Posted by: Pauline | January 28, 2018

Scriptures for Sunday February 4

Matthew 28:18-20

These verses are often referred to as the Great Commission, and are frequently associated with world missions. In our English translations, the focus seems to be on the command to “go,” so we often hear this command as telling us to go do ministry somewhere other than where we are now. But in Greek, the only command is to “make disciples,” which involves baptism (entering into a new way of life) and learning to live according to the teachings of Jesus.

While people often think of missionary activity as making converts, doing what Jesus taught involves every aspect of our lives. This scene takes place on a mountain, and the mention of Jesus’ “teaching” may well refer back to the another scene on a mountain, the well-known Sermon on the Mount. Becoming a disciple starts with conversion and baptism, but learning to live out Jesus’ teachings from that sermon is a lifelong path of growth in obedience and trust.

Ephesians 4:17-23

There are places in Scripture where sin committed due to lack of knowledge is treated as less deserving of punishment than deliberate sin. But in this passage Paul links ignorance with hardness of heart, suggesting that willful sin degrades one’s ability to know the truth. Repeated sin creates insensitivity, leading to greater sin.

So those who profess Christ as Savior yet think they can afford to allow some small sins in their lives because, after all, they can confess it and be forgiven, may become increasingly unable to think with moral clarity. No wonder that Paul speaks in such strong terms of the need for discarding that way of life and learning a new way of thinking and living, guided by the Spirit rather than our own desires.

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