When we consider the message of Matthew’s gospel the concern is that we discern whether or not we are insiders seeking to do the Lord’s will. However, if I am not genetically tied to the Israelite people, Abraham is not a direct genetic descendant in my family tree, and I am not genetically tied to the prophets then can I be an insider? What if my faith is not as strong as it should be does that mean I am excluded from the inside? How do I know if I am an insider who possesses the Gospel promises?
We would not think that death could hold our Lord, but then we have the record of his resurrection. Why is the resurrection of Christ so essential? Why do we have such a huge problem understanding the resurrection of Christ?
Jesus tells his disciples that they are the salt of the earth and they are to be the light on the hill. This sounds like Jesus is giving us very strong directives, but what does it mean to be salt and light? What do these commands imply about our Christian life? What does it look like for us to live out this ethic?
There are many things in this life that can upset us and even overwhelm us. Peter affirms the reality of the hardship in the Christian life as he tells us that we have our own struggles, the world, and Satan is out to destroy us. These things make it pretty difficult for us to maintain a positive outlook in our perseverance. So, how do we know that we will arrive at the goal of heaven? Where do we turn in our darkest moments? Where is our hope in this Christian life?
There seems to be tension between Paul and Timothy. The root of this tension is that Timothy has most likely requested to go to Macedonia to meet with Paul, but Paul wants him to stay in Ephesus. We can see that one reason for Paul to write this letter is for Timothy to stay in Ephesus. Why is Paul telling Timothy to stay? Is this just a church that Paul does not want to put in order? Is Paul merely making Timothy do something that Paul does not want to do? Is Paul reminding Timothy that Timothy does not have enough clout because he is merely a preacher and not an apostle?
Romans 7 is a passage that is debated about its application. Some say that this is Paul under judaism, Paul in a pre vs post conversion, a regenerate man looking at unregenerate man, and the theories continue. How can Paul be talking about the issue of human sin and the law? What if Paul is just laying out that fallen man is so sinful that fallen man cannot attain the holy God apart from Christ?
So often I hear that the sacrament of baptism is administered only after someone makes a profession of faith while circumcision is something that is applied to children in the Old Testament. The reason that is given is that the Old Testament was a physical promise tied to a land while the New Testament is about the Spirit working in the lives of God’s people. The appeal is by looking to the book of Acts where we see someone profess their faith and then they receive baptism. If this case is so cut and dry then why is Christ circumcised and baptized? How can these signs encourage a church that is flat scared of what will happen tomorrow?
As a Reformed person I believe that the Holy Spirit will not leave the people that God has chosen. When someone who is not persuaded of perseverance of the saints hears such talk they immediately think that the Reformed view teaches that God leads people around on a string. The concern with Reformed Theology is that man becomes a puppet, an empty shell, or a blind follower who has been deprived of a will. Is Reformed Theology teaching that the Holy Spirit is merely God’s string? Do Reformed people really believe that man is emptied or relieved of his will/desires/decision making ability? How can Reformed People account for man’s will while God overwhelms His elect people by His Spirit?
There is no doubt that one would not be saved apart from the grace of God. I think all Christians who have a grasp of Christianity would affirm the necessity of grace for our salvation. We know that we are those who need grace, but how much grace do we need? Is 90 percent enough or do we need more? Is our confidence in that we will not fall away because we love the Lord enough or is it because know that the Lord loves us enough?
We as Christians can sometimes be discouraged when we survey the world. We read the news and see what is happening to the world and at times it feels as if things are spiraling out of control around us. What can we do in light of such discouragement? How do we honor the Lord in the face of such a trying time? What did the Lord tells us about Abraham in light of Sodom and Gomorrah? What was Abraham to do in light of that tragic day when the Lord finally manifested His judgment on such blatant narcissism?