3 Devotions based on the upcoming 17th Sunday after Pentecost
14th Sunday after PENTECOST 14-Old Testament
TEXT: Ezekiel 33:7-9
TITLE: Modern Day Watchman
“Son of Man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the words I speak and give them warning from Me.” Ezekiel 33:7-9
Albert Einstein once said, “We have to do the best we can. This is our sacred responsibility.” God gave Ezekiel a responsibility; that of being a watchman. His responsibilities were crucial; not only for those to whom he was to speak and warn, but also for himself. Not everyone is called to be a prophet. Still, by this text we come to understand what is meant when scripture says, “It is a fearsome thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
We too have a responsibility when it comes to warning our brother. The Bible says, “If someone is caught in a sin, we’re to restore them gently.” But our best isn’t always good enough. The fact we’re weak and sinners ourselves has us forever falling short of our responsibilities to God. Praise Jesus for being perfect in fulfilling His responsibility to The Father by going to the cross in our stead. We’re forgiven! We’re also given His Spirit and a power to do what Jesus did and continues to do for us; to show mercy and help. Restoring our brother is a sacred responsibility given to us by God. His love is our motivation and strength.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for helping us to be faithful in all things, particularly in helping our brother caught in sin. Help us to also share the Gospel with them, in Jesus Name, Amen.
14th Sunday after Pentecost 14-Epistle
TEXT: Romans 13:1-10
TITLE: Love’s Meaning
“Love is the fulfillment of the Law.” Romans 13:10b
A group of professionals posed this question to a group of 4 through 8 year olds: “What does love mean?” In the contest was a 4 year old boy whose elderly neighbor had recently lost his wife. He remembered seeing the old man on his porch crying and so went up to him and crawled in his lap. The professionals asked him, “What did you say?” “Nothing,” replied the little boy, “I just helped him cry.” He won the competition.
Our text also tells us what love means; it’s the fulfillment of the Law. If we ourselves were to attempt to fulfill of the Law, we would have to live it perfectly. Since we can’t and Jesus did, we look to Him for our fulfillment. In God’s eyes, by faith in Jesus His death and resurrection, we fulfill the Law. Now everything we do in faith is a response of love to Him who first loved us. And though we be imperfect and sinners, we’re made holy and blameless through Christ who is the fulfillment of the Law. Love is a little boy who hurt for his Senior citizen friend and wanted to ease his pain. Love is you and me seeking the Will of God in everything we do. Praise God for His love endures forever!
Dear Heavenly Father, You love for us is everlasting. Help us fulfill the purposes for which You call us, in Jesus Name, Amen.
Pentecost 14 18-Gospel
TEXT: Matt. 18:1-20
TITLE: Applying the D-Word
“If he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as if you would a pagan or a tax collector.” Matt.18:17
“This is gonna hurt me more than it’s gonna hurt you!” We’ve all heard that expression before. Perhaps we’ve used it ourselves or been on the receiving end! It’s an expression used just before the rendering of discipline. We all may wonder how it’s possible for the purveyor of hurt to hurt more than the hurtee!
The church has a form of discipline described in our text. If a person has sinned against his brother and he’s unrepentant and his sin is proven to be true by the Church, he is to be excommunicated; a form of discipline. It does hurt us, as well as our Lord, to see one of its own removed from the flock. God says in His Word, “I take no pleasure in the punishment of the wicked.” It also hurt Jesus more than it hurt us as He, though without sin, was disciplined for our sins. As important the d-word of discipline is, the d-word of discipleship is more important. If discipline allows the sinner to see his error and repent, this then becomes praiseworthy discipleship. God gives His Church an awesome power and responsibility to retain or forgive sins. As God demonstrated His mercy and justice with the cross, so we, His Church employ both love and justice. Though it can involve discipline, the abiding purpose is always to disciple.
Dear Heavenly Father, give us wisdom and strength as You discipline us and help us disciple according to Your will, in Jesus Name, Amen.