Many or few in the Kingdom of God?

Luke 13.18-30

Many of us have favorite subjects to talk about. We gravitate to them without thinking.

When he’s not talking about going to heaven, our brother Paulo’s conversation turns toward working out at the gym (he owns one) and soccer (he used to be a professional player).

Jesus had his favorite subjects, also. His teaching might well be summed up in the phrase, “Kingdom of God.” He uses it in Luke 13.18, 20, at the beginning of our text, and again at the end of it, in vv. 28 and 29. Continue reading “Many or few in the Kingdom of God?”

The car illustration: works versus doing

It all began last week in a Bible study at a retirement home. The focus was upon a familiar parable, The Good Samaritan. Suddenly, one of the seniors exclaimed, “All of our lives we have heard sermons that, ‘We are not saved by works.’ Yet Jesus’ parable is all about what we do!” She had just finished reading some texts highlighted on her study sheet, specifically Luke 10:25,28,37.

A teachable moment had arrived. Positive instruction could be shared about Jesus’ parable. The breadth of Paul’s usage of “works” could be underscored. Furthermore, the distinction between trying to be justified by works and doing something could be explained. Continue reading “The car illustration: works versus doing”

Grace & making effort: Are they compatible?

We know the message and it comforts our hearts. In his grace God pours out salvation upon us, the undeserving. We can be redeemed, made holy and adopted as God’s people because our salvation rests upon Christ, not our righteousness. Furthermore, the cleansing power of the Messiah’s blood is greater than any sin we might bring to him.

So, how compatible is grace with the command to make every effort to live up to God’s calling? If we feel like these are opposing ideas, we would not be alone. Continue reading “Grace & making effort: Are they compatible?”