February 16, 2020
Old Testament: Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Today I offer you life and prosperity or death and destruction. This is what I am commanding you today: Love the Lord your God, follow his directions, and obey his commands, laws, and rules. Then you will live, your population will increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you’re about to enter and possess.
Now your hearts might turn away and you might not listen. You might be tempted to bow down to other gods and worship them. If you do, I tell you today that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live for a long time in the land that you are going to possess when you cross the Jordan River.
I call on heaven and earth as witnesses today that I have offered you life or death, blessings or curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants will live. Love the Lord your God, obey him, and be loyal to him. This will be your way of life and it will mean a long life for you in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Epistle Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:1-9
Brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people but as people still influenced by your corrupt nature. You were infants in your faith in Christ. I gave you milk to drink. I didn’t give you solid food because you were not ready for it. Even now you aren’t ready for it because you are still influenced by your corrupt nature.
When you are jealous and quarrel among yourselves, aren’t you influenced by your corrupt nature and living by human standards? When some of you say, “I follow Paul” and others say, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you acting like sinful humans? Who is Apollos? Who is Paul? They are servants who helped you come to faith. Each did what the Lord gave him to do. I planted, and Apollos watered, but God made it grow.
So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is important because only God makes it grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have the same goal, and each will receive a reward for his own work. We are God’s coworkers. You are God’s field.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:21-37
You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, “Never murder. Whoever murders will answer for it in court.” I can guarantee that whoever is angry with another believer will answer for it in court. Whoever calls another believer an insulting name will answer for it in the highest court. Whoever calls another believer a fool will answer for it in hellfire.
So if you are offering your gift at the altar and remember there that another believer has something against you, leave your gift at the altar. First go away and make peace with that person. Then come back and offer your gift.
Make peace quickly with your opponent while you are on the way to court with him. Otherwise, he will hand you over to the judge. Then the judge will hand you over to an officer who will throw you into prison. I can guarantee this truth: You will never get out until you pay every penny of your fine.
You have heard that it was said, “Never commit adultery.” I can guarantee that whoever looks with lust at a woman has already committed adultery in his heart. So if your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose a part of your body than to have all of it thrown into hell. If your right hand leads you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose a part of your body than to have all of it go into hell.
It has also been said, “Whoever divorces his wife must give her a written notice.” I can guarantee that any man who divorces his wife for any reason other than unfaithfulness makes her look as though she has committed adultery. Whoever marries a woman divorced in this way makes himself look as though he has committed adultery.
You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, “Never break your oath, but give to the Lord what you swore in an oath to give him.” I tell you do not swear an oath at all. Do not swear an oath by heaven, which is God’s throne, or by the earth which is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, which is the city of the great King. Do not swear an oath by your head. After all, you cannot make one hair black or white. Simply say yes or no. Anything more than that comes from the evil one.