Today’s Sermon

The sermon for October 24th 2021 is now available on the New Life web-site.

In this sermon, which is based on Psalm 34, I talk about Focus on God.

I apologise for the sound quality, as we were battling a stiff south-westerly wind at the time.

Click here to listen in your browser, here to download the mp3.

Reflection on 1 Corinthians 12:12-26

Scripture

God has put the body together such that extra honour and care are given to the parts that have less dignity.

Observation

The human body has many parts, but those parts together make up the one whole body. All the people in Christ’s body are different, but it is all one body.

If different parts of a person’s body were to say, “I don’t belong!” it would make no difference to reality. In any event, the body would be less if different parts were cut off from it.

Some parts of the body that seem least important are actually vital. The parts of our body that seem less honourable, we treat with special care.

Just as God has put all the parts of our physical body in just the right place, He also puts all the parts of the Body of Christ into the right place and right function.

Application

Sometimes people get very jealous of other christians whom they perceive are treated with unreasonable respect. These people might be pastors or have some other ministry in the church. Often pastors can be envious of other pastors who seem to have influence beyond their talent.

Paul tells us we should not envy other christians. God has put us and them in the exact place He wants us to be. Let is all get on with the job that He has asked us to do.

Paul makes a very controversial point in his analogy. We take specials care of the bits of our bodies that are considered not honourable to parade around in public. In a sense, we give those parts extra honour and care.

God does this with His Body, too. The people who get the respect and the plaudits from both the world and the church are not necessarily His favourites. God is giving special honour to the weakest members!

Celebrity preachers and christian TV teachers are not the top of the tree in God’s kingdom.

Do not be envious of other christians. What they have is not necessarily what it seems.

Prayer

Please help me, Lord, to focus my attention on serving you. I renounce any jealousy that I might have felt towards other believers, and today, Lord, I pray that you will bless them in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Ephesians 6:1

Here is my commentary on Ephesians 6:1. I am publishing these once or twice a week, but you can read all of the available articles at our web-site, http://www.new-life.org.au

Ephesians 6:1

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”

Paul moves from the mutual submission of husbands and wives to the relationship of parents and their children.

In many parts of the ancient world, children were not regarded as autonomous individuals as they often are in the modern world. They were generally seen as empty vessels which needed to be filled with the family’s ways and values. For example, a father would train a son in his trade in the expectation that the son would grow up to help run the family enterprise, and perhaps take it on himself at some stage. A good child was one who became a copy of his father.

The word used for child here is the Greek word teknon, which can mean a son or daughter of any age. Children have a responsibility to “obey” their parents even when they themselves are adults.

The word translated as “obey” in many English translations actually has the broader sense of paying attention or listening. To obey means that we listen and then follow an instruction.

While young children need to understand the importance of obeying their parents, for those who are adults themselves the emphasis is on listening and paying attention. As adults, we still have obligations to our parents, but this obligation is more aligned with listening to their experience and gaining wisdom from them.

To obey our parents in the Lord means that we should count acts of obedience as a service to the Lord. Little children may not have too many opportunities to serve the Lord, but obeying parents is one such way.

Remembering that this letter is written to a church, it is probable that most children hearing this instruction would be from homes where at least one parent is themselves a follower of Jesus. To obey parents ”in the Lord,” then, means to believe that the parents are acting on behalf of the Lord in their intentions and instructions.

For older children and adults, the expression “in the Lord” is a reminder that all of our decisions have to be weighed up against the requirements of God. Our faithfulness to our family must never lead to sinning against the Lord. Our first loyalty is always to Christ.

Paul concludes this verse with the words ”for this is right.” It is the morally correct thing to obey our parents. We teach our children from a very young age that it is right to obey those in authority. We may later question the rightness of parents and other authorities in some of these decisions. However, our first response should be that it is right to obey.

To question and disregard all the instructions of people in authority leads to lawlessness in which everybody does what they like in the moment. This is contrary to God’s plan for humanity.

Key points in this verse:

  • Children of all ages should listen to their parents
  • To obey our parents is a way in which we may obey the Lord
  • Adults need to obey their parents to the extent that they do not contradict the way of the Lord