Every Last Word
Our natural tendency is to avoid people in need. Whether it’s someone asking for money or a friend in crisis, our automatic response is to get out of the way. And we have good reasons for it. But Jesus walks right into people’s pain and gets his hands dirty, much to the shock of the religious leaders.
Have you ever planted something that didn’t yield any produce? Maybe an apple tree, or a raspberry bush. If it never gave you any fruit, you probably tore it out and put something new in its place. Jesus speaks of us in the same way. If we don’t produce the fruit of repentance, we too will be cut down. Repentance is a matter of life and death. Which will you choose?
Would you be ready if Christ returned tonight? Would you have an answer if tomorrow you had to stand before God? We don’t know when Christ will come for the final judgment. But we must be ready for it. Jesus warns us that he will be coming back soon, and gives us hope that we can put our trust in Him.
“Ready or not, here I come!” These are the works spoken in the child’s game of hide and seek. But one day they will be spoken by Jesus Christ. Those who haven’t hidden themselves in Christ will find out that life is not a game. Our decisions have eternal consequences. How should we be living now to prepare for Christ’s return?
We all know that worrying is useless. It won’t give us more time in our day, and will cause us to work slower. Worrying won’t provide the clothes we need, or our food. Yet for some reason so many of us are addicted to this useless activity. Jesus commands his people not to worry and gives some very good reasons why we shouldn’t.
It seems to be ingrained in us to always want more. We want to get ahead, to make our lives pleasant and comfortable. We want to secure our future, so we prepare for retirement. It’s easy for us to be busy storing up our wealth, forgetting that we are told not to gain treasure here on earth, but rather in heaven.
We hear stories of people in other places and times boldly trusting God and proclaiming his name, even to death. That often seems very far away from the reality of our lives. But we, too, must courageously stand for Christ.
Jesus was not the “nice” guy we often make him out to be. He was notorious for creating uncomfortable situations, and sometimes offended the very people who were feeding him. Today we’ll be looking at one such dinner party. The chances of Jesus staying for dessert at this home are very slim – in fact, his hosts are beginning to cook up a very different plan for him.
When Christians get offended we often call it “righteous anger”. But usually it’s only our personal preferences or sensibilities that have been violated. Today we’ll learn about how to identify hypocrisy in ourselves, and what to do about it.
How often have you heard someone say “if God would just give me a sign, then I would believe in him”? Perhaps you’ve said it yourself. People have been asking for a sign to prove God’s existence for centuries. When skeptics asked Jesus to prove that he was God, he said their only sign would be the sign of Jonah.
It may look great to other people when we clean up our lives and live morally. But self-help methods end up hurting us in the end. The truth is we can’t help ourselves. When we try, we open ourselves to the attacks of the devil who loves to take possession of our souls. What we need is for Jesus Christ to take possession instead.