Monday, May 21, 2007

A Date with Martha and Mary...

"It was the Friday night before Mothers' Day Sunday. The Care Group also wanted to celebrate Dr. Jerome's and Ate Mayet's birthdays, so off we all went on a group dinner date..."

Appetisers: What comes to mind when you hear the names of sisters Martha and Mary? What do you remember about these sisters in the Bible?

They were sisters of Lazarus, the man whom Jesus raised from the grave in John 11. Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus (John 11:5).

Mary poured expensive perfume on the Lord. John 12:1-3. (There is much speculation that this is the same event recorded in Matt 26:6-13, Mark 14:3 and perhaps Luke 7:37-38.)

Main course for tonight: Please read Luke 10:38-42 and discuss your observations regarding the passage...

What qualities of Martha stand out in this passage?

(Martha means “the Lady” in Judæo-Aramaic מַרְתָּא Martâ)

What qualities of Mary stand out in this passage?

(Is the woman in John 12:1-3, the same woman in Matt 26:6-13, Mark 14:3 and in Luke 7:37-38? Maybe? Maybe not?)

What qualities of Jesus stand out in this passage?

Did Jesus have anything against Martha as a person? Or for working so hard? Why do you think Jesus had to “correct” her?

Regardless of their differences, Martha and Mary were sisters—sisters in Christ, no less. Each of them had a place and purpose in God’s Kingdom.

Jesus did not “correct” Martha because of all the hard work that she was doing. But the problem seems to be that Martha became distracted: Her thoughts (worried), feelings (upset) and focus (self at work) were not where they should have been, even if it was only for a moment.

“Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” —Luke 10:40 NIV (Emphasis mine)

Distraction can lead to destruction. (Remember this the next time you drive!)

Martha started out doing things unto the Lord, which was fine… until what she was doing unto the Lord, became her lord: Martha became subject to what she was doing. Even worse, she thought that Jesus should also be subject to what she thought were the priorities: Application, before Sound Doctrine.

This is perhaps one of the saddest cases of putting the cart in front of the donkey, because Application must be based on Sound Doctrine.

Application is the "living out" of Sound Doctrine (not the "leaving out" of Sound Doctrine because it seems too theoretical or impractical)--and Doctrine can only be sound if it is continually leading us to Christ--the Alpha and the Omega; the author and finisher of our faith; in whom we live, move and have our being. Knowing Jesus Christ more and more is our first priority. All else will follow after that.

What is our most reliable source of sound doctrine on Jesus?

Is it possible to know the true Jesus of the Bible “too much”?

A Toast:

May the more we study Scripture, the more we realize how little we know Him. May the more we feed on God’s Word, the more we realize how famished we all really are.

May our “date” with Martha and Mary cause us to hunger for and feed on God’s Word, more and more. And may the sheer goodness of God’s Truth make us gladly share it among ourselves… and others!

Related resources on the web (Dessert):

Doctrine and Devotion (Part 1 and Part 2) by Ernest Reisinger; excerpt:

"Doctrine is to Christian experience what bones are to the body. A body without bones would be a lump of "glob"utterly useless. Likewise, Christian experience without roots is like cut flowers stuck in the ground--they may look pleasant for awhile, but ultimately they will wither and die..."

Does Doctrine Really Matter? (click here) by John MacArthur; excerpt:

"Sound, biblical doctrine is a necessary aspect of true wisdom and authentic faith. The attitude that scorns doctrine while elevating feelings or blind trust cannot legitimately be called faith at all, even if it masquerades as Christianity. It is actually an irrational form of unbelief."

Doctrine Is Practical (click here) also by John MacArthur; excerpt:

"No ministry activity is more important than rightly understanding and clearly proclaiming sound doctrine."

Practical Holiness

(click here) by John Piper; excerpt:

"If a pastor wants to see his people become more holy, more pure, more pleasing to God in their kitchens and bedrooms and offices and backyards, what should he say to them? How should he preach?"

Why Doctrine Matters (Part 1 and Part 2) by Albert Mohler; excerpt:

"Those who sow disdain and disinterest in biblical doctrine will reap a harvest of rootless and fruitless Christians. Doctrine is not a challenge to experiential religion; it testifies to the content of that experience. The church is charged to call persons to Christ and to root them in a mature knowledge of Christian faith."

Loving God with our Minds (click here) by John Samson; excerpt:

"When the beginning point in our thinking is a correct understanding of God, the ripple effect is a right understanding of all other doctrines, which is a central component in loving God with all our minds."

Watch John Piper teach about the place of application in his preaching.
Please click on the thumbnail below to view the video in a new window.

(This video excerpt is from "Lionhearted and Lamblike: The Christian Husband as Head, Part 1.")

Ignacio Lacsina jnr.

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