#DailyDevotion Oneness Is A Gift Of A Personal God

#DailyDevotion Oneness Is A Gift Of A Personal God

Gen 11:5-9  And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built.  (6)  And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.  (7)  Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.”  (8)  So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city.  (9)  Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth.

I believe this is one of those instances where God is just trying to communicate something to us just so we can understand it. What I mean is in verse five there is no need for the Lord to come down and see what we are doing. The Lord is omniscient: He knows all things. So why does the Lord report this to us in this fashion? Well for one you can grasp with the name of God being present here, the LORD, i.e. YHWH. In the Old Testament, generally, when the text uses the divine name, God is getting up and personal with us. So in the garden, the LORD knew what Adam had done, but he is getting personal with Adam. So too here, God wants us to know that he is not just some impersonal deity up there somewhere, but he is a God who is intimately involved with humanity.

Now the people had a unity of language and purpose. While it would be nice if we were all united, if we are united in purpose antithetical to the Lord’s purpose for us, that would not be a good thing. Here, man was united to a purpose antithetical to God’s will. It was engaged towards pride and circumventing man taking dominion over the earth under God. Some have taught that they were building it to escape in case the Lord decided to flood the earth again. If true, that would demonstrate a. they didn’t trust the Lord’s promise and b. they forgot the Lord flooded the earth above the mountains. The text doesn’t say that so that is just pious speculation.

So that their plans were frustrated the Lord went down and confused their language and well, that’s why we have so many languages today. But note this important nugget here in the text. The LORD says, “Let us go down…” Did you see that? Now he said something similar here, Gen 1:26  Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” and again, Gen 3:22 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil.” Who is this us? It is not the angels. Man is not made in the image and likeness of angels. No, this is the divine Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Now the Lord is one. The Father is Lord. The Son is Lord. The Holy Spirit is Lord. But there are not three Lords but one Lord. Each distinct person is Lord and yet there is only one Lord. Man was supposed to be one in and under the Lord. Marriage is an image of that oneness where husband and wife are one flesh. That oneness was to extend over all humanity in the Lord. But sin broke up that oneness.

However now in Jesus Christ, the Lord, the Lord is bringing back that oneness that was meant to be in himself. Paul says, Eph 4:4-6 “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—  (5)  one Lord, one faith, one baptism,  (6)  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” He also says, 1Co 6:17 “But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.” So now, through faith in Christ Jesus we are one with one another, one with Christ and one with God; God in us and us in God. While we cannot see it now, we believe and confess it to be true because the Lord has said as much and we will see its fruition on the Last Day.

O Almighty Lord, you confused our languages because of our unity in sinfulness but now in these last days, you call us to be one again, with one another and with you through faith in Christ Jesus. Heal all our sad divisions in body of Christ and unite us all as one on the day of Jesus’ revelation. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion In What Is Your Worth Found?

#DailyDevotion In What Is Your Worth Found?

Gen 11:1-4  Now the whole earth had one language and the same words.  (2)  And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.  (3)  And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar.  (4)  Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”

Now the earth was beginning to be filled again after the flood. Everyone was a descendent of Noah and his family. As such they only had one language and everyone could communicate with each other. The only question was, what were they going to do with the gift of speech and the new world they had received from the Lord.

While the Lord did rid the world of many wicked people with the flood, there was still a problem with the people he did save and those that would be born to them: Gen 8:21 …the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. They were just as they were before the flood: Gen 6:5  The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. In case you’re wondering, that’s why we’re still in the mess we have today.

So what did these descendents of Noah plan to do? Well they wanted to make a name for themselves to the purpose of not getting dispersed over the face of the earth. Perhaps you don’t think this is too bad. But when the Lord has blessed man that he created, he intended for man to have dominion over the earth. You can’t do that staying in one place. Not to mention it isn’t healthy for the land for all mankind to be gathered in just one place. The reasoning they give shows what is on their hearts. They want a name for themselves.

Pro 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” We pride ourselves on our being proud today. We find our worth in what we do and not in the Lord who values us. Our esteem is not in Jesus the Lord but in ourselves. A prideful heart the Lord despised (Prov. 8:13) The people here in Shinar, later Babylon were prideful. They were demonstrating what the Lord said before and after the flood, “every intention of their heart is wicked from youth.” The Lord does not want us to rely on ourselves but upon him for all good things. We are not called to exalt ourselves like these people did. It did not end well for them.

Rather, Jas 4:10 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” and 1Pe 5:6 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,…” and Php 2:3-5 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  (4)  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  (5)  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,…” Humility in Christ is what we are called to have, trusting only in the goodness and power of our Lord. Jesus himself is our example who looked not to his own interest but for ours submitting himself to the Father’s will. May we follow that example and not our fleshly desire for a name for ourselves but the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Heavenly Father, pride cannot stand before you. Curb our fleshly desires for recognition and give us a spirit of humility that we may follow in the footsteps of your Son Jesus Christ and think of others more than we think of ourselves. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Jesus Wants Us To See His Glory

#DailyDevotion Jesus Wants Us To See His Glory

Joh 17:24-26  Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.  (25)  O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me.  (26)  I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

In part we see Jesus’ petition fulfilled when Paul tells us in Ephesians, Eph 2:6 “[He] raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,…” Because he is seated at the right hand of the Father and we are joined with him through faith and baptism, we too are seated with him even now, though we do not see it. Then, on the day of Christ’s revelation, we shall see Jesus’ glory which was his before the foundation of the world. Paul assures us, 2Co 3:18 “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

Christ’s glory that his human nature now also bears, he plans to share with us. John says, 1Jn 3:2  “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” What a promise! To be like Jesus at the resurrection. John is not alone in this promise. Peter also tells us, 2Pe 1:4 “through them [very great promises] you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”

Paul tells us, Col 1:27 “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Jesus’ petition to be in us and us in him is fulfilled in faith and baptism. We have a hope of glory which is to see the result on the Last Day of Jesus’ indwelling, our transformation. In the meantime, until that day, Paul assures us, 2Co 4:16-17 “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  (17)  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,…”

Jesus knows the apostles know him and he wants them to make known Jesus. Jesus also makes known to them the Father and the apostles make known the Father through the preaching of Jesus. To know the Father is to know Jesus. Because of the Law people think they know the Father. But from that they do not get that God is holy and righteous but rather they only know his wrath, which is his alien work. Yet, we would not know the love of God the Father for us if we did not know his wrath against sin and rebellion. John writes, 1Jn 4:10 “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” It is in know the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins that we know the love of the Father and know the Father’s will towards us. It is not the Father’s primary will to be a punishing, wrathful God. His primary will toward humanity and even his creation is love. We know that love in Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross.

Jesus’ prayer is answered Yes by the Father. Jesus does not end these petitions, “not my will be done but your will be done.” He is praying the will of the Father here and Jesus continues to pray this prayer for us at the right hand of God. For a couple a thousand years, Jesus’ prayer is being heard as we can see that we now know the Father even as his apostles knew the Father and Jesus. And we shall see the fulfillment when Christ returns in all his glory.

Heavenly Father, continue to hear the prayer of your Son Jesus Christ at your right hand, that people may continually come to know you through Jesus, be joined to him in faith and finally be received into your glory on the Last Day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion The Church Is One With Jesus & The Father

#DailyDevotion The Church Is One With Jesus & The Father

Joh 17:20-23  “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,  (21)  that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  (22)  The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,  (23)  I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

Ever wonder what Jesus is praying for at the right hand of God for you? Well this is one of those things. He prays that we would be one with one another. This oneness is not about happy clappy let’s all just get along and ignore the differences.  Jesus continues that we be one even as Jesus and the Father are one. This consist of the Father being in Jesus and Jesus in the Father, just as we confess the Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God but there are not three gods but One God.  So too, Jesus’ prayer is we be one like that.

We see glimpses of this in the early Church. Act 4:32 “Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.” Paul says, 1Co 12:13 “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” The Church indeed is one for all of its members are members of the one body of Christ and we all have the one and the same Spirit. All believers in Jesus are one body with him and we are one Spirit with one another. 

Paul also teaches us concerning our oneness, Eph 4:4-6 “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—  (5)  one Lord, one faith, one baptism,  (6)  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Now this takes us beyond our oneness with one another as Christians but also brings into it our oneness with Jesus and the Father. For Jesus also prays that just as the Father is in Jesus and Jesus is in the Father, that we would be in them in the same way.

Because of Jesus’ incarnation, his becoming man, and his ascension to the right hand of the Father, all who have been baptized into Jesus and who have faith in him are in him and therefore in the Father as well. He and the Father are in us and we are in them. This is further illustrated by Paul in chapter five of Ephesians Eph 5:29-32 “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,  (30)  because we are members of his body.  (31)  “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.”

This oneness and unity with Christ and God of the members of the Church is an article of faith. It cannot be seen in this age. It can only be believed and worked on being an outward manifestation. Yet Jesus’ prayer will be manifested to all on the day of his return. On that day, the world will see the Church’s glory and its oneness with God. On that day, the world will see how God loves us. Until then we join with Christ in his prayer that all who confess his name and believe in him would be outwardly one as we are inwardly one.

Heavenly Father, remove all the sad divisions in the body of Christ and bring us all to a single confession of faith so the world may see your great love for us and know that we are one with you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Jesus Is Returning Soon. Come Lord Jesus

#DailyDevotion Jesus Is Returning Soon. Come Lord Jesus

Rev 22:12-20  “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.  (13)  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”  (14)  Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.  (15)  Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.  (16)  “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”  (17)  The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.  (18)  I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book,  (19)  and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.  (20)  He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

In the beginning of Revelation God says, Rev 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Jesus also says something similar there, Rev 1:17 “Fear not, I am the first and the last,…” Now Jesus closes out Revelation with the words of the Lord God, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”  So if you didn’t get it in chapter one you should get it now, Jesus and the Lord God are One Lord, One God.

We have received his warning. He is coming soon and his recompense with him. As it is written, Act 10:42 “And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.”, 2Ti 4:1 “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:”  And 1Pe 4:5 “but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” Certainly, those who have rejected the gracious gift of God in Christ Jesus will get what they deserve and will receive their due. The problem is most people think they are good people. They think God is an accountant. They think he is going to measure their good deeds against their bad and they think they have more good than bad. But the Lord God is not like that. This is a zero sum game. If you are supposed to do good anyway, any evil you have done cannot be made up for in good works. You are either perfect or you are not. A lot of good people are going to be shocked on Judgment Day.

But blessed are they who have washed their robes, i.e. they have repented of their evil deeds and have been baptized into Christ through the sacrament of baptism. Such ones who have put their faith in Jesus and his salvific work for them on the cross, who believe his blood is the atoning sacrifice for their sin, they shall have the right to eat from the tree of life. Those persons who persisted in their evil deeds, examples above, and did not repent and believe but rather choose to be judged based on their works will be cast out.

Jesus is offering to all the water of life without price as it is written, Isa 55:1 “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” Jesus is coming soon. Repent and believe the good news!

Heavenly Father, your Son ascended to your right hand and is returning in the same fashion he has departed from us. Grant us faith and repentance that on the day of his revelation, we be found washed in his blood and be able to partake of the tree of life and the water of life without cost. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Jesus Is The River & Tree Of Life

#DailyDevotion Jesus Is The River & Tree Of Life

Rev 22:1-6  Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb  (2)  through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.  (3)  No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.  (4)  They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.  (5)  And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.  (6)  And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”

Psa 36:8-9  They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.  (9)  For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.

Psa 46:4-5  There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.  (5)  God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.

Eze 47:1  Then he brought me back to the door of the temple, and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar.

As you can see there is nothing really new in Revelation that isn’t taught elsewhere in Scripture. What is this river that gives life and makes glad the city of God, i.e. the Lord’s holy people? Joh 19:34 “But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.” The water of life is the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. The water is the life, it is his blood that gives us his life and feeds us through the tree of life which is his body. It is Christ Jesus himself that is imaged to us here in Revelation. He is the river, he is the tree, he is the leaves and fruit that bring the nations healing and feeds them.

Already, we participate in the river of life and the tree of life through baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Now it is hidden from our sight. At that time we shall see him with our own eyes and know him, Jesus, even as we are fully known by him. While we may wonder about some church members and they may wonder about us, at this time, that will be no more. For we will all be wholly and fully sanctified by our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. There will be and we will no longer be hypocrites. We will be what the Lord and what we have always wanted to be, the holy children of God.

The Lord has placed his name upon our foreheads at baptism. He is our God and we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. We will see the Lord, face to face, even as Moses did in the tabernacle, no, even more closely and perfectly and completely, we will look upon the glory of God and bear its weight in and upon ourselves. We will worship the Lord God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as he has always wanted and as we have always wanted. We will finally bear the image of God perfectly even has the Image of God, Jesus, has born our sins and iniquities in this age.

The Father and Jesus who are the true light shall be our light in that day. Even as darkness is light to the Lord, living their light we will know no darkness. We shall simply reign with our Lord Jesus Christ creation, have dominion over it as it was originally and perhaps even more greater than it was our to have dominion over in the Garden.

Heavenly Father, the life blood of your Son Jesus Christ makes glad your holy people and gives them life. May we ever partake of this water of life and live and reign with you, your Son and the Holy Spirit unto life everlasting. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

#DailyDevotion All Scripture Is Fulfilled In Jesus

#DailyDevotion All Scripture Is Fulfilled In Jesus

Act 1:16-26  “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.  (17)  For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.”  (18)  (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out.  (19)  And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)  (20)  “For it is written in the Book of Psalms, “‘May his camp become desolate, and let there be no one to dwell in it’; and “‘Let another take his office.’  (21)  So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,  (22)  beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.”  (23)  And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias.  (24)  And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen  (25)  to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.”  (26)  And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

So what should we make of this passage? There isn’t a whole lot of ‘gospel’ per se that applies to us. There also isn’t a whole lot of ‘law’ that applies to us either. What are we to learn from this passage then?

First, God fulfills his promises and plans. He foretells the future through his prophets and then he brings it to pass. In this case, Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit is able to see how these Scripture passages apply to Judas and then to what to do. To be honest I don’t know if I’d ever see it except Peter is being guided by the Holy Spirit.  Though if one were to meditate on Psalm 69 which is quoted one can begin to see this is speaking of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection much like Psalm 22. So we see a great key to understanding Scripture which Jesus himself gives us, it’s all about him. Once we can grasp that all of Scripture is about Jesus then things will begin to make more sense and you will start seeing Jesus everywhere in the Old Testament. Psalm 109 which is also quoted speaks of Jesus and of his betrayal by Judas. So if the Scriptures must be fulfilled we can take great comfort that either God has already fulfilled something said earlier in Scripture in Jesus or just as God has fulfilled other passages of Scripture in Jesus, he is going to fulfill anything else we may come across that has not been fulfilled yet, in Jesus. Nothing will be left undone.

Another thing we can take from this is Jesus, the Lord of the Harvest, is going to make sure there are always those who fill the office of the Holy Ministry. In this particular case, the office of apostle is filled by Matthias. The apostolic office is the head office of the Holy Ministry from whence all other offices in the Church get their source. The apostolic office or place, as we can see here, is meant to be filled by those who had seen the risen Lord Jesus and were taught him. Paul, after his conversion, saw the risen Lord and was taught by him in the wilderness after leaving Antioch. Those appointed by Jesus to be apostles are given the power to affirm his word with great signs and wonders.

The apostles are no longer with us though. The other gifts which derive from their office, which Paul mentions in Ephesians, evangelist, pastors and teachers, though this list is not exhaustive terminology (he also calls them bishops, deacons, presbyters) are gifts given to the Church from Jesus to continue the ministry of the word proclaimed by the apostles.

Heavenly Father, always continue the apostolic ministry among us through the gifts of Christ, so we may always have your saving word, unto life everlasting. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion The Old Is Completed In The New

#DailyDevotion The Old Is Completed In The New

Act 1:12-14  Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.  (13)  And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James.  (14)  All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

Jesus had ascended to the right hand of the Father. He had instructed his apostles to go back to Jerusalem to wait for the Holy Spirit whom they would receive from on high in ten days. So they did as they were told. While there they gathered together in a large upper room, we’ll see there were one hundred and twenty persons gathered together, they devoted themselves to prayer. The women who supported them during Jesus’ visible ministry and Jesus’ mother and brothers were part of that crowd.

There are perhaps three things we can get from this bit of scripture. One is they were of one accord. They had one mind, one confession of faith. They were not divided by teaching or by purpose. Perhaps we need to repent more of the sad divisions that exist among us Christians. Not that we should just ignore the differences; those differences can be the difference between eternal life and eternal damnation. We should though always be ready to examine what we teach, believe and do to make sure it is truly in accord with the word of God and if such differences are truly false teaching or just mere opinions and practices of men. Where differences don’t amount to false teaching or practices based on false teaching we should recognize we are truly of one accord. We should also be willing to talk with those who confess Christ but believe and teach differently to bring about a true united confession of faith that is faithful to God’s word. Let us not let the devil try to separate us on things that do not matter.

As a result of being of one accord they prayed. Yes unity in mind, spirit and teaching has the fruit of united prayer. When we are of one mind, one accord, one confession of faith, we can be united in what we pray for. One thing we should all be able to pray for is our sad divisions cease. We also pray for the conversion of the world. We pray for more pastors, evangelists and missionaries. We pray for the opportunity to share the word of Christ and that those who hear it, they hearts will be opened to hear, listen, and believe it. We pray for the perseverance of the saints, that we will not fall away under pressure, even torture.

Thirdly, we can see in this passage, which will be more developed later in this passage that the church mirrors and fulfills the Old Testament Church. The Church of the Old Testament had as its foundation the twelve patriarchs. The Church of the New Testament is founded upon the foundation of the twelve apostles. Yet, because of Judas’ falling away there were not only eleven.  Someone would need to replace him. It is interesting that the list of the tribes of Israel in Revelation the tribes of Dan and Ephraim have been replaced with Manasseh and Joseph; Ephraim probably because its leaders lead the northern tribes astray into idolatry, Dan perhaps because they were the most northern tribe which held one of the idolatrous temples for the Israelites there. So in similar fashion we should see the fulfillment of the Old Testament Church in the New Testament Church in which all of Scripture is completed and made perfect.

Heavenly Father, grant us, the Church of your Son Jesus Christ, one accord and mind so that our sad divisions would cease so that we may all pray with one accord the salvation of the world, the perseverance of the saints and be raised up with Christ on the day of his return as one holy Christian Church. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Jesus Has Overcome The World.

#DailyDevotion Jesus Has Overcome The World.

Joh 16:28-33  I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”  (29)  His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech!  (30)  Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.”  (31)  Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe?  (32)  Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.  (33)  I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

This part of the gospel lesson is preparing us for Ascension Thursday coming up, you guessed right, this coming Thursday. I hope there is a service you can attend for this important Holy Day. Jesus tells his disciples, quite plainly that he is leaving the world and going back to the Father. The funny thing, while Jesus is not speaking to them in a parable, and while they acknowledge Jesus is speaking plainly to them, Jesus clearly sees they do not understand what he is talking about. They probably think Jesus is going back to the Father, before his death and resurrection, is a spectacular way, to show the world who he is.

Jesus in his usual blunt fashion tells them they don’t understand anything and most certainly do not believe what he is telling them. Jesus tells them they are all about to abandon him as indeed they do later as he is arrested, tried, crucified and buried. Peter will even deny knowing him with swearing and cursing. Yet Jesus is trying to prepare them for this. He lets them know he will not be alone. The Father will be with him throughout his whole ordeal, offering up Jesus as a sacrifice for the sin of the world.

Jesus lets them know what is coming up so they may have peace with this happens. It will not be until Pentecost that they realize fully this peace. Indeed, we don’t have this peace either until we receive the Holy Spirit also. It is a peace though in the midst of tribulation. The peace we have in Jesus is not to be without worldly cares. We may even face torture or death because of our confession that Jesus came from God and is the Lord of the Old and New Testaments. The peace we have and the apostles had and have is God has reconciled the world, us, to himself, not counting our trespasses against us. It’s a peace knowing we will escape the judgment of eternal death. This peace calms our conscience when the devil tries to stir it up with true and false accusations about us because those sins have been atoned for by Jesus.

We, like the disciples, can take heart. Jesus has overcome the world. This is not so much that Jesus is coming to conquer the world with the sword but rather he did love his life in the world but was willing to sacrifice it for you. He did not give into the temptations of the world and the flesh but submitted himself to the will of the Father. This he did, not so much for an example (though it was an example for u) but for us, because as long as we are in the flesh, our flesh will still cause us to sin. His overcoming the world and temptation comforts and strengthens us knowing it was done for us. It also gives us strength when we are tempted by the world to not give into the temptations of the world.

Heavenly Father, as Jesus has overcome the world and returned to you, grant us the courage and strength we need to be at peace in the midst of tribulations and temptations, that we remain faithful to the confession that Jesus is Lord till you call us home to yourself. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.