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Saturday, September 24, 2022

A Time For Everything - Purity 845


 A Time For Everything - Purity 845

Purity 845 09/24/2022 

 Purity 845 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a the sun over cornfields and woods on the horizon just before setting comes to us from yours truly as I stopped for a moment to capture its blazing glory while I accompanied my canine friend, Harley, on our walk back to our countryside home yesterday afternoon.

I’m not sure what the weather was like in your neck of the woods yesterday but in upstate New York a brisk chill was in the air throughout the day that pointed to the undeniable fact that Autumn is here.  While the sun was still shining the chill in the air caused me to don my Carhartt hoody for all but a few moments of the day and the seasonal turn to colder temperatures sent a shiver into my soul as my life experience and, perhaps the enemy, whispered “Winter is coming.”

But first things first, even though there is Christmas stuff in the stores already and its wise to see the changing signs of the times and to be prepared, let’s slow it down a little so we can enjoy the current season rather than fearing what will come.  

While our direction as travellers on the path of Christian Discipleship is always forward, the way we experience the fruit of the Spirit of peace and joy is to not to be overly focused on the days ahead and its uncertain destinations so much that we fail to enjoy the journey in the here and now.  

This morning’s Bible Study brought me to Ecclesiastes chapter 3 and the text points to the fact that there is a time for everything, that man is to enjoy his life and labors on the earth, but is to do so in the fear of the Lord, knowing that our lives are finite and that the content of them will be judged by the One who gave them to us.   I was so moved by the wisdom of the text that I am sharing it today because I know that the wisdom of the word of God is the best thing I can share and I share it with the hope that it will encourage others to seek the Lord’s presence, wisdom, and ways.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-22 (NKJV)
1  To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:
2  A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;
3  A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up;
4  A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance;
5  A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
6  A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away;
7  A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;
8  A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.


9  What profit has the worker from that in which he labors?


10  I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied.
11  He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.
12  I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives,
13  and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor--it is the gift of God.


14  I know that whatever God does, It shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, And nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him.
15  That which is has already been, And what is to be has already been; And God requires an account of what is past.

 


16  Moreover I saw under the sun: In the place of judgment, Wickedness was there; And in the place of righteousness, Iniquity was there.
17  I said in my heart, "God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, For there is a time there for every purpose and for every work."


18  I said in my heart, "Concerning the condition of the sons of men, God tests them, that they may see that they themselves are like animals."
19  For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity.
20  All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust.


21  Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, which goes down to the earth?


22  So I perceived that nothing is better than that a man should rejoice in his own works, for that is his heritage. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?

 

Well I am not as wise as Solomon, who wrote this, or the Holy Spirit, who inspired it. But I have the answer!

Who knows that the spirit of the sons of men go upward? And who can bring us to see what will happen after we die?  

The Lord knows that and the Lord can bring us to see what will happen!   And God gives us this knowledge through His word and through the Holy Spirit revealing its truth to us. 

But the Lord was even more gracious to man by sending His living Word, Jesus Christ to earth to tell us the truth and to make a way to reconcile us to God.  

We don’t have to go “down to the earth”, to Hell, when we die because Christ came to earth to pay for our sins and when we place our faith in Him, just like He ascended into Heaven after His resurrection, we can be lifted up to a new life in God’s kingdom forever when we put our trust in Jesus.  

So enjoy your life this weekend, it is a gift of God. But fear the Lord and respect His righteous judgement, by acknowledging His sovereignty and by surrendering to His will for your life by making peace with Him through faith in Jesus Christ and by pursuing His purposes for you. 

Have a wonderful Autumn weekend and keep walking and talking with God.

 

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Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse are:

Psalm 46:1-2 (NLT2)
1  God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
2  So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.

Today’s Bible verses assure us that God is our refuge and strength and that we need not fear the calamities that we will face on the earth because He is always ready to help us in times of trouble.  

As someone who has walked through the fires of tribulations and trauma at various times in my 50 years of life, I can attest that it is much better to have a relationship with the Lord though faith in Jesus Christ in times of trouble rather than being all on your own.   

Other Bible verses tell us that God is close to the broken hearted and I know that is true as trauma breaks us out of the normal conceptions of our world view of “how life is” and reveals to us the harsh realities of life and death in times of loss. In that stark shock of our world being torn apart by loss, God who is omnipresent is available to comfort and to help us and we have a decision to make: will we come to Him and seek His help or will we turn from Him in bitterness and anger?   

I lost my infant son Holden, in March of 2002, as our nation was still overcoming the national tragedy of 911, and this personal loss ripped away the final shreds of an illusions I may have had about our lives being “safe” or secure. These losses woke me up to “ice cold world of life and death” but in the midst of my grief in the stark clarity of my new view of the world I simultaneously felt all alone but also had the sense that “I wasn’t alone”, that there was a presence with me that sought to comfort me. 

At the time, I think I thought that I was just seeing the world with eyes wide open but in hindsight I know that the feelings I had of how I was all alone but somehow wasn’t can easily be explained as God being present in my broken heartedness and that He was patiently sitting with me in my grief and would further reveal Himself to me when the time was right and I had stopped being angry and running away from Him.   

Of course, I was very angry, and very stubborn, and very rebellious, and purposely shut God out of my life by abandoning all semblances of Christianity in my life, but after the darkest days of my depression I sought meaning again, and even though I went in the wrong direction, my search for truth was rewarded in an instant by God’s grace.  

The truth of the gospel was allowed to come into my life by a seemingly chance encounter, as in the midst of my confusion of following the philosophies of Buddhism, I happened upon a gospel radio message and decide to mock it only to be brought to my knees in humble surrender the my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ when I understood that faith in Him was all that was require to live. 

So 8 years later (just put that together this morning – 8’s are a significant number in my walk) , again in the month of March (just put that together this morning), the Lord showed me that He could be my refuge and strength and be my constant help in times of trouble.  I didn’t have to be alone anymore. I didn’t have to keep Him at a distance anymore. And so that day in March of 2010 I invited God, The Presence that I have known to be with me at various times throughout my life, to save me through His Son, Jesus Christ.

SO let me encourage you, no matter how the earth quakes or the mountains crumble into the sea, either literally or figuratively, in your life The Lord can be your strength and refuge. He is always ready to help us in times of trouble. 

He may not stop the tragedies from happening, but sometimes He will. But either way, He knows the end from the beginning and He knows that even the traumas we suffer can be used for good to help us to grow and to know Him and our place in His kingdom. So trust the Lord with your life by putting your faith in Christ, and seek Him at all times for His strength, wisdom, and love.

_____________________________________________

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

Chapter Three

Simple Obedience – continues

 

How is such a reversal possible? What has happened that the word of Jesus has to endure this game? That it is so vulnerable to the scorn of the world? Anywhere else in the world where commands are given, the situation is clear. A father says to his child: go to bed! The child knows exactly what to do. But a child drilled in pseudotheology would have to argue thus: Father says go to bed. He means you are tired; he does not want me to be tired. But I can also overcome my tiredness by going to play. So, although father says go to bed, what he really means is go play. With this kind of argumentation, a child with its father or a citizen with the authorities would run into an unmistakable response, namely, punishment. The situation is supposed to be different only with respect to Jesus’ command. In that case simple obedience is supposed to be wrong, or even to constitute disobedience. How is this possible?

It is possible, because there is actually something quite right at the basis of this wrong argumentation. Jesus’ command to the rich young man or his call into a situation that enables faith really has only the one goal of calling a person to faith in him, calling into his community. Nothing finally depends on any human deed at all; instead, everything depends on faith in Jesus as the Son of God and the mediator. Nothing finally depends on poverty or riches, marriage or the single state, having or leaving a profession. Rather, everything depends on faith. To this extent, we really are right that it is possible to believe in Christ while we have wealth and possess the goods of this world, so that we have them as if we did not have them. But this is a last possible form of Christian existence, a possibility of living in the world, only in light of the serious expectation that Christ would return in the immediate future. It is not the first and simplest possibility. A paradoxical understanding of the commandments has a Christian right to it, but it must never lead to the annulment of a simple understanding of the commandments. Rather, it is justified and possible only for those who have already taken simple obedience seriously at some point in their lives, and so already stand in community with Jesus, in discipleship, in expectation of the end. Understanding Jesus’ call paradoxically is the infinitely more difficult possibility. In human terms it is an impossible possibility, and because it is, it is always in extreme danger of being turned over into its opposite and made into a comfortable excuse for fleeing from concrete obedience. Anyone who does not know that it would be the infinitely easier way to understand Jesus’ commandment simply and obey it literally—for example, to actually give away one’s possessions at Jesus’ command instead of keeping them—has no right to a paradoxical understanding of Jesus’ word. It is therefore necessary always to include a literal understanding of Jesus’ commandment in every paradoxical interpretation.

Jesus’ concrete call and simple obedience have their own irrevocable meaning. Jesus calls us into a concrete situation in which we can believe in him. That is why he calls in such a concrete way and wants to be so understood, because he knows that people will become free for faith only in concrete obedience.

Wherever simple obedience is fundamentally eliminated, there again the costly grace of Jesus’ call has become the cheap grace of self-justification. But this too constructs a false law, which deafens people to the concrete call of Christ. This false law is the law of the world, matched by an opposing law of grace. The world here is not that world which has been won over by Christ and is daily to be won over anew in his community. Rather, it is the world which has become a rigid, inescapable law of principles. But in that case grace is also no longer the gift of the living God, rescuing us from the world for obedience to Christ. Rather, it becomes a general divine law, a divine principle, whose only use is its application to special cases. The principle of struggle against the “legalism” of simple obedience itself erects the most dangerous law of all, the law of the world and the law of grace. The struggle based on principle against legalism is itself the most legalistic attitude. It is overcome only by genuine obedience to Jesus’ gracious call to follow him. The law is fulfilled and done away with by Jesus himself for those who follow.[1]

 

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship 


[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 79–81.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Overwhelmed - Purity 844




Overwhelmed - Purity 844  Purity 844 Podcast

Purity 844 09/23/2022  

Good morning,

Today’s video of the view from my home “down by The River” comes to us from yours truly and September 24, 2021, the day after TammyLyn Sequin agreed to be my girlfriend.  I don’t remember recording this but I find the fact that the perspective goes “sideways” is rather fitting and may have been a  prophetic indicator of the seismic shift that was happening in my life when TammyLyn and I decide to be more than friends.   

On this day, the 23rd of September, a year ago I realized, and the Holy Spirit may have woke me up to this fact, that the “there was no other” for me. TammyLyn was the faithful Christian woman of God that I had been praying for and despite the uncertainty of how our lives could come together as one, I asked her to marry her, via FB messenger, in a text.  

She said no! So I asked if she would be my girlfriend, via text, and she indicated I had to ask her in person.   So although FB messengers video conferencing feature was somewhat alien to me, I immediately sent her a video call and to my delight she answered and said yes to my request to be my “girlfriend”.  Two weeks later, we were engaged and a few months later on January 1st, 2022 we were married.  So today is the one year anniversary of our being a couple of being more than friends!

And what a year it has been! When I reflect on all the changes that have come to pass since last year I am overwhelmed.  Not only do I have the love of my life as my wife and a new extended family in the Seguins and those Pinter kids, I have a new church in Starpoint Church in Clifton Park, and it was after TammyLyn and I got together that the opportunity to teach the Freedom in Christ Course online nationwide, to men that span from, New York, to Florida, to California for Freedom in Christ ministries came about.  I even got a new car!

TammyLyn’s journey over the last year was just as eventful but I will leave that to her to share on her Ask Seek Knock Podcast, which she started in the last year.  

When I reflect on how we have both been blessed by the Lord with each other and everything that has happened since we got together it reminds me of the Big Daddy Weave Song “Overwhelmed”.  The Lyrics say”

“I see the work of Your Hands

Galaxies spin in a Heavenly dance oh God

All that You are is so overwhelming

 

I hear the sound of Your Voice

All at once it's a gentle and thundering noise oh God

All that You are is so overwhelming

 

I delight myself in You

Captivated by Your beauty

I'm overwhelmed, I'm overwhelmed by You

 

God, I run into Your arms

Unashamed because of mercy

I'm overwhelmed, I'm overwhelmed by You”

Today’s Friday guys, and if you are not overwhelmed by the goodness of God in your life let me encourage you to be “more than friends” with the Lord.  Let me encourage you to make a commitment to surrender to His will, to become a living member of His Church, to become the Bride of Christ.”  

If you are just “playing house with God” by limiting your relationship with Him by just visiting with Him at a church service for an hour a week, it is no surprise to me that your faith life may be a bit underwhelming.  

When Christ called you to place your faith in Him, He wants all of you. And unfortunately because of fear or the opinion of others, or ourselves, sometimes Christians hold back on fulfilling the “marriage vows” that come with being the Church, the Bride of Christ.  We may love and honor Jesus but we fail to obey His call to abide in Him and to be conformed to His image.   

Hey no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus right.  But let me encourage that while we thank Him today for another end of another work week, let’s consider “popping the question” and asking God about His will for our lives and choosing to follow where He leads, as a faithful bride follows her husband.

Since coming to faith in Christ and making the decision to follow Him with the way I live by repenting of my old worldly ways, my life has been transformed and I am continually overwhelmed by the goodness of God in the land of the living.  So as I celebrate the first year with the love of my life, let me encourage you to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all you mind, and with all your strength as you continuall walk and talk with Him.

 

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Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 32:7 (NLT2)
7  For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory.

Today’s Bible verse assures us that the Lord protects us from trouble and He surrounds us with songs of victory.  

Oh Lord, from today’s verse I remember the Iron Bell Song  - The God that Saves – That Chris Manchuck used to sing when I was teaching at my old church’s recovery ministry, Celebrate Freedom.  

The lyrics say: 

This soul once torn and beaten

Left without reason to move on

Then You reached down and brought me

Up from the valley of dry bones

 

You are the God that saves

You are the One that rescues me

You rescue me

You are the God that saves

You call me from the grave

You rescue me

 

Ransomed out of the wreckage

Pulled from the ashes of sin's hold

Hope is flowing through these veins

Life born from grace, grace alone

 

You are the God that saves

You are the One that rescues me

You rescue me

You are the God that saves

You call me from the grave

You rescue me

Oh, You rescue me, Lord!

You rescue me

 

I hear the song, I hear the song

Of victory ring over me

Yes I am overwhelmed today because of the God who saves. Because like the psalmist, I know He protects us and surrounds us with Songs of victory.

_____________________________________________

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

Chapter Three

Simple Obedience

When Jesus demanded voluntary poverty of the rich young man, the young man knew that his only choices were obedience or disobedience. When Levi was called from tax collecting and Peter from his nets, there was no doubt that Jesus was serious about those calls. They were supposed to leave everything and follow him. When Peter was called to step out onto the stormy sea, he had to get up and risk taking the step. Only one thing was demanded in each of these cases. That was their entrusting themselves to the word of Jesus Christ, believing it to be a stronger foundation than all the securities of the world. The forces that wanted to get between the word of Jesus and obedience were just as great back then as they are today. Reason objected; Conscience, responsibility, piety, even the law and the principle of Scripture intervened to inhibit this most extreme, this lawless “enthusiasm.” Jesus’ call broke through all of this and mandated obedience. It was God’s own word. Simple obedience was required.

If Jesus Christ were to speak this way to one of us today through the Holy Scripture, then we would probably argue thus: Jesus is making a specific commandment; that’s true. But when Jesus commands, then I should know that he never demands legalistic obedience. Instead, he has only one expectation of me, namely, that I believe. My faith, however, is not tied to poverty or wealth or some such thing. On the contrary, in faith I can be both—rich and poor. The main concern is not whether or not I have any worldly goods, but that I should possess goods as if I did not possess them, and inwardly I should be free of them. I should not set my heart on my possessions. Thus, Jesus says, “Sell your possessions!” But what he intends is that it is not important if you actually do this literally, outwardly. You are free to keep your possessions, but have them as if you did not have them. Do not set your heart on your possessions. Our obedience to Jesus’ word would then consist in our rejecting simple obedience as legalistic obedience, in order to be obedient “in faith.” This is the difference between us and the rich young man. In his sadness, he is not able to calm himself by saying to himself, “In spite of Jesus’ word, I want to remain rich, but I will become inwardly free from my riches and comfort my inadequacy with the forgiveness of sins and be in communion with Jesus by faith.” Instead, he went away sadly[6] and, in rejecting obedience, lost his chance to have faith. The young man was sincere in going away. He parted from Jesus, and this sincerity surely had more promise than a false communion with Jesus based on disobedience. Apparently Jesus thought that the young man was unable to free himself inwardly from his wealth. Probably the young man, as a serious and ambitious person, had tried to do it himself a thousand times. The fact that at the decisive moment he was unable to obey the word of Jesus shows that he failed. The young man was sincere in parting from Jesus. By the way we argue, we distance ourselves fundamentally from a biblical hearer of Jesus’ word. If Jesus said: leave everything else behind and follow me, leave your profession, your family, your people, and your father’s house, then the biblical hearer knew that the only answer to this call is simple obedience, because the promise of community with Jesus is given to this obedience. But we would say: Jesus’ call is to be taken “absolutely seriously,” but true obedience to it consists of my staying in my profession and in my family and serving him there, in true inner freedom. Thus, Jesus would call: come out!—but we would understand that he actually meant: stay in!—of course, as one who has inwardly come out.[8] Or Jesus would say, do not worry; but we would understand: of course we should worry and work for our families and ourselves.[10] Anything else would be irresponsible. But inwardly we should be free of such worry. Jesus would say: if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also. But we would understand: it is precisely in fighting, in striking back, that genuine fraternal love grows large. Jesus would say: strive first for the kingdom of God.[12] We would understand: of course, we should first strive for all sorts of other things. How else should we survive? What he really meant was that final inner willingness to invest everything for the kingdom of God. Everywhere it is the same—the deliberate avoidance of simple, literal obedience.[1]

 

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 77–79.


 

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Bonhoeffer's Discipleship - Lesson 3 - Single Minded Obedience

I am happy to announce that I have completed and uploaded  Lesson 3 of “Bonhoeffer’s Discipleship” : an informal study of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Cost of Discipleship – with Lesson 3 – Single Minded Obedience 

 

Here is a link to the audio podcast: Single Minded Obedience Podcast

Here is a link to the video on YouTube: Lesson 3 -Single Minded Obedience on YouTube

It is my prayer that this series will encourage people to read Bonhoeffer’s work but more importantly I hope they encourage people to deepen their faith in Christ by pursuing a life of Christian Discipleship. 

God bless you all. 

 

M. T. Clark  

 

A Pretty Solid Decision - Purity 843



A Pretty Solid Decision - Purity 843

Purity 843 09/22/2022  Purity 843 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo an almost foreboding pathway to the beach at Middleton in South Australia comes to us from Dave Baun Photography (https://www.facebook.com/DaveBaunPhotography) who shared this scene back on August 19th commenting:

“There are so many of these little openings along our coast that lead to the beach. Many look very similar but they are all unique. Every time I walk by one with my camera I pause and choose… shot or not? Of course it depends on the sky and the surrounding vegetation, or lack of. This day down near Middleton was a pretty solid decision.”

Well It’s Thursday again and even though today’s photo may give us the sense that we don’t necessarily want to ascend up that path for fear of what may lie on the other side, while I will to admit to the reality that the pathways of Christian Discipleship may lead us to places we don’t want to go, I am here to encourage you, that even though the path before you may be uncertain or positively frightening, “do it afraid” because if the Lord calls you to go into difficult situations we can be assured that He will be with us to give us the strength and the wisdom to go through it and that it’s taking those steps of faith into the unknown that lead to our freedom and maturation as Christians.   And like our friend Dave said, When we take that “shot”, we can know that we made a pretty solid decision.

A couple of days ago I listened to Eric Metaxas’ Letter to the American Church in which he discussed the parallels between what Christians are seeing in our country currently and how it is eerily similar to what the people of Germany faced in the 1930’s. Metaxas highlights the experiences of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and how he unsuccessfully tried to wake up the church in Germany of the dangers of the church being complicit and submissive to the totalitarian rule under Adolf Hitler and the disastrous effects that possibly could have been avoided had the church in Germany chose to follow Christ rather than the powers of the government.    To his credit Bonhoeffer saw the writing on the wall long before the true evil of Hitler’s schemes came to their deadly ends but the lesson of Nazi Germany shows us how good people can be lead astray when they compromise their Christian principles for following the “current trends” in society.  

The German church suffered from a long tradition of nationalism and honoring their governmental leaders to the point that German churches had images of ex-chancellors right in their churches.  This tradition of support of the powers that be and their national pride was a departure from following the Lordship of Christ and it was exploited to horrible ends when Hitler came to power. 

Metaxas points to this subtle compromise and weakness in the church of Germany at that time and makes the case the American church is also at a cultural crossroads of sorts where the failure of the “church to be the church” could lead to a future in which countless people will suffer and die because Christians are afraid to stand for Christ and the Bible’s standards of morality in our current culture who subtly or blatantly opposes the ways of our Savior and the words of the Bible.    

Metaxas points to the proliferation of the Marxist – Socialistic doctrine of Critical Race Theory, lax sexual ethics, support of the idea that abortion (murder) is a “right” or “healthcare”, and the availability of gender reassignment procedures in our current society as issues that Christians should speak out about and oppose, indicating that if we do nothing now to resist these current trends, to show our love for the people who have been deceived in believing these things were “good”, our country will be transformed where the Christian voice will eventually be silenced as our current cancel culture has already shown us. 

Metaxas is pointing to and encouraging us to take the hard road of speaking the truth in love, without affirming others who are living a lifestyle that is in opposition to what the Bible teaches.    Metaxas is calling for Christians to be Christians, not just in word but in deed, to not just say we “believe” but to live like we believe and to be bold enough to stand o the word of God and to call what is evil, evil, and what is good, good.

The cultural impasse we face is the result of years of the failure of the church in America and throughout the “West” to be the church.  The cheap grace that Bonhoeffer wrote about in 1937 that highlighted the lack of discipleship in a time where Christianity was part of the fabric of society is alive and well today but even worse as that Christian fabric of society has worn thin and denominational churches are dwindling and those seeking to follow Christ have to be wise in discerning in where they worship because of the rise of false teachers that profess to have spiritual power with their prosperity gospels or their prophetic, end times, miracles, signs and wonders doctrines.  

So what are we supposed to do?  

I encourage people to follow Christ with the way they live their life.  I have learned that following Jesus and living according to the wisdom of the word of God can transform lives by correcting the errors that we make when we believe the lies of the world.  

I am currently doing a series on Bonhoeffer’s Cost Discipleship to encourage people to be authentic in their Christian faith and I believe that if enough Christians sought the Lord’s will for their life and repented of their sins, the “church” could not only turn the tide of what is happening of our society, we could help millions to live a life of peace, love, and joy by teaching them what the Lord says about how to live our lives and how the path of Christian Discipleship is not a death march but leads from darkness to light, from sorrow to joy, and from death to life.   

So as I always say, keep walking and talking with God and be bold to follow the Lord’s lead to oppose the spiritual forces of darkness and the lies that our current society is enmeshed in, without condemnation but with compassion, care concern that comes from a heart that once was broken, from eyes that once were blind, and a life that once was broken but who were all made new by Christ.  

 

 

---------

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Romans 5:3-5 (NLT2)
3  We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.
4  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
5  And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Today’s Bible verse assures us that the trials we face have a purpose: to build our endurance, our character, our confidence of salvation, and that we will not be disappointed.  

With the hard path that Eric Metaxas encourages us to take in His latest book, and the orientation of the pathway of Christian discipleship leads to in the first place, there will be trials. 

But today’s verse encourages us to not lose our hope when we walk through them and that even if we suffer in our attempts to follow and serve the Lord, it only edifies us and assures us of who we are in Christ by reminding us how Christ suffered for us and how He did it all out of love.  

______________________________________________________________________

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

Chapter Two

The Call to Discipleship - Continued

¶ Three points should be noted in these words to the young man: First, it is now Jesus himself who is commanding. Jesus had just referred the young man away from the good master to God who alone is good. Now Jesus claims authority to say to him the last word and commandment. The young man has to recognize that the Son of God himself is standing before him. Jesus’ reality as the Son of God was hidden from the young man when Jesus pointed away from himself toward the Father. Yet this pointing away from himself united him completely with his Father. It is this unity which now enables Jesus to speak his Father’s commandment. That must have become unmistakably clear to the young man when he heard Jesus’ call to follow him. This call is the sum of all commandments the young man is called to live in community with Christ. Christ is the fulfillment of the commandments. This is the Christ who is standing before him and calling him. He cannot flee any longer into the untruth of ethical conflict. The commandment is clear: follow me.

¶ The second point is this: Even this call to discipleship needs clarification so it will not be misunderstood. Jesus has to make it impossible for the young man to misunderstand following him as an ethical adventure, an unusual, interesting, but potentially revocable path and lifestyle. Discipleship would also be misunderstood if the young man were to view it as a final conclusion of his previous deeds and questions, as a summary of what went before, as a supplement, completion, or perfection of his past. In order to eliminate all ambiguity, a situation has to be created in which the person cannot retreat, in other words, an irrevocable situation. At the same time it must be clear that it is not just a complement to life before the call. Jesus’ challenging the young man to voluntary poverty creates the situation that is called for. This is the existential, pastoral side of the matter. It is intended to help the young man finally to understand and to obey in the right way. It arises from Jesus’ love for the young man. It is only the intermediate link between the young man’s previous life and discipleship. But notice that it is not identical with discipleship itself. It is not even the first step of discipleship. Rather, it is the obedience within which discipleship can then become real. First the young man must go and sell everything and give to the poor, and then come and follow Jesus. The goal is following Jesus, and the way in this case is voluntary poverty.

¶ The third point is that Jesus accepts the young man’s question about what he is still lacking: “If you want to be perfect …” That really could give the impression that Jesus is talking about adding something on to the young man’s previous life. It really is an addition, but one whose content abolishes everything of one’s past. The young man has not been perfect so far, for he has wrongly understood and obeyed the commandment. Now he can rightly understand and obey in discipleship, but even then only because Jesus Christ has called him to it. By accepting the young man’s question, Jesus has wrested it from him. The young man asked about his path to eternal life. Jesus answered: I am calling you, that is all.

The young man seeks an answer to his question. The answer is: Jesus Christ. The young man wanted to hear the word of a good master, but now he has to recognize that this Word is actually the man himself whom he is questioning. The young man is standing before Jesus, the Son of God. The full encounter is present. The only choices are yes or no, obedience or disobedience. The young man’s answer is no. He went away sadly; he was disappointed and had lost his hope, but he still could not abandon his past. He had a lot of property. The call to discipleship here has no other content than Jesus Christ himself, being bound to him, community with him. But the existence of a disciple does not consist in enthusiastic respect for a good master. Instead, it is obedience toward the Son of God.

This story of the rich young man has a direct correspondence with the story framing the parable of the Good Samaritan. “Just then a scribe stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What do you read there?’ He answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.’[37] And he said to him, ‘You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.’ But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’ ” (Luke 10:25–29).

The scribe’s question is the same as the young man’s. Only here it is clear from the outset that the question is intended as a temptation. The tempter’s solution is already set. It is intended to dead-end in the aporia [perplexity] of ethical conflict. Jesus’ answer fully resembles his answer to the young man. The questioner basically knows the answer to his question. But by asking it, even though he already knows the answer, he is shirking obedience to God’s commandment. The only thing left for him is the advice: do what you know; then you will live.

This takes his first position away from him. There follows, again like the young man’s, the scribe’s flight into ethical conflict: “Who is my neighbor?” Since then, this question of the tempting scribe has been asked countless times in good faith and ignorance. It has the good reputation of being a serious and reasonable question from an inquiring person. But people doing so have not carefully read the context. The whole story of the Good Samaritan is Jesus’ singular rejection and destruction of this question as satanic. It is a question without end, without answer. It springs from “those who are depraved in mind and bereft of the truth,” who are “conceited, understanding nothing, and [have] a morbid craving for controversy and for disputes about words.” From them flow “envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions, and wrangling” (1 Tim. 6:4f.). It is a question from the pompous, “who are always being instructed and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth,” who are “holding to the outward form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3:5ff.). They are unqualified to have faith. They ask questions like this because their “consciences are seared with a hot iron” (1 Tim. 4:2), because they do not want to obey God’s word. Who is my neighbor? Is there an answer to this, whether it is my biological brother, my compatriot, my brother in the church, or my enemy? Could we not assert or deny the one just as rightly as any other? Is the end of this question not division and disobedience? Yes, this question is rebellion against God’s commandment itself. I want to be obedient, but God will not tell me how I can be so. God’s commandment is ambiguous; it leaves me in perpetual conflict. The question What should I do? was the first betrayal. The answer is: do the commandment that you know. You should not ask; you should act. The question Who is my neighbor? is the final question of despair or hubris, in which disobedience justifies itself. The answer is: You yourself are the neighbor. Go and be obedient in acts of love. Being a neighbor is not a qualification of someone else; it is their claim on me, nothing else. At every moment, in every situation I am the one required to act, to be obedient. There is literally no time left to ask about someone else’s qualification. I must act and must obey; I must be a neighbor to the other person. If you anxiously ask again whether or not I should know and consider ahead of time how to act, there is only the advice that I cannot know or think about it except by already acting, by already knowing myself to be challenged to act. I can only learn what obedience is by obeying, not by asking questions. I can recognize truth only by obeying. Jesus’ call to the simplicity of obedience pulls us out of the dichotomy of conscience and sin. The rich young man was called by Jesus into the grace of discipleship, but the tempting scribe is shoved back to the commandment.[1]

 

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 73–76.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

The Story of My Life - Purity 842


 

The Story of My Life  - Purity 842

Purity 842 09/21/2022  

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a dusky but multi-hued sunset somewhere along River Road in Easton NY comes to us, I believe, from my wife and Christian podcaster, TammyLyn Clark, who captured this scene three days after our wedding back on January 4th of this year. 

After a hiatus of a few months, TammyLyn released the 24th episode of her Ask, Seek, Knock Podcast yesterday, declaring “I’m back” in which she explained the course of her life since her last episode.  I am sharing the link on the blog today, https://www.podbean.com/ew/pb-5qznz-12cadef if you would like to give it a listen. No spoilers of course, but I was impressed and feel that it is provides another piece of evidence demonstrating TammyLyn’s faith and the reason why I simply had to make her my wife. 

You have to forgive me but this morning I have the song “The Story of My Life” by the defunk boyband, One Direction, in my head, and have to expel it! The lyrics say:

“Written in these walls are the stories that I can't explain
I leave my heart open but it stays right here empty for days
She told me in the morning she don't feel the same about us in her bones
It seems to me that when I die, these words will be written on my stone

And I'll be gone, gone tonight
The ground beneath my feet is open wide
The way that I been holdin' on too tight
With nothin' in between

The story of my life, I take her home
I drive all night to keep her warm
And time is frozen (the story of, the story of)
The story of my life, I give her hope
I spend her love until she's broke inside
The story of my life (the story of, the story of)”

(https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/onedirection/storyofmylife.html)

 

And it goes on… Pretty deep for a boy band right? Anyway this song about the cycles of love and break up, with its timeless – frozen -  moments of bliss and the sadness when love runs its course, came up in my memory this morning, not because I am lamenting over my love life, but because I was just overcome with the sense of sheer amazement over all the twists and turns that have transpired over the various chapters and episodes of my life. 

In reflecting over the course of my life and the journey as I grew up and tried to figure out who I was, all the while demanding personal satisfaction to every whim of desire, and the resultant brokenness of disillusionment with the American dream, the pains of addiction and traumatic losses before coming to Christ, and now the rather substantial course of life in the Spirit as I have increasingly surrendered to the upward call of Christ and moved away from all I was to become the person I am now, I thought to myself: 

“Wow! My life could be a miniseries on Netflix!”  

And the more I think about it, I don’t that is vanity.  In terms of drama, we have lived quite the continuing “story arc” with its exposition, rising action, climaxes, falling actions, and resolutions as we have been on this journey of faith, meaning, and purpose for 50 years now!  

As compelling as some of the episodes of my life before Christ may have been with its misadventures, all that action – the romance, the comedy and the tragedy, would have been for nothing.  It would have been like what Shakespeare wrote in Macbeth, where with everything falling apart and hearing of his wife’s death, Macbeth says:

“Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more: it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.”

(Shakespeare, William. The Complete Works of Shakespeare (p. 110). Latus ePublishing. Kindle Edition.”). 

And why would it have been like that?  Because I didn’t know the truth. I was operating on limited knowledge and lies that world tells us, like “life is meaningless”.  

But that is not the truth. Our lives have meaning and purpose, but few find it.  

The Creator, God, made us for a reason: to know Him and to make Him known.  

He sent Christ to save us and to “redeem” our lives because they were headed for destruction.  So that’s a climax: Finding Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior,  but brother this isn’t a movie or even a Shakespearian play, this is an ongoing saga of life in the Spirit that doesn’t end.  

God has called us from here to eternity and when we know we who are in Christ we know the meaning of our lives and the next thing is to play the part of a Christian, to know and to discover our continuing purpose in Christ.  

Our purpose includes our sanctification and helping others to come to know the Lord and to discover their meaning and purpose in Christ.  

In the 12 years since coming to Christ, there has been ups and downs, victories and losses and whole string of characters as I have followed the Lord’s call.  

Before coming to Christ, I spent a lot of time in a basement, alone,  entertaining myself with alcohol, drugs, video games, music, sports on tv, and movies.  If you did a movie or tv series of my life back then it wouldn’t need a big cast or elaborate sets. You could even do it as a play, like a Shakespearean tragedy, where I could do soliloquy after soliloquy as I pondered life’s meaning, lamented over its disappointments, but found no answers other than to feed myself with circumstantial happiness.  

But the Lord pulled me out of that life of loneliness and despair and has taken me to places I would have never imagined in that basement in the woods and He has introduced me to a multitude of people from all over the world as I have followed Him.  

If anyone ever tells you that the Christian life is boring, I can tell you that they either don’t know the Lord, or they haven’t answered His call to surrender to His will and to follow Him.  

Last night, I told the men in the Freedom in Christ Course that if they want the fruit of the Spirit in their lives or if they want their freedom in Christ there is great hope for them.  But I told them that their faith won’t grow unless they do their part in their relationship with the Lord.  

Last night’s focus verse was

Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)
6  But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him
.

From this I pointed out that if they wanted to please the Lord they had to have faith, to believe He is, and that He would reward their efforts to seek Him.  

I encouraged them to build their faith by choosing to believe the truth of God’s word and to apply it to their lives. I encouraged them to read the Bible, to pray, and to join a local body of believers – a church – where they could, learn ,worship, grow, and serve.  

If you want to be rewarded with the fruit of the Spirit in your life, you have to act on your faith and follow where the Lord leads you.  

So let’s start another episode of the ongoing saga, of “Life in the Spirit with _____ (insert your name here) and see what kind of drama develop and unfolds as you keep walking and talking with God.

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT2)
13  The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

Today’s Bible verse assures us that the temptations we face are not unique and we can rely on the Lord to escape negative consequences of sin because He will show us a way out.  

Hey another thing I advised the men last night was to turn from their sin. If we want harmony with God and the fruit of the Spirit in our lives we can not rest on the Lord’s forgiveness and “inevitability of sin” and just flounder around in the “sin-confess” cycle, we have to fight the world, the flesh, and the devil to say no to sin and to claim victory as those who have been resurrected to new life with Christ.   

Let’s stop patting ourselves on the back when we fall into sin and instead repent of them. Romans 8:3 tells us we are free from sin, so let’s live it by targeting those problem sins and leaning on the Lord’s strength to over come them and repeat them no more.  This is possible with God but we have to believe it is true and show our belief with the way we live our lives.  

Today’s verse tells us the God will show us away out of our temptations and sins.  But we have to follow Him and look for the way He wants us to go. And if we do that we can endure and have the victory and freedom over sin that has given us. We can the abundant life that Christ came to give us.  

______________________________________________________________________

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

Chapter Two

The Call to Discipleship - Continued

This brings us already to the middle of the story of the rich young man.

“Then someone came to him and said, ‘Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?’ And he said to him, ‘Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.’ He said to him, ‘Which ones?’ And Jesus said, ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother; also, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The young man said to him, ‘I have kept all these, what do I still lack?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for he had many possessions” (Matt. 19:16–22).

The young man’s question about eternal life is the question of salvation. It is the only really serious question there is. But it is not easy to ask it in the right way. This is made evident by the way the young man, who obviously intends to ask this question, actually asks a quite different one. He even avoids the real question. He addresses his question to the “good master.” He wants to hear the opinion, advice, the judgment of the good master, the great teacher, on the matter. In doing so he reveals two points: First, the question is really important to him, and Jesus should have a meaningful answer to offer. Second, however, he is expecting from the good master and great teacher a significant response, but not a divine order with unconditional authority. For the young man, the question of eternal life is one which he desires to speak of and discuss with a “good master.” But right away Jesus’ answer trips him up. “Why do you ask me about what is good? No one is good except the one God.” The question had already betrayed what was in his heart. He wanted to talk about eternal life with a good rabbi, but what he got to hear was that with his question he was in truth not standing before a good master, but before none other than God. He will not get an answer from the Son of God that would do anything else but clearly refer him to the commandment of the one God. He will not get an answer of a “good master,” who would add his own opinion to the revealed will of God. Jesus directs attention away from himself to the God who alone is good, and in doing so proves himself to be the fully obedient Son of God. But if the questioner is standing directly before God, then he is exposed as one who was fleeing from God’s revealed commandment, which he himself already knew. The young man knew the commandments. But his situation is that he is not satisfied with them; he wants to move beyond them. His question is unmasked as a question of a self-invented and self-chosen piety. Why is the revealed commandment not enough for the young man? Why does he act as if he did not already know the answer to his question? Why does he want to accuse God of leaving him in ignorance in this most decisive question of life? So the young man is already caught and brought to judgment. He is called back from the nonbinding question of salvation to simple obedience to the revealed commandments.

He tries a second attempt to flee. The young man answers with a second question: “Which ones?” Satan himself is hiding in that question. This was the only possible way out for someone who felt himself trapped. Of course the young man knew the commandments, but who should know which commandment is meant just for him, just for right then, out of the full number of commandments? The revelation of the commandment is ambiguous and unclear, says the young man. He is not looking at the commandments. He is instead looking at himself again, his problems, his conflicts. He retreats from God’s clear commandment back to the interesting, indisputably human situation of “ethical conflict.”[31] It is not wrong that he knows about such a conflict, but it is wrong that the conflict is played off against God’s commandments. The commandments are actually given in order to bring ethical conflicts to an end. Ethical conflict is the primordial ethical phenomenon for human beings after the fall. It is the human revolt against God. The serpent in paradise put this conflict into the heart of the first human. “Did God say?” People are torn away from the clear commandment and from simple childlike obedience by ethical doubt, by asserting that the commandment still needs interpretation and explanation. “Did God say?” People are made to decide by the power of their own knowledge of good and evil, by the power of their conscience to know what is good. The commandment is ambiguous; God intends for people to interpret it and decide about it freely.

Even thinking this way is already a refusal to obey the commandment. Double-minded thinking has replaced the simple act. The person of free conscience boasts of being superior to the child of obedience. To invoke ethical conflict is to terminate obedience. It is a retreat from God’s reality to human possibility, from faith to doubt. So the unexpected now happens. The same question with which the young man tried to hide his disobedience now unmasks him for who he is, namely, a person in sin. Jesus’ answer does this. God’s revealed commandments are named. By naming them, Jesus confirms anew that they are, indeed, God’s commandments. The young man is once again caught. He hoped to evade once more and reenter into a nonbinding conversation about eternal questions. He hoped Jesus would offer him a solution to his ethical conflict. But Jesus lays hold, not of the question, but of the person himself. The only answer to the predicament of ethical conflict is God’s commandment itself, which is the demand to stop discussing and start obeying. Only the devil has a solution to offer to ethical conflicts. It is this: keep asking questions, so that you are free from having to obey. Jesus takes aim at the young man himself instead of his problem. The young man took his ethical conflict deadly seriously, but Jesus does not take it seriously at all. He is serious about only one thing, that the young man finally hears and obeys God’s command. When ethical conflict is taken so seriously that it tortures and subjugates people because it hinders their doing the liberating act of obedience, then it is revealed in its full godlessness as complete disobedience in all its insincerity. Only the obedient deed is to be taken seriously. It ends and destroys the conflict and frees us to become children of God. That is the divine diagnosis the young man receives.

The young man is subjected to the truth of God’s word twice. He can no longer avoid God’s commandment. Yes, the commandment is clear and has to be obeyed. But it is not enough! “I have kept all these from my youth, what do I still lack?” With this answer the young man will still be just as convinced of the sincerity of his concern as he was previously. That is precisely what makes him defiant against Jesus. He knows the commandment; he has kept it, but he thinks that it could not be the whole will of God. Something else has to be added, something extraordinary, unique. He desires to do that. God’s revealed commandment is incomplete, the young man says in his final flight away from the true commandment, in his last attempt to retain his autonomy and to decide good and evil on his own. He affirms the commandment, and launches a frontal attack against it at the same time. “I have kept all these, what do I still lack?” Mark adds at this point: “Jesus, looking at him, loved him” (Mark 10:21). Jesus recognizes how hopelessly the young man has closed himself off from God’s living word, how his whole being is raging against the living commandment, against simple obedience. He wants to help the young man; he loved him. That is why he gave him one final answer: “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me!”[1]

 

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 69–72.