ENCOURAGEMENT TODAY, CONQUERING DOUBT PART 32











11/18/19


Jesus Is God


“‘All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him’” (Matthew 11:27).


Any genuine invitation to salvation such as Jesus gives here must include mention of God’s revelation. Nobody, even the most sincerely religious or philosophically determined, has ever obtained real salvation unless God sovereignly revealed it—and such revelation has to include the truth that Jesus Christ is God.


Jesus without doubt or qualification equates Himself with God and calls Himself the Son of the Father. The Jews of His day would never have used the expression about divine fatherhood unless they were referring to God’s fatherhood over their nation. Jesus’ statement was and is one of His clearest declarations of deity, and it discloses an intimate, unique, and inseparable relationship with the Father.


Without question, Jesus’ audience knew that His statements about a relationship with His heavenly Father meant He was claiming to be the Son of God. The unbelieving Jews did not at all accept this claim. On other similar occasions they would want to kill Him for such “blasphemous” assertions (see John 5:1810:30–38).

That Jesus is God is an essential component of the gospel, because apart from deity no savior could redeem a single soul. The heresy of making Christ just another human teacher or martyr devalues the gospel and robs it of its true saving power.


Ask Yourself

To trust God completely means also knowing that He is fully capable of revealing Himself to anyone He desires, any time He desires. Our task is merely to be faithful to reveal what we have heard and seen in Him, trusting the Lord to save His people. Are you being true to that calling?


Living in a World of Fools


“Wisdom is too high for a fool” (Proverbs 24:7).


A fool wants his own way.

There’s no question in my mind that we live in a world of fools. In fact, everyone born into this world comes in with congenital foolishness—otherwise known as the sin nature. Proverbs 22:15says, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.” Since we live in a world of fools, let’s look at a few of their characteristics.


A fool denies God.Psalm 14:1says, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; there is no one who does good.” I call this practical atheism. A fool lives as if there were no God—denying God with his actions.


A fool becomes his own god.Proverbs 12:15says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes.” No man can live without a god. It isn’t a question of, does he worship? It’s a question of, whom does he worship? If a person doesn’t worship the true God, he will worship a false god—which inevitably will be a reflection of himself. He becomes the one who determines truth and error, articulating his own standards for living.


A fool mocks sin.Proverbs 14:9says, “Fools mock at sin.” Since a fool makes his own rules, he wants to justify his own behavior to make sure he’s going to be all right in the end. He attempts to eliminate sin along with its consequences.


A fool, then, begins by living as if there were no God, substituting himself as god and determining his own style of life. Then he denies the existence of sin because he cannot tolerate guilt.


When God saved you, you stopped your foolishness and became His wise child. Be encouraged, knowing God will continue to help you grow in wisdom through your understanding of and obedience to His Word.


Suggestions for Prayer

Pray for the salvation of a family member, friend, or neighbor who is living foolishly.


For Further Study

Read Matthew 7:24-27. What is the difference between a wise man and a foolish man?


Focusing on Heaven


"By faith [Abraham] lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God" (Heb. 11:9-10).


Focusing on Heaven is the best way to endure difficulties on earth.

Following God's call isn't always easy. He expects us to trust Him explicitly, yet doesn't ask our advice on decisions that may impact us dramatically. He doesn't tell us His specific plans at any given point in our lives. He doesn't always shelter us from adversity. 


He tests our faith to produce endurance and spiritual maturity—tests that are sometimes painful. He makes some promises that we'll never see fulfilled in this life. 


If following God's call is a challenge for us, imagine how it was for Abraham, who had no Bible, no pastor, no sermons, no commentaries, and no Christian encouragement or accountability. But what he did have was the promise of a nation, a land, and a blessing (Gen. 12:1-3). That was good enough for him.


Abraham never settled in the land of promise. Neither did his son Isaac or grandson Jacob. They were aliens, dwelling in tents like nomads. Abraham never built houses or cities. The only way he would possess the land was by faith. Yet Abraham patiently waited for God's promises to be fulfilled.


As important as the earthly land was to him, Abraham was patient because his sight was on his heavenly home, "the city . . . whose architect and builder is God" (Heb. 11:10). He knew beyond any doubt that he would inherit that city, whether or not he ever saw his earthly home in his lifetime.


Similarly, being heavenly minded gives you the patience to continue working for the Lord when things get tough. It's the best cure I know for discouragement or spiritual fatigue. That's why Paul says to set your mind "on the things above, not on the things that are on earth" (Col. 3:2). If your mind is set on heaven, you can endure whatever happens here.


Suggestions for Prayer

  • Praise God for your heavenly home.
  • Seek His grace to help you keep a proper perspective amid the difficulties of this life.


For Further Study

Read the portion of Abraham's life recorded in Genesis 12-17.



Reading for Today:


Notes:

Psalm128:1 who fears the LORD. A good working definition is provided by the parallel line, “who walks in His ways.” Fathers (Ps. 128:14), mothers (Prov. 31:30), and children (Ps. 34:11) are to fear the Lord. This psalm may have been the basis for Jesus’ illustration of the two builders (Matt. 7:24–27).


Hebrews11:19 even from the dead. Believing that God’s promise regarding Isaac was unconditional, Abraham came to the conclusion that God would fulfill that promise even if it required raising Isaac from the dead (Gen. 22:5). figurative sense. The word is the same as in 9:9, which is the basis for the English word “parable.” Abraham received Isaac back from the dead, as it were, even though Isaac had not been slain.


How did faith shape the life of Moses?


In Hebrews 11:24, we are told that “By faith Moses, when he became of age,” refused the fame he could have in Egypt if he would have capitalized on his position as the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter (Ex. 2:10). 


“Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God” (v. 25). Moses would have sinned had he refused to take on the responsibility God gave him regarding Israel, and he had a clear and certain conviction that “God would deliver them by his hand” (Acts 7:25). Moses repudiated the pleasures of Egypt. 


“Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt” (v. 26). Moses suffered reproach for the sake of Christ in the sense that he identified with the Messiah’s people in their suffering (v. 25). In addition, Moses identified himself with the Messiah because of his own role as leader and prophet (12:2; Deut. 18:15Pss. 69:989:51). Moses knew of the sufferings and glory of the Messiah (John 5:46Acts 26:22,231 Pet. 1:10–12).


“By faith he forsook Egypt” (v. 27). Moses left Egypt for the first time when he fled for his life after killing the Egyptian slave master (Ex. 2:1415). That time he did fear Pharaoh’s wrath. On the second occasion, he turned his back on Egypt and all that it represented. This leaving was not for fear of Pharaoh, so it is the one in view here. “Seeing Him who is invisible.” Moses’ faith was such that he responded to God’s commands as though God were standing visibly before him. This was the basis for his loyalty to God, and it should be a believer’s example for loyalty (2 Cor. 4:16–18).


GOD BLESS YOU, MY BELOVED ROYAL FAMILY

BLESSED BE 

LORD CHRIST JESUS

OUR KING AND SAVIOR. 


MAXIMILIANO




11/17/19


The Results of True Wisdom


“The seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:18).


A wise life is a righteous life. 


Puritan minister Richard Baxter said, “Wisdom is honorable because it is the skill of doing good.” Like Baxter, James also sees a connection between wisdom and doing good. James 3:18is in the present tense and literally reads, “The fruit of righteousness is being sown in peace by them that make peace.” At first glance it seems strange that James would say the “fruit of righteousness is being sown” because usually seed is sown. But harvested fruit also becomes seed for the next crop. The fruit of righteousness is sown again in peace by those who make peace.


Where true wisdom exists, true righteousness follows. And that becomes seed and generates more righteousness. That’s the law of sowing and reaping. It is a continual cycle: one righteous act harvested from the field of true wisdom becomes the seed to grow another righteous act. Those who make peace receive the benefit from it, and righteousness flourishes in a climate of peace. The bottom line is that peacemakers aren’t preoccupied with themselves.


The life of a farmer illustrates what James is saying. The seeds that a farmer plants in the spring are what he eventually harvests in the fall. Similarly, by sowing righteous deeds each day of your life, you can be assured of what you’ll reap: a life that reflects true wisdom. Make it your aim to live righteously!


Suggestions for Prayer

Worship the Lord for being righteous, and ask Him to help you obey His Word and live a righteous life.


For Further Study

James follows a clear line of thought: if one professes to be a Christian, he must prove it by living like a Christian. According to 1 John 3:7-10, what proves a person is a true believer?



Stepping out in Faith


"By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going" (Heb. 11:8).


The life of faith begins with a willingness to forsake everything that displeases God.


Abraham is the classic example of the life of faith. As the father of the Jewish nation, he was the most strategic example of faith available to the writer of Hebrews. But the people to whom Hebrews was written needed to understand that Abraham was more than the father of their race; he also was, by example, the father of everyone who lives by faith in God (Rom. 4:11).


Contrary to popular first-century Jewish thought, God didn't choose Abraham because he was righteous in himself. When called by God, Abraham was a sinful man living in an idolatrous society. His home was in the Chaldean city of Ur, which was located in ancient Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.


God's call to Abraham is recorded in Genesis 12:1-3: "Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father's house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."


Note Abraham's response: "So Abram went forth as the Lord had spoken to him" (v. 4). He listened, trusted, and obeyed. His pilgrimage of faith began when he separated himself from the pleasures of a pagan land to pursue God's plan for his life.


So it is with you if you're a man or woman of true faith. You've forsaken sinful pleasures to follow Christ. And as your love for Christ increases, there's a corresponding decrease in worldly desires.


I pray your focus will continually be on fulfilling God's will for your life, and that you'll always know the joy and assurance that comes from following Him.


Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God for the grace and spiritual fortitude to walk by faith today.


For Further Study

Memorize 1 John 2:15as a reminder to remain separate from the world.



Those Who Accept the Invitation


“‘You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight’” (Matthew 11:25–26).


An infant is completely dependent on others for everything he or she needs. A baby has no resources of its own to draw upon for help. The same Greek word (for “infants”) is used of those who can’t eat solid food (1 Cor. 3:1Heb. 5:13). It is also used of those who can’t speak (1 Cor. 13:11) and of those who are helpless (Eph. 4:14).


To such spiritual babes, those who realize they are utterly unable to save themselves, God wants to reveal the truths of His kingdom. As seen in the Sermon on the Mount, the “poor in spirit” who humbly confess their dependency on the Father and the Son receive a clear and irrevocable invitation to salvation.


Infants mentioned here are precisely the opposite kind of persons from the proud Jewish leaders who opposed Jesus at every turn. They are also the antitheses of supposed ideal practitioners of religion who glory in their own self-worth and success.

God is totally satisfied to offer a gospel of grace because that glorifies Him. “For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, ‘I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite’” (Isa. 57:15).


Ask Yourself

Would you say you’ve maintained this same spirit of contrition and trust since you’ve entered into saving relationship with Jesus Christ? What tempts us to claim more confidence in our own identity and our perceived deservedness?



Reading for Today:


Notes:

Ezekiel24:16–27 Ezekiel’s wife died as a sign to Israel. All personal sorrow was eclipsed in the universal calamity. Just as Ezekiel was not to mourn the death of his wife (v. 17), so Israel was not to mourn the death of her families (vv. 19–24). 


Though the text emphasizes how precious his wife was, the “desire of [his] eyes” (vv. 16, 21), his “boast” and “delight” (v. 21), he was obedient and submitted to God’s will. He became a heartbreaking sign to his people.


Psalm127:3 heritage…reward. Children are a blessing from the Lord. There are overtones of God’s promise to Abraham to make his offspring like the dust of the earth and the stars of heaven (Gen. 13:1615:5).


Hebrews11:6 impossible to please. Enoch pleased God because he had faith. Without such faith it is not possible for anyone to “walk with God” or “please Him” (10:38). He is. The emphasis here is on “He,” the true God. Genuine faith does not simply believe that divine being exists, but that the God of Scripture is the only real and true God who exists. Not believing that God exists is equivalent to calling Him a liar (1 John 5:10). rewarder. 


A person must believe not only that the true God exists, but also that He will reward men’s faith in Him with forgiveness and righteousness, because He has promised to do so (10:35; Gen. 15:1Deut. 4:291 Chr. 28:9Ps. 58:11Is. 40:10).


Hebrews11:13–16 strangers and pilgrims. See Genesis 23:4. Their faith was patient and endured great hardships because they believed God had something better. They had no desire to go back to Ur, but did long for heaven (Job 19:2526Ps. 27:4).


Why are so many Old Testament people listed in chapter 11?


The eleventh chapter of Hebrews offers a moving account of faithful Old Testament saints who remain models of faith. The chapter has received such titles as “The Saint’s Hall of Fame,” “The Honor Roll of Old Testament Saints,” and “Heroes of the Faith.” Their lives attest to the value of living by faith. They compose the “cloud of witnesses” (12:1) who give powerful testimony to the Hebrews that they should come to faith in Christ.


This passage begins with an emphatic statement about the nature of faith. Faith involves the most solid possible conviction—the God-given present assurance of a future reality. True faith is not based on empirical evidence but on divine assurance and is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8).


The names, accomplishments, and sufferings described in this chapter illustrate the range of faithfulness in the lives of saints. Some experienced great success in this world; whereas others suffered great affliction. The point is that they all courageously and uncompromisingly followed God, regardless of the earthly outcome. They placed their trust in Him and in His promises (see 6:12; 2 Tim. 3:12).


GOD BLESS YOU, MY BELOVED ROYAL FAMILY

BLESSED BE 

LORD CHRIST JESUS

OUR KING AND SAVIOR. 


MAXIMILIANO

 




11/16/19

The Qualities of True Wisom

“The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy” (James 3:17). 

True wisdom is evident in a person’s behavior.

What is true wisdom? James answers that question in verse 17 by pointing out the characteristics or qualities of true wisdom. After purity, the next quality is “peaceable,” which means “peace loving” or “peace promoting.” It refers to someone who doesn’t create confusion or disorder. He doesn’t promote himself or compromise truth but makes peace.

True wisdom is also “gentle.” 

A gentle person will submit to dishonor, disgrace, mistreatment, and persecution with an attitude of humility, courteousness, kindness, patience, and consideration. He will not display hatred, malice, or revenge.

True wisdom is also characterized as “reasonable.” It refers to someone who is willing to yield, who is easily persuaded, teachable, and compliant. It was used of a person who willingly submitted to military discipline or who observed legal and moral standards in life and willingly submitted to them. A wise person manifests such “reasonable” traits concerning God’s standards for life.

“Full of mercy” refers to someone who shows concern for people who suffer and is quick to forgive. He demonstrates kindness and compassion toward others.

“Good fruits“ refer to all good works in general or a wide variety of spiritual deeds. The Christian demonstrates the genuineness of his salvation through his good deeds—works that are produced by faith (James 2:14-20) and are called “the fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-23) or “the fruit of righteousness” (Phil. 1:11).

“Unwavering” refers to someone who is consistent and doesn’t vacillate. He is undivided in his commitment, doesn’t make unfair distinctions, and is sincere in his faithfulness to God.

“Without hypocrisy” is the climax of true wisdom and speaks of someone who is utterly genuine. He isn’t a phony or fake. A truly wise person manifests sincere behavior.

If true wisdom is part of your life, it will be evident in your behavior. Make it your aim to reflect the qualities of true wisdom so that others may see Christ in you.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to help you develop the qualities of true wisdom in your life. But before you do, make sure you’re being motivated by a pure heart.

For Further Study

Read Matthew 5:1-16, noting how the words of Christ parallel James 3:17.

Rebuking the World

"By faith Noah . . . condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith" (Heb 11:7).

Your actions and words should rebuke our godless society.

Genesis 6:5says, "The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Before moving in judgment against the most evil and corrupt society in history, God appointed Noah to build an ark, which became a symbol of life and salvation to all who believed God. For those who disbelieved, it represented impending death and judgment.

Concurrent with constructing the ark, Noah preached about coming judgment. Peter called him "a preacher of righteousness" (2 Pet. 2:5), and every board he cut and nail he drove in was a living illustration of the urgency of his message.

God's warning was stern and His message horrifying, but His patience and mercy prevailed for 120 years. As Peter said, "The patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark" (1 Pet. 3:20). The people had ample warning of judgment, but they chose to disregard Noah's message.

As sad as the account of Noah's day is, perhaps the greatest tragedy is that man's attitude toward God hasn't changed since then. Jesus said, "The coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be" (Matt. 24:37-39).

Like Noah, you are to proclaim righteousness to an evil and perverse generation by your works and your life. Be faithful to do so even if people don't want to listen. After 120 years of diligent work and faithful preaching by Noah, only eight people entered the ark. But God's purposes were accomplished and the human race was preserved.

Suggestions for Prayer

Sometimes you'll encounter people who scoff at God's judgment and mock your testimony. Don't be discouraged. Pray for them and be available to minister to them whenever possible.

For Further Study

Read 2 Peter 3. What effect should the prospect of future judgment have on your present behavior?

Those Who Miss the Invitation

“‘You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight’” (Matthew 11:25–26). 

God does not exclude intelligent people from His kingdom but those who rely on their own intelligence for salvation. The apostle Paul was a scholar, but he didn’t abandon that brilliance to become a Christian. However, he did stop relying on that training to understand the things of God. Intellect is a gift from God, but it becomes an impediment to authentic knowledge of Him when trust in it supersedes trust in the One who gave it.

The means God uses to hide things from certain people who relish their own intelligence is the darkness of their proud hearts. God’s truth is not knowable by mere empirical means. Instead, it must be known and received through the faithful heart, as God graciously reveals it. No amount of human insight can grasp God’s saving truths since the unregenerate “cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (1 Cor. 2:14).

Of those who miss the divine invitation, the apostle John writes that, “though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him. This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: ‘Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?’. . . ‘He has blinded their eyes and He hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and be converted’” (John 12:37–3840). 

Those who reject the gospel will one day have their unwise choice confirmed by God, the all-wise Judge.

Ask Yourself

Yes, God’s heart moves at the sight of simple trust, honest dependence, and awareness of need. Does your heart likewise bend toward those who are the least deserving yet the most impoverished?

Reading for Today:

Notes:

Ezekiel21:27 Until He comes. The 3-fold mention of “overthrown” expresses the severest degree of unsettled and chaotic conditions. Israel was to experience severe instability and even the kingly privilege will not be Israel’s again until the Messiah comes, “to whom it rightly belongs,” or “whose right it is” (Gen. 49:10). God will give the kingship to Him (Jer. 23:5–8), the greater “David” (Ezek. 37:24). His “right” is that perfect combination of priestly and royal offices (Heb. 5–7).

Ezekiel22:30 So I sought for a man. Ezekiel and Jeremiah were faithful, but apart from them God sought a man capable of advocacy for Israel when its sin had gone so far. But no one could lead the people to repentance and draw the nation back from the brink of the judgment that came in 586 B.C. (Jer. 7:263619:15). Only God’s Messiah, God Himself, will have the character and the credentials sufficient to do what no man can do, intercede for Israel (Is. 59:16–1963:5; Rev. 5). He was rejected by them in His earthly ministry, so the effects of this judgment continue today, until they turn to Him in faith (Zech. 12:1013:1).

Hebrews10:20 new. In Greek, this word originally meant “newly slain,” but was understood as “recent” when the epistle was written. The way is new because the covenant is new. It is not a way provided by the Levitical system. living way. Though it is the path of eternal life, it was not opened by Christ’s sinless life—it required His death. The Hebrews were invited to embark on this way which is characterized by the eternal life of the Son of God who loved them and gave Himself for them (John 14:6Gal. 2:20). The Christian faith was known as “the Way” among the Jews of Jerusalem (Acts 9:2), as well as among the Gentiles (Acts 19:23).

Those receiving this epistle understood quite clearly that the writer was inviting them to become Christians—to join those who had been persecuted for their faith. True believers in their midst were even then suffering persecution, and those who had not committed themselves to the Way were asked to become targets of the same persecution.

How do we draw near to God?

“Let us draw near with a true heart”(Heb. 10:22). Based on what had been written, this was the heart of the invitation to those in the assembly who had not come to Christ. The same invitation is found in the first New Testament book to be written (James 4:8), where James reveals the corollary of drawing near to God: God will draw near to you. Asaph taught that it is a good thing to draw near to God (Ps. 73:28). The full restoration of Israel to God’s blessing is dependent upon their drawing near to Him (Jer. 30:18–22). 

In other words, it is an eschatological invitation coming to them in “these last days” (Heb. 1:2). This verse describes the prerequisites for entering the presence of God (Ps. 15): sincerity, security, salvation, and sanctification. The Greek term behind “true” carries the ideas of being sincere, genuine, and without ulterior motive (Jer. 24:7Matt. 15:8). This one thing these particular Hebrews lacked: genuine commitment to Christ.

“In full assurance of faith.” Utter confidence in the promises of God is intended by the phrase. Such confidence will result in heartfelt assurance or security which will allow them to persevere through the coming trials. This is the first of a familiar triad: faith, hope (v. 23), and love (v. 24). “Having our hearts sprinkled…with pure water.” The imagery in this verse is taken from the sacrificial ceremonies of the Old Covenant, where blood was sprinkled as a sign of cleansing, and the priests were continually washing themselves and the sacred vessels in basins of clear water. 

The “washing with pure water” does not refer to Christian baptism, but to the Holy Spirit’s purifying one’s life by means of the Word of God (Eph. 5:25,26Titus 3:5). This is purely a New Covenant picture (Jer. 31:33Ezek. 36:2526).

GOD BLESS YOU, MY BELOVED ROYAL FAMILY

BLESSED BE 

LORD CHRIST JESUS

OUR KING AND SAVIOR. 

MAXIMILIANO

 

11/15/19

The Motive for True Wisdom

“The wisdom from above is first pure” (James 3:17).

A pure life is necessary for a wise life.

A person whose life is characterized by true wisdom will seek to be pure. The Greek word translated “pure” in James 3:17refers to spiritual integrity and moral sincerity. It is freedom from bitter jealousy, selfish ambition, and arrogant self-promotion. Christ is the perfect example of purity (1 John 3:3).

A true believer will have pure desires. The deepest part of him desires to do God’s will, serve God, and love God. In Romans 7:15-21the apostle Paul testifies that when he sinned, he was doing what he didn’t want to do. In Psalm 51:7David cries out, “Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” The true believer hates his sin. Rising out of his innermost being is a longing for what is clean, pure, holy, and honest.

Purity of heart is the motive of someone who seeks to live a life of godly wisdom (cf. Ps. 24:3-4). God says he will “take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 11:19); that new heart will be consumed with purity rather than self. You do still sin because your new heart is incarcerated in your old flesh. 

But your new heart fights against your flesh. That’s why Paul said, “I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members” (Rom. 7:22-23).

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). As you persevere in battle against the world, the flesh, and the Devil, be encouraged by reminding yourself that one day the fight will be finished. The apostle John said it this way: “We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2).

Suggestions for Prayer

Read Psalm 51:1-17, making David’s prayer your own.


For Further Study

According to Matthew 5:48and 1 Peter 1:15-16, what is God’s standard of purity?

Building a Picture of Salvation


"By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household" (Heb. 11:7).

The ark is a beautiful picture of salvation by grace through faith.

God called Noah to a gargantuan task. Conservative figures estimate that the ark was about 438 feet long, 73 feet wide, and 44 feet high. That makes it almost one-and-a-half times the length of a football field and more than four stories high. Its three decks totaled almost 96,000 square feet with a total volume of about 1.3 million cubic feet. Naval engineers concur that its shape and dimensions constitute an incredibly stable ship design.

But beyond the enormity of its size and precision of its measurements, the ark is a wonderful illustration of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. For example, Noah was instructed to cover the ark inside and out with pitch (Gen. 3:14). The Hebrew word for pitchhas the same root as the word for atonement. The pitch kept the waters of judgment from entering the ark just as Christ's atoning blood keeps judgment from the repentant sinner.

The ark was large enough to hold two of each species of animals plus every person who turned to God for safety. Only eight persons chose to be saved on God's terms, but had more come, surely He would have accommodated them. It is His desire that none perish, but that all come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9). Those who perished in the Flood did so because they rejected God's means of salvation.

Similarly, Jesus's blood is sufficient to atone for every sinner and every sin since man's fall in the Garden of Eden. No one who comes to Him will be cast out (John 6:37), yet so few avail themselves of His gracious provision (Matt. 7:14).

Noah was a man who "walked with God" (Gen. 6:9), yet he wasn't without sin. That's obvious from his drunken and immodest behavior after the Flood (9:20-21). But Noah, like every true believer, was justified by God's grace, his faith being counted as righteousness. That has always been the basis of salvation (Gen. 15:6;Rom. 4:5).

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for His amazing grace, by which He saved you and continues to cleanse you from every sin.

For Further Study

Read Romans 4:1-8.

Jesus Opens His Great Invitation

“At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth’” (Matthew 11:25).

When all life’s rhetoric, rationalizations, and routines are swept aside, a person is either for Jesus Christ or against Him (cf. Mark 9:40). After performing many miracles (Matt. 4:23–24) and preaching in detail the gospel and sanctification (chaps. 5–7), Jesus more specifically urged people either to accept Him or reject Him. Here begins a final appeal of grace and mercy during His first Galilean ministry.

This opening address to God calls our attention both to Christ’s unique relationship to His Father and to the Father’s sovereignty over all things, including salvation. Through the Holy Spirit, salvation is a divine provision and not a result of human wisdom, purposes, or ability, and Jesus is thankful for that.

Everyone who evangelizes is sometimes disappointed that so few people respond. We wonder how we can make the message clearer or more convincing, and what things we ought to change. But we also should remind ourselves that some will reject the gospel no matter how effectively we seem to present it. If people rebuffed the Lord when He was in their midst, we have to expect some will also refuse our imperfect witness to them.

We are sad and prayerful for those who don’t want the gospel, but like Jesus we must praise our heavenly Father that He has sovereign control over the universe and that His plan for us and others—saved and unsaved—will not be thwarted. Men and women who reject Christ show their sinful disobedience, not any failure by God.

Ask Yourself

Seeing worship as such a natural reaction of Jesus—not in purely religious settings, but right in the middle of any moment—should spurn us on to make godly praise a frequent occupant in our heart and on our lips. How often does worship just well up inside you?

Reading for Today:

Notes:

Ezekiel20:37 pass under the rod. God used a shepherd figure here, apt since He was their Great Shepherd (34:11–13; Jer. 23:5–8). As a shepherd, God brings His sheep home to their fold (Jer. 33:13), has them file in, separating sheep from goats (Matt. 25), passing under His shepherd’s rod to be noted and checked for injury. He will bring them into the bond of the New Covenant by giving them His Spirit with life (36:24–27; 37:14; 39:29). This is Israel’s final salvation (Rom. 11:26–33).

Ezekiel20:39 If they persist in their stubborn idolatry, God will allow them to follow it to their doom. He would also rather have them as out-and-out idolaters rather than hypocritical patronizers of His worship like they had been (Amos 5:21–26).

Hebrews10:5, 6 You did not desire. God was not pleased with sacrifices given by a person who did not give them out of a sincere heart (Ps. 51:17Is.1:11Jer. 6:20Hos. 6:6Amos 5:21–25). To sacrifice only as a ritual, without obedience, was a mockery and worse than no sacrifice at all (Is. 1:11–18).

Hebrews 10:10 sanctified. “Sanctify” means to “make holy,” to be set apart from sin for God (1 Thess. 4:3). When Christ fulfilled the will of God, He provided for the believer a continuing, permanent condition of holiness (Eph. 4:241 Thess. 3:13). This is the believer’s positional sanctification as opposed to the progressive sanctification that results from daily walking by the will of God (Rom. 6:1912:122 Cor. 7:1). body. Refers to His atoning death, as the term “blood” has been used to do (9:7, 12, 14, 18, 22). Mention of the body of Christ in such a statement is unusual in the New Testament, but it is logically derived from the quotation from Psalm 40:6.

What was the problem with the Old Testament sacrificial system?

“For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image” (Heb. 10:1). The Greek term translated “shadow” refers to a pale reflection, as contrasted with a sharp, distinct one. The term behind “very image,” on the other hand, indicates an exact and distinct replica (Col. 2:17). “Can never…make those who approach perfect.” This term is used repeatedly in Hebrews to refer to salvation. As much as those living under the law desired to approach God, the Levitical system provided no way to enter His holy presence (Pss. 15:116:1124:34).

If sin had really been overpowered by that system of sacrifices, the Old Testament believers’ consciences would have been cleansed from condemning guilt (v. 2). There was not freedom of conscience under the Old Covenant. The Old Testament sacrifices not only could not remove sin, but their constant repetition was a constant reminder of that deficiency (v. 3). The promise of the New Covenant was that the sin would be removed and even God would “remember” their sins “no more” (8:12, quoting Jer. 31:34).

“For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (v.4). The Levitical system was not designed by God to remove or forgive sins. It was preparatory for the coming of the Messiah (Gal. 3:24) in that it made the people expectant (1 Pet. 1:10). 

It revealed the seriousness of their sinful condition, in that even temporary covering required the death of an animal. It revealed the reality of God’s holiness and righteousness by indicating that sin had to be covered. Finally, it revealed the necessity of full and complete forgiveness so that God could have desired fellowship with His people.

GOD BLESS YOU, MY BELOVED ROYAL FAMILY

BLESSED BE 

LORD CHRIST JESUS

OUR KING AND SAVIOR. 

MAXIMILIANO

 

11/14/19

The Results of False Wisdom

“Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing” (James 3:16).

False wisdom ruins lives.

Renowned eighteenth-century theologian Jonathan Edwards said the following about the effect of the Fall on man:

Sin, like some powerful astringent, contracted his soul to the very small dimensions of selfishness; and God was forsaken, and fellow-creatures forsaken, and man retired within himself, and became totally governed by narrow and selfish principles and feelings. Self-love became absolute master of his soul, and the more noble and spiritual principles of his being took wings and flew away. 

Edwards’s analysis certainly agrees with what James is saying: man is self-centered (cf. James 3:1416). Where self-centeredness exists, there will be negative results. One such result is “disorder” (v. 16). The term refers to disorder that comes out of instability and chaos. 

Earthly wisdom will never produce harmony or love because it’s proud and self-indulgent. It destroys intimacy, love, unity, and fellowship, and in its place brings discord and chaos. You can see the result of earthly wisdom all over our world today. Anger, bitterness, lawsuits, and divorces are just part of the legacy.

“Every evil thing” also results from earthly wisdom (v. 16). The phrase speaks of something worthless or vile. Greek scholar R.C. 

Trench said it contemplates evil, “not so much that either of active or passive malignity, but rather of its good-for-nothingness, the impossibility of any true gain ever coming forth from it.” The Greek word translated “thing” implies that false wisdom produces nothing of any practical value. At its best it produces worthless things; at its worst it produces vile things.

Which kind of life do you prefer? One that is characterized by love and unity, or by instability and chaos? A life with fulfillment and meaning, or with emptiness? If you want a life that satisfies and has eternal value, choose divine wisdom!

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for giving you His Word so you can know how to live wisely and avoid the negative results of man’s wisdom.

For Further Study

Following human wisdom leads only to evil. Memorize Proverbs 4:27to help you stay on the path of true wisdom.

Obeying Faith

"By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith" (Heb. 11:7). 

True faith works.

When James said, "Faith without works is dead" (James 2:26), he stated a principle that's consistent throughout Scripture: True faith always produces righteous works.

The people described in Hebrews 11 made their genuine faith known in the things they did. The same applies to us today. Paul said, "The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age" (Titus 2:11-12).

Perhaps better than anyone else in history, Noah illustrates the obedience of faith. Scripture characterizes him as "a righteous man, blameless in his time . . . [who] walked with God" (Gen. 6:9).

I remember a sportscaster interviewing a professional football player and asking him what he thought of his team's chances of winning the Super Bowl. The player replied, "We believe that if we just do what the coach says, we'll win." The team had absolute confidence in their coach, but they realized they had to do their part as well.

That illustrates the quality of faith Noah had in God, whom he trusted absolutely as he pursued a task that seemed utterly foolish and useless from a human perspective. Imagine instantly surrendering all your time and effort to devote 120 years to building something you'd never seen (a vessel the size of a ocean liner or battleship) to protect you from something you'd never experienced (rain and flooding). Yet Noah did it without question.

Noah's faith is unique in the sheer magnitude and time span of the task God gave him to do. He didn't argue with God or deviate from his assignment. Is that true of you? Are you pursuing your ministry as faithfully and persistently as Noah did his? Is your faith a faith that works?

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for the ministry He's called you to. If you sense there's more you could be doing, ask Him for guidance. Pray for added faithfulness and tenacity in serving Him.

For Further Study

Read the account of Noah in Genesis 6:1—9:17.

Unbelieving Indifference: Capernaum

“‘And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day’” (Matthew 11:23).

Often those who have opportunity for the greatest spiritual privileges take those most for granted and enjoy them least. Such could be said for the Galilean city of Capernaum. It was the area where Christ made His headquarters and performed more miracles and preached more messages than in any other region during His earthly ministry. 

Yet all of this marvelous activity apparently had little impact on the indifferent citizens. 

Had all of it happened in and around Sodom, Jesus says, that infamously wicked city would have repented, turned in faith to God, and been spared destruction. Even secular people know Sodom as a synonym for moral degradation and a place where homosexuality and other perversions were rampant. On the other hand, Capernaum, like many modern cities, probably had mostly law-abiding, decent residents.

Capernaum exceeded Chorazin and Bethsaida in advantage, and Sodom exceeded Tyre and Sidon in sinfulness. By such striking contrasts, our Lord shows that people most blessed by God will be most punished if they spurn Him. Judgment against the spiritual aloofness of Capernaum will far exceed judgment against the egregious sins of Sodom. The sober truth is that the self-righteous, orthodox person is more repugnant to the Father than the externally immoral, unbelieving person.

Johann Bengel once noted, “Every hearer of the New Testament truth is either much happier or much more wretched than the men who lived before Christ’s coming.” Such people are either more secure or more condemned.

Ask Yourself

What is the basis for any feelings we have of superiority and supremacy? What are some of the best cures for this type of sin? Which remedies would you prefer to choose for yourself, rather than having some of the more extreme ones thrust upon you?

Reading for Today:

Notes:

Ezekiel17:22, 23 one of the highest branches. This is messianic prophecy stating that God will provide the Messiah from the royal line of David (“the high cedar”) and establish Him in His kingdom (like a mountain, Dan. 2:354445). He will be “a high branch” reigning in the height of success. “Branch” is a name for the Messiah (34:23, 24; 37:24, 25; Is. 4:2Jer. 23:533:15Zech. 3:86:12).The Messiah will be “a tender one” (v. 22) who grows into a “majestic cedar” (v. 23). Under His kingdom rule, all nations will be blessed and Israel restored.

Ezekiel18:4 The soul who sins shall die. God played no favorites, but was fair in holding each individual accountable for his own sin. The death is physical death which, for many, results in eternal death.

Hebrews9:8 The Levitical system did not provide any direct access into God’s presence for His people. Rather, it kept them away. Nearness had to be provided by another way (v. 12). This is the primary lesson which the Holy Spirit taught concerning the tabernacle. It teaches how inaccessible God is apart from the death of Jesus Christ. 

Holy Spirit. By the Spirit-inspired instruction given for the Holiest of All, He was indicating that there was no way to God in the ceremonial system. Only Christ could open the way (John 14:6).

Hebrews9:27 to die once. This is a general rule for all mankind. There have been very rare exceptions (e.g., Lazarus died twice, John 11:4344). Those, like Lazarus, who were raised from the dead by a miraculous act of our Lord were not resurrected to a glorified body and unending life. They only experienced resuscitation. Another exception will be those who don’t die even once, but who will be “caught up…to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess. 4:17; Enoch, Gen. 5:24; Elijah, 2 Kin. 2:11). the judgment. A general term encompassing the judgment of all people, believers (2 Cor. 5:10) and unbelievers (Rev. 20:11–15).

Why does Hebrews have so much about blood, including a statement such as “without shedding of blood there is no remission” (9:22)?

Beginning with 9:7, the writer examined the significance of the blood of sacrifice. This term is especially central to 9:1–10:18 where the passage identifies the deaths of Old Testament sacrifices with the death of Christ (9:12–14). 

Note, however, that this shedding of blood in and of itself was an insufficient sacrifice. Christ had not only to shed His blood, but He also had to die—10:10 indicates that He gave His body as a sacrificial offering. Without His death, His blood had no saving value.

The expression, then, “blood of Christ” (9:14) refers not simply to the fluid but to the whole atoning sacrificial work of Christ in His death. Blood is used as a substitute word for death (see, e.g., Matt. 23:303527:682425John 6:54–56Acts 18:620:26). By reviewing the significance of the blood sacrifices in the Old Testament, the writer was pointing to a pattern of lessons that prepared the world to understand the necessity of Christ’s death. 

The emphatic phrase “without shedding of blood there is no remission” (9:22) simply repeats the lesson that sin creates a debt that must be paid by someone. “It is the blood that makes atonement for the soul” (Lev. 17:11). The phraseology is reminiscent of Christ’s words, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28). 

Remission means forgiveness in these verses—forgiveness for the sinner and payment of the debt. Christ’s death (blood) provides the remission.

GOD BLESS YOU, MY BELOVED ROYAL FAMILY

BLESSED BE 

LORD CHRIST JESUS

OUR KING AND SAVIOR. 

MAXIMILIANO

 


11/13/19

Obeying Faith

"By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith" (Heb. 11:7).

True faith works.

When James said, "Faith without works is dead" (James 2:26), he stated a principle that's consistent throughout Scripture: True faith always produces righteous works.

The people described in Hebrews 11 made their genuine faith known in the things they did. The same applies to us today. Paul said, "The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age" (Titus 2:11-12).

Perhaps better than anyone else in history, Noah illustrates the obedience of faith. Scripture characterizes him as "a righteous man, blameless in his time . . . [who] walked with God" (Gen. 6:9).

I remember a sportscaster interviewing a professional football player and asking him what he thought of his team's chances of winning the Super Bowl. The player replied, "We believe that if we just do what the coach says, we'll win." The team had absolute confidence in their coach, but they realized they had to do their part as well.

That illustrates the quality of faith Noah had in God, whom he trusted absolutely as he pursued a task that seemed utterly foolish and useless from a human perspective. Imagine instantly surrendering all your time and effort to devote 120 years to building something you'd never seen (a vessel the size of a ocean liner or battleship) to protect you from something you'd never experienced (rain and flooding). Yet Noah did it without question.

Noah's faith is unique in the sheer magnitude and time span of the task God gave him to do. He didn't argue with God or deviate from his assignment. Is that true of you? Are you pursuing your ministry as faithfully and persistently as Noah did his? Is your faith a faith that works?

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for the ministry He's called you to. If you sense there's more you could be doing, ask Him for guidance. Pray for added faithfulness and tenacity in serving Him.

For Further Study

Read the account of Noah in Genesis 6:1—9:17.


PART II

The Results of False Wisdom

“Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing” (James 3:16).

False wisdom ruins lives.

Renowned eighteenth-century theologian Jonathan Edwards said the following about the effect of the Fall on man:

Sin, like some powerful astringent, contracted his soul to the very small dimensions of selfishness; and God was forsaken, and fellow-creatures forsaken, and man retired within himself, and became totally governed by narrow and selfish principles and feelings. Self-love became absolute master of his soul, and the more noble and spiritual principles of his being took wings and flew away.

Edwards’s analysis certainly agrees with what James is saying: man is self-centered (cf. James 3:1416). Where self-centeredness exists, there will be negative results. One such result is “disorder” (v. 16). The term refers to disorder that comes out of instability and chaos. Earthly wisdom will never produce harmony or love because it’s proud and self-indulgent. It destroys intimacy, love, unity, and fellowship, and in its place brings discord and chaos. You can see the result of earthly wisdom all over our world today. Anger, bitterness, lawsuits, and divorces are just part of the legacy.

“Every evil thing” also results from earthly wisdom (v. 16). The phrase speaks of something worthless or vile. Greek scholar R.C. Trench said it contemplates evil, “not so much that either of active or passive malignity, but rather of its good-for-nothingness, the impossibility of any true gain ever coming forth from it.” The Greek word translated “thing” implies that false wisdom produces nothing of any practical value. At its best it produces worthless things; at its worst it produces vile things.

Which kind of life do you prefer? One that is characterized by love and unity, or by instability and chaos? A life with fulfillment and meaning, or with emptiness? If you want a life that satisfies and has eternal value, choose divine wisdom!

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for giving you His Word so you can know how to live wisely and avoid the negative results of man’s wisdom.

For Further Study

Following human wisdom leads only to evil. Memorize Proverbs 4:27to help you stay on the path of true wisdom.


PART III

November 13 - Unbelieving Indifference: Capernaum

“‘And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day’” (Matthew 11:23).

Often those who have opportunity for the greatest spiritual privileges take those most for granted and enjoy them least. Such could be said for the Galilean city of Capernaum. It was the area where Christ made His headquarters and performed more miracles and preached more messages than in any other region during His earthly ministry. Yet all of this marvelous activity apparently had little impact on the indifferent citizens.

Had all of it happened in and around Sodom, Jesus says, that infamously wicked city would have repented, turned in faith to God, and been spared destruction. Even secular people know Sodom as a synonym for moral degradation and a place where homosexuality and other perversions were rampant. On the other hand, Capernaum, like many modern cities, probably had mostly law-abiding, decent residents.

Capernaum exceeded Chorazin and Bethsaida in advantage, and Sodom exceeded Tyre and Sidon in sinfulness. By such striking contrasts, our Lord shows that people most blessed by God will be most punished if they spurn Him. Judgment against the spiritual aloofness of Capernaum will far exceed judgment against the egregious sins of Sodom. The sober truth is that the self-righteous, orthodox person is more repugnant to the Father than the externally immoral, unbelieving person.

Johann Bengel once noted, “Every hearer of the New Testament truth is either much happier or much more wretched than the men who lived before Christ’s coming.” Such people are either more secure or more condemned.

Ask Yourself

What is the basis for any feelings we have of superiority and supremacy? What are some of the best cures for this type of sin? Which remedies would you prefer to choose for yourself, rather than having some of the more extreme ones thrust upon you?


PART IV

Reading for Today:

Notes:

Ezekiel 17:22, 23 one of the highest branches. This is messianic prophecy stating that God will provide the Messiah from the royal line of David (“the high cedar”) and establish Him in His kingdom (like a mountain, Dan. 2:354445). He will be “a high branch” reigning in the height of success. “Branch” is a name for the Messiah (34:23, 24; 37:24, 25; Is. 4:2Jer. 23:533:15Zech. 3:86:12).The Messiah will be “a tender one” (v. 22) who grows into a “majestic cedar” (v. 23). Under His kingdom rule, all nations will be blessed and Israel restored.

Ezekiel 18:4 The soul who sins shall die. God played no favorites, but was fair in holding each individual accountable for his own sin. The death is physical death which, for many, results in eternal death.

Hebrews 9:8 The Levitical system did not provide any direct access into God’s presence for His people. Rather, it kept them away. Nearness had to be provided by another way (v. 12). This is the primary lesson which the Holy Spirit taught concerning the tabernacle. It teaches how inaccessible God is apart from the death of Jesus Christ. Holy Spirit. By the Spirit-inspired instruction given for the Holiest of All, He was indicating that there was no way to God in the ceremonial system. Only Christ could open the way (John 14:6).

Hebrews 9:27 to die once. This is a general rule for all mankind. There have been very rare exceptions (e.g., Lazarus died twice, John 11:4344). Those, like Lazarus, who were raised from the dead by a miraculous act of our Lord were not resurrected to a glorified body and unending life. They only experienced resuscitation. Another exception will be those who don’t die even once, but who will be “caught up…to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess. 4:17; Enoch, Gen. 5:24; Elijah, 2 Kin. 2:11). the judgment. A general term encompassing the judgment of all people, believers (2 Cor. 5:10) and unbelievers (Rev. 20:11–15).


DAY 13: Why does Hebrews have so much about blood, including a statement such as “without shedding of blood there is no remission” (9:22)?

Beginning with 9:7, the writer examined the significance of the blood of sacrifice. This term is especially central to 9:1–10:18 where the passage identifies the deaths of Old Testament sacrifices with the death of Christ (9:12–14). Note, however, that this shedding of blood in and of itself was an insufficient sacrifice. Christ had not only to shed His blood, but He also had to die—10:10 indicates that He gave His body as a sacrificial offering. Without His death, His blood had no saving value.

The expression, then, “blood of Christ” (9:14) refers not simply to the fluid but to the whole atoning sacrificial work of Christ in His death. Blood is used as a substitute word for death (see, e.g., Matt. 23:303527:682425John 6:54–56Acts 18:620:26). By reviewing the significance of the blood sacrifices in the Old Testament, the writer was pointing to a pattern of lessons that prepared the world to understand the necessity of Christ’s death. The emphatic phrase “without shedding of blood there is no remission” (9:22) simply repeats the lesson that sin creates a debt that must be paid by someone. “It is the blood that makes atonement for the soul” (Lev. 17:11). The phraseology is reminiscent of Christ’s words, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28). Remission means forgiveness in these verses—forgiveness for the sinner and payment of the debt. Christ’s death (blood) provides the remission.


GOD BLESSES YOU!


MAXIMILIANO 




11/12/19


Identifying False Wisdom


“This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic” (James 3:15).


True wisdom is from God; false wisdom is from the Devil.


Wisdom that is bitterly jealous and self-centered is not “from above.” Such traits constitute a wisdom that doesn’t come from God, the source of true wisdom (cf. 1:5, 17). Human wisdom, rather than being from above, is “earthly” (3:15). It is limited to the sphere of time and space and marked by the curse of man’s own fallenness, which is characterized by pride and self-centeredness. 


Everything the world initiates in the way of supposed truth is self-centered. Unregenerate man’s finite system demands an earthly wisdom and nothing more.


Man’s wisdom is also “natural” (v. 15), which means “fleshly” and refers to man’s humanness and frailty. First Corinthians 2:14says, “A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God.” The natural man is sensual. All his feelings, impulses, and appetites are locked up in a fallen and corrupted system. All of man’s wisdom comes from his unsanctified heart and unredeemed spirit.


Besides being earthly and natural, human wisdom is “demonic” (James 3:15). This is the only place in the New Testament where the Greek word translated “demon” appears in its adjectival form. Human wisdom is actually generated by demons, who have been made captive to the same evil system as man. Satan and his agents disguise themselves as ministers of light when in fact they are ministers of darkness (2 Cor. 11:14-15).


The wisdom of the world is spawned by demons, reflects man’s humanness, and proceeds no further than the fallenness of mankind. Since that is so, be sure to “be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might” (Eph. 6:10). Don’t let Satan and the world beguile you with their so-called wisdom.


Suggestions for Prayer

Pray to be “filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord” (Col. 1:9-10).


For Further Study

According to 2 Corinthians 10:3-5and Colossians 2:8, how is the believer to fight against Satan and his demonic wisdom?



Seeking God's Reward


"He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him" (Heb. 11:6).


All who come to God in faith will receive the reward of eternal life.


We've seen that without faith it's impossible to please God. And the first step in faith is believing that God exists. In addition, we must also believe that He answers our prayers—more specifically, that He redeems those who come to Him in faith.

Scripture repeatedly tells us that God not only canbe found, but also desiresto be found. David said to his son Solomon, "If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever" (1 Chron. 28:9). 


The Lord says in Jeremiah 29:13, "You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." Jesus said, "Everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened" (Luke 11:10).

At first glance those verses may seem to contradict Paul's teaching that "there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside" (Rom. 3:11-12), and Jesus' statement that no one can come to Him unless the Father draws him (John 6:44). But really they're two sides of the same theological coin.


On one side you see man believing God and receiving Christ for salvation. On the other you see God enabling man to do so. Prior to salvation, a person is spiritually dead and utterly incapable of responding to the gospel. God must grant him or her saving faith. That's why the Bible contains statements like, "To you it has been granted for Christ's sake . . . to believe in Him" (Phil. 1:29); "As many as had been appointed to eternal life believed" (Acts 13:48); and "The Lord opened [Lydia's] heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul" (Acts 16:14).


God is the Great Rewarder, extending His love and grace to all who call upon Him. "Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed" (Rom. 10:11).


Suggestions for Prayer

If you've been praying for someone's salvation, don't become discouraged. Only God can grant saving faith, but He gives us the privilege of participating in His redemptive work through faithful prayer and evangelism (Rom 10:1).


For Further Study

Memorize Ephesians 2:8-9.



Unbelieving Indifference: Chorazin and Bethsaida


“‘Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you’” (Matthew 11:21–22).


Indifference is a terrible form of unbelief. It so totally ignores God that He is not even considered worth arguing about. As Josiah realized after God’s people rediscovered His book, “great is the wrath of the Lord that burns against us, because our fathers have not listened to the words of this book” (2 Kings 22:13; cf. Matt. 22:5–614).


Probably most citizens of Chorazin and Bethsaida had seen Christ’s miracles, and others knew about them from reports of friends and relatives. But relatively few responded in saving faith (cf. Matt. 7:13–14). Hence the Lord’s righteous wrath came down on them with exclamations of woe for their unrepentance. It is better to have never heard about Jesus than to hear and yet reject Him (cf. Heb. 10:26–27).

By contrast, Jesus tells us that pagan, corrupt cities such as Tyre and Sidon would have repented early on had they heard Jesus’ message and seen His miracles. Few statements such as this from the Messiah would have shocked the Jews more than to be unfavorably compared to sinful Gentiles. 


At the great white throne, God will judge unbelievers from all eras, sentencing them to eternal punishment. At that time, many from places like Tyre and Sidon will fare better than unbelieving Jews. The greater the privilege God offers people, the greater the responsibility they have. The greater the light they see, the worse the consequences for not receiving it.


Ask Yourself

Does your church bear the marks of people who have grown lackadaisical in faith and protectively focused on side issues, or people who are active and animated in their love for the Lord? How can you be part of encouraging faithful zeal in those familiar with Christian faith?



Reading for Today:


Notes:

Ezekiel15:1–3 Then the word…came. Israel, often symbolized by a vine (17:6–10; Gen. 49:22Jer. 2:21), had become useful for nothing. Failing to do the very thing God set her apart to do—bear fruit—she no longer served any purpose and was useless (v. 2). Other trees can be used for construction of certain things, but a fruitless vine is useless (v. 3). It has no value. In every age, the people of God have their value in their fruitfulness.

Ezekiel16:8 the time of love. 


This refers to the marriageable state. Spreading his “wing” was a custom of espousal (Ruth 3:9) and indicates that God entered into a covenant with the young nation at Mt. Sinai (Ex. 19:5–8). Making a covenant signifies marriage, the figure of God’s relation to Israel (Jer. 2:23:1ff.; Hos. 2:2–23).


Ezekiel16:60 I will remember My covenant. God is gracious and He always finds a covenant basis on which He can exercise His grace. The Lord will remember the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:1ff.) made with Israel in her youth. Restoration will be by grace, not merit. an everlasting covenant. 


This is the New Covenant, which is unconditional, saving, and everlasting (37:26; Is. 59:2161:8Jer. 31:31–34Heb. 8:6–13). The basis of God’s grace will not be the Mosaic Covenant, which the Jews could never fulfill, even with the best intentions (Ex. 24:1ff.). When God establishes His eternal covenant, Israel will know that God is the Lord because of His grace.


Hebrews8:5 The quote is from Exodus 25:40copy and shadow. This does not mean that there are actual buildings in heaven which were copied in the tabernacle, but rather that the heavenly realities were adequately symbolized and represented in the earthly tabernacle model.


Who was the prophet Ezekiel?

If the “thirtieth year” of Ezekiel 1:1refers to Ezekiel’s age, he was 25 when taken captive and 30 when called into ministry. Thirty was the age when priests commenced their office, so it was a notable year for Ezekiel. His ministry began in 593/92 B.C. and extended at least 22 years until 571/70 B.C. (25:17). He was a contemporary of both Jeremiah (who was about 20 years older) and Daniel (who was the same age), whom he names in 14:14, 20; 28:3 as an already well-known prophet. 


Like Jeremiah (Jer. 1:1) and Zechariah (Zech. 1:1with Neh. 12:16), Ezekiel was both a prophet and a priest (1:3). Because of his priestly background, he was particularly interested in and familiar with the temple details. So God used him to write much about them (8:1–11:25; 40:1–47:12).


Ezekiel and his wife (who is mentioned in 24:15–27) were among 10,000 Jews taken captive to Babylon in 597 B.C. (2 Kin. 24:11–18). They lived in Tel Abib (3:15) on the bank of the Chebar River, probably southeast of Babylon. Domestically, Ezekiel and the 10,000 lived more as colonists than captives, being permitted to farm tracts of land under somewhat favorable conditions (Jer. 29). Ezekiel even had his own house (3:24; 20:1). 


Ezekiel writes of his wife’s death in exile (Ezek. 24:18), but the book does not mention Ezekiel’s death, which rabbinical tradition suggests occurred at the hands of an Israelite prince whose idolatry he rebuked around 560 B.C.


Prophetically, false prophets deceived the exiles with assurances of a speedy return to Judah (13:3, 16; Jer. 29:1). From 593 to 585 B.C., Ezekiel warned that their beloved Jerusalem would be destroyed and their exile prolonged, so there was no hope of immediate return. In 585 B.C., an escapee from Jerusalem, who had evaded the Babylonians, reached Ezekiel with the first news that the city had fallen in 586 B.C., about 6 months earlier (33:21). That dashed the false hopes of any immediate deliverance for the exiles, so the remainder of Ezekiel’s prophecies related to Israel’s future restoration to its homeland and the final blessings of the messianic kingdom.


GOD BLESS YOU, MY BELOVED ROYAL FAMILY

BLESSED BE 

LORD CHRIST JESUS

OUR KING AND SAVIOR. 


MAXIMILIANO




11/11/19


Living Unselfishly


“If you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth” (James 3:14).


A wise person lives for God and others, not for self.


Having characterized spiritual wisdom in the preceding verse, James begins to analyze worldly wisdom in verse 14. Worldly wisdom is not of God. It has no relationship to Him, is not obedient to Him, and has no knowledge of His truth.


What is the motive of someone who lives according to worldly wisdom? “Bitter jealousy and selfish ambition.” The Greek word translated “bitter” also means “harsh” and is used of bitter, undrinkable water. “Bitter jealousy” carries the idea of a harsh, bitter self-centeredness that produces a resentful attitude toward others. People with bitter jealousy live in a world that focuses on themselves.


They react in a jealous manner toward anyone who threatens their territory, accomplishments, or reputation. They resent anyone who threatens to crowd their slice of this world. They consider people who differ from them as implacable enemies. And they are bitterly jealous of anyone who is successful.


The Greek term translated “selfish ambition” refers to a personal ambition that creates rivalry, antagonism, or a party spirit. That’s another way of pointing to self. The person who follows human wisdom begins with a “bitter jealousy” that creates an attitude of competition and conflict. Then “selfish ambition” generates a party spirit and bitterness toward others. James is saying that ungodly wisdom is self-centered, and its goal is personal gratification at any cost.


What about you? Are you motivated by jealousy and selfish ambition? Be honest in your evaluation. Take a serious inventory of your heart and ask yourself, Am I serving others instead of fulfilling my own desires at the expense of others?


Suggestions for Prayer

  • Ask God to convict you when you put yourself before Him and others.
  • Repent of any present situations in which you are doing that very thing.


For Further Study

Read the following verses: Genesis 37:41 Samuel 18:8Luke 15:25-3022:24.


  • What was the sin in each example?
  • Read and study 1 Corinthians 13:4-7to learn how the qualities of love are opposite to human wisdom.


Walking with God


"Enoch walked with God" (Genesis 5:24).


Walking with God includes reconciliation, obedience from the heart, and ongoing faith.

When Scripture speaks of walking with God, it's referring to one's manner of life. For example, Paul prayed that the Colossian believers (and us) would be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so they could walk (live) in a manner worthy of the Lord (Col. 1:9-10). 


To the Ephesians he said, "Walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind . . . [but] be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you" (Eph. 4:175:1-2).


The Old Testament describes Enoch as a man who walked with God. Though relatively little is said about this special man, we can derive implications from his life that will help us better understand what it means to walk with God.


First, Enoch's walk with God implies reconciliation. Amos 3:3says, "Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?" (NIV). Two people can't have intimate fellowship unless they agree. Obviously Enoch wasn't rebellious toward God, but had been reconciled with Him through faith.


Second, walking with God implies loving service. Second John 6says, "This is love, that we walk according to His commandments." We obey Christ, but our obedience is motivated by love, not legalism or fear of punishment.


Third, a godly walk implies continuing faith, "for we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7). Colossians 2:6-7adds, "As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith." By grace Enoch believed God and pleased Him all his life.


Do those who know you best see you as one who walks with God? I trust so. After all, that's the distinguishing mark of a true believer: "The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked" (1 John 2:6).


Suggestions for Prayer

Praise God for granting the reconciliation, faith, and love that enables you to walk with Him day by day.


For Further Study

What do the following verses teach about your Christian walk: Romans 8:4Galatians 5:16Ephesians 2:101 Thessalonians 2:12; and 1 John 1:7?


John Likened to Elijah


“‘For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come’” (Matthew 11:13–14).


All of God’s Old Testament revelation climaxed in John the Baptist. And the apostle John picked up the theme (which at times had been only implicit) that said, “The Messiah is coming!”

The Lord Jesus suggests a close likeness between John and the prophet Elijah, based on Malachi’s prophecy, which are the final words of the Old Testament: “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse” (Mal. 4:5–6).


That Malachi referred to the future John the Baptist and not a literally reincarnated Elijah is clear when we look at Luke 1:17—“It is he [John] who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah.” John himself clearly denied that he was actually Elijah come back (John 1:21). Rather he was like Elijah—inwardly in “spirit and power” and outwardly in independence and nonconformity.

John was uniquely great, in the mold of Elijah and more so than any man but Jesus; but God’s highest bestowing of greatness is not John’s. His greatness, Jesus declared, pales beside those like us who enter God’s spiritual kingdom by trusting in the Son as Lord and Savior. Thus true greatness is to be like Jesus Christ, not like Elijah or John the Baptist.


Ask Yourself

“Spirit and power.” How could these words more readily describe you and your ministry in the kingdom? Are these characteristics the sole possession of the overly demonstrably inclined? Or does “spirit and power” even have a gentle side in the cause of Christ?


Reading for Today:


Notes:

Ezekiel12:3 prepare…for captivity. This dramatic object lesson by the prophet called for carrying belongings out in a stealthy way as an act that depicted baggage for exile, just the bare necessities. His countrymen carried out such baggage when they went into captivity or sought to escape during Babylon’s takeover of Jerusalem (vv. 7, 11). 


Some attempting to escape were caught as in a net, like King Zedekiah who was overtaken, blinded, and forced into exile. Verse 9 indicates that Ezekiel actually did what he was told.


Ezekiel12:22 this proverb. Delay had given the people the false impression that the stroke of judgment would never come. In fact, a saying had become popular, no doubt developed by false prophets who caused the people to reject Ezekiel’s visions and prophecies (v. 27) and who gave “flattering divinations” (vv. 23, 24).


Hebrews6:1 leaving. This “leaving” does not mean to despise or abandon the basic doctrines. They are the place to start, not stop. They are the gate of entrance on the road to salvation in Christ. elementary principles of Christ. As “the oracles of God” in 5:12 refers to the Old Testament, so does this phrase. 


The writer is referring to basic Old Testament teaching that prepared the way for Messiah—the beginning teaching about Christ. These Old Testament “principles” include the 6 features listed in vv. 1, 2. go on to perfection. 


Salvation by faith in Messiah Jesus. The verb is passive, so as to indicate “let us be carried to salvation.” That is not a matter of learners being carried by teachers, but both being carried forward by God. The writer warns his Jewish readers that there is no value in stopping with the Old Testament basics and repeating (“laying again”) what was only intended to be foundational.


Hebrews 6:4 enlightened. They had received instruction in biblical truth which was accompanied by intellectual perception. Understanding the gospel is not the equivalent of regeneration (10:26, 32). In John 1:9, it is clear that enlightening is not the equivalent of salvation. tasted the heavenly gift. Tasting in the figurative sense in the New Testament refers to consciously experiencing something (2:9). The experience might be momentary or continuing. 


Christ’s “tasting” of death (2:9) was obviously momentary and not continuing or permanent. All men experience the goodness of God, but that does not mean they are all saved (Matt. 5:45Acts 17:25). 


Many Jews, during the Lord’s earthly ministry experienced the blessings from heaven He brought—in healings and deliverance from demons, as well as eating the food He created miraculously (John 6). Whether the gift refers to Christ (John 6:512 Cor. 9:15) or to the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:381 Pet. 1:12), experiencing either one was not the equivalent of salvation (John 16:8Acts 7:51).


To whom is Hebrews 6:4–6, and particularly the phrase “once enlightened,” directed?


The phrase “once enlightened” is often taken to refer to Christians. The accompanying warning, then, is taken to indicate the danger of losing their salvation if they “fall away” and “crucify again for themselves the Son of God.” But the immediate context has no mention of their being saved. They are not described with any terms that apply only to believers (such as holy, born again, righteous, or saints).


The interpretive problem arises from inaccurately identifying the spiritual condition of the ones being addressed. In this case, they were unbelievers who had been exposed to God’s redemptive truth and, perhaps, had made a profession of faith but had not exercised genuine saving faith. Another passage (10:26) addresses the same issue. The subject here is people who come in contact with the gospel but are spiritually unchanged by it. 


Apostate Christians are Christians in name only, not genuine believers who are often incorrectly thought to lose their salvation because of their sins.

There is no possibility of these verses referring to someone losing their salvation. Many Scripture passages make unmistakably clear that salvation is eternal (see, e.g., John 10:27–29Rom. 8:353839Phil. 1:61 Pet. 1:45). 


Those who want to make this passage mean that believers can lose salvation will have to admit that it would then also make the point that one could never get it back again.


GOD BLESS YOU, MY BELOVED ROYAL FAMILY

BLESSED BE 

LORD CHRIST JESUS

OUR KING AND SAVIOR. 


MAXIMILIANO





11/10/19

Walking with God

"Enoch walked with God" (Genesis 5:24).

Walking with God includes reconciliation, obedience from the heart, and ongoing faith.

When Scripture speaks of walking with God, it's referring to one's manner of life. For example, Paul prayed that the Colossian believers (and us) would be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so they could walk (live) in a manner worthy of the Lord (Col. 1:9-10). To the Ephesians he said, "Walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind . . . [but] be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you" (Eph. 4:175:1-2).

The Old Testament describes Enoch as a man who walked with God. Though relatively little is said about this special man, we can derive implications from his life that will help us better understand what it means to walk with God.

First, Enoch's walk with God implies reconciliation. Amos 3:3says, "Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?" (NIV). Two people can't have intimate fellowship unless they agree. Obviously Enoch wasn't rebellious toward God, but had been reconciled with Him through faith.

Second, walking with God implies loving service. Second John 6says, "This is love, that we walk according to His commandments." We obey Christ, but our obedience is motivated by love, not legalism or fear of punishment.

Third, a godly walk implies continuing faith, "for we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7). Colossians 2:6-7adds, "As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith." By grace Enoch believed God and pleased Him all his life.

Do those who know you best see you as one who walks with God? I trust so. After all, that's the distinguishing mark of a true believer: "The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked" (1 John 2:6).

Suggestions for Prayer

Praise God for granting the reconciliation, faith, and love that enables you to walk with Him day by day.

For Further Study

What do the following verses teach about your Christian walk: Romans 8:4Galatians 5:16Ephesians 2:101 Thessalonians 2:12; and 1 John 1:7?


PART II

Living Unselfishly

“If you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth” (James 3:14).

A wise person lives for God and others, not for self.

Having characterized spiritual wisdom in the preceding verse, James begins to analyze worldly wisdom in verse 14. Worldly wisdom is not of God. It has no relationship to Him, is not obedient to Him, and has no knowledge of His truth.

What is the motive of someone who lives according to worldly wisdom? “Bitter jealousy and selfish ambition.” The Greek word translated “bitter” also means “harsh” and is used of bitter, undrinkable water. “Bitter jealousy” carries the idea of a harsh, bitter self-centeredness that produces a resentful attitude toward others. People with bitter jealousy live in a world that focuses on themselves. They react in a jealous manner toward anyone who threatens their territory, accomplishments, or reputation. They resent anyone who threatens to crowd their slice of this world. They consider people who differ from them as implacable enemies. And they are bitterly jealous of anyone who is successful.


The Greek term translated “selfish ambition” refers to a personal ambition that creates rivalry, antagonism, or a party spirit. That’s another way of pointing to self. The person who follows human wisdom begins with a “bitter jealousy” that creates an attitude of competition and conflict. Then “selfish ambition” generates a party spirit and bitterness toward others. James is saying that ungodly wisdom is self-centered, and its goal is personal gratification at any cost.

What about you? Are you motivated by jealousy and selfish ambition? Be honest in your evaluation. Take a serious inventory of your heart and ask yourself, Am I serving others instead of fulfilling my own desires at the expense of others?

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Ask God to convict you when you put yourself before Him and others.
  • Repent of any present situations in which you are doing that very thing.

For Further Study

Read the following verses: Genesis 37:41 Samuel 18:8Luke 15:25-3022:24.

  • What was the sin in each example?
  • Read and study 1 Corinthians 13:4-7to learn how the qualities of love are opposite to human wisdom.


PART III

November 10 - John Likened to Elijah

“‘For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come’” (Matthew 11:13–14).

All of God’s Old Testament revelation climaxed in John the Baptist. And the apostle John picked up the theme (which at times had been only implicit) that said, “The Messiah is coming!”

The Lord Jesus suggests a close likeness between John and the prophet Elijah, based on Malachi’s prophecy, which are the final words of the Old Testament: “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse” (Mal. 4:5–6).

That Malachi referred to the future John the Baptist and not a literally reincarnated Elijah is clear when we look at Luke 1:17—“It is he [John] who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah.” John himself clearly denied that he was actually Elijah come back (John 1:21). Rather he was like Elijah—inwardly in “spirit and power” and outwardly in independence and nonconformity.

John was uniquely great, in the mold of Elijah and more so than any man but Jesus; but God’s highest bestowing of greatness is not John’s. His greatness, Jesus declared, pales beside those like us who enter God’s spiritual kingdom by trusting in the Son as Lord and Savior. Thus true greatness is to be like Jesus Christ, not like Elijah or John the Baptist.

Ask Yourself

“Spirit and power.” How could these words more readily describe you and your ministry in the kingdom? Are these characteristics the sole possession of the overly demonstrably inclined? Or does “spirit and power” even have a gentle side in the cause of Christ?


PART IV

Reading for Today:

Notes:

Ezekiel 12:3 prepare…for captivity. This dramatic object lesson by the prophet called for carrying belongings out in a stealthy way as an act that depicted baggage for exile, just the bare necessities. His countrymen carried out such baggage when they went into captivity or sought to escape during Babylon’s takeover of Jerusalem (vv. 7, 11). Some attempting to escape were caught as in a net, like King Zedekiah who was overtaken, blinded, and forced into exile. Verse 9 indicates that Ezekiel actually did what he was told.

Ezekiel 12:22 this proverb. Delay had given the people the false impression that the stroke of judgment would never come. In fact, a saying had become popular, no doubt developed by false prophets who caused the people to reject Ezekiel’s visions and prophecies (v. 27) and who gave “flattering divinations” (vv. 23, 24).

Hebrews 6:1 leaving. This “leaving” does not mean to despise or abandon the basic doctrines. They are the place to start, not stop. They are the gate of entrance on the road to salvation in Christ. elementary principles of Christ. As “the oracles of God” in 5:12 refers to the Old Testament, so does this phrase. The writer is referring to basic Old Testament teaching that prepared the way for Messiah—the beginning teaching about Christ. These Old Testament “principles” include the 6 features listed in vv. 1, 2. go on to perfection. Salvation by faith in Messiah Jesus. The verb is passive, so as to indicate “let us be carried to salvation.” That is not a matter of learners being carried by teachers, but both being carried forward by God. The writer warns his Jewish readers that there is no value in stopping with the Old Testament basics and repeating (“laying again”) what was only intended to be foundational.

Hebrews 6:4 enlightened. They had received instruction in biblical truth which was accompanied by intellectual perception. Understanding the gospel is not the equivalent of regeneration (10:26, 32). In John 1:9, it is clear that enlightening is not the equivalent of salvation. tasted the heavenly gift. Tasting in the figurative sense in the New Testament refers to consciously experiencing something (2:9). The experience might be momentary or continuing. Christ’s “tasting” of death (2:9) was obviously momentary and not continuing or permanent. All men experience the goodness of God, but that does not mean they are all saved (Matt. 5:45Acts 17:25). Many Jews, during the Lord’s earthly ministry experienced the blessings from heaven He brought—in healings and deliverance from demons, as well as eating the food He created miraculously (John 6). Whether the gift refers to Christ (John 6:512 Cor. 9:15) or to the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:381 Pet. 1:12), experiencing either one was not the equivalent of salvation (John 16:8Acts 7:51).


DAY 10: To whom is Hebrews 6:4–6, and particularly the phrase “once enlightened,” directed?

The phrase “once enlightened” is often taken to refer to Christians. The accompanying warning, then, is taken to indicate the danger of losing their salvation if they “fall away” and “crucify again for themselves the Son of God.” But the immediate context has no mention of their being saved. They are not described with any terms that apply only to believers (such as holy, born again, righteous, or saints).

The interpretive problem arises from inaccurately identifying the spiritual condition of the ones being addressed. In this case, they were unbelievers who had been exposed to God’s redemptive truth and, perhaps, had made a profession of faith but had not exercised genuine saving faith. Another passage (10:26) addresses the same issue. The subject here is people who come in contact with the gospel but are spiritually unchanged by it. Apostate Christians are Christians in name only, not genuine believers who are often incorrectly thought to lose their salvation because of their sins.

There is no possibility of these verses referring to someone losing their salvation. Many Scripture passages make unmistakably clear that salvation is eternal (see, e.g., John 10:27–29Rom. 8:353839Phil. 1:61 Pet. 1:45). Those who want to make this passage mean that believers can lose salvation will have to admit that it would then also make the point that one could never get it back again.


GOD BLESSES YOU!


MAXIMILIANO 



11/09/17

God's Unfathomable Ways


“Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).

Christ’s humiliation displayed God’s wisdom.

Somewhere along the path of Christ’s descent, you’d think He would have said to Himself, These people really aren’t worth redeeming. This is too degrading and humiliating!But the grace and love of God toward sinners was such that Christ stooped to die for you and me. At the end of Paul’s doctrinal survey of salvation in Romans, he said, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” (11:33). He was in awe of God’s plan of salvation—a plan no man would have devised.

If we had planned the Incarnation, we probably would have wanted Christ to be born in a palace. His family would have been wealthy and prominent, and He would have been educated in the finest universities with elite teachers and the best tutors. We would have orchestrated events so that everyone loved, revered, honored, and respected Him. He would have been in all the prominent places and met all the prominent people.

We would not have had Him born in a stable to a poor family. He would not have spent His youth in a carpenter’s shop in an obscure town. Rather than a ragtag band of followers, we would have made sure He had only the best people as His disciples, and they would have had to pass stiff qualifying tests for the privilege.

We would not have allowed Him to be humiliated. We would have imprisoned or executed anyone who spit on Him, pulled His beard, mocked Him, or hurt Him. Our plan for the Messiah would have been very different from God’s plan, and, as a result no one could have been saved. It’s no wonder the psalmist said, “Thy judgments are like a great deep” (Ps. 36:6). God’s ways are unsearchable, His truths profound. And His plan to redeem us was accomplished by Christ’s humiliation.

Suggestions for Prayer

Daniel prayed, “Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him” (Dan. 2:20). Like Daniel, worship the only wise God, who saved you.

For Further Study

Read 1 Peter 2:21-24. What did Christ leave you (v. 21)?


PART II


Christ Is Superior to Angels


"Having become . . . much better than the angels" (Heb. 1:4).

Through a deft use of the Old Testament, the writer proves that Christ is the mediator of a greater covenant.

Man is a wonderful and amazing creation—higher than plants, animals, and any other material creation in this world. But there are created beings even higher than man—angels.

Hebrews 2:9shows this to be the case because when Jesus became a man, He was "made for a little while lower than the angels." After the fall of the rebellious angels under Lucifer, the angels in heaven were no longer subject to sin. These angels are holy, powerful, and wise. They are special beings created by God before He created man.

The Jewish people understood the exalted position of angels because they knew that the Old Covenant was brought to men and maintained by angelic mediation. Galatians 3:19says, "Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed should come to whom the promise had been made."

Because of this high regard for angels by his readers, the writer of Hebrews was faced with a problem. If he was to show that Christ was the mediator of a better covenant, he would have to prove that Christ is better than angels. To do so, he used seven Old Testament passages to verify his claim.

If he had tried to prove from Christian writings that Christ is a better mediator, his unbelieving Jewish readers would have said, "We don't accept these writings as being from God." So in effect he wisely replies, "Open up your own Scriptures and I'll prove my claim from them." It results in a powerful and irresistible argument.

For the next several days, we'll see in what ways Christ is superior to angels and how He could mediate a better covenant for us.

Suggestion for Prayer

Because much of our understanding of the New Testament is based on the writings of the Old Testament, thank God for how He has brought His complete Word to us intact throughout the centuries.

For Further Study

Read Galatians 3:8Romans 9:15, and Matthew 4:4.

  • What Old Testament verses to those passages quote?
  • What truth does each of them verify?


PART III


Parable of the Sower: Superficial Hearers, Part 2


“‘The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away’” (Matthew 13:20–21).

Those who only superficially receive the gospel might be baptized, join a church, and seem for a long time to be Christians. But trials and testings will eventually expose such persons’ spiritual lifelessness. Such difficulties are not the ordinary hardships of life but the problems encountered “because of the word.” When the Christian life’s demands get too severe, the person discontinues any pretense of following the Lord.

“Falls away” is the translation of skandalizo–, the Greek verb that means to cause to stumble and can include the concept of offending someone. We get the English scandalize from it. All these ideas fit the superficial hearer because when something really tests his or her faith, they stumble, become offended, and abandon the gospel (cf. John 8:311 John 2:19).

If a person’s profession of salvation doesn’t include real conviction of sin, a strong desire for the Lord, and a love for His Word, along with willingness to suffer for Him if need be, it’s only a matter of time before that one renounces any previous profession of faith.

It is encouraging, however, that the same kind of tribulation that makes the false believer wither makes the true believer stronger. “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12); but “after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10).

Ask Yourself

Everything of real value comes with a cost. Why should Christianity be any different? Where do we get the idea that following Christ should require little effort and be met with little resistance, both from within and without?


PART IV


Reading for Today:

Notes:

Hosea13:14 Placing the strong affirmation of deliverance so abruptly after a denunciation intensified the wonder of His unrequited love (11:8, 9; Lev. 26:44). This can apply to God’s restoration of Israel from Assyria, and in future times from all the lands of the Dispersion, preserving them and bringing them back to their land for the kingdom of Messiah (Ezek. 37). It also speaks of the time of personal resurrection as in Daniel 12:23. Repentant Israelites will be restored to the land and even raised from death to glory. Paul uses this text in 1 Corinthians 15:55to celebrate the future resurrection of the church. The Messiah’s great victory over death and the grave is the firstfruits of the full harvest to come, when all believers will likewise experience the power of His resurrection.

Revelation1:4 seven churches which are in Asia. Asia Minor, equivalent to modern Turkey, was composed of 7 postal districts. At the center of those districts were 7 key cities which served as central points for the dissemination of information. It is to the churches in those cities that John writes. who is and who was and who is to come. God’s eternal presence is not limited by time. He has always been present and will come in the future. the seven Spirits. There are 2 possible meanings: 1) a reference to Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the 7-fold ministry of the Holy Spirit (Is. 11:2); or 2) more likely, it is a reference to the lamp stand with 7 lamps (a menorah) in Zechariah—also a description of the Holy Spirit (4:5; 5:6; Zech. 4:1–10). In either case, 7 is the number of completeness, so John is identifying the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

Revelation1:10 in the Spirit. This was not a dream. John was supernaturally transported out of the material world awake—not sleeping—to an experience beyond the normal senses. The Holy Spirit empowered his senses to perceive revelation from God (Acts 10:11). Lord’s Day. This phrase appears in many early Christian writings and refers to Sunday, the day of the Lord’s resurrection. Some have suggested this phrase refers to “the Day of the Lord,” but the context doesn’t support that interpretation, and the grammatical form of the word “Lord” is adjectival, thus “the Lord’s day.” loud voice. Throughout Revelation, a loud sound or voice indicates the solemnity of what God is about to reveal.

Revelation1:17 fell at His feet. A common response to seeing the awesome glory of the Lord (Gen. 17:3Num. 16:22Ezek. 1:28Is. 6:1–8Acts 9:4). First and the Last. Jesus Christ applies this Old Testament name for Yahweh (22:13; Is. 41:444:648:12) to Himself, clearly claiming to be God. Idols will come and go. He was before them, and He will remain after them.


What is the background for the Book of Revelation?

Revelation begins with John, the last surviving apostle and an old man, in exile on the small barren island of Patmos, located in the Aegean Sea southwest of Ephesus. The Roman authorities had banished him there because of his faithful preaching of the gospel (1:9). While on Patmos, John received a series of visions that laid out the future history of the world.

When he was arrested, John was in Ephesus, ministering to the church there and in the surrounding cities. Seeking to strengthen those congregations, he could no longer minister to them in person and, following the divine command (1:11), John addressed Revelation to them (1:4). The churches had begun to feel the effects of persecution; at least one man—probably a pastor—had already been martyred (2:13), and John himself had been exiled. But the storm of persecution was about to break in full fury upon the 7 churches so dear to the apostle’s heart (2:10). To those churches, Revelation provided a message of hope: God is in sovereign control of all the events of human history; and though evil often seems pervasive and wicked men all-powerful, their ultimate doom is certain. Christ will come in glory to judge and rule.

Unlike most books of the Bible, Revelation contains its own title: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ”(1:1). “Revelation” (Greek, apokalupsis) means “an uncovering,” “an unveiling,” or “a disclosure.” In all its uses, “revelation” refers to something or someone, once hidden, becoming visible. What this book reveals or unveils is Jesus Christ in glory. Truths about Him and His final victory, that the rest of Scripture merely allude to, become clearly visible through revelation about Jesus Christ.


LORD BLESS HIS ELECT

My Royal Family


LOVINGLY IN THE LOVE OF OUR LORD JESUS

E+1DAY


MAXIMILIANO



11/09/19

Submitting to Wisdom

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments” (Psalm 111:10).

Saving faith is obedient faith.

The wisdom of God resulting from the fear of the Lord leads to obedience. When we fear the Lord, we submit to His wisdom and commit ourselves to keeping His commandments. In the New Testament Jesus said the same thing: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). We aren’t always as obedient as we ought to be, but the pattern of our lives turns from disobedience to a submissive heart of obedience. First John 2:3says, “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.” A person’s claim to be a Christian is meaningless if he’s not obedient.

From a positive perspective, fearing the Lord involves obeying His commandments; from a negative perspective, it involves turning away from evil. Job 28:28says, “The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” 

Equal to wisdom is understanding, and equal to fearing the Lord is departing from evil. Proverbs 8:13says, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.” Obeying the Lord’s commandments and shunning evil are dynamics that work in the soul of one who truly fears God. The fear of the Lord is not some feeling you try to generate within yourself; it’s the result of believing in the true God and living a life of love and obedience to Him. What about you? Does obedience to God’s Word characterize your life?

Suggestions for Prayer

Jesus Christ paid the price for your sin and ushered you into a relationship with God. Honor His work by obeying His Word, and ask Him to help you see evil from His perspective.

For Further Study

Read the following verses: Deuteronomy 6:1-213-15248:610:12-1313:417:1928:58-5931:12. What characterizes the life of a person who fears the Lord?



PART TWO

The First Disciple

"Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. And Abel . . . brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard" (Gen. 4:3-5).

True discipleship is characterized by obedience to God’s Word.

In John 8:31Jesus issued an important statement to a group of people who were showing an interest in Him: "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine." Sadly, they rejected His words, proving themselves to be less than true disciples. Jesus went on to explain why: "He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God" (v. 47). 

They listened but didn't really hear. They were interested but not truly committed. They were hearers of the Word but not doers (James 1:22).

In contrast, Abel did what God told him to do. He wa s, in effect, the first disciple. He was probably a better person than Cain—more friendly, moral, and dependable—but that's not why God accepted his sacrifice and rejected Cain's. Abel trusted God, and his faith was counted as righteousness. Like Abraham, whose faith was evidenced by his willingness to obey God and sacrifice his son Isaac (James 2:21-22), Abel's faith was evidenced in his obedient offering. 

He didn't rely on his own goodness but acknowledged his sin and made the prescribed sacrifice.

Perhaps God indicated His acceptance of Abel's sacrifice by consuming it with fire, as He did on other occasions in Scripture (Judg. 6:211 Kings 18:38). But whatever means He used, God made his pleasure known to Abel.

Abel's brief life conveys a simple three-point message: we must come to God by faith; we must receive and obey God's Word; and sin brings serious consequences. If you hear and heed that message, you'll walk the path of true discipleship and be assured of God's pleasure.

Suggestions for Prayer

Make it your goal to please the Lord in everything you do today. Seek His wisdom and grace to do so faithfully.

For Further Study

Read these verses, noting what they say about pleasing God: 2 Corinthians 5:9Ephesians 5:6-10Philippians 2:12-13Hebrews 11:6; and Hebrews 13:15-1620-21.



PART THREE

John’s Greatness: His Privileged Call

“‘But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one who is more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written, “Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, who will prepare Your way before You.” Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he’” (Matthew 11:9–11).

God always calls the right person to the right position in the realm of greatness. In John, the greatest man and the greatest human assignment converged—God called him as the valedictory prophet, the most dynamic, articulate, confrontational, and powerful spokesman ever.

Jesus quotes Malachi 3:1in declaring to the people that John’s privileged call meant he was more than an ordinary prophet. We could expand the Lord’s quotation this way: “Behold, I, Yahweh, send My messenger John the Baptist to be the forerunner of You, the Messiah, and to prepare the people for Your coming.” After centuries of divine preparation and prophecy, God gave John the unequaled privilege of heralding Messiah’s coming.

Jesus’ point here in calling John the greatest is that, humanly speaking, he was the greatest person who had lived until that time. With his superior human qualities, John was unequaled until the God-Man Himself came to earth.

John the Baptist was a spiritual giant, but his privileged call mainly concerned his historic role. In spiritual inheritance, every believer is the equal of John: “The least in the kingdom of heaven [the spiritual realm] is greater than he.” Average saints are greater than anyone in the human realm, including John the Baptist, the one called to be the messianic forerunner. 

That’s a reality for which we should be ever thankful as Christians.

Ask Yourself

How would you define the specific calling God has placed on your life? What duties and responsibilities go into your faithful performance of it? How is God employing your natural abilities in serving Him, while also providing you spiritual gifts as vehicles of grace to others?



PART FOUR

Reading for Today:

Notes:

Ezekiel8:3 in visions of God. Ezekiel 8–11 deals with details conveyed only to Ezekiel in visions. Ezekiel’s trip to Jerusalem was in spirit only, while his body physically remained in his house. In visions he went to Jerusalem and in visions he returned to Babylon (11:24). After God finished the visions, Ezekiel told his home audience what he had seen. The visions are not a description of deeds done in the past in Israel, but a survey of Israel’s current condition, as they existed at that very time. the seat…image of jealousy. 

God represents to Ezekiel the image of an idol (Deut. 4:16) in the entrance to the inner court of the temple. It is called “the image of jealousy” because it provoked the Lord to jealousy (5:13; 16:38; 36:6; 38:19; Ex. 20:5).

Ezekiel 8:14 weeping for Tammuz. Yet a greater abomination than the secret cult was Israel’s engaging in the Babylonian worship of Tammuz or Dumuzi (Duzu), beloved of Ishtar, the god of spring vegetation. Vegetation burned in the summer, died in the winter, and came to life in the spring. The women mourned over the god’s demise in July and longed for his revival. The fourth month of the Hebrew calendar still bears the name Tammuz. With the worship of this idol were connected the basest immoralities.

Psalm120:4 Sharp arrows…coals. Lies and false accusations are likened to 1) the pain/injury inflicted in battle by arrows and 2) the pain of being burned with charcoal made from the wood of a broom tree (a desert bush that grows 10 to 15 feet high).

Hebrews4:12 two-edged sword. 

While the Word of God is comforting and nourishing to those who believe, it is a tool of judgment and execution for those who have not committed themselves to Jesus Christ. Some of the Hebrews were merely going through the motions of belonging to Christ. Intellectually, they were at least partly persuaded, but inside they were not committed to Him. God’s Word would expose their shallow beliefs and even their false intentions (1 Sam. 16:71 Pet. 4:5). division of soul and spirit. 

These terms do not describe two separate entities (any more than “thoughts and intents” do) but are used as one might say “heart and soul” to express fullness (Luke 10:27Acts 4:321 Thess. 5:23). Elsewhere these two terms are used interchangeably to describe man’s immaterial self, his eternal inner person.

What does Hebrews 4:14–16teach about prayer?

Just as the high priest under the Old Covenant passed through 3 areas (the outer court, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies) to make the atoning sacrifice, Jesus passed through 3 heavens (the atmospheric heaven, the stellar heaven, and God’s abode; 2 Cor. 12:2–4) after making the perfect, final sacrifice (v. 14).

Once a year on the Day of Atonement the high priest of Israel would enter the Holy of Holies to make atonement for the sins of the people (Lev. 16). That tabernacle was but a limited copy of the heavenly reality (8:1–5).

When Jesus entered into the heavenly Holy of Holies, having accomplished redemption, the earthly facsimile was replaced by the reality of heaven itself. Freed from that which is earthly, the Christian faith is characterized by the heavenly (3:1; Eph. 1:32:6Phil. 3:20Col. 1:51 Pet. 1:4).

And Jesus as our High Priest was “in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (v. 15). Jesus became fully capable of understanding and sympathizing with His human brethren.

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace” (v. 16). Most ancient rulers were unapproachable by anyone but their highest advisers (Esth. 4:11). In contrast, the Holy Spirit calls for all to come confidently before God’s throne to receive mercy and grace through Jesus Christ. The ark of the covenant was viewed as the place on earth where God sat enthroned between the cherubim (2 Kin. 19:15Jer. 3:1617). Oriental thrones included a footstool—yet another metaphor for the ark (Ps. 132:7). It was at the throne of God that Christ made atonement for sins, and it is there that grace is dispensed to believers for all the issues of life (2 Cor. 4:159:812:9Eph. 1:72:7).

GOD BLESS YOU, MY BELOVED ROYAL FAMILY

BLESSED BE 

LORD CHRIST JESUS

OUR KING AND SAVIOR. 

MAXIMILIANO



11/08/19

Knowing God

“‘“The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom”’” (Job 28:28).

Being wise begins with knowing God.

The fear of the Lord is the most basic idea related to wisdom and is the key to understanding it. The Book of Proverbs especially teaches us that the fear of the Lord is inextricably linked to wisdom: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Prov. 1:7). 

Knowledgewisdominstruction, and understandingare often used as synonyms in Proverbs. The link between fear of the Lord and wisdom is also evident in Proverbs 9:10: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Since wisdom and understanding are parallel, so are the fear of the Lord and knowledge of the Holy One. To know God and to fear God are one and the same.

What does it mean to fear God? It’s a reverential trust, or simply another way of describing saving faith. We begin to be wise when we revere God and trust in Him. When an Old Testament saint wanted to evangelize, he might have said, “Fear God!”

When you read in the Bible of people fearing God or that fearing God is linked to wisdom, that means a person can’t even begin to be wise until he is first converted. Fearing God is the initiation of a life of faith. As long as a person has only human wisdom, he can’t know God or true wisdom.

The fear of the Lord is your entrance to wisdom. It will prolong your life, fulfill your life, enrich your life—it isyour life (cf. Prov. 10:2714:27). It will open the continual flow of God’s wisdom to you. The significance of everything is tied to the wisdom of God, which alone will give you proper values, guidance, instruction, and perspective in life. Apply His wisdom to your life daily, and enjoy all the benefits that wisdom has to offer.

Suggestions for Prayer

Praise God for His wisdom by which you are so abundantly blessed.

For Further Study

God’s wisdom enriches our life and gives us proper values and instruction. Read Proverbs 10:1-12, and notice how that is so.



PART TWO

Worshiping God His Way

"By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain" (Heb 11:4).

True worship requires coming to God on His terms.

At the heart of every false religion is the notion that man can come to God by any means he chooses—by meditating, doing good deeds, and so on. But Scripture says, "There is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). That name is Jesus Christ, and we come to Him by confessing and repenting of our sin, trusting in His atoning death on the cross, and affirming His bodily resurrection from the grave (cf. Rom. 10:9-10). 

There is no other way to God.

Centuries before Christ's death, God provided a means of worship and sacrifice. Genesis 4:3-5says, "It came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. And Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard."

Apparently God had designated a special time for sacrificing because "in the course of time" (v. 3) literally means, "at the end of days"—at the end of a certain period of time. Additionally, He initiated a particular pattern for worship and sacrifices. Otherwise Cain and Abel would have known nothing about how it was to be done.

God required a blood offering for sin. Abel came in faith, acknowledged his sin, and made the appropriate sacrifice. His offering was better than Cain's because Cain neglected the prescribed sacrifice, thereby demonstrating his unwillingness to submit to God and deal with his sin.

There was nothing intrinsically wrong with Cain's offering. Grain, fruit, or vegetable offerings were included in the Mosaic covenant. But the sin offering had to come first. Like so many today, Cain wrongly assumed he could approach God on his own terms. In doing so he became the father of all false religions, and his name became synonymous with rebellion and apostasy (cf. Jude 11).

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for graciously providing salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
  • Be careful never to approach Him irreverently or presumptuously.

For Further Study

Read Jude 11. How did Jude describe the false teachers of his day?



PART THREE

John’s Greatness: His Self-Denial

“‘But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ palaces!’” (Matthew 11:8).

The easy way is seldom if ever the way of success. Great generals risk their lives just as their troops do. Great athletes train relentlessly, forgoing the pleasure most people take for granted. And in order to help save other lives, medical researchers sometimes risk exposure to deadly disease to find cures.

The self-indulgent person is not willing to live as John the Baptist did. He wore camel’s hair and a leather belt and ate locusts and honey (Matt. 3:4). His lifestyle was a down-to-earth protest against self-indulgence and self-centeredness. John lived completely apart from the hypocritical, corrupt political and religious systems of his day. His devotion to God’s kingdom completely superseded any personal comforts or attractions to the world’s standards. 

Prior to John’s birth, the angel predicted to Zacharias, John’s father, that John would “be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 1:15). That was part of the Nazirite vow, along with pledging not to cut one’s hair or touch anything unclean, that many Jews took for a few months or years. But John, along with Samson (Judg. 13:716:17) and Samuel (1 Sam. 1:11), took the vow for life. 

John the Baptist had a lifelong, voluntary commitment to self-denial as an act of devotion and service to God—one aspect of his greatness that Jesus praised.

Ask Yourself

What have you sacrificed in order to stay true to the will of God? What are some things—even good, sinless things—that others are allowed to enjoy, but which cannot be a part of your life for one reason or another?



PART FOUR

Reading for Today:

Notes:

Ezekiel5:1–4 a barber’s razor. The sign in Ezekiel’s shaving his hair illustrated the severe humiliation to come at the hand of enemies, emphasizing calamities to three segments of Jerusalem due to the Babylonian conquest. Some were punished by fire, i.e., pestilence and famine (v. 12), others died by the enemy’s sword, and some were dispersed and pursued by death (v. 12). A small part of his hair clinging to his garment (v. 3) depicted a remaining remnant, some of whom were subject to further calamity (v. 4; 6:8; Jer. 41–44).

Ezekiel6:7 you shall know that I am the LORD. This clause recurs in vv. 10, 13, 14, and 60 times elsewhere in the book. It shows that the essential reason for judgment is the violation of the character of God. This is repeatedly acknowledged in Leviticus 18–26, where the motive for all obedience to God’s law is the fact that He is the Lord God.

Hebrews3:1 consider. The writer asks for the readers’ complete attention and diligent observation of the superiority of Jesus Christ. Apostle and High Priest. An apostle is a “sent one” who has the rights, power, and authority of the one who sends him. Jesus was sent to earth by the Father (John 3:17345:36–388:42). The topic of the High Priesthood of Christ, which was begun in 2:17,18 and is mentioned again here, will be taken up again in greater detail in 4:14–10:18.

Meanwhile, the writer presents the supremacy of Christ to Moses (vv. 1–6), to Joshua (4:8), and to all other national heroes and Old Testament preachers whom Jews held in high esteem. Jesus Himself spoke of His superiority to Moses in the same context in which He spoke of His being sent by the Father (John 5:36–3845–47Luke 16:29–31). 

Moses had been sent by God to deliver His people from historical Egypt and its bondage (Ex. 3:10). Jesus was sent by God to deliver His people from spiritual Egypt and its bondage (2:15). of our confession. Christ is the center of our confession of faith in the gospel, both in creed and public testimony. The term is used again in 4:14 and 10:23. In all 3 uses in Hebrews, there is a sense of urgency. Surely, the readers would not give up Christ, whom they had professed, and reject what He had done for them, if they could understand the superiority of His Person and work.

What are the central warnings for believers in the Book of Hebrews?

Beyond its value as a doctrinal treatise, this book is intensely practical in its application to everyday living. The writer himself even refers to his letter as a “word of exhortation” (13:22). 

Exhortations designed to stir the readers into action are found throughout the text. Those exhortations are given in the form of 6 warnings:

1. Warning against drifting from “the things we have heard” (2:1–4)

2. Warning against disbelieving the “voice” of God (3:7–14)

3. Warning against degenerating from “the elementary principles of Christ” (5:11–6:20)

4. Warning against despising “the knowledge of the truth” (10:26–39)

5. Warning against devaluing “the grace of God” (12:15–17)

6. Warning against departing from Him “who speaks” (12:25–29)

For example, when the writer warns of the danger of drifting (2:1), he uses some vivid nautical terms. The phrase “earnest heed” refers to mooring a ship by securing it to a dock. The second phrase “drift away” was often used of a ship that had been allowed to drift past the harbor. The warning is to secure oneself to the truth of the gospel in such a way as to not pass by the only harbor of salvation. The alternate tendency toward apathy points to those who make a shipwreck of their lives.

GOD BLESS YOU, MY BELOVED ROYAL FAMILY

BLESSED BE 

LORD CHRIST JESUS

OUR KING AND SAVIOR. 

MAXIMILIANO



11/07/19

Searching for Wisdom

“‘Where can wisdom be found?’” (Job 28:12).

Wisdom is found in a Person, not a place.

In ancient days men would drill a shaft deep into a mountain or the ground, suspend themselves with a rope, and hang in the shaft while they tried to find some metal or precious stone to mine. In the Old Testament Job described the process this way: “He [man] sinks a shaft far from habitation, forgotten by the foot; they hang and swing to and fro far from men” (Job 28:4). 

The miner searched far below the earth’s surface for “anything precious” (v. 10).

Man goes to great efforts to search for precious metals. “But,” Job says, “where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its value, nor is it found in the land of the living. . . . Pure gold cannot be given in exchange for it, nor can silver be weighed as its price” (vv. 12-13, 15). Nothing in the world can buy wisdom, and it can’t be found in the things of the world.

So where does wisdom come from? Job says, “It is hidden from the eyes of all living. . . . Abaddon [Destruction] and Death say, ‘With our ears we have heard a report of it.’ God understands its way; and He knows its place” (vv. 2123). If you are searching for wisdom, go to God. He knows where wisdom is because “He looks to the ends of the earth, and sees everything under the heavens. . . . And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding’” (vv. 24, 28).

What is true wisdom? To fear God and depart from evil. Wisdom isn’t a question of how much you know, but of whether you love the Lord your God and depart from sin. Only when you pursue God will you know true wisdom.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to help you adorn your life with the ornaments of His true wisdom and have a winsome testimony that attracts others to Christ.

For Further Study

Read the following verses, noting how both the Old and New Testaments tell us that God is the source of true wisdom: Job 9:4Psalm 104:24Proverbs 3:19-20Romans 11:33Ephesians 3:101 Timothy 1:17 (NKJV).



PART TWO

Leaving a Righteous Legacy

"By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks" (Heb 11:4).

The character of your life will determine the legacy you leave to others.

Bible scholar James Moffatt wrote, "Death is never the last word in the life of a . . . man. When a man leaves this world, be he righteous or unrighteous, he leaves something in the world. He may leave something that will grow and spread like a cancer or a poison, or he may leave something like the fragrance of perfume or a blossom of beauty that permeates the atmosphere with blessing."

That's illustrated in the lives of Adam and Eve's first sons: Cain and Abel. Cain was an unrighteous man who sought to please God by his own efforts. God rejected him (Gen. 4:5). Abel was a righteous man who worshiped God in true faith. God accepted Him (v. 4).

In a jealous rage, Cain murdered Abel, becoming the first human being to take the life of another. He forever stands as a testimony to the utter tragedy of attempting to please God apart from true faith. For "without faith," Hebrews 11:6says, "it is impossible to please Him." Cain tried and failed—as have millions who have followed in his footsteps.

Abel, on the other hand, was the first man of faith. Prior to the Fall, Adam and Eve had no need of faith in the same way as their descendants. They lived in the paradise of Eden and had direct contact with God. Their children were the first to have need of faith in its fullest sense.

Cain's legacy is rebellion, heartache, and judgment. Abel's is righteousness, justice, and saving faith. His life proclaims the central message of redemption: righteousness is by faith alone.

What legacy will you leave to those who follow? I pray they will see in you a pattern of righteousness and faithfulness that inspires them to follow suit.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Praise God for righteous Abel and all who have followed his example.
  • Ask Him to guard you from ever rebelling against His Word.

For Further Study

Read Genesis 4:1-16and 1 John 3:11-12.

  • What was God's counsel to Cain after rejecting his offering?
  • Why did Cain kill Abel?
  • How did God punish Cain?




PART THREE

John’s Greatness: Strong Convictions

“As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?’” (Matthew 11:7).

The world uses many standards—intellectual achievement, public service, wealth, athletic skill, and others—to measure greatness. But here Jesus begins to portray real greatness in the character qualities of John the Baptist. Strength of conviction was one of those qualities, and it was even more remarkable given his doubts about Jesus that John’s disciples had just presented. His foundational convictions were strong enough that raising some doubts was not a cause for embarrassment or shame for John.

But hearing of John’s doubt caused perplexity among the onlookers. Was the Baptist, the model of boldness and certainty, no longer trustworthy in view of his public admission of misgivings about Jesus?

To reaffirm that John’s convictions were strong, Jesus appealed to the listeners’ own experiences, asking in effect, “Was the spokesman you saw preaching and baptizing uncertain and vacillating, like ‘a reed shaken by the wind’?” The reed was common to the riverbanks of the Middle East, a light and flexible stalk that easily bent back and forth in the wind. But the people knew that if ever there had been a man of unswerving belief, it was John. In fact, his bold stand for righteousness had landed him in prison.

“A double-minded man [is] unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8; cf. Eph. 4:14). But that was not John the Baptist, who like William Penn believed that “right is right, even if everyone is against it, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it.”

Ask Yourself

In what ways has your life exhibited reed-like qualities, bending to challenges that required a sturdy backbone and a steady faith? How, on the other hand, has God enabled you to mirror the boldness of John in your obedience to Christ’s call? Thank God for His provision and empowerment.




PART FOUR

Reading for Today:

Notes:

Ezekiel
3:8,9 I have made your face strong. What God commands (“do not be afraid”) He gives sufficiency to do (“I have made”), so God will enable the prophet to live up to his name (which means “strengthened by God”). 2:2; 3:14, 24; Is. 41:10Jer. 1:817.

Ezekiel3:9 rebellious. It is sad to observe that the exile and affliction did not make the Jews more responsive to God; rather, they were hardened by their sufferings. God gave Ezekiel a “hardness” to surpass the people and sustain his ministry as prophet to the exiles.

Ezekiel3:17 a watchman. This role was spiritually analogous to the role of watchmen on a city wall, vigilant to spot the approach of an enemy and warn the residents to muster a defense. The prophet gave timely warnings of approaching judgment. The work of a watchman is vividly set forth in 2 Samuel 18:24–27and 2 Kings 9:17–20.

Hebrews2:4 signs…wonders,…miracles…gifts. The supernatural powers demonstrated by Jesus and by His apostles were the Father’s divine confirmation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, His Son (John 10:38Acts 2:22Rom. 15:191 Cor. 14:222 Cor.12:12). 

This authentication of the message was the purpose of such miraculous deeds. the Holy Spirit. The epistle’s first reference to the Holy Spirit refers in passing to His ministry of confirming the message of salvation by means of miraculous gifts. Mentioned elsewhere in the epistle are the Holy Spirit’s involvement in the revelation of Scripture (3:7; 10:15), in teaching (9:8), in pre-salvation operations (6:4, perhaps His convicting work; 10:29, common grace), and in ministry to Christ (9:14).

Hebrews2:14 partaken…shared. The Greek word for “partaken” means fellowship, communion, or partnership. “Shared” means to take hold of something that is not related to one’s own kind. The Son of God was not by nature “flesh and blood,” but took upon Himself that nature for the sake of providing redemption for mankind. death…power of death. 

This is the ultimate purpose of the Incarnation: Jesus came to earth to die. By dying, He was able to conquer death in His resurrection (John 14:19). By conquering death, He rendered Satan powerless against all who are saved. Satan’s using the power of death is subject to God’s will (Job 2:6).

Hebrews2:17 propitiation. The word means “to conciliate” or “satisfy.” Christ’s work of propitiation is related to His High Priestly ministry. By His partaking of a human nature, Christ demonstrated His mercy to mankind and His faithfulness to God by satisfying God’s requirement for sin and thus obtaining for His people full forgiveness.

How can we know whether Ezekiel’s language is descriptive of a literal event or symbolic of an idea or principle?

Ezekiel’s life offered his audience a sequence of experiences and actions that became teachable moments. Some of these were scenes in visions that held special significance. For example, the first three chapters of the book report extended visions in which the prophet saw a whirlwind, heavenly creatures, and an edible scroll. He also received his call to the prophetic ministry.

In addition, Ezekiel carried out certain unusual or highly symbolic actions that were intended to picture a message or convey a warning. In 4:1–3, the prophet was directed to carve on a clay tablet and then use an iron plate as a sign about the danger facing Jerusalem. Other acted-out sermons followed: symbolic sleeping postures (4:4–8), siege bread making and baking (4:9–17), and haircutting and burning (5:1–4). 

God instructed Ezekiel to respond even to the tragedies in his life in such a way that a message was communicated to the people. The prophet learned of his wife’s impending death but was told by God that his loss would provide an important lesson the people needed to hear. Just as Ezekiel was not allowed to mourn, the people would not be allowed to mourn when they finally faced the “death” of Jerusalem. 

“‘Thus Ezekiel is a sign to you; according to all that he has done you shall do; and when this comes, you shall know that I am the Lord GOD’” (Ezek. 24:24).

The unique nature of Ezekiel’s approach creates a striking contrast between the clarity of his message and the willful rejection of that message by the people. His ministry removed every excuse.

GOD BLESS YOU, MY BELOVED ROYAL FAMILY

BLESSED BE 

LORD CHRIST JESUS

OUR KING AND SAVIOR. 

MAXIMILIANO




11/06/19

Living a Fulfilled Life

“Fear God and keep His commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Living life apart from God is futile.

The Book of Ecclesiastes is greatly misunderstood. It is a difficult book to read simply because it is hard to understand. Everything in it appears wrong and as if it doesn’t fit with the rest of Scripture. But it is part of the Old Testament wisdom literature because it is a statement of human wisdom. Ecclesiastes tells us how man perceives his world, God, and the realities of life.

Most scholars believe Ecclesiastes was penned by Solomon. They debate whether he wrote it before he was a true believer or after. He may have written it in retrospect, or he may have penned it sometime before he had a full understanding of the life-changing truth of God.

Ecclesiastes is a fascinating book because it reveals the folly, uselessness, senselessness, and frustration of human wisdom—that which James calls “earthly, natural, demonic” (James 3:15). In Ecclesiastes 1:16Solomon says to himself, “Behold, I have magnified and increased wisdom more than all who were over Jerusalem before me.” 

That verse shows me that when God initially gave Solomon wisdom, He gave it to him on a human level. He gave Solomon wisdom to make successful decisions and judgments as king. But although divine wisdom was available to him, I believe Solomon opted for human wisdom the greater portion of his life. And that wisdom was never able to answer his ultimate questions.

The sum of Solomon’s perspective on human wisdom is in Ecclesiastes 4:23: “I congratulated the dead who are already dead more than the living who are still living. But better off than both of them is the one who has never existed.” That’s a death wish and is the logical end of worldly wisdom—futility.

Fortunately, Solomon did eventually embrace true wisdom. At the end of his book, he said, “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person” (12:13). What then can satisfy your heart and make life worth living? The wisdom of God alone.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to help you follow His ways for a blessed and fulfilled life.

For Further Study

Read Proverbs 3:13-26, noting how the benefits of true wisdom are in contrast to what Solomon experienced.



PART TWO

Knowledge Through Faith

"By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible."

God’s greatest truths are discovered by simple faith.

As a man or woman of faith, you have insights into life that unbelievers can't know. You know how the physical universe began, where it is heading, and how it will end. You know Who governs the universe and how you fit into the total scheme of things. You know why you exist and how to invest your life in matters of eternal consequence.

Unbelievers can't possibly appreciate those things because "a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised" (1 Cor. 2:14).

Some of the most basic issues of life remain a mystery to most people because they refuse God's counsel. For example, the most brilliant thinkers have never agreed on the origin of the universe. Theirs is a futile attempt to explain what is beyond the realm of scientific investigation.

But such things aren't beyond the realm of knowing—if a person is willing to be taught by God's Word. For the Bible clearly states that God spoke the physical universe into existence, creating visible matter from what was non-physical or invisible (Rom. 4:17). No humans observed that event. It cannot be measured or repeated. It must be taken by faith.

Any attempt to explain the origin of the universe or the nature of man apart from God's Word is foolhardy. The unregenerate mind, no matter how brilliant it might be, cannot fathom such things.

So never feel you have to apologize for trusting God's Word. Let the confidence of the psalmist be yours: "I have more insight than all my teachers, for Thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, because I have observed Thy precepts" (Ps. 119:99-100).

Suggestions for Prayer

Read Genesis 1-2 as a reminder of the power and wisdom of God in creating the universe. From those chapters select specific things to praise Him for.

For Further Study

Memorize Psalm 19:1. Can you think of ways that the natural creation brings glory to God? (See also Romans 1:18-20.)



PART THREE

Jesus Reassures John, Part 2

“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me’” (Matthew 11:4–6).

Jesus’ deity and His message of salvation by grace through faith have been great stumbling blocks for many unbelieving sinners, but Christ did not want such doubt and unbelief to affect John. It is likely that the Lord’s response was more than adequate to renew John’s faith and confidence, even though his circumstances, humanly speaking, went from bad to worse and he was beheaded.

After burying John’s body, his disciples reported the news to Jesus (Matt. 14:12), probably because the most important person in John’s life was now their Savior as well. At death, John likely still wondered when Jesus would judge the wicked and establish His righteous kingdom. The forerunner probably also regretted not being able to see the great events he’d faithfully preached about. But his doubts about Jesus’ identity were at an end, and he was content to leave in God’s sovereign hands the things he never fully understood.  This last trait is the secret for any saint who would be blessed and not cause offense.

The Baptist would have ultimately affirmed the apostle John's later declaration, "Beloved, now we are children of God . . . we know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure" (1 John 3:2–3). Knowing this, we can always approach Jesus, even while in temporary doubt.

Ask Yourself

Have you ever thought about what your final words will be if the Lord enables you to utter some parting thoughts at your passing? How do you think you’d want to sum up your experience on earth with the Lord and your perspective on life, looking back?



PART FOUR

Reading for Today:

Notes:

Ezekiel1:4 whirlwind…fire. Judgment on Judah in a further and totally devastating phase (beyond the 597 B.C. deportation) is to come out of the north, and did come from Babylon in 588–586 (as Jer. 39; 40). Its terror is depicted by a fiery whirlwind emblematic of God’s judgments and the golden brightness signifying dazzling glory.

Ezekiel1:16 wheel in the middle of a wheel. This depicted the gigantic (v. 15, “on the earth” and “so high,” v. 18) energy of the complicated revolutions of God’s massive judgment machinery bringing about His purposes with unerring certainty.

Ezekiel2:2 the Spirit entered me. What God commands a servant to do (v. 1), He gives power to fulfill by His Spirit (3:14; Zech. 4:6). This pictures the selective empowering by the Holy Spirit to enable an individual for special service to the Lord, which occurred frequently in the Old Testament. (For examples see 11:5; 37:1; Num. 24:2Judg. 3:106:3411:2913:251 Sam.10:1016:131419:202 Chr. 15:1Luke 4:18.)

Hebrews1:2 last days. Jews understood the “last days” to mean the time when the Messiah (Christ) would come (Num. 24:14Jer. 33:14–16Mic. 5:12Zech. 9:916). The fulfillment of the messianic prophecies commenced with the advent of the Messiah. Since He came, it has been the “last days” (1 Cor. 10:11James 5:31 Pet. 1:204:71 John 2:18). In the past, God gave revelation through His prophets; but in these times, beginning with the Messiah’s Advent, God spoke the message of redemption through the Son. heir. 

Everything that exists will ultimately come under the control of the Son of God, the Messiah. This “inheritance” is the full extension of the authority which the Father has given to the Son (Dan. 7:1314Matt. 28:18), as the “firstborn.” worlds. The word can also be translated “ages.” It refers to time, space, energy, and matter—the entire universe and everything that makes it function (John 1:3).

Hebrews1:8, 9 He saysQuoting from Psalm 45:67, the writer argues for the Deity and the lordship of the Son over creation (v. 3). The text is all the more significant since the declaration of the Son’s Deity is presented as the words of the Father Himself (Is. 9:6Jer. 23:56John 5:18Titus 2:131 John 5:20). It is clear that the writer of Hebrews had the 3 messianic offices in mind: Prophet (v. 1), Priest (v. 3), and King (vv. 3, 8). Induction into those 3 offices required anointing (v. 9). The title “Messiah” (“Christ”) means “anointed one” (Is. 61:1–3Luke 4:16–21).

To which Hebrews was this book written?

Although the author and the original recipients of this letter are unknown, the title, dating as early as the second century A.D., had been “To the Hebrews.” The title certainly fits the content. The epistle exudes a Jewish mind-set. References to Hebrew history and religion abound. And since no particular Gentile or pagan practice gains any attention in the book, the church has kept the traditional title.

A proper interpretation of this epistle requires the recognition that it addresses 3 distinct groups of Hebrews:

  1. Hebrew Christians who suffered rejection and persecution by fellow Jews (10:32–34), although none as yet had been martyred (12:4). The letter was written to give them encouragement and confidence in Christ, their Messiah and High Priest. They were an immature group of believers who were tempted to hold on to the symbolic and spiritually powerless rituals and traditions of Judaism.
  2. Jewish unbelievers who were intellectually convinced of the basic truths of the gospel but who had not placed their faith in Jesus Christ as their own Savior and Lord. They were intellectually persuaded but spiritually uncommitted. These unbelievers are addressed in such passages as 2:1–3; 6:4–6; 10:26–29; and 12:15–17.
  3. Jewish unbelievers who were attracted by the gospel and the Person of Christ but who had reached no final conviction about Him. Chapter 9 is largely devoted to them.

GOD BLESS YOU, MY BELOVED ROYAL FAMILY

BLESSED BE 

LORD CHRIST JESUS

OUR KING AND SAVIOR. 

MAXIMILIANO



11/05/19

Being Wise in Adversity

“Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom” (James 3:13).

Wisdom teaches us how to handle adversity.

In his wonderful commentary on the book of James, Robert Johnstone wrote the following about meekness:

That “the meek” should “inherit the earth”—that they bear wrongs, and exemplify the love which “seeketh not her own”—to a world that believes in high-handedness and self-assertion, and pushing the weakest to the wall, a statement like this of the Lord from Heaven cannot but appear an utter paradox. The man of the world desires to be counted anything but “meek” or “poor in spirit,” and would deem such a description of him equivalent to a charge of unmanliness.

Ah, brethren, this is because we have taken in Satan’s conception of manliness instead of God’s. One man has been shown us by God, in whom His ideal of man was embodied; and He, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, threatened not, but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously: He for those who nailed Him to the tree prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” The world’s spirit of wrath, then, must be folly; whilst than a spirit of meekness like His, in the midst of controversy, oppositions, trials of whatever kind, there can be no surer evidence that “Jesus is made of God to His people wisdom” (The Epistle of James[Minneapolis: Klock & Klock, 1978], 272-273).

Johnstone recognized more than a hundred years ago what we need to know today—that the wisdom of man is arrogant, conceited, and self-serving, whereas the wisdom of God is humble, meek, and non-retaliatory.

The contrast between false wisdom and true wisdom is crystal-clear. Be sure you handle adversity in a Christlike way, knowing that every detail of your life is under God’s sovereign control.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank the Lord for His example of how to respond to adversity (cf. 1 Peter 2:21-24).

For Further Study

Read Philippians 2:1-11, applying Christ’s example to your life (vv. 1-5).



PART TWO

Gaining God's Approval

"By [faith] the men of old gained approval" (Heb. 11:2).

God makes His approval known to those who trust in Him.

The book Catch-22tells of a squadron of World War II fliers stationed on the fictitious island of Pianos in the Mediterranean. Before a flier could transfer off the island, he had to complete 25 extremely dangerous missions over southern Europe.

One flier, Yosarian, was especially anxious to leave. 

After completing his twenty-fifth mission, his commanding officer began raising the number of qualifying missions. 

Insanity became the only justification for a transfer. But the commander decided that whomever feigned insanity to obtain a transfer simply proved his sanity by that sane act!

Realizing it was all a cruel game with no way out, Yosarian devised a plan to build a raft and float to Sweden. Even though there was a whole continent between him and Sweden and the ocean currents would take him in the opposite direction, he couldn't be dissuaded. He took a leap into the absurd with a hopeless and impossible plan to escape a hopeless and impossible situation.

In their relentless quest for meaning in life, many people become spiritual Yosarians. Rejecting God, who is the only sure and rational answer to life, they jump headlong into alcohol, drugs, witchcraft, astrology, reincarnation, or countless other absurdities.

Many acknowledge God, but try to gain His approval through self-righteous deeds apart from true faith. In either case the results are the same: no faith, no salvation, no hope, no peace, and no assurance.

But those who take God at His word and approach Him in true faith receive His approval and enjoy His blessings. Theirs isn't a blind leap into the absurd, but a living hope in the God who made man and who alone can fulfill man's deepest longings. 

They know the joy and satisfaction of a life spent in service to Christ, and the peace and assurance that all is well—both now and for eternity.

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray for those you know who have rejected God or are trying to gain His approval on their own. Explain to them the meaning and purpose Christ alone can bring to their lives.

For Further Study

According to 2 Timothy 2:24-26, what is the spiritual state of those who oppose the gospel, and how are we to approach them?



PART THREE

Jesus Reassures John, Part 1

“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me’” (Matthew 11:4–6).

The Lord Jesus always has the best answer for every distinct situation. Rather than a terse yes-or-no answer to John the Baptist, Jesus reported to his disciples a reminder of the healing miracles already so well-reported and witnessed. 

The signs had prompted many to follow Jesus (Matt. 4:23–25), and notable healings were well publicized: the cleansing of an unclean spirit (Mark 1:28), Jairus’s daughter (Matt. 9:26), and the Galilean leper (Luke 5:15).

Jesus greatly loved John the Baptist, and because he was His faithful forerunner, our Lord purposed to give him a personal and direct report of miracle-working evidence about Himself. Concerning this time of John’s doubting, Luke writes, “At that very time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits; and He gave sight to many who were blind” (Luke 7:21). 

What He did included nothing to improve John’s difficult circumstances, but He did send him a special confirmation that He was indeed performing messianic works. Such miracles occurred in keeping with Isaiah’s prophecy (Isa. 35:561:1).

In essence, Jesus’ initial reassurance to John said, “These things are just a preview of My coming kingdom. You can see by what I do now that I care, that I heal, and that I have control over all things.”

Ask Yourself

Does anything please you more than seeing God’s kingdom advanced and His name being honored? What other priorities threaten to dethrone this goal from being your top reason for satisfaction?



PART FOUR

Reading for Today:

Notes:

Lamentations3:8 He shuts out my prayer. God’s non-response to Jeremiah’s prayers was not because Jeremiah was guilty of personal sin (Ps. 66:18); rather, it was due to Israel’s perpetual sin without repentance (Jer. 19:15). God’s righteousness to judge that sin must pursue its course (Jer. 7:1611:14). Jeremiah knew that, yet prayed, wept (vv. 48–51), and longed to see repentance.

Lamentations3:22–24 His compassions fail not. As bleak as the situation of judgment had become, God’s covenant lovingkindness was always present (vv. 31, 32), and His incredible faithfulness always endured so that Judah would not be destroyed forever (Mal. 3:6).

Philemon1 prisoner of Christ Jesus. At the time of writing, Paul was a prisoner in Rome. Paul was imprisoned for the sake of and by the sovereign will of Christ (Eph. 3:14:16:1920Phil. 1:13Col. 4:3). By beginning with his imprisonment and not his apostolic authority, Paul made this letter a gentle and singular appeal to a friend. A reminder of Paul’s severe hardships was bound to influence Philemon’s willingness to do the comparatively easy task Paul was about to request.

Philemon16 more than a slave—a beloved brother. Paul did not call for Onesimus’s freedom (1 Cor. 7:20–22), but that Philemon would receive his slave now as a fellow believer in Christ (Eph. 6:9Col. 4:11 Tim. 6:2). Christianity never sought to abolish slavery, but rather to make the relationships within it just and kind. in the flesh. In this physical life (Phil. 1:22), as they worked together. in the Lord. The master and slave were to enjoy spiritual oneness and fellowship as they worshiped and ministered together.

What is the background for the Book of Philemon?

Philemon had been saved under Paul’s ministry, probably at Ephesus (v. 19), several years earlier. Wealthy enough to have a large house (v. 2), Philemon also owned at least one slave, a man named Onesimus (literally, “useful”; a common name for slaves). Onesimus was not a believer at the time he stole some money (v. 18) from Philemon and ran away. Like countless thousands of other runaway slaves, Onesimus fled to Rome, seeking to lose himself in the imperial capital’s teeming and nondescript slave population. 

Through circumstances not recorded in Scripture, Onesimus met Paul in Rome and became a Christian.

The apostle quickly grew to love the runaway slave (vv. 12,16) and longed to keep Onesimus in Rome (v. 13), where he was providing valuable service to Paul in his imprisonment (v. 11). 

But by stealing and running away from Philemon, Onesimus had both broken Roman law and defrauded his master. Paul knew those issues had to be dealt with and decided to send Onesimus back to Colosse. It was too hazardous for him to make the trip alone (because of the danger of slave-catchers), so Paul sent him back with Tychicus, who was returning to Colosse with the Epistle to the Colossians (Col. 4:7–9). 

Along with Onesimus, Paul sent Philemon this beautiful personal letter, urging him to forgive Onesimus and welcome him back to service as a brother in Christ (vv. 15–17).

GOD BLESS YOU, MY BELOVED ROYAL FAMILY.

BLESSED BE 

LORD CHRIST JESUS

OUR KING AND SAVIOR. 

MAXIMILIANO



11/04/19

Manifesting a Wise Attitude

“Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom” (James 3:13).

A wise person is a gentle person.

A believer will demonstrate that he possesses the wisdom of God not only by his behavior, but also by his attitude. True wisdom is characterized by gentleness and is the opposite of self-promotion and arrogance. Gentleness is the trait that characterized our Lord. 

In Matthew 11:29He says, “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart.” It is also a trait belonging to all the members of His kingdom. In Matthew 5:5the Lord says, “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.” “Gentleness” is also a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:23).

The word translated “gentleness” is from the Greek word praus, which can also be translated “meek” or “tender.” Prausis often used of a gentle voice, a gentle breeze, or a gentle animal. It was also used of a horse that was broken. The Greeks characterized meekness as power under control; in the believer’s case, that means being under the control of God. It’s a freedom from malice, bitterness, or any desire for revenge. The only way to truly define meekness is in the context of relationships because it refers to how we treat others. It should characterize our relationship with both man and God.

How about your attitude? Is it characterized by meekness, humility, gentleness, and mildness, or do you tend to display an arrogant, selfish attitude toward others?

Suggestions for Prayer

Christ is the perfect example of gentleness. Thank Him for this attribute, and ask Him to help you be like Him.

For Further Study


PART TWO

Having a Faith That Responds

"Faith is . . . the conviction of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1).

True faith goes beyond assurance to action.

When the writer said, "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen", he used two parallel and almost identical phrases to define faith.

We've seen that faith is the assurance that all God's promises will come to pass in His time. "The conviction of things not seen" takes the same truth a step further by implying a response to what we believe and are assured of.

James addressed the issue this way: "Someone may well say, 'You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.'. . . But are you willing to recognize . . . that faith without works is useless? . . . For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead" (James 2:1826). In other words, a non-responsive faith is no faith at all.

Noah had a responsive faith. He had never seen rain because rain didn't exist prior to the Flood. Perhaps he knew nothing about building a ship. Still, he followed God's instructions and endured 120 years of hard work and ridicule because he believed God was telling the truth. His work was a testimony to that belief.

Moses considered "the reproach of Christ [Messiah] greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward" (Heb. 11:26). Messiah wouldn't come to earth for another 1,400 years, but Moses forsook the wealth and benefits of Egypt to pursue the messianic hope.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, when faced with a life- threatening choice, chose to act on their faith in God, whom they couldn't see, rather than bow to Nebuchadnezzar, whom they could see all too well (Dan. 3). Even if it meant physical death, they wouldn't compromise their beliefs.

I pray that the choices you make today will show you are a person of strong faith and convictions.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Ask God to increase and strengthen your faith through the events of this day.
  • Look for specific opportunities to trust Him more fully.

For Further Study

Read Daniel 3:1-20. How was the faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego tested?



PART THREE

Unfulfilled Expectations for John

“Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, ‘Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?’” (Matthew 11:2–3). 

It has often been difficult for Christians to understand why the Lord allows them to wait for Him to fulfill certain promises. It was even harder for John the Baptist, given his expectations. John had a strong devotion to righteousness as a prophetic voice divinely called to preach repentance and judgment. God had also called him to herald the coming Messiah, who would render judgment. 

John expected this to happen immediately or at least soon after Messiah appeared.

The second part of John’s question, “Shall we look for someone else?” would indicate he was dealing with unfulfilled expectations regarding Messiah. Under the Spirit’s direction he had preached about Christ’s ministry of judgment (see Matt. 3:11–12). 

John knew his preaching was true and that Jesus was that One about whom he preached, yet He had not yet done the stringent things John proclaimed.

As John sat in prison he must have recalled the psalmist’s cry, “Surely there is a God who judges on earth!” (Ps. 58:11; cf. 9:3–452:1–5Rev. 6:10).

Believers today sometimes have high expectations about the soon return of Christ, but when that doesn’t happen, their hope and dedication often fades. They don’t stop believing in the second coming, but they don’t think about that hope nearly as much as before. But, as Jesus reassured John, they can know that God’s program remains on His schedule, as Peter assured his readers, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you” (2 Peter 3:9a; cf. vv. 3–8).

Ask Yourself

How have expectations affected your own outlook on God and the life of faith? Does this mean you should lower your expectations to make them less likely to go unmet? How do you make yourself less susceptible to being waylaid by disappointment?


PART FOUR

Reading for Today:

Notes:

Lamentations1:21, 22 Bring on the day. A prayer that God will likewise bring other ungodly people into judgment, especially Babylon (2:20–22; 3:64–66; 4:21, 22). Such prayers are acceptable against the enemies of God (Ps. 109:1415).

Lamentations2:20 See, O LORD, and consider! The chapter closes by placing the issue before God. women eat their offspring. Hunger became so desperate in the 18-month siege that women resorted to the unbelievable—even eating their children (4:10; Lev. 26:29Deut. 28:535657Jer. 19:9).

Titus3:1–11 In his closing remarks, Paul admonished Titus to remind believers under his care of their attitudes toward: 1) the unsaved rulers (v.1) and people in general (v. 2); 2) their previous state as unbelievers lost in sin (v. 3); 3) of their gracious salvation through Jesus Christ (vv. 4–7); 4) of their righteous testimony to the unsaved world (v. 8); 5) and of their responsibility to oppose false teachers and factious members within the church (vv.9–11). All of these matters are essential to effective evangelism.

Titus3:3 ourselves. It is not that every believer has committed every sin listed here, but rather that before salvation every life is characterized by such sins. That sobering truth should make believers humble in dealing with the unsaved, even those who are grossly immoral and ungodly. If it weren’t for God’s grace to His own, they would all be wicked.

What is the Book of Lamentations about?

The prophetic seeds of Jerusalem’s destruction were sown through Joshua 800 years in advance (Josh. 3:1516). Now, for over 40 years, Jeremiah had prophesied of coming judgment and been scorned by the people for preaching doom (ca. 645–605 B.C.).When that judgment came on the disbelieving people from Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian army, Jeremiah still responded with great sorrow and compassion toward his suffering and obstinate people. 

Lamentations relates closely to the Book of Jeremiah, describing the anguish over Jerusalem’s receiving God’s judgment for unrepentant sins. In the book that bears his name, Jeremiah had predicted the calamity in chapters 1–29. 

In Lamentations, he concentrates in more detail on the bitter suffering and heartbreak that was felt over Jerusalem’s devastation (Ps. 46:45). So critical was Jerusalem’s destruction that the facts are recorded in 4 separate Old Testament chapters: 2 Kings 25; Jeremiah 39:1–1152; and 2 Chronicles 36:11–21.

All 154 verses have been recognized by the Jews as a part of their sacred canon. Along with Ruth, Esther, Song of Solomon, and Ecclesiastes, Lamentations is included among the Old Testament books of the Megilloth, or “five scrolls,” which were read in the synagogue on special occasions. Lamentations is read on the ninth of Ab (July/Aug.) to remember the date of Jerusalem’s destruction by Nebuchadnezzar. Interestingly, this same date later marked the destruction of Herod’s temple by the Romans in A.D. 70.

GOD BLESS YOU, MY BELOVED ROYAL FAMILY.

BLESSED BE 

LORD CHRIST JESUS

OUR KING AND SAVIOR.  

MAXIMILIANO



11/03/19

Proving You Are Wise

“Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom” (James 3:13).

Divine wisdom produces a changed life.

The one who possesses godly wisdom will show it in his life. That’s why James says, “Let him showby his good behavior his deeds” (3:13, emphasis added). The phrase “let him show” is a command to demonstrate one’s wisdom and understanding. That is the thrust of James 2:14-26, summarized in verse 26: “Faith without works is dead.” 

A person’s claim to have faith will be validated by his works. Similarly, James is saying that if you claim to be wise, you need to demonstrate it. From God’s perspective, wisdom is made manifest by the way a person conducts his life.

How will a person show he has true wisdom? By his “good behavior” (3:13). The Greek word translated “good” means “lovely,” “beautiful,” “attractive,” “noble,” or “excellent.” The term translated “behavior” speaks of one’s lifestyle or activity. If a person truly has divine wisdom and living faith, he will show it by his good conduct and excellent lifestyle.

James becomes specific when he says, “Let him show by his good behavior his deeds” (v. 13, emphasis added). He is focusing on the details. The wisdom of God alters not only your general conduct, but also what you do specifically. Every act within a person’s life is consistent with how he conducts his entire life. If it’s a life based on the wisdom of God, each aspect of his life will reveal that. 

The general pattern of his life and the specific things he does will reflect the work, the way, and the will of God. Take time to examine your life and see whether your conduct proves that you possess the true wisdom of God.

Suggestions for Prayer

A wise person will manifest good behavior. Read Psalm 119:33-40, making the prayer of the psalmist your own.

For Further Study

Your conduct will reveal whether you’re living wisely. What do the following verses say about how you should live: Philippians 1:271 Timothy 4:121 Peter 2:12; and 2 Peter 3:11?


PART TWO

The Hope That Assures

"Faith is the assurance of things hoped for" (Heb. 11:1).

Faith is the solid ground on which we stand as we await the fulfillment of God's promises.

An elderly man who, on his seventy-fifth birthday, received an invitation to fly over the little West Virginia town in which he had spent his entire life. 

Although he had never before flown, the man accepted the gracious offer.

After circling the town for about twenty minutes, the pilot safely returned his passenger to the ground. The man's grandson greeted him excitedly, asking, "Were you scared, Grandpa?" "No," he replied sheepishly, "but I never did put my full weight down."

Unlike that hesitant grandfather, true faith trusts fully in its object. For the Christian, that means resting in God and His promises. That's the primary characteristic of each faithful individual listed in Hebrews 11. They all believed God and responded accordingly.

People often confuse faith with a wistful longing that something, however unlikely, will come to pass in the future. But "assurance" in Hebrews 11:1speaks of essence and reality— the real thing, as opposed to mere appearance. Faith, then, involves absolute certainty.

For example, the Old Testament saints had the promise of a coming Messiah who would take away sin. They believed God, even though their understanding of Messiah was incomplete and somewhat vague. They knew their hopes would be fulfilled, and that assurance dominated their lives. 

It's the same for New Testament believers. Peter said, "Though you have not seen [Christ], you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls" (1 Pet. 1:8-9).

Man's natural tendency is to trust only in the things he can see, hear, touch, or taste. But our physical senses may lie, whereas God cannot (Titus 1:2). Far better to believe God and trust in His promises.

Suggestions for Prayer

Which promises of God are especially meaningful to you today? Thank Him for them and reaffirm your commitment to living on the basis of His Word.

For Further Study

Skim Hebrews 11 and note all the divine promises you find there. To gain a fuller understanding of each one, find other Scripture references that mention the same promises.


PART THREE

Worldly Influence on John

“Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, ‘Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?’” (Matthew 11:2–3).

Even the righteous John the Baptist was not totally freed from worldly influences that could cause him doubts about Jesus. The Lord’s ministry did not completely square with what most Jews, including John, thought Messiah would do. The Christ could not set up His own kingdom without first freeing Israel from Roman bondage and injustice. But He had done nothing to oppose Rome. And Jesus’ many miracles had still not yet banished all suffering from Israel or the world.

A common misunderstanding was that other prominent men would precede Him—perhaps Elijah, Jeremiah, and some other prophets. Thus when Jesus later asked the apostles who people thought He was, they replied, “Some say John the Baptist [who by then was dead]; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets” (Matt. 16:14).

The distorted and world-based ideas about Messiah—with Jesus not fitting their preconceived notions—almost inevitably rubbed off on John. Then some Jewish leaders challenged Jesus by asking, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” To this, Jesus responded, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me” (John 10:24–25).

The unbelieving world could affect even John’s confidence in Jesus because it does not grasp God’s plan, since such things “are foolishness to [them]; and [they] cannot understand them” (1 Cor. 2:14; cf. John 10:26). Worldly, unbelieving thinking will always try to sow doubts regarding the truth of Christ. 

Ask Yourself

Can you identify a sliver of worldly thinking that has slipped into your way of looking at things? Why do we tend to embrace these kinds of perspectives at times? What do you do when you detect an unbiblical line of thought taking hold in your mind and attitude?


PART FOUR

Reading for Today:

Notes:

Jeremiah51:8 suddenly fallen. The focus was first on Babylon’s sudden fall on one night in 539 B.C. (Dan.5:30).The far view looks at the destruction of the final Babylon near the Second Advent when it will be absolutely sudden (Rev. 18).

Jeremiah51:15–19 He has made the earth. God’s almighty power and wisdom in creation are evidences of His superiority to all idols (vv. 17, 18), who along with their worshipers will all be destroyed by His mighty power (vv. 15, 16, 19), as in Babylon’s case.

Titus2:4 admonish the young women. Their own examples of godliness (v. 3) give older women the right and the credibility to instruct younger women in the church. The obvious implication is that older women must exemplify the virtues (vv. 4, 5) that they “admonish.” love their husbands. Like the other virtues mentioned here, this one is unconditional. It is based on God’s will, not on a husband’s worthiness. The Greek word phileo emphasizes affection.

Titus2:9 bondservants. The term applies generally to all employees, but direct reference is to slaves—men, women, and children who, in the Roman Empire and in much of the ancient world, were owned by their masters. They had few, if any, civil rights and often were accorded little more dignity or care than domestic animals. The New Testament nowhere condones or condemns the practice of slavery, but it everywhere teaches that freedom from the bondage of sin is infinitely more important than freedom from any human bondage a person may have to endure (see Rom. 6:22). 

obedient….well pleasing. Paul clearly teaches that, even in the most servile of circumstances, believers are “to be obedient” and seek to please those for whom they work, whether their “masters” are believers or unbelievers, fair or unfair, kind or cruel. How much more obligated are believers to respect and obey employers for whom they work voluntarily! As with wives’ obedience to their husbands (v. 5), the only exception would involve a believer’s being required to disobey God’s Word.

Titus2:14 redeem…purify. Another expression (v. 12) summarizes the dual effect of salvation (regeneration and sanctification). To “redeem” is to release someone held captive on the payment of a ransom. The price was Christ’s blood paid to satisfy God’s justice. special people. People who are special by virtue of God’s decree and confirmed by the grace of salvation which they have embraced (1 Cor. 6:19201 Pet. 2:9). zealous. Good works are the product, not the means, of salvation (Eph. 2:10).

How does the Book of Titus indicate that the message was intended for more than just Titus and the Christians on Crete?

Titus 2:11–13presents the heart of Paul’s letter to Titus. The apostle had already emphasized that God’s sovereign purpose in calling out elders (1:5) and in commanding His people to live righteously (vv. 1–10) is to provide the witness that brings God’s plan and purpose of salvation to fulfillment. Paul condensed the saving plan of God into 3 realities: 1) salvation from the penalty (v. 11); 2) salvation from the power (v. 12); and 3) salvation from the presence of sin (v. 13).

As Paul described the “grace of God that brings salvation” (v. 11), he was not simply referring to the divine attribute of grace, but Jesus Christ Himself, grace incarnate, God’s supremely gracious gift to fallen mankind (John 1:14). 

The term “all men” does not teach universal salvation. “All men” is used as “man” in 3:4 to refer to humanity in general, as a category, not to every individual. Jesus Christ made a sufficient sacrifice to cover every sin of every one who believes (John 3:16–181 Tim. 2:564:101 John 2:2). Paul makes clear in the opening words of this letter to Titus that salvation becomes effective only through “the faith of God’s elect” (1:1). Paul was well aware that the gospel had universal implications. Out of all humanity, only those who believe will be saved (John 1:123:165:2438406:4010:9Rom. 10:9–17).

GOD BLESS YOU, MY BELOVED ROYAL FAMILY.

BLESSED BE 

LORD CHRIST JESUS

OUR KING AND SAVIOR. 

MAXIMILIANO



11/02/19

The Gospel of Jesus Christ 

God Him self came to Earth in the man Christ Jesus of Nazareth.. Jesus literally divinely conceived in the womb of the virgin (she had not known a man) When the Holy Spirit of God lighted upon Mary.. Was born into the World He created... 

John 1:1-5 The Holy Bible, The King James Version (KJV)

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2 The same was in the beginning with God.

3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Jesus Christ lived a perfect and sinless life being in all things tempted as we are, and yet with out sin... He was rejected by His own people, bared false accusations... Was ridiculed, despised and spit upon... He was beaten, Crowned with Thorns that pierced His brow, and whipped... Hated by the same people He came to save... He was nailed to the cross... and suffered. Just before He died He yelled out, "Father, Father why has though forsaken me"... He died on that cross... His side was pierced... He was taken off the cross He was nailed to... His body prepared for burial... He was buried in a tomb... And Three day's later he arose from the dead triumphantly conquering sin, death, and the grave... Ascended into heaven, and shall one day soon, return in the clouds for his bride to call... and so shall we ever be with the Lord...

John 1:6-14The Holy Bible, The ing James Version (KJV)

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

12 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:

13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

We are saved in Him when we believe and ask...

Romans 10:8-11 The Holy Bible, The King James Version (KJV)

8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

9 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.

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

So then How are we saved? Jesus paid it all!

Most all of us would like to go to heaven. Each person is unique and sees life from their own perspective. We all know, however, that one day our lives on Earth shall end. Is everyone going to heaven? Can a person know his or her personal eternal future for sure? If you were asked; If you were to die today (May God forbid it to be so) Are you 100% sure that you would go to heaven? 100%. Suppose you were to stand before God and He were to ask you, "Why should I let you into this Godly and Holy Heaven?" How would you respond? Would you say," I have tried to live a good life."? Would you reply, "I attended church or I am a church member."? Would you explain that you had been baptized? Or would you say, "I remember a day when I asked and trusted Jesus Christ to be my personal Savior."?

The Bible is clear. You can know 100% your eternal future, for sure. Take the Scripture 1st John 5:13..."These things have I written unto you....that ye may know that ye have eternal life....". Most folks haven't taken the time to read what the Word of God, His Holy Bible, says about eternal life. The following truths are taken directly from the Scriptures.

WE ARE ALL SINNERS. Romans 3:23..."For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." We are sinners from birth. The Bible says that sin (disobeying God) began with Adam, the first man God created. Romans 5:12 "Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all have sinned." When tempted by Satan, Adam chose to disobey God. As a result, each of us has inherited a sinful nature (a desire to disobey God).

WE ARE ALSO SINNERS BY CHOICE. In the Holy Scriptures at James 4:17 it is written, "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." We sin by choosing to do wrong. At one point or another, all of us have chosen to disobey God by action, attitude, or thought (vain imagination). Do you understand that you are a sinner?

THE PAYMENT/RESULT/JUST RECOMPENSE FOR SIN IS DEATH. Take Romans 6:23 for example, where it is written, "For the wages of sin is death.....". Death is a reality we all must face. There are 3 kinds of death.

SPIRITUAL DEATH is the lost Spiritual condition in which we all are born. As a result of Adams sin, we are all born Spiritually dead, separated from Gods Holy (spotless/perfect/anointed) Spirit, and unable to fellowship with Him.

PHYSICAL DEATH is obviously when our earthly bodies cease to function/fail. Contrary to how it may seem, this visible, physical death is not the end of our existence. Look at Hebrews 9:27 where it is written, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment."

And finally there is ETERNAL DEATH which is the separation from God and anything good in a place of eternal suffering, retched torment, and burning, in the presence of, and the place God did prepare for Satan, his fallen angels and monstrous demons the Word of God calls Hell and the Lake of Fire. That place is the fate of every person whom has not asked for, and believed in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior & Lord. Look at the Gospel of Matthew 25:46 (the 25th chapter and the 46th verse in that chapter) where it is again written, "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment..." Do you realize that the result of your sin is eternal separation from God in Hell?

Revelation 20:0-151 The Holy Bible, The King James Version (KJV)

10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

JESUS DIED FOR YOU. Lets look into the Bible at Romans 5:8 "But God commendeth (provided & directed) his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." God loves you so much that He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for you. Jesus never sinned, but He took your sin onto Himself. He died in your place, to pay the price personally for your sin. Look at 2nd Corinthians 5:21. "For He (God/The Father) hath made Him (Jesus/God) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." Not only did Jesus die on the cross for you, but he was buried and rose again three days later. Take 1st Corinthians 15,3-4 ....." 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." Do you believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for you and rose again on the third day?

YOU MUST RECEIVE JESUS CHRIST PERSONALLY BY FAITH. Look at Romans 10:9, .."That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." ...You can have eternal life (Heaven) because Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sin. So the logical question is...What must I do..to receive the gift of eternal life for myself? First you must stop depending on your own best efforts, baptism, church membership, or any other good work you can do. You must agree with God about your sin and salvation (the only thing that can be done for it.) This is Biblical repentance (not trusting in your power but Gods power, the shed blood of Jesus). The Holy Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of your selves; it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast." and again it is written in the Holy Word of God at Titus 3:5 "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us"... What have you been depending on to get you into Heaven?

NEXT, YOU MUST PUT YOUR FAITH AND TRUST IN JESUS CHRIST ALONE. Believing on Jesus Christ means trusting in him alone for salvation. Look at Romans 10:10 ..."For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness ; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." So what do we ALL have in common? We all would like to go to Heaven when we die. You can know for sure that you have eternal life today! See Romans 10:13, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved", not might be saved... , "SHALL be saved". Do you believe that faith alone in Jesus Christ alone is the only way to heaven? Do you see that mans best efforts fall well short of what Jesus Christ has done? Would you like to receive Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior today? If so, right now, where ever you are, you can express your faith in Jesus Christ this moment personally in a believing and heart felt spoken prayer.

If you truly believe, pray aloud sincerely,

"Dear Jesus, I know I am a sinner and that I deserve Hell. I believe you are Gods only Holy begotten Son, and that you died on the cross, paid the price for my sin, and rose from the dead three days later. I am placing my faith and trust in you alone to forgive my sin and save my soul. Thank you for gifting me with eternal life. You are worthy of all praise & I shall do my best to live for you in gratitude. In Jesus name, Amen."

If you have truly believed and with your heart in sincerity prayed this prayer, then the Bible says you have done the two things necessary to be born again: believing in Jesus & asking Him for salvation: For it is written in God's Holy Word, " Romans 10:9-11 : 9 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.10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed."....

After this, read your Bible Daily to learn about God and renew your mind in Gods Word. Spend time in prayer to Jesus to get to know God. And fellowship with other called out (Called out from the lost world), born again Bible believing Christians. Next, tell someone about what you just did. And keep shining the light of Jesus by sharing your story of salvation (this is called sharing your testimony). You must do your best to live for Jesus. The grace of God is not license or liberty to sin. However, If you do sin the Word of God says : "He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, if we confess them to HIM (Not another man or woman... Him).

Peace to you, and Joy in Jesus Christ our Lord! Jesus is faithful to save!



11/01/19

Overcoming Temptation

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

Jesus Christ provides us with the perfect example of how to defeat temptation.

Perhaps you’ve heard the joke, “I can resist anything but temptation!” Unfortunately, that is all too often true in our lives. Learning how to successfully resist temptation is vitally important, for we sin only when we yield to temptation.

Christians throughout history have recognized the importance of resisting temptation. One early believer wrote, “Fly from all occasions of temptation, and if still tempted, fly further still. If there is no escape possible, then have done with running and show a bold face and take the two-edged sword of the Spirit.” 

The desire to escape temptation has led many in the history of the church to attempt heroic but ultimately futile feats of ascetic self-denial. So desperate did one monk become that he threw himself into a thicket of thorn bushes! Unfortunately, that did not bring him the relief from temptation that he so desperately sought.

The way to successfully resist temptation was modeled by our Lord Jesus Christ when He was tempted. We must first understand our enemy’s plan of attack and, secondly, make use of our spiritual resources.

Satan made a three-pronged assault on Jesus—the same three ways he tempts us. First, he tempted Jesus to doubt God’s goodness by commanding the stones to become bread (Matt. 4:3). 

That implies that God didn’t care enough about Jesus to provide for His physical needs. Second, he tempted Jesus to doubt God’s love, suggesting that He test that love by leaping from the pinnacle of the temple (Matt. 4:5-6). Finally, he tempted Jesus to compromise God’s truth, promising Him the kingdom without the cross if Jesus would worship him (Matt. 4:8-9).

To each of Satan’s temptations, Jesus replied, “It is written” (Matt. 4:4710). He thereby showed us the resource for defeating temptation: the Word of God (cf. Eph. 6:17). Do you find yourself overcome by temptation? Then follow our Lord’s example and take up the sword of the Spirit today!

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray that God would make you alert to Satan’s attacks.

For Further Study

Make a list of specific verses you can use to combat the specific temptations you face.



PART TWO

Training in Righteousness

"All Scripture is . . . profitable for . . . training in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16).

God’s Word nourishes your spiritual life.

We conclude our study of the character and benefits of God's Word by focusing on the benefit that ties all the others together: training in righteousness. 

Everything the Word accomplishes in you through teaching, reproof, and correction is aimed at increasing your righteousness so you'll "be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:17, NIV).

"Training" refers to training or educating a child. The New Testament also uses the term to speak of chastening, which is another important element in both child rearing and spiritual growth (Heb. 12:5-11). The idea is that from spiritual infancy to maturity, Scripture trains and educates believers in godly living.

Scripture is your spiritual nourishment. Jesus said, "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). Peter exhorted us to be like newborn babes, longing "for the pure milk of the word, that by it [we] may grow in respect to salvation" (1 Pet. 2:2).

You should crave the Word just like a baby craves milk. But Peter prefaced that statement with an exhortation to put "aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander" (v. 1). That's the prerequisite. James taught the same principle: "Putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word" (James 1:21). 

Attempting to feast on Scripture without confessing your sin is like attempting to eat a meal while wearing a muzzle.

Either the Word will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from the Word. Deal with sin immediately so it doesn't spoil your appetite for God's Word. And even if you know the Bible well, be regularly refreshed by its power and reminded of its truths. That's the key to enjoying spiritual health and victory.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for the nourishment His Word provides.
  • Seek His wisdom and grace in dealing with personal sin. Don't ignore it, for it will diminish your desire for biblical truth.

For Further Study

Read Philippians 3:1and 2 Peter 1:12-15.

  • What did Paul and Peter say about the importance of being reminded of biblical truths you've already learned?
  • Do you follow that advice?


PART THREE

Difficult Circumstances for John


“Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, ‘Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?’” (Matthew 11:2–3).


John the Baptist was a true saint and prophet of God, unreserved in His divine service. He had ministered precisely according to God’s will, but now he couldn’t help wondering why he was imprisoned and enduring other hardships.


He knew the Old Testament and maybe asked where the God of comfort (Ps. 119:50Isa. 51:12) was at that time. Where was the promise that Messiah would “bind up the brokenhearted . . . proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners” (Isa. 61:1)?

Paul was also imprisoned, likely in Rome, when he wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. 


The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:4–7; cf. vv. 11–1319).


John knew where to find answers, even in the midst of doubt. That’s why he sent his disciples to Jesus to plead, “Lord, please help me!” And Christ was glad to respond, performing miracles for John’s sake and promising spiritual blessing if he remained steady.

Difficult circumstances can be stressful and painful, but our attitude and response should be like John’s—and Paul’s—trusting in the Lord to calm our doubts, anxieties, and fears (cf. James 1:2–12).


Ask Yourself

What causes some to be secure and steadfast no matter their circumstances, while others really struggle to keep their faith front and center? How are you preparing your heart to stay strong in the inevitable seasons of conflict to come?


PART FOUR


Reading for Today:


Notes:

Jeremiah 48:11, 12 This wine-making imagery is vivid. In the production of sweet wine, the juice was left in a wineskin until the sediment or dregs settled onto the bottom. Then it was poured into another skin until more dregs were separated. This process continued until the dregs were all removed and a pure, sweet wine obtained. Moab was not taken from suffering to suffering so that her bitter dregs would be removed through the purging of pain. Thus the nation was settled into the thickness and bitterness of its own sin. Judgment from God was coming to smash them.


2 Timothy 4:2 the word. The entire written Word of God, His complete revealed truth as contained in the Bible (3:15, 16; Acts 20:27). Be ready. The Greek word has a broad range of meanings, including suddenness or forcefulness. Here the form of the verb suggests the complementary ideas of urgency, preparedness, and readiness. It was used of a soldier prepared to go into battle or a guard who was continually alert for any surprise attack—attitudes which are imperative for a faithful preacher. in season and out of season. The faithful preacher must proclaim the Word when it is popular and/or convenient and when it is not; when it seems suitable to do so and when it seems not. 


The dictates of popular culture, tradition, reputation, acceptance, or esteem in the community (or in the church) must never alter the true preacher’s commitment to proclaim God’s Word. 


Convince, rebuke. The negative side of preaching the Word (the “reproof” and “correction”; 3:16). The Greek word for convince” refers to correcting behavior or false doctrine by using careful biblical argument to help a person understand the error of his actions. The Greek word for “rebuke” deals more with correcting the person’s motives by convicting him of his sin and leading him to repentance.


Describe how Paul recaps his life in 2 Timothy 4:6–8.

“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering” (v. 6).Meaning his death was imminent. In the Old Testament sacrificial system, a drink offering was the final offering that followed the burnt and grain offerings prescribed for the people of Israel (Num. 15:1–16). Paul saw his coming death as his final offering to God in a life that had already been full of sacrifices to Him.


"My departure” speaks of Paul’s death. The Greek word essentially refers to the loosening of something, such as the mooring ropes of a ship or the ropes of a tent; thus it eventually acquired the secondary meaning of “departure.”


“I have fought…have finished…have kept” (v. 7).The form of the 3 Greek verbs indicates completed action with continuing results. Paul saw his life as complete—he had been able to accomplish through the Lord’s power all that God called him to do. He was a soldier, an athlete, and a guardian. “The faith.” The truths and standards of the revealed Word of God.

“Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness” (v. 8). The Greek word for “crown” literally means “surrounding,” and it was used of the plaited wreaths or garlands placed on the heads of dignitaries and victorious military officers or athletes. 


Linguistically, “of righteousness” can mean either that righteousness is the source of the crown or that righteousness is the nature of the crown. The crown represents eternal righteousness received through the imputed righteousness of Christ at salvation (Rom. 4:611). The Holy Spirit works practical righteousness (sanctification) in the believer throughout his lifetime of struggle with sin (Rom. 6:13198:4). 


But only when the struggle is complete will the Christian receive Christ’s righteousness perfected in him (glorification) when he enters heaven (Gal. 5:5).


GOD BLESS YOU, MY BELOVED ROYAL FAMILY.

BLESSED BE 

LORD CHRIST JESUS

OUR KING AND SAVIOR. 


MAXIMILIANO




10/31/19


The Solution to the Sin Dilemma


“Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25).

Christians have been delivered from sin’s power and will one day be delivered from its presence.


The godly Puritan writer Thomas Watson once said that a sure sign of sanctification is a hatred and loathing of sin. It was his hatred of sin that caused Paul to cry out as he wrapped up his spiritual autobiography, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” 


That cry expresses the distress and frustration the apostle experienced in his spiritual battle. David expressed that same frustration in Psalm 13:1-2: “How long, O Lord? Wilt Thou forget me forever? How long wilt Thou hide Thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart all the day?”

When he exclaimed, “Who will set me free from the body of this death?” Paul referred to his physical body that was subject to sin and death. It is there that the battle with sin is joined. The verb translated “set me free” was used to speak of a soldier rescuing a wounded comrade in the midst of battle. Paul longed to be rescued from his sinful, unredeemed flesh.


But the story doesn’t end there, with Paul frustrated and in despair. Certain of his eventual triumph over sin, the apostle says, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” As he goes on to explain in Romans 8:18-1922-23(and in 1 Cor. 15:5357), believers will one day receive their glorified bodies and enter Christ’s presence, never to struggle again with sin. 


Paul elaborates on that glorious truth in Philippians 3:20-21: “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”

What a triumphant hope is ours!


Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God in advance for the glorified body that will one day be yours.


For Further Study

Read 1 John 3:2-3.

  • Are you fixing your hope on your glorification when Christ returns?
  • Is that hope having a purifying effect on your lifestyle now?


PART TWO


Increasing Your Spiritual Strength


"All Scripture is . . . profitable for . . . correction" (2 Tim. 3:16).


God’s Word strengthens the repentant sinner.


If you're a gardening buff, you know that skillful pruning promotes the overall growth and productivity of a plant. Jesus assumed His audience knew as much when He said, "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you" (John 15:1-3).


Jesus was comparing believers to branches, which the Father prunes for maximum productivity. The Word is His pruning shear, which He applies with skill and precision to remove our imperfections and promote godliness. He wants to eliminate anything from our lives that may restrict our spiritual growth.


The word translated "correction" in 2 Timothy 3:16speaks of the strengthening work of God's Word. Scripture not only exposes your sin, but it also strengthens you and restores you to a proper spiritual posture. It convicts you and then gives you instruction to build you up again.


Job 17:9says, "The righteous shall hold to his way, and he who has clean hands shall grow stronger and stronger." Paul added, "I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified" (Acts 20:32).


As the Spirit uses Scripture to expose sin in your life, forsake that sin and follow what Scripture says to do instead. You will be strengthened in your spiritual walk as a result. To aid in that process be "constantly nourished on the words of the faith and . . . sound doctrine" (1 Tim. 4:6).


I firmly believe that any weaknesses you have can become areas of great strength as you allow God's Word to do its sanctifying work within you.


Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for the strengthening and restoring power of His Word.
  • If there's an area of your life that is weak and vulnerable to temptation, confess it to the Lord and begin today to strengthen it according to the Word.


For Further Study

Read Ephesians 1:18-23and 3:14-21.

  • What did Paul pray for?
  • How did God demonstrate His power toward believers?
  • Is God's power sufficient for all your spiritual needs? Explain.


PART THREE


John the Baptist and His Doubt, Part 2


“Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, ‘Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?’” (Matthew 11:2–3).


That John the Baptist sent some of his disciples to Jesus testifies to his genuine faith. John was not seeking more information about Christ but confirmation. In essence, he asked, “Even though I firmly believed You are the Messiah, could I have been wrong?” It was the same attitude as the father of the boy the Lord had cleansed of an evil spirit—“I do believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).


After being in prison for months, unable to minister and interact with the outside world except through periodic visits by his disciples, John had many doubts and uncertainties about Jesus. Those misgivings settled on his mind even though he had announced, baptized, and declared Jesus to be the Messiah.


This prompted John’s disciples to ask Jesus directly, “Are You the Expected One?” This was a common title for the Messiah, along with Branch, Son of David, and King of kings. The name first appears in Psalms 40:7and 118:26, and the gospel writers often use it (e.g., Matt. 3:11Mark 1:7Luke 3:16John 1:27). There was no mistaking the fact that John wanted to know for sure if Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah.

Many Christians today wrestle with doubt from time to time, so it should reassure them that one with the spiritual stature of John the Baptist also doubted. And it ought to encourage us, as we’ll see in the following days, that our doubts come for the same reasons as John’s—and we, like he, can overcome them.


Ask Yourself

What (if anything) has caused you to doubt the reality of God’s existence or the veracity of His promises? How did He bring you through the maze and mist of uncertainty into a surer place of confidence? What did you learn about Him and about yourself in the process?


PART FOUR


Reading for Today:


Notes:

Jeremiah45:3 Woe is me now! Baruch felt anxiety as his own cherished plans of a bright future were apparently dashed; even death became a darkening peril (v. 5). Also, he was possibly pressed by human questionings about God carrying through with such calamity (v. 4). Jeremiah spoke to encourage him (v. 2).


Jeremiah45:5 you seek great things. Baruch had his expectations far too high and that made the disasters harder to bear. It is enough that he be content just to live. Jeremiah, who once also complained, learned by his own suffering to encourage complainers.


2 Timothy 3:1 the last days. This phrase refers to this age, the time since the First Coming of the Lord Jesus. perilous times. “Perilous” is used to describe the savage nature of two demon-possessed men (Matt. 8:28). The word for “times” had to do with epochs rather than clock or calendar time. Such savage, dangerous eras or epochs will increase in frequency and severity as the return of Christ approaches (v. 13). The church age is fraught with these dangerous movements accumulating strength as the end nears.


2 Timothy 3:8 Jannes and Jambres. Although their names are not mentioned in the Old Testament, they were likely two of the Egyptian magicians that opposed Moses (Ex. 7:11228:718199:11). According to Jewish tradition, they pretended to become Jewish proselytes, instigated the worship of the golden calf, and were killed with the rest of the idolaters (Ex. 32). Paul’s choice of them as examples may indicate the false teachers at Ephesus were practicing deceiving signs and wonders.


How does 2 Timothy 3:16describe Scripture?

“All Scripture”—both Old Testament and New Testament Scripture are included (2 Pet. 3:1516, which identify New Testament writings as Scripture). “Is given by inspiration of God.” Literally, “breathed out by God” or “God-breathed.” Sometimes God told the Bible writers the exact words to say (Jer. 1:9), but more often He used their minds, vocabularies, and experiences to produce His own infallible, inerrant Word (1 Thess. 2:13Heb. 1:12 Pet.1:2021). It is important to note that inspiration applies only to the original autographs of Scripture, not the Bible writers; there are no inspired Scripture writers, only inspired Scripture. So identified is God with His Word that when Scripture speaks, God speaks (Rom. 9:17Gal. 3:8). Scripture is called “the oracles of God” (Rom. 3:21 Pet. 4:11) and cannot be altered (John 10:35Matt. 5:1718Luke 16:17Rev. 22:1819).

“And is profitable for doctrine.” 


The divine instruction or doctrinal content of both the Old Testament and the New Testament (2:15; Acts 20:182021271 Cor. 2:14–16Col. 3:161 John 2:202427). The Scripture provides the comprehensive and complete body of divine truth necessary for life and godliness. “For reproof.” Rebuke for wrong behavior or wrong belief. The Scripture exposes sin (Heb. 4:1213) that can then be dealt with through confession and repentance. 


"For correction.” The restoration of something to its proper condition. The word appears only here in the New Testament, but was used in extrabiblical Greek of righting a fallen object or helping back to their feet those who had stumbled. Scripture not only rebukes wrong behavior but also points the way back to godly living. “For instruction in righteousness.” Scripture provides positive training (“instruction” originally referred to training a child) in godly behavior, not merely rebuke and correction of wrong behavior (Acts 20:321 Tim. 4:61 Pet. 2:12).


GOD BLESS YOU, MY BELOVED ROYAL FAMILY.

BLESSED BE 

LORD CHRIST JESUS

OUR KING AND SAVIOR. 


MAXIMILIANO





10/30/19


The Believer and Indwelling Sin


“For we know that the Law is spiritual; but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For that which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not wish to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that it is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which indwells me” (Romans 7:14-17).

Believers have been freed from sin’s power, but not from its presence.


Romans 7:14-25is perhaps the most autobiographical passage in all of Scripture. In this poignant account Paul describes in vivid, striking language his battle with indwelling sin. So powerful is that language that some believe it refers to Paul’s life before his conversion. But the apostle describes himself as one who seeks to obey God’s law and who hates evil (vv. 15, 19, 21), who is humble and broken over his sin (v. 18), and who acknowledges Jesus Christ as Lord and serves Him with his mind (v. 25). None of those things characterize an unbeliever.


The word “for” indicates that Paul is not beginning a new subject but is continuing with the thought from the first part of Romans 7, that the law reveals our sin. The law is not the problem but reveals the problem—sin. The apostle then makes the startling statement that he is “of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.” “Flesh” is our unredeemed humanness—that part of us that is still sinful and fights against our new natures. Paul’s words do not mean that God had only partially saved him; rather, they emphasize that sin is still a powerful force in believers’ lives and is not to be trifled with.


Christians are under attack from the outside, from Satan and the evil world system. But we also have a “fifth column”—the flesh inside us, aiding and abetting those attacks. Fight the flesh today by making “no provision for [it] in regard to its lusts” (Rom. 13:14).


Suggestions for Prayer

“Keep watching and praying, that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41).


For Further Study

What do the following passages teach about the possibility of a believer’s being “sold into bondage to sin”—Psalm 51:1-5Isaiah 6:51 John 1:8-10?


PART TWO


Reproving Sinful Conduct


"All Scripture is . . . profitable for . . . reproof" (2 Tim. 3:16).

People who aren’t interested in holy living will avoid being exposed to sound doctrine.


Paul instructed Timothy to "preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction" (2 Tim. 4:2). He knew a time was coming when many people would reject sound doctrine, and "wanting to have their ears tickled, [would] accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and . . . turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths" (vv. 3-4).


That's certainly true of our day. Many who profess to love Christ seem intolerant of His Word. Often they fall into spiritual complacency and surround themselves with teachers who tell them exactly what they want to hear. If they can't find a comfortable message, they drift from church to church or simply abandon it altogether.


Such people have exchanged conviction for comfort, and need to examine themselves to see if they are genuine believers (2 Cor. 13:5). Their attitude toward the Word is in stark contrast to those who truly love Christ and come to the Word with an earnest desire to learn its truths and live accordingly.


But even true believers can fall into the trap of negligence and compromise. Perhaps you've noticed how sinning Christians often try to avoid exposure to God's Word. Sometimes they'll temporarily stop attending church or Bible studies. They also try to avoid other believers—especially those who will hold them accountable to what they know to be true.


But like any loving parent, God won't allow His children to remain in sin for long without disciplining them (Heb. 12:5-11). Sooner or later they must repent and be reconciled to Him.


An important element in reconciling sinning Christians to God is the faithful prayers of other believers. God may choose to use you in that way, so always be ready to pray, and eager to restore others in a spirit of gentleness (Gal. 6:1).


Suggestions for Prayer

Do you know a Christian who is being disobedient to God's Word? If so, ask God to bring him or her to repentance. Assure the person of your prayers and concern, and be available to be further used in the restoration process if the Lord wills.


For Further Study

What does Matthew 18:15-20say about how to confront a sinning Christian?


PART THREE


John the Baptist and His Doubt, Part 1


“Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, ‘Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?’” (Matthew 11:2–3).


Countless Christians since John the Baptist’s time have dealt with doubt, which might better be called perplexity or confusion. Here John did not question the truthfulness of Old Testament Scripture or the veracity of Jesus’ baptism, which he himself had seen. Rather, John was simply uncertain about his understanding of those truths. 


And the kind of question he asked could come only from a believer. In that transitional period between the Testaments, many things seemed unclear and called for further explanation.


Until this time, John the Baptist was the greatest man who had ever lived (Matt. 11:11); so when believers are confused, they can take comfort that even John was perplexed for a time. Also encouraging for us is that Jesus often said to His disciples, “You of little faith” and “How long will you doubt?” (e.g., Matt. 8:2614:31Mark 11:23Luke 12:28).


Although Christ understands His children’s doubts, He is never pleased with such misgivings because they reflect against Him. When messengers from the Gentile Cornelius arrived where Peter was staying, the Holy Spirit told the apostle, “Get up, go downstairs and accompany them without misgivings, for I have sent them Myself” (Acts 10:20). 


James warns us that “the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6; cf. Eph. 4:14). But John’s doubt derived from weakness, not sin, and the only remedy for similar doubt by us is sincere inquiry, prayerful confession, and reliance on Scripture for reassurance.


Ask Yourself

How do you respond to people in crisis, especially when the trauma of their situation has left them doubting God’s goodness or shaken in their faith? How do you go about reassuring them of the Lord’s faithfulness when they will hear none of it or aren’t ready to listen?


PART FOUR


Reading for Today:


Notes:

Jeremiah43:1–7 when Jeremiah…stopped speaking. The incorrigible, disobedient leaders accused him of deceit and forced Jeremiah and the remnant to go to Egypt, despite the fact that all his prophecies regarding Babylon had come to pass. In so doing, they went out of God’s protection into His judgment, as all who are disobedient to His Word do.


Proverbs28:3 oppresses the poor. When the poor come to power and oppress their own, it is as bad as a destructive storm washing the fields clean instead of watering the crop.


2 Timothy 2:2 faithful men who will be able to teach others. Timothy was to take the divine revelation he had learned from Paul and teach it to other faithful men—men with proven spiritual character and giftedness, who would in turn pass on those truths to another generation. From Paul to Timothy to faithful men to others encompasses 4 generations of godly leaders. That process of spiritual reproduction, which began in the early church, is to continue until the Lord returns.


2 Timothy 2:8 Remember…Jesus Christ. The supreme model of a faithful teacher (v. 2), soldier (vv. 3, 4), athlete (v. 5), and farmer (v. 6). Timothy was to follow His example in teaching, suffering, pursuing the prize, and planting the seeds of truth for a spiritual harvest. of the seed of David. As David’s descendant, Jesus is the rightful heir to his throne (Luke 1:3233). The Lord’s humanity is stressed. raised from the dead. 


The resurrection of Christ is the central truth of the Christian faith (1 Cor. 15:341719). By it, God affirmed the perfect redemptive work of Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:4).


How is the Christian life compared to being a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer?

“Endure hardship as a good soldier” (2 Tim. 2:3). The metaphor of the Christian life as warfare (against the evil world system, the believer’s sinful human nature, and Satan) is a familiar one in the New Testament (2 Cor. 10:3–5Eph. 6:10–201 Thess. 4:81 Tim. 1:184:76:12). 


Here Paul is dealing with the conflict against the hostile world and the persecution. “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself” (v. 4). Just as a soldier called to duty is completely severed from the normal affairs of civilian life, so also must the good soldier of Jesus Christ refuse to allow the things of the world to distract him (James 4:41 John 2:15–17).


“If anyone competes in athletics” (v. 5). The Greek verb expresses the effort and determination needed to compete successfully in an athletic event (1 Cor. 9:24). This is a useful picture of spiritual effort and untiring pursuit of the victory to those familiar with events such as the Olympic Games and the Isthmian Games (held in Corinth). “Crowned…rules.” All an athlete’s hard work and discipline will be wasted if he or she fails to compete according to the rules. This is a call to obey the Word of God in the pursuit of spiritual victory.


“The hardworking farmer” (v. 6).“ Hardworking” is from a Greek verb meaning “to labor to the point of exhaustion.” Ancient farmers worked long hours of backbreaking labor under all kinds of conditions with the hope that their physical effort would be rewarded by a good harvest. Paul is urging Timothy not to be lazy or indolent but to labor intensely (Col. 1:2829) with a view to the harvest.


GOD BLESS YOU, MY BELOVED ROYAL FAMILY.

BLESSED BE 

LORD CHRIST JESUS

OUR KING AND SAVIOR. 


MAXIMILIANO




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