What can help us get a grasp on the whole Bible? There are several good answers to this question, but the idea of covenant is a handy way to understand the whole Bible. More importantly, it is the way for us to relate to God properly. In our new series on the covenants of the Bible, we first looked at Genesis 2:15-25, where we learn about the first covenant between God and humanity: the Covenant of Life.
In our third look at Matthew 6:1-18, which contains the Lord’s Prayer, or the Our Father, we examine the prayer itself, which serves not only as a prayer of Christians of all places and times but also as a model for our praying. It consists of an initial address to God, three requests for God’s glory, and three requests for our more pressing needs.
During three weeks, we are looking at Matthew 6:1-18, moving from the outside toward the Lord’s Prayer in the middle. First we considered Jesus’ warnings about hypocrisy: doing the right things in order to receive human applause. This week we looked at Jesus’ three instructions about how to pray: in secret, with simplicity, and with forgiveness.
During three weeks, we will look at Matthew 6:1-18, moving from the outside toward the Lord’s Prayer in the middle. First we considered Jesus’ warnings about hypocrisy: doing the right things in order to receive human applause. Jesus called us rather to focus on the divine audience and receive grace upon grace from God.
Following up on last week’s sermon about the who, where, and what of Jesus’ birth, we turn to Hebrews 2:14-18 to learn more about what the incarnation was and also why it had to happen.
In the first of a two-part Christmas series, we studied the announcement in Luke 1:26-38 that the angel Gabriel made to Mary about the baby she would bear. We focused on who was involved in this announcement, where it happened, and what it meant. Next week we will study why it had to be this way.
In the dramatic concluding section, Galatians 6:11-18, Paul brought the whole message of the letter together by writing about boasting. He contrasted worldly religious boasting with Christian boasting. Christians are to boast only in something that was and is despised by most people: the instrument of execution known as a cross.
In Galatians 6:1-10, Paul took the general principles of the fruit of the Spirit (which we studied last week) and applied them to three situations in the church in order to provide concrete examples of Christian living. The three situations are: when a Christian falls into sin, when ministers need support, and when any member needs help. The way we treat sinners, ministers, and the needy demonstrates the reality of our faith and the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Continuing the theme of the results of faith in Christ, Galatians 5:16-26 lists specific manifestations of the flesh (sinful nature) and of the Holy Spirit. The outward evidence of living by the Holy Spirit is the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
After four chapters of telling us what Christ has done for us and urging us to have faith in him alone in order to be right before God, Paul turned in Galatians 5:1-15 to explain the main thing that faith produces in our lives, which is love. While we are saved by faith alone, faith is itself never alone in the lives of believers but always accompanied by love.