One Anothering One Another

This week, as we continued our series, Married for Good, we started getting practical. What does it look like to get marriage right as followers of Jesus? In order to answer this question, we jumped headfirst into one of the most challenging – and misunderstood – passages about marriage in the entire New Testament. On this day for spooks and chills, this idea puts fear in the hearts of not a few couples. We’re talking about Paul’s words to the Ephesian believers which include the command for wives to submit to their husbands. Joy me this week and next as we work to make sense out of this, and to see how getting it right is a key to getting marriage right.

One Anothering One Another

Have you ever misunderstood something? There’s a difference between not understanding something and misunderstanding something. In the former instance, we have genuinely not grasped the details of some matter. Our acting in a manner inconsistent with it is out of pure ignorance. What’s more, this is often a known ignorance on our part. We understand that we don’t understand and can do something about that. Often, in this case, more time learning and gaining information about it will be the solution to the problem. But when we misunderstand something, the problem is deeper. In this case, we often think we do understand whatever it is. We think we understand, but in understanding it incorrectly, we react to it in ways that are inconsistent with reality. And, because we fail to grasp that we don’t understand it, attempts to correct us will often be rebuffed. They may even lead us to double down on our misunderstanding. It takes a lot of patience and often a lot of time to correct a misunderstanding. Well, this morning, we are going to start looking at something the apostle Paul said that is frequently misunderstood. We are going to see if we can set the misunderstandings to the side—both those of others and perhaps of ourselves as well—and get at what Paul is really trying to say. 

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Morning Musing: Matthew 19:21

“‘If you want to be perfect,’ Jesus said to him, ‘go, sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’” (CSB – Read the chapter)

When Jesus was in Jerusalem ahead of His final week on earth, there was a moment when a bunch of children came up and were shouting praises to Jesus. In a culture when children were expected to be seen and not heard, this was a pretty significant break with tradition, so naturally, the Pharisees fussed about it to Jesus. He responded by quoting a line from Psalm 8:2 praising children for spouting of divine wisdom. “Out of the mouths of babes,” Well, I had an out-of-the-mouths-of-babes moment this week. If you’ll indulge me this morning, I’d like to tell you about it.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 12:25-29

“See to it that you do not reject the one who speaks. For if they did not escape when they rejected him who warned them on earth, even less will we if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven. His voice shook the earth at that time, but now he has promised, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’ This expression, ‘Yet once more,’ indicates the removal of what can be shaken – that is, created things – so that what is not shaken might remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever been in an earthquake? The answer to that probably depends on where you live, just like it does with about any other natural disaster. Different areas are prone to different kinds of disasters. I never thought I lived in an earthquake-prone region until I was sitting at my desk a few years ago and everything suddenly started shaking. It wasn’t a big earthquake (at least, we were far enough from the epicenter that we didn’t shake too much where we were), but it was an eerie moment. The world was moving, and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. As we come to the end of chapter 12 today, the author is talking about another shaking that’s coming. But this one will be a bit bigger than what I experienced. Let’s talk about God’s shaking things up and the hope we have in His kingdom.

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Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 12:18-24

“For you have not come to what could be touched, to a blazing fire, to darkness, gloom, and storm, to the blast of a trumpet, and the sound of words. Those who heard it begged that not another word be spoken to them, for they could not bear what was commanded: ‘If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.’ The appearance was so terrifying that Moses said, ‘I am trembling with fear.’ Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God (the heavenly Jerusalem), to myriads of angels, a festive gathering, to the assembly of the firstborn whose names have been written in heaven, to a Judge, who is God of all, to the spirits of righteous people made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which says better things than the blood of Abel.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

For twelve chapters now, and seven months, we have been joining the author of Hebrews on an explanation and exploration of why God’s new covenant in Christ is greater than the old covenant He made through Moses with the people of Israel. Here, just before his big lightning round finish, he sets the two covenants against each other one last time. This contrast, though, is different from all the rest. Let’s take a look at what he says here and what it means for us.

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Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 12:15-17

“Make sure that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springs up, causing trouble and defiling many. And make sure that there isn’t any immoral or irreverent person like Esau, who sold his birthright in exchange for a single meal. For you know that later, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, even though he sought it with tears, because he didn’t find any opportunity for repentance.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

All product user guides follow the same basic format. They begin with warnings, go on to instructions for proper use, and end with a section on troubleshooting. Troubleshooting is essentially one more set of warnings. It is a list of things that might go wrong, and what to do if they happen. Here, as we draw near to the end of the letter, the author of Hebrews offers us a bit of troubleshooting. Let’s take a look at one last warning and how we can avoid some trouble.

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