#DailyDevotion Jesus The LORD Speaks Peace To The Nations

#DailyDevotion Jesus The LORD Speaks Peace To The Nations

Zechariah 910He will get rid of the chariots in Ephraim and the war horses in Jerusalem; He will also get rid of the bow used in battle. He will talk peace to the nations, and He will rule from sea to sea and from the Euphrates river to the end of the world. 11As for you also, because you have a covenant made with blood, I’ll send your captives out of the waterless pit. 12They will return to the fortified city captives who have hope. Even now I’m telling you I’ll restore to you twice as much for all you’ve gone through.

Now this is what Israel and Zion were looking for when Jesus came to them. They were looking for a Messiah take names and knock heads. They were wanting this Messianic kingdom to be established where the Messiah would reign from one end of the earth to the other.

Well before he would do that he had a few other things to do first to accomplish it. He would have to make peace with God between God and man. He would do this by becoming the atonement sacrifice for the sin of the world. He would have to spill his blood to make a covenant with God and with man. He would rise from the dead to conquer death. This is the peace he speaks to the nations. Jesus has done this and has sent his ambassadors to the nations proclaiming this peace from God the Father to the people of the earth “from sea to sea and from the Euphrates river to the end of the world.”

I find it interesting he says from the Euphrates. We know Adam sinned and rebelled against the LORD in Eden from which the head of the Euphrates flowed at the time. We know Babel was on the Euphrates where man once again rebelled against the LORD by building the tower and from whence he sent mankind forth into all the world. Now the good news of the peace won for mankind by Jesus the Messiah would spread from that place to the ends of the earth. Indeed, this peace which Jesus won for us has gone forth. There is not a country on earth where the good news of Jesus Christ, the peace won for people with God is not spoken of. We will continue to speak this peace to the nations from sea to shining sea until his glorious return. God has sacrificed his Son for you and by his blood he has obtained for peace between you and God and you and your fellow man.

The blood poured out by Jesus made a covenant. Because of this covenant the Father will sent forth the captives from the waterless pit, i.e. the grave. He will raise up the dead on the day Christ returns and we see his reign over the earth and all creation. Some will be raised to everlasting life, all those who trusted in him for their salvation. Some will be raised to everlasting perdition, those who rejected his peace.

We who were captives to sin and death will return to the fortified city, the New Jerusalem where righteousness reigns. We will return to that place where the sun does not scorch us by day nor the moon strike us by night because the LORD Jesus Christ will be our light. Nothing wicked will enter this city. We will not have to fear because there will be nothing to fear there. Sickness, illness, want, wars, disasters etc. will be no more. Finally he will pay us back double for all we have gone through. That is to say, the crosses we bear in this life, the suffering we participate in as we join Christ Jesus in his passion, he will pay us back double for. We need not fear loss in this life for following Jesus and being loyal to him. The dividends we receive for our faithfulness no matter what we may lose in this life are far more worth the things we lost which are only temporary while the dividends, the rewards are eternal like our God. Christ Jesus has sealed this with his blood.

Heavenly Father, grant us faith that we may receive, live in and rejoice in the peace your son Jesus Christ won for us with his blood. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Jesus Is The Eternal King Of Israel In The Flesh

#DailyDevotion Jesus Is The Eternal King Of Israel In The Flesh

Zechariah 99Be very happy, people of Zion! Shout aloud, people of Jerusalem. You see, your King will come to you, He is righteous and victorious, poor, and riding on a donkey, on a young burro, the colt of a donkey.

It is Advent already? Palm Sunday? Nope not yet. Kind of interesting the organizers of the three year lectionary put this here in July. Were they wanting to do Christmas in July or Easter in July? It doesn’t particularly go with the Gospel lesson very well either.

It is interesting that only Matthew and John directly quote this passage for Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Mark and Luke rather go to Psalm 118. Perhaps Matthew and John’s original audiences were mostly Jews who would get the reference or it would have had a greater impact on them.

Now Zechariah was preaching during the time of the return of the Jews from Babylon to Jerusalem. The LORD would be using him to encourage the returning Jews to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and to rebuild the temple. It did seem from him and other prophets and writers from the time the Jews were in no big hurry to do so. Even though they were returned to their homeland, some were like their forefathers of old who looked back to their previous place of bondage with envy, i.e. Egypt.

The Persians were ruling over them now. They had no king of their own. The house of David is reduced to being a mere governor under the Persians. Yet in the midst of this we have this prophecy to encourage and embolden the returning exiles, 9“Be very happy, people of Zion! Shout aloud, people of Jerusalem. You see, your King will come to you, He is righteous and victorious, poor, and riding on a donkey, on a young burro, the colt of a donkey.” It would still be another 500 plus years for this to come to pass and then it wasn’t quite how they expected it.

Yes, the people of Jerusalem in 30 AD were very excited about Jesus who was a descendent of David according to the flesh entered Jerusalem during Holy Week. They spread their cloaks before him and waved their palm branches. They were looking for Jesus to be their King, to deliver them from the hands of their enemies (whom they thought were the Romans). They cried out Psalm 118 which tells of the coming Messiah. They were acknowledging Jesus came in the name of the LORD. They were acknowledging salvation coming from him. They were expecting verses ten and following to come to pass with Jesus (we’ll look at that tomorrow).

Well Jesus is Israel’s King, the King of the Jews, who is the LORD the King of Israel from time immemorial in the flesh. The LORD, YHWH, had joined himself to David’s house by making him one with David’s seed in the womb of Mary. Jesus did come to claim his throne of both David and the Father. He came to rescue them to save them from their enemies. The enemies he came to save them and us from were not the Romans or any human enemies. No, he had a bigger target than that. Jesus came to save them and us from sin, death and the power of the devil. He does not kill them by the sword but rather by letting them nail him to the tree and piercing him through with a spear. He overcomes them by rising from the dead and being seated at the right hand of the Ancient of Days, the Father and ruling not over a strip of land on the eastern shore of the sea but ruling over all creation. Such is the reign of our God and King, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Heavenly Father, join our rejoicing with all who accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah, your very Son, the Son of Man, with those who came before us on Palm Sunday that we too may rejoice in our salvation from death to eternal life in Christ. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Jesus Promises Rewards So You Don’t Get Lazy

#DailyDevotion Jesus Promises Rewards So You Don’t Get Lazy

Matt. 1040Anyone who welcomes you welcomes Me; and anyone who welcomes Me welcomes Him who sent Me. 41 Anyone who welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will get a prophet’s reward. Anyone who welcomes a righteous man because he is righteous will get a righteous man’s reward. 42Anyone who will give one of these little ones just a cup of cold water because he is My disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”.

In spite of a lot of stuff that may discourage you in chapter ten of wanting to be a Christian, Jesus does intersperse with good news here and there. The Holy Spirit will speak for us in our defense. If we endure these things we will be saved. Despite all appearances, God does care for you. Jesus closes this discourse before sending out the twelve with these words above.

Now these words from verse 40 apply narrowly to those who proclaim the good news but they can apply more broadly to the church as a whole. In the context of sending out the twelve I think they are indeed being spoken to those who have been called into the ministry of Jesus Christ. They most directly represent Jesus as his agents of the Gospel. The promise though is for those who hear these agents of the Gospel. How will we treat them? Jesus says if we welcome them then we welcome Jesus and if we welcome Jesus we welcome the Father who sent him. The converse is also true. If we reject those who are sent by Jesus, we reject Jesus and the Father. The same things apply to how we treat the prophets.

If you welcome a righteous person because he is righteous you will get a prophet’s reward. What is that? Well you will probably have to wait for the resurrection to find out but it is something more than if you didn’t treat a prophet well. Jesus does bring the conversation to every individual in the church in verse 42. Yes even how you treat a little child because he is a disciple of Jesus there is a consequence or reward for that. If you give just a cup of water to someone, even a child, because they follow Jesus you will most certainly not lose your reward.

Now I know there is this fairness streak that runs in a lot of Christians, perhaps it is a bit of anti-Romanism that wants to say the only reward there is is salvation, eternal life. To be fair, Jesus did mention that earlier in the passage where those who endure to the end will be saved. Yet he, Paul and others also point to other differing rewards depending on what we do with the gift of faith which does indeed give us salvation. The guy who made 5 talents ruled 5 cities and the guy who gain 2 ruled two cities. In 1 Cor. 3 Paul speak of our works being judged with fire. If you build upon Christ with wood, hay and stubble (works of the flesh) you may remain but those will be gone, whereas if you build upon Christ with gems, silver, and gold (works of faith) these you will take with you into eternal life. Jesus tells us of rewards so we don’t become lazy Christians. Our Father and Jesus are busy to this day. We should do likewise and forget Christian charity just because we are all saved on the same basis.

Lord Jesus Christ, so move in us with your Holy Spirit that our faith may move us to love those you send with the gospel in material ways, show mercy and kindness to all who call on your name, and let you live your life in our lives that we may not be short of rewards when you come again in glory and that our lives may glorify your name. In your precious name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Who Or What Will You Choose?

#DailyDevotion Who Or What Will You Choose?

Matt. 1034“Don’t think that I came to bring peace to the earth. I didn’t come to bring peace but a sword. 35I came to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 A man’s enemies will be those in his own home. 37If you love father or mother more than Me, you’re not worthy of Me; and if you love son or daughter more than Me, you’re not worthy of Me. 38If you don’t take your cross and follow Me, you’re not worthy of Me. 39If you find your life, you’ll lose it, but if you lose your life for Me, you’ll find it.

Well these verses are just par for the course in Jesus’ discourse as he sends out his 12 disciples on their mission to the lost sheep of Israel. We’ve had to shake the dust off our feet. We’re as sheep among wolves. We’re dragged before governors and kings. Family members will betray us to the authorities to be put to death. We’ll be hunted down. We will be killed. On top of that Jesus says here he didn’t come to bring peace to the earth but a sword. But wait! I thought he was the prince of peace. Well he is to all who accept his message of peace. But his message of peace brings division from those who oppose it.

So again, members of our own household will be set against one another on account of Jesus. Your enemies will be those people in our own homes, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, in-laws. Any and all of these will be opposed to you on account of Jesus.

It is all about who do you love more. Do you love the LORD Jesus more or do you love your family more. I’m fairly convinced that was a choice Adam faced when he ate the forbidden fruit. Eve, his wife, had already eaten the fruit. She was going to die (if she wasn’t spiritually dead already at this moment). Was Adam going to join her, the woman he loved, and disobey the LORD or would he love the LORD more and not join her? Well we know the answer. He loved his wife more than the LORD and he rebelled against the LORD and rejected him. So who do you love more? When family members ask you to sin against the LORD by breaking some commandment, who are you going to follow, Jesus or them? That’s a subtle and sometimes more daily problem than some people think it is. Then in some places the choice really is more stark, it’s either reject Jesus as your God, the LORD or be rejected by your family who worships some other god(s). At this point it is good to remember Jesus’ earlier promise that God cares for you so much, even the hairs on your head are numbered by him.

Then Jesus even gets more personal. What about your own life? What do you love more, your own life or Jesus? Jesus tells us to pick up our cross and follow him. This must have sounded pretty strange to his disciples at the time. Jesus had not yet been crucified nor had he been talking about being crucified yet as he would later in Matthew. But they were most assuredly familiar with crucifixions. If you followed Jesus, you might get crucified. You may be asked to pick up a cross and bear it to your death for following Jesus. While we may spiritualize the cross here for various sufferings in our life, and we will have sufferings, this is perhaps Jesus’ earliest prediction he was going to be crucified? We’re being asked to follow him. If you are unwilling to lose your life and suffer in your life on account of your faith in Jesus because you love your life more, you will actually lose your life. You may have peace in this life. You may not get crucified. People may not kill you. But if you choose yourself over Jesus you are choosing eternal death over eternal life. Temporal life and eternal death or temporal death and eternal life are your choices. Jesus offers you eternal life when you follow him.

Heavenly Father, we cannot fear, love and trust in Christ Jesus above all things without your Holy Spirit. Grant us your Holy Spirit always that our choice will always be the LORD Jesus Christ above all things, even our own family and life. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion The Torah Shows Us How Sin In Us Is Utterly Sinful

#DailyDevotion The Torah Shows Us How Sin In Us Is Utterly Sinful

Romans 710And the commandment which is to bring life actually brought me death. 11Taking the commandment as a challenge, sin seduced me and with the commandment killed me. 12So the Law itself is holy, and the commandment is holy, right, and good. 13Now, did this good thing kill me? Certainly not! But sin, to be sin, clearly used this good thing to kill me so that sin would by the commandment become extremely sinful.

I want to be honest with you. If you obeyed the Law, the Torah perfectly, you could gain eternal life. Guess what, you aren’t obeying it perfectly. If you aren’t obeying it perfectly, you are sinning and the wages of sin is death, eternal death, life without the life of God in you. Because sin is stirred up by the commands of the Law, the commandment brings death.

Sin in us, in our flesh, what we have inherited from Adam, takes the commandment as a challenge, mostly as a challenge to disobey it. “You can’t tell me what to do! You don’t know what’s best for me!” Can you hear yourself saying that? Do you remember when you were 5, when you were teen? Maybe you still think this way. Sin seduces us into thinking we know better than God. God cannot be trusted. He is holding something back from us. Sin seduces us to disobey God so we can get what God is trying to keep from us. When we give into it, we die spiritually just like Adam.

So can Christians still use the Law? It seems like such a dangerous thing. Well yes. As St. Paul says, the Law is holy. The commandment is holy, right, and good. It curbs our flesh or rather the sin within us from doing what it wants and causing harm to our neighbor even if inwardly it is rebelling against the commandment. This is good for our neighbor and well it keeps us out of trouble.

For Christians it enlightens us to what God’s will for us, how we are to love him and to love our neighbor. It keeps us from becoming Pharisees. We have more than enough to do just trying to keep the ten commandments. Surprisingly, as much as our flesh rebels against the Law it also likes making up new ones. The LORD only commanded us to not eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eve added the commandment to not even touch it. We will make up all sorts of commands that the LORD Jesus had never given us. It is enough if we pay attention to what God has already given us. Jesus and the evangelist John remind us of the command of God, trust Jesus and love your neighbor as yourself. That is enough to keep you busy for a lifetime. If you need more details than that go to the Sermon on the Mount or the Sermon on the Plain.

Now it isn’t the Law that kills you but sin in you which uses the Law to do its job to accuse you of sin and condemn us. Sin in us is shown to be how utterly sinful we are. Paul said earlier in Romans 520“The Law came to multiply sin,….” It came to multiply sin and trespasses so show how utterly sinful sin is. Sin uses the Law, the commandment to kill us. God uses it to show how utterly sinful sin is. We seriously wouldn’t know how bad sin is or how much a control it has over our lives if sin didn’t use the commandments like this. We would think that we were really good people who needed no Savior. Sin and the Law show us how bad we really are, how condemned and perverse we are, and that we need a Savior. Even though we are utterly sinful because of sin, “God’s grace was so much greater.” He gave us Jesus who overcame sin for us and gives us his righteousness for free so we may stand before God. He gives us his Holy Spirit that we may fear, love and trust in God above all things from our hearts.

Merciful God and Father, you gave the Law so we may see how bad our disease of sin is and how much we need a Savior. You sent your son Jesus Christ to be our Savior and the Holy Spirit that we might have faith in him. Preserve us in this faith always. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion When Told The Torah Our Flesh Says Hold My Beer

#DailyDevotion When Told The Torah Our Flesh Says Hold My Beer

5While we were living in the flesh, the Law stirred into action the sinful lusts in parts of our bodies to produce fruit for death. 6But now that we have died to the Law which bound us, we are freed from it, not to serve in the old way under the Law but in the new way of the Spirit. 7What does it mean? Is the Law sin? Certainly not! But only by the Law did I learn what sin is. For example, only when the Law said: “Do not covet,” did I know how wrong it is to covet. 8Taking the commandment as a challenge, sin worked in me every kind of wrong desire. Without the Law sin is dead. 9Once I was alive without the Law, but when the commandment came, sin became alive, and I died.

Paul, now having shown the Christian is not longer under the Torah given to the Israelites, shows that living according to the Law is living according to the flesh. The new way, the new covenant way, is living according to the good news of Jesus Christ is living the in the new way of the Spirit. This will continue on into chapter eight of Romans where he contrast walking according to the flesh and walking according to the Spirit.

You see when we are living in the flesh or according to the flesh, the Law or Torah is over us. The Law stirs up the sinful lusts in our bodies, causes us to sin and that fruit of sin is death. Our flesh when it is confronted with the Law thinks, “Hold my beer.” So as to Paul’s example, when the Law told him not to covet he found out how wrong it was to covet. The Law stirred up the sin in Paul’s flesh to take it as a challenge to have all kinds of covetous, wrong desires. “Give me a law and I will break it,” sin says. If you walk according the flesh, you will always be in rebellion against God. To walk according to the flesh is to walk thinking your relationship, your standing before God is based on keeping the Law. The Law though will show that your standing before God is standing before him as an angry judge. This is because the Law we are trying to live according to does not give us the power to do what is commanded. No, our flesh will simply disobey it. If the curb or the Law or the threats of the Law have us keep the Law outwardly, inwardly we still hate it because it didn’t allow us, our flesh that is do what it wanted to do.

We who have been baptized into Christ Jesus are not called to live according to the Torah though. We are called to walk according to the Spirit. To walk in the Spirit is to walk with the mindset we are forgiven by God for Christ Jesus’ sake. Walking in the Spirit is believing we are acceptable to God because Jesus died for our sins. He has made himself the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Walking in the Spirit is living as if the LORD God our heavenly Father is our friend and we are his friends in Jesus Christ. Such thinking and believing causes us to bear the fruits of the Spirit without any command. Such fruit is, “love, joy, peace. He makes us patient, kindly, good, faithful, 23gentle, and gives us self-control.” (Gal. 5:22)

Is the Law sin then? No, it is from God, good and holy. It shows us the perfect will of God. It just has no power to have us live according to it or to give us life. Instead, because of sin dwelling in our flesh, it causes us to sin showing us how utterly sinful we are. In baptism we have become dead to the Law, dead to the Torah. The Law can no longer accuse us before God anymore. Our real death in baptism allows us to no longer be bound to it. No, now we are bound to the good news of Jesus, Christ died for sinner, made atonement for the ungodly and made us who were enemies of God, God’s friends instead.

Heavenly and gracious Father, you have given us your son Jesus Christ to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins that we may walking according to the Spirit instead of your most holy Law. Continually give us the Spirit and faith that our lives are marked as people who believe in the forgiveness of sins for Christ’s sake. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion The Whole Of The Torah Is Abrogated In Baptism

#DailyDevotion The Whole Of The Torah Is Abrogated In Baptism

Romans 7Or don’t you know, my fellow Christians — I’m speaking to people who know the Law — that you have to obey the Law only as long as you live? 2The Law, for example, binds a married woman to her husband while he is living, but if her husband dies, the Law doesn’t bind her to her husband any more. 3So, while her husband is living, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man. But if her husband dies, she is free and no longer bound by the Law, and so she’s no adulteress if she marries another man.4So you, too, my fellow Christians, have through Christ’s body died to the Law to marry Another — Him Who rose from the dead so that we will produce fruit for God.

Paul brings up this important point which seems to be lost on the Judaizers (those who would have Christians submit to all the Law given to Moses, or more precisely, whatever laws from Moses that tickle their fancy). The Israelites were bound by the oath of their forebears to the covenant the LORD made through Moses with them. That would be all the commandments, statutes, regulations, precepts or whatever else you could find in the first five books of the Bible, also known as the Torah. They were married to it. The Torah, or Law was the marriage covenant the LORD made with Israel. But we will skip over the fact the Israelites broke their covenant with the LORD on many occasions. The broke it so often, the LORD promises to make a new covenant with them in Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

That covenant was like a marriage made under the Law. As long as you live, a marriage covenant is binding on both parties. If a man or woman takes up with another person sexually, they have committed adultery. But if one of the parties dies, the other party is free to marry another person.

Now you must pay special attention to this. In baptism you have been joined to Christ Jesus’ death. You died in baptism. You did not die a symbolic death. No, you actually died with Christ in baptism. If you did not actually die with Christ in baptism then nothing he says that follows this makes any sense whatsoever. You may have read in books or seen in movies where a person brought to death in order to escape something but they have a plan to revive them after the danger or whatever it is they are trying escape passes by because of the death of the person. Similarly, but not exactly, you have died in baptism. Whatever covenants you had with God before your baptism are now null and void. You died. That covenant the LORD had made in the wilderness was good only up to the point of death. You have died with Christ in baptism.

There was a backup plan to your death in baptism. Even as you died in baptism you have been risen to newness of life in Christ in your baptism. You have been raised from the dead in baptism. You also have entered into a new covenant with the LORD Jesus Christ. This new covenant is the Good News of Jesus Christ. He is your God and you are his people. He will forgive you your sins and remember them no more. He will put his Law i.e. Spirit in your heart so you will know him and how to live in this new covenant. In baptism you have been married to another, the New Covenant. You are no longer bound to the Law of Moses, no not one iota or the dot of an iota. You died to it in Jesus. Now joined to Jesus in baptism, now joined to the resurrection life of Jesus baptism you will bear fruit for God. The fruit of good works namely trusting in Jesus and loving your neighbor as yourself not coerced by the Law but freely by the Spirit given you.

Heavenly Father, you knew the Law was a burden too heavy to bear so you sent your Son Jesus Christ to provide a death we may enter and be released from its demands so we may live a new life under a new covenant with Jesus. Grant us faith to believe this good news so we may walk according to the Spirit, the new covenant in Christ Jesus. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotions Pastors Preach Doom & Gloom

#DailyDevotions Pastors Preach Doom & Gloom

Jeremiah 285The prophet Jeremiah answered the prophet Hananiah before the priests and all the people standing in the LORD’s temple. 6“Yes, so be it!” the prophet Jeremiah said. “May the LORD do this! May the LORD carry out what you prophesied by bringing back the vessels of the LORD’s temple and all the exiles from Babylon to this place. 7But please listen to what I say for you and all the people to hear. 8Long ago prophets, who were before me and you, prophesied against many countries and great kingdoms about war, calamity, and the plague. 9But the prophet who prophesied about peace was recognized to be the prophet the LORD truly sent only if what the prophet said came true.”

Well the prophet Hananiah had just prophesied that everything was going to be hunky dory, happy happy joy joy. This was in response to the prophesies that Jeremiah had been proclaiming. Well this was practically unprecedented for the prophets of the LORD to do without having proclaimed a message of repentance first. Sure, occasionally Jeremiah would have a gospel word for the people of God but it was always in the midst of God’s wrath coming down upon the God’s people who had rebelled against him.

Jeremiah answers Hananiah’s prophesy with, “Yes, so be it!” Hananiah had prophesied the exact opposite of what Jeremiah was preaching. Indeed, Jeremiah didn’t want to proclaim anything that he had been proclaiming. He would certainly would have preferred telling everyone what they would rather hear. Life for the meanwhile could have been easy just telling everyone what they wanted to hear.

Yet, that is not Jeremiah was able to do. No, if he tried to hold in the true word of the LORD his bones would burn within him and would not let him rest until he told the people what the LORD wanted them to hear. Jeremiah reminds Hananiah that all the prophets before them prophesied against many countries and great kingdoms about war, calamity and the plague. People would only believe a prophet was from the LORD if he preached peace and prosperity only after it actually came to pass.

The people didn’t want to hear what Jeremiah said. People today want pastors to preach about being healthy, wealthy, success and happiness. Many pastor happily oblige as it fills their bank accounts and makes them healthy, wealthy, successful and happy in the world’s eyes. Woe to the pastors who call God’s people to repentance. People in the Church will think you are a wonderful preacher if you preach against the sins of the world, i.e. the sins of the people not in the pews. But woe if you point out your people’s sins and call them to repentance. For them, they want to hear about how good they are and how they are not like the people of the world. Well I guess there is a place for that. We can see some models of that in Paul’s writings. Yet Paul also never lets it just sit there. If he commends them for not being like the rest of the world in their sins, he also still pokes them where they are still tender, where they have not yet been purified. He still calls them to repent of the sins they are still committing.

A true pastor will never shy away from preaching against the sins of his congregation. Those who belong to the LORD Jesus Christ should thank him for doing so. He is warning them against losing their faith and losing their reward, eternal life in Jesus Christ. Remember, your pastor has no joy when he confronts you with a sin. He’d rather leave you alone. But he loves you and does not want to see you perish like the rest of the world. He does have good news for you. There is forgiveness, life and salvation now and in the world to come for you in Christ Jesus.

Heavenly Father, grant us true prophets, true pastors who tell us not what we want to hear but what we need to repent and believe in Christ so we may enter into eternal life. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.