In Luke 14:25-33, two parables and an exhortation urge us to forsake all that we have as a mandatory condition for becoming Christ's true disciples.
When Jesus gathered His disciples as He began His ministry, He needed principled and devout worshippers to teach and prepare for the work of spreading the gospel.
Even as several grandiose building projects have terminated because of cost overruns, so must we carefully count the cost of our spiritual building project.
We assess costs and values all the time in our daily lives. We should employ the same process to God's love for us in giving His Son as the sacrifice for sin.
If there is one great principle of Christian living, it is walking in Christ's footsteps. Sounds easy, but putting it into practice is one of the hardest tasks.
Are God's requirements too exacting and difficult for us? Are we committed to the way forward, or are we spending time looking back to the world?
Producing fruit is not simply a matter of having Jesus Christ or being forgiven. He says we will not produce anything unless we go on growing in Him.
Following Jesus requires absolute commitment, often involving sacrifice and discomfort. We must be willing to give up family and societal ties for God's sake.
Micah provides a formula for being a Christian: 1.) Doing justly, 2.) Exercising mercy and 3.) Walking humbly. These demand total commitment, not a pretense.
God inspired the book of Hebrews to answer the difficult questions church members were struggling with during the tumultuous first decades of the church.
Much of Protestantism misconstrues the significance of the New Covenant as a 'free pass into Heaven' without paying attention to the Law within the Covenant.
Like the marriage covenant, counting the cost is the most serious part of the baptismal agreement, not something to be taken lightly.
we must soberly count the cost before we embark on our spiritual trek. Are we willing to give up our job, our family, or even our life to follow God's plan?
God is putting us through exercises to create leaders in His image. His covenants are a primary tool in this process.
We are being trained to become leaders, but before we can lead, we must be able to carry out responsibilities, conforming to God's leadership and covenants.
For His Own reasons, God has chosen not to reveal His plan to those the world considers wise, but, instead, to work with the weaker sort of mankind.
Jesus commands His followers to take our cross and follow Him. Does He mean to carry a pagan symbol, or is there a deeper meaning to His weighty words?
Christianity is not for the faint of heart. Jesus urges us to count the cost of discipleship. Many of the patriarchs had to make hard choices, as do we.
John Ritenbaugh, using an analogy of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, asserts that we are on the cutting edge of a tumultuous period, the greatest revolution that will ever take place on earth, when peace and prosperity will come about without war. Like the signers of the Declaration, we must also pledge our …
Hebrews emphasizes that Jesus qualified as High Priest, teaching us about living by faith in the New Covenant, which mandates that we keep His commandments.
Although God never intended the Old Covenant to endure eternally, the spiritual law (shared by both the old and new covenants) lasts forever.
We qualify to lead by internalizing the covenants, not only believing God, but doing what He says, realizing that the covenants are not complicated.
John Ritenbaugh, reiterating that wisdom is not the answer to all of life's problems, indicates that it is still a valuable virtue, transforming us for good and a sense of well-being. In the matter of deference to civil authority, we must remember that, as ambassadors and sojourners in a foreign land, we must give governing …
There must be something to prove we are one with Christ and in union with the Father and the Son. That something is the manner in which we conduct our life.
John Ritenbaugh, focusing upon the metaphorical aspects of work and walking, suggests that these activities play a major role in overcoming and sanctification. We must have a higher regard for Christian works than our everyday job, realizing that work is a wholesome activity toward the production of something. The first picture …
Richard Ritenbaugh, reflecting on the exploration of Lewis and Clark, asks whether we would have what it takes to help in the exploration, such as having health, strength, courage, motivation, observant, patient, and enduring hardships. Our trek to the Kingdom of God requires just as much vigor as Lewis and Clark's explorers. …