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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
 
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Monday, August 08, 2005
Go and learn what this means.
I had the privilege of preaching to my home congregation this passed Sunday.

The message was from Matthew, where Christ has once again upset the Scribes and Pharisees - this time by going in and eating with tax collectors and sinners. Christ's reply begins with an argument from the lesser to the greater – a typically Jewish way of teaching. He was saying that he hung around sinners for the same reason a doctor hung around patients. His point was that the Son of God hadn’t come for righteous people, but for sinners.

But in between these two thoughts ( the lesser: physician/patients; and the greater: Christ/sinners ) Jesus says, “Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice” – and it was on this intermediary text that I preached this past Sunday.

The word translated as ‘mercy’ in the NKJV and KJV is the Hebrew word ‘Khesed.’ Our lexicon shows us that the word is typically translated as ‘lovingkindness,’ of simply as ‘kindness’ and even as ‘loyalty.’

Following the etymology of the word, we see that it entered into the English language as a transliterated French word: ‘merci’ – which means “thanks” today, but meant ‘reward,’ ‘gift’ or even ‘kindness’ at the time. One can see from the way the word evolved in the French language something of the way it would have been used in the English at the time.

I typically don’t play with Shakespearean English when I have a lexicon, but I dwell here for those people who grew up on King James English in the bible, and have historically understood this verse verbatim – that is, that God desires compassion rather than sacrifice. We go through the word exercise to show why the King James Version reads the way it does. It is an entirely accurate rendering if one were to read it with the understanding of word use at the time.

So putting it all together we see that God desires ‘something’ that (were there an English word for it) would mean a sort of loving and kind thankfulness” – this is a description of a sort of loyalty that one finds in loving marriages or between parents and their young children. God desires -that- sort of thing from us.

We must also look at what is meant by ‘God desires.’

Without going too deep into it, the meaning here is that God takes joy or pleasure in something – not that God has a need or want – but rather the English is just describing in as few words as possible that God takes more joy in one thing than the other – that is, that God is more pleased by thankful and loving loyalty than He is by the sacrificial keeping of the law.

Now the contrast isn’t in the keeping of the law verses not keeping the law – it is a contrast of motives. God takes joy in a heart that belongs to Him rather than a heart that attempts to placate or pacify Him.

My message turned at that point to the question – Why was Christ teaching this doctrine to the Pharisees at that time – right in the middle of saying I came to sinners? I believe that Christ was giving them the means to overcome their legalistic hang-ups. They embraced a rigid ‘external’ obedience to the law of Moses and in their zealous pursuit of righteousness based on the law – they were missing the new covenant entirely. They didn’t comprehend the purpose of the law, and it was this rigid mindset that Jesus was attempting to jar them free from.

In the closing remarks a plea was made to seek Christ through faith, and not through righteous works of the law. I know that there are many in my congregation who do not understand the power of grace, and therefore continue to attempt to please God through their own efforts.

We are acceptable to God -in- the beloved, not because of our works of righteousness (which are as filthy rags to God) but solely and only because we are in Christ. This will be (Lord willing) the topic of next weeks sermon.
posted by Daniel @ 11:21 AM  
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