HE IS RISEN!

"For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord."
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A Revolutionary Announcement

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on December 6th.

Acts 2:37-47 37 Now when they heard `this,' they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do? 38 And Peter `said' unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, `even' as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him. 40 And with many other words he testified, and exhorted them, saying, Save yourselves from this crooked generation. 41 They then that received his word were baptized: and there were added `unto them' in that day about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 and they sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all, according as any man had need. 46 And day by day, continuing stedfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved.

Familiarity sometimes robs us of awe and wonder, and this is true of both simple and profound events in life. As Christians, we are familiar with the idea of Jesus’ resurrection, but can you imagine the impact it had on those who first heard about it?

When Peter gave his first sermon, he boldly declared, “You ... put Him to death. But God raised Him up again” ( Acts 2:23-24 23 him, being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye by the hand of lawless men did crucify and slay: 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pangs of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. ). Imagine what a revolutionary statement that was. The assembled crowd knew of Jesus and the miracles He’d performed, and some may even have joined in shouting, “Crucify Him!” (Matt. 27:22). Yet here was one of Jesus’ own followers claiming that the Christ couldn’t be held by death’s power.

Some may have considered the disciples’ early accounts of the resurrection to be idle tales, but Pentecost changed all that when God visited mankind in a way He never had before. The crowd witnessed something historic as each person heard the gospel in his or her own language ( Acts 2:8-11 8 And how hear we, every man in our own language wherein we were born? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, in Judaea and Cappadocia, in Pontus and Asia, 10 in Phrygia and Pamphylia, in Egypt and the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and sojourners from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabians, we hear them speaking in our tongues the mighty works of God. ).

Faith took root in 3,000 repentant hearts when the message of the Lord’s death and resurrection was preached. Those new believers were baptized as a public statement of their trust in Jesus as the Messiah and Savior, who died to pay the penalty for their sins.

The revolution sparked by the Holy Spirit that day spread across the world and into the modern era, transforming individuals and the cultures in which they lived. Today the task of proclaiming the death and resurrection of Jesus falls to us. As with the first church, we can trust the Lord to add to our number those who are being saved.

Bible in One Year: Galatians 4-6 Chapter 4 1 But I say that so long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a bondservant though he is lord of all; 2 but is under guardians and stewards until the day appointed of the father. 3 So we also, when we were children, were held in bondage under the rudiments of the world: 4 but when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 that he might redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 So that thou art no longer a bondservant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. 8 Howbeit at that time, not knowing God, ye were in bondage to them that by nature are no gods: 9 but now that ye have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how turn ye back again to the weak and beggarly rudiments, whereunto ye desire to be in bondage over again? 10 Ye observe days, and months, and seasons, and years. 11 I am afraid of you, lest by any means I have bestowed labor upon you in vain. 12 I beseech you, brethren, become as I `am', for I also `am become' as ye `are'. Ye did me no wrong: 13 but ye know that because of an infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you the first time: 14 and that which was a temptation to you in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but ye received me as an angel of God, `even' as Christ Jesus. 15 Where then is that gratulation of yourselves? for I bear you witness, that, if possible, ye would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. 16 So then am I become your enemy, by telling you the truth? 17 They zealously seek you in no good way; nay, they desire to shut you out, that ye may seek them. 18 But it is good to be zealously sought in a good matter at all times, and not only when I am present with you. 19 My little children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you-- 20 but I could wish to be present with you now, and to change my tone; for I am perplexed about you. 21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, one by the handmaid, and one by the freewoman. 23 Howbeit the `son' by the handmaid is born after the flesh; but the `son' by the freewoman `is born' through promise. 24 Which things contain an allegory: for these `women' are two covenants; one from mount Sinai, bearing children unto bondage, which is Hagar. 25 Now this Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia and answereth to the Jerusalem that now is: for she is in bondage with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, which is our mother. 27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; Break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: For more are the children of the desolate than of her that hath the husband. 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him `that was born' after the Spirit, so also it is now. 30 Howbeit what saith the scripture? Cast out the handmaid and her son: for the son of the handmaid shall not inherit with the son of the freewoman. 31 Wherefore, brethren, we are not children of a handmaid, but of the freewoman. Chapter 5 1 For freedom did Christ set us free: stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage. 2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that, if ye receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 Yea, I testify again to every man that receiveth circumcision, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Ye are severed from Christ, ye would be justified by the law; ye are fallen away from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit by faith wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith working through love. 7 Ye were running well; who hindered you that ye should not obey the truth? 8 This persuasion `came' not of him that calleth you. 9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. 10 I have confidence to you-ward in the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be. 11 But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? then hath the stumbling-block of the cross been done away. 12 I would that they that unsettle you would even go beyond circumcision. 13 For ye, brethren, were called for freedom; only `use' not your freedom for an occasion to the flesh, but through love be servants one to another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, `even' in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary the one to the other; that ye may not do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are `these': fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties, 21 envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practise such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 meekness, self-control; against such there is no law. 24 And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof. 25 If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk. 26 Let us not become vainglorious, provoking one another, envying one another. Chapter 6 1 Brethren, even if a man be overtaken in any trespass, ye who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if a man thinketh himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4 But let each man prove his own work, and then shall he have his glorying in regard of himself alone, and not of his neighbor. 5 For each man shall bear his own burden. 6 But let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. 7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth unto his own flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth unto the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us work that which is good toward all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith. 11 See with how large letters I write unto you with mine own hand. 12 As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they compel you to be circumcised; only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 For not even they who receive circumcision do themselves keep the law; but they desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. 14 But far be it from me to glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world hath been crucified unto me, and I unto the world. 15 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. 16 And as many as shall walk by this rule, peace `be' upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. 17 Henceforth, let no man trouble me; for I bear branded on my body the marks of Jesus. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.




Walking in the Light

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on December 6th.

Ephesians 5:1-17 Chapter 5 1 Be ye therefore imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for an odor of a sweet smell. 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as becometh saints; 4 nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, or jesting, which are not befitting: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know of a surety, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no man deceive you with empty words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them; 8 For ye were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord: walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10 proving what is well-pleasing unto the Lord; 11 and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them; 12 for the things which are done by them in secret it is a shame even to speak of. 13 But all things when they are reproved are made manifest by the light: for everything that is made manifest is light. 14 Wherefore `he' saith, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine upon thee. 15 Look therefore carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise; 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

If you’ve ever lost power at night, you know how disorienting it can be to try and find your way to a flashlight or candle. You think you’re heading for a doorway but unexpectedly bump into a wall. This is what our life was like before we met the Light of the World. In fact, we didn’t even know what real light was and had become comfortable in the darkness because it kept us from seeing how sinful we truly were.

An amazing transaction occurred when we finally believed the gospel, repented of our sins, and confessed Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We were rescued from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of Light. And now Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, has come to dwell within us (Col. 1:13; Eph. 3:17). So how are Christ’s followers supposed to live? Today’s passage outlines three basic responsibilities:

1. Walk in love ( Ephesians 5:1-2 Chapter 5 1 Be ye therefore imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for an odor of a sweet smell. ). As the Savior sacrificially loved us, so we are to love others. If we are at odds with our brothers and sisters in Christ, we can’t claim to be walking in Light ( 1 John 1:7 7 but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin. ).

2. Abstain from sin (Eph. 5:3-7). Believers aren’t sinless, but they don’t habitually practice deeds of darkness.

3. Learn what pleases God (Eph. 5:8-17). The fruit of Light is goodness, righteousness, and truth. These are displayed in our character, conversation, and conduct when we are living out our faith.

Let’s make it our aim to move ever closer to the Light, letting Jesus expose and remove any areas of darkness so we can reflect His glory and goodness.

Bible in One Year: Galatians 4-6 Chapter 4 1 But I say that so long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a bondservant though he is lord of all; 2 but is under guardians and stewards until the day appointed of the father. 3 So we also, when we were children, were held in bondage under the rudiments of the world: 4 but when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 that he might redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 So that thou art no longer a bondservant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. 8 Howbeit at that time, not knowing God, ye were in bondage to them that by nature are no gods: 9 but now that ye have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how turn ye back again to the weak and beggarly rudiments, whereunto ye desire to be in bondage over again? 10 Ye observe days, and months, and seasons, and years. 11 I am afraid of you, lest by any means I have bestowed labor upon you in vain. 12 I beseech you, brethren, become as I `am', for I also `am become' as ye `are'. Ye did me no wrong: 13 but ye know that because of an infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you the first time: 14 and that which was a temptation to you in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but ye received me as an angel of God, `even' as Christ Jesus. 15 Where then is that gratulation of yourselves? for I bear you witness, that, if possible, ye would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. 16 So then am I become your enemy, by telling you the truth? 17 They zealously seek you in no good way; nay, they desire to shut you out, that ye may seek them. 18 But it is good to be zealously sought in a good matter at all times, and not only when I am present with you. 19 My little children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you-- 20 but I could wish to be present with you now, and to change my tone; for I am perplexed about you. 21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, one by the handmaid, and one by the freewoman. 23 Howbeit the `son' by the handmaid is born after the flesh; but the `son' by the freewoman `is born' through promise. 24 Which things contain an allegory: for these `women' are two covenants; one from mount Sinai, bearing children unto bondage, which is Hagar. 25 Now this Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia and answereth to the Jerusalem that now is: for she is in bondage with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, which is our mother. 27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; Break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: For more are the children of the desolate than of her that hath the husband. 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him `that was born' after the Spirit, so also it is now. 30 Howbeit what saith the scripture? Cast out the handmaid and her son: for the son of the handmaid shall not inherit with the son of the freewoman. 31 Wherefore, brethren, we are not children of a handmaid, but of the freewoman. Chapter 5 1 For freedom did Christ set us free: stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage. 2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that, if ye receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 Yea, I testify again to every man that receiveth circumcision, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Ye are severed from Christ, ye would be justified by the law; ye are fallen away from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit by faith wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith working through love. 7 Ye were running well; who hindered you that ye should not obey the truth? 8 This persuasion `came' not of him that calleth you. 9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. 10 I have confidence to you-ward in the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be. 11 But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? then hath the stumbling-block of the cross been done away. 12 I would that they that unsettle you would even go beyond circumcision. 13 For ye, brethren, were called for freedom; only `use' not your freedom for an occasion to the flesh, but through love be servants one to another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, `even' in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary the one to the other; that ye may not do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are `these': fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties, 21 envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practise such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 meekness, self-control; against such there is no law. 24 And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof. 25 If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk. 26 Let us not become vainglorious, provoking one another, envying one another. Chapter 6 1 Brethren, even if a man be overtaken in any trespass, ye who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if a man thinketh himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4 But let each man prove his own work, and then shall he have his glorying in regard of himself alone, and not of his neighbor. 5 For each man shall bear his own burden. 6 But let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. 7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth unto his own flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth unto the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us work that which is good toward all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith. 11 See with how large letters I write unto you with mine own hand. 12 As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they compel you to be circumcised; only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 For not even they who receive circumcision do themselves keep the law; but they desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. 14 But far be it from me to glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world hath been crucified unto me, and I unto the world. 15 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. 16 And as many as shall walk by this rule, peace `be' upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. 17 Henceforth, let no man trouble me; for I bear branded on my body the marks of Jesus. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.




Peace to Those with Whom He Is Pleased

Published by John Piper for reading on December 6th.

“And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” ( Luke 2:12 12 And this `is' the sign unto you: Ye shall find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger. –14)

Peace for whom? There is a somber note sounded in the angels’ praise. Peace among those on whom his favor rests. Peace among those with whom he is pleased. But without faith it is impossible to please God ( Hebrews 11:6 6 And without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing `unto him'; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and `that' he is a rewarder of them that seek after him. ). So Christmas does not bring peace to all.

“This is the judgment,” Jesus said, “the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil” ( John 3:19 19 And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil. ). Or as the aged Simeon said when he saw the child Jesus, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed . . . so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed” ( Luke 2:34 34 and Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this `child' is set for the falling and the rising of many in Israel; and for a sign which is spoken against; –35). Oh, how many there are who look out on a bleak and chilly Christmas day and see no more than that — a sign to be opposed.

“He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” ( John 1:11 11 He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him not. –12). It was only to his disciples that Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” ( John 14:27 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful. ).

The people who enjoy the peace of God that surpasses all understanding are those who in everything by prayer and supplication let their requests be made known to God ( Philippians 4:6 6 In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. –7).

The key that unlocks the treasure chest of God’s peace is faith in the promises of God. So Paul prays, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing” ( Romans 15:13 13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit. ). And when we do trust the promises of God and have joy and peace and love, then God is glorified.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased! Everyone — from every people, tongue, tribe, and nation — who would believe.



Peace to Those with Whom He’s Pleased

Published by John Piper for reading on December 6th.

“And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” ( Luke 2:12 12 And this `is' the sign unto you: Ye shall find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger. –14)

Peace for whom? There is a somber note sounded in the angels’ praise. Peace among men on whom his favor rests. Peace among men with whom he is pleased. Without faith it is impossible to please God. So Christmas does not bring peace to all.

“This is the judgment,” Jesus said, “the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil” ( John 3:19 19 And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil. ). Or as the aged Simeon said when he saw the child Jesus, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed . . . so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed” ( Luke 2:34 34 and Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this `child' is set for the falling and the rising of many in Israel; and for a sign which is spoken against; –35). Oh, how many there are who look out on a bleak and chilly Christmas day and see no more than that.

“He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” ( John 1:11 11 He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him not. –12). It was only to his disciples that Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” ( John 14:27 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful. ).

The people who enjoy the peace of God that surpasses all understanding are those who in everything by prayer and supplication let their requests be made known to God.

The key that unlocks the treasure chest of God’s peace is faith in the promises of God. So Paul prays, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing” ( Romans 15:13 13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit. ). And when we do trust the promises of God and have joy and peace and love, then God is glorified.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men with whom he is pleased — men who would believe.



How to Deal With Unforgiveness

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on December 6th.

Matthew 18:21-22 21 Then came Peter and said to him, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? until seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times; but, Until seventy times seven.

God’s Word clearly teaches that we’re to forgive those who hurt us. So let’s identify practical ways to confront the matter of unforgiveness head-on. You may want to keep this list in your Bible or some other handy place for easy review.

Take it seriously. Unforgiveness is an issue that shouldn’t be dismissed.

Assume full responsibility. Don’t blame anyone for your feelings or actions.

Confess it honestly. Be specific and direct with God about what you feel, and acknowledge that unforgiveness is sin. Don’t “soften” the matter or let yourself off the hook.

Lay down your anger. Unless you deal with your resentment, bitterness can re-enter your life later on.

Pray for the other person. This may feel impossible or unnatural, but do it anyway. Praying is a choice to act lovingly, regardless of how you are treated. This will impact your relationship with that individual—and your outlook.

Ask that individual to forgive you. If the other person knows that you’ve been harboring bitterness, you need to ask for his or her forgiveness.

Do something nice for that person. Let a loving gesture demonstrate your desire to restore the relationship.

Don’t allow Satan to throw you back into unforgiveness. Once the matter is resolved, watch out for stray thoughts that could stir up memories of how the other person hurt you.

This process isn’t easy, but it works. If you go through these steps every time you are hurt, God will truly work miracles in your relationships.

Bible in One Year: Galatians 4-6 Chapter 4 1 But I say that so long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a bondservant though he is lord of all; 2 but is under guardians and stewards until the day appointed of the father. 3 So we also, when we were children, were held in bondage under the rudiments of the world: 4 but when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 that he might redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 So that thou art no longer a bondservant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. 8 Howbeit at that time, not knowing God, ye were in bondage to them that by nature are no gods: 9 but now that ye have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how turn ye back again to the weak and beggarly rudiments, whereunto ye desire to be in bondage over again? 10 Ye observe days, and months, and seasons, and years. 11 I am afraid of you, lest by any means I have bestowed labor upon you in vain. 12 I beseech you, brethren, become as I `am', for I also `am become' as ye `are'. Ye did me no wrong: 13 but ye know that because of an infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you the first time: 14 and that which was a temptation to you in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but ye received me as an angel of God, `even' as Christ Jesus. 15 Where then is that gratulation of yourselves? for I bear you witness, that, if possible, ye would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. 16 So then am I become your enemy, by telling you the truth? 17 They zealously seek you in no good way; nay, they desire to shut you out, that ye may seek them. 18 But it is good to be zealously sought in a good matter at all times, and not only when I am present with you. 19 My little children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you-- 20 but I could wish to be present with you now, and to change my tone; for I am perplexed about you. 21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, one by the handmaid, and one by the freewoman. 23 Howbeit the `son' by the handmaid is born after the flesh; but the `son' by the freewoman `is born' through promise. 24 Which things contain an allegory: for these `women' are two covenants; one from mount Sinai, bearing children unto bondage, which is Hagar. 25 Now this Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia and answereth to the Jerusalem that now is: for she is in bondage with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, which is our mother. 27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; Break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: For more are the children of the desolate than of her that hath the husband. 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him `that was born' after the Spirit, so also it is now. 30 Howbeit what saith the scripture? Cast out the handmaid and her son: for the son of the handmaid shall not inherit with the son of the freewoman. 31 Wherefore, brethren, we are not children of a handmaid, but of the freewoman. Chapter 5 1 For freedom did Christ set us free: stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage. 2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that, if ye receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 Yea, I testify again to every man that receiveth circumcision, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Ye are severed from Christ, ye would be justified by the law; ye are fallen away from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit by faith wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith working through love. 7 Ye were running well; who hindered you that ye should not obey the truth? 8 This persuasion `came' not of him that calleth you. 9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. 10 I have confidence to you-ward in the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be. 11 But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? then hath the stumbling-block of the cross been done away. 12 I would that they that unsettle you would even go beyond circumcision. 13 For ye, brethren, were called for freedom; only `use' not your freedom for an occasion to the flesh, but through love be servants one to another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, `even' in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary the one to the other; that ye may not do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are `these': fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties, 21 envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practise such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 meekness, self-control; against such there is no law. 24 And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof. 25 If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk. 26 Let us not become vainglorious, provoking one another, envying one another. Chapter 6 1 Brethren, even if a man be overtaken in any trespass, ye who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if a man thinketh himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4 But let each man prove his own work, and then shall he have his glorying in regard of himself alone, and not of his neighbor. 5 For each man shall bear his own burden. 6 But let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. 7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth unto his own flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth unto the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us work that which is good toward all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith. 11 See with how large letters I write unto you with mine own hand. 12 As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they compel you to be circumcised; only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 For not even they who receive circumcision do themselves keep the law; but they desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. 14 But far be it from me to glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world hath been crucified unto me, and I unto the world. 15 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. 16 And as many as shall walk by this rule, peace `be' upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. 17 Henceforth, let no man trouble me; for I bear branded on my body the marks of Jesus. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.




The Emptying of Christ

Published by Grace To You for reading on December 6th.

“[Christ] emptied Himself” ( Philippians 2:7 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; ).

Christ renounced His divine privileges.

Although Christ never surrendered His deity, He did empty Himself in certain ways. One such way was to give up His heavenly glory. That’s why in John 17:5 5 And now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. Jesus prays, “Glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I ever had with Thee before the world was.” Christ gave up the glory of a face-to-face relationship with God for the muck of this earth. He gave up the adoring presence of angels for the spittle of men.

Christ also emptied Himself of His independent authority. He completely submitted Himself to the will of the Father and learned to be a servant. Philippians 2:8 8 and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient `even' unto death, yea, the death of the cross. says He was obedient, and we see that illustrated when He said in the garden, “Not as I will, but as Thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39). He came to do His Father’s will, not His own ( John 5:30 30 I can of myself do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is righteous; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. ).

Another way Christ emptied Himself was by setting aside the prerogatives of His deity—the voluntary display of His attributes. He didn’t give up His deity, but He did give up the free exercise of His attributes, limiting Himself to the point of saying that even He did not know the time of His second coming (Matt. 24:36).

Christ also emptied Himself of His personal riches. “Though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). Christ was poor in this world; He owned very little.

Finally, Christ emptied Himself of a favorable relationship with His Father. God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf” (2 Cor. 5:21). As a result our Lord cried out on the cross, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46).

Though Christ renounced all those privileges, He never ceased to be God. At any moment He could have blasted His enemies off the face of the earth, but He didn’t. He voluntarily emptied Himself for you and me.

Suggestions for Prayer

Christ submitted Himself completely to His Father’s will. Regularly ask for the Lord’s perfect will to be reflected in your life as well.

For Further Study

Every now and then men glimpsed Christ’s glory. Read Luke 9:28-36 28 And it came to pass about eight days after these sayings, that he took with him Peter and John and James, and went up into the mountain to pray. 29 And as he was praying, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment `became' white `and' dazzling. 30 And behold, there talked with him two men, who were Moses and Elijah; 31 who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 Now Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: but when they were fully awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. 33 And it came to pass, as they were parting from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah: not knowing what he said. 34 And while he said these things, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. 35 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my Son, my chosen: hear ye him. 36 And when the voice came, Jesus was found alone. And they held their peace, and told no man in those days any of the things which they had seen. as one example, reminding yourself that Christ emptied Himself of the continuous outward manifestation and personal enjoyment of heavenly glory.

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

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The Heir of All Things

Published by Grace To You for reading on December 6th.
"In these last days [God] has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things" (Heb. 1:2).

Since Jesus is the Son of God, He is the heir of all that God possesses.

When Christ first came to earth He became poor for our sakes, that we, through His poverty, might be made rich (2 Cor. 8:9). He had nothing for Himself—He had "nowhere to lay His head" ( Luke 9:58 58 And Jesus said unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the heaven `have' nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. ). Even His clothes were taken from Him when He died, and He was buried in a tomb that belonged to someone else.

It is beyond our understanding to imagine that the Galilean carpenter who was crucified like a common criminal, naked and bleeding on a cross outside the city of Jerusalem, is the King of kings and Lord of lords. But He is!

As the Son of God, Jesus is the heir of all that God possesses. The apostle Paul explains that all things not only were created by Christ but also for Him (Col. 1:16). Everything that exists will find its true meaning only when it comes under the final control of Christ.

The psalms predicted that Christ would one day be the heir to all that God possesses. The Father, speaking to the Son, says, "Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Thy possession'" (Ps. 2:8). God also declared, "I also shall make Him My first-born, the highest of the kings of the earth" (Ps. 89:27; cf. Col. 1:15). "First-born" refers to legal rights—especially those of inheritance and authority.

When Christ comes to earth again, He will completely and eternally inherit all things (Rev. 11:15). And because we have trusted in Him, we are to be "fellow heirs with Christ" (Rom. 8:16-17). When we enter into His eternal kingdom, we will jointly possess all that He possesses. We will not be joint Christs or joint Lords, but will be joint heirs. His marvelous inheritance will be ours as well.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for making you a joint heir with Christ. Thank your Lord for allowing that to happen through His death on the cross.

For Further Study

Read Revelation 5:1-14 Chapter 5 1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the back, close sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a great voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? 3 And no one in the heaven, or on the earth, or under the earth, was able to open the book, or to look thereon. 4 And I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open the book, or to look thereon: 5 and one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not; behold, the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath overcome to open the book and the seven seals thereof. 6 And I saw in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, having seven horns, and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent forth into all the earth. 7 And he came, and he taketh `it' out of the right hand of him that sat on the throne. 8 And when he had taken the book, the four living creatures and the four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sing a new song, saying, Worthy art thou to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou was slain, and didst purchase unto God with thy blood `men' of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation, 10 and madest them `to be' unto our God a kingdom and priests; and they reign upon earth. 11 And I saw, and I heard a voice of many angels round about the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; 12 saying with a great voice, Worthy is the Lamb that hath been slain to receive the power, and riches, and wisdom, and might and honor, and glory, and blessing. 13 And every created thing which is in the heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and on the sea, and all things are in them, heard I saying, Unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb, `be' the blessing, and the honor, and the glory, and the dominion, for ever and ever. 14 And the four living creatures said, Amen. And the elders fell down and worshipped. and 11:15-18, noting how the inhabitants of heaven respond to Christ.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

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Daily Bible - December 6

Published by Grace To You for reading on December 6th.

Reading for Today:

  • Hosea 3:1 Chapter 3 1 And Jehovah said unto me, Go again, love a woman beloved of `her' friend, and an adulteress, even as Jehovah loveth the children of Israel, though they turn unto other gods, and love cakes of raisins. –4:19
  • Psalms 138:7-8 7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me; Thou wilt stretch forth thy hand against the wrath of mine enemies, And thy right hand will save me. 8 Jehovah will perfect that which concerneth me: Thy lovingkindness, O Jehovah, `endureth' for ever; Forsake not the works of thine own hands. Psalm 139 For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
  • Proverbs 29:18 18 Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint; But he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
  • 1 John 4:1-21 Chapter 4 1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 and every spirit that confesseth not Jesus is not of God: and this is the `spirit' of the antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it cometh; and now it is in the world already. 4 Ye are of God, `my' little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. 5 They are of the world: therefore speak they `as' of the world, and the world heareth them. 6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he who is not of God heareth us not. By this we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. 7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is begotten of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 9 Herein was the love of God manifested in us, that God hath sent his only begotten Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son `to be' the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No man hath beheld God at any time: if we love one another, God abideth in us, and his love is perfected in us: 13 hereby we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have beheld and bear witness that the Father hath sent the Son `to be' the Saviour of the world. 15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him, and he in God. 16 And we know and have believed the love which God hath in us. God is love; and he that abideth in love abideth in God, and God abideth in him. 17 Herein is love made perfect with us, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as he is, even so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love: but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath punishment; and he that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love, because he first loved us. 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, cannot love God whom he hath not seen. 21 And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also.

Notes:

Hosea 3:1 Go again, love. Having been previously separated, Hosea was commanded to pursue his estranged wife, Gomer, thereby illustrating God’s unquenchable love for faithless Israel. raisin cakes. Eaten as a part of special occasions (2 Sam. 6:19), they may have been used in idolatrous ceremonies, possibly as an aphrodisiac ( Song of Solomon 2:5 5 Stay ye me with raisins, refresh me with apples; For I am sick from love. ).

Hosea 3:2 bought her. Probably from a slave auction, Hosea purchased Gomer for 15 shekels of silver and 1 1/2 homers of barley. Together, the total may have equaled 30 pieces of silver, the price paid for a common slave (Ex. 21:32). Barley was the offering of one accused of adultery (Num. 5:15).

Proverbs 29:18 no revelation. This proverb looks both to the lack of the Word (1 Sam. 3:1) and the lack of hearing the Word ( Amos 8:11 11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord Jehovah, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of Jehovah. , 12), which leads to lawless rebellion (Ex. 32:25; Lev. 13:45; Num. 5:18). The proverb then contrasts the joy and glory of a lawful society (28:14; Mal. 4:4).

1 John 4:1 do not believe every spirit. The mention of the Holy Spirit in 3:24 prompts John to inform his readers that those other spirits exist, i.e., demonic spirits, who produce false prophets and false teachers to propagate their false doctrine (1 Tim. 4:1, 2). Christians are to have a healthy skepticism regarding any teaching, unlike some among John’s congregations who were too open-minded to anyone claiming a new teaching regarding the faith. test. The word “test” is a metallurgist’s term used for assaying metals to determine their purity and value. Christians must test any teaching with a view to approving or disapproving it, rigorously comparing any teaching to the Scripture. the spirits,…many false prophets. By juxtaposing “spirits” with “false prophets,” John reminds his readers that behind human teachers who propagate false doctrine and error are demons inspired by Satan. Human false prophets and teachers are the physical expressions of demonic, spiritual sources (Matt. 7:15; Mark 13:22 22 for there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show signs and wonders, that they may lead astray, if possible, the elect. ).

1 John 4:17 Love…perfected among us. John is not suggesting sinless perfection, but rather mature love marked by confidence in the face of judgment. Confidence is a sign that love is mature. as He is, so are we. Jesus was God’s Son in whom He was well pleased on earth. We also are God’s children (3:11) and the objects of His gracious goodness. If Jesus called God Father, so may we, since we are accepted in the Beloved (Eph. 1:6). In v. 18, the same truth is stated negatively. The love that builds confidence also banishes fears. We love God and reverence Him, but we do not love God and come to Him in love and at the same time hide from Him in terror (Rom. 8:14, 15; 2 Tim. 1:7). Fear involves torment or punishment, a reality the sons of God will never experience, because they are forgiven.

DAY 6: What are the 5 reasons that John gives us for why believers love?

In stark contrast to the self-centered and destructive philosophies and practices of the false teachers, John unfolds the powerful reasons why Christians practice love. In 1 John 4:7 7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is begotten of God, and knoweth God. –21, the apostle includes 5 such reasons:

1. Christians habitually practice love because God, who indwells them, is the essence of love. The Gnostics believed that God was immaterial spirit and light, but never defined the source of love as coming from His inmost being. As God is Spirit ( John 4:24 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth. ), light (1:5), and a consuming fire (Heb. 12:9), so He is love (4:7, 8). Love is inherent in all He is and does. Even His judgment and wrath are perfectly harmonized with His love.

2. Christians habitually practice love because they desire to imitate the supreme example of God’s sacrificial love in sending His Son for us (4:9).

3. Christians habitually practice love because love is the heart of Christian witness (4:12). Nobody can see God loving since He is invisible. Jesus no longer is in the world to manifest the love of God. The only demonstration of God’s love in this age is the church. That testimony is critical ( John 13:35 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. ; 2 Cor. 5:18–20).

4. Christians habitually practice love because love is the Christian’s assurance (4:13–16; 3:21). Love banishes self-condemnation. When a Christian recognizes in his life the manifestation of love in actions, it results in confidence about his relationship with God.

5. Christians habitually practice love because love is the Christian’s confidence in judgment (4:17–20; 3:16–23). Confidence is a sign that love is mature. This is not to suggest sinless perfection in a Christian’s life, but rather a habitual practice of love marked by confidence in the face of judgment. Christians love, not in order to escape judgment, but because they have escaped judgment.

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

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December 6 - Parables Conceal

Published by Grace To You for reading on December 6th.

“‘Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, “You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; for the heart of this people has become dull, with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes, otherwise they would see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I would heal them”’” ( Matthew 13:13 13 Therefore speak I to them in parables; because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. –15).

Jesus quoted this passage from Isaiah 6:9 9 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. –10 to describe the unbelieving Jews of His day. Isaiah pronounced judgment on the people of Judah for their pervasive sin and rebellion. As part of the Lord’s judgment, they were led away into captivity by Babylon, yet still they refused to repent and trust God’s mercies. Because the people in the prophet’s day intentionally closed their eyes and ears and refused any heartfelt understanding of truth, God judicially sealed them in their unbelief.

Christ’s parables served as similar forms of judgment on unbelief. Those who refused His previous, straightforward teachings would not be able to grasp His deeper, parabolic instructions.

Paul also quotes from Isaiah in reference to another first-century judgment on unbelievers: “In the Law it is written, ‘By men of strange tongues and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people, and even so they will not listen to Me,’ says the Lord. So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophecy is for a sign, not to unbelievers but to those who believe” (1 Cor. 14:21–22). God allowed tongues (various human languages) to play a dramatic role on Pentecost and periodically thereafter as a testimony against those who refused to accept the gospel. Thus the Lord sometimes conceals His word to those predisposed to reject it.

Ask Yourself

Is there any pattern of rejection or disbelief in your mind as you deal with the holy Scriptures? Praise the Lord that He makes His Word plain to those called to be His children.

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, www.moodypublishers.com.

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Morning Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for December 6th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on December 6th.

1 Corinthians 15:48 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.

THE head and members are of one nature, and not like that monstrous image which Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream. The head was of fine gold, but the belly and thighs were of brass, the legs of iron, and the feet, part of iron and part of clay. Christ's mystical body is no absurd combination of opposites; the members were mortal, and therefore Jesus died; the glorified head is immortal, and therefore the body is immortal too, for thus the record stands, "Because I live, ye shall live also." As is our loving Head, such is the body, and every member in particular. A chosen Head and chosen members; an accepted Head, and accepted members; a living Head, and living members. If the head be pure gold, all the parts of the body are of pure gold also. Thus is there a double union of nature as a basis for the closest communion. Pause here, devout reader, and see if thou canst without ecstatic amazement, contemplate the infinite condescension of the Son of God in thus exalting thy wretchedness into blessed union with His glory. Thou art so mean that in remembrance of thy mortality, thou mayest say to corruption, "Thou art my father," and to the worm, "Thou art my sister"; and yet in Christ thou art so honoured that thou canst say to the Almighty, "Abba, Father," and to the Incarnate God, "Thou art my brother and my husband." Surely if relationships to ancient and noble families make men think highly of themselves, we have whereof to glory over the heads of them all. Let the poorest and most despised believer lay hold upon this privilege; let not a senseless indolence make him negligent to trace his pedigree, and let him suffer no foolish attachment to present vanities to occupy his thoughts to the exclusion of this glorious, this heavenly honour of union with Christ.

Evening Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for December 6th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on December 6th.

Revelation 1:13 13 and in the midst of the candlesticks one like unto a son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about at the breasts with a golden girdle.

ONE like unto the Son of Man" appeared to John in Patmos, and the beloved disciple marked that He wore a girdle of gold. A girdle, for Jesus never was ungirt while upon earth, but stood always ready for service, and now before the eternal throne He stays not His holy ministry, but as a priest is girt about with "the curious girdle of the ephod." Well it is for us that He has not ceased to fulfil His offices of love for us, since this is one of our choicest safeguards that He ever liveth to make intercession for us. Jesus is never an idler; His garments are never loose as though His offices were ended; He diligently carries on the cause of His people. A golden girdle, to manifest the superiority of His service, the royalty of His person, the dignity of His state, the glory of His reward. No longer does He cry out of the dust, but He pleads with authority, a King as well as a Priest. Safe enough is our cause in the hands of our enthroned Melchisedek.

Our Lord presents all His people with an example. We must never unbind our girdles. This is not the time for lying down at ease, it is the season of service and warfare. We need to bind the girdle of truth more and more tightly around our loins. It is a golden girdle, and so will be our richest ornament, and we greatly need it, for a heart that is not well braced up with the truth as it is in Jesus, and with the fidelity which is wrought of the Spirit, will be easily entangled with the things of this life, and tripped up by the snares of temptation. It is in vain that we possess the Scriptures unless we bind them around us like a girdle, surrounding our entire nature, keeping each part of our character in order, and giving compactness to our whole man. If in heaven Jesus unbinds not the girdle, much less may we upon earth. Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth.

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Life in Our Heavenly Home

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Doctrine of Scripture

By John MacArthur on Dec 6th, 2019

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The Secret of Health

By C. H. Spurgeon on May 2nd, 2016

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A Place Called Heaven

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The Sufficiency of Scripture, Part 2 B

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Length: 00

 

Marrow and Fatness

By C. H. Spurgeon on Apr 2nd, 2016

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The Final Judgment

By on Dec 4th, 2019

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The Sufficiency of Scripture, Part 2

By John MacArthur on Dec 4th, 2019

Length: 00

 

One Greater Than the Temple

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Vision of the Glorified Christ

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The Sufficiency of Scripture, Part 1 B

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Cheering Words and Solemn Warnings

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