Matthew’s gospel records six parables in Matthew 13 that start, “the kingdom of heaven is like. . .” Three more gospels of the kingdom appear later in Matthew. In this post, we will look at the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35), which starts, “the kingdom of heaven is like a king . . .”
The parable immediately follows Peter’s question about forgiveness. According to typical rabbinic teaching, forgiveness was unnecessary after the third offense. Peter asked if he needed to forgive seven times. In other words, Peter asked if forgiving more than twice as much as other rabbis required is good enough.… Read the rest
Have you ever noticed that the Bible attributes all the building blocks of civilization to rebels against God? Ungodly men started the world system.
Cain founded the first city. His descendants invented agriculture, music, and metal work. After the flood, Nimrod invented architecture, government, war, and religion.
We like to talk about the rise of civilization, but it all began as a consequence of the fall. Surely unfallen humans would have eventually invented all the best parts of it. But given its ungodly start, civilization hasn’t needed to rise. It has needed to be redeemed. God’s redemption of civilization started with Abraham. … Read the rest
John the Baptist burst on the scene with such power that people wondered if he could be the Messiah. He identified Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah.
In explaining what the Messiah would do, he didn’t refer to anything Jesus did in his earthly ministry. He pointed to Jesus’ post-resurrection work and used an agricultural image to do so. The message was plain to those who heard John, but it’s obscure to us today.
If people know nothing else about Christianity, they know that it doesn’t approve of sexual sin. Unfortunately, large swaths of the church have forgotten that.
Child abuse and sexually predatory behavior scandalize both church and society. Too many people who grow up in the church reach adulthood without learning biblical standards of morality. Children of ordained ministers shack up with their blessing. High ranking denominational leaders favor homosexual marriage and ordaining homosexual clergy.
Many point out that Jesus himself said nothing on the subject of homosexuality. As if that means he had no objection to it. But homosexuality is a kind of sexual sin.… Read the rest
In recent decades, the environment has become a contentious issue. We argue about whether the climate is changing and how much it matters. We argue about the need for environmental regulations. Are the ones we have too harsh on industry or too lenient?
In all this controversy, we tend to forget that God made the heavens and the earth. He has expressed his own thoughts on the environment throughout Scripture. We find some of them in well-known passages. Or, we would find them if we didn’t focus so much on the other issues in the same passages.
Others come in parts of the Bible we seldom read, parts devotional and teaching literature seldom quote.… Read the rest
Another blog I follow makes a good case that the most harmful sin is sexual immorality, the one sin that people commit against their own body.
No doubt it seriously threatens everything God ordained about human relationships.
But I’m leading a Bible study on Isaiah. It shows me something else even more harmful: the sin of self-sufficiency. After all, not everyone commits sexual sin, but no one is immune to the sin of self-sufficiency.
Record drought in California. Record flooding in Louisiana. Earthquake in Italy. Insurance companies call these and other natural disasters “acts of God.”
Is God trying to tell us something?
Someone, it seems, always comes out of the woodwork to say that a particular disaster God’s judgment on—take your pick—homosexuality, abortion, taking prayer out of schools, or whatever other issue riles them.