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Archive for the ‘Parables’ Category

The son said, ‘Look how many years I’ve stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends? Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!’ His father said, ‘Son, you don’t understand.”
— Luke 15:29-31 (Message Bible)

Children have a keen sense of fairness. What parent of more than one child hasn’t heard “You’re not being fair!”

Jesus tells the famous parable of “The Prodigal Son” — a young man who rejected his family, took his inheritance early, and went to live the “good life!”. Life happened and it wasn’t good, he realized the real “good life” was back home. To his and his brother’s surprise the father not only took him back but fully restored him to the family giving the ring, robe, and shoes.

It didn’t seem fair to either. Neither child understood the most important factor of true fairness — LOVE. Learning selfless LOVE enables receiving undeserved forgiveness AND it enables rejoicing, without keeping score, when others receive.

Sound bite: “Love is the missing factor of human fairness.”
Prayer: “Jesus, put the love of God in both my heart and mind so I can understand your actions, forgiveness, and grace. Amen”

— fritz@langgang.com

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Set these persons over the people as officers of groups of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. Let them sit as judges for the people at all times. They should bring every major dispute to you, but they should decide all of the minor cases themselves.” — Exodus 18:21b-22

Moses, on the advice of his father-in-law, built an authority structure like a large pyramid — leaders of tens, fifties, hundreds, thousands with Moses on top. If someone had a need they would go to their local leader, working tougher issues up the pyramid as needed to Moses.

But the Church is NOT intended to be like that, though many are. Jesus had a different model.

But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice …. they know not the voice of strangers. — John 10:2-5

A cursory reading leads one to think Jesus is referring to himself as the shepherd but he is not!

Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. — John 10:7

If Jesus is the door who, then, are the shepherds? Our pastor’s, of course. And how should they lead? By example and by knowing their sheep by name. You can’t do that with a pyramid!

The New Testament model for Church is not a pyramid but a relationship with individual members. If your pastor doesn’t know your name find a real pastor. If you think God called you to pastor get to know your sheep not just your leaders. Eat with them, visit them, live with them, love them. You’ll be surprised at what you discover.

— fritz@langgang.com

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Worthiness

[H]eaven is like a king who prepared a wedding party for his son. But [the invited] paid no attention and went away—some to their fields, others to their businesses. … The king was angry. … “The wedding party is prepared, but those who were invited weren’t worthy … invite everyone you find to the wedding party.” — Jesus (Matthew 22:1-9 (CEB)

What determines the worthiness for heaven is not social status, intelligence, talent, even great character. What determines worthiness is the willingness to lay down one’s own agenda for God’s opportunities.

Sound bite: “God can build character, what he needs is willingness to drop our agenda for his.”
Prayer: Jesus, help me to be alert to your divine opportunities and never be too busy to say, “Yes”, to you. Amen.

— fritz@langgang.com

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Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old. — Matthew 13:52

One thing about living in one place a long time — stuff accumulates! I have some precious things kept for years but I am always adding something new to the mix. Jesus relates this to the Kingdom of God.

God never stopped creating. He still moves in new ways — new songs, new ideas, new people — yet he cherishes the old, too.

I have heard new people say, “Burn the old hymnals, we have something better!” No. The new is not all good and the old is not all bad. A wise householder keeps the best of both.

This is, I think, the essence of Paul’s admonition to the Corinthian believers when he wrote:

“Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are your’s; And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s. — 1st Corinthians 3:22-23

–fritz@langgang.com

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Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. — Matthew 13:47-50

Parables each have only a single lesson — and this one’s about a coming judgment.

Some think a God of love couldn’t possibly send poor defenceless creatures to a place of wailing and teeth gnashing. It’s clear Jesus did not think that way, he constantly warned judgment was coming. He often used examples of “good fish” and “bad fish”, “sheep” and “goats”, “wheat” and “weeds”.

His purpose was to encourage us to prepare while there is still time. We can be changed from bad fish to good, from goats to sheep, from weeds to wheat — he is in the life changing business!

The Bible gives a long list of the kinds of people that won’t make it to heaven,1 then adds

“And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” — 1st Corinthians 6:11

— fritz@langgang.com
1. 1st Corinthians 6:9-11

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Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. — Matthew 13:47-50

Heaven’s kingdom has quite a draw. So many want and expect to go there — just not yet, and not the way the Bible instructs.

Some are like Mr. Formalist and Mr. Hypocrisy in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. Unlike true followers, they climb over the wall instead of entering by the gate. They saw no need to do things God’s way, theirs was easier. But they received no scroll and knew nothing of God’s path so eventually fell away.

But all those who come to Christ with a true heart of repentance have nothing to fear. Jesus said,

“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. – John 6:37

— fritz@langgang.com

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Pearl Merchant

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” — Jesus (Matthew 13:45-46)

One parable has Jesus saying Heaven’s kingdom is like a treasure1 then, in the very next verse, he says it’s also like a Merchant who sells everything he has to buy a valuable pearl! To understand the message it’s essential to get the characters right.

If Heaven is the Merchant, who is the pearl and what is the currency?

There is no money in heaven; the only thing of value is God, himself. And the pearl? Why, it is you (and me)!

God considers us of such value he spent his most precious treasure, Jesus, to obtain us forever.

— fritz@langgang.com
See Also: “Heaven Is Like … Buried Treasure” – August 1, 2010

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