Being Christian or Being Religious – John 5:1-30

“’Get up,’ Jesus told him, ‘pick up your mat and walk.’ Instantly the man got well, picked up his mat, and started to walk. Now that day was the Sabbath, and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, ‘This is the Sabbath. The law prohibits you from picking up your mat’” (John 5:8-10, CSB).

In the story of Jesus healing the disabled man at the Pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath, consider the absurdity of what the Jewish leaders are contending. They argued that because the man picked up his mat and walked away with it on the Sabbath after being healed by Jesus, he broke Sabbath law.

Whaaat? The man had been disabled for 38 years!

Because of their religious convictions, they concluded that Jesus shouldn’t be healing people on the Sabbath because it caused them and Jesus to break Sabbath law.

This certainly begs the question: “Does God take a break from redeeming people?”

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No Ball Caps in Heaven – Luke 20:9-19

no_caps_prohibition_sign“What will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others” (Luke 20:16, CEB).

In the Parable of the Tenant Farmers, Jesus responded to the Jewish religious leaders who questioned His spiritual authority.

In the parable Jesus told the story of a man who planted a vineyard and then leased it to tenant farmers to operate. The owner of the vineyard sent one of his servants to collect his share of the production from the vineyard but the tenants beat the servant and sent him away empty-handed. Two more times the owner sent a servant to collect from the tenant farmers and each time they beat the servants and refused to pay.

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Because It’s the Religious Thing To Do – Matthew 3:7-10

baptism“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come. Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for out father’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matthew 3:7-10, NASB).

This declaration was made by John the Baptist when the religious leaders came to be baptized by him. John warned them that they weren’t repenting and looking for a Savior as he was preaching. They didn’t think they needed saving and so they were just being baptized because it was the religious thing to do!

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Shine! – Matthew 5:14-16, Part 1: Being the Light

Shine my Light“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16, NASB).

I’ve tried to live by this verse for most of my life. It is, in my opinion, one of the best descriptions of what we are to be doing as Christians.

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You Can’t Sweet Talk God – Jeremiah 3:4-11

no_talking“So you talk, but you keep on doing all the evil you can” (Jeremiah 3: 5, NLT).

At the time of Jeremiah’s ministry, the northern kingdom of Israel had been captured and exiled by the Assyrians, and now over 100 years later, the southern kingdom, Judah, was about to be conquered by the Babylonians.

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It’s Hard To Be Humble: Part 1 – Luke 18:14

hardtobehumble“Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14, HCSB).

Jesus told His disciples a story about how some people trust in themselves for their righteousness–that is, they are self-righteous–and in so doing, they look down on everyone else.

In the story Jesus told about a Pharisee and a tax collector who went to the Temple to pray.

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It’s God’s Grace, Stupid! – Deuteronomy 9:5-6

are-you-dumb“You are not going to take possession of their land because of your righteousness or your integrity. Instead, the Lord your God will drive out these nations before you because of their wickedness, in order to keep the promise He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Understand that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stiff-necked people”  (Deuteronomy 9:5-6, HCSB).

First, let me say that I’m not calling you (the reader) stupid. So please don’t be offended by the title. Rather, these are the words that I’m imagining Moses would have really liked to declare to the Israelites after their forty-year wandering in the wilderness.

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