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Introduction: How to Follow Jesus in Trying Times — 2 Comments

  1. I found it is beneficial to read the author’s introduction to this quarter’s lessons. It will help with establishing my bearings as I attempt to follow and understand the author’s overall lesson trajectory. Well, its aim becomes clear enough through the title - "How to follow Jesus in Trying Times", but it also expresses in a nutshell the underlying premise on which the lessons are established.

    A few things came to my attention which I look forward to finding out more about as the lessons unfold:
    “The struggle with the significance of their Christian faith;
    “He seeks to reenlist them in Christian faith, to reignite the fire of their devotion to Christ, and to resurrect the excitement of being part of God’s great enterprise in the world, the church;”
    “God’s plan to unify all things in Christ;”
    “A devotion to Christ impacts how one acts and speaks” - ..”offering fellow citizens of Ephesus clear examples of a new pattern of human existence;” … this new pattern of what it means to be human through membership in God’s church;”
    “… God’s new society and the coming kingdom”;
    “God’s church – Body of Christ, Living Temple, Bride of Christ, Army of Christ.”

  2. The title for this quarterly is “How to follow Jesus in Trying Times;” pointing out that “the Ephesians struggled with the significance of their Christian faith”, as some of the believers do today. How many young people and those who have examined the ways Christians treated other Christians in the Churches’ past have given up on participating in the organized religious observation of their faith? Who remains ‘excited of being part of God’s great 'enterprise' in the world, the church'?

    The word 'enterprise' refering to the 'church' may put the finger on the proplem of today's organized church. What I am trying to get at is that the word ‘church’ has become more and more synonymous with the organization of a religious 'enterprise'. This 'enterprise' is not to whom Paul expressed his concerns to; it was meant for the individual believer who was “loosing heart, forgetting any active sense of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus in a sophisticated world".

    Paul was concerned that the Faith of Jesus, the living Word of our Salvation, would be changed by man to become just like the other ‘religions’ - a structure made of stone in which to gather those who observe religious creeds. The new ‘god’ would be worshiped in the same forum just like all the previous gods and this would be the death to the living church; but God has reserved Himself a remnant.

    Paul’s concern was that the Good News/Gospel would go the same way as the religions of the pagans, and he admonished the leaders who, as he points out to have been ‘selected by the Holy Spirit as the flock’s overseers’, to “shepherd the church of God [the believers] to be ever vigilant, warning of false teachers coming into the flock even from their own ranks – Acts 20:30-31.

    This is my takeaway from today’s lesson – to be vigilant that nothing can come between the believer and the heavenly Father, focusing our attention on the relationship we have in Jesus in whom we have our life and being. The believer is ‘shepherded’ by the Holy Spirit as he lives in this world so not to become part of it – Psalms 23


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