Hebrews 13:17 is quite hard for some preachers to preach on. And even more so hard for the congregation to follow. The reason is that there are abusive leaders and that we don’t want to have someone in authority over us. We live in democracy. We are concerned primarily with our freedom and our profit. Here I will present first a balance view of church leadership and how the congregation should respond to the call for obedience and submission, and second, the motivation behind this, namely Joy.
We live in times where pervertion of marriage is rampant. Love is reduced to mere feelings and unabated sexual intercourse, both inside of marriage and outside of marriage. The concept of a covenant love is foreign to most of the world, and even within the so called evangelical church. No wonder that relationships are too shallow and can’t withstand great trials. Instead, in just a whim, marriages are broken and their main reason was “irreconcilable differences”. Here are some pratical pointers to help couples strengthen their marriages and also the rest to have a high view of biblical marriage and covenant love.
3.Marriage is momentary, Christ and the Church is not
Loving our own bodies is not a sin in of itself. Neither loving one’s own life. In fact the scripture assumes that we do love our lives and bodies. It doesn’t command us to love ourselves(because we’re doing this already), nor does the scripture forbids it. Loving one’s life and body is not the same as selfishness. It is self-love apart from loving God first and loving others is selfishness. When Christ said in John 12:25 “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”, he is not saying not to love your life at all, but that we should not love our lives the way the world does. The reason I say that is because of the result and motivation for not loving our lives in this world, namely eternal life. Is wanting eternal life not loving one’s life? In other words, we’re just merely exchanging it for something better. So when the scripture said that we should love one another as we love ourselves, husbands love your wives as you love your own bodies, and love is not self seeking, it is not telling us to disregard ourselves, but that we should first and foremost love others without any pretense, not taking advantage of them, not abusing them. Christ does not abuse, mistreat, and hate his own body(the church), so do you of your own body, therefore don’t abuse, mistreat and hate others, but instead love them.
As we approach the celebration of Christmas, the birth of our saviour and Lord Jesus Christ, I think it is only fitting to discuss something about him. In the synoptic gospels we will find generally what is the human portrait of the Christ. That is not to say that they are silent about Christ’s deity. But compared to John’s gospel account, they only present to us vignettes of truths about Christ’s divine nature. Matthew begins his gospel with a genealogy tracing Christ’s kingly line. Mark didn’t bother to trace his lineage, instead he starts with Christ’s service, his ministry. Luke does account for us Christ’s genealogy, a human ancestry, pointing to the fact that he is the seed of the woman in Genesis 3, but Luke didn’t begin there. He starts with the birth of a man, John the baptist. But the closest to Jesus, apostle John starts with the very beginning. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.
In a gospel that more specifically deals with the deity of Christ, you wouldn’t expect to have an introduction about a mere man right in the middle while introducing Jesus Christ as the Light. Verses 6-8 is very odd for me. First because it seems abrupt. Second because it’s hard to relate with the rest of the passage. What’s the point of bringing up John the baptist? At first glance it seems anticlimactic. So how does it relate to the preceding and following verses?
1.The contrast between a man and God – verses 6-8 is not a useless interruption. John is describing for us the Light by telling us who John the baptist is not. He is not the Light. Hence by implication, everything that was said about him, a mere man, is not the Light.
2.Our calling as a witnesses to the Light
-God uses means that would testify about the Light
-We are the means by which God would grant faith to others