Opening Prayer Thoughts.
Praise God that he is the God of man - male and female. That he created us in his image to live for his glory and fulfil his remit to us on the earth. Praise God that, in his eternal decrees, he has made provision for the salvation of a vast number of men and women to spend eternity in his glorious presence. Genesis 1:27.
Confess the sin of not always delighting in the fact that we possess 'reason' and an 'immortal soul'. Confess the misuse of the mind that God has given you in the pursuit of idols. Ask God the Holy Spirit specifically to help you have no other gods before the one true God, who loves you.
Let's read Luke 8:1-3 - The blessing of godly women in the church.
Ask God the Holy Spirit to help you in your understanding of his Word.
V1. Jesus keeps on preaching the Kingdom of God.
Jesus continues to travel throughout the country, bringing the good news of the Kingdom of God to those living in cities and villages. This is what his ministry was all about. Declaring his presence as the King, albeit it is veiled at this point. Proclaiming grace-given new life under his rule for all eternity. An astonishing message. One which is still powerful today unto the changing of human life. The Kingdom of God dominated Jesus' thinking and speaking, day in, day out. He lived it; he breathed it. This was why he had come to earth, and he would not be deterred from his single-minded focus upon it.
What is fascinating is that much of Christianity now is dominated by thinking geared no higher than seeking to satisfy man's basic wants. People, desiring to have their needs met. People, wanting a form of worship that they find engaging. People, only interested in pursuing their personal ministry. It is almost as though it is about the 'kingdom of me' with the expectation that God should be interested in, and providing for, me. This is sad, not only because the focus is primarily on 'me and what I want', but because of what is being lost in the process. It is difficult to quantify the loss of peace and joy that comes with such thinking and acting. The resulting absence of blessing is uncalculatable. Please strive, work, go after, pursue, be relentless in seeking first the Kingdom of God in your life. The Kingdom of God dominated Jesus' life on earth and still does as he now reigns as Mediator King in heaven. As a lover of Jesus, crave and plead with God to help you make it dominant in your life. As a believer you can, but it requires choice. As we gradually come out of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, take care not to lose the habits you have worked to form in the last few months. Now is the time to stay focused on being with God personally and as a family.
V2. Several godly women.
Jesus was not alone on this journey; by now, he had the full complement of twelve disciples/apostles, those men whom he had chosen and called to follow him, and there were several women also. In one way, this was unusual. Rabbis would not teach women, so generally women were given out of sight 'household' tasks. I am not implying that there is anything unacceptable about a wife being a homemaker. It is inconceivable to think that these women were not involved in helping these thirteen men find accommodations, stay fed, etc. But the point is that Jesus' interaction with women was different from that of the other rabbis. He understood that 'man' had been made – male and female – equal in identity and having different roles in life.
The first woman named is Mary Magdalene, named after her home town of Magdala on the west shore of the Lake of Galilee. Mary had been delivered from seven demons, evil spirits, and several infirmities. Jesus had changed this woman's life, and she would appear prominently in his life. This Mary was among the first people Jesus appeared to after his resurrection. Joanna is also named among the few women who were at the tomb of Jesus and subsequently saw him. Her husband, Chuza, was the chief steward or finance minister to King Herod (Antipas), so she was married to a man who held an influential position. Susanna is named, but nothing more is said of her in the New Testament.
The thing that unites these women, and the others who accompanied Jesus, is their provision for him and his disciples. They did so “out of their means”. Some of the disciples would have had money, for example, Matthew the former Capernaum tax collector, and probably James and John from their family fishing business, as would Peter and Andrew. Although, we don't know the number of dependants these men had, so it is not easy to work out where they would have been financially. So, the women who associated themselves with Jesus and his disciples helped pay for this ministry campaign. Not that it would have been a luxury tour. It is evident, reading what Jesus undertook, that this would have been a demanding entourage to be part of. These women, like the disciples, were committed for the long haul. It wasn't a case of turning up occasionally and cooking a few meals. They weren't joining the party on a few stops along the way, as and when they had a space in their diary. No, they had weighed up the cost and were in this no matter what it took, heart and soul. It was a voluntary service borne of love for Jesus. These women didn't need to be continuously directed and encouraged on what to do, and when they said 'I will take care of that', Jesus didn't need to log in his mind the need to check if it had been done or not. It is a testimony to the investment of their hearts that they were also giving “out of their means”. In other words, they were paying money for the privilege of being able to serve Jesus.
It is a blessing that we have such women in our congregation. Women who are, out of love for Christ, not only caring for and nurturing their families, but also willingly investing what time and gifts they have in the work of the kingdom of God. Yes, men are called to fulfil the biblical offices, but in my 26 years as a minister, if it hadn't been for godly women, the work of the church would have been severely impacted. And I am not thinking of the provision of meals and work in the kitchen. Godly, mature women, who know that Christ loves them, and have a clear Biblical understanding of the church and how she functions, are more than an invaluable asset. If you are such a godly woman, there is a place for you in your congregation, and it is not just in the pew on a Lord's Day, although that is where you will want to be Sabbath morning and evening. Nor is there just a place for you in the kitchen, although we certainly need your able labours in the kitchen. There are areas, and I am thinking here of our congregation in Ottawa, where we are just scratching the surface when it comes to possibilities regarding the investment of the gifts of godly women. So, please do not be slow in showing your desire to invest in the kingdom of God. There is good work to be done, investments to be made, investments of time and love, which will produce an eternal harvest.
A Psalm to Sing.
Psalm 135A. Link to the words. Link to it being sung. Sing with joy in your heart to God.
It is a privilege to lay into our hearts and minds the light and truth of God's Word.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love, he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace,"
Truth for the Mind and Heart.
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 52 - What are the reasons attached to the second commandment?
Answer - The reasons attached to the second commandment are God’s authority as our lawgiver, the fact that we belong to him, and the zeal he has for his own worship.
This is taken from https://matt2819.com/wsc where you will find proof texts.
Thank God for godly women who love Jesus and understand the nature and functioning of his Bride. Thank God that we have such women in the Ottawa RPC congregation, and that there are such women in churches across our nation serving wholly out of a love for, and to the glory of, Christ.
Take care in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley