Helping Those in Need: Luke 10:25-37

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As we continue our journey through Jesus’ life as told through Luke’s gospel, we come to an event that includes one of Jesus’ most famous illustrations. However, if this event didn’t include a follow-up question to the one Jesus answered, Jesus may never have shared the amazing example of what it means to be a neighbor that we will soon read.

While it seems strange to think, this entire discussion hinges around a very legalistic view of the law.

Let’s read our passage for this episode and discover what we can learn from this event. Our passage is found in Luke’s gospel, chapter 10, and we will read it from the Contemporary English Version. Starting in verse 25, Luke tells us that:

25 An expert in the Law of Moses stood up and asked Jesus a question to see what he would say. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to have eternal life?”

26 Jesus answered, “What is written in the Scriptures? How do you understand them?”

27 The man replied, “The Scriptures say, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.’ They also say, ‘Love your neighbors as much as you love yourself.’”

28 Jesus said, “You have given the right answer. If you do this, you will have eternal life.”

29 But the man wanted to show that he knew what he was talking about. So he asked Jesus, “Who are my neighbors?”

Pausing here before reading Jesus’ response, it is worth drawing our attention to the detail that this whole discussion is centered around a legalistic angle of observing the law. This expert in Moses’ law knew exactly the right answers, and he correctly summarized the essence of the Old Testament law as loving God wholeheartedly and loving our neighbors.

It is worth drawing attention onto Jesus’ first response, where He says the expert gave the right answer. Jesus tells Him and us that if we love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind; and we love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves, we will have eternal life.

However, because this expert wanted to push his own agenda, perhaps even trying to trap Jesus sharing an idea that was contrary to God’s character in the Old Testament, he asked a follow-up question wanting Jesus’ definition of neighbor. From the way Jews treated those who were not Jews in that culture, it was very clear that the Jews viewed the concept of neighbor as being exclusive to nationality, and perhaps even more exclusive than that.

In response to the question asking for a definition of a neighbor, instead of sharing a simple response, Jesus shares a story to illustrate this truth. Continuing in verse 30:

30 Jesus replied:

As a man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, robbers attacked him and grabbed everything he had. They beat him up and ran off, leaving him half dead.

Pausing briefly again, it is worth pointing out that we have no context for who this man is. The man who was attacked could have been Jewish or not, he could have been wealthy or not, and this might have been a premeditated attack on a specific person or an example of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I believe this ambiguity is intentional because if we knew anything more about this individual, we might begin to rationalize the responses others have to seeing him that Jesus is about ready to share. For the purposes of the rest of the parable, feel free to imagine this man was exactly like the people who pass by, exactly opposite, or that each person who passed by could not tell whether this man was like them or not. It is actually an interesting exercise thinking about this parable from all three angles.

With this unknown man lying half-dead on the side of the road, Jesus continues His story in verse 31 saying:

31 A priest happened to be going down the same road. But when he saw the man, he walked by on the other side. 32 Later a temple helper came to the same place. But when he saw the man who had been beaten up, he also went by on the other side.

33 A man from Samaria then came traveling along that road. When he saw the man, he felt sorry for him 34 and went over to him. He treated his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put him on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35 The next morning he gave the innkeeper two silver coins and said, “Please take care of the man. If you spend more than this on him, I will pay you when I return.”

36 Then Jesus asked, “Which one of these three people was a real neighbor to the man who was beaten up by robbers?”

37 The teacher answered, “The one who showed pity.”

Jesus said, “Go and do the same!”

In this illustration Jesus shares, three distinctly different people pass by this half-dead man. The first two people we would consider high social status individuals. Both the priest and the temple helper had strict rules and regulations on their lives making them fit verses unfit to serve in the temple. From the context of this story, we don’t know if these men were traveling to Jerusalem to serve in the temple, or if they had finished their service and were returning home. If we decide to legalistically look at the details in this event, then knowing the direction these men were traveling matters.

The brilliant way Jesus shares this illustration, and the context that Jesus shares, tells us a huge truth: Love God with all our hearts, minds, lives, and everything we are, and when we see someone in need, we should help them in whatever way we can – regardless of what others think or how it impacts our serving God. If the priest and temple helper were traveling to Jerusalem to serve in the temple, they likely wouldn’t have been able to begin right away if they stopped to help this man and they might have had to do a cleansing ceremony to become “clean” again to serve. Helping this almost dead man would have challenged their serving God.

However, the truth Jesus shares in this place as well as in other places is that when we help others, we are really helping God. I believe in this illustration and others, God is more than willing to forgive our sins when we happen to technically sin while helping someone else. God is more interested in us modeling His character of love than He is in us legalistically following His rules without love in our hearts.

The Samaritan man, the one described by the religious expert as the one who showed pity, demonstrated what it means to be a neighbor. The Samaritan helped because he could, he helped because there was a clear need, and he helped because that is what he would want someone to do for him if the roles were reversed. This Samaritan didn’t ask or think about what reasons he should not help. He simply saw an opportunity to help and then took advantage of this opportunity!

As we come to the end of another podcast episode, here are the challenges I will leave you with:

As I always challenge you to do, intentionally seek God first in your life and choose to model His love towards others when you see a need in your life. When deciding the best way to help when help is needed, don’t worry about if you are crossing the line into sin because the line you are really aiming for is the line of serving and service. Helping someone in need is more important than legalistically following the rules!

Also, continue praying and studying the Bible for yourself. Don’t accept an idea or thought simply because a pastor, speaker, author, podcaster, or anyone says it – including me. Instead, take the ideas you hear, see, and read and test them against the truth you discover in God’s Word the Bible to determine if they have any validity. The Bible is the best guide we have to determining God’s truth; it is the only guide that teaches how to ultimately gain eternal life through Jesus and His sacrifice.

And as I end every set of challenges by saying in one way or another, never stop short of, back away from, chicken out of, or talk yourself out of where God wants to lead you to in your life with Him!

Year in Luke – Episode 20: In one of Jesus’ most famous illustrations, discover how a very legalistic question gets answered in a very unlegalistic way, and how this illustration is just as applicable for us living today as it was for those living in the first century!

Join the discussion. Share your thoughts on this passage.

Flashback Episode — The Warning and the Invitation: Matthew 11:20-30

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As we continue moving through Matthew’s gospel, we come to another place where Jesus has some challenging words to say to several groups of people. While we might be tempted to think that Jesus’ message is not relevant for us, under the surface of Jesus words is a powerful theme that is relevant for every point in history.

Let’s read what Jesus challenged those in the first century by saying and discover what we can learn that is applicable for our own lives. Our passage is found in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 11, and we will read it using the New International Reader’s Version. Starting in verse 20, Matthew tells us that:

20 Jesus began to speak against the towns where he had done most of his miracles. The people there had not turned away from their sins. So he said, 21 “How terrible it will be for you, Chorazin! How terrible for you, Bethsaida! Suppose the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon. They would have turned away from their sins long ago. They would have put on clothes for mourning. They would have sat down in ashes. 22 But I tell you this. On judgment day it will be easier for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 23 And what about you, Capernaum? Will you be lifted to the heavens? No! You will go down to the place of the dead. Suppose the miracles done in you had been done in Sodom. It would still be here today. 24 But I tell you this. On judgment day it will be easier for Sodom than for you.”

Let’s pause reading here because I want to draw our attention onto something that might be easy to ignore or miss. In this section of our passage, Matthew tells us that Jesus speaks these messages against the towns where He had done the most miracles. This means that these towns, even with Jesus healing the sick, preaching, and working powerfully for God, simply ignored what God was doing in their midst. Jesus compares their ignoring attitude as being worse than some of the worst towns in history.

The towns of Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom were all judged and condemned by God but Jesus tells these people that if He had been sent to those towns and done what He had done for them in the first century, those towns would have changed. Jesus tells the people living in the first century that it would be easier on judgment day for those who were evil while Jesus wasn’t present in the world than for those who ignored Him while He was here.

However, it is tempting for us to look down on those in the first century and believe we are exempt from Jesus’ warning. If we choose to do this, then we run into the trap of ignoring what God is doing in our world today. The underlying theme in Jesus’ warning is to be aware and to pay attention to what God is doing in your life, in your world, during the time you are alive living in the world, and to acknowledge and accept God into your heart and life.

We run the risk of being judged by God while we judge those in the first century and ignore everything God is doing today. While those in the first century ignored Jesus, we don’t have to make the same mistake they did.

However, Jesus isn’t finished sharing, and like our passage in our last episode, Jesus ends by giving us some encouragement. Continuing in verse 25:

25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father. You are Lord of heaven and earth. You have hidden these things from wise and educated people. But you have shown them to little children. 26 Yes, Father. This is what you wanted to do.

27 “My Father has given all things to me. The Father is the only one who knows the Son. And the only ones who know the Father are the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to make him known.

28 “Come to me, all you who are tired and are carrying heavy loads. I will give you rest. 29 Become my servants and learn from me. I am gentle and free of pride. You will find rest for your souls. 30 Serving me is easy, and my load is light.”

In this concluding message, Jesus shares an amazing promise that is perhaps more relevant for us living today than it was during the first century when He said it. Jesus’ message for everyone living in today’s world is to come to Him if we are tired and carrying a heavy burden and He will give you rest.

If your life is so busy that you feel you are drowning under the weight of your obligations, then Jesus offers you rest. The rest Jesus offers you isn’t just physical rest, but also rest for your soul. While at times it is challenging, Jesus tells us that serving Him is easy, and His load is light.

This promise at the end of Jesus’ message is very welcoming and very inviting, but it also doesn’t take into account all the crazy challenging messages Jesus has shared before about how being a disciple requires dedication and how it costs everything.

How can following Jesus be easy and His load be light when following Jesus costs us everything?

As I have followed Jesus in my own life, I have learned that following Jesus gives us rest and the rest Jesus gives is rest that helps us balance the craziness of our lives. Much of the stress in our lives is fake stress that is self-imposed. This stress comes from worrying about things we cannot change, or even from things that don’t matter. Worrying about what will happen in the next episode of a TV drama or the next installment of a movie franchise only hurts your life. This is fake stress that has real consequences.

If we strip away all the stress and worry in our lives that relates to things we cannot change or affect, instantly our loads are lighter. We can do this without even coming to Jesus.

However, the real blessing that Jesus offers us is the truth that we don’t have to worry about appeasing an angry God who wants to punish us. Instead, Jesus came to satisfy the requirements of the law so that God can love us even more. Jesus does not stand in the way of an angry God. Instead, the Godhead decided together that Jesus would come take the punishment for our sins because every member of the Godhead loves us more than we could imagine. Jesus came representing God the Father and the Holy Spirit, and His love for us shows us how much God loves us.

The light load Jesus offers us is a load where He already took the heavy requirements on Himself, and He leaves us with a gift if we are willing to accept it. The gift Jesus offers us is His life in exchange for ours, and His life gives us eternal life while our lives bring Him death. While it is crazy to think that God would give us this choice, this is the amazing news of the gospel message, and the load Jesus promises us when we come to Him.

As we come to the end of another podcast episode, here are the challenges I will leave you with:

As I always challenge you to do, intentionally and purposefully seek God first in your life. Choose to accept Jesus into your life if you haven’t already and stop trying to live up to the expectations of a God who loves you. Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law because there was no way we could ever do this, and Jesus offers us His perfect life in exchange for our sin-stained lives. We accept Jesus’ gift by living our lives for God, obeying Him as a way of saying thank you for what He has done. Our lives lived as a thank you won’t be perfect, but perfection isn’t our goal. Our goal is saying thank you to God!

Also, continue praying and studying the Bible for yourself to learn and grow closer to God each and every day. Through prayer and Bible study, discover how much God loves you through what Jesus did for you, and discover how God wants you to live your life as a thank you to Him for everything He has done for us and for everything He has blessed us with.

And as I end every set of challenges by saying in one way or another, never stop short of, back away from, chicken out of, or walk away from where God wants to lead you to in your life with Him!

Flashback Episode: Year in Matthew – Episode 20: In another place where Jesus shares a message with His followers, He decides to speak out against the places where He did the most of His miracles, and following this message of condemnation, Jesus gives everyone present an amazing invitation.

Join the discussion on the original episode's page: Click Here.

Commissioned by Jesus: Luke 10:1-20

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As we continue moving through Luke’s gospel, two episodes ago, we looked at Jesus sending out the twelve disciples on a short-term evangelistic trip. Then in our last episode, we looked at several of Jesus’ disciples failing to cast one demon out of a child when they had been successful earlier. In this episode, we circle back around and discover Jesus sends the disciples out on another mission trip.

However, while the earlier trip was limited to the small group of twelve disciples, it appears as though this second commission includes a much larger group of people that Jesus sends out. Let’s read what happened, and what Jesus shares to this group of followers as He sends them out.

Our passage is found in Luke’s gospel, chapter 10, and we will read from the Good News Translation. Starting in verse 1, Luke tells us that:

After this the Lord chose another seventy-two men and sent them out two by two, to go ahead of him to every town and place where he himself was about to go.

Pausing briefly, it is interesting that in this first verse, Luke tells us that these followers were sent in a similar fashion as John the Baptist, who was sent ahead of Jesus’ arrival. These followers are given specific instructions and in many ways, what Jesus tells these followers next is a message to every single person God has called and adopted into His family. While Jesus has already come, He is coming again, and what Jesus describes here could be just as easily applied to us living and looking forward to His grand return!

Continuing in verse 2, Jesus:

 [He] said to them, “There is a large harvest, but few workers to gather it in. Pray to the owner of the harvest that he will send out workers to gather in his harvest. Go! I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Don’t take a purse or a beggar’s bag or shoes; don’t stop to greet anyone on the road. Whenever you go into a house, first say, ‘Peace be with this house.’ If someone who is peace-loving lives there, let your greeting of peace remain on that person; if not, take back your greeting of peace. Stay in that same house, eating and drinking whatever they offer you, for workers should be given their pay. Don’t move around from one house to another. Whenever you go into a town and are made welcome, eat what is set before you, heal the sick in that town, and say to the people there, ‘The Kingdom of God has come near you.’ 10 But whenever you go into a town and are not welcomed, go out in the streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust from your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. But remember that the Kingdom of God has come near you!’ 12 I assure you that on the Judgment Day God will show more mercy to Sodom than to that town!

13 “How terrible it will be for you, Chorazin! How terrible for you too, Bethsaida! If the miracles which were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, the people there would have long ago sat down, put on sackcloth, and sprinkled ashes on themselves, to show that they had turned from their sins! 14 God will show more mercy on the Judgment Day to Tyre and Sidon than to you. 15 And as for you, Capernaum! Did you want to lift yourself up to heaven? You will be thrown down to hell!”

16 Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”

With those parting words, the 72 followers are commissioned to go to the towns ahead of Jesus.

However, before reading their report back to Jesus about what they experienced, I want to draw our attention onto two big ideas.

First, included in the challenge to the disciples getting ready to head out is a warning for some of the major towns and cities in Jesus’ day that ultimately rejected Jesus’ message. Jesus draws our attention to Judgment Day and how these towns would be shown less mercy on Judgment day than He would to several notoriously evil cities in history. This frames the big context of this message and mission of these followers as preparing the way for Jesus’ arrival. These 72 followers were tasked with challenging towns, cities, and villages Jesus was planning on visiting and preparing the hearts and minds of those present to receive Jesus.

Like earlier, Jesus tells His followers they would be rejected and to simply leave the town, and not take any part of the town with them. These 72 followers were not tasked with forcing people to believe in Jesus. They were simply commissioned to share about Jesus with those who were willing to listen!

The second big idea I see in Jesus’ commission to these disciples is when He tells them in verse 16, “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.” This is a powerful statement, and I believe this is just as relevant today as it was in the first century. Just like those living in the first century were awaiting Jesus’ arrival leading up to Judgment Day, we too are awaiting Jesus’ return leading up to Judgment Day. This means that this message may be just as relevant to us as followers of Jesus looking forward to the day He returns.

Jesus tells us that those who listen to His message through us are really listening to Him, and those who reject us aren’t really rejecting us. Instead, when we face rejection, we should realize these people are really rejecting Jesus, and not just Jesus, but God as well.

In this simple statement, Jesus challenges us to not become proud about the words we speak, because we are simply a messenger for Jesus. In the same way, we should not take rejection personally, because those who reject us aren’t rejecting us as much as they are rejecting Jesus and God.

This is a powerful truth to remember, and one that hopefully will encourage you as you walk through life with Jesus!

With this said, what do Jesus’ followers report back to Him when they return?

Picking back up in verse 17, Luke tells us that:

17 The seventy-two men came back in great joy. “Lord,” they said, “even the demons obeyed us when we gave them a command in your name!”

18 Jesus answered them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Listen! I have given you authority, so that you can walk on snakes and scorpions and overcome all the power of the Enemy, and nothing will hurt you. 20 But don’t be glad because the evil spirits obey you; rather be glad because your names are written in heaven.”

In this event, we discover that these followers of Jesus are given the same experience that Jesus’ twelve disciples had experienced earlier. These 72 followers are able to cast demons out with Jesus’ name, and heal people. I believe Jesus sent out this second larger group of followers because He wants us to know that amazing miracles and Jesus’ mission are not reserved for only Jesus’ closest followers. Anyone and everyone who follows Jesus can tap into the Holy Spirit’s power as they point people to Jesus.

The mission of God’s people at every point in history has been pointing people back to what God and Jesus have done for us, and pointing us to His arrival and return. The Old Testament prophets pointed people forward to Jesus’ first coming, and all of God’s messengers from the first century forward to today, point us towards Jesus’ return.

However, while this sounds amazing, Jesus wants to focus our attention back onto a big truth. While it may be exciting to have the Holy Spirit with us, we should be even more excited that when we follow God, our names are written in the Book of Life in heaven. In the big picture, it won’t matter what we have done for God. What will matter is whether our names are among those who God is planning on redeeming from sin and bringing with Him into eternity!

As we come to the end of another podcast episode, here are the challenges I will leave you with:

As I always challenge you to do, intentionally seek God first in your life and choose to trust Him with whatever the future holds. In the big picture, the only thing worth focusing on is making sure that your name is written in the Book of Life in heaven, and that happens when we accept Jesus into our hearts, minds, and lives and let Him transform us into being ambassadors and representatives for Him.

Also, continue praying and studying the Bible for yourself to learn and grow closer to God each and every day. The most important relationship we can have is a relationship with God, and because of this, don’t let anyone get stuck between you and God. Jesus wants a personal relationship with you because He loves you more than you can possibly imagine!

And as I end every set of challenges by saying in one way or another, never stop short of, back away from, chicken out of, or walk away from where God wants to lead you to in your life with Him!

Year in Luke – Episode 19: Part way through Luke’s gospel, we come to a second place where Jesus commissions His followers. Discover some things we can learn from this second commission, and what this means for our lives today!

Join the discussion. Share your thoughts on this passage.

Flashback Episode — Another Set of Challenges: Matthew 10:24-42

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A little less than half-way through Matthew’s gospel, we come to a passage where Jesus is again teaching. While Jesus’ message in this portion of Matthew’s gospel isn’t as famous as the long Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ words to those present in our passage for this episode are no less challenging. In some ways, what Jesus challenges us with in this passage is even more challenging than before.

Let’s read what Jesus shared, and discover how we can apply Jesus’ challenges in our own lives. Our passage is found in Matthew’s gospel, chapter 10, and we will read from the Good News Translation. Starting in verse 24, and jumping into Jesus’ teaching, we read:

24 “No pupil is greater than his teacher; no slave is greater than his master. 25 So a pupil should be satisfied to become like his teacher, and a slave like his master. If the head of the family is called Beelzebul, the members of the family will be called even worse names!

Quick note: in the context of this message, Beelzebul would be another name for Satan or the devil. In other words, we shouldn’t be surprised if others call us names or accuse us of being agents of Satan. We should be satisfied simply being and living like Jesus, our Teacher.

Continuing in verse 26:

26 “So do not be afraid of people. Whatever is now covered up will be uncovered, and every secret will be made known. 27 What I am telling you in the dark you must repeat in broad daylight, and what you have heard in private you must announce from the housetops. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather be afraid of God, who can destroy both body and soul in hell. 29 For only a penny you can buy two sparrows, yet not one sparrow falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. 30 As for you, even the hairs of your head have all been counted. 31 So do not be afraid; you are worth much more than many sparrows!

32 “Those who declare publicly that they belong to me, I will do the same for them before my Father in heaven. 33 But those who reject me publicly, I will reject before my Father in heaven.

34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the world. No, I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 I came to set sons against their fathers, daughters against their mothers, daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law; 36 your worst enemies will be the members of your own family.

37 “Those who love their father or mother more than me are not fit to be my disciples; those who love their son or daughter more than me are not fit to be my disciples. 38 Those who do not take up their cross and follow in my steps are not fit to be my disciples. 39 Those who try to gain their own life will lose it; but those who lose their life for my sake will gain it.

40 “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes God’s messenger because he is God’s messenger, will share in his reward. And whoever welcomes a good man because he is good, will share in his reward. 42 You can be sure that whoever gives even a drink of cold water to one of the least of these my followers because he is my follower, will certainly receive a reward.”

Let’s stop reading here. This passage has a bunch of really strong challenges in it. Jesus challenges us to make His messages public and to broadcast what He has shared with us as we have studied. Jesus tells us that we shouldn’t fear people because our souls cannot be touched or hurt by humans. Instead, we should fear God, who has the power to destroy both our body and our soul. Jesus tells us we are valuable in God’s eyes, and while this passage doesn’t directly say how valuable, the biggest reason Jesus came to this earth was to show us how much God values us!

Jesus challenges us with the truth that we must publicly declare that we are allied with Jesus if we want Jesus to acknowledge us before the Father in heaven. If we try to live a life of secret faith, where we are privately disciples of Jesus but publicly against Him or on the fence, then Jesus tells us that He will reject us before the Father. This sounds harsh and challenging, but it also draws our attention to an interesting truth that a secret disciple isn’t a valuable disciple. A disciple of Jesus must at some point declare that they are with Jesus. While the point in time they choose to do this might vary, they cannot stay hidden for their entire lives.

Some people believe that Jesus came to bring peace into the world, but Jesus challenges this idea with His next statement. Jesus tells us that Jesus came to bring division and debate. Because of Jesus, families would be split up and divided. I don’t believe that this is Jesus’ goal for coming into this world, but it is a reality as individuals wrestle in their minds and hearts about who Jesus really is. Some of the family might realize and believe Jesus to be God’s Son, while others believe Him to be an imposter. Jesus knows His coming would cause division, but His coming is too important for God’s people to let the fear of dividing people stop Him.

Jesus challenges us that if we are to be His disciples, we are to love Him over anyone and everyone else. We are to place Jesus first in our lives and to lay our goals and ambitions aside for what God’s goals and ambitions for us are. By losing our own lives, we are able to gain Jesus’ life, and His life in our lives brings us eternal life!

While most of Jesus’ message is bleak and challenging, Jesus finishes with an amazing promise. Those who welcome Jesus’ messengers are really welcoming Jesus, and whoever welcomes Jesus is welcoming God as well. Everyone who welcomes those God has sent will share in God’s rewards. When we are kind to those who follow God and when we are kind simply because we are God’s followers, Jesus promises us that God will reward us.

While Jesus’ arrival in this world causes a huge split between people of every background as we all must make the choice regarding who Jesus is for us, we can know and trust that when we choose Jesus in this life, and when we live for Him, we will be rewarded by God in the next life. While our current life will have challenges and trials because we chose to publicly follow Jesus, we can know and trust that our future lives are safe in God’s hands.

As we come to the end of another podcast episode, here are the challenges I will leave you with:

As I always challenge you to do, be sure you are intentionally seeking God first in your life. Choose to publicly ally yourself with Jesus and let Him lead and guide your life. Live a life filled with God’s love and a life that is focused on helping the least of those in society and those who cannot help you back. Live your faith in a way that honors God, that honors Jesus, and that uplifts humanity. When we show God’s love in the world today, our lives become the greatest witness for our faith.

Also, as I always challenge you to do, continue praying and studying the Bible for yourself to grow a personal relationship with God. Through personal study, God will teach us through His Holy Spirit what we should speak and share with others, and with God’s Holy Spirit, we can live the life God has called us to live.

And as I end every set of challenges by saying in one way or another, never stop short of, back away from, chicken out of, or abandon where God wants to lead you to in your life with Him!

Flashback Episode: Year in Matthew – Episode 19: Part way through Matthew’s gospel, Jesus again challenges His followers with some very direct, difficult ideas, but He finishes this message with a promise. In this message, discover what it means to truly follow Jesus and to be one of His disciples.

Join the discussion on the original episode's page: Click Here.