August 22, 2020

Love Binds and Looses (Proper 21a)

(Teaching available on John Gishler Youtube channel Aug. 22) 

Binding and loosing are words that many people may not be familiar with. Jesus reveals His identity as The Christ - the long expected successor to Moses, who will free His people not from political and military oppression, but from the much more dangerous spiritual deception and oppression of Satan. Jesus is talking about the love of His sacrificial death that broke the power of Satan. This enables forgiveness of sin and frees people from their bondage. Jesus love  binds us in a love relationship as the body of Christ. This binding and loosing is the essential work of the Church. The story of Moses birth illustrates how the fear of loosing the love of God strengthened the Egyptian midwives in disobeying Pharo’s order to kill male babies. 

The Romans reading (12.1-8) explains how the love of the members of the body of Christ grows and binds them to Jesus and each other as they exercise their spiritual gifts.

  1. The midwives of Egypt were bound by “fear” of God

It would take great love and courage to disobey a direct order of the King of Egypt. The midwives came up with a clever explanation about how the Hebrew women were vigerous and delivered before they got there. This is a practical example of the importance of a strong faith. Faith is a love relationship that is spiritual, intuitive and passionate. This spiritual gift of faith is more powerful than head knowledge where we can for example recite the 10 Commandments.

2. Christians are bound to Jesus by love

There is a natural progression as we read the Word, pray the Word, experience the Word and eventually become the Word:

  • Come to a point where we need help and cry out to God
  • Begin reading the Bible, attend a church, do Bible study
  • Experience peace, healing and the opening of our spiritual eyes

We often begin by looking for answers. As we read more of the Bible we learn about Jesus. The more we learn about Jesus the more we begin to love Him and desire relationship with Him. Eventually we begin to realize that the answer to all our questions is Jesus. This enables us to love Him, put our trust in Him and ask for forgiveness. In addition to forgiveness He gives us amazing spiritual gifts that open our siritual eyes so we see and understand how the supernatural dimension can affect our lives. We have experiences of the Holy Spirit that strengthen our faith, guide us and heal us. We become bound to Jesus in love.

3. The work of the church is to bind and loose

Jesus notes that Peter did not figure out who Jesus was in his head. He had a spiritual word of knowledge - like the gift of prophecy. Jesus commissions Peter as the first leader of His Church and gives the church the mission of binding and loosing. (This mission is not what you hear at Theological college or Synods) We all come to the church in some form of bondage to sin guilt. People are in bondage to whatever they desire, put their trust in or let control their lives - materialism, power and control, popularity, sex, food, anger etc. Spiritual and mental Bondage can prevent people from:

  • Letting go of their dependance on things other than Jesus. 
  • Coming to Jesus for grace, forgiveness and healing 
  • Binding to Jesus and becoming part of the body of Christ
  • Being transformed in their minds. 
  • The work of the church is to loose or free them from bondage by proclaiming the good news of grace, forgiveness and healing
  • Church is the body of Christ and includes many people with different spiritual gifts that help others grow in their life in Christ
  • Love of God, Jesus and others is the power that enables the different members of the body to help each other
  • As each person exercises their spiritual gifts in love for others they bind themselves into a deeper spiritual relationship with Jesus
  • Love is the only thing that you get more of when you give it to others
  • Love is the opposite and antedote to fear

  • Love binds us to Jesus and looses us from bondage

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