Practical Issues

Claudia Elzinga

READ : Matthew 19–20 Divorce is one of the greatest causes of heartache today. Jesus emphasizes the permanence of marriage, yet there are illustrations in the Gospels of his gentleness toward those who had failed in that area. On the one hand, we must do everything possible to encourage people to be faithful to their marriage vows. On the other hand, we need to minister lovingly to people who have fallen short of God’s perfect will in this area of …

Pharisees and Followers

Claudia Elzinga

READ : Matthew 15-18 The Pharisees appear frequently in the Gospels. Their original purpose had been good. In the period between the Old and New Testaments, the great threat to true religion was the infiltration of pagan Greek culture in the life of God’s people. The Pharisees emerged as first-century theological conservatives and sought to maintain the true faith. But they used the wrong method, that of emphasizing obedience to the letter of all of their traditions, so that by …

Parables of the Kingdom

Claudia Elzinga

READ : Matthew 13,14 A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. Jesus uses the physical to illustrate the spiritual. The parables tell us what the kingdom of heaven is like. Jesus came preaching the kingdom. He taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come.” The kingdom is the rule of God in the lives of people. The kingdom of heaven comes in two stages. When Christ came to earth, the King came; the kingdom was established. All who …

Following Jesus

Claudia Elzinga

READ : Matthew 10-12 Jesus had hundreds of disciples. A disciple is one who learns with the desire to be like his master. Does that definition describe you? From his many disciples Jesus chose 12 to be apostles. An apostle is one who is sent forth. Put together, an apostle was a disciple who was trained to go forth with the message of his master. Today, Christians have this responsibility. Working individually and together, we are to spread the gospel. …

Jesus the Miracle Worker

Claudia Elzinga

READ : Matthew 7-9 The Sermon on the Mount concludes with the famous parable about the man who built his house on the rock and the one who built his house on the sand. This teaches that while believers are saved by Christ’s atoning death, how we will face the trials of life will depend on how fully we put the teachings of Jesus into practice in our lives. Salvation is more than justification (having our sins forgiven). It also …