Devotional Thought for Today – 09/01/21

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Joel 2

CONTEXT: The book of Joel was the telling of God’s judgment upon His chosen people (Israel), the pagan nations that surrounded them, and the eventual outpouring of the Holy Spirit (restoration of God’s people) Acts 2. Matthew Henry breaks chapter 2 down as follows: God’s judgments. (1-14) Exhortations to fasting and prayer; blessings promised. (15-27) A promise of the Holy Spirit, and of future mercies. (28-32)

I want to look at just v.1 this morning because I think they are applicable to all of us today.

Blow the trumpet in Zion [warning of impending judgment], Sound an alarm on My holy mountain [Zion]! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble and shudder in fear, For the [judgment] day of the Lord is coming; It is close at hand,(AMP)

Judgment by way of the Day of the Lordis the predominant theme of the book of Joel. Israel (1:15; 2:1–2) and all the nations (3:2–3) are subject to this judgment. While most associate the “Day of the Lord” with wrath and judgments it can also be a day of salvation and restoration.

Here in chapter 2 v.1, the context is definitely judgment and wrath that Joel is warning against. Israel had become complacent AGAIN, it had fallen back into the sins of its surrounding neighbors and Joel sires out a warning Blow the trumpet in Zion, (any temple, pulpit, or corner will do) Sound an alarm on My holy mountain, we too must be able, ready and willing at every moment to speak out against the anti-Christ. For the [judgment] day of the Lord is coming, God cannot abide sin, nor sinners. The old saying God Loves the Sinner But Hates the Sin? is far from true and He must and will pass judgment on everyone.

Of course, no one knows when the final judgment “day of the Lord” will come but we must (All True Believers) act like it is today. Spiritual Complacency has plagued the “church” for far too long in America. Oh, we are good at giving, missions, and feeding the poor. We respond well to national disasters and the like but do not ask us to get involved in the BIG PICTURE, the moral issues of today.

It is time we, All True Believers, Shout is from the Blogs, Corners, and Pulpits; that we demand that the core values America was founded upon, the Judeo-Christian principles be returned before the Wrath of God, the final judgment, the “day of the Lord” is poured out upon this nation and people.


PRAYER

Pray for the Moral Decency and Civility of your Nation

Pray for the Nations of the World and for Your Own Nation

PrayUSA: Government Leaders Calling the Nation to Prayer Initiative

New Chief Chaplain at Harvard an Atheist

Definition of chaplain : 1: a clergyman in charge of a chapel 2: a clergyman officially attached to a branch of the military, to an institution, or to a family or court 3: a person chosen to conduct religious exercises (as at a meeting of a club or society) 4: a clergyman appointed to assist a bishop (as at a liturgical function) https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chaplain

Seems to me that someone who claims there is no God, fails to meet any of those criteria. Not blaming them, but the institution, Harvard, which founded in 1636 in anticipation of the need for training clergy (Christian) for the new commonwealth, has forgotten its roots.


Harvard University has selected a man who does not believe in God to be the school’s chief chaplain.

Chief Chaplain Greg Epstein is the author of “Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe.” He also serves as Harvard’s humanist chaplain, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s humanist chaplain, and as convener for ethical life at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Office of Religious, Spiritual, and Ethical Life…

SOURCE: https://www.dailysignal.com/2021/08/26/new-chief-chaplain-at-harvard-an-atheist/

Devotional Thought for Today – 08/23/21

1 Corinthians 13:6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices  whenever the truth wins out. | New Living Translation (NLT) | Download The  Bible App Now

1 CORINTHIANS 13

CONTEXT: As I noted in last Thursday’s post on v.4, Paul describes how utterly useless even the most gifted “Christian” is without love. Matthew Henry breaks it down as: The necessity and advantage of the grace of love. (1-3) Its excellency represented by its properties and effects; (4-7) and by its abiding, and its superiority. (8-13)

Our text for today follows that theme from Thursday, the true characteristics of Charity or Godly Love include finding no joy in injustice or evil but always rejoicing in the truth (God’s Holy Word).

In many so called “Christian” circles today Doctrine has become nearly a curse word. Doctrine in it’s most basic form means instruction, so these naysayers are in fact saying ‘we don’t want God’s instruction’ pretty dangerous ground if you ask me. Accepting God’s instruction and defining who, what and how we believe is critical to carrying out the Great Commission the duty of all those chosen born again children of God.

Enjoy today’s devotional from GTY on the matter:

“[Love] rejoices with the truth” (1 Cor. 13:6).

Love never compromises God’s Word

Paul has just given us a list of things that love does not do: become jealous, brag, act arrogantly or unbecomingly, seek its own, become provoked, keep track of wrongs suffered, or rejoice in unrighteousness. Now he comes to the first of five things love does: “[Love] rejoices with the truth” (v. 6).

The contrast in verse 6 is between love’s inability to rejoice in unrighteousness and its joy when truth prevails. “Truth” refers to God’s Word, which is the standard of righteousness. Paul could have said, “Love doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness but rejoices with righteousness,” but he went beyond the mere deeds of righteousness and addressed its standard and motive.

Love won’t tolerate false doctrine or sinful behavior, but it rejoices when God’s Word is taught and obeyed. The psalmist said, “O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day. Thy commandments make me wiser than my enemies. . . . I have more insight than all my teachers . . . . I understand more than the aged. . . . I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Thy word. I have not turned aside from Thine ordinances, for Thou Thyself hast taught me. How sweet are Thy words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! From Thy precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way” (Ps. 119:97-104). That’s the testimony of one who rejoices in the truth.

Often Christians are willing to compromise sound doctrine for the sake of loving others. They believe that doctrinal precision is somehow divisive and unloving. But Scripture says, “This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. . . . For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward” (2 John 6-8).

Biblical love always operates within the parameters of God’s Word and spiritual discernment (Phil. 1:9-10). The most loving thing you can do is live according to biblical truth. Doctrinal compromise simply diminishes the quality of love and plays into the hands of the evil one.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God for wisdom and discernment to keep your love within its proper biblical bounds.

For Further Study

Memorize Philippians 1:9-11.



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.

Sunday Sermon Series – The Lukewarm Church

14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:14-20

Revelation 3:14-20

“The seventh and final letter to the churches of ancient Asia Minor is to the church in the city of Laodicea. This last message is found in Revelation 3:14-22. Laodicea was a wealthy, industrious city in the province of Phrygia in the Lycos Valley.

The message is from the Lord Jesus Christ via an angel or messenger (likely a reference to the church’s pastor): “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write . . .” (Revelation 3:14). This was not simply John’s message to those in Laodicea; it was a message from the Lord. Jesus identifies Himself thus: “The Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.” These titles emphasize the Lord’s faithfulness, sovereignty, and power to bring all things to their proper completion (the “Amen”).

In contrast to the other six churches, the Laodicean church has nothing to commend it. Jesus begins the message with condemnation: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Revelation 3:15-17). Jesus emphasizes their “lukewarm,” apathetic nature three times. As a result of their ambivalence to spiritual things, Jesus would have nothing to do with them. He would “spit them out,” as the people of Laodicea would spit out the tepid water that flowed from the underground aqueducts to their city. With their apathy came a spiritual blindness; they claimed to be rich, blessed, and self-sufficient. Perhaps they were rich in material things. But, spiritually, the Laodiceans were in a wretched, pitiful condition, made all the worse in that they could not see their need. This was a church filled with self-deceived hypocrites…

…In summary, the church at Laodicea had become apathetic in their love for Christ. They were allowing “the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things [to] come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful” (Mark 4:19). Christ called them to repent and live zealously for Him, to “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). The Lord Jesus issues the same call to those who say they follow Him today. ” 1


SERMON

The Lukewarm Church – Revelation 3:14-22

 Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones


Notes and Resources:

1 What was Jesus’ message to the church in Laodicea in Revelation?

Matthew Henry Concise Commentray

John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible, Revelation 3

Grace to You Blog: Comforting Words to a Persecuted Church

Comforting Words to a Persecuted Church

Commendation of a Persecuted Church

Counsel for a Persecuted Church

A Mini Q&A on A Few Calvinistic Doctrines

I, along with my co-pastor, are preaching through the Gospel of John. We’re about halfway done. The Fourth Gospel is not merely introductory material on the Christian life, but a deep, theological book that covers many weighty topics. I would argue that John’s Gospel is

Source: A Mini Q&A on A Few Calvinistic Doctrines

Devotional Thought for Today – 01 July 2021

Logos.com

Revelation 3

CONTEXT: Part of the message to the Seven (7) churches in Asia Minor, here in this chapter we have the final three churches Sardis (v.1-6), Philadelphia (v.7-13), and Laodicea (v.14-22). Of the seven churches, both Smyrna and Philadelphia receive no rebuke from Jesus. Laodicea however is the only church to receive no positive comment at all. They are spiritually useless (lukewarm) and Jesus says they need to stop walking the fence.

Our text often used as an alter call or another offer of salvation to individuals is in actuality Jesus’s invitation to the church. Think about that for a minute, the Bridegroom, the Head of the Church having to stand outside and ask for admittance. That should cause every Elder, Pastor, Preacher, whatever y’all may be called, and everyone in the pews to shudder and ask, “is Christ here in our church?” Is Christ the Bridegroom, the high and mighty ruler of this church? Or is He standing outside and asking and waiting for entry?

So in context, we understand that Jesus is explicitly speaking to the church, but that is not to say we can not make a practical application of this to man in general. Man apart from God, has a closed heart, that is because of the fall of man it is deceitful and evil, inclined toward sin. We also know from scripture that the Holy Spirit convicts people of sin. So metaphorically speaking Jesus is knocking on the hearts of man through the Spirit’s convictions. The question is will you answer the knock?


OTHER RESOURCES:

What did Jesus mean when He said, “I stand at the door and knock” (Revelation 3:20)?

On Whose Door Is Christ Knocking?

An Earnest Warning about Lukewarmness

Christ’s Loving Earnestness

Devotional Thought for Today – 06/30/2021

Vessels of God (Ephesians 3:20) - Your Daily Bible Verse - April 30 - Your  Daily Bible Verse

Ephesians 3

CONTEXT: 1 The first three chapters of Ephesians are doctrinal, the last three are practical. Chapter 3 begins the transition from a Christian understanding of salvation, grace, and the power of Christ into a practical guide for Christian living. To make the transition, in this chapter, Paul refers to his own calling by God and prays for the spiritual strength of the Ephesian church. Chapter 3 speaks about the mystery of Christ revealed (Ephesians 3:1–13). The second part of this chapter emphasizes Paul’s prayer for spiritual strength and ends the first half of his letter (Ephesians 3:14–21).

Many of you know I love the old Puritan pastors and theologians. There is something about the simplicity of their writings (yes the old language can be a difficult read at first) that makes it relevant today. Thomas Brooks is one such person and his quote:

Now, Christians, the more great and glorious things you expect from God, as the downfall of antichrist, the conversion of the Jews, the conquest of the nations to Christ, the breaking of all yokes, the new Jerusalem’s coming down from above, the extraordinary pouring out of the Spirit, and a more general union among all saints, the more holy, yea, the more eminently holy in all your ways and actings it becomes you to be. –

Thomas Brooks, The Crown and Glory of Christianity, 1662, CompleteWorks, 1867, p. 444

has always struck me as very compelling. What is it we expect from God or maybe better put what is it we should expect from God?

Many modern theologies claim that we can expect or even demand of God our hearts desires, quoting Ps 37:4 and running with it. Of course, as someone who is a stickler for CONTEXT, this is a false and dangerous doctrine. Others in the same vain claim if only you have enough faith that God will grant all your petitions. Again they use John 16:23 grossly out of context to draw their absurd conclusion and false doctrine.

First, it is right to have expectations of God, Psalm 65:5 because all who live in the fear of the Lord (are His chosen) He has made promises to Prov 23:18. Secondly, anything and everything we expect of God must be BIBLICAL. I have never found an admonition in the Bible against praying BIG or having the expectation that God can answer BIG prayers. Praying for the healing of a loved one from Cancer for example does happen. Praying for a new Caddilac but only being able to afford a Chevy, on the other hand, does not mean you lack faith, it means you lack finances.

The greatest expectation of all can be found in Romans 8:19-21 (AMP) For [even the whole] creation [all nature] waits eagerly for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration and futility, not willingly [because of some intentional fault on its part], but by the will of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will also be freed from its bondage to decay [and gain entrance] into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

As I noted yesterday, I had outpatient back surgery in an attempt to relieve some of this ongoing back pain. We pray for BIG results and accept what God gives. There is a team of folks from Mission M25 doing a 4CPR 4 Corners Prayer Ride riding motorcycles touching the 4 corners of the US Praying for our Nation (BIG Thing).

There are so many more BIG things, as Thomas Manton mentioned that Christians need be in prayer for especially, ‘the downfall of antichrist(s), the conversion of the Jews, the conquest of the nations to Christ, and a pouring out of the Spirit in America, and a more general union among all saints.’


1 Source: https://www.bibleref.com/Ephesians/3/Ephesians-3-20.html

Evangelism, The Church, and Early Christian Ethics

CAME ACROSS THIS TODAY AND FOUND IT TO BE AN OUTSTANDING ARTICLE!

In his book, The Patient Ferment of the Early Church, Alan Kreider makes the case that the substantial growth of Christianity from the resurrection of Christ through the 300’s was tied to the church’s emphasis on the patient ethical formation of believers. According to Kreider, there was no grand strategy of cultural influence nor any attempt to accommodate the worship service of the church to make outsiders feel more comfortable. Instead, the primary focus of church leadership was to see the habitus (habitual behavior) of Christ-followers formed so they were noticeably distinct in their moods, affections, and actions from their neighbors…

SOURCE: Evangelism, The Church, and Early Christian Ethics

Devotional Thought for Today – 06/29/2021

8 The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands. Psalm 138:8

Psalm 138

CONTEXT: Most modern Bibles have some heading that gives us a theme for this Psalm. All agree it is a Psalm of David and most have a heading something like “A Grateful Heart”. Spurgeon’s general comments as follows: In full confidence, David is prepared to own his God before the gods of the heathen, or before angels or rulers (Ps 138:1-3); he declares that he will instruct and convert kings and nations, till on very highway men shall sing the praises of the Lord (Ps 138:4-5). Our text for today comes at the end Having thus spoken, he utters his personal confidence in Jehovah, who will help his lowly servant, and preserve him from all the malice of wrathful foes.

I am going in this morning and having nerves lasered in my back in an attempt to get some relief from the ongoing back pain. How grateful I am for the Lord’s perfecting mercy. Some additional translations:

English Standard Version The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

New Living Translation The LORD will work out his plans for my life— for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.

The LORD will perfect, etc. God’s work is perfect, man’s is clumsy and incomplete. God does not leave off till he has finished. When he rests, it is because, looking on his work, he sees it all “very good.” His Sabbath is the Sabbath of an achieved purpose, of a fulfilled counsel. The palaces which we build are ever like that in the story, where one window remains dark and without jewels, while the rest blaze in beauty. But when God builds none can say, “He was not able to finish.” In his great palace he makes her “windows of agates”, and all her “borders of pleasant stones.” I suppose that if the medieval dream had ever come true, and an alchemist had ever turned a grain of lead into gold, he could have turned all the lead in the world, in time, and with crucibles and furnaces enough. The first step is all the difficulty, and if you and I have been changed from enemies into sons, and had one spark of love to God kindled in our hearts, that is a mightier change than any that yet remains to be effected in order to make us perfect. One grain has been changed, the whole mass will be in due time.

Alexander Maclaren, Sermon in “Wesleyan Methodist Magazine,” 1879.

Forsake not the works of thine own hands. Behold in me thy work,Grateful Heart not mine: for mine, if thou seest, thou condemnest; thine, if thou seest, thou crownest. For whatever good works there be of mine, from thee are they to me; and so they are more thine than mine. For I hear from thine apostle, “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus”: Eph 2:8-10.

Augustine.