In SS we talked more about the lessons. From Matthew 21:23-32 There was the parable where the father asked the first son to work and he said he wouldn't, but he ended up doing it; then the father asked the second son, who said he would, but ended up not doing it. I think I got something different from this. Jesus seemed to say later that the prostitutes and sinners were the like the second son and would get into heaven because they professed, even if they still sinned; and the religious leaders were like the first son, who did the good works without the faith. I didn't understand what Pastor was getting at during the discussion, but when we came back to it later on, he brought up James - good works without faith are dead. I kind of see this in my own life as well. I say no a lot as my first response when people ask me to do something, and sometimes I end up being able to do it because my schedule opens up or something else, where if I believed that God wanted me to accomplish this thing, I would accept on faith that God would make it easy for me to do.
In Matthew 3:1-2 and Luke 3:7-18, the people were asking John about the way to righteouness - if it wasn't enough that they were descendants of Abraham, that we go to the right church or that we have been Lutheran all of our lives - what was enough and it's repentance - like to the people in Ezekiel. Turn away from your stiff necked attitude, stop blaming others and take responsibility for your actions - turn away from your path of sin and toward God and His path. We need to humble ourselves before men like Christ humbled Himself on our behalf.
Another part later in Ezekiel 18:21 talks about the mercy of God - if a wicked man turns away, he will live. But also - if a righteous man turns wicked, he will die - his good deeds won't be remembered - like the first son -
Back to Matthew - is it easier to correct the "no" and still go do it or the "yes" and don't follow through? Pastor brought up sins of commission vs. sins of omission.
Then he brought in Philippians 2:1-18 - and those of us with a concordance Bible realized that it took almost as much space for the concordance to explain what Paul means as it took for the book itself. Oh Paul and those Lutheran theologians. But your relationships can't work if your relationship with Christ is messed up. Someone brought up that relationships were like shoe laces, for them to work, you have to keep tying them together.
And lastly we talked about the difference between contributions and giving sacrificially. Chickens contribute to breakfast; pigs sacrifice for breakfast. It's easy to give money once or twice for a cause; it's harder to cook a few meals or help someone around their house or drive them around. More food for thought.