The King and His Inheritance

God's Word to the World (3)


I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Psalm 2:7-9

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A deadly corrosive
Augustine described the human desire for autonomy as a “deadly corrosive.” Once established in the human heart, the determination to become a law unto oneself corrupts, corrodes, and eats away every vestige of decency, civility, and neighbor love inherent in being the image-bearer of God. And, as with all corrosion, the desire for autonomy – to be free of all constraints, especially those imposed by God – spreads to every area of human life and interest.

The Lord’s Response

God's Word to the World (2)


He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”
Psalm 2:4-6

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The nations in tumult
These days the political, intellectual, cultural, economic, academic, and military leaders of the world act as if they have no responsibility toward or even regard for the God of Scripture. In fact, this is not an act at all. It’s simply the way contemporary men and women have come to view the proceedings of history and the world. God may or may not exist; but, even if He does, He doesn’t interfere in the affairs of men and nations, people and things. He’s only about comforting us in our times of trial – if we’re so weak as to require such comforting.

Rage and Vanity

God's Word to the World (1)


Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and his anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”
Psalm 2:1-3

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The rage of nations
In 1919, observing the devastation and confusion in the wake of World War I, Irish poet William Butler Yeats reflected on the state of humankind, a situation which must have struck him as a kind of insanity. Things were falling apart everywhere. Spiritual, moral, social, cultural, and relational centers had lost their centripetal power, and civilization seemed to be gyrating uncontrollably away from its former moorings. As he considered the potential for re-establishing some rationality to the world, he was not encouraged. In his poem, The Second Coming, he wrote concerning the world of his day and those who must now try to put it back together,

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.


Dealing with Sin (7)


Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him.
2 Corinthians 2:5-8

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“Do you love Me?”
Three times – three very public and painful times – Jesus confronted Peter with the question of his loyalty: “Do you love Me?” (Jn. 21:15-17). Peter had sinned against the Lord by denying three times that he even knew Him. The other disciples knew about this situation, and they also knew that Jesus had appointed Peter to a leading role in the ongoing work of the Kingdom of God (Matt. 16:18ff). How was this appointment to be realized, now that Peter had betrayed Jesus so egregiously?

Respond (2)

Dealing with Sin (6)


But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. Galatians 2:11

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Scandalous sins
Scandalous sins are those which are public, persistent, and pernicious. Peter sinned scandalously in Antioch when he turned away from the Gentile believers there and kept fellowship with the Jewish Christians. This he did in order to placate certain Jewish teachers who had arrived from Jerusalem. He wanted them to think he was a “true Jew” and so, in the process, he sinned against his Gentile brethren. The scandalous nature of his sin became evident when even Barnabas become ensnared and followed in Peter’s betrayal.

Another scandalous sin occurred in the Church in Corinth. Paul comments on this in 1 Corinthians 5. A man, a member of the church, was having a sexual affair with his father’s wife – presumably, she was not his mother, and also presumably, she was not a member of the church, since no action is ever recommended against her.

Respond (1)

Dealing with Sin (5)


“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.Matthew 18:15

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Two sins, two responses
The place to begin dealing more effectively with sin is when it appears in our own lives. We are rethinking the contemporary Church’s attitude toward sin – what it is and what we should do about it. And we’ve seen that, once we begin to recognize sin as the Scriptures describe it, then we can spend time each day reflecting on our own lives, to discern whatever sins may have found safe harbor there, so that we can repent of our sins, both in how we think and feel about them, as well as in how we actually live.

But dealing with sin in ourselves is not our only responsibility. We are also responsible for one another, to love one another, care for one another, and to encourage one another to love and good works. Invariably, therefore, in the process of caring for and nurturing one another, we’re going to have to deal with the sins we see in each other’s lives.

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