help them grow in his way.
Jesus teaches those who would be disciples in the Kingdom of God to pay their taxes and to let God use life experiences to stamp his own image on our heart.
Sermon preached on Sunday evening, centered on Philippians 2:12-13.
There is no more challenging family name to live up to than that of the family of God. On the one hand, by God's grace we are adopted as God's children in Jesus Christ. On the other hand, being granted God's name calls us to live godly lives. This is precisely the thing that our helplessness against sin teaches us we cannot do.
However, there is another there is something else God does when he gives us his name. He also gives us his own Spirit, his own way of thinking and desiring. While this is something we must grow into over time and through experience, God himself helps us to do so. Our Father walks with us, helping us to live up to his holy name.