For various reasons, I’ve always thought that it would be fun to Tweet the book of Philippians. I shared some of this madness with our church yesterday as I preached Philippians 4:10-20 in preparation for our week of vacation Bible school.
Here is what the text could look like, Tweeted.
v. 10 – I thought you had 4gotten me. Whew #justintime
V. 11– #igotthis#contentment #stateofmind
V. 12—I’ve had everything and I’ve had nothing and I know the #secret of both.
V. 13–#icandoallthings #Jesus #winners!
V. 14—You are awesome #generous
V. 15—I can’t believe no one else sent help to me at all – just you, you’ve always been there for me. #thankyou #MacedoniaMissionsTrip
V.16—@baptistchurchofThessaloniki are slackers! Sad.
Sunday I preached about the eighth commandment from Exodus 20, and during that sermon I highlighted the following eight ways Jesus seems to be preoccupied with stealing.
When Jesus cleared the Temple, he referred to it as having become a den for thieves. Yes, he was quoting Jeremiah, but he chose that particular scripture to quote (Mark 11:17).
Jesus referred to the devil as a thief (John 10:10). Two verses earlier, he said all those who came before him were thieves and robbers.
In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus referred to the unknown timing of the end of all things as like knowing when a thief is coming at night (Matthew 24:43).
In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord said we should store up treasure in heaven where rust, moth, and thieves can’t get to it (Matthew 6:19).
The Lord tells a weird parable about the need to tie up a strong man before you steal his stuff out of his house (Luke 11: 21-23).
The parable of the Good Samaritan begins with the unfortunate traveler falling in among robbers as he goes down from Jericho (Luke 10:30).
Judas was thief. Jesus knew this, but chose him anyway (John 12:6).
The Lord was crucified between two thieves (Mark 15:27).
There are probably more of these thievery themes interwoven in the Gospels, but these are the eight I highlighted. I don’t know if I would build a theological argument from this data alone, and if so what that argument wold be, but I do think it is safe to say Jesus had a slight preoccupation with thievery, and that in and of itself is fascinating.
Wisdom and righteousness are always forward looking. These twin attributes do not dwell on the past, for that leads to bitterness and regret. Right now is important, but only insofar as right now is the first movement toward the future. The future is just the present that hasn’t happened yet, and therefore, unlike the past, the future is something we can control and change. The present is a downpayment on the future.
The more I ponder it, the wise person doesn’t even dwell too much on the right now. True, wisdom learns to enjoy the moment, but we never have all the information we need right now. In the future we will have more information, and that is when we make more informed opinions and thoughts. The mind is always adjusting and changing with new data. The wise person will choose the future over the present. Fools, by contrast, throw the future away and only live in the moment. Wise people plan for the future, enjoy the present, and learn to let go of the past.
Wise people prepare. Fool are never prepared.
Wise people dream. Fools squander opportunities.
Wise people watch trends to see where people and things are headed. Fools wish for yesteryear.
Wise people keep options open. Fools shut doors.
Wise people don’t burn bridges. Fools keep matches in their pockets.
Wise people “might” burn boats. Fools are afraid of change.
Wise people learn how to forget. Fools never learn how to move on.
Wise people don’t hold grudges. Fools have scores to settle.
Wise people don’t waste time on nostalgia. Fools build monuments to the glory days.
Wisep people use the past (history) to inform the future, not to shape it. Fools use the past as a template for the future.
Don’t waste energy by dwelling on the past. The future is where the action is.
Yesterday in the Easter Sermon I spent a good bit of time talking about five key verses of scripture from the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament, that point to a view of life after death. We would rightly call these resurrection verses in light of Jesus and the empty tomb, as well as the explicit teaching of the New Testament, particularly landmark passages like 1 Corinthians 15.
The compilation of these five verses comes from Millard Erickson’s epic theology book Christian Theology, on page 1201 of my copy. It is not in his section on the work of Jesus, but rather on “Last Things” which I find fascinating. So, if you missed them yesterday because you were dazzled by my homiletics (or, like most of the 7 or 8 billion people in the world, weren’t there) here they are.
Isaiah 26:19, “But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead.”
Daniel 12:2 “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.”
Psalm 49:15, “But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself”
Psalm 17:15 “And I—in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.”
Erickson doesn’t list Job’s ancient words. I find this to be a glaring omission, for they are the most New Testament sounding of them all and are my personal favorite. As I said, it is part of my funeral liturgy, and for good reason.
“I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-26).
I’d like to point out as well that Erickson does in his work what theologians always do–offer serious caution about reading too much into these words. I know where he is coming from, but I think his caution is too strong. The Bible teaches us about Jesus, and though the language is imprecise in the Hebrew texts, it is still applicable and I believe appropriate at Easter.