By Dan Flynn
Adult Bible Class, September 17-November 26.
This fall our Adult Bible class is going to explore Scripture and the reformation. I really like these three words: Renew, Revive, and Reform. Each word speaks to the journey of faith l and the struggle to have a church that has a vibrant, living faith.
In Matthew 9 Jesus is eating at the house of Matthew, a tax collector. For a Rabbi to enter the tax collector’s home was an insult to the religious. The Pharisees lived in purity and protection of the Law. In fact, they felt obligated to be the Preservers of the Law. So, purity, protection and preserving were core values and Jesus entering into the home of one who disregards the Law was an affront to everything they hold dear. When Jesus leaves the dinner, they confront him.
The dead ritualism of the Pharisees was crushing the life out of first century Judaism. The dependence on rules and law suffocated life and hope. Jesus speaks not from preservation and protection but from grace and affection. Jesus said, “Those who are ill know they need a doctor” and then He looks at them and says, go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” He quotes Hosea 6:6 and they knew exactly what he was saying, “Where is your heart?” and they hated him for the message.
Renew, Revive and Reform always comes as an outcome to a loss of the heart of faith. Wherever that happens God lifts up faithful people who go to the “Heart of the Matter.” Usually this happens from the grass roots. The power structure is content in preservation but the Holy Spirit is about transformation and that calls for renewal and upsets the status quo.
So, this fall we explore renew, revive, and reform and grace and Scripture. Maybe in the midst of your own study, you can ask God for renewal and revival of our own faith walk. We are not about preservation but rather about empowerment and this always comes from grace.
The core of the 8 weeks will be focused on a study of Galatians. Here the Apostle Paul speaks to the purity of Grace as this young congregation struggles with dead ritualism. The church has struggled from the beginning with a graceful heart. We are so naturally wired to create faith into a system of rules. The result is that God lifts up people to draw us back from drifting away from a deep loving relationship in Christ Jesus.
I hope you can come to the class.