Today’s reading is John 7.
Why does the issue of authority matter? Is it because we have to prove we are better at keeping rules? Is it because if we don’t cross all the Ts and dot all the Is we’ll go to hell? Is it because we have to earn our way into heaven by following the pattern? No. None of these things is the reason. The reason authority matters is because God’s glory matters. When I act on my own authority, I’m seeking my own glory. When I’m seeking God’s glory, I act on His authority. It’s just that simple. Whose glory are you seeking? How can you tell?
Tomorrow’s reading is John 8.
Continue reading “God’s Glory Matters; God’s Authority Matters”
Today’s reading is John 6.
Okay. I’m going to share something shocking. It goes against everything you are hearing today, not only from the world, but even from many people in church. Why did Jesus multiply the bread and fish? Not to feed the hungry. Not to serve the community. Not to love the crowd to the point of listening to Him. The key comes in John 6:14. When Jesus miraculously fed the people, they claimed him to be “The Prophet who is to come into the world.” The people correctly understood the reference of the miracle. Jesus is the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 18:15-19; He is the Prophet like Moses who was to come into the world. But they, like so many today, missed the point of the miracle.They thought the point was to feed them. So they wanted to make Him king so He would keep on feeding them. Nope. Go back and read the prophecy in Deuteronomy 18:15-19.* The purpose of the prophecy was to show who the people were supposed to listen to. But when He taught them. They didn’t like it. The didn’t listen. They left. Like so many today, they misunderstood what the mission of the Prophet and His Church really is. Neither Jesus’s goal nor the goal of His church is to feed people hungry for bread. Jesus is not like Moses; He is greater than Moses. Jesus doesn’t give bread, He is bread. Even though Jesus was actually greater than what they were expecting, He didn’t measure up to what they were expecting. They were willing to settle for a Messiah/King who would feed them. So they rejected the Messiah/King who would teach them. In fact, the only ones who staid were the ones who realized Jesus’s gift of life doesn’t come through any bread He might give, but through the Words He teaches. People today are no different. Many are attracted to churches who think their mission is to feed the hungry. Few are attracted to churches who think their mission is to teach the lost. Don’t be ashamed to be part of a church that won’t cave to the societal pressures to offer the mediocre service of filling physical needs. Yes, the world loves us when we do that. Yes, the community will be upset if our doors close if that is how we view or try to accomplish our mission. But that isn’t our mission. Be thankful to be part of a church that will offer the true service of passing on Jesus and His words of life. Yes, the world will despise us for it. Yes, most will reject it and us. Yes, the great majority will abandon us, even more so they will try to shut us down, and will throw a party if our doors close. But we will be walking in the footsteps of our Savior. And do not think we are to use the former (community benevolence and service) to get an opportunity to do the latter (share the gospel). That isn’t what Jesus was doing. And if it was, it failed. Why do we think it will work for us? Be unashamed of the gospel. Be unashamed to be part of a church that sees proclaiming the gospel as its mission.
Tomorrow’s reading is John 7.
Continue reading “Bread and Fish”
Today’s reading is 1 Corinthians 14.
Let everything be done for edification, Paul says. Why? Because love builds up (see 1 Corinthians 8:1). And what is the most excellent way? Love. What is the greatest principle? Love. Thus, pursuing love doesn’t mean simply having warm emotional feelings about people. It means when I gather with the brothers and sisters, what I’m most concerned about is not proving how awesome, talented, or gifted I am. Rather, I’m most concerned about building up the people around me. Realize what this means. The rules of 1 Corinthians 14 aren’t about the rules, they are merely the practical outworking of loving my brothers and sisters. When we “go to church,” we need to make sure all we do is for edification. We need to make sure all we do is out of love.
Tomorrow’s reading is 1 Corinthians 15.
Continue reading “All for Edification”
Today’s reading is 1 Corinthians 12.
Okay, wait a minute. Paul says, “No one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says, ‘Jesus is accursed!'” And yet, Paul, speaking in the Spirit of God, just said those very words. What’s up with that? His point is not that someone in God’s Spirit can’t even utter those words in any context. His point is people who abide in God and His Spirit know Jesus is Lord. Anyone who truly denies Jesus’s lordship is separate from God. No matter how spiritual they seem, no matter how nice they are, no matter what good works they do, they are not in God and God’s Spirit is not within them. In like manner, his point about those who say, “Jesus is Lord” is not that people separate from God are physically unable to say those words in any situational context or that they are unable to fake it. Neither is he saying that anyone who makes this claim is automatically right with God just by saying these words. His point is everyone who sincerely and truly confesses and surrenders to the lordship of Jesus has the same Holy Spirit we do. They may not have the same gifts, abilities, opportunities, and resources as we do. They may be at a different level of spiritual maturity. They may have a completely different ethnic background, skin color, gender, national history, language, socio-economic class, but they are filled by the same Spirit. Since we have the same Spirit, let us work together in the same Body, remembering we are not only members of that same Body but members of one another.
Monday’s reading is 1 Corinthians 13.
Continue reading ““Jesus is Lord!””
Today’s reading is 1 Corinthians 5.
Deliver such a one to Satan? Are you kidding me? That will not look good on us. He might claim we are abusing him. He might sue us. Our neighbors might think we are mean. Society might judge us as harsh and unloving. Yet, between now and the day of the Lord, he might just repent because of this action and on the day of the Lord his spirit will be saved instead of condemned. Not to mention, if the church doesn’t take this action between now and the day of the Lord, he will almost definitely lead others to sin and destruction. No doubt, delivering an impenitent sinner to Satan is painful and fraught with temporal, cultural, societal dangers today. But the Day of the Lord is coming. We need to let the Day of the Lord govern today. And, to be sure, Paul’s application in this chapter is only one of a myriad of arenas in which we need to let the Day of the Lord govern today. I get it, we are living in today, but today will be over in just a few hours. The Day of the Lord will linger forever once it comes. Don’t live for today; live for the Day of the Lord.
Tomorrow’s reading is 1 Corinthians 6.
Continue reading “Let the Day of the Lord Govern Today”
Today’s reading is Acts 11.
Why did a great many believe and turn to the Lord in Antioch? Because the hand of the Lord was with them. If we want a great many to believe and turn to the Lord today, what do we need? The hand of the Lord to be with us. Yes, we need plans for sharing the gospel, but apart from the Lord’s hand, our plans are useless. I’ve recently become aware that the two counties my home congregation draws from have together over 1 million people who claim to be nothing religiously. That represents two-thirds of those counties. Two out of every three people I meet where I live claim to be nothing religiously. What a field for harvest! But what good will we do among that number (or among the numbers of people who claim religion, but a false one) without the Lord’s hand? Let’s spend time today praying for the Lord’s hand to be with us.
Monday’s reading is Acts 12.
Continue reading “The Hand of the Lord”
Today’s reading is Revelation 21.
We met the Bride in Revelation 2-3, represented by the seven churches of Asia to whom this book was addressed. Now we meet her again. This time she is a city, a kingdom, coming down from heaven. Her dimensions are perfect. Her foundations are unbreakable. Her walls are unassailable. Her gates are uncompromising. God is her light. The Spirit is her life. The Son is her King, her Hero, her Groom. It is important to understand that this is not a picture of heaven. It is a picture of Christ’s Bride, His church in victory. And while that will certainly apply to Christ’s church in eternity, in heaven, we need to understand the picture is not merely about that. The point is if we want to be part of the Bride, the city of God, the kingdom of Jesus Christ in eternity, we must be part of Her now. No matter what is going on. No matter who lays siege to our city and who sets up the battering rams to our gates, Hang On. Jesus Always Wins! Don’t wait to see which way the wind blows, it will be too late. If you want to be part of the victorious kingdom in eternity, you must be part of it now.
Tomorrow’s reading is Revelation 22.
Continue reading “She’s Back”