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Harmonizing Matthew 9.18; Mark 5.22; Luke 8.41

Sunday, June 23, 2019

When we read the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) we must remember they are written with differing audiences in mind and from the perspectives of three unique men. Sometimes there are small differences between their accounts, but nothing so substantial as to change the impact of meaning of the story. In today’s sermon text we observe a supposed discrepancy between Matthew 9.18 and Mark 5.22 / Luke 8.41.

Matthew records the words of Jairus: my daughter has just died. Mark says that Jairus said, my little daughter is at the point of death. Luke writes she was dying. So which is it? Was she dead or alive?

Here is a possible way to order the events for harmony:

  1. Jairus comes … falls at His feet and implores Jesus: my little daughter is at the point of death. See Mark 5.22-23 and Luke 8.41-42a.
  2. Luke 8.42b - Jesus begins to head to Jairus’ house.
  3. Luke 8.43-48 / Mark 5.25-34 - The woman with the issue of blood interrupts Jesus, who is on His way to heal the little girl.
  4. Luke 8.49 / Mark 5.35 - Servants approach, informing Jairus that his daughter has died and not to trouble Jesus.
  5. Matthew 8.18 - Now, Jairus says his daughter has just died.
  6. Mark 8.36 / Luke 8.50 - Jesus tells Jairus: Do not fear, only believe.
  7. Matthew 8.23 / Mark 8.37 / Luke 8.51 - Jesus arrives at the house and raises the girl from the dead.

Others just suggest that Jairus’ statement in Matthew 9.18 is just a figure of speech, my daughter is as good as dead, etc. I won’t bore you with the other explanations I found, but I don’t think this so-called discrepancy is something we should lose sleep over.

No matter how you read the synoptics, the basic story is the same. Our Savior is willing to condescend to our greatest needs. When life comes at you hard, will you allow your desperation to drive you to Jesus? He’ll supply you with your greatest needs. Will you trust Him?

— Matthew Allen

Live as a Citizen of the Kingdom

Sunday, June 16, 2019

There is so much to appreciate about our times of worship at Kettering. They are reverent, inspiring, and uplifting. I felt that way Wednesday evening after Jim Grushon prayed, specifically mentioning some of our older members by name and one of our shepherds who had surgery the next day. In his prayer, Jim spoke of the hope ungirding their lives because of their knowledge that this world is not their home. I think as we grow older that realization becomes a little more clear every day. This world is not our home.

In Philippians 1.27 Paul wrote, …let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ. In the original language, the words manner of life mean “to live as a citizen.” The emphasis here of course, is not as a citizen of earth, but as a citizen of heaven - the kingdom of God. I believe Paul intentionally chose this word because it carried great meaning in the Greco-Roman world.

Romans were very political. To be a Roman citizen was the highest honor. Philippi was a Roman colony, of which it was very proud. The city had a Roman mindset, attitude, and lifestyle. It had a refined culture. It’s citizens spoke Latin and dressed in Roman ways. People wore Roman names. They were very deeply into being Roman citizens. Also, living in that culture meant that a person did not live for oneself. It was about the good of the state and living in partnership with society. Individual citizens developed their talents, abilities, and skills for the sake of everyone.

When Paul says live as a citizen, it was something that would have resonated with the Philippians. He certainly wrote it in the context of Christianity. Will you live like a citizen in God's kingdom?

  • Will you love for the good of others, placing yourself in second place?
  • Will you live with a sense of pride in who you are identified with? Never forget you wear the name of Christ.
  • Will you live in a manner consistent with the values of the place you call home?

That Paul was thinking of heaven when he told the Philippians to live as a citizen, is clear when we read, But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself, 3.20-21.

You have been called to live in a partnership with other Christians. To live as a citizen inside a spiritual kingdom. To be governed by God’s laws, which consist of righteousness, faith, love, service, and worship.

Does this describe you?

— Matthew Allen

Roman Centurions in the New Testament

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Today’s sermon will focus on the second of nine miracles in Matthew 8-9. It is thought that the first three miracles in Matthew 8.1-17 happened on the same day. As Jesus entered Capernaum, He was approached by Jewish intermediaries who informed Him of the servant boy of a Roman centurion, who was paralyzed and suffering greatly. The story goes on to show the centurion’s great faith — which Jesus marveled over, 8.10. That this centurion, a Gentile, and maybe even a Samaritan, had such a faith is noteworthy. There are five other centurions mentioned in the New Testament. In fact, it is thought that at least two of them became followers of Christ. Here are the others we can read about:

Mark 15.39; Luke 23.47: The centurion at the cross. Amazed by all the events that happened on the day Jesus died, the centurion exclaimed, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” Luke says he said, “Certainly this man was innocent!” A fourth-century writing, The Acts of Pilate, says this centurion’s name was Longinus. The historian Bede (673-735) claimed that Longinus was murdered for his faith in 58 AD in Caesarea.

Acts 10: Cornelius and family were converted to Christ. Luke goes out of his way to describe the man’s character before he became a Christian. Cornelius was a man who feared God, gave alms, and prayed continually.

Acts 22.25-26: The centurion who rescued Paul from being scourged. Paul reported that he was a Roman citizen and the centurion immediately reported this to his superiors.

Acts 23.17-22: The centurion who saved Paul from a Jewish plot to murder him.

Acts 27.1: A centurion named Julius, who was assigned to guard Paul on the journey from Caesarea to Rome. This man prevented the solders from killing Paul along with all the other prisoners when the ship wreck occurred. He also seemed to have a growing trust and respect for who Paul was as the journey progressed, giving Paul privileges other prisoners did not have.

These men are all presented as men of honesty, integrity, duty, and having care for others. It challenges the typical assumption we might make regarding a member of the Roman Army. Many times their character and regard for other human beings stands in remarkable contrast to those who considered themselves as God’s people.

— Matthew Allen

So Much to be Thankful For

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Last week was definitely not a normal week in Dayton, Ohio. For most of us, Monday probably began like most Memorial Days do. It was a day off. We took time to remember those who have fallen in defending freedom. We celebrated with family and friends and may have enjoyed the afternoon at home or on the lake. But, for some of us, how Monday ended was very eventful to say the least. And because of that, life may not be the same ever again.

The series of tornadoes that came through Montgomery and Greene counties affected at least seven of our families at Kettering. The amount and degree of damage varied, but thankfully, no one was injured.

It has been so refreshing to see everyone rally behind those who were in the path, providing generators, food, water, ice, laundry and/or lodging, and cleaning up limbs and debris. So many of you actually responded, that it is impossible to list every person here. No one had to beg for help. Everyone just rolled up their sleeves and went to work. This is what Christians do. It’s what makes our Kettering family family.

If anything, driving around town this week and seeing the destruction should serve as a very visible reminder of the temporary condition of our world. What we have today may be gone tomorrow. This not only includes our possessions, but our life! You do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes, James 4.14. Such events should serve as a reminder of how small and helpless we are. We are not in control … God is. We are dependent on Him for everything in life. Dramatic things like these should also remind us never to take anything for granted. Life is too short and fragile to hold grudges and stay away from those who we should love the most. Kiss your spouse and hug your kids. Let your family know how much you love them. Invest in their lives. There is no time in the future that is guaranteed.

Hard times are what bring us together. Days of difficulty are where we have the greatest opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others (Matthew 25.35-36; Romans 12.14-15). Thank you for your encouragement to those who are tired and hurting. True discipleship and loving service are genuine marks of this congregation. It is a blessing we should praise God for with the spirit of continual thankfulness.

— Matthew Allen

Ways You Can Get Involved

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Today’s sermon will be based on Luke’s report on Peter’s work of edification and evangelism across Judea in the years after Paul’s conversion. After the death of Stephen, the church entered a period of great persecution with many saints being scattered away from Jerusalem. Now with Paul converted and living in Tarsus, Acts 9.30, the church enjoyed a brief period of peace. In fact, Luke tells us the saints were being edified and the church was multiplying, Acts 9.31. It was during this time we observe Peter traveling outside Jerusalem to work among the churches and spread the gospel. He healed Aeneas in Lydda and raised Tabitha from the dead in Joppa.

Acts 9.32 contains a nugget of information that shows us how Peter became so effective in service: Peter went here and there among them all. Peter didn’t just stay home in Jerusalem barking orders as an apostle. Peter got out among the people demonstrating his care and love. Here is a principle we can mine out of this passage: The people who are already involved are the ones who have the most effective personal ministries. If you want to be used of God, you have to get up and get going.

Will we each resolve to refuse to sit around and watch others do the work?

Here are some things you can do in service for the Kettering family:

  • Pray. Take this bulletin home today and refer to the prayer list throughout the upcoming week. Ask two or three people to get together to pray. Begin a prayer group that meets here at the building or in each other's homes. (See Acts 2.42.)
  • Teach. Don't wait for someone else to act, take the initiative and hold a Bible study / get together for our young people, new Christians, or your family and friends. Volunteer to teach or assist in one of our children’s Bible classes on Sunday or Wednesday.
  • Serve. A widow may need their yard mowed, limbs picked up, or house cleaned. Some of our family members with limited financial resources may need help getting through the month. A sister or brother may need your help coping with their health condition. Someone might need food prepared.

Do something. Go in some direction. God uses His priority jobs for those who place Him in the priority place. When you serve others, you never know how far reaching the effects will go.

— Matthew Allen

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