Jesus condemned the scribes and Pharisees for neglecting “the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faithfulness” in Matthew 23:23. This lesson will consider why he included faithfulness in his list of weightier matters, how God develops it in the Bible, and the place it should consequently have within our lives.
John 14:15 – Few things make Christians more uncomfortable than the topic of evangelism, yet the Bible emphasizes its essential place in the church’s identity and mission in the world. This lesson will consider the place that Jesus gave to love in evangelism and what it means for our practice of evangelism today.
Rather than exalting God through the spiritual authority they claimed, Jesus condemned the scribes and Pharisees for exalting themselves at the expense of the people they claimed to teach and lead. In particular, Jesus censored them for neglecting the mercy, one of the “weightier matters” of God’s law. This lesson will consider mercy’s place in the Bible and in our lives
James 1:17 — The connection between the Old and New Testaments offers one example where readers today sometimes miss the elements God intends to unite the two parts of the Bible. We will therefore take time to explore some of the features of the Old Testament that extend into the New Testament, their connection to Jesus, and how Jesus’ place in them both creates continuity and change.
Job 31:1-12. In this passage, Job is defending himself against the accusation of adultery. This is quite an accusation for a guy who has just lost everything. The Bible understands a lifelong commitment to purity can be challenging. And so we get more than a list of rules. We see in Job’s response that his idea of a pure heart goes beyond not committing adultery. This is surprisingly similar to Jesus! For Job, a pure heart that translated into pure actions protected the well-being of his family and resulted in a community better able to recognize the values & purposes of God.
We thank our God for you always. Report from Mel Latorre on the work in Brazil.
Jesus’ identification of justice as one of the “weightier matters of the law” did not offer a new insight to the audience listening to his condemnation of the scribes and Pharisees. The Bible’s persistent teachings about God’s justice provided an anchor for the Jewish peoples’ hopes; they were awaiting the day when God would exercise His justice on their behalf and free them from oppressing nations. Even though the people listening to Jesus teach would have given God’s justice a “weightier” place, Jesus applied God’s justice in a way that resonated with the Bible’s teachings while, at the same time, challenging conventional understandings. We will therefore consider the weightier place Jesus gave to justice and explore the place it should have within our lives.
In Matthew 23:23, Jesus indicated that justice, mercy, and faithfulness hold priority in obedience to God. This lesson will consider the balance Jesus’ comment pointed toward and will explore other passages that help map out that balance and the place it ought to have in our lives as followers of Jesus.
Matthew 5:33-37 God is a God of truth, honesty and plain speech. He calls His people to tell the truth, even when it hurts.
Selfless & Faithful: The story of Ruth
1 Corinthians chapter eight contains part of Paul’s response to a question raised by the Christians in the city of Corinth – he told them to think less about their rights and more about their selfless service to one another. This lesson examines Paul’s response as part of our series examining the selflessness that ought to define our lives as followers of Jesus.
Paul told Timothy to give attention to the public reading of scripture. This lesson uses that instruction as the motivation for its public reading, and exploration, of Genesis 18.
Luke 9:23-26 The four gospels repeatedly record Jesus warning the crowds of interested people who listened to him about the high cost associated with following him. This lesson considers that cost and its meaning for our lives.
John 14:25-26 Even the Holy Spirit is depicted in Scripture as “He”. Why is God, an eternal Spirit, careful to depict Himself in this way? There’s something necessary about a male authority figure who is both firm and kind.
Jesus never seemed to shy away from drawing lines in the sand. Matthew mentions one of those lines when, in Matthew 20:20-28, he records Jesus telling his disciples, “whoever would be great among you must be your servant”. That teaching illustrates the important place Jesus gave to the combined ideas of selflessness and service and how they offer a surprising, counter-cultural expectation that forms the heart of being a Christian
Mark’s quick-paced introduction of Jesus’ ministry offers a very compacted but deliberately told account of the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. This lesson will explore that account and consider what insights it offers us into Jesus and the place he should have within our lives
1 Kings 21 Life can easily consume me with thoughts of, well, me! We covet and do not get, which leads to strife. But the Bible’s teaching helps us to rejoice with others, rather than take from them. We also learn to appreciate the value of work and to not look past others in need. Jesus says: “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” Luke 12:15
Matthew 5:43-48–Jesus’ challenging teachings include his repeated command to love one’s enemies. This lesson concludes a series examining the place love ought to have within the lives of those who follow Jesus by considering his teachings about loving one’s enemies, its place within the Bible’s larger body of teachings, and the ways it ought to express itself within our lives
The Bible repeatedly instructs its readers to love others as they love themselves. Struggles with our sense of self-worth, however, make it difficult for us to fulfill that command. As we continue to explore the love that should characterize us as followers of Jesus, we will consider the love that we should have for ourselves and how that love motivates our proper treatment of other people
Paul made a sweeping comment in Romans 13:8-10 when he wrote, “love is the fulfilling of the law”. He had good reason for that understanding – Jesus himself offered the same assessment in Matthew 22:34-40. We will therefore consider both Paul and Jesus’ understanding about the love we should have for one another by trying to see it within the larger biblical story