Here are some links that we think you'll find useful in your studies.
Is Jesus Keeping a Secret? (Crosswalk.com)
There is no shortage of books and movies claiming that the early church shrouded the identity and teachings of Jesus in secret. Usually, a little historical leg-work debunks these fictional thrillers, but what about Luke 8:10 where Jesus tells his disciples behind closed doors, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God” (ESV)? Was Jesus sharing “special knowledge” with the twelve while keeping the general public in the dark? To find out we must explore the meaning of the Greek word translated as ‘secrets’ in Luke 8:10.
Opiate of the Masses? (Christianity.com)
There is no doubt that christianity, as it has come to be understood in America, has been in decline. That may not be a bad thing. Frankly, I think the potential demise of culturalized, politicized, and Americanized forms of Christianity represents a hopeful trend! While Marx suggested that religion serves to dull and subdue attention to real life, I would say that false forms of religion do worse by offering a spiritual placebo, which only provides surface satisfaction with the "divine" rather than true reconciliation and intimacy with the Creator.
In the wake of this cultural upheaval, the Christian community that seems to be emerging (I mean nothing by that term!) may be smaller than, say, 50 years ago but it is arguably becoming more theologically astute and biblically faithful. Perhaps a remnant?
The God Who Bleeds: Hope For The Guilty Hebrews 9:10-15 (Association of Biblical Counselors)
This is where biblical counseling reveals its most powerful reality. We have the only permanent answer to a guilty conscience: The God Who Bleeds. The book of Hebrews was written to bolster the faith of believers who were under persecution. It majestically lays out the story of atonement reaching its final fulfillment in the sacrifice of Christ, or in other words, the journey from the shadows of the OT sacrificial system to the substance of the new covenant. It is easy for those of us in a western culture to miss the significance and severity of the old sacrificial system. The perpetual flow of blood from the sacrifices provided a vivid picture of the reality that sin could never be overlooked! The constant smell of blood would have reminded everyone that things are not the way they are supposed to be! In fact, in Numbers 15:30-31, it appears to show that under the old sacrificial system there was no offering you could do to atone for premeditated sins! Since only sins of ignorance were forgiven (even on the Day of Atonement), no one could have a completely clear conscience...
Story-formed Disciple-Making (Tim Brister)
Our church has been working through the book of Exodus each Lord’s Day, and one of the things that continually strikes me is the emphasis God makes on story telling. Basically, God says “Here’s what I am going to do to bring glory to myself,” and following that explanation, He says, “Now you are to remember what I have done and tell it to your children and generations to come that they may know it as well.” The act belongs to God. The story telling belongs to us. God’s people are responsible to tell others what God has done for them. At the end of the day, faithfulness to God is a matter of stewardship to tell the story.
[Editor's note: Links to posts do not constitute an endorsement of all content on a website or blog. Be discerning with anything you read and test it against Scripture.]