Lectionary Scriptures and Comments

Posts tagged ‘Christian’

“No other foundation…”

February 23, 2014 –– Seventh Sunday after Epiphany

Lectionary Scriptures:

Leviticus 19:1-18

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 2Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy. 3You shall each revere your mother and father, and you shall keep my sabbaths: I am the LORD your God. 4Do not turn to idols or make cast images for yourselves: I am the LORD your God. 5When you offer a sacrifice of well-being to the LORD, offer it in such a way that it is acceptable on your behalf. 6It shall be eaten on the same day you offer it, or on the next day; and anything left over until the third day shall be consumed in fire. 7If it is eaten at all on the third day, it is an abomination; it will not be acceptable. 8All who eat it shall be subject to punishment, because they have profaned what is holy to the LORD; and any such person shall be cut off from the people.9When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the LORD your God.
11You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; and you shall not lie to one another. 12And you shall not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God: I am the LORD. 13You shall not defraud your neighbor; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning. 14You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the LORD. 15You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor. 16You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am the LORD. 17You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. 18You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

Psalm 119:33-40

ה He (5th letter of the hebrew alphabet)

33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes,
And I shall keep it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law;
Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
35 Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,
For I delight in it.
36 Incline my heart to Your testimonies,
And not to covetousness.
37 Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things,
And revive me in Your way.[a]
38 Establish Your word to Your servant,
Who is devoted to fearing You.
39 Turn away my reproach which I dread,
For Your judgments are good.
40 Behold, I long for Your precepts;
Revive me in Your righteousness.

1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23
10According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it.
11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. 12Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13the work of each builder will become visible, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done. 14If what has been built on the foundation survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15If the work is burned up, the builder will suffer loss; the builder will be saved, but only as through fire.
16Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
18Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 20and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.”
21So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours,22whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all belong to you, 23and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

Matthew 5:38-48
38“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.
43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Comments
In 1996 the Historical Committee of the Mennonite Church (Old Mennonite) published a commemorative fraktur for the 500th anniversary of the birth of Menno Simons. At the bottom of the fraktur, printed on the sturdy stones, is the Bible verse from First Corinthians 3:11:
11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ

This Bible verse was said to be Menno Simons’ favorite. The Mennonites were named after Menno Simons. He was one of the early Anabaptist leaders in Europe who survived persecution and lived long enough to have his name associated with the Anabaptist movement, sometimes referred to as the radical wing of the Great Reformation. Menno was born in 1496 and died peacefully in 1561. He became a Catholic priest in the Netherlands at the age of 28 and over the next dozen years or so he wrestled with the corruption of the church, the interpretation of the scriptures, and the social and nationalism movements of his day. His commitment to the reforms of the peaceful Anabaptist movement solidified when his brother, Peter Simons, was killed by authorities. Peter was part of a group who took over a monastery and attempted to hold it by force. Menno did not agree with using violence to bring about reform and changes but he sympathized with need to reform the church.
Author Phyllis Tickle believes the church is going through another period of upheaval similar to the Great Reformation of the 1500’s. In her book The Great Emergence (Baker, 2008) she notes that significant changes tend to come every five hundred or so years, including the coming of Christ in the first century, approximately 500 years after the destruction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. The temple was replaced by a different form of Judaism more centered in synagogue and scripture. The Jesus movement reinterpreted that understanding and the Christian church emerged. With the decline of the Roman Empire the church consolidated under Gregory the Great in the fifth and sixth centuries. Tickle argues that the pattern continues with the Great Schism of the 11th century which generated the Catholic and Orthodox streams, and the Reformation of the 16th century which generated many tributaries. From this historical trend, Tickle deduces that, here in the 2000s, we’re poised for another such seismic change. She calls it The Great Emergence.
What is at stake in these times of upheaval has been the question of authority. Where does the buck stop? Our denomination, the new Mennonite Church USA is engaged with that question with the latest round of discussions and actions related to how we deal with sexual minorities in the church. Some are convinced that the authority of the scripture says one thing. Some are convinced that the authority of scripture says something else. Some say the authority of the church documents are what we agree to follow. Others say, no, they are not those kind of documents. Where does the buck stop on this topic?
In some ways, the texts for this Sunday are foundational assertions. The Deuteronomy texts invoke the commandments given to Moses as authoritative. Psalm 119 affirms and celebrates the following of the law. The New Testament texts, of course, turn to Jesus the Christ as the foundation of faith.

The Apostle Paul declares to the church that they are the dwelling place of God. We have used this image in a more individualistic way to feel guilty about using our bodies in self-destructive ways – smoking, excessive eating, drinking, sexual excess and the variety of other ways we indulge our bodies in harmful ways. We have this idea that God’s temple should be a place of purity, holiness and moderation. Whether Paul is talking about our individual bodies or about the church, the community of Christ-followers, there is still a sense of intimacy with God’s Spirit that is conveyed. We are in union with God, a central truth of the Christian faith. This union leads to unconditional love and Paul’s words about that kind of love are expressed eloquently a few chapters later in his letter to the Corinthian church – “If I do not have love, I am nothing.”
The text from Matthew’s Gospel offers the teaching of Jesus on the everyday implications of living in union with God and expressing love for all, including enemies.
Walking in the way of Jesus, in union with God, led by God’s Spirit and driven by divine love, is a demanding standard for our individual lives and for the church. Is it the cornerstone of our faith?

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Aside

Who’s Counting?111212

English: Rib fractures in an infant secondary ...

English: Rib fractures in an infant secondary to child abuse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who’s Counting?111212

 

This blog comes to you from the people at Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

 

Today’s Scriptures Click the following links to read today’s scriptures or scroll to the very bottom of this blog post for those scriptures also. Lectionary Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

 

Psalm 94 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2094&version=MSG

Ruth 1:1-22 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers%2036:1-13&version=MSG

1 Timothy 5:1-8 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Timothy%205:1-8&version=MSG

 

Who’s Counting? 111212

 

Whenever we talk to folks from the larger church—the church beyond our community—the first question we are asked is—how many people are attending your church now? Or even worse, what are your tithes amounting to?

 

I argue, and some think I am making excuses, when I explain that what we all do as a church is uncountable and should always be uncounted and uncountable. I argue that what we do as a church ‘doesn’t count’ and doesn’t add up.

 

A young man we knew is an example. He had been the victim of severe child abuse and child neglect, as the child of an alcoholic family, and found himself always resorting to violence to protect a younger, mentally disabled brother. But he tried to seetle down, tried to express his present love for his wife and 4 small children in a Christian way.

 

Whenever we talked he was deeply touched. He was deeply hurt by his past hurts, but absolutely determined that the violence and pain of his childhood would not reach his children and home.

 

But his demons pursued him, and the drugs he took for peace did not work, and his life often erupted in violence, often in situations very similar to the protection he had needed as a child, and never got. He protected a nephew, a niece, a neighbor child and so on, but he protected them sometimes with his fists, or once, with a baseball bat, and his rage was a mental illness.

 

But he saw himself as a peaceful Mennonite, and saw himself as a disciple, even though he only came to church once, and limited his ‘churchiness’ to conversations and prayers with the ministers and others.

 

Last Friday, he took a gun and shot himself in the head. The rage finally has ended.

 

Should we count him as part of our church? Should we count him as one in need of the peace of Jesus Christ?

 

Pray for peace.

Bill

 

Prayer List: Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).

Pray with us!

We are praying as a church, and attempting to follow the centuries’ old tradition of praying with other Christians three times a day. We are following the prayer liturgy at www.commonprayer.net

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO Permission is granted for one-time non-commercial use with proper attribution.

Subscribe to our blog! Delivery daily by e-mail. Click the button on the right.

Psalm 94

Numbers 36:1-13

Romans 5:6-11

 

Psalm 94

The Message (MSG)

94 1-2 God, put an end to evil;
avenging God, show your colors!
Judge of the earth, take your stand;
throw the book at the arrogant.

3-4 God, the wicked get away with murder—
how long will you let this go on?
They brag and boast
and crow about their crimes!

5-7 They walk all over your people, God,
exploit and abuse your precious people.
They take out anyone who gets in their way;
if they can’t use them, they kill them.
They think, “God isn’t looking,
Jacob’s God is out to lunch.”

8-11 Well, think again, you idiots,
fools—how long before you get smart?
Do you think Ear-Maker doesn’t hear,
Eye-Shaper doesn’t see?
Do you think the trainer of nations doesn’t correct,
the teacher of Adam doesn’t know?
God knows, all right—
knows your stupidity,
sees your shallowness.

12-15 How blessed the man you train, God,
the woman you instruct in your Word,
Providing a circle of quiet within the clamor of evil,
while a jail is being built for the wicked.
God will never walk away from his people,
never desert his precious people.
Rest assured that justice is on its way
and every good heart put right.

16-19 Who stood up for me against the wicked?
Who took my side against evil workers?
If God hadn’t been there for me,
I never would have made it.
The minute I said, “I’m slipping, I’m falling,”
your love, God, took hold and held me fast.
When I was upset and beside myself,
you calmed me down and cheered me up.

20-23 Can Misrule have anything in common with you?
Can Troublemaker pretend to be on your side?
They ganged up on good people,
plotted behind the backs of the innocent.
But God became my hideout,
God was my high mountain retreat,
Then boomeranged their evil back on them:
for their evil ways he wiped them out,
our God cleaned them out for good.

Numbers 36:1-13

The Message (MSG)

The Daughters of Zelophehad

36 The heads of the ancestral clan of Gilead son of Makir, the son of Manasseh—they were from the clans of the descendants of Joseph—approached Moses and the leaders who were heads of the families in the People of Israel.

2-4 They said, “When God commanded my master to hand over the inheritance-lands by lot to the People of Israel, my master was also commanded by God to hand over the inheritance-land of Zelophehad our brother to his daughters. But what happens if they marry into another tribe in the People of Israel? Their inheritance-land will be taken out of our ancestral tribe and get added into the tribe into which they married. And then when the year of Jubilee comes for the People of Israel their inheritance will be lumped in with the inheritance of the tribe into which they married—their land will be removed from our ancestors’ inheritance!”

5-9 Moses, at God’s command, issued this order to the People of Israel: “What the tribe of the sons of Joseph says is right. This is God’s command to Zelophehad’s daughters: They are free to marry anyone they choose as long as they marry within their ancestral clan. The inheritance-land of the People of Israel must not get passed around from tribe to tribe. No, keep the tribal inheritance-land in the family. Every daughter who inherits land, regardless of the tribe she is in, must marry a man from within her father’s tribal clan. Every Israelite is responsible for making sure the inheritance stays within the ancestral tribe. No inheritance-land may be passed from tribe to tribe; each tribe of the People of Israel must hold tight to its own land.”

10-12 Zelophehad’s daughters did just as God commanded Moses. Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Noah, Zelophehad’s daughters, all married their cousins on their father’s side. They married within the families of Manasseh son of Joseph and their inheritance-lands stayed in their father’s family.

13 These are the commands and regulations that God commanded through the authority of Moses to the People of Israel on the Plains of Moab at Jordan-Jericho.

1 Timothy 5:1-8

The Message (MSG)

The Family of Faith

5 1-2 Don’t be harsh or impatient with an older man. Talk to him as you would your own father, and to the younger men as your brothers. Reverently honor an older woman as you would your mother, and the younger women as sisters.

3-8 Take care of widows who are destitute. If a widow has family members to take care of her, let them learn that religion begins at their own doorstep and that they should pay back with gratitude some of what they have received. This pleases God immensely. You can tell a legitimate widow by the way she has put all her hope in God, praying to him constantly for the needs of others as well as her own. But a widow who exploits people’s emotions and pocketbooks—well, there’s nothing to her. Tell these things to the people so that they will do the right thing in their extended family. Anyone who neglects to care for family members in need repudiates the faith. That’s worse than refusing to believe in the first place.

Aside

A Certain Christian Selfishness 102512

A bible from 1859.

A bible from 1859. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Selfish Gene

The Selfish Gene (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Certain Christian Selfishness 102512

This blog comes to you from the people at Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

Today’s Scriptures Click the following links to read today’s scriptures or scroll to the very bottom of this blog post for those scriptures also. Lectionary Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

Psalm 126 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20126&version=MSG

Jeremiah 23:9-15 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah%2023:9-15&version=MSG

Hebrews 7:1-10 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews%207:1-10&version=MSG

A Certain Christian Selfishness 102512

This is a day late, but we’re still here!

Last evening I fell asleep with these scriptures and today’s blog on my mind. Something that bothers me, and concerns me is that at the base of many scriptures, including today’s verses is a certain selfishness.

Don’t worry, I have different but also intense misgivings about every world religion, and they are more serious than this concern. I would mention some of those concerns about other world religions, but it might cause riots in certain world capitals! But, back to my concern about selfishness, and Christianity.

Jesus does so much for os, and God does so much. They do everything, and I’m not complaining, but last evening and this morning I was so tired, I nearly had to roll and fall out of bed to get to the coffee pot, and start again. And I prayed, once again, for God to give us strength to continue, and for God to send Jesus to us all. I’ve never failed to receive, receive, receive.

But, is this why I’m a Christian, because I can .get, get, get’? Sometimes, the Bible focuses on what God did for Israel, or what God is doing and will do for Israel, and sometimes Jesus focuses on what God does for us and can do for us.

But, we miss that the Bible is really telling us what we should be doing in God’s name, in Jesus’ name.

Pray for peace.

Bill

Prayer List: Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).

Pray with us!

We are praying as a church, and attempting to follow the centuries’ old tradition of praying with other Christians three times a day. We are following the prayer liturgy at www.commonprayer.net

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO Permission is granted for one-time non-commercial use with proper attribution.

Subscribe to our blog! Delivery daily by e-mail. Click the button on the right.

Psalm 126

Jeremiah 23:9-15

Hebrews 7:1-10

Psalm 126

The Message (MSG)

A Pilgrim Song

126 1-3 It seemed like a dream, too good to be true,
when God returned Zion’s exiles.
We laughed, we sang,
we couldn’t believe our good fortune.
We were the talk of the nations—
“God was wonderful to them!”
God was wonderful to us;
we are one happy people.

4-6 And now, God, do it again—
bring rains to our drought-stricken lives
So those who planted their crops in despair
will shout hurrahs at the harvest,
So those who went off with heavy hearts
will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.

Jeremiah 23:9-15

The Message (MSG)

The “Everything Will Turn Out Fine” Sermon

9 My head is reeling,
my limbs are limp,
I’m staggering like a drunk,
seeing double from too much wine—
And all because of God,
because of his holy words.

10-12 Now for what God says regarding the lying prophets:

“Can you believe it? A country teeming with adulterers!
faithless, promiscuous idolater-adulterers!
They’re a curse on the land.
The land’s a wasteland.
Their unfaithfulness
is turning the country into a cesspool,
Prophets and priests devoted to desecration.
They have nothing to do with me as their God.
My very own Temple, mind you—
mud-spattered with their crimes.” God’s Decree.
“But they won’t get by with it.
They’ll find themselves on a slippery slope,
Careening into the darkness,
somersaulting into the pitch-black dark.
I’ll make them pay for their crimes.
It will be the Year of Doom.” God’s Decree.

13-14 “Over in Samaria I saw prophets
acting like silly fools—shocking!
They preached using that no-god Baal for a text,
messing with the minds of my people.
And the Jerusalem prophets are even worse—horrible!—
sex-driven, living a lie,
Subsidizing a culture of wickedness,
and never giving it a second thought.
They’re as bad as those wretches in old Sodom,
the degenerates of old Gomorrah.”

15 So here’s the Message to the prophets from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:

“I’ll cook them a supper of maggoty meat
with after-dinner drinks of strychnine.
The Jerusalem prophets are behind all this.
They’re the cause of the godlessness polluting this country.”

Hebrews 7:1-10

The Message (MSG)

Melchizedek, Priest of God

7 1-3 Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of the Highest God. He met Abraham, who was returning from “the royal massacre,” and gave him his blessing. Abraham in turn gave him a tenth of the spoils. “Melchizedek” means “King of Righteousness.” “Salem” means “Peace.” So, he is also “King of Peace.” Melchizedek towers out of the past—without record of family ties, no account of beginning or end. In this way he is like the Son of God, one huge priestly presence dominating the landscape always.

4-7 You realize just how great Melchizedek is when you see that Father Abraham gave him a tenth of the captured treasure. Priests descended from Levi are commanded by law to collect tithes from the people, even though they are all more or less equals, priests and people, having a common father in Abraham. But this man, a complete outsider, collected tithes from Abraham and blessed him, the one to whom the promises had been given. In acts of blessing, the lesser is blessed by the greater.

8-10 Or look at it this way: We pay our tithes to priests who die, but Abraham paid tithes to a priest who, the Scripture says, “lives.” Ultimately you could even say that since Levi descended from Abraham, who paid tithes to Melchizedek, when we pay tithes to the priestly tribe of Levi they end up with Melchizedek.

Aside

A Ministry for Crooks and Whores 091512

Perpetually pink

Perpetually pink (Photo credit: J. Star)

A Ministry for Crooks and Whores 091512

 This blog comes to you from the people at Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

Today’s Scriptures Click the following links to read today’s scriptures or scroll to the very bottom of this blog post for those scriptures also:

 

Psalm 116:1-9 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20116:1-9&version=MSG

Joshua 6:22-27 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joshua%206:22-27&version=MSG

Matthew 21:23-32 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2021:23-32&version=MSG

 

A Ministry for Crooks and Whores 091512

Today’s gospel from Matthew quotes Jesus teaching that ‘crooks and whores are going to precede you into God’s kingdom.’ Sometimes we may wonder why we don’t have more churches in the poor part of town, and why don’t more Christians visit the prisons to find and serve these ‘crooks and whores’. Sometime between Jesus’ time on earth and now, Christians became special, famous, exalted people, in their own eyes, and became a religion of an upper class of people. We are often not the ‘crooks and whores’ Jesus seeks, and who will enter the kingdom first. And often we do not welcome such people into fancy and expensive cathedral churches.

Instead, we need to remember how to preach in alleys, in bars, in whorehouses, in prisons and in the most horrible and disgusting of human environments.

Will we find our Jesus already there, in the service of the outcasts?

Pray for us all, and pray for peace,

Bill

 

Prayer List: Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).

Pray with us!

We are praying as a church, and attempting to follow the centuries’ old tradition of praying with other Christians three times a day. We are following the prayer liturgy at www.commonprayer.net

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO Permission is granted for one-time non-commercial use with proper attribution.

Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

 

Subscribe to our blog! Delivery daily by e-mail. Click the button on the right.

 

Psalm 116:1-9

Joshua 6:22-27

Matthew 21:23-32

 

Psalm 116:1-9

The Message (MSG)

116 1-6 I love God because he listened to me,
listened as I begged for mercy.
He listened so intently
as I laid out my case before him.
Death stared me in the face,
hell was hard on my heels.
Up against it, I didn’t know which way to turn;
then I called out to God for help:
“Please, God!” I cried out.
“Save my life!”
God is gracious—it is he who makes things right,
our most compassionate God.
God takes the side of the helpless;
when I was at the end of my rope, he saved me.

7-8 I said to myself, “Relax and rest.
God has showered you with blessings.
Soul, you’ve been rescued from death;
Eye, you’ve been rescued from tears;
And you, Foot, were kept from stumbling.”

9-11 I’m striding in the presence of God,
alive in the land of the living!
I stayed faithful, though bedeviled,
and despite a ton of bad luck,
Despite giving up on the human race,
saying, “They’re all liars and cheats.”

Joshua 6:22-27

The Message (MSG)

22-24 Joshua ordered the two men who had spied out the land, “Enter the house of the harlot and rescue the woman and everyone connected with her, just as you promised her.” So the young spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, mother, and brothers—everyone connected with her. They got the whole family out and gave them a place outside the camp of Israel. But they burned down the city and everything in it, except for the gold and silver and the bronze and iron vessels—all that they put in the treasury of God’s house.

25 But Joshua let Rahab the harlot live—Rahab and her father’s household and everyone connected to her. She is still alive and well in Israel because she hid the agents whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

26 Joshua swore a solemn oath at that time:

Cursed before God is the man
who sets out to rebuild this city Jericho.
He’ll pay for the foundation with his firstborn son,
he’ll pay for the gates with his youngest son.

27 God was with Joshua. He became famous all over the land.

Matthew 21:23-32

The Message (MSG)

True Authority

23 Then he was back in the Temple, teaching. The high priests and leaders of the people came up and demanded, “Show us your credentials. Who authorized you to teach here?”

24-25 Jesus responded, “First let me ask you a question. You answer my question and I’ll answer yours. About the baptism of John—who authorized it: heaven or humans?”

25-27 They were on the spot and knew it. They pulled back into a huddle and whispered, “If we say ‘heaven,’ he’ll ask us why we didn’t believe him; if we say ‘humans,’ we’re up against it with the people because they all hold John up as a prophet.” They decided to concede that round to Jesus. “We don’t know,” they answered.

Jesus said, “Then neither will I answer your question.

The Story of Two Sons

28 “Tell me what you think of this story: A man had two sons. He went up to the first and said, ‘Son, go out for the day and work in the vineyard.’

29 “The son answered, ‘I don’t want to.’ Later on he thought better of it and went.

30 “The father gave the same command to the second son. He answered, ‘Sure, glad to.’ But he never went.

31-32 “Which of the two sons did what the father asked?”

They said, “The first.”

Jesus said, “Yes, and I tell you that crooks and whores are going to precede you into God’s kingdom. John came to you showing you the right road. You turned up your noses at him, but the crooks and whores believed him. Even when you saw their changed lives, you didn’t care enough to change and believe him.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

 

Aside

Discipleship or Salvation? 091412

Discipleship or Salvation? 091412

 

This blog comes to you from the people at Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

 

 

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

 

 

 

Christian Service Mission

Christian Service Mission (Photo credit: Jamiesrabbits)

 

Today’s Scriptures Click the following links to read today’s scriptures or scroll to the very bottom of this blog post for those scriptures also:

 

Psalm 116:1-9 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20116:1-9&version=MSG

Joshua 2:15-24 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joshua%202:15-24&version=MSG

James 2:17-26 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James%202:17-26&version=MSG

Discipleship or Salvation? 091412

 

 Sometimes people have the tendency to see things as being either/or. By this I mean that we all tend to see things as being clearly one way or another, taken to a radical extent. We, maybe, want politicians to be either conservative or liberal, but we can’t imagine a politican who describes themselves as ‘an interesting mix of liberal, conservative, libertarian, socialist or Tea Party ’ positions.

 

In a similar fashion, churches, and Christian believers sometimes learn and grow into a faith that is one-sided. It is either a faith built upon discipleship, and becoming a disciple of Jesus, or a faith built upon the belief ad faith in salvation of the sinner.

 

One could criticize either drastic and extreme direction or position, and many people have criticized each position. But one can never live in a radical extreme; a position one ‘takes’ is never a complete description of who we are as Christians or who we are as human beings.

 

Find a balance, dear ones. Can we commit ourselves to discipleship, and yet rejoice in our personal salvation?

 

Pray for peace in Libya, in Egypt, in Yemen, in all the world and especially in the Middle East, and may we also find peace in the USA.

 

Bill

 

Prayer List: Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).

 

Pray with us!

 

We are praying as a church, and attempting to follow the centuries’ old tradition of praying with other Christians three times a day. We are following the prayer liturgy at www.commonprayer.net

 

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO Permission is granted for one-time non-commercial use with proper attribution.

 

Scriptures follow the meditation and thoughts. Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

 

 

 

Subscribe to our blog! Delivery daily by e-mail. Click the button on the right.

 

Psalm 116:1-9

 

Joshua 2:15-24

 

James 2:17-26

 

Psalm 116:1-9

 

The Message (MSG)

 

116 1-6 I love God because he listened to me,
listened as I begged for mercy.
He listened so intently
as I laid out my case before him.
Death stared me in the face,
hell was hard on my heels.
Up against it, I didn’t know which way to turn;
then I called out to God for help:
“Please, God!” I cried out.
“Save my life!”
God is gracious—it is he who makes things right,
our most compassionate God.
God takes the side of the helpless;
when I was at the end of my rope, he saved me.

 

7-8 I said to myself, “Relax and rest.
God has showered you with blessings.
Soul, you’ve been rescued from death;
Eye, you’ve been rescued from tears;
And you, Foot, were kept from stumbling.”

 

9-11 I’m striding in the presence of God,
alive in the land of the living!
I stayed faithful, though bedeviled,
and despite a ton of bad luck,
Despite giving up on the human race,
saying, “They’re all liars and cheats.”

 

Joshua 2:15-24

 

The Message (MSG)

 

15-16 She lowered them down out a window with a rope because her house was on the city wall to the outside. She told them, “Run for the hills so your pursuers won’t find you. Hide out for three days and give your pursuers time to return. Then get on your way.”

 

17-20 The men told her, “In order to keep this oath you made us swear, here is what you must do: Hang this red rope out the window through which you let us down and gather your entire family with you in your house—father, mother, brothers, and sisters. Anyone who goes out the doors of your house into the street and is killed, it’s his own fault—we aren’t responsible. But for everyone within the house we take full responsibility. If anyone lays a hand on one of them, it’s our fault. But if you tell anyone of our business here, the oath you made us swear is canceled—we’re no longer responsible.”

 

21 She said, “If that’s what you say, that’s the way it is,” and sent them off. They left and she hung the red rope out the window.

 

22 They headed for the hills and stayed there for three days until the pursuers had returned. The pursuers had looked high and low but found nothing.

 

23-24 The men headed back. They came down out of the hills, crossed the river, and returned to Joshua son of Nun and reported all their experiences. They told Joshua, “Yes! God has given the whole country to us. Everybody there is in a state of panic because of us.”

 

James 2:17-26

 

The Message (MSG)

 

Faith in Action

 

14-17 Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?

 

18 I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, “Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I’ll handle the works department.”

 

Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.

 

19-20 Do I hear you professing to believe in the one and only God, but then observe you complacently sitting back as if you had done something wonderful? That’s just great. Demons do that, but what good does it do them? Use your heads! Do you suppose for a minute that you can cut faith and works in two and not end up with a corpse on your hands?

 

21-24 Wasn’t our ancestor Abraham “made right with God by works” when he placed his son Isaac on the sacrificial altar? Isn’t it obvious that faith and works are yoked partners, that faith expresses itself in works? That the works are “works of faith”? The full meaning of “believe” in the Scripture sentence, “Abraham believed God and was set right with God,” includes his action. It’s that mesh of believing and acting that got Abraham named “God’s friend.” Is it not evident that a person is made right with God not by a barren faith but by faith fruitful in works?

 

25-26 The same with Rahab, the Jericho harlot. Wasn’t her action in hiding God’s spies and helping them escape—that seamless unity of believing and doing—what counted with God? The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the same thing: a corpse.

 

The Message (MSG)

 

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

 

Related articles are referenced without endorsement.

 

 

Aside

The Environmental Church and the Death of Christianity

 

UNIQUE PICTURE: Earth as seen from the outer S...

UNIQUE PICTURE: Earth as seen from the outer Solar System (Photo credit: Icarus Kuwait)

The Environmental Church and the Death of Christianity

 

Sermon 082612 by Pastor Bill

This sermon is published online at mennonitepreacher.wordpress.com by the people of Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO. It is not intended to be an accurate and complete record of the sermon for this Sunday service, but we hope it is reasonably close.

 In particular, the sermon may have been supplemented by the preacher as they spoke, or cut in some manner. The reaction and discussion of the congregation is also not recorded here, and those responses are the most important.

 Scripture:

Genesis 1

Nehemiah 9:6

Psalm 96:10-13

John 13:35

We have spoken many times before, I think, about the relationship of the church (any church, this church) to the environment. I think that is an important discussion to have—to discuss what the Bible says about the environment, what Christians have said and wrote and felt about the environment, but that is not exactly the discussion I’d like us to have this morning. There are reasons to avoid having a discussion about what the Bible says about the environment.

 

For one, there may be good reason to assert that the ‘environment’ is a concept only recently invented by mankind. Of course, humans have always lived on land, drank clean water, and had food to eat (whether harvested from the wild or

cultured in an agricultural system).

 

But the idea of the environment is different from having an environment or living in an environment. When you make up a new word or a new name, the thing you name becomes a thing apart. Looking at it this way, it is likely that people seldom looked at the environment as a system apart from the self. People in the Middle Ages, let’s say, might not have been sitting around the pub and discussed what to do about the environment. Instead, like most of us, they instead just said ‘It rained today. I couldn’t plow’ or ‘Since it has frozen outside, it will be safe to eat rabbits. The frost kills worms in the rabbits’. The environment, as unnamed as it was then, was an always implied part of the human beings who considered it in the context of their own humanity, of their own ‘making a living’.

And since humans have begun now to name the environment, and to consider what we should do to protect this thing called ‘the environment’, Christians have begun to look through the Bible for environmental theology, which is sort of like God’s and Jesus’ official environmental policy.

The problem is there’s no ‘Book of the Environment’ or Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, the Environment, Deuteronomy’….etcetera. We are left with what I think is no clear statement on the environment in the entire Bible. Sure, Jesus liked being outdoors, it appears, but he never said so. I know of no time Jesus said he had any particular stance regarding the environment, like we should expect no comprehensive idea of population control in the Bible. These are problems that have arisen, and been named by Christians in the 2,000 years since Jesus was executed.

But we can get a very clear idea of God’s idea of the environment, called by the name ‘the earth’. (We should clarify however, that we all tend to call this place of human affairs by the name of the ‘world’ and usually we think it is evil, but the environment is called the ‘earth’.)

We believe that God created all of this thing we call ‘reality’. This is the basic idea of Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

Let’s look quickly at our beginnings with God: Genesis 1.

Genesis 1

New King James Version (NKJV)

The History of Creation

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was[a] on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.

Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.

Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. 10 And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

11 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 So the evening and the morning were the third day.

14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 17 God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

20 Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” 21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[b] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

29 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. 30 Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

 

Questions:

How does God feel about her creation?

How many times in this selection from genesis does God say ‘It was good.’?

How do you feel about God’s creation?

Have you ever written or sung about your love for the environment or your presence in the environment?

Nehemiah 9:6

New King James Version (NKJV)

You alone are the Lord;
You have made heaven,
The heaven of heavens, with all their host,
The earth and everything on it,
The seas and all that is in them,
And You preserve them all.
The host of heaven worships You.

The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

In Nehemiah there is an inescapable unity between God, the creator, and creation, which includes earth, the environment, the universe and everything outside the universe and ….so on ad infinitum.

Do you know the difference between macro– and micro–  Macro—means very very big and micro means very very small. The closing line of this verse from Nehemiah speaks of this inescapable unity—that God creates and is created. And the environment is smack-dab in the middle of this all.

Define ‘environment’?

Does ‘environment’ include God?

Does ‘environment’ include you?

Does ‘God’ include you?

Does ‘you’ include God?

Psalm 96:10-13

New King James Version (NKJV)

10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns;
The world also is firmly established,
It shall not be moved;
He shall judge the peoples righteously.”

11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
Let the sea roar, and all its fullness;
12 Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it.
Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the Lord.
13 For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth.
He shall judge the world with righteousness,
And the peoples with His truth.

Question: What kind of feelings are expressed in these verses?

 

The Environment Barnstar. This barnstar can be...

The Environment Barnstar. This barnstar can be awarded to Wikipedians who have made significant contributions towards environment-related articles, raising environmental awareness in Wikipedia, or assisting in Wikipedia:WikiProject Environment. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How would you describe the feeling of unity felt by disciples and believers? By mystics?

Now, there is so much more to consider, as we inform our own feelings about the environment with the Biblical record of God’s love for the environment, and the unity of God-humankind-nature. I don’t want us, however,  to reduce all these statements of ‘god-unity-humankind to simple statements of God-humankind-nature as the sum total of Christianity, because even though there is a unity, humankind struggles against it, and the unity gets forgotten every day—and religion and spirituality are never that simple.

But we have moved forward into this subject as much as time allows today. Next week, and for weeks thereafter we’ll have the opportunity to discuss this all further. But, to show us the way ahead, I’ll bring up what the conclusion of all this is…..when Jesus asks us to do impossible things, (and promises we can ask God and the Holy Spirit for help when we ask in His name,) Jesus is really determining the course of what Christianity has failed to do in the 2,000 years since his death.

John 13:35 says:

Jesus said that people will know us.

35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

It’s been 2,000 years now! Do people know us by the way we love one another? Has Christianity taken care of the poor, the orphaned, the homeless and those in prison.

A friend who has spent considerable time in India tells me that homelessness, poverty, and the orphaned crowd even the best cities. In one city that has become the preacher’s missionary base for trips to India is so crowded with the poor and hungry begging for life. The dead lie for days on the streets, human and animal feces cover the ground, flies fill the air so one has trouble breathing. People have no shoes, and I recall one story of making sandals from used plastic water bottles!

Basically, every country in the world is poor unless it spends billions on its armed forces to keep the internal and external, and to control wealth and decide to whom it belongs.

As the world’s population runs toward 7 Billion people we see more disease, more hunger, poverty, thirst and more crime. (At least in prison sometimes one eats.)

If love is how the world knows us, where and who are we? What people love the earth and its life so much, as God’s creation that they work at solving all these problems, and the world will know that Christians love one another, and took care of the poor, the hungry and the homeless because we love Jesus.

If one had to sit and watch a movie 2,000 years long of how well Christians have done at doing what Christ commanded of his disciples (to love and care for one another) how long would you watch this movie before you gave up and left the movie?

It is my prediction that Christianity will die and fade away unless people come to know us because of the way we love one another. It is my contention that now, the crisis in the quality of the earth’s environment will cause even more drought, famine and war and that even more of human life and all life on earth will suffer. Is this how we show the world who we are? Is this how we show the world how we love one another?

Christianity is in danger of not just failing and disappearing, but worse—Christianity may continue to be seen as irrelevant.

This is not a subject for theology, or for further endless debate and discussion. At a certain point Christianity has to put up: do we love another, and can we let the world know we do….by the way we love one another. It is time to end hunger, poverty and war, and to protect the environment that shares its water, food and joy with us all.

You will note that I didn’t use the word ‘salvation’ even once. I’m not promising you the benefits of heaven while we are responsible for the hell on earth. For now, if we are to love one another, we are disciples of Christ. That’s all. And I am arguing that if Christianity wishes to survive at all (along with all life on earth, that is) we have to acknowledge that loving one another means only to care for the environment with careful love, recognizing that we are part of the environment, and that we love the environment (and do not hate all life).

We know what we have to do, what we need to correct. Let’s get started today.

 

 

Aside

Seek Justice 053112

 

This blog comes to you from the people at Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.netSeek Justice053112

Jesus is So Cool

Jesus is So Cool (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For years I have seen Jesus as a leader for social justice, as an advocate for the poor and oppressed. It is an easy concept to assimilate and see; the very same prophet that predicted, encouraged and enabled Jesus to be the Christ in Israel’s eyes is the same Isaiah that speaks for the poor in Isaiah 1: 17learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.

Often I’ve preached to churches on the ‘social justice’ Jesus and perhaps slighted the ‘salvation’ Jesus, a view of Jesus that overwhelms and demands the energy of many churches in North America, or at least in the United States. To be saved and born is the sole focus of many churches and I easily could assert that salvation is the primary focus of most Christian churches.

This ‘salvation’ focus has often been troubling, because many people, myself included, rejected those salvation churches as young mouthy radical anti-war demonstrators and activists in our younger days, and some of us are now near becoming just old mouthy radicals. But how can social activists, or those who love peace and have compassion for the poor ignore the actual life and teachings of Jesus.

The result is that we have two Christian churches—one is a salvation church and the other is a social justice church. The salvation church is criticized for offering benefits to believers based upon their acceptance of Jesus (or of the church). In other words, do some Christians believe in Jesus, or go to church to guarantee they get into heaven, and that their ‘ticket has been stamped’. Sometimes this seems selfish, and self-serving. Would they believe as strongly meant they needed to sell 95% of what they have and give it to the poor, and that being Christian meant also that retirement was wrong—that Christians should work like Mother Teresa, and dies with one possession as she did—a pair of cheap eyeglasses (for which she apologized—the poor do not have eyeglasses).

But those who are strictly social justice Christians may be ignoring the glaring supernatural event that occurred—that God choose to intervene in history and send Jesus to earth, to live as a human being, laugh, drink, eat, love and then suffer and die as a human being, which may as well befall us all.

How do you find a balance between these two (human) divisions. Somehow I doubt if God sees these divisions so clearly, but how do we create a new church following Jesus that theologically integrates these two (human) ideas of church?

Pray for peace

brother Bill

Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).

Pray with us!

We are praying as a church, and attempting to follow the centuries’ old tradition of praying with other Christians three times a day. We are following the prayer liturgy at www.commonprayer.net

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO Permission is granted for one-time non-commercial use with proper attribution.

Scriptures follow the meditation and thoughts. Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

Subscribe to our blog! Delivery daily by e-mail. Click the button on the right.

Psalm 29

Isaiah 1:1-4, 16-20

Romans 8:1-8

Psalm 29

1Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

2Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name; worship the Lord in holy splendor.

3The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over mighty waters.

4The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

5The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.

6He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox.

7The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.

8The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

9The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare; and in his temple all say, “Glory!”

10The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.

11May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!

Isaiah 1:1-4, 16-20

1The vision of Isaiah son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

2Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth; for the Lord has spoken: I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. 3The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib; but Israel does not know, my people do not understand. 4Ah, sinful nation, people laden with iniquity, offspring who do evil, children who deal corruptly, who have forsaken the Lord, who have despised the Holy One of Israel, who are utterly estranged!

16Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, 17learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow. 18Come now, let us argue it out, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. 19If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; 20but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Romans 8:1-8

8There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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