There once was a duck village populated by ducks. In this village, was a duck church and they had their duck bible. One Sunday, the duck preacher exhorted the duck congregation, "My duck brothers and sisters, God has given us wings so we can fly and glorify God." The duck congregation shouted in agreement, "Amen!" and then waddled home.
Throughout scripture, we see that man is justified by faith apart from works. But then we get to James 2 where we read that faith without works is dead, and that we are justified by our works. Is this a contradiction in Scripture? How do we reconcile James with the rest of Scripture?
In today's lesson, we see there truly is no contradiction here. We are justified, declared righteous through faith. Works, then, become the evidence of that faith.
Mountains appear in various times and in various ways throughout scripture. Mountains are sometimes tied with various aspects of God, His character and His redemptive plan.
Mount Sinai is often associated with God's Law and the requirements of the Law. Through our own efforts, we can never measure up to the righteous requirements of the Law.
Contrasted with Mount Sinai, today's lesson looks at Mount Zion, the mountain which Paul, in Galatians 5:21-5:1, equates with God's redemptive grace through Christ.
In our modern culture, the formula for peace and happiness has become, beauty plus the "perfect" family plus the "perfect" job plus stuff plus success equals contentment. Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," is the motivational mantra to get what I want.
In contrast, if one were to look at the life of the apostle Paul, we would expect to see a depressed man. But we see the opposite. Paul wrote this letter to the church in Philippi from a prison cell. He experienced various imprisonments, flogging, shipwreck and more. But in the midst of this, we see a man, not depressed, but full of joy and contentment. In this passage, we see the secret to Paul's contentment, and the key to our contentment.
In today's lesson we will see Paul's joy, Paul's contentment, and finally the source of Paul's contentment. May you be blessed as you listen to today's lesson.
The old joke asks, "Why did the man climb the mountain?" The answer, because it was there. And when we climb a mountain, what do we see?
Several mountains are mentioned in scripture. In today's lesson, we will climb Mount Sinai with Moses. But what will we see? Mount Sinai holds a central place in both Old and New Testaments and is essential to understanding God's plan of salvation. There we see that God is holy, righteous and that he cannot tolerate sin.
The church around the world is under increasing persecution. Faced with imprisonment, torture, and even death, the temptation would be to give in to such persecution and deny Christ. Yet, many face persecution with such intense faith. The question facing believers today is, how do we stand firm in the face of such pressure.
Today's lesson provides one of the keys to standing firm. And it is not in our own faithfulness, but in the fact that the Lord Jesus is worthy. Looking at Colossians 1:12-23, today's lesson examines Paul's overflow of praise for the worth of the Lord Jesus.