#DailyDevotion Promise Fulfilled By Him Who Is Faithful & True

#DailyDevotion Promise Fulfilled By Him Who Is Faithful & True

Rev 21:4-7  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”  (5)  And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  (6)  And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.  (7)  The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

It is written, Isa 25:6-8 “On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.  (7)  And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations.  (8)  He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken.” So now in this seventh time the Last Day takes place in Revelation this prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, even as it was also described in chapter seven.

As the Lord renews all things we stand upon before the new heavens upon the new earth on the mountain of the Lord and begin in earnest the wedding feast of the Lamb as we are his Bride, the Church, the Israel of God.  Here he wipes away every tear from our eyes because death is no more and our reproach because of our sins has been taken away. We will realize to the fullest our freedom from the slavery of the fear of death and enter the freedom of our God and our Christ. While the sorrows of our tears over our sins may last for a moment his merciful finger quickly wipes them away so we may enjoy his gifts.

Some people who deceive themselves into thinking they’d rather be partying in hell with Satan than sit on some cloud praising God. However, the only party will be in the new heavens and new earth at the wedding banquet of the Lord Jesus and his people. “A feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.” This is the destiny of those who repent of their sins and trust in the sacrifice made for them by Jesus on the cross. A never ending feasts of the Lord Jesus Christ and all who follow him.

The One who makes this promise identifies himself. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He is our God and Lord Jesus Christ who is faithful and true. We can bet our lives, our eternity on it. His promise is as good as done.

He gives us of the river of the water of life, which is his Holy Spirit. Even now we have the down payment of the Spirit, but at that time we shall experience the free gift of the Spirit in all his fullness as we will no longer have the constraints of this body of sin, but will have a new glorified body. This he promises to all those who conquer. 1Jn 5:5 “Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” Overcome, conquers, it’s the same word, Nike, yes like the shoe company. By the Word of the Lamb, by the blood of the Lamb, trusting Jesus’ words and works we overcome the world and the devil. With this conquering we are the people of God and we receive this heritage. Even as the Lamb has conquered so too those who belong to the Lamb. In Christ we are more than conquerors, we are the children of God.

Heavenly Father, ever give us your Holy Spirit that we may conquer the world and Satan and inherit the kingdom prepared for us from the beginning of the world and live and dwell with you and Son and the Holy Spirit in whose name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Jesus Will Be Our God & We His People

#DailyDevotion Jesus Will Be Our God & We His People|

Rev 21:1-3  Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  (2)  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  (3)  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  

The Book of Revelation doesn’t tell us anything new that it hasn’t revealed to us elsewhere in Scripture. It is written: Isa 65:17-20  “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.  (18)  But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness.  (19)  I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress.  (20)  No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.” Peter writes, 2Pe 3:13 “But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” The first world was destroyed by water. This present cosmos will be destroyed by fire. It will roll up like a scroll and ‘poof!’ But the Lord shall create a new heavens and new earth for us to dwell in. It will be a very material world which is no more infected by sin or the curse of Adam.

The Holy City, New Jerusalem is the Holy Church of Christ. It is his Bride. It is you, all of you who believe in Jesus. All of the wedding banquet parables of Jesus are fulfilled in this moment: the wise and foolish virgins, the secondary invited guests, and the like. Paul reminds us, Eph 5:31-32  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”  (32)  This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” The Church, you, are one spirit with Jesus. You are his body and he is the head. Everything he has is yours and everything you have is his. As Jesus reigns, we reign.

Now this next part is most important for Christians. It is so extremely important. The dwelling place of God is with man. Please, please, please trash your tabloid, Hallmark idea of heaven. We are not meant to be bodiless spirits or angels in some ethereal existence up there somewhere for eternity with God. No! God is raising us from the dead. He is reuniting our spirits, souls, and persons with a new resurrected body. Just like the heavens and the earth are resurrected and renewed so too we are resurrected and renewed. We will have a physical existence with God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. With our own eyes, in our own flesh, our and not another’s we shall see God and Christ and be like them.

Jesus is Immanuel, God with us. Just as he walked among us before and after the resurrected, ate and drank with his disciples, he will do so with us again in his kingdom, on this very physical earth in a very physical body. He will be our God and we will be his people, Psa 95:7 “For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.” Psa 100:3 “Know that the LORD (Jesus), he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” Yes, on the Last Day, we shall this with our eyes and dwell with the Lord forever and he with us.

Heavenly Father, in your divine wisdom you purposed to recreated the world even as you will resurrect us from the dead on the day of Christ’s revelation. May this promise give us the perseverance of our faith that we may be resurrected into it with the righteousness of Christ and dwell you, the Son and the Holy Spirit forever. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion The New Covenant Is For Gentiles Too

#DailyDevotion The New Covenant Is For Gentiles Too

Act 11:15-18  As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning.  (16)  And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’  (17)  If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?”  (18)  When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

It’s kind of surprising even after Pentecost many of the disciples didn’t understand the Mystery of Christ, which is the Gentiles would be joined to Israel. Jesus, after all, did say Mat 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  (20)  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” To be honest I guess the bit surprise was the Gentiles didn’t have to be circumcised. That was the real problem of the circumcision party. We still see this party active in the Christian Church. They always rear their heads. They demand that Christians obey the Mosaic Law (excepting the sacrifices). But the whole law was fulfilled by Jesus. The whole Mosaic Covenant was fulfilled by Jesus. Jesus instituted a New Covenant.

Now if the Old Covenant has been fulfilled by Jesus and Jesus has instituted a New Covenant, then the Old Covenant has been set aside. It has been abrogated in total. There truly is nothing left in it for us TO DO. It still stand there though as a witness to Jesus Christ who said, Mat 5:17-18  “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  (18)  For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” On the cross Jesus said, Joh 19:30 “It is finished,”… Indeed it is finished. Everything has been completed by Jesus’ work on the cross. Heb 8:13 “In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.”

Many of the Jews didn’t accept John’s baptism and the same didn’t accept Jesus’ baptism. For their baptisms said in effect, “Your circumcision is no longer good. It is an old wineskin. You must be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit, which is the circumcision of the heart.” On Pentecost, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit upon the disciples. Later when the Samaritans were baptized he gave an overt appearance of the Holy Spirit coming upon them. Now in the house of a Gentile, he sent the Holy Spirit openly again to demonstrate baptism is how we are joined to Christ who is the Israel of God. These manifestations of the Spirit show us that when we are baptized into Christ Jesus he gives us the Holy Spirit as well. Before Pentecost the Holy Spirit was with the people of God. Now in the New Testament he makes their hearts, our hearts, his throne and dwelling. Now he puts the Law upon our hearts, i.e. the desire to keep and do the will of God, to love as he loves us. (John 13:34, 15:12).

Baptism is now the sign of the New Covenant. In it Jesus sends the Holy Spirit into our hearts that we may confess he is the Christ, he is the Lord of the Old and the Lord of the New Covenants, who has come in the flesh, fulfilled the Law for us, sacrificed himself and become the atoning sacrifice for our sins and gives us the gift of eternal life. The Spirit he gives to us bears witness to this fact. May we always make manifest the witness of the Spirit which is upon our hearts, Jesus Christ is Lord.

Dearest Jesus, you have fulfill the old covenant and instituted a new covenant, sending your Holy Spirit into our hearts confessing you are Lord. May we always trust in your completed work, never trying to add to it works of the old but fulfilling the law planted in our hearts to love others as you have loved us. In your precious name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion You’re In Better Hands Than Allstate

#DailyDevotion You’re In Better Hands Than Allstate

Joh 10:27-30  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.  (28)  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.  (29)  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.  (30)  I and the Father are one.”

There are two great articles of faith taught in this passage. One is the perseverance of the saints and the other is the divinity of Jesus and unity of God.

The perseverance of the saints is not a broad sweeping doctrine including all people. It is an individual teaching meant to strengthen individual saints who are in the faith right now. It is there to comfort us when we are troubled, when we are in doubt, when our sins cause us alarm and when there are those trying to tear us away from the faith. The Formula of Concord says, “That He will also strengthen, increase, and support to the end the good work which He has begun in them, if they adhere to God’s Word, pray diligently, abide in God’s goodness


, and faithfully use the gifts received.”

We might note the “if” here. This promise is for those who adhere to God’s Word. It is being in the Word the Lord preserves us. Pray diligently, that is regularly and praying what God’s Word tells us to pray for. Abiding in the God’s goodness and faithfully use the gifts received means gathering together with the rest of God’s saints and partaking of the means of God i.e. preaching, absolution, baptism, the Lord’s Supper and the mutual conversation and consolation of fellow Christians. If you despise these things, you certainly aren’t hearing voice of Jesus and following him.

But those who hear and voice and follow Jesus we have these promises especially when it seems as if God is against us and hates us—no one will snatch us out of Jesus’ hand and no one can snatch us out of the Father’s hand. Paul says as much and confirms this: Rom 8:33-35  Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  (34)  Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.  (35)  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?… (38) For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  (39)  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus’ hand and the Father’s hand are one. They are one because they are One God, One Lord. If you are in Jesus’ hand, you are in the Father’s hand. Jesus is distinct but not separate from the Father. Nothing and no one is greater than them. They are a unity. Nothing and no one can overcome the Creator of all. If you are a follower of Jesus, you have his divine protection of persevering in the faith unto life everlasting. Even when it seems God is against you you have his sure and certain word and he is able to carry it out. He does not lie and does not change like us. He says what he promises to do. He will make you persevere unto the resurrection of eternal life.

Heavenly Father, Jesus promised that we who follow him are in his hand and in your hand and no one can snatch us from it. Grant us faith to believe this particularly when we are at our lowest points in life so we may not lose hope but be strengthened in it by your promise. In Jesus’ name we pray.

#DailyDevotion Jesus Is The Messiah, Hear His Words, See His Deeds

#DailyDevotion Jesus Is The Messiah, Hear His Words, See His Deeds

Joh 10:22-27  At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter,  (23)  and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon.  (24)  So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”  (25)  Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me,  (26)  but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep.  (27)  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

It was Hanukkah when Jesus was at the temple. Hanukkah is the Jewish feast in which they celebrate the oil not going out in the temple for eight days and the celebration of rededicating the temple after it was desecrated. It is a festival of light. Who shows up during the festival of light but the Light of the World. It was during this time Jesus was confronted by a committee of Jews, (in John, the Jews are almost always the Jewish leadership. They want to know if Jesus is the Christ. Jesus replies he had told them already. When did Jesus tell them? Well, here are a few examples

  •  Joh 2:16  And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.”…19  Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
  • Joh 5:19  So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise…5:21  For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will…25  “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live…30  “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me…39  You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,…46  For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.
  • Joh 6:35  Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst…
  • Joh 7:37-38  On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  (38)  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”
  • Joh 8:58  Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
  • Joh 10:11  I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

The works of Jesus also testified to who he is. He turned water in to wine. He fed the thousands. He had zeal for his Father’s house. He healed all sorts of the sick. He raised the dead. He gave sight to the blind, hearing to the death and opened the mouths of the mute. Eventually, he would be crucified, dead, buried and risen from the dead. But the Jews were deaf to Jesus’ word and blind. They did not belong to Jesus. These were not appointed to live but to kill Jesus so that we who are Jesus’ sheep, we who hear his word and believe, we who believe because of the signs, would receive eternal life from the wounds of Jesus. We should not fear being rejected by people to whom we bear witness to Jesus. If they belong to Jesus they will believe. If they do not belong to Jesus they will not. Perhaps they might even still belong to Jesus but it is not their time to believe yet. Even many of the priest later believed the apostles’ word after Pentecost. As you rejoice that you do believe and are one of Jesus’ lambs appointed to eternal life.

Heavenly Father, you sent your son into the world that through his word and deeds we might come to faith in him and have eternal life. Ever give us the word of Christ that we may be strengthened in our faith and preserved unto life everlasting. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion The Shelter Of The Almighty Will Cover Us

#DailyDevotion The Shelter Of The Almighty Will Cover Us

Rev 7:13-17  Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?”  (14)  I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.  (15)  “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.  (16)  They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat.  (17)  For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Who are all these people? Well they are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation. Now we often think, because certain Christians can’t distinguish between something literal and a vision, that there is some seven year countdown to the end of the world, but there is not. It is somewhat of a popular view, particularly in evangelical America. However, the great tribulation began with Jesus’ death (If they do this when the tree is green what will they do when the wood is dry). We see almost immediately after Pentecost the Church begins to suffer persecution. These are all the saints, the whole Church. It is the whole church symbolized by the 144,000.

They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. Everyone who has been baptized and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ has washed their robes in his blood. The blood he covers us with, with which he poured upon the mercy seat of the Almighty and sprinkled us with, giving a clear, clean conscience before God, makes our robes white, clean. The dirty deeds we once had done, which stained our hearts and our minds has been washed away.

When we are resurrected wearing our white robes, we will be before the throne of God our Father forever, serving him day and night. Doesn’t say what we’ll be doing, but it will be better than our best day in this age. We will sheltered by his presence. Even as the Israelites were covered by the cloud which sheltered them in the wilderness, the Lord’s presence will shelter us.

Now verses 16 and 17 key for understanding here. These show us this is an end of the world description. Verse 16 repeated almost word for word in Rev. 21:4 and verse 17 is repeated in verses 4 and 6 of the same chapter. These verses also bring up the wilderness experience of the Israelites where the Lord covered them and provided them with food and water.

Now the river that makes glad the city of God here is the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. For they give us their Life. God wipes away all our tears here, the tears we shed for those we love who refused the gift of God and the tears we shed because of our tears and our lives wasted by sin, selfishness and our own self satisfaction. He wipes them all away because all things are new now. We have been freed from sin, death and the power of the devil. We are free to live for God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ now. Let us try to live in that day now by the grace of God.

Heavenly Father, you pour upon your children the blood of Jesus, cleansing us from our sins and giving us a clear conscience before your throne. Grant unto us the gift of perseverance so on the day of our resurrection we may be gathered with all your saints and rejoice in your presence forevermore. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion When The Saints Go Marching In

#DailyDevotion When The Saints Go Marching In

DailyDevotion When The Saints Go Marching In

Rev 7:9-12  After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,  (10)  and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”  (11)  And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,  (12)  saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

This is the second time the end of the world, the Last Day, is described in the book of Revelation. The first being 1:7. This particular one confuses people because it is done with the sixth seal and not the seventh. The seventh seal just introduces the third time the history of the world and its end is described.

So this chapter starts with a symbolic representation of the whole Church which is Israel, 12,000 from every tribe, 144,000. But then we get to verse 9 and we get a more real presentation of who is there, the fulfillment of the mystery of Christ, Eph 3:6 “This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” It was revealed in the prophets, Isa 49:6 “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

So here we see the fulfillment of that mystery. People of every nation, tribe, people and language gathered out from the great tribulation which started at Christ’s death. They are gathered around the Lamb, our Lord Jesus Christ, who has taken away the sins of the world. He has clothed us in white robes which is his righteousness credited to us through faith in him and his works.

As true Christians they cry out, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” There is no salvation apart from God or from the Lamb. Any contribution we think we do towards our salvation is cast aside. There can be only One who saves us, that One is God and the Lamb, who is One with him. As sinful human beings, our flesh is always trying to get its two cents of credit. The New Man, in Christ Jesus, seeks no such credits. He knows his salvation is due only to Jesus. Jesus gets all the praise. Jesus gets all the glory. Only his grace, free gift, and favor can save us. It is only the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world.

Jesus, the Lamb, is then magnified, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” Jesus is there with the Father in the center, being magnified with Father. This is a consistent theme in Revelation. The Father is praised. Then the Lamb is praised with the same glory. They are praised together for they are One.

Let us then cast aside every good work, deed, action, thought and confession which we think attributes anything to our salvation and give thanks and praise now as we will when we are gathered together here in chapter seven and praise the Lamb, our Lord Jesus Christ as he who has saved us.

Gracious and merciful Father, grant us pure and clean hearts so that we may rightly praise you and your Son Jesus Christ as our salvation alone and no one and nothing else, now and when we are gathered to you around your throne. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Take Heed To The Whole Counsel Of God

#DailyDevotion Take Heed To The Whole Counsel Of God

Act 20:26-27  Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all,  (27)  for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God…29  I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;  (30)  and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them…32  And now 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…35  In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

I remember the first sermon I preached as a vicar (pastor in training). My supervisor told me it was commendable that I wanted to preach the whole counsel of God, but I didn’t have to do it all in one sermon. Paul in his time at Ephesus declared unto them the whole counsel of God but he had taken a while to accomplish this. He made sure he covered all aspects of the teachings of Jesus. The church today follows in this tradition. The church has what we call the lectionary, a series of readings from the Old Testament, the Epistles and the Gospels, which cover every teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ over the course of a year. Simply preaching on one of the lectionary texts diligently, the pastor will be able to say with Paul he preached the whole counsel of God.

Now Paul warned that fierce wolves would come in after his departure  to the churches not sparing the flocks. Satan is always working in the church among men of perverse wills who try to draw people away twisting the words of scripture. It is the reason we have so many different faiths and denominations of Christianity today and all the various sects. Some men want to teach something new other are trying to hold fast to the true teachings. We must be diligent to only teach what the scripture teaches in context. This is the job of both laity and the clergy. We need not fear though. It is the Lord’s church and it will prevail. But our fear is for those who fall away, following those who would devour them with their false teachings.

The word of God’s grace is able though to build us up and give us an inheritance among the saints. That word is Jesus. When we focus on all that God has done for us in Christ Jesus, giving all glory to Jesus we will not be so easily led astray. More often than not we are lead astray from the teachings of Jesus by focusing on what we must be doing. While we always want to commend people to good works, it is more often a perversion of what we are called to do which detracts from the gospel and the glory of Jesus. It is the forgiveness of sins that sanctifies us, makes us holy, and gives us a share in the kingdom of God.

That said, while the kingdom of God is given to us by grace, the Lord wants us busy to be acting like him. He did the work of salvation and gave us freely his righteousness, wisdom, redemption and holiness. Now he calls us to work, not just for ourselves, but that we might have something extra to give to those in time of need. Paul gives us a quote from Jesus that isn’t written in the gospels, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Isn’t it wonderful that this word of the Lord is preserved through Paul. Jesus did however in the gospels speak about being of service to other and how the one who is great in the kingdom of God is the servant of all. Let us set out therefore to serve one another and to give freely of ourselves as the Lord freely gave to us and be blessed like him.

Heavenly Father, grant that your word of grace may be active in us to preserve us in the faith unto life everlasting. May we be diligent in our Lord’s teaching that we may correct those in error to save them and give us your heart that we may give all good things you have blessed us with those who are in need. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Will You Suffer All For The Name Of Jesus?

#DailyDevotion Will You Suffer All For The Name Of Jesus?

Act 20:18-24  And when they came to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia,  (19)  serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews;  (20)  how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house,  (21)  testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.  (22)  And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there,  (23)  except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me.  (24)  But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

When Jesus converted St. Paul he told Ananias that he would show Paul how much he must suffer for his name’s sake. As we start getting close to the end of Acts we see in Paul’s life how much this promise is coming true. Yet St. Paul did not begrudge the Lord Jesus Christ these sufferings. He met the plot of the Jews against him with all humility and tears. He knew what he really deserved for his sins. The trials and tribulations of this life especially including the tribulations he experienced from both Jew and Gentile because of the Word of Christ he preached was well worth the coming glory he was expecting from Jesus at the resurrection.

Paul preached to both Jew and Greek repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Both Jew and Greek needed repentance towards God. That was the message of John’s baptism.  The religion the Jews had made up over the centuries, glossing over the Law Moses had given them did not meet God’s standards and was not the religion he gave name. More than that, the Law he had given them was not sufficient for righteousness but was only a training ground to prepare them for the Messiah who was to come. All of them, Jew and Greek, needed to turn to God in faith, hating their sin and yes, even their good works, and seeking from God the righteousness that stands before him.

That righteousness which the Law of Moses cannot provide is given through faith in Jesus Christ. Only faith in the person, the work of and the name of Jesus of Nazareth prevails before the Father of Lights and is counted as righteousness. It is trusting that the Father laid our sins and iniquities upon the Son, Jesus, son of Mary, that is credited by God as righteousness, the type of righteousness Abraham had. Abraham was promised that through his seed all nations would be blessed. That seed was Jesus and God credited to Abraham righteousness. You too are called to believe as Abraham believed and become his children.

What is this faith worth? It is worth more than all the gold of the world which perishes. It is worth the suffering, pains and trials of life, particularly those born from holding on to the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ. St. Paul counted his life as nothing in this world if he could but proclaim the grace of God found in our Lord Jesus Christ. We too then should look with disdain at any trial, tribulation, trouble, illness, pain and suffering, shame, guilt or anything else that tries to wrestle from us the grace of God found in Christ Jesus. For the grace of God is God’s gift to you. It is free. But it contains the most precious things in the world, God’s righteousness, life and glory won for you by Jesus.

Heavenly Father, may we with St. Paul be willing to suffer all, even death, that we may hold steadfast to the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, so we may attain your grace ending in righteousness, life and glory everlasting. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.