He Who Has Ears, Let Him Hear
I am currently preaching a series of messages on selected parables of Jesus. It's funny how we often read the parables and want to identify ourselves as the hero of the narrative. Instead, we should identify Jesus as the hero. We are often the one that needs to be rescued. This Sunday I will be reading from Matthew 13:44-50 which begins with the "Parable of the Hidden Treasure." It's easy to think of ourselves as the man who found treasure and we are supposed to sacrifice and sell all we have to purchase this treasure (which we would suggest is Christ). There are several problems with this view (which by the way is the traditional view of the passage). For example, salvation or Christ are not something to be purchased. Salvation is a gift that God has offered us. When we understand that Christ is the One that gave up all He had to buy the field, the parable makes more sense. We are the ones who are redeemed (i.e. purchased). Let me encourage you to read through the parables of Jesus, only with a new lens. A lens that is focused on Jesus as the hero. I hope to see you this Sunday!
Click here to watch the Parables sermon series.
Counting the Cost
At first glance, Luke 14:25-35 is one of the most peculiar passages in all of Scripture. Critics have used this passage to claim the inconsistency and absurdity of the Bible and Christianity. Is Jesus really saying that we must hate our parents in order to follow Him? No, the word we translate as "hate" is intended to be a statement of contrast between our love for the Lord and our love for family. The idea is that our love for God must be supreme. Whatever we love in this world, we must "love less" than God.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor, theologian, and anti-Nazi dissident. He was imprisoned by the Nazis during World War II and was never released. He died in Germany at the Flossenburg concentration camp. One of Bonhoeffer's many books is entitled "The Cost of Discipleship" (1937). Bonhoeffer understood difficult passages such as Luke 14. Authentic discipleship begins with a willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of Christ.
The Parables of Counting the Cost (i.e. the builder, the king, and the salt) provide us with insight into authentic discipleship. Passages such as these confuse the skeptic, but to those who have ears to hear... it helps us understand the Gospel better. It helps us understand the cost of discipleship is sacrificial, transformational, and relational.
Dr. Chris Dortch has been in vocational ministry since 1993. His blog is aimed to "equip the saints for the work of ministry."