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Monday, September 14, 2015

Words and Actions

The weekend has come to an end so we are JUMP! starting a New Week with Read: Matthew 21:28-32 Bible in a Year: Proverbs 19-21; 2 Corinthians 7 Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. —1 John 3:18 The email from the student in my college writing class expressed urgency. It was the end of the semester, and he realized he needed a better grade to participate in sports. What could he do? He had missed some assignments, so I gave him two days to complete those papers and improve his grade. His response: “Thank you. I’ll do it.” Two days—and the deadline—passed, and no papers appeared. He didn’t back up his words with action. Jesus told about a young man who did something similar. The boy’s dad asked him to do some work in the vineyard. The son said, “I will, sir” (Matt. 21:30). But he was all talk and no action. In commenting on this parable, Matthew Henry concluded: “Buds and blossoms are not fruit.” The buds and blossoms of our words, which breed anticipation of what we might do, are empty without the fruit of our follow-through. Jesus’ main application was to religious leaders who spoke of obedience yet refused to follow through with repentance. But the words apply to us as well. It is in following God “with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18)—not in making empty promises—that we honor our Lord and Savior. Our actions in obeying God show Him more love, honor, and praise than any empty words we might say to try to appear good. —Dave Branon Dear Father, help me to follow through on my promises to You and to all who depend on me. Especially help me to do Your will and not just talk about it. Words are the blossoms, action the fruit. INSIGHT: Matthew 21 describes several events in the life of Christ. This chapter opens with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (vv. 1-11) followed by the cleansing of the temple (vv. 12-17) and the cursing of the fig tree (vv. 18-22). Then the parable of the two sons follows a debate with the religious leaders about Jesus’ authority (vv. 23-32). It is this issue that forms the context of the parable, for it deals with how the sons responded to authority. The son who did his father’s wishes was the one who honored his father. Bill Crowder

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