Still recovering a bit from my hospital stay today, but rejoicing at the grace of Jesus and His people as I went through that small ordeal. Today's readings begin with Genesis 47, where we see Joseph initiate a 20% tax on the Egyptians output, which seems like a pretty fair number if that is the sum total of taxes paid by the Egyptian people. Sounds like something of a flat tax proposal - but I note that Pharaoh keeps the land...so most Americans wouldn't go for that. Job 13 features our broken-hearted hero offering up many heart-wrenching lamentations to God. We begin a new book today - The Gospel According to Luke, and the whole first chapter is devoted to the preparation for the birth of Jesus. Thanks to Robert Murray M'Cheyne's reading plan, we are only reading the first 38 verses of Luke today. Zechariah's prophecy is fantastic, and underrated, as far as I'm concerned. Our focus passage is also from a new book, 1 Corinthians, and we are zeroing in on what is the essential core of the Christian message in this passage. Let's read it together, and then wrestle with the questions it raises.
Allow me to open with a question: What cause or what person are you a Champion for?
Let me ask it in a more pointed way: What are you an EVANGELIST for.
Mom and Dad - your kids need Jesus. You can discipline them, and you should. You can teach them, and you should. You can train them, and you should. You can educate them, and you should. YOU CANNOT CHANGE THEM. YOU CANNOT SAVE THEM. They need Jesus. Are you, in their eyes, primarily a champion of Jesus? ARE YOU, IN THEIR EYES, PRIMARILY AN EVANGELIST TO THEM OF JESUS?!
Day in, day out they need Jesus. As toddlers, as tweens, as teens and as adults - they need to be constantly seeing you point them to Jesus.
CONSIDER THIS A PARENTING PASSAGE, A PREACHING PASSAGE, A TEACHING PASSAGE, or a LEADING PASSAGE: 1 Corinthians 1:20 Where is the philosopher? Where is the scholar? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish? 21 For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached. 22 For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles.
Spurgeon: “The motto of all true servants of God must be, ‘We preach Christ; and him crucified.’ A sermon without Christ in it is like a loaf of bread without any flour in it. No Christ in your sermon, sir? Then go home, and never preach again until you have something worth preaching.” A sermon without Christ as its beginning, middle, and end is a mistake in conception and a crime in execution. However grand the language it will be merely much-ado-about-nothing if Christ be not there. And I mean by Christ not merely his example and the ethical precepts of his teaching, but his atoning blood, his wondrous satisfaction made for human sin, and the grand doctrine of look to Him in faith and live"
No Christ in your parenting, ma'am? Sir? No Christ in your marriage? No Christ in your pastoring? No Christ in your leading? Then scrap it all and start over again - with Christ as the keystone and the foundation. Parenting without Jesus in its beginning, middle and end is a mistake in conception and a crime in execution...it is much ado about nothing.
Hebrews 12:1-2 WE MUST BE EVANGELISTS WHO TEACH OUR KIDS TO FIX THEIR EYES ON JESUS: And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
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