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Showing posts from September, 2005

We are members one of another (Eph. 4:25)

Ephesians 4:25 Since you put away lying, Speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another. (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

“We are members of one another.” What does it mean that we are members of one another? The image is clear enough. Paul taught that we are a body in 1 Corinthians 12. Hands, eyes, head—they are vitally connected to each other. Vital connection involves mutual dependence. The well-being of each part of my body contributes to my total health. It’s not difficult to understand that in physical terms.

But do I really view myself as so vitally connected to other believers that my spiritual well-being affects theirs? The issue is not “Is it true?” The issue is what am I doing about this truth?

When I am spiritually weak, dry, or diseased, my ill health spiritually affects the spiritual health of the Body of Christ. When I am growing in Christlikeness, feeding my soul well, and living in the Spirit, my spiritual good health contributes to the…

The Culture of the Kingdom of God

Culture, according to Webster, is the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes a group of people. Does the Kingdom of God have a distinctive, normative culture? I mean by that, is there a set of attitudes, values, goals, and practices that citizens of the Kingdom of God share? And what is the nature of that sharing? Is it an accident* of citizenship or is it an essential? Do citizen have to share these attitudes, values, goals, and practices, or are they optional—like most elements of human culture?

I submit that the Kingdom of God has a normative, non-optional culture. I further submit that one of the purposes of God’s word is to teach the attitudes, values, goals, and practices that constitute the Kingdom’s culture. If that is so, then one of the chief goals of pastoral teaching is to facilitate the acculturation of new citizens with the Kingdom’s culture.

Imagine being in a new converts’ class where the leader begins the class with, “Welcome to the Kin…

The Kingdom of God & The Gospel

The Kingdom of God (aka Kingdom of Heaven) has been a subject of interest to me for at least the last 5 years. I remember starting a Bible study on it with Marianne when we were dating. I quit after the first session because I realized I didn’t know enough to continue.

Two things about the Kingdom of God have piqued my interest over the last three years: (1) the realization that the Kingdom of God was core to the Gospel message that Christ preached, yet I can’t ever remember hearing a gospel message that had the Kingdom at the core of the message; and (2) the realization that the Kingdom of God has a culture and the Bible is its manual for acculturation.

Here’s the data that shows how integral the Kingdom of God was to the gospel preaching of the NT:

John the Baptist’s message was “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mat. 3:2).
Jesusmessage was “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mat. 4:17); “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the k…