Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 15 March 2022:
Here is a sermon on Exodus 22 by Skip Heitzig from Calvary Church: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCSx83vDXc4
Exodus 22:2, 3 – If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him, but if the sun has risen on him, there shall be bloodguilt for him. He shall surely pay. If he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.
The Bible makes a distinction between self-defense and revenge.
Exodus 22:3 – Everyone was held accountable to the law, regardless of their economic status.
Exodus 22:6 – If fire breaks out and catches in thorns so that the stacked grain or the standing grain or the field is consumed, he who started the fire shall make full restitution.
God’s laws hold people accountable for carelessness.
Acts 24:22, 24-27 – “But Felix, having a rather accurate knowledge of the Way, put them off…. After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, ‘Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity, I will summon you.’ At the same time, he hoped that money would be given him by Paul. So, he sent for him often and conversed with him. When two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.”
Paul “reasoned” with Felix and Drusilla “about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment,” and Felix was alarmed. Felix had good reason to be alarmed — he was a ruthless and unscrupulous governor, and Drusilla (the granddaughter of Herod Antipas and the daughter of Herod Agrippa the first) was his second wife (of three) who had divorced her husband, Azizus, the King of Emesa, to marry Felix. Felix had accurate “knowledge” of the Way (Christianity), but dismissed the truth — Felix said to Paul, “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity, I will summon you.” But for two years Felix conversed with Paul with no apparent impact on Felix’s life. Felix didn’t have a “knowledge” problem, he had a heart problem – he simply wouldn’t repent and accept Jesus as his Savior. So, Felix chose not to decide, which is really a choice to reject the truth.
- 1 Corinthians 2:14 -- But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. - Mark 3:29 -- but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin" - Acts 7:51 -- “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. - Hebrews 3:7, 8 -- Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion…." - Galatians 5:25 -- “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” - 1 Thessalonians 5:19 -- Do not quench the Spirit.
Felix didn’t outright reject Christ but rather rejected Christ passively. Subtly, he committed the unforgivable blasphemy against the Holy Spirit mentioned in Mark 3:29 which is rejecting salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Felix rejected the convicting work of the Holy Spirit for salvation, but Christians can also resist the Holy Spirit’s convicting work for sanctification (growing in Christ). Perhaps the Holy Spirit has convicted you to make a change or to take action in some area in your life. Perhaps you need to address an area of compromise in your life; perhaps you need to forgive someone or seek forgiveness; perhaps you have been putting off giving or serving in a way God has convicted you to give or serve. Don’t delay – delayed obedience is disobedience. The longer you put off the truth, the easier it becomes to ignore it and forget about it, and the more you lose receptivity to the truth in general. Conversely, if you are faithful with the truth, more will be given to you. “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” (1 Kings 18:21)
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 15 Mar 22: Obey without delay.