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Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Sep 19, 2013 | Comments (0)


Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost

Bottom Line Spirituality: Worldly and Godly Thinking

Click here to go to the Bottom Line Meditations for Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Godly Abiding Spiritually in Jesus Changes the Meaning of What we See Worldly When Not Abiding in Jesus.

Spirituality is our innate ability to feel the difference worldly or godly thinking makes to the way scripture translates to our daily life and relationships.

 

Remember: The DISCIPLE-SHIFT

(see Pentecost Sunday Meditation by Clicking Here)

The Virtual Small Group

Members share once a week with their group through the internet when a shift from being out to being in the Presence made a difference.

All Scripture is a testimony to Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God. He is the complete revelation of God’s will of grace for salvation. Grace is the only unfailing rule of faith and practice for the Christian life.

The Gospel of grace is: rather than doing it right to become right with God, to be right with God to do what is right.

The War on Legalism

God declared War on Legalism when He sent His Word into the World. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us … full of grace and truth. John 1:14 Legalism fought back against grace believing the Bible, not Jesus, is the word of God. Grace is based on the Two Great Love Commandments. All the Law and the Prophets have now been changed into “do the loving thing.” Matthew 22:37-40 The New Command is to be in His Presence in order to Love one another. John 13:34 “Apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

The Gospel of grace is rather than being joyful to be in God’s Presence, to become loving by feeling how much Joy God has for us being in Him.

Galatians 3:11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”

Grace is the best policy to live, but it's important to remember, legalism is the second-best policy.

Luke 16:19-31 Have you seen Jesus?

The Gospels are like a novel, there is a relationship running from the introduction to the conclusion. Discovering the red thread of being in His Presence that runs through makes sense of the whole pageant.

When we read this scripture as a separate entity we read it literally. When we read the scripture with the grace theme of being in His Presence we read it consciously aware of the connection.

What is the theme Jesus is using to tell us this story? Frankly, it just seems as if it comes out of the blue. Bam! There it is! But why is it? It is there because it is part of the gospel of grace. It is the red thread that runs through the Life of Jesus Christ and our life as well.

There is this rich man who feasted sumptuously every day. There was this poor man Lazarus who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man's table.

The poor man died and was carried away to be with Abraham. The rich man died and was in Hades. There he was being tormented. He called out to Abraham to have mercy for he was in agony in the flames.

But Abraham said, “No can do.” The rich man then begged Abraham to send Lazarus to his brothers to warn them, so they will not also come into this place of torment.

Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.” He said, “No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” Abraham said to him, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”

Why will the brothers not be persuaded if one came back from the dead? It is because they will not hear.

Literally the thinking is they really could hear if one came back from the dead. Gracefully, they could not hear because they were not using their spiritual ears to feel His Presence. Jesus is talking to a crowd that basically could hear what He was saying. He was telling them, “They who have ears to hear let them hear.” Luke 8:8 We can only hear things gracefully if we are willing to open our spiritual ears to listen consciously with our heart. 

The question raised is a salvation issue. Why was the rich man in Hell? Let us imagine this in modern times. Concerning the rich man there is nothing wrong about his religious life. He very well could be a Christian who accepted Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior. He would have attended church regularly, tithed his great wealth and read his Bible while praying. Some Churches would, under these conditions, find him a candidate for Heaven. What was the one thing that sent him to Hades? It was because he did not do the loving thing. 

According to Jesus there are people who are not Christians who can be saved. How would it have changed this story if the rich man was not a Christian but had ministered to Lazarus as the Samaritan ministered to the wounded man at the side of the road? Jesus said this man who did the loving thing would inherit eternal life. Luke 10:25, 28, 37

Why was Lazarus saved? What good did he do to deserve heaven? In modern times the given here is about a man who has been isolated from society. There is no evidence he was a believer. He may not have done anything evil, but he probably did not do much that was good. He did suffer much. Some Churches might say he did not have a snowball’s chance in Hell of making it to Heaven. Let us agree with that conclusion. Then why did Jesus have him make it?

It is called the grace and Love of God. He did not make it because he did the loving thing. He made it because God did the loving thing. We are all saved by grace. Everyone may not be saved, but if they are it will be by the grace of God no matter who we are. His grace is unconditional. It does not count on what one does or does not do. His grace is inclusive. It is always in everyone no matter what they believe. We are not all, always in the Presence of His grace. When we are in His Love we will do the loving thing. We get the clues we need by practicing wondering about the difference it makes being in or out of His grace.

Some times we get so caught up with religious practices, beliefs and exercises that we miss the grace and Love of God to do the loving thing. It is our choice, not His. Are you up and in or down and out of His grace? Make the shift when necessary.


THE DISCIPLE-SHIFT: The Virtual Small Group:  Members share once a week with their group through the internet when a shift from being out to being in the Presence made a difference.


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