The Bible & Phone Minute Online
This page shares all the Bible meditations included in the book.
.We hope it will be helpful to those who do not have the book and want to review or spend more time with selected Bible passages. It should also be helpful to those who are using the book as a teaching guide and need a way to copy and paste selected Bible passages and comments in preparing teaching notes. If you are a teacher you also have access to my teaching notes on the For Bible Study Teachers page of this website.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Genesis 1:1
Today is the beginning of a new year in this world which God created for us. “Let us rejoice and be glad in it” for today, and every day God gives, “is a day that the Lord hath made.” Do you believe the Biblical account of the origin of the earth and heavens and that Christ continues to uphold “all things by the word of His power?” God took a world that “was without form, and void,” a world where “darkness was upon the face of the deep,” and he turned it into something very good and beautiful. Let us read all of the New Testament into the first chapter of Genesis; and let us know that through Jesus God wills to take away our disorder, our darkness, our confusion, and make something very good and beautiful of our lives. Jesus was with God in the beginning; and if we will that it be so, Jesus is with us today. Now go with your faith lifted up, and have a Happy New Year!
When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:9-11
We don’t have a star in the sky, but we have God’s Word to bring us to Christ. Oh, let us rejoice “with exceeding great joy” that God has given us “a lamp unto our feet and light unto our path;” and may the light of God’s Word daily bring us to the place where we fall down and worship Jesus. During this new year, let us open the treasures given us and use them for God’s glory.
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. Matthew 3:13-15
John asked, “I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?” How unworthy he felt to be the one called to minister to Jesus in such a unique way. God is still calling people to minister to Jesus, and there can be no greater honor than doing so. We are told in the scriptures that the Father takes note even when a cup of water is given to someone in Jesus’ name. Is there something God is asking you to do for Jesus through his Word and through the Holy Spirit? Is he saying to you as he said to John, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness?” May God help us to look for opportunities to minister to Jesus every day of this new year he gives us.
And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. Matthew 4:18-20
What a wise choice Peter and Andrew made when they responded to the call of Jesus and followed him. Others soon followed in their steps, and the number of lives saved through these disciples, only eternity will reveal. Have you heard Jesus’ call to leave your nets and follow him? “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.”
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3-10
The word, “blessed,” means supreme happiness in these verses. That’s what God wants for us, and that’s what Jesus brings to us. Oh, let the joy of the Lord be our strength. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:13-15
What a great responsibility Jesus places upon his followers to be his witnesses in this present evil world, and what a great privilege and joy it is to love and serve Jesus where he plants us. May God be with you and bless you as you “let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” And in the words of Corrie ten Boom, may you “never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. Matthew 6:6
Jesus speaks out in the context of this verse against those who were praying to be seen and heard of men. How sad that the Pharisees prayed in the synagogues and in the streets to call attention to themselves rather than focus on the God who loves to hear and answer prayer. Thank God for Christians who are God-focused when praying in public, and I think it is so because they spend much time before God in private prayer each day. It’s been rightly said, “The greatest thing anyone can do for God or man is to pray;” and the bottom line is that Jesus has given us an assignment: “Pray to thy Father which is in secret.”
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. Matthew 7:24-27
The house of our life will stand or fall based upon its foundation. Oh, let me build my life upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. Matthew 8:28-32
Though unseen, the devil and demons are still at work today. May we trust Jesus to cast them out for if they were unfit for swine, neither are they fit for us. “Come into my heart Lord Jesus, come in today, come in to stay, come into my heart Lord Jesus.” When Jesus comes in, the demons must go. Amen
And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? Matthew 9:10-11
The Pharisees saw Jesus eating with publicans and sinners and questioned why he would do such a thing. It was definitely beneath them. They saw the great physician bring healing and wholeness to the down and out crowd who were not worthy of God’s grace. They would have nothing to do with that and especially when he did it on the Sabbath Day. Oh, how far these Pharisees were from God. Their pride and self-centeredness were often rebuked by Jesus. Let us learn the lesson Jesus taught by his example in today’s Bible passage and learn it well. Every soul that is lost in sin, no matter how deep they have gone, is still a human being and worthy of someone reaching out to them with the love of Jesus.
But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest. Matthew 9:36-38
In this passage, Jesus gave his disciples, and us, an assignment. The assignment is that we specifically pray that the Lord will send forth laborers into his harvest. Jesus makes this request out of his compassion for the large number of people who are as sheep without a shepherd. If we pray for laborers to be sent into the harvest…if we help send laborers into the harvest…if we go forth into his harvest, then we are close to Jesus and the heart of God.
And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. Matthew 9:20-22
Can Jesus handle our longtime problems when we give them to him? Twelve years was a long time, perhaps long enough for this woman to feel there was no hope for her healing. But when she saw Jesus and heard him teaching, things changed. She believed that if she could just touch the hem of his garment, she would be healed. She felt no need to trouble the Lord or interfere with his teaching. She just went ahead with a child-like faith and touched him, and that was it. She was made whole, and her greatest blessing was that Jesus acknowledged and appreciated her faith. Oh, let me bring my needs to Jesus and by faith touch the hem of his garment today.
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. Matthew 10:37-38
There is a simple truth often overlooked in these words of Jesus. When we love Jesus more than anything else in life, more than father or mother, more than son or daughter, we then learn to love our father and mother, our son and daughter more than we ever did before. It is only by loving and serving Jesus with all our heart that we become capable of fully loving and serving members of our family and others. Also, please be reminded that when we carry what seems to be a cross…if we do it for Jesus, it will one day be turned into a crown.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
What an invitation! When we come to Jesus…when we become yoked together with him…when we fully submit to learning from him, our burden becomes light. I heard a long time ago story about a traveler who carried a heavy load upon his back. A farmer stopped and offered the man a ride in his wagon. The traveler appreciated the ride but kept the heavy load upon his back. When the farmer suggested that he remove it and place it in the wagon, the traveler responded, “Oh, you are so kind to carry me on my journey, it’s too much to expect you to carry my load as well.” Friends, Jesus wants to carry us and our load. Let’s give it all to him.
And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other. Matthew 12:10-13
How many people are more concerned for their cattle (or their possessions) than they are for the physical and spiritual good of others? Oh, let us put first things first. Let us put Jesus first and hear him say, “How much then is a man better than a sheep.”
Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. Matthew 12:22-24
“And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?” The Pharisees, however, contributed the work of God to the devil; and in so doing they may have committed an unpardonable sin for Jesus said in verse 31, “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.” Oh, let us seek out and be in one accord with those who have a holy reverence for God and every aspect of his work upon this earth.
Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Matthew 13:18-23
God pours forth his blessings like the many seeds of the summer! It is not a question of seed, the seed is good; it is a question of soil, it must be “good ground.” Oh, let my heart acknowledge and receive God’s blessings, and let my life bear fruit for Jesus.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:47-50
Everyone who wills to do so can make heaven their eternal home for the Bible says, “Whosoever will.” However, Jesus warns in today’s Bible passage that everyone is not going to make it to heaven; and the day is coming when the wicked will be severed from the just. It is a serious matter that we love and follow Jesus for there is both a heaven to gain and a hell to shun, and only Jesus can take us to heaven. The fact is that we are choosing our eternal destiny by saying either yes or no to the claim of Christ upon our lives. Friends, let us pray for one another.
And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children. Matthew 14:19-21
What a miracle! Five loves and two fishes were sufficient to feed a multitude because they were blessed by Jesus. It is important to note that Jesus also blessed the lad who donated his lunch and the disciples who distributed the food. May God help us to put ourselves and all we have into the hands of Jesus for he wants to bless us and work through us in feeding the hungry multitudes in today’s world.
And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. Matthew 14:28-33
Waves of trouble and fear are all about us in this life. We can walk on them if we will for Jesus bids us to “come,” but we can only do so by keeping our eyes on Jesus. Aren’t you glad that Jesus is near to pull us back up when we begin to sink?
For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. Matthew 13:15-16
Does God give us spiritual eyes and ears as well as the physical, and how are we using them? I like the words of the hymn, “Open our eyes, Lord, we want to see Jesus. To reach out and touch Him, and say that we love Him. Open our ears, Lord, and help us to listen. Open our eyes, Lord, we want to see Jesus.” Oh, may it be said of us, “Blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.”
Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Exodus 3:1-5
God got Moses’ attention through the burning bush, and he soon became known as “the friend of God.” Let us listen and respond as God calls out to us through the wonders of nature and especially through the Holy Scriptures, and let us also become friends of God. Jesus said, “Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I commend you.”
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. Matthew 16:13-16
In our day, there are still a lot of opinions about the true identity of Jesus. Was he just a good man, a great teacher, or was he God in human flesh? Seth C. Lewis comments, “You must make your choice…You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God.” May God help me to stand with Peter in declaring, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. Matthew 17:19-21
An evil demon had taken over an innocent child, and the disciples asked Jesus, “Why could not we cast him out?” Let us learn from their failure that none of us are strong enough to resist or do battle with the enemy on our own. Only Jesus has power over the devil, and it is only when we put our trust in Jesus that we win life’s important battles. It was Oswald Chambers who said,
“We look upon the enemy of our souls as a conquered foe, and so he is, but only to God, not to us.”
At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. Matthew 18:1-5
The greatest in the kingdom of heaven are those who humble themselves as little children and those who love children. “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves all the children of the world.” May God help us to have the spirit of Christ and love all the children of the world as Jesus loves them. He said, “And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.”
Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Matthew 18:21-22
Why should we forgive those who sin against us, and how many times should we forgive them? Peter no doubt thought he was being gracious when he suggested we should forgive up to seven times, but Jesus said “seventy times seven.” Forgiveness is of God’s nature and because he freely forgives us we are obligated to pass his forgiveness on to others and to do so for Jesus’ sake. Jesus makes no exceptions when he says to you and me, “Love one another as I have loved you.”
Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 19:13-14
May all children be taught to sing, “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.” Let the children sing, and let us sing with them for we are children also.
The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. Matthew 19:20-22
Which is greater, treasure on the earth or treasure in heaven? Of course we know the answer; but do many of us like the rich young ruler, fail to act out what we know? Whenever that is so, we don’t possess riches, riches possess us. May God help me to be a good steward and know that I have been entrusted with the Lord’s money.
So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. Matthew 20:8-12
This is not an easy parable to understand, and we can see why those who worked all day were upset; however, there is an important lesson in the spiritual application of this parable. It teaches that our relationship with God is not based on good works but on his grace and generosity. Ephesians 2:8-9 reads, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works lest any man should boast”. And let’s not leave out the next line, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.”
And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David. And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David. And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you? They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him. Matthew 20:30-34
What a wonderful story this is revealing the miracle working power of Jesus, and I believe it happened just as the Bible says. The two men asked Jesus for mercy; he had compassion upon them and gave them sight; and the best part is that after receiving their sight, they followed Jesus. Oh, may my prayer be, “Lord, touch my eyes that I may see and follow you.”
And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. Matthew 21:12-13
In making application of this passage, Matthew Henry states: “If Christ came now into many parts of his visible church, how many secret evils he would discover and cleanse! And how many things daily practiced under the cloak of religion, would he show to be more suitable to a den of thieves than to a house of prayer!” May the Lord visit the temple of our lives and cleanse us from all unrighteousness, and also may our lives be houses of prayer for God’s glory.
Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. Matthew 21:42-44
The Jews rejected the chief cornerstone of their doctrine when they rejected Jesus. It was foretold in the scriptures (Psalm 118:22) that the Messiah would be rejected, and in today’s Bible passage the Jews were fulfilling that very prophecy. “And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” Men and women everywhere are still rejecting Jesus. Oh, let us be faithful in praying for those we know to fall by repentance and faith upon the stone Christ Jesus that the stone of God’s judgment fall not upon them.
And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen. Matthew 22:11-14
The wedding garment, no doubt, represents personal righteousness and holiness a believer receives through faith in Christ. At the judgment, we will need more than just a nominal profession of Christianity; we will need the wedding garment of a life that is “hid with Christ in God.” It has been said that this life is our dressing room for eternity. Oh, let us dress for success and especially do so in the realm of personal holiness.
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22:37-40
Do we love God with all our heart, and do we love our neighbor as we love ourselves? Is God expecting too much of his people when he commands that it be so? These are heart-searching questions, but they are easily answered when we consider the great love God has for us and the God-given potential of every life to receive and communicate the love of Jesus to others. Oh, let us “love him because he first loved us.”
But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Matthew 23:11-13
In very strong words, Jesus condemns the Pharisees and leaders who rejected his claims. They had exalted themselves above the very Word of God, and therefore they would be abased. Friends, let humility be our trademark as Christians; we have nothing, nor are we anything, except what God has given us and done for us in Christ.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. Matthew 23:37-38
“Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” Is it God’s fault when life becomes a mess because of our sins? No, self destruction is the natural consequence of disobedience to God; by running from God we run directly into the hands of Satan, the one who desires to destroy us because he hates our creator. The good news we need to live and share with others is that the arms of Jesus are always extended to gather under the wings of God every soul that looks to him in faith. Aren’t you glad for a savior like Jesus?
And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. Matthew 24:11-14
How numerous are the false teachers and teachings of our day that deceive many. How can we find our way in the midst of such confusion? Psalm 119:105 says, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” How important it is that the Word of God be our guide; and that Jesus be our way, our truth, and our life. When this is so, our love for Jesus will never wax cold, and we “shall endure unto the end” as Jesus said.
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Matthew 24:36-39
We know not the day and hour of his coming, but we know he is coming. Back in Noah’s day, people busied themselves and took comfort in being part of the multitude that ignored Noah’s preaching and warning of a coming judgment. Did being part of the crowd save them? Let us not take comfort in numbers; and let us prepare for Jesus’ coming by doing all we can to gather our family into the ark of God’s mercy, truth, and love just as Noah did with his family.
Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Matthew 25:1-6
Are we wise or are we foolish? Just as the bridegroom in today’s Bible passage, Jesus is coming back to receive his bride. Will he find us waiting and watching and prepared for his coming? Oh, let me be filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit, and let me be found faithful when Jesus returns.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matthew 25:34-40
There are so many opportunities to minister to Jesus. How are we doing? I want to love him more and serve him better. What about you?
There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial; Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her. Matthew 26:7-13
The disciples had indignation because of the woman and her alabaster box, but Jesus was pleased by her act of love and said it would never be forgotten. Can we believe that every act of love to Christ is remembered forever?
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Matthew 26:26-28
In the church ordinance of the Lord’s Supper, instituted by Jesus, we are given a special way to remember and be thankful for what Jesus did for us at Calvary. His body was broken for us; his blood was shed for us; and each time we take the bread and the cup, we do “show the Lord’s death till he comes.” Let us always value highly the blessing that is ours in partaking of the Lord’s Supper together with God’s people.
Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death. Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee? Matthew 26:65-68
Jesus was charged with blasphemy because He claimed to be the Son of God, but Jesus was and will always be who he claimed to be. Oh, let us “rent our clothes” because of those who defame Jesus; let us join with Peter in declaring, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God;” and let us often meditate upon Calvary never forgetting the great price Jesus paid our salvation.
And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. Matthew 27:29-31
Jesus’ death at Calvary was much more than just the death of a righteous man. Hebrews 2:9 tells us that he “tasted death for every man” and 1 Cor. 15:3 that “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.” He even died for the sins of the very ones who mocked, abused, and crucified him. Jesus suffered, bled, and died to redeem back to God all those who believe on him. Let us be thankful!
And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. Matthew 27:39-42
They said, mocking him, “He saved others, himself he cannot save…let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.” That’s what they said; but let us say with deep respect, because he saved not himself, because he came not down from the cross, we do believe on him!” Friends, Jesus saved not himself in order to save you and me; He gave his life for ours. Let us “love him because he first loved us.”
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:18
How wonderful to know that we are not alone in serving Jesus, but “we are laborers together with God.” Do we realize what a glorious partnership is given us? Oh, let us rejoice in the promise of his presence; let us live in the sunshine of it each day of our lives. “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. Mark 1:6-7
John the Baptist came to exalt Christ, and that’s what he did over and over again. What about us? Whether by preaching, teaching, or conversing it is our primary calling as believers to exalt Christ in all that we do. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:5, “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.” May God help us to look for opportunities to exalt Jesus each and every day. He is so worthy.
And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee. And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth. Mark 1:35-38
Before going forth to fulfill his mission of preaching in the next towns, Jesus “departed into a solitary place and there prayed.” Early rising and secret prayer in preparation for or in conjunction with ministry is certainly a good pattern to follow. Psalm 5:3 reads, “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” In the early morning it also may be easier to pray with our eyes focused on God rather than on the circumstances of the day.
And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. Mark 2:2-5
The paralytic and his four friends were certainly in earnest in seeking help from Jesus, and they would not let the crowd turn them away. Jeremiah 29:13 reads, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” There is also a lesson here on the value of combined effort; what one could not do alone, four were able to accomplish. Oh, let us work together in bringing someone to Jesus; let us be “ laborers together with God.”
But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion. Mark 2:10-12
The scribes had accused Jesus of blasphemy because he told the paralytic his sins were forgiven. Why could they not accept the miracles of Jesus as proof of his divinity and of his power to forgive sins? They could not because they would not, but we can if we will. Oh, let us glorify God by putting our will into believing that all power in heaven and earth belong to Jesus because he is indeed, the Son of God. The power of the Son of God is greater than all our problems put together, and we will not be moved. Amen.
And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother. Mark 3:32-35
Jesus loved his Mother and brethren and did not dishonor them in these verses; however, he delighted in the new family God was creating, a family made up of those who do the will of God. “For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.” Oh, let us forever be members of this family; the royal family of God.
And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. Mark 4:16-19
The seed of God’s Word has power to give new life whenever and wherever it is sown or planted. However, it is the responsibility of the soil (that’s us) to give priority to God and his Word. Let’s make sure nothing is allowed to crowd God and his truth out of our lives. It is then and then alone that we can become fruit bearing Christians. Jesus will help us. He sees us not only for what we are but also for what we can become by God’s grace.
And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Mark 4:37-39
How could Jesus do that? How could He awake from sleep and immediately calm the raging storm and save a sinking ship? Let us be in awe as were His disciples when they said, “What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him” We may not understand it all, but we surely can put our trust in the one who is able to calm a storm at sea.
And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel. Mark 5:18-20
The demon-filled Gadarene was truly transformed when he met Jesus. He no longer dwelt among the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones, but he was now clothed and in his right mind. He wanted to depart and be with Jesus, but Jesus and God’s kingdom were better served by his remaining behind as a witness to those who knew him both before and after his conversion. What about the before and after in our lives? Do they testify of the great things Jesus has done for us?
And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment. Mark 5:41-42
Jairus was a ruler of the synagogue. His twelve year old daughter was very ill, and he asked Jesus to come and heal her. Before they arrived word came that his daughter was dead, but Jesus said to the father, “Be not afraid, only believe.” He then spoke the words, “Damsel, I say unto thee, arise,” and she arose and walked. Is there anything too hard for Jesus? Oh, let us always bring the circumstances of our life to Jesus and hear him say, “Be not afraid, only believe.”
But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching. Mark 6:4-6
Jesus “marveled because of their unbelief.” Does he marvel because of our unbelief as well? Unbelief takes from Jesus the glory for the things he has done for us, and unbelief will deprive us of the good he would do for us. Oh, let our prayer be that of the disciples, “Lord, increase our faith.”
And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. And they did all eat, and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes. ,And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men. Mark 6:41-44
Jesus had compassion for the people who came to him. He taught them many things, and now the day was far spent and they were hungry. There was no human way possible to feed five thousand men plus women and children, but Jesus took what they had and miraculously feed them all. Can we learn from this event that when we give what we have to Jesus, he will take it, bless it, multiply it, and use it for his glory and for the good of the people?
Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. Mark 7:1-3
Of course we should wash our hands when they are dirty, but the Pharisees were referring here to a ceremonial washing in keeping with the traditions of the elders. Their washings were not for sanitary but for religious purposes. They had no divine authority but were based upon traditions of men. Jesus said of them in verse 9, “Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” Friends, let us make sure that what we believe and do is based on the Word of God and not on our own thinking or the traditions of men.
And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. Mark 7:20-23
There’s something wrong with man’s nature that man can’t fix. We put a man on the moon, but we can’t rid our heart of its sin. Aren‘t you glad that Jesus came to do for us what we could not do for ourselves? I think the song fits here, “I can’t take a heart that’s broken, make it over again. But I know a man who can. I can’t take a soul that’s sin sick and wash it white as snow. But I know a man who can.”
And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation. And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side. Mark 8:11-13
Jesus “sighed deeply in his spirit.” Wickedness and unbelief was a cause of grief to him, and it is a cause of grief for the church today. Philippians 3:18 reads, “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ.” The Pharisees had witnessed so many miracles, yet they asked for a sign from heaven. Oh, let us not require another miracle, but let our faith rest upon God’s Word and God’s Son.
And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men. Mark 8:31-33
Peter may have had good intentions when he rebuked Jesus for saying he would be killed and then rise again after three days, but Jesus rebuked Peter because he had spoken for Satan and not for God. Oh, let our words carry more than just good intentions; let them always carry truth as expressed in the Word of God and by the Gospel of Christ.
Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. Mark 9:23-24
This father brought his son to Jesus. His son needed to be delivered from a demonic spirit; but first, the father needed to put his full trust in a loving and all-powerful God. Jesus helped him to do so, and the son was healed; but when the father knew he needed help with his faith he cried out saying, “Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief.” The disciples also asked Jesus to increase their faith. Do you think Jesus will help our faith if we ask Him to do so?
And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me. And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. Mark 9:36-37, 42
Children are special to Jesus, and children should be special to us. Today’s Bible passage teaches that what we do to and for children, we are doing to and for Jesus; and the greatest thing we can do for children is to love them. I remember a 4th grader in one of my schools who took a bottle of pills and almost lost her life. She told me later that she had to do it to find out if her parents really loved her. Oh, let us love our children and all of God’s children, and let us do it for Jesus.
But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. Mark 10:6-9
What a beautiful relationship is a God ordained marriage. I speak from experience for God brought Betty and Elmer together over 55 years ago and has kept us faithful to each other every day of those very special years. He also gave us 3 wonderful children, 7 grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter. We love them very much and pray for them nearly every day. God’s plan for marriage and family to be the primary building block of society can never change just as surely as God can never change.
And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way. Mark 10:51-52
As blind Bartimeus sat by the highway begging, he learned that Jesus had just passed by. He cried out, “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.” They tried to stop him, but he continued crying out to Jesus for mercy. He knew Jesus was his only hope, and he believed Jesus had power to heal him. Oh, let us be like blind Bartimeus. We cannot see Jesus with our physical eyes, but let us see him with the eye of faith.
And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest. Mark 11:8-10
The triumphal entry into Jerusalem…what a day of celebration! The crowd praised and exalted Jesus, their God-appointed Messiah, the one who will be crowned in heaven as King of kings and Lord of Lords. The celebration paused for a brief moment during the days surrounding his death, but returned to many hearts after his resurrection. Christian friends, may our rejoicing continue to grow and build into a great crescendo when the church triumphant marches into the New Jerusalem to live and reign with Jesus forever and forever.
Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. Mark 11:24-26
Over and over, the Bible encourages us to have faith that our prayers will be answered when we pray in God’s will; but at the same time, the Bible teaches that our prayers are hindered when our heart is not right with others. It is when our heart is right with God and right with others that God delights in answering prayer. Sally Koch in wisdom said, “Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.” Let us care for one another and then let us pray.
The Ten Commandments are found in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5:
- Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
- Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
- Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
- Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.
- Honor thy Father and thy Mother.
- Thou shalt not kill.
- Thou shalt not commit adultery.
- Thou shat not steal.
- Thou shalt not bear false witness.
- Thou shalt not covet.
Ten Commandments, not ten suggestions and remember Jesus said, “If ye love me keep my commandments.” The wonderful thing is that with Jesus living in our heart, it is a joy to follow his directions for our lives.
And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living. Mark 12:41-44
She gave from her heart and God took notice; “for while man looketh on the outward appearance… the Lord looketh on the heart.” The widow may have gone home with an empty purse but she went home with a full heart. A.R. Wells put it this way, “She entered, bearing her whole livelihood. She went away, bearing life, which is better than livelihood.” The expression we’ve heard many times really fits here, “You can’t out-give God!”
And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here! And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. Mark 13:1-2
We are told that the Temple, after being beautified and expanded by Herod over a period of forty years, covered about one sixth of the city of Jerusalem. It was a very massive and impressive structure, but where is it today? Jesus said, “There shall not be left one stone upon another,” and in a short time everything was destroyed just as Jesus said. May we learn the lesson and learn it well; everything of this earth is temporal and will soon pass away, only God and his ways are eternal.
But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch. Mark 13:32-37
There’s a hymn entitled, Will Jesus find Us Watching. “Have we been true to the trust He left us? Do we seek to do our best? If in our hearts there is naught condemns us, we shall have a glorious rest.” Oh, let us heed the words of Jesus, “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh.”
And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me. And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I? and another said, Is it I? And he answered and said unto them, It is one of the twelve, that dippeth with me in the dish. The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born. Mark 14:18-21
Since Judas, many others have also betrayed Jesus. How sad when it happens, and what a bad mark it puts on Christianity in the eyes of many. Sad indeed; but thank God for those who remain faithful until the end. Oh, let us be among their number.
And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee. Mark 14:26-28
A.R. Wells back in 1908 shared his concern, “Am I stronger than Peter the rock? Am I wiser than James? Am I more alert than Andrew and Philip? Am I more loving than John? Am I readier and more self-denying that Matthew? If they forsook Him, must not I fear that I shall forsake Him, and guard myself in that fear at every point?” Friends, let’s keep holding on to Jesus for He is holding on to us.
And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them. And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto. But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak. And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept. Mark 14:69-72
“And when he thought thereon he wept,” and Luke says, Peter “went out and wept bitterly.” Peter committed a terrible sin in denying Christ three times, but thank God he repented and returned to God’s favor. If more sinners would only stop and think about their wrongs, perhaps more would come to repentance. Psalm 119:59 reads, “I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto Thy testimonies.”
And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified. And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band. And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head, And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him. Mark 15:15-20
How could mankind fall so low to do what they did to Jesus that day? And yet, God’s grace keeps the door of mercy open to “whosoever will” for Jesus prayed, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Let me never forget the great price Jesus paid to purchase my freedom from sin, and let me know I can always trust the one who died for me. There’s no human remedy for sin, but trusting in Jesus is God’s remedy.
And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God. Mark 15:37-39
The Jews who denied him, the Romans who crucified him, the Greeks perhaps in enjoyment of a new sensation, they were all there looking on when the centurion cried out, “Truly this man was the Son of God.” How sad that when “he came unto his own…his own received him not.” Sadder still is the fact that 2000 years later, many men and woman are still turning Jesus away. Friends, Jesus hung on that awful cross to make atonement for our sins. Oh, let us receive Him daily as King and Lord of all that we are and have.
So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. Mark 16:19-20
What wonderful facts of history: Jesus’ death on the cross was followed by his resurrection and ascension into Heaven; his disciples went everywhere sharing the good news; and Jesus is now in heaven at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us. Paul also said in Romans 8:34, “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Facts, wonderful facts indeed!
And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. Luke 1:11-14
John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, came to this earth born of his aged parents, Zacharias and Elisabeth; but it was God who sent him for we read in John 1:6, “There was a man sent from God whose name was John.” It’s not often noticed in this passage, but prayer was an important part of the birth of John for the angel said to Zacharias, “thy prayer is heard.” May God help us to be faithful in our prayer life for God works out his purposes through the prayers of his people.
And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. Luke 1:36-38
An angel announced to Zacharias the coming birth of John, and the angel Gabriel reveals to Mary that she will give birth to Jesus. How was it possible that an aged couple would bring John into the world and that the virgin Mary would bring Jesus into the world? Friends, it was possible because “with God nothing shall be impossible.” Let us respond to God’s miracles of grace as Mary did in Luke 2, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.”
And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house. Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her. Luke 1:56-58
“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Elizabeth and Mary were beautiful women of character and faith in the sight of God. One was chosen when she was too old to give birth to a child, and the other was chosen to be with child while still a virgin. Let the circumstances of their lives be a reminder to us that God is not restricted by human limitations; and let us think beyond Elizabeth and Mary and look to Jesus, the one from whom all miracles flow.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which
is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:8-11
It’s amazing that the announcement of Christ’s birth came in such a magnificent way to lowly shepherds “abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” When God says, “I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people,” He means all people. Aren’t you glad you are included in the “whosoever will” of God? Let’s be thankful, let’s be joyful!
Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. Luke 2:28-32
It had been revealed to Simeon by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. “Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word.” What happened to Simeon needs to happen to everyone spiritually. Oh, let us seek and find the fullness of Christ in this life before passing on into eternity. And let us have a part in going into all the world and preaching the gospel to every creature that others may do the same.
Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Luke 3:7-9
John, the Baptist, really preached it straight, “Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance.” Friends, there is only one evidence of repentance and that is the fruit of repentance. We may try others like the feeling of repentance or even words of repentance, but they will be refused. It is only the deeds of repentance that brings peace to the soul.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. Luke 4:18-21
They heard his words, they saw his miracles; but before the meeting was over they tried to destroy Jesus. Many today are trying to destroy Christianity from the face of the earth. How sad, for those who do so only destroy themselves. Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor.” Oh, let us stand with Jesus by sharing his Word in our day and in every possible way.
And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her. And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them. John 4:38-39
Four things: 1) Peter’s Mother in-law was very ill; 2) They besought Jesus for her; 3) Jesus healed her; 4) She arose and ministered to them. Four spiritual things: 1) So many people are lost without the Lord. 2) We need to bring them to Jesus in prayer and put legs to our prayers when we can. 3) Jesus will turn none away, He will save all who put their trust in him; 4) Those who believe in Jesus go forth to minister to others. Oh, let it be so over and over again.
And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. Luke 5:3-5
A beautiful scene…Jesus taught the Word of God from a boat to crowds of people who were standing on the shore. A beautiful catch…Peter let down the net and caught so many fish that the net broke. But the most beautiful result of all is that when those fishermen brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed Jesus.
And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him. And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus. Luke 5:18-19
Is there a spiritual application with today’s beautiful Bible story? Let us know that there are people all around us who need to be brought to Jesus. They either cannot or will not come on their own. Yet, they are sick and Jesus is the healer; they lack knowledge and Jesus is the master teacher; they are lost and Jesus came to “seek and save that which was lost.” We know the way to Jesus, but they may not. Oh, let us know that there can be no greater joy than helping someone come to Jesus.
And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor. Luke 6:13-16
None of us can claim the honor of being one of the original twelve, and what a glorious privilege that would be. However, we should believe and know that every person who makes Jesus their way, their truth, and their life has a privilege just as glorious. Thomas A. Kempis put it this way, “Without the Way there is no going; without the Truth there is no knowing; without the Life there is no living.” May God help us to be among the ever widening twelve who hear the call of Jesus and follow him.
For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. Luke 6:43-45
It was Abraham Lincoln who said, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” The important fact about fruit bearing is that we can never fool God. He who knows us from the inside out said, “of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” Let our heart first be right with God, and then we shall be right with people.
And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people. Luke 7:13-16
Jesus had compassion on the widow of Nain and restored her only son back to life again. Does Jesus still have compassion at the sight of the afflicted and sorrowful in our day? Oh yes, and he chooses to work through his people to do something about it. Jesus will one day say to the faithful, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me”
And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace. Luke 7:37-38, 50
The right way for sinners to come to Jesus is in penitence, faith, and love. That’s what this woman did, and her life was transformed by the compassion and power of Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.” None of this was understood by the Jewish leaders, but it was very real to the woman. She came to Jesus with all her heart and she left with Jesus in her heart. The same happens to ever true seeker of the Lord.
No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light. For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. Luke 8:16-17
Without light where would we be in our darkness? Have you ever stubbed your toe in the darkness? In the darkness, my aunt Thelma thought she was walking into a bedroom but instead fell down the basement stairs. Without the light of God’s Word, where would we be in our spiritual darkness? Dear friends, we have received light from heaven; let us walk in the light and share the light with others!
And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace. Luke 8:47-48
She suffered many things from many physicians, but Jesus healed the woman instantly when she touched him by faith. It was only her hand that touched the hem of his garment, but it was her faith in Jesus that touched his heart. Where is our faith today? Do we realize that our primary purpose for living on this earth is to believe in Jesus and to be faithful to him? “And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.”
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? Luke 9:23-25
We don’t like losing things. Have you ever lost something you considered important, like your billfold or a set of keys? Losing things can be very inconvenient; but Jesus warns in today’s Bible passage against losing our most valuable possession, our life. Jesus came “that we might have life and have it more abundantly,” but we can only experience the life Jesus gives when we take up our cross daily and follow him. Jesus alone can lead us into paths of righteousness, and Jesus alone can take us to heaven.
And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. Luke 9:57-58
“Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.” What a statement of commitment. May that be our commitment as well for following Jesus is always the right thing to do and it is the most blessed thing to do. It is “our reasonable service,”and it will pay great dividends during our time here on earth and throughout all eternity. Friends, God doesn’t owe us anything, yet we receive everything worth having when we follow Jesus.
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. Luke 10:19-21
The disciples rejoiced because Jesus had given them power over demons. Jesus gave them a greater reason to rejoice: “Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”The earthly wise and prudent know nothing of the joy of salvation that comes through faith in Christ. Oh, let us joy in our salvation and in the salvation of others. God rejoices when we do so.
Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:38-42
Am I a Martha or a Mary? The name doesn’t really matter, but it does matter that I choose the good part and give priority to sitting at the feet of Jesus and learning from Him.
And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? Luke 11:11-13
The words, “how much more,”really stand out in this passage. If we ask and receive needed help from earthly parents and often by great personal sacrifice on their part, how much more can we ask and receive help from our heavenly Father. He loves us so much that he sacrificed his only begotten Son to redeem us from sin. In all of our asking, let us first ask our heavenly Father to give us the Holy Spirit and a pure heart.
And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. Ruth 1:16-17
Ruth pledged faithfulness to her Mother in-law and claimed Naomi’s God to be her God. What kind of a friend are we? Are we a friend for all times or is our love a fair-weather love? Are we friends to those who can help us but turn away from those who need our help? May God make us faithful like Ruth, but even more let us learn from Jesus that “a friend loveth at all times.”
And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. Luke 12:16-21
The rich man was more concerned about preparing for his earthly future than in preparing for his eternal future. There are multitudes today making the same foolish and fatal mistake. Let us not be among them.
And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is. And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass. Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time? Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right? Luke 12:54-57
Those to whom Christ spoke were good at predicting the weather but could not discern that they were living in the time of the Messiah. Being smart in some things and dumb in other things is pretty common for most of us; but let us not come up short in the most important of all truth, salvation comes through faith in Christ alone. It is the responsibility of everyone to accept the evidences that Jesus is the Christ; many of the people to whom Jesus came missed it in their day, let us not miss it in ours.
Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it. Luke 13:18-19
This parable shows how God’s kingdom must increase and overcome all opposition. God’s work on earth may not be valued highly by most humans, but in reality it is the greatest work on earth. Just as the very tiny mustard seed in those countries grew into a very large tree; so does the kingdom of God grow in the world, and so does the life of Christ grow in the heart of believers. Oh, let us “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last. Luke 13:29-30
Lawrence Richards shares, “Most Jews of Jesus’ day counted on their privileged position as descendants of Abraham to gain them entrance to God’s kingdom. Jesus teaches that salvation is a matter of personal faith, and not of being born into a nation, a family, or even a church. How stunned those who missed the narrow gate will be, to see even Gentiles celebrating with Abraham, and themselves locked out.” Let us hear once again God’s promise to all who put Jesus first in their lives: “And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.” I want to be among them, don’t you?
…When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. Luke 14:12-14
It’s good to minister to others at every opportunity. Jesus said that even a cup of water given in his name would not go unrewarded, but there’s a special blessing in ministering to those who are unable to return the favor. Perhaps during those times we are closer to God than at any other, as Mother Teresa and others would testify.
Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. Luke 14:34-35
Jesus also said to his disciples, “Ye are the salt of the earth…ye are the light of the world.” However, before we can be of any earthly good for our Lord we must become genuine believers; having a mere outward profession is just as worthless as salt that has “lost his savour. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. Luke 15:4-7
Let us join with Jesus in going after the lost wherever they may be. Jesus is the good shepherd and the shepherd of shepherds. He has done and will do everything necessary to seek and save the lost. We need only look at his nailed scared hands to verify this is true. Hudson Taylor said, “I used to ask God to help me. Then I asked if I might help Him. I ended up asking God to do His work through me.”
And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. Luke 15:20-24
How sad that the prodigal left home and wasted his father’s substance with riotous living. There was double joy, however, when the prodigal returned; the father rejoiced in having his son back again, and the son rejoiced in receiving his father’s forgiveness and favor. Oh, let us rejoice in the fact that God never turns away a repentant sinner.
He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Luke 16:10,13
“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much:” A small key can open large doors. Our being tested in small things may fit us for larger things. This life is a testing ground; and every willful act is an examination of our motives, whether they be good or bad. One day it will all be over; and if we prevail in serving God rather than money and material things, our obedience will become a passport into eternal bliss. Once again, Jesus warns “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Luke 16:24-26
The rich man and Lazarus: One was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day, the other was a beggar; but now in eternity, their roles are reversed multiplied by infinity. How important it is in this life to live for eternity. It’s too late for the rich man in today’s story, but it’s not too late for us. May God help us to always “do unto others as we would have others do unto us.”
And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? Luke 17:15-17
Jesus healed ten men who were lepers. All ten rejoiced in being healed, but one rejoiced over something far greater than his healing. One took joy in the man who had healed him and gave him thanks. Let us thank God for a changed life; but oh, let us thank God more for Jesus who alone makes us whole.
And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. Luke 17:26-30
God’s past judgments upon earth teach us that God is Holy, and he cannot allow sin to go unpunished. Will the final judgment be any less severe? Certainly not, but at the same time God loves us and wants all of mankind to be saved. Oh, let us share the good news with everyone we can; Jesus came to save us from sin, and he came to save us from the judgment.
And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein. Luke 18:15-17
Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, but he does more. He requires that we receive the kingdom of God as little children in order to enter in. As little children look up to their parents and depend upon them; we must look up to God and depend upon him. Let us do so today and be God’s children indeed!
Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting. Luke 18:28-30
Sacrificial service for the kingdom of God’s sake is not always easy, but the benefits far outweigh the difficulties. For example, I know a missionary couple who took their children to the opposite side of the world far away from grandparents, family, and friends. That was a very hard thing to do; yet today, these same children are missionaries taking the gospel message around the world. What a blessing during “this present time” for these missionary parents; but then Jesus adds the grand finale blessing, “and in the world to come life everlasting.”
And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. Luke 19:2-7
Zacchaeus was a sinner, but Jesus turned him into a saint. He joyfully received Jesus into his home and into his heart, and what a difference Jesus made in his life. Zacchaeus said, “the half of my goods I give to the poor,” and Jesus said, “this day is salvation come to this house.”
And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves. Luke 19:45-46
The Temple began in the days of King Solomon being fully dedicated to God, and here in today’s Bible passage Jesus drives out those who were profaning the Temple. Thank God for the many churches scattered across America that are still fully dedicated to God. However, as Lawrence O. Richards warns, “When our churches lose their character as houses of prayer and centers of teaching about God, they too are likely to be taken from us.” May we be among those who respect, support, and faithfully attend Bible believing churches.
And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly: Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no? But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me? Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar’s. And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s. And they could not take hold of his words before the people: and they marvelled at his answer, and held their peace. Luke 20:21-26
Is there a connection between Caesar and God, between the church and state? Certainly, for Jesus said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.” Being a good Christian makes one a good citizen. How can it be any other way?
Then in the audience of all the people he said unto his disciples, Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; Which devour widows’ houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation. Luke 20:45-47
“Beware of the scribes;” beware lest you be taken in by them; beware lest you become like them. The scribes liked to put on and show off to impress people, but on the inside they were evil. Jesus said, “the same shall receive greater damnation.” Jesus also said, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” May God help us not only to “beware of the scribes” but also to be aware of and seek after what we can become through faith in Christ.
And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. Luke 21:8-11
There are signs of the Lord’s coming, but none of them tell the day or hour of his coming. Why does Jesus say here, “be not deceived, and be not terrified?” Perhaps it has something to do with false date setters, but the emphasis in the New Testament over and over is that we be ready for his coming; and for those who are ready his coming is not looked upon with terror but as being the greatest day of our lives.
And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. Luke 21:34-36
“Take heed to yourselves.” Today’s Bible passage shares that being careless in the way we live can result in being unprepared to meet the Lord, whether it be through death or the rapture. Let us again hear what Jesus said, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”The good news is that we can be ready and that Jesus is with us to help us to be ready. Be encouraged. Jesus loves you.
Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. Luke 22:28-32
Jesus appreciated the faithfulness of his disciples to himself and to the Father’s will, but he also knew of Satan’s plan to take advantage of their weaknesses and bring them down. Peter would be a special target of Satan, but Jesus prayed for him that his faith would not fail and that he would strengthen his brethren. Friends, let us not forget that in our weakness we also “have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous.”
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. Luke 22:31-32
Satan is behind all evil, and God is behind all the good in this world. We read that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). Satan tried to pull Peter down and destroy him (and he tries the same with us); but Jesus did not give up on Peter when he stumbled and fell and neither will Jesus give up on us. Jesus is interceding for you and gives you victory over all the forces of evil. Trust him today.
And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him. And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee? And many other things blasphemously spake they against him. Luke 22:63-65
“And the men that held Jesus mocked him and smote him.”B.J. Liebelt makes an interesting observation, “In your imagination can you hear the command ringing out, “Hold Him, soldier, the power of the universe is in His hands!” Hold Him who said all power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth? Hold Him! For if you turn Him loose, He will go about doing good, healing the sick, cleansing the lepers. Hold Him, soldier, or soon He will be giving sight to another blind man, will cure the lame, restore a withered hand, or raise another little girl to life. Hold Him, or He will take up another child in blessing or be forgiving another publican his sins. How foolish! How absurd! That any should stand there holding Jesus.”
And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him. Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing. Luke 23:8-9
Herod really wanted to see Jesus but for wrong reasons. He knew of the many miracles and hoped to witness Jesus performing a miracle. Herod wanted to be entertained; he asked many questions, but Jesus “answered him nothing.” Jesus remained speechless before Herod, but that’s not the end of the story; the day is coming when Herod and all Christ rejecters will remain speechless before Jesus.
And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, This Is The King Of The Jews. Luke 23:36-38
It has been suggested that the words on the cross, “King of the Jews,” were a public sneer at the Jews by Pilate; but why three languages? No doubt, in the providence of God, it conveys the fact that all human groups need to hear the message of the cross of Christ. Jesus died for everyone, including you and me. Oh, let me crown him as King of Kings and Lord of Lords each day of my life.
And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. Luke 23:39-43
Three crosses, three men dying; two died because of their sins, one died to save others from their sins. One man repented and trusted in Jesus and was saved forever. The other man rejected and doubted the Savior and was lost forever. That was history, but today men and women continue to seal their destiny by either receiving or rejecting Jesus. Oh, let us trust the man on the center cross, the Son of God who died for our sins. “And (the malefactor) said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? Luke 24:31-32
The two men on the road to Emmaus has always been one of my favorite Bible stories, and there is so much to learn from it. A.R. Wells shares, “The Lord is by my side, and I do not see Him. He talks with me as I walk, and I do not hear Him. He prepares food for me, and I do not thank Him. Ah, when shall I open my eyes, and when shall I unstop my ears?” Friend, do you sometimes feel you are walking in darkness? Practice the presence of Jesus and walk in his light today. He loves you very much!
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures. Luke 24:44-45
It was the first meeting of Jesus and his disciples after his resurrection, and he “opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.”Jesus had done the same for the two men on the road to Emmaus for they said, “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures.” Oh, let us wait upon the Holy Spirit to open to us the scriptures, and let us learn and know that Jesus is the heart and center of all scripture.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. John 1:6-9
“The true light”shines upon everyone that has come into this world, and it shines upon us. But in our seeing, have we seen the true light? If we can see natural light, can we not recognize that Jesus is the light that created the sun and all things that have been made? If we fail to see Jesus in our spirit we are blind indeed. Abraham Lincoln said, “I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look up into the heavens and say there is no God.”
Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. John 1:45-49
“Come and see.”Was it a small thing when Philip found Nathanael and brought him to Jesus? No, it was a big thing for Nathanael declares, “Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.” Oh, let me know the joy of finding someone and bringing them to Jesus.
He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:10-13
To fail to receive Jesus is to reject the one who created us and redeemed us to be his own. What a sad and tragic thing it is to reject Jesus and lose one’s own soul. On the other hand, today’s Bible passage shares what a great and glorious thing it is to receive Jesus by believing on his name. The Word says of all true believers, “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. John 3:18-21
In today’s Bible passage, refusing to put our trust in Jesus is equated to loving darkness rather than light. The bottom line is that we are doing what we want to do, and right now we are making a choice to either walk in the light or in darkness. “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve.”
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:1-3
The fact that we must be born again in order to “see the kingdom of God” leads to the importance of understanding how to be born again. I think Jesus makes that clear in verse 16 of this same chapter, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” What a wonderful Savior Jesus is not only to show us the way, but to be our way, our truth, and our life.
The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. John 4:11-14
The waters of the earth can never satisfy. We can drink from the well of pleasure, from the well of knowledge, and from other attractive fountains; but in time we will be as thirsty as before. What a contrast to the water Jesus offers, “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house.
Jesus is no longer with us physically, but does he still hear and answer prayer? I think we learn from this passage that a word or promise from Jesus is just as powerful as his physical presence. Of course, the nobleman wanted Jesus go with him, but he took Jesus at his word when he said “Thy son liveth.” Oh, let us take Jesus at his Word today. He does hear and answer prayer.
And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath. John 5:5-9
The man at the pool of Bethesda waited 38 years for his healing; but one wonderful day the Lord came and asked, “Wilt thou be made whole?” Then all his suffering and inconveniences of the past were erased in a moment. Friends, even if it is our lot to wait in suffering and trials the rest of our lives, the day will come when it will be over in an instant. Jesus will take us by the hand and bid us arise, and all the hard stuff will be gone and forgotten forever.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. John 5:25-29
Jesus has power to raise the dead “for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth…” But the hour has already come for the spiritually dead to “hear his voice” and live. Oh, let us listen for his voice today and experience in our spirit “resurrection of life” both now and throughout all eternity.
Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. John 6:26-27
“…For Him hath God the Father sealed.” To seal is to verify as genuine. Jesus is verified by the Father as being the Messiah and the giver of eternal life by virtue of his miraculous birth, his baptism, and his works. Yet, food for the body was more important to the people than seeking spiritual and eternal food. It’s often necessary to labor hard to supply our basic material needs, and there’s nothing wrong with that; but oh, let us give priority to the “meat which endureth unto everlasting life.”
Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.John 6:28-31
The people Jesus feed with the five loaves and two fishes asked the right question, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?”They got the right answer, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent;”but rather than believing Jesus to be the promised Messiah, they asked for another sign. What they really wanted was more food to supply their physical needs. What do we want from our Lord?
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. John 6:32-35
There is only one spiritual bread that can satisfy; only Jesus, the Son of God who came down from heaven, can satisfy the longings of the soul. Some eat but receive no nourishment from what they take in because they are eating junk food and calling it bread. They beg and moan for even more junk food never having enough. Thank the Lord it doesn’t have to be that way. All of us have been invited to come and dine at the Father’s table. Oh, let us accept the grand invitation and never hunger or thirst again.
And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. John 7:15-17
I think this passage implies that we do not know the fullness of God’s will until we want to know it with all our heart. It is when we will to do his will that his will is revealed to us through the scriptures and the Holy Spirit. When his will is our will, then his wisdom becomes our wisdom and we can happily say, “My doctrine is not mine but the doctrine of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. John 7:37-38
The words, “As the scripture hath said,” may point back to Isaiah 12:3, “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” Are we thirsting for true joy and happiness and the favor of God upon our lives? It will only come by trusting in the one who said, “He that believeth on me…out of his belly (out of his inter-most being) shall flow rivers of living water.”
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. John 8:7-11
I think this passage relates to John 3:17, “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” Even those men who were convicted by their own conscience could have been forgiven of their sins had they believed in Jesus as the woman did. Oh, how beautiful are the words of Jesus, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:31-32
True or false? Many neglect their Bible because they do not want to be bound by what it teaches; many follow the Word only when it happens to match their own notions and opinions; and many rely more on human wisdom than on God’s Word. These are all true statements, but what about us? Are we disciples indeed? Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.”
They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. John 8:39-40
The Pharisees were physical descendents of Abraham, but they were not of his spirit and character. “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness.” The Pharisees doubted and rejected God’s Son, and it would be counted to them for death and destruction. “By their fruits ye shall know them,” is a Biblical principle that has and will always hold true. May God help us to show by our actions that we know, believe, and follow Jesus.
And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he. John 9:1, 7-9
The neighbors couldn’t believe he was the same man, but the man said, “I am he.” What an amazing miracle, but let us believe and know that an even greater miracle takes place every time the spiritually blind trust in Jesus and learn to walk in the wonderful light of God. As the song goes, “It took a miracle to put the stars in place; It took a miracle to hang the world in space. But when He saved my soul, Cleansed and made me whole, It took a miracle of love and grace!”
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:11-15
Jesus is the good shepherd who “laid down his life for the sheep.”How different from the hireling who served only for personal gain. Jesus is also the shepherd of shepherds of the sheep for he said to Peter, “if you love me, feed my lambs, feed my sheep.” And surely, Jesus is the one spoken of in Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” Oh, let us follow Jesus, the true shepherd of our souls.
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. John 10:16-18
“Therefore doth my Father love me because I lay down my life.” Christ’s death called forth the Father’s love; how much more should it call forth our love, the ones for whom he died. Oh, let us “love him because he first loved us.”
Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. John 10:36-38
If you want proof there is a devil, look at what people said and did to Jesus. Only those controlled by Satan could say and do such horrible things. Friend, let our exaltation of Jesus and the praises of God’s people ring out louder than the voices of those who are against him. Jesus is the Son of God; his words and his works prove his deity, and there can be no higher privilege than standing up for Jesus when others are putting him down.
Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. John 11:5-7
God’s delays always have a purpose; a purpose we don’t understand at the time, but quite often the understanding comes later. Both Martha and Mary said to Jesus, “Lord if thou hadst been here my brother had not died.” Jesus even wept with them in their weeping because he loved them and felt their sorrow and loss. He knew, however, that restoring Lazarus back to life again would help this family (as well as many who read the scriptures) to experience a higher level of faith and joy. Friends, let us never allow God’s inactivity to question his love. God’s delays will always work out for our eternal good if we trust him.
Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled. And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. John 11:32-36
John 11:35, “Jesus wept,”the shortest verse but a very special verse in the Bible. It shows that when an answer to prayer is delayed, the reason for delay is not because Jesus is unconcerned. He is very concerned; he weeps with us and shares in our suffering. Friend, Jesus loves you and wants what is best for you. Bill Bright was right when he said, “God created us to love us and to be in loving relationship with him. It is so simple that a child can understand it, yet few of us adults have really comprehended it.” May we know Jesus is weeping with us in our trials, and may we become little children again.
Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. John 11:45-48
The chief priests and Pharisees concluded that if they didn’t do something soon to stop Jesus that “all men will believe on Him.” The latest miracle was the raising of Lazarus from the dead, and you would think this would soften their heart; but instead, it caused them to become even more determined to kill Jesus. The devil was certainly at work through the chief priests and Pharisees, but God was at work through Jesus, and God always wins!
Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. John 12:1-3
Mary did what she did because she loved Jesus and wanted to give him her very best. As the Passover drew near, Jesus and his disciples were special guests of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in Bethany. At supper, Mary honored Jesus with a special gift; the ointment of spikenard was very costly and may have represented her life’s savings. What Mary did in giving her best to Jesus shows a simple yet profound motive we all should emulate. May we show by our actions that we “love him because he first loved us.”
He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak. John 12:48-50
To reject Jesus’ words is to reject Jesus; is to reject the Father; and is to reject our only means of salvation. To receive Jesus’ words is to receive Jesus, the Father, and eternal salvation. How important it is to daily receive God’s Word into our heart and mind. Regarding the secret of his success, George Washington Carver said, “It is simple. It is found in the Bible.”
Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light… John 12:35-36
“While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.” Jesus warned that the day of grace would soon be over for those who refused to believe in him. Oh, what a deadly sin is the sin of procrastination. How true are the words of Joseph Cook regarding our need to receive Biblical light and truth, “Do you know a book that you are willing to put under your head for a pillow when you are dying? Very well; that is the Book you want to study when you are living. There is only one such Book in the world.” Dear Jesus, please help me to walk in the light of your Word today and every day. Amen.
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:34-35
“A new commandment I give unto you.” I think it is the character and quality of Jesus’ love that makes the commandment new. Jesus had a self-renouncing and a self-sacrificing love; and he said, “love one another as I have loved you.” This is even higher than loving others as we love ourselves. What a powerful testimony this new commandment of love is to a lost world that Jesus is real and that we belong to him.
These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:25-27
“He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance.” It is because of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that we have the infallible Word of God, and it is because of the illumination of the Holy Spirit that we are able to understand and receive his Word into our hearts and lives. “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. John 15:10-14
Love, joy, friendship: what admirable qualities in the lives of Christians, and it all depends upon our keeping his commandments just as Jesus kept his Father’s commandments. The key to abiding in Christ is obedience, and the key to Christian fellowship is love. Jesus set the example, let us follow him.
These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. John 16:1-3
E. Paul Hovey said, “Men do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself but because it contradicts them.” It is not knowing Jesus nor the Father that causes unbelievers to mock and persecute Christians. Their conscience is not a safe guide because it is not enlightened by God’s Word. If we are openly committed to Jesus, we can be sure there will be people who will reject us and our message. This warning is not intended to discourage but to prepare Jesus’ followers to face reality. “We know that all things (will) work together for good” because Jesus is with us during our times of trial, we do not face them alone.
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: John 16:7-8
Just as the air we breathe, the Holy Spirit is present with God’s children at all times. Our Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit and is accompanied by the Holy Spirit when its words are received in faith and obedience. Because Jesus died for our sins and rose for our justification, the Holy Spirit indwells believers and empowers them to live for Jesus and to “reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” May God help us to daily walk and live in the Spirit for Jesus said, “But if I depart, I will send him unto you.”
I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. John 17:14-17
This present evil world hates the Word and those who live by Word; however, believers are kept from evil and are enabled to live out the truth of God’s Word right in the face of evil because Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” I like what Oswald Chambers said regarding facing opposition, “When you fear God, you fear nothing else.”
As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. John 17:18-21
The Father sent His Son into the world “that the world through him might be saved.” Jesus now sends his followers into the world as witnesses of his saving grace, but we must “be sanctified through the truth” in order to become effective witnesses. Oh, may someone find Jesus as a result of seeing Jesus in me.
Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them. John 17:24-26
Jesus wills and prays for his followers to be with him in heaven, and one day it will happen. Until that glorious day, Jesus calls us to live our lives in this world with a heart full of the love of God; “that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” A.W. Tozer regarding our being ready for heaven says, “I can safely say, on the authority of all that is revealed in the Word of God, that any man or woman on this earth who is bored and turned off by worship is not ready for heaven.”
Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. John 19:16-18
“On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross, the emblem of suffering and shame; and I love that old cross, where the dearest and best for a world of lost sinners was slain. So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, till my trophies at last I lay down. I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it someday for a crown.” Oh, let me truly be thankful and never forget what Jesus did for me at Calvary. The words of St. Francis De Sales are still real for Christians today, “We shall steer safely through every storm, so long as our heart is right, our intention fervent, our courage steadfast, and our trust fixed on God.”
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. John 19:25-27
Mary, the Mother of Jesus, stood by the cross where her Son was dying. Jesus saw her and put her care into the hands of his beloved disciple, John. He who gave the commandment, “Honor thy Father and thy Mother,” will he not keep it? Let us follow Jesus’ commandment and example; when we truly honor our earthly parents, we are closer to Jesus by doing so.
Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. John 20:19-20
Jesus showed them “his hands and his side.” I like the words, “Are your crosses too heavy to carry; and burdens too heavy to bear? Are there heartaches and tears and anguish; and there’s no one who seems to care? Standing somewhere in the shadows you’ll find Jesus, He’s the Friend who always cares and understands. Standing somewhere in the shadows you will find him, and you’ll know him by the nail prints in his hands.”
So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. John 21:15-17
Can we learn from today’s Bible passage that loving Jesus and serving Jesus go together? Also, that a personal love for Jesus is the best qualification for serving him and leading others to him?
When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Acts 1:6-8
Jesus promised power to his disciples; the power came, and the Church was born. Communicating Christ to a lost world requires spiritual power; not power of our own wisdom, but from the Holy Spirit. Let us be encouraged to know that the promise of the Holy Spirit is also with us, and it is he who works when we share the Lord with others. “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him” (Luke 11:15)?
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:1-4
“And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” A.R. Wells back in 1908 said, “Perhaps with the rushing of a mighty wind, perhaps with the still, small voice. Perhaps with flaming tongues of fire, perhaps in midnight darkness. What care I how (the power) comes, if only it does come? If only the power of the Holy Spirit rests upon me, and enables me to work for God?” Jesus’ promise is still real for believers today, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Acts 1:9-11
It really happened, and the visible return of Jesus to heaven is evidence of his coming back to earth again. Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. Oh, let me be prepared and ready when Jesus returns to earth again.
Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. Acts 3:6-8
Peter was not ashamed to acknowledge his own poverty because he represented the one who possesses all wealth and all power. The man walking and leaping became living proof of the power that is in the name of Jesus. Though many servants of Christ have little of “silver and gold,” they have something far better; they possess the grace of God and many opportunities to share Jesus with others. Dear friends, let us do our part in sharing the riches of Jesus with others.
And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. Acts 4:7-10
How could Peter be so bold as to charge the council with crucifying Jesus? A better question is: How could Peter, being filled with the Holy Spirit, be timid and remain silent? The impotent man had been healed in the name of Jesus; that is, by Jesus himself. It is the preacher’s business to denounce wickedness, whether in high or low places. Friends, let us not remain silent when a door opens for us to speak out for Jesus.
This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. Acts 4:11-13
The council wondered and marveled at the boldness of Peter and John knowing them to be unschooled and ordinary men. The only explanation was that they had been with Jesus and therefore displayed the spirit of Jesus. Oh, may we also show forth the spirit of Jesus in our daily lives “for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. Acts 4:18-20
Christians are taught to “submit to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake;” however, not so when the commandments of men are in conflict with the commandments of God. As with Peter and John, may the church today be so moved by divine truth that we are compelled to share it. When we cannot refrain from doing what is right, God is working in us and through us.
Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. Acts 5:29-32
Peter and the other apostles were “his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost.” This Bible passage shares that God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey him. That’s the only way Peter and the apostles could boldly proclaim in their day, and we in ours, that “we ought to obey God rather than men.”
Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. Acts 6:2-4
If Christians are “kings and priests unto God,” then certainly each Christian has a work to do. There are hungry people we can help feed, there are weak people we can help strengthen, and there are lost people we can help save. Let us “give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word”regardless of whatever part of kingdom work falls upon our shoulders for “we are labors together with God.”
…And when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ. Acts 5:40-42
Some rejoice when honored for Jesus’ sake; but to rejoice when dishonored and put to shame for Jesus’ sake, shows a love for him that is real. To be “persecuted for righteousness sake” is not right and is not fair, but Christian experience shows that it is accompanied with great joy when done for Jesus’ sake. This is true because the one who knows our future has promised to be with us, and he alone is our true source of joy.
But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. Acts 7:55-58
Stephen, the church’s first martyr, testified to the reality of his faith in Christ and then suffered death because of it; but what a grand entrance he made into heaven as will all those who are faithful to Jesus regardless of the trials of this life. Oh, let us be among that number when the saints go marching in. Billy Graham once said, “My home is in Heaven. I’m just traveling through this world.”
And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:59-60
Stephen’s prayer, that the sin of his murderers not be laid to their charge, reveals the depth of his moral greatness. How close his spirit was to that of Jesus who prayed at his death, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” May God help us follow the example of our Lord and the example of those who follow Jesus. Let us pray for the forgiveness of those who trespass against us.
And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word. Acts 8:1,4
After Stephen’s stoning, the persecution of the church at Jerusalem became great; but it turned into a blessing as far as the proclamation of the gospel was concerned. This has been true of many persecutions throughout church history. It was Tertullian who said, “The blood of martyrs is the seed of the church.” Christians around the world are now being persecuted perhaps more than any other time in history. May God help us to pray for them and stand with them that the propagation of the gospel be not hindered in today’s world.
…And, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. Acts 8:27-31
God lead Philip away from an effective work in Samaria that was reaching hundreds to witness to a single individual. Let’s never forget that every person is important to God, and witnessing to a single person is just as important as an evangelistic outreach to thousands. May God bless you and make your life a witness to others.
Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. Acts 9:13-16
Ananias said, “Lord, I have heard how much evil he has done.” God said, “He is a chosen vessel unto me.” What a contrast, what a transformation, what a miracle took place when Saul was change into Paul. From that moment forward, he taught, preached, penned, and lived the gospel of Christ. “With God all things are possible!” Amen.
But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. Acts 9:27-29
Earlier in Damascus, God assisted Paul and sent him on his way through Ananias. Now, it is through Barnabas. It was a noble thing for Barnabas who was well known, to indorse the character of Paul when others had doubts about him. Oh, let us love, respect, and support one another until Jesus comes. Charles Moran said that being loved is “God’s finger on man’s shoulder.”
And when he had removed him (Saul), he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will. Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus: Acts 13:22-23
On the Sabbath day to the Jews in the synagogue at Antioch, Paul preached Christ, the promised descendent of David. How clear and simple was his sermon proving by Biblical prophecy and Jewish history that Jesus was the promised Messiah. How simple and clear and solid is the gospel message; why do we make it so complicated? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).
Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. Acts 10:34-35
God’s vision and God’s providence sent Peter to the household of Cornelius where he preached a powerful sermon on God’s love for all people. Friends, if there is any person on earth we look down on or consider to be inferior for whatever reason, we need God’s forgiveness and a cleansing of our heart. May God help us find in every person something to honor “for there is no respect of persons with God.”
Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. Acts 11:25-26
Barnabas had presented Paul to the church after his conversion, and now he searches him out to help in the work at the Gentile church in Antioch. After a year of teaching many people Barnabas, Paul, and other believers were called Christians because they taught and lived the gospel of Christ. “Christians,” what an honorable title! If we take the name, let us make sure we live the name in word, thought, and deed.
Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. Acts 12:5-8
Is there a spiritual application to today’s Bible passage? What about prison chains relating to emotional and spiritual bondage? They are as fearful as any chains of the body, and the walls built by sin are much more binding than any built by mason. Let us pray for a spiritual 4th of July in America. He that opened the doors for Peter has the power to set us free from our sins and make our nation strong once again. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).
And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda. And when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate. And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel. But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished. Acts 12:13-16
The church prayed for Peter. Peter knocked at the door because God had answered their prayer. They finally opened the door and the people were filled with astonishment when they saw him. Sometimes the things we ask of God may seem beyond possibility, but as long as we are praying in his will we should keep on asking for “with God all things are possible.”
Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. Acts 13:46-47
How sad when people put aside the Word of God and judge themselves unworthy of everlasting life. It is sad because the blessings of salvation are designed for all people everywhere. “God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” The truth some reject, however, is received by others with open arms; and that’s why the gospel must be carried to the ends of the earth. May God help us to be faithful in praying for and supporting our missionaries for they are fulfilling the ultimate purpose of God.
And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker. Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein. Acts 14:11-16
Woe to those who accept credit or defer credit to others for what God has done. Let us follow the example of Paul and Barnabas and exalt “the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein.”
And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. Acts 15:1-2
What should we do when there is dissension among believers? We certainly should seek to distinguish the essentials of faith from the non-essentials of form. We should really listen to another’s point of view before insisting upon our own. We should hold fast to the good; and most important of all we should ask for the wisdom promised us in James 1:5, “the wisdom that is from above.”
And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Acts 15:7-9
Peter was chosen “that the Gentiles…should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.”How important it is that the gospel be shared with every creature “for how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?” How important it is that we who have heard really believe the gospel; and how important it is that we do all we can to share the gospel with others. It’s important, it’s really important!
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish. Psalm 1
Do we just keep God’s commandments or do we love them? Do we just talk about the Bible or do we meditate upon it with pleasure? It is having a real thirst for the things of God that brings living waters into our heart and beautiful fruit into our lives.
And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. Acts 16:25-31
“What must I do to be saved?” The answer is the same for every person on earth as it was for the jailor, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! Psalm 8:3-9
What a high regard God has for the human race, and what a high calling he places upon us. Even when Adam sinned and passed his sin to us, God did not give up on us. Through his Son, Jesus, and the old rugged cross God redeemed us back to himself and has truly crowned all believers with his glory and honor. “O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!”
Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. Acts 17:22-23
Is God an unknown God to us? Do we worship him ignorantly? Is he a stranger to us? Oh, let us spiritually move from Mars’ hill; and let our conversation be in heaven as described in 1 Jn. 1:3, “and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city. And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.Acts 18:9-11
Corinth was a vital commercial center with ports on two seas, a perfect place to communicate the gospel. In fact, God said, “I have much people in this city.” God knows how and when to plant his servants where they are needed. Where has God planted you? Please know that Jesus loves you, and wills to work in and through you in your present situation. Trust Him.
And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed. Acts 19:18-20
The converts to Christ in this passage did not sell their books worth 50,000 pieces of silver but burnt them. They destroyed the books because they wanted the influence of the books to be destroyed. It is strong proof of conversion when believers get rid of things which are not consistent with their new found faith in Christ. Oh, how we need to see more of this in our day. The best thing to do with bad books and other related items is to burn them. And let it be said of today’s church, “So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.”
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. Psalm 19:7-11
What a beautiful Psalm for our meditation! In verses 1-6 God reveals himself through creation, and in verses 7-11 God reveals his will and love for us through the Holy Scriptures. “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold.”
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. Psalm 23
David, a shepherd of sheep, knew he had a shepherd in heaven who watched over him in love. Do we have a shepherd who cares for us? I like what a little girl said in quoting verse 1, “The Lord is my shepherd, and that’s all I want.” If Jesus is all we want, we can be sure He is our shepherd indeed.
And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:32-35
Today’s Bible passage is about giving and sharing. Do we show by our giving that we really believe what Jesus said? He was the largest giver of all time, and Jesus said “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” In our asking, let us ask for larger opportunities to give; and in our giving, let us first make sure we give our heart to Jesus.
Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done. Acts 21:13-14
Paul was warned by a prophet named Agabus that if he returned to Jerusalem he would be bound and handed over to the Gentiles, but he was determined to go even though he had knowledge of the consequences. Prison or death or what other fate, Paul was ready for it all for he knew it was God’s will for him to return to Jerusalem. Friends, if God allows misfortune to fall, let us have a kindred spirit with Paul. Whatever it is, if it is the path God has picked out for us, God will bring us through it for our own good and for his glory.
My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me. Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies’ sake. Psalm 31:15-16
“My times are in thy hand.” Do we believe as David that when we commit ourselves to the Lord, the Lord commits himself to us? David also said in verse 5 of this Psalm, “Into thy hands I commit my spirit,”and Jesus quoted the same words when He died on Calvary as recorded in Luke 23:46. Friends, there can be no greater peace than knowing that in both life and death we are the Lords as affirmed in Romans 14:8, “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.”
And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. Acts 22:6-8
Paul shared the story of his conversion many times, and we need to hear it. A light from heaven struck him down, but a voice from heaven lifted him up. He became blind, but he saw truth he had never seen before. Paul was never the same after he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. The details may be different, but a true transformation takes place in the heart of every person who puts their full trust in Jesus.
And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle. And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome. Acts 23:10-11
In verses 2-5 of this chapter Paul shared that he was a Pharisee and believed in the resurrection of the dead. This started a violent uproar between the Pharisees and the Sadducees with Paul dangerously in the middle until rescued by the Roman soldiers. It was really God who rescued Paul through the soldiers, and it would be so in the years that followed “for the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.” Can we believe that even when things seem to not be going well, God still has a purpose and direction for our lives? Yes, and it is because the Lord stands with us. Jesus said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”
And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy. Acts 23:12-13
Yesterday, we read in verse 11 that “the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.”Today, we read of the plot of Paul’s enemies to kill him. Forty men took a vow not to eat until Paul was dead, but God had said Paul must witness in Rome and to Rome he would go. This time it was a through a young person, Paul’s nephew, that Paul was rescued. “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us” (Romans 8:31)?
And he commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto him. And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. Acts 24:23-25
Two years later and Paul was still in prison. Yet, Felix was in a greater prison because his trembling heart had put off repentance and faith in Christ for “a convenient season” which never came. Oh, how dangerous and deadly is the sin of procrastination. There is only one right time to walk in the light, and that time is NOW.
But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me? Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar. Acts 25:9-11
Can we see that God is still in control? First, God rescued Paul through the soldiers, then it was through Paul’s nephew, and now Paul is delivered from the Jews through his appeal unto Caesar. Friends, to whom do we make our appeal? Let it not be to Caesar or to any man; but let our appeal for mercy and help be to Jesus, the one who is “our advocate with the Father.”
King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds. Acts 26:27-29
Almost does not cut it. A person may be almost but not entirely persuaded to be a Christian. How sad that King Agrippa never became fully persuaded, and multitudes of others never become fully persuaded to become Christians. May God help us to have wisdom that is from above to prepare our hearts to always be fully persuaded to follow the Lord.
And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. Acts 27:22-25
What about the storms of our life? If our trust is in Jesus, God wants us to know that all is well in every storm we face for he is with us. He bids us to be of good cheer for God himself is in control. Oh, let us say with Paul, “I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.”
And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god. Acts 28:3-6
Paul was not a god as the barbarians surmised, but he was filled with the love and power of God. It was Jesus who delivered him from the viper and would deliver the people from their spiritual ignorance. May God help us to have a part in sharing the Gospel of Christ so that people everywhere will be delivered from spiritual ignorance and darkness.
In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously. And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him. So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed: Who also honoured us with many honours; and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary. Acts 28:7-10
Publius and others of the island honored God’s servants, and God blessed the people by healing their bodies. This reminds me of God’s promise to Abraham,“I will bless them who bless you and will curse them who curse you.” God takes care of His children, and He takes care of those who care for His children. Isn’t God good?
And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him. Acts 28:30-31
Paul was both bound and free. At this time in his life he couldn’t travel to others, but others came to him. God closed one door and opened another. Two years was a long time to be detained, but no doubt more was accomplished for the kingdom by the door God opened than could have been accomplished by the door God closed. And remember, much of our New Testament was written during the time of Paul’s imprisonment. God’s way is always the right way and the best way.
I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. Romans 1:14-17
For, for, for: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation…for therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith.” Oh, the many reasons we have to stand up for Jesus, and the primary reason is that He was lifted up for us.
Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God. Romans 2:6-13
It’s not good looks or education or position or skin color that counts with God. Those who trust and obey Jesus will be blessed; those who reject Jesus will be judged according to their deeds “for there is no respect of persons with God,” and let us remember that if God be our heavenly Father we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the remission that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; Romans 3:23-25
Good news for all! There is power in God’s grace to save everyone who will put their trust in Jesus. The dark and sad fact in v. 23, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” has its answer in the bright and glorious reality in v. 24, “Being justified freely by his grace through the remission that is in Christ Jesus.” “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow. No other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Romans 4:20-25
“He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief.” Too many of us seem to be staggering. We claim a promise, then wobble when it’s not immediately fulfilled. Let us learn from Abraham that God keeps his promises in his own way and time. What God did for and through Abraham was written for our sakes that we might learn to live by faith as Abraham did. Trust Jesus now. He will never fail you.
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. Romans 5:6-9
Without strength, ungodly, sinners; that was us, and that’s why Jesus died. “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Now, we are “justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”Oh, the difference between the before and after since Jesus came into my heart. It is also a difference that will change our eternity.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:1-4
God forbid that we should continue in sin. Sin is ugly. Sin separates man from God. God hates sin. Jesus died on a cross to save us from our sins. That’s what grace is all about.
What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:21-23
What a gift God has given us, the gift of eternal life! I think this Bible passage makes it clear that God gives us eternal life by first saving us from our sins. If we receive the gift, we will bear the fruit of that gift. Our here and now life is a time of trial and testing, but one day it will all be over; and the wages we reap in eternity will be determined by how we responded to Jesus in this life. Oh, may God through Jesus find in me“fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.”
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1-4
Christians must do more than talk the talk; God directs his children to “walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” We’d all rather see a sermon than hear one, and how refreshing it is to bump shoulders with believers who are really living for Jesus. God sent his own Son to give us victory over sin and to fill our hearts with the love of God. Let us live in the victory he gives today; by God’s grace alone you can do it, and so can I!
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
The word“all” is a small word, but its implication is very large in this verse. Paul does not say some things or most things, but “all things work together for good.”I like the way George Mueller put it, “In one thousand trials it is not five hundred of them that work for the believer’s good, but nine hundred and ninety-nine of them, and one beside.” This is a big promise verse, but we have a big God who backs it up. Our part is to love God, and his part is part to take care of us. Don’t try to figure it out or to understand it, just believe it.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39
Time will separate us from nearly everything else, but not even eternity can “separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Romans 10:1-4
I think of the law as saying “Do the right thing and live,” and the gospel as saying, “Live and do the right thing.” The spiritual life which the gospel gives is our source of all wholesome doing. And to desire and pray for the salvation of others, as Paul, is the most wholesome of all. “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.”
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:9-10
What is in our heart will soon come out for Jesus said in Matthew 12:24, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mount speaketh.” Of course, Jesus had to die before he could be raised; but what counts for us is the fact that Jesus died and rose again on our behalf, he did it for us. Oh, let us believe in our heart and confess with our mouth this wonderful fact of history; “God hath raised (Jesus) from the dead” Our salvation depends upon it, and perhaps the salvation of others who may hear our confession.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! Romans 10:13-15
One of the chief glories of the gospel is that salvation is offered to all people and all nations. It is therefore imperative that preachers of the Word “go forth into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Are we doing our part by praying, giving, or going as the Lord leads? “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:1-2
The “mercies of God” is the greatest appeal that can be made to mankind to surrender our all to Jesus. How can we do otherwise when he has done so much for us? Those who do not feel the power of this appeal are not likely to be moved by any other. It is our “reasonable service” to present our “bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.”It is joy of the highest order to surrender our all to Jesus and “prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Romans 12:3-5
A big head is the sign of a small heart. A big heart is a heart full of love for God and others, and it is God’s love shed abroad in our hearts that makes the body of Christ one. We are one, but none are the same; and how beautiful it is when our varying gifts and personalities are all coordinated together and consecrated to the service of the Master. God is pleased and glorified when it is so.
For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. Romans 14:7-9
“Whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.” How wonderful to know that Jesus is “Lord both of the dead and living.”What is the basis of his Lordship? His sacrificial death and resurrection followed by his ascension into heaven surely testify that Jesus is “Lord of all,” and through him we experience life at its best, in both worlds.
He is Lord, He is Lord
He has risen from the dead
And He is Lord
Every knee shall bow
Every tongue confess
That Jesus Christ is Lord
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. Romans 15:4-7
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”How’s your patience? Today’s Bible passage tells us to “receive one another,” and sometimes that takes patience; but the God of patience who receives us, directs us to do the same for others. Are we learning from what was “written aforetime?” Oh, let us stay in the Word, learn patience, and receive one another “as Christ also received us to the glory of God.”
For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. Romans 14:11-13
What kind of a report card will we receive from God? At that day the only thing that will matter is a record that shows we lived for Jesus and loved others during our short sojourn on earth. Hebrews 1:2 tells us that “the elders obtained a good report” through faith. Oh, let my record show that I have not “put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in (my) brother’s way.”
Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen. Romans 16:25-27
“Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ…”The book of Romans closes with this grand benediction and with the words: “To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.” We know that the Father is glorified in his Son, but today’s Bible passage also reveals that God is glorified in us when we become established in the Lord and learn “the obedience of faith.” Oh, let it be so for all of us, and let our lives count for Jesus today.
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 1 Corinthians 1:18-20
How foolish are those who count “the preaching of the cross” as foolishness. The wisdom of the wise and the understanding of the prudent will be all brought to nothing and will be destroyed because they counted the preaching of the cross as foolishness. The preaching of the cross not only destroys the wisdom of the wicked, but it also “is the power of God” to save all those who put their trust in Jesus. “Jesus paid it all; all to him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain; he washed it white as snow.” By Calvary God“made foolish the wisdom of this world,” and by Calvary God saves all who believe on his Son.
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1 Corinthians 1:23-25
“Christ…a stumblingblock,”Have you ever stumbled and fallen? What happened next? You probably got back up and kept going if you were able to do so. Those who stumble spiritually need to get back up and by God’s mercy and grace keep on going for the Lord. The sad fact is that many stumble over the truth of the gospel of Christ (calling it “foolishness”) and they never get back up. May God help us to lift up those who have fallen, lift them up to God in prayer and give them to “Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”
For we are labourers together with God: ye are Gods husbandry, ye are Gods building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every mans work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every mans work of what sort it is. If any mans work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 1 Corinthians 3:9-14
“For we are labourers together with God.”The words of the chorus fit here: “Building up the temple; building up the temple, building up the temple of the Lord. Brother won’t you help us; sister won’t you help us, building up the temple of the Lord.” “But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
In the past, the Temple at Jerusalem was God’s house. In our day, the people of God are his house. The church (the body of Christ) is the place of God’s habitation. Did your heart and life change when Jesus moved in? “Into my heart, into my heart, come into my heart, Lord Jesus; Come in today, come in to stay; come into my heart, Lord Jesus.” And here’s a verse we seldom hear: “Out of my heart, out of my heart, shine out of my heart, Lord Jesus; shine out today, shine out alway; shine out of my heart, Lord Jesus.”
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105
I remember as a kid, over 70 years ago, walking home from church one evening with my grandparents. It was probably a 2-3 mile walk, and they carried a lantern. My grandmother told me to stay close because snakes would sometimes lie on the road at nights, and you can believe that I stayed very close. Oh, let us stay close to God’s Word; it will comfort us, it will protect us, and it will lead us safely home. “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.’
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
“And such were some of you:” Thank God for the miracle of a changed life which testifies to the fact that God is able to clean us up, turn us around, and receive us into the kingdom of God. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Here’s solid advice by Adrian Rogers for those who need a changed life: “Christ won’t transform my problem until I transfer it to him.”
What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
There is a lot we do not know, but let us know the one important thing. We belong to God; we are his by creation; we are his by redemption; and we are his by choice. “For ye are bought with a price: Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child. Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever. Psalm 131
This psalm is about hope and trust; and oh, how we need to hope and trust in God “from henceforth and forever.” A haughty heart, lofty eyes, and arrogance of spirit have nothing to do with trusting but belong to those who have not submitted themselves to God. Psalm 131 teaches that as little children trust in loving and caring parents, so do we depend upon our Father which is in heaven; and we know with strong confidence that “He will never leave nor forsake us.”
But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend. 1 Corinthians 8:12-13
If you claim to be a believer, people are watching you; sometimes to verify your claim but sometimes as an example to follow. Do others see Jesus in us and are they drawn closer to him through our lives? As believers we are to live not as being alone, but always in fellowship with other Christians. Some may be stronger and some may be weaker; but we are all one in the body of Christ, and we need to stand together with our brothers and sisters in the Lord.
For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. 1 Corinthians 9:16-17
How important it is that the gospel be preached around the world. The great commission is the Great Commission indeed. Paul did his part; others through the ages have done their part; are we doing our part? Please know that the most important part of our part is to live out the gospel in our daily lives by faith and obedience. “Woe is unto me” if I fail to do so!
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
What a wonderful and assuring word of help. Everyone faces temptation, but God promised he “will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” We also read in Hebrews 4:15 that Jesus was “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Have we considered that our primary way of escape from temptation is Jesus who lives in our heart and always stands by our side?
The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread…Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils. ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17, 21
Let us always remember and be thankful that Jesus loved us so much that he died on a cross to save us from our sins; that is the central purpose of the Lord’s Supper. Together, we become partakers of that one bread (Christ); but how unreasonable to think that Christians would partake of the Lord’s table and then a few days later partake of a table offered in remembrance of idols (or devils). The Bible is very clear on this matter, “Ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.”
I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. Psalm 145:1-3
Have you ever heard of a praise committee? We have committees for everything else, why hasn’t someone thought of starting a praise committee? I think David really got it started back in his day when he said, “I will praise thy name for ever and ever.”Each generation has had those who have stepped forward to praise the Lord for his goodness, but what about us? Friend, will you join God’s praise committee today? “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.”
For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Let us do more than just receive the elements of the Last Supper; let us receive them with thanksgiving and in remembrance of what Jesus did for us at Calvary. Jesus is so worthy of the praises of his people which begin now and will continue in heaven as we read in Revelation 5:9, “Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.”
Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 1 Corinthians 12:4-7
Today’s Bible passage shares that those who receive gifts or graces of the Holy Spirit are under a sacred obligation to use them for the good of the church and of the world. How are you using the gift or gifts God has given you? May all of us experience Jesus working in and through his church, and may all of us profit from the reality of the spiritual union that is found in the body of Christ.
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
It is a weakness of some to prize shining gifts more highly than spiritual graces. Let it not be so with us. Let us prize and place the greatest value “upon the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit” for without his love we are nothing.
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity (love), these three; but the greatest of these is charity (love). 1 Corinthians 13:11-13
What kind of love is our love? Do we want to serve or be served? Does our love suffer long or do we make others suffer long? Is our love unfailing or does it fluctuate? Today’s Bible passage shares that there is a love that is even greater than faith and hope. Oh, let that love be my love.
There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me. Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. 1 Corinthians 14:10-12
Blessed are those in the church who “excel to the edifying of the church,” and the church is blessed because of them. Greater spirituality and a sanctified intelligence on the part of members is what every church needs. And remember, God has a role for you and me as members of the body of Christ. Oh, let me be an asset, not a liability in the body of Christ.
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
The three basic facts of the gospel communicated in today’s Bible passage are the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Christ on our behalf. These facts represent the heart of the gospel and have been called “The Gospel in a Nutshell” because they summarize the gospel in just a few words. Oh, let us keep the heart of the gospel in our hearts and in our minds until Jesus comes.
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 1 Corinthians 15:20-22
What a mess we inherited from Adam. His sin nature passed on to us; and we followed the path of sin just as Adam, a path that always ends in death. All was hopeless until Jesus came, “but now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” Those who put their trust in Jesus receive credit for what he did on our behalf; Jesus destroyed death by his death and resurrection, and now “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.” What a mess we inherited from Adam, but what great riches we have inherited from Christ!
But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. 1 Corinthians 15:35-37
It is a foolish thing to say, “I don’t believe in the resurrection because I can’t figure out how it will happen.” The only intelligent explanation of the resurrection is God for “with God all things are possible.” God illustrates resurrection power every spring with all kinds of dead things coming back to life again, and it brings us much joy. What immeasurable joy will be ours on that great resurrection morning when Jesus returns to gather his people from the four corners of the earth.
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness. The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit. Proverbs 15:1-4
How much good comes by a God controlled tongue, and how much damage is done by an uncontrolled tongue! I think the truth conveyed in this passage is pretty close to James 3:2, “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able to bridle the whole body.” Does it matter to God if our tongue is out of control? Proverbs 15:3 says, “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good;” and Matthew 12:36 reads, “But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” Oh, let us believe God’s Word and guard both our heart and our tongue.
The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts. A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:3 & 17
More precious to God than silver and gold is a human heart filled with a love for God and for people. When God tries our hearts does he find more than just words of love; does he find actions of love, and a commitment to love others as God loves us? I think the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10, illustrates well what godly love is and does; and Jesus said, “Go and do thou likewise.” Just remember, we can’t out-love God. Jesus is our Good Samaritan and our friend who “loveth at all times.”
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
How can we become like Jesus? I think today’s Bible passage implies that we become like Jesus by looking upon Jesus. It is more by association than by imitation that God’s children become Christ-like. We do not make the transformation, but it is Jesus working in and through us by the Word of God and through the Holy Spirit.
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Why did Paul call his affliction light, and how can we call our times of trial and testinglight? They are light when we carry them for Jesus and because we know Jesus carries them with us. Also, please consider that the trials of life last but a moment, though the time may seem sadly long. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”Friend, hold on to Jesus; he is holding on to you.
For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
It was necessary that Jesus die for all because all were dead in sin, and it was God’s great love for us that sent Jesus to Calvary on our behalf. “Was it for crimes I had done He groaned upon the tree? Amazing pity! Grace unknown! And love beyond degree! But drops of grief can never repay the debt of love I owe. Here, Lord, I give myself away; ‘Tis all that I can do.” Oh, let us “love Him because He first loved us…for the love of Christ constraineth us.”
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 2 Corinthians 6:14-16
Corrie ten Boom once said, “The first step on the way to victory is to recognize the enemy;” and today’s Bible passage warns us not to be yoked with the enemy. Oh, let us seek out the company of God’s people, and let us rejoice in God’s people as we rejoice in God. Let us also seek out the unbeliever because we desire that all people become God’s people.
Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 2 Corinthians 7:9-10
Some people are sorry when they get caught in their sin rather than being sorry for their sin. That kind of sorrow does not honor the Father “for the sorrow of the world worketh death.” But there is a godly sorrow for sin, a sorrow which “worketh repentance to salvation.” Let us embrace godly sorrow both in ourselves and in others “for godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation.”
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9
How did Jesus become poor? He laid aside his original glory in heaven by coming to earth; he was born of a poor virgin; he lived a life of poverty; he died on a cross; and he was even buried in the tomb of another. Why did Jesus do all of that? He gave himself to poverty, persecution, suffering, and death that we might become rich; rich in faith now, and rich in glory forever. “And now let the weak say, I am strong; let the poor say, I am rich because of what the Lord has done for us.” Friends, let’s hold our head and our heart high; Jesus really loves us!
But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
“God loves a cheerful giver” because God is a cheerful giver. Verse 15 of this same chapter reads, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” It is unspeakable, but let us speak of it not only with words but also by actions. I’m sure you remember the rhyme, “Only one life, it will soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.” Also, it was Corrie ten Boom who said, “The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration, but its donation.”
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
If we are Christians, we are in battle because the devil doesn’t like us nor our God. He knows, however, that the only way he can defeat us is to separate us from God. Aren’t you glad that Jesus is a friend who sticks closer than a brother? Let’s take courage in the fact that with Jesus the weapons of our warfare are “mighty through God.” If we keep our small hand in God’s big hand we’ll be OK.
For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise…But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth. 2 Corinthians 10:12,17-18
If we boast in anything as if it were of our own doing, we condemn ourselves in that boasting for without Jesus we can do nothing. It is, however, proper to boast in the Lord’s goodness and acknowledge what He has done for us, in us, and through us. The Lord is honored by that kind of boasting. “But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.”
Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. 2 Corinthians 11:24-28
Nothing separated Paul from “the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.”His sufferings and deprivations, his emotional burden for all the churches, none of those things turned him aside from loving and serving Christ. What a rich heritage we have received from those who have gone on before. They truly followed the Lord, and by God’s grace we can do the same. Jesus never lost a battle; let’s give our battles to him.
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:7-9
Is it possible for Christians to take pleasure in the trials of life for Christ’s sake? Today’s Bible passage shares that Paul did. God is glorified when believers count it as joy to be counted worthy to suffer for Jesus’ sake, and surely every child of God should strive to obtain this level of spirituality. “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. 2 Corinthians 13:14
This last verse in 2 Corinthians is very similar to the last verse in the book of Revelation which reads, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” There are many beautiful benedictions in the Bible. I especially like Numbers 6:24-26: “The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” Oh, let us bless others by placing upon them the blessings freely given us in God’s Word. 2 Corinthians 13:14 one more time, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.”
Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Galatians 1:3-5
What a great thing God did for us in sending his Son to “deliver us from this present evil world.” There was no other way for mankind to be saved. 1 Peter 2:24 says that Jesus “bore our sins in his own body on the tree.” “Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan! Oh, the grace that brought it down to man! Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span, at Calvary!” And it’s all “according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.Galatians 2:20
I think this verse is close to Romans 6:11, which reads “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Jesus died for our sins that we might die to our sins. He rose for our justification that we might rise to newness of life. To be crucified with Christ, is to die to our old sinful life and experience the resurrected Christ as our new source of life; and because Jesus lives in us now, we will live with him forever in heaven.
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:24-26
The law was necessary and served its purpose, but it also by types and figures pointed to Jesus who came to fulfill the law. And now by regeneration, sanctification, and growth in grace, God’s laws are written in our hearts and in our minds. What a transformation takes place in the heart of every person who puts their trust in Jesus. Are you glad to be a part of the family of God through faith in Christ? “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD…Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:11-12,14
Immanuel, the name means “God with us.” How amazing is the fact that the God of the universe chose to become one with us. How amazing the fact that Immanuel was born of a virgin, and how amazing that the virgin birth of Christ was the fulfillment of a sign promised way back in the days of Isaiah. How amazing that there are many, many fulfilled prophesies regarding Christ’s coming to earth even the fact that He would be born in Bethlehem. Dear friends, God is real, his Word is true, and “God is with us” when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. How amazing!
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:19-23
What a contrast between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit! To inherit the kingdom of God is a matter of utmost importance; we should therefore strenuously war against the works of the flesh and diligently cultivate the fruit of the Spirit, and we do so by looking to Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith.”
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:7-10
“Be not deceived.” Life has its consequences, and the acts we sow today will reap consequences tomorrow. What we do with Jesus in this life determines where we spend eternity, and it’s too serious a matter to waver in our decision to serve the Lord. Many say they do not believe in heaven or hell, but they are deceived. The Bible is very clear that heaven and hell are real.“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Ephesians 1:18-20
I like the words, “that ye may know.”There are many things we know for sure because God has revealed them to us through his Word and by the Holy Spirit. We know there is power in the resurrection of Christ, mighty power, power to “make us alive unto God.” We “know what is the hope of his calling,” and we know that our future includes an inheritance full of the riches of God’s glory. Oh, let the eyes of our understanding be enlightened so we may know what God wants us to know.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10
These verses are not against good works, but they do teach we cannot be saved by good works. If that were possible, it would not have been necessary for Jesus to die to save us from our sins. We are saved by grace through faith so that God may work in us and through us for our good and for his glory. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19
Wow! What potential is ours for knowing and experiencing the love of God. God really loves us. We know this is so because he gave his Son on our behalf. Do you believe that the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of God’s love is communicated to us through his Son, Jesus? And do you believe we can love him back “because he first loved us?” Adrian Rogers was right when he said, “Jesus is our way to God and God’s way to us.”
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: Ephesians 4:11-13
I like the words, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith.”Are you glad that God has made a way for all of us to experience the fullness of Christ? We all have a lot to learn and a lot of climbing to do, but none of us have been left out. Let us thank God for pastors, teachers, and others who help us grow in the faith and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ; and let us thank God that we all have a part in the work of this ministry.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. Ephesians 5:25-28
I have a few God-given goals for my life and one of them is to be a good husband to my wife and a good father to my children; and I love the saying, “The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” How important is the marriage relationship when we consider it to be a figure of the relationship between Christ and his church. “Husbands, love your wives even as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it.”
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Ephesians 6:17
Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” And Jesus said in Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” I like what Adrian Rogers said about the Bible, “The Bible is not the book of the week; it is not the book of the month; nor is it the book of the year. It is the book of ages.”
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. Isaiah 31:31
Oh, to truly be God’s people; not only by creation but also by redemption through the blood of Jesus, the Word of God, and the power of the Holy Spirit. To be his and to be like him, that’s the promise of the new covenant. “I will put my laws in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” And it’s a promise for “whosoever will.” Claim it anew as yours today.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11
“Every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Adrian Rogers said, “If Christ is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all.” He also said, “The Christ-filled life is a self-emptied life.” Is Jesus Lord of all in your life? Oh, let us confess and exalt Jesus as our Lord and Savior. The Father is pleased when we do, and our greatest blessing is to simply be one of God’s children.
That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto his death. Philippians 3:10
Paul held the highest of all goals and pursued the highest of all callings, “to know Christ.” Nothing can be greater than knowing Jesus as our Lord and Savior and growing in that relationship day by day. Our Daily Bread shares, “If our goal is merely service for the Lord, we may burn out somewhere along the line. But if our purpose, like Paul’s, is to know Christ and love him, we’ll find that he will give us the strength to make him known to others.” Oh, more and more, let it be our goal and calling to know Jesus and the power of his resurrection.
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
The words of the song come to mind:
He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.
His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”Thank you, Jesus, for being such a wonderful Savior.
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10
How precious is the promise of God’s presence. Who do we choose to uphold us when we feel we are falling or to strengthen us when our strength is almost gone? God promises to strengthen and uphold us with the right hand of his righteousness if we only ask him and trust him to do so. And remember, God is only a prayer away. Believe God and experience his presence today. Jesus said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: Colossians 2:6-10
A good beginning is important when we receive Christ by faith, but beginning a race doesn’t count if we fall out somewhere along the way before the race is completed. There are many deceitful distractions to detour us, but let’s stick to the basics. If we continue to walk in Christ as we received him, if we are rooted and build up in him, if we become established in the faith, then know that “ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.”
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4
Jesus came to this earth in a human body to purchase our redemption; and Paul says, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above.” The way we live our life does make a difference. In fact, it is only by living in union with God that we experience true spirituality and prepare ourselves for the day “when Christ, who is our life, shall appear.”And Paul proclaims, “then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” Friends, let’s look up to God. He is looking down on us.
Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. Colossians 4:5-6
“Redeeming the time.” Ephesians 5:16 also says, “Redeeming the time, for the days are evil.” “When as a child, I laughed and wept, time crept; when as a youth, I dreamed and talked, time walked; when I became a full grown man, time ran; when older still I grew, time flew; soon I shall find in traveling on time gone.” Oh, God, “so teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad. 1 Thessalonians 1:6-8
Did you know that someone is watching you and will follow your lead whether it be good or bad? A.R. Wells comments, “In spite of myself, and even contrary to my desire and earnest hope, my life becomes an example. Unworthy as I am, insignificant as I am, men copy me, women copy me, little children copy me, friends copy me, strangers copy me and I am copied by those that never saw me, but copy from those that copy from me. And all this without my knowing it, or their knowing it!”
Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Isaiah 55:1-2
Oh, let us hunger and thirst after the things of God. The things of this world often get much of our attention and labor, but they can never satisfy the longings of our soul. “I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold; I’d rather be his than have riches untold; I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands; I’d rather be led by his nail-pierced hand.”
And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints. 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13
This is a beautiful pastoral prayer by Paul for the church at Thessalonica. He wanted his people to increase and abound in love toward one another and toward those outside the church. He wanted them to be established in holiness unblamable before God. That’s what Paul wanted because he knew that’s what God wanted. Oh, let us pray for one another that it will be so in today’s church.
Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. Isaiah 59:1-2
A short hand and a heavy ear on God’s part was not Israel’s problem. They were separated from God because of their sins and disobedience. God is a just God, and he will not be a part of injustice. It was true back then and it is still true today. The Bible also says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”But oh, how forgiving God is when his people turn from their sins and pray. “The Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear.”
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:18-24
“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly…Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”The list of godly virtues shared in today’s Bible passage represents God’s calling for his people. “In every thing give thanks; Quench not the Spirit; Despise not prophesying; Prove all things; hold fast that which is good; Abstain from all appearance of evil.” The character of God is behind it all for he says, “Be ye holy, for I am holy.”Be encouraged. Jesus loves you and wants what is best for you.
Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
Paul prayed for the believers at Thessalonica that they would walk worthy of their calling, that they would “fulfill all the good pleasure of God’s goodness” toward them, that they would experience “the work of faith with power,” and especially “that the name of the Lord Jesus Christ”would be glorified in them. Friends, let us pray for one another that the grace of God will work the same in his church today.
For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. Jeremiah 2:13
Jeremiah warned Israel that God’s judgment would fall upon them if they did not repent of their two evils. History shows his warnings were ignored and God’s judgment fell upon the land. What about America? Have we forsaken the fountain of living waters and hewed out cisterns that can hold no water? Will we learn from God’s Word and from history that God says what he means and means what he says? Lord, I pray for America and for nations around the world, that there will be a great turning back to God; and I pray for myself and for those who are reading/listening right now that we will be encouraged and challenged to stand tall for God every day of our lives. I pray in Jesus name, Amen.
For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. 2 Thessalonians 3:10-11
“This we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” The Greek phrase here means “not willing to work.” Christians, by nature, are generous people; however, there is no obligation to feed able bodied people who could if they would, but they just will not work. This might seem heartless to some, but lazy people won’t learn their lesson if they are continually supported and excused for bad behavior. On the other hand, what a blessing it is to work heartedly in the Lord’s vineyard. Consider John Wesley’s rule: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you can.”
This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: 1 Timothy 1:18-19
The potential of spiritual shipwreck is real for all of us; what a tragedy when it happens, and we see examples of it all about us. But friends, let’s not cheat ourselves; by God’s grace we can hold the faith, we can keep a good conscious, we can war a good warfare, and our ship will one day soon dock in the beautiful harbor of heaven. Hold on to God, He is holding on to you.
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 1 Timothy 2:1-3
Ungodly leaders often try to stop Christians from meeting for Bible study and prayer and from sharing the gospel with others. In was so in Paul’s day, and many times it is so in our day. Let us follow Paul’s admonition that “supplications, prayer, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men…and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”Prayer changes things and prayer changes people.
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. 1 Timothy 3:16
“Great is the mystery of godliness!” Think about it. A wonder of all wonders is that “God was manifest in the flesh.” We cannot explain it, we cannot comprehend it, yet God and man became one in the person of Christ. The Son of God became the Son of man, and our salvation depends upon that union. And here’s the best part; God’s Salvation reaches everyone wherever Jesus is “believed on in the whole world.”
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 1 Timothy 4:12-13
Paul’s words to Timothy are a reminder to us. God wants us to set an example in godly living so others will come to respect and respond to God’s call on their lives. There’s a poem that includes the line, “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day.” What do others see in us? Do our words, our actions, our faith, our love, the time we spend in God’s Word show others that Jesus is real; and that he cares for all people?
Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after. Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid. 1 Timothy 5:24-25
Matthew Henry comments, “There are secret, and there are open sins (and) God will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make known the counsels of all hearts.” I think a related verse is Hebrews 4:13, “All things are naked and open unto Him with whom we have to do.” There is only one safe way to deal with our sins and one safe place to put our sins; we must confess them to God, and by faith put them under the blood of Jesus. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
…Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them. Jeremiah 18:6-10
May God keep us in his hand always, and let him find no resistance as he completes the good work he began in us.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. 2 Timothy 1:7-9
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Lawrence Richards comments, “We are responsible to use the gifts God provides. Let’s remember that with the gifts God (also) gives us courage. If we step out boldly, we’ll find that the Spirit provides power, love, and self-control.” Let us receive God’s gifts with thanksgiving and use them for God’s glory.
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. 2 Timothy 2:3-4
Let us refuse to become entangled that we might be good soldiers of Jesus Christ. “Onward Christian soldiers! Marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before. Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; forward into battle see his banners go! Like a mighty army moves the church of God; brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod. We are not divided; all one body we; one in hope and doctrine, one in charity. Onward Christian soldiers! Marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before.” And I like what Adrian Rogers said, “We do not fight for victory, we fight from victory. The victory was won at Calvary!
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:15-17
How do I know the Bible is inspired of God? I know so personally because it inspires me. It is more profitable to me than any other book. “It contains light to direct me, comfort to consol me, food to sustain me, wisdom to teach me, and fire to warm me” (anonymous). The Bible is complete, I have never found it lacking. I have never read its pages in vain. It is truly the Word of God to me.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7-8
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:”These words remind us that we are to fight but not forever; the stress and distress are not forever; and the struggles and battles are not forever. Friends, let us be faithful. It will be worth it all when we see Jesus! “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. Titus 1:15-16
I think this passage relates to “by their fruits, ye shall know them,” in Matthew 7:20. Purity is all about the heart and of one’s moral character. To those whom God has cleansed from within, outward things will become clean as well. “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Titus 2:11-14
What can be said against living a godly life “in this present world”, a life that has been cleansed from sin by the blood of Jesus and is earnestly looking for the coming of Jesus? No matter what the world says, oh, let that be my life and let it be your life. It has been said that “God loves us just the way we are, but he loves us too much to leave us that way.”
This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men. But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. Titus 3:8-9
“Be careful to maintain good works.”Christians are not saved by good works, but good works follow salvation just as light follows darkness. Ephesians 2:10 reads, “For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” Good works are motivated by love and gratitude to the Savior; they also are a witness to the world, and they bring glory to God. “Be careful to maintain good works.”
Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him. And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth. Jeremiah 36:22-23
King Jehoiakim shows his utter contempt for God’s Word by cutting up the scroll and throwing it into the fire as it was being read. The enemies of God still try to destroy his Word, and many respond to the reading of the Word with indifference, carelessness, and selfishness. Oh, let us always read and listen to scripture with a proper sense of awe for it is God’s own Word to us. Let us stay in the Word and hold it close to our heart. Let us know that we will stand or fall in relation to what we do with God’s Word.
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds. Hebrews 1:1-2
God spoke to our fathers in the past, does he still speak today? Yes, and Jesus is now the highest level of communication between God and man. If we refuse Jesus we cannot be saved; but when we open the door of our heart to Jesus, he does come in. God is speaking, let’s make sure we’re listening. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).
Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; Hebrews 2:1-3
If someone tossed you a life jacket upon falling into a raging sea, surely you would hold on for dear life. Dear friends, our eternal soul is of far greater value than our physical body, and Jesus is our only lifejacket. The Bible is very clear that what we do with Jesus in this life will determine how and where we spend eternity. Oh, let us “give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard,” and let us count our “so great salvation” as our greatest treasure in life.
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end. Hebrews 3:12-14
Hear the admonition, “Take heed, brethren…exhort one another daily.” Let us know that “having an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God,” and being “hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” is spiritual suicide. Our enemy is a deceiver, and he is out to get us all if he can; but by the grace of God we can “hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end”because by the grace of God “we are made partakers of Christ.” Friends, let’s hold on to God; he is holding on to us!
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
The Word of God is here described an offensive weapon, “a sharp two-edged sword.” Joshua lifted up his sword as God commanded him and conquered Canaan. We must lift up our sword, the Bible, and thereby defeat all the giants that fight against the will of God in our lives. A sword left in its sheath does nothing, neither does a Bible left upon a shelf. Our enemy is powerful; he can deceive us with his lies, he can frighten us with his roaring, but he cannot stand against the Word of God. Oh, let us often rely upon what Jesus said in the wilderness, “Get thee behind me Satan, for it is written…”
Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. Hebrews 5:8-10
Let’s first acknowledge we all need a high priest to intercede with God on our behalf. There’s nothing we can do that’s good enough to erase our sins or earn our acceptance with God. How does Jesus qualify as being our perfect high priest? He is the only sinless human being that ever lived; he is God’s Son, sent into this world for the sole purpose of saving lost mankind; but it was Christ’s sufferings and death that made atonement for our sin. “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). We have great need of Christ, but we also have a great Christ for our every need!
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God. Hebrews 6:1
The challenge here is to build on the foundation of “the principles of the doctrine of Christ” rather than falling from it or moving away from it. We must not be satisfied with a first grade knowledge of divine things, but are to press on “toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Oh, let us “not be slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”In what grade are we in our knowledge of spiritual things? Are we determined to “go on unto perfection?” Graduation day is coming soon!
Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Lamentations 1:12
“Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?” May God help us to first pray for those who are in need, and then put legs to our prayers as God directs and provides. When we pray, we serve out of a heart of love; and service out of love always pays dividends. The heedless throng who appear to have no desire for spiritual things can be touched by prayer and Christian love, and those who are moaning and in misery because of their sins can be touched by prayer and Christian love. The peril of people everywhere is real; can it mean nothing to us when it means so much to Jesus? Oh, as long as we are here and as long as Christ is here, let us reach out to others in prayer and love.
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God and they shall be to me a people. Hebrews 8:10
The old covenant was the best there was at that time to bring people into a right relationship with God. It was better than anything else that was going on; it was better than heathenism; and it was better than all the contemporary man made religions, the worship of idols, etc. The old covenant was not intended to be a once and forever solution to man’s dilemma of being separated from God because of his sin. It did, however, point to the perfect solution. It pointed to Jesus who is the minister of the new covenant and “the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” Aren’t you glad we live in the days of the new covenant?
But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. Hebrews 9:11-12
As our high priest, Jesus did not offer animal sacrifices; he offered himself. John the Baptist said of Jesus, “Behold the lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world” and the Apostle John said, “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” If the blood of Jesus counts for us, when we walk in the light; then let it be our number one goal that our lives count for Jesus.
This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Hebrews 10:16-17
This Old Testament prophecy is cited by the Hebrew writer from Jeremiah 31:33. Of course, back then, the Ten Commandments were written upon tablets of stone. But now, after Calvary, the empty tomb, and the ascension of Christ, God promised to pour out his Spirit upon his people, giving us wisdom, power, and the will to obey his word. I like the way Adrian Rogers put it, “Discipline says, “I need to.” Duty says, “I ought to.” Devotion says, “I want to.”
Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. Hebrews 10:38-39
“How’s your faith?” I’ve heard that was a common greeting by early Christians. It was, no doubt, much better than asking, “how do you feel?” Living by faith and believing to “the saving of the soul,” that’s our lifeline, that’s our hope, that’s our calling as Christians. The song writer put it this way: “Faith in God can move a mighty mountain, faith can calm the troubled sea; faith can make a desert like a fountain, faith can bring the victory.”
By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. Hebrews 11:7
Clark and Pendleton share: “In a spiritual sense, every father should prepare an ark for the saving of his house. Perhaps it would be better to say that the ark is already prepared—Christ is the ark—and that all fathers and mothers should earnestly strive to induce their children to enter into the ark of salvation. There is no other place of safety.” Noah believed and obeyed God, and he delivered His family. What an example he set for us!
Thus saith the Lord God; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! Ezekiel 13:3
“Woe unto the foolish prophets that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!” It is conveyed in the Hebrew that the foolish prophets in this verse were not only wrong, but they were wrong on purpose. They were strong on pushing their own agenda rather than the Word of the Lord. Friends, it’s better to be hated for telling the truth than loved for telling a lie; and if we are not sharing the good news that Jesus saves, we have nothing to share at all.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Hebrews 12:1-3
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;” We should look to Jesus in his blameless life for he is our example to follow. We should look to Jesus in his atoning death for he is our foundation of hope. I hesitate to share a bumper sticker but here’s one that fits, “Know Jesus, know peace. No Jesus, No peace.” Oh, let it be the watchword of every Christian, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;”
The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. Ezekiel 18:20
In our society, when people get caught in sin, they often excuse themselves by blaming others. God has a different perspective. He gives us freedom to choose, but also holds us responsible for those choices. It’s true that we are influenced much by our forefathers, and they that come after will be influenced by us; but it’s now our time to choose and reap the consequences of following either the good or the evil influences in this world. Here’s the big question: “Do I choose to trust and obey Jesus who gave his life to save me from my sins?” Our answer to that question will determine where we will stand at the judgment.
Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. James 1:21-22
Adrian Rogers said, “God did not call us to sit, soak, and sour, but to serve.” Being hearers only of the Word is not enough; it’s being “doers of the Word” that count with God. And it all begins when we “receive with meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to save our souls.” When God’s Word is engrafted (or planted) into our heart by the Holy Spirit, we are delivered from the power of sin and given power to become “doers of the Word.” Let us keep our little hand in God’s big hand, and all will be well.
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. James 2:14-17
Jesus, the source of all faith, went about everywhere doing good. Should we do any less? Thinking about faith and talking about faith is an easy thing to do; but living by faith is a different matter, and a faith that is lived out is the only kind of faith that matters. “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” I like what C.S. Lewis said about faith, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. James 3:17-18
That’s the kind of wisdom we need; wisdom that is “pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” That kind of wisdom seems to be little sought after and not highly valued by the world; but that kind of wisdom comes down from heaven, and it’s the only kind that will take us to heaven. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that given to all men liberally” (James 1:5).
Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. James 4:13-15
Have you made plans for the future? There’s nothing wrong with planning; in fact, that’s a good thing to do. But here’s a key question. Have you included God in your plans? Clark and Pendleton share, “All our plans for the future are utterly at fault if God is left out of our calculations. Without him we can do nothing; our lives are in his hands, and we are dependent on him for the success of our undertakings.” Friends, God has great plans for us; let’s acknowledge him and follow his plans!
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16
We should never give up on prayer. It is reported that George Mueller began praying for five of his friends. After many months, one of them came to the Lord. Ten years later, two others were converted. It took 25 years before the fourth man was saved. Mueller persevered in prayer until his death for the fifth friend, and his prayer was answered for soon after his funeral the last one was saved. Today’s verse tells us to “pray one for another, that ye may be healed”and it assures us that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” When we pray in God’s will and believe, God hears and answers prayer; but He does so in His own way and time and remember, “God’s clock keeps perfect time.”
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:7-9
We can count on it, our faith will be tested and tried. As the hymn goes, “Temptations, hidden snares, often take us unawares, and our hearts are made to bleed for many a thoughtless word or deed; and we wonder why the test when we try to do our best. But we’ll understand it better by and by.” And here’s the good part; “By an by when the morning comes, when the saints of God are gathered home, we’ll tell the story of how we overcome for we’ll understand it better by and by.” The faith of those in Hebrews 11 was tried with fire, but God brought them through. He’ll bring you through as well. Stay in love with Jesus. He loves you very much.
Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. 1 Peter 2:13-16 (KJV)
What does the Bible teach about freedom? It teaches that true freedom begins on the inside. It begins when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” There is no freedom like the freedom of walking with Jesus and choosing to do right things and good things that glorify him and edify others. “For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.”
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. Ezekiel 36:26-27
I really like what A.R. Wells said about this passage, “That is what I need, O God—a new heart. Not a new house, nor a new fortune, nor new garments; not new knowledge nor new philosophy; not new achievements even. What I need is a new heart.” Oh, let us be thankful that Jesus promised to come into our heart when we open the door to him, and it’s only through Jesus that we’re able to love God and others as we should. Lord, please help me to always keep the door of my heart open to you.
And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 1 Peter 4:8-10
“Love shall cover the multitude of sins.”His love for us covered our multitude of sins when he took our place at Calvary; and Jesus said, “by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Peter also shares that our commitment to exercise godly love should be “above all things” (it should be our number one priority). Oh, may the love of God be “shed abroad in our hearts”so that we may love others as Jesus loved us.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.1 Peter 5:6-7
“Does Jesus care when my heart is pained too deeply for mirth or song,
As the burdens press, and the cares distress, and the way grows weary and long?
Oh, yes, he cares, I know he cares, his heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary, I know my Savior cares.
And here’s a verse somebody special needs today:
Does Jesus care when I’ve said “goodbye” to the dearest on earth to me,
And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks—is it aught to Him? Does he see?
Oh, yes, He cares, I know he cares, his heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary, I know my Savior cares.”
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8
Are we adding to our faith? Are we growing in grace and maturing in Christ? Christian progress is exemplified when we add diligence, virtue, knowledge, self-control, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. And especially love—Oh, may we love Jesus more and serve Him better! Oswald Chambers was right when he said, “Holiness, not happiness, is the chief end of man,” but I think it also true that to pursue holiness is to find true happiness.
The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: 2 Peter 2:9)
There are only two ways to live, and we are either among those who are being delivered out of temptations or among those who are being reserved unto the day of judgment to be punished. Psalm 1:6 reads, “For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”We are not able to deliver ourselves, but the Lord knows how to deliver us! “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations.” The one who promised to make a way for us to escape is our way of escape.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness. 2 Peter 3:10-11
“The day of the Lord will come.” It will come “as a thief in the night.” Everything in nature as we now know it shall be destroyed in a moment; “the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” God’s judgment will be swift and complete; however, God’s people will be kept safe and secure and will receive “the gift of eternal life.” Oh, let us be God’s people; let our conversation be holy and our manner of living godly.
But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin. 1 John 1:7
Fact #1: Sin totally pollutes the soul, and the stain of sin cannot be removed by any human means. Fact #2: The blood of Christ has power to cleanse us from all sin, to prepare us for godly service on earth, and to live with Jesus throughout all eternity. Fact #3: “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sin.”
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 1 John 2:1-5
As we all know, the sin problem has plagued everyone everywhere and with terrible consequences. One of the most common sins is telling lies, and all who do so are in grave danger for the Bible says “all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.” The good news is that everyone everywhere can turn from sin and put their trust in Jesus for deliverance from sin. “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. 1 John 3:1-3
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us.”God’s love for mankind is far beyond our capacity to comprehend, but we take in what we can for it is a fountain of great joy to us. Someone said, “Too much of anything is dangerous unless it’s God’s Love.” Just to be called his children, and to know it is so, is worth everything; but God’s love plans for us go far beyond what we experience in this life. Oh, let us hold on to hope, and let our hope be anchored in the love of God.
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also. 1 John 4:20-21
Some things are impossible, and loving God while hating our brother is one of them. There is something about loving God that causes us to love everything and everyone that God loves. When we joined up with God we also joined up with God’s family. I think the chorus fits here: “I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God, I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by his blood! Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod, for I’m part of the family, the family of God.” “And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”
And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 1 John 5:11-13
In the beginning of his epistle, chapter 1, verse 4, John said, “And these things write we unto you that your joy might be full.” Now at the close he said, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” Nothing can fill up our joy more than believing on the name of the Son of God and knowing our future is in his hands. Corrie ten Boom said, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 2 John 9-10
Today’s Bible passage teaches us to never give encouragement to teachers of error, and 2 Timothy 4:3 reads, “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.” It is so important that what we believe (our doctrine) comes from the Bible and not from the philosophies of man. We should be so thankful when God’s Word is taught and preached in our churches for it’s not that way everywhere. May God give us eyes to see and ears to hear sound doctrine for it is Biblical truth that sets us free.
The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 3 John 1-4
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” The joy of John, now an aged man, certainly reflects how faithful followers bring joy to our heavenly Father “who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” The Bible also says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Thank God for men and women who are walking in God’s truth and setting a good example for all of us. Oh, let us be in their number.
But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.Jude 17-21
Many have fallen away in our day and have even become mockers walking after ungodly lusts, but today’s Bible passage encourages us to keep ourselves “in the love of God.” Oh, let us by prayer and faith treasure up the words of inspiration in the Bible for it is divine truth that will keep us and hold us steady during times of temptation. The Word of God is also our means of sanctification and Christian growth. It will keep us “in the love of God” and it will keep us “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. Revelation 1:1-3
John first acknowledges that the last book in the Bible is “The revelation of Jesus Christ,”and he pronounces a special blessing on those who read, hear, and take to heart the “words of this prophecy.” The book of Revelation then ends with the words, “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” From beginning to end, the book of Revelation is all about Jesus. Oh, may “The Revelation of Jesus Christ,”always be alive in your heart and mine.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. Revelation 2:17
May God give us eyes to see and ears to hear spiritual things. Today’s Bible verse speaks of hidden manna and a new name known only by the ones who receive it; the revelation of God shared here is special and personal, and it is reserved only for those who overcome. I like what Helen Keller said about overcoming: “The world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming.” Oh, let us be among those who overcome. “They overcame by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death”(Revelation 12:11).
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20
I’m sure you’ve seen the picture of Jesus standing at a door knocking; but the door has no handle, representing the fact that the door to our heart must be opened from the inside. Jesus is a gentleman, He never forces his way in. The only way we can love and serve Jesus is because we want to, not because we have to do so. However, Jesus really wants to live in our hearts; he really wants to make something beautiful of our lives; And he really wants to give us eternal life. Is the door of your heart open to Jesus today?
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. Joel 3:14-16
“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision:” We have all been there with our sinful past, with our gloomy future, and with our disappointing present; and what a difference it made when we decided to serve the Lord. Are we still standing by our decision to serve the Lord, and are we learning that it’s a great life living for the Lord? Oh, let it be so because “The Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.”
And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever. Revelation 5:9-13
It sounds as if there’s going to be a great celebration in heaven. Let’s not miss it!
And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? Revelation 6:15-17
Just as those who were outside the ark perished in the days of Noah, so those outside the ark of Christ, will find no place of safety in the day of God’s wrath. In that day unbelievers will cry to the mountains to fall upon them and hide them “from the wrath of the Lamb,” and where will we find safety in that day? If we are trusting in Jesus, our safety is at the side of Christ and in the bosom of God.
Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. Revelation 7:15-17
In heaven, all sources of sorrow will be gone forever; no more death, no more crying, no more suffering, no more pain, no more heartache, no more grief, no more loneliness, and no more disappointment. God will make all things new and will even increase our capacity to fully enjoy the blessedness of being in the presence of God. Let us not miss it!
And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. Revelation 8:3-4
It has been suggested that the smoke of the incense which came with the prayers of the saints was an indication that the prayers were accepted. Clark and Pendleton comment, “The prayers of the saints are held in high estimation in heaven. They come up before God with great acceptance when there is added the incense of a Savior’s merits.” Friends, did not Jesus say, “Pray to thy Father which is in secret and they Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly?”
And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey. Jonah 3:1-3
Some have called Jonah the “gospel of the second chance.” How good God is to put roadblocks in the way of our disobedience in order to bring us back to our senses. There are lines to a poem I like that read, “When he had rested and dried in the sun, he started for Nineveh most on the run; and though he was nearly three days late he preached from the time he entered the gate, till the whole population repented and prayed and the great hand of justice and vengeance was stayed.” Let us learn from Jonah the lesson of obedience.
And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: Revelation 10:5-6
“That there should be time no longer:” Let us use our time wisely for one day time will be no more. A.R. Wells back in 1908 said, “There will come an end of time, for me and all men. There will come a season when time will be meaningless, lost, altogether swallowed up in eternity. Awful thought, that my use of these measured intervals determines my character throughout that dateless existence! Creator of time, be Thou my guide through Thy creation!”
And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. Revelation 11:15-17
In today’s Bible passage, great voices in heaven rejoice over the triumphs of Christianity in the world. Oh, let us purpose to be part of that eternal success and victory. When the world tries to tempt away our faithfulness, let us be reminded of the swift end coming upon all earthly kingdoms and that one day soon it will be proclaimed, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ.” When your present seems to be dark, keep trusting in Jesus for your future is bright in him.
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? Micah 6:8
I remember slipping this Bible verse into the suitcase of our youngest son. He had just graduated from college and had landed a job with EDS. One of his first assignments was to get on a plane and represent his company at some distant place far away from home. Of course, we were concerned, but all we could do was commit him to the Lord, and that’s what we did. Recently, this same son received a promotion from his employer and moved from Ohio to California. We love him very much and hated to see him move so far away, but he’s still committed to the Lord. Thank you for praying for our youngest son. He has moved, but Micah 6:8 and our prayers still go with him. What does God require of me? That’s a good question to ask as we think on Micah 6:8. God’s will is reveled to us in the Holy Scriptures; and when we open our heart to Jesus, he does come in and empowers us, not only to know, but to do his blessed will. Thank God it is so for “whosoever will.” Amen.
I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. Habakkuk 2:1-2
The prophet Habakkuk waited for an answer from God as to why the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer. That ageless question rises in every generation, and God’s basic answer to Habakkuk and to us is found in verse 4 of this same chapter, “the just shall live by his faith.” God knows what he is doing and in his own time the wicked shall be punished and the righteous rewarded. Verse 14 also shares that the time is coming when “the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea,” and verse 20 assures us that “the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.” Oh, let us learn what Habakkuk learned. God is both faithful and just, and “the just shall live by faith.”
And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. Revelation 13:16-18
The number 666 is said to be a mysterious clue to the Antichrist’s name, and in the last days only those who submit to the antichrist will be able to buy or sell. Could we be getting close to the day of the great tribulation? Mechanisms are already in place that instantaneously identify persons and spy on everything going on in our lives. Oh, let us apply our hearts unto wisdom in these last days. Regardless of what others do, let us keep our trust in Jesus because our future is bright in him.
And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Revelation 15:2-3
If we are to sing in heaven the song of Moses and of the lamb, surely we should also sing on earth now. There will be much singing in heaven, and God’s people should raise their songs of praise and thanksgiving now in preparation for the great event. Psalm 100:2 says, “Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.” Oh, let me do so every day.
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Luke 1:30-33
Clark and Pendleton share, “Jesus was truly the Son of God, both because God was the immediate author of his body and soul; and because in him were united the divine and human, so that “the Word” who “was in the beginning with God,” and “was God,” “was made flesh and dwelt among us.” Amen, and Merry Christmas!
These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. Revelation 17:14
The end battle will be won by our Lord, but also all battles on the way to the end that we put into his hands. Yes, the battle between right and wrong will be won by the Lord; the battle between truth and error will be won by the Lord: the battle between holiness and sin will be won by the Lord; and the battle between faith and doubt will be won by the Lord. Oh, let us be on the Lord’s side and know that with Jesus we shall win a mighty victory over sin.
And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. Revelation 18:23-24
Spiritual Babylon shall be destroyed and forever separated from God for by her “sorceries were all nations deceived.” When the time comes, God’s judgment will reveal all the blood that was shed against those who were loyal to God and lived for the honor of his name. Oh, let us come out of Babylon, the great satanic system of evil that corrupts every human society. Let us get rid of sin before sin gets rid of us, and we do so by looking unto Jesus “the author and finisher of our faith.” Jesus came to save us from our sins and to deliver us from the wrath of God’s final judgment.
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. Revelation 19:7-9
I have a beautiful picture on my desk entitled, The Invitation. It was given by a friend and displays a long prepared dining table and the hands of Christ extended in invitation. It reads, You are invited to come dine with me, from now through eternity. Believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and dine with Jesus as your host. To live in heaven eternally, all you must do is…R.S.V.P. “Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.”
And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled…and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years… Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. Words from Revelation 20:1-6
The millennial reign of Christ — do Christians have something to look forward to? Wow! Don’t miss it. Jesus loves you.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelation 21:1-4
What John saw by revelation, we now see and claim by faith; but one day, faith will be turned into sight. Oh friends, let us not miss heaven. To be lost is to be lost forever, but the good news is that we can and will make heaven our eternal home if we trust and follow Jesus.
And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. Revelation 22:1-7
If we keep what is written in the book, the author of the book will keep us.