Context: Matthew 7:1–6 delivers Jesus’ declaration that His followers must not pronounce God’s judgment on each other. Those who do try to take God’s role in this way will be judged in the same way themselves. Human beings are not qualified to pronounce judgment because they are blind to their own sin. To help another with a speck in his eye, a person must first remove the log of obvious sin from his own eye. He also warns against wasting time or effort on those who clearly have no interest; they won’t appreciate it and may attack you for it.
You have heard me say (or seen me write here) many times my old Army saying that the maximum effective range of an excuse is zero meters. The Bible confirms this in Romans 1:20.
Today especially with the advent of all the online resources mankind (for the most part) really has no excuse of any kind not to be highly educated concerning Biblical matters. It is easy to download an App and compare the original Hebrew or Greek text against quality English translations.
Are there still some parts of the Bible where we scratch our head and say “why did God do that,” of course. But that level of understanding God’s personal thoughts or actions and clear Biblical Doctrine are two completely different things.
Understanding and applying the instructions God left us (the Bible in one sense is an instructions manual) rightly is not some great mystery, only a little hard work.
Romans 14:10–12, says that all will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. The question today is will you be without excuse?
For those of us old enough to remember Julie Andrews singing My Favorite Things in the Sound of Music both the song and the thought of all those things brought a smile to our faces (still does 😉)
Everyone has things they like and dislike, some of our likes become favorites. When we are talking about food, tools, cars, or things that bring us comfort in storms favorites are one thing, but when we are talking about how we practice our FAITH, the bible, James 2:1, is very clear favoritism is a bad thing.
Today’s Drawing Near devotional
Friday, June 18, 2021
Looking Beyond Externals
My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism” (James 2:1).
Your true worth is based on the value of your soul, not on external considerations.
Jesus is “our glorious Lord” (James 2:1)—the Sovereign One who rules over all His creation, and the One in whom the fullness of God’s glory is revealed. John said, “The Word [Jesus] became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Paul said, “In Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col. 2:9).
As God, Jesus shares the impartiality of the Father. He knows that a person’s worth is based on the value of his soul, not on external considerations. That’s why He always looks on the heart and never judges on externals alone.
That was evident in the way Jesus dealt with sinners when He was still on earth. He never hesitated to confront them—whether they were influential Jewish religious leaders or common folks. Even His enemies acknowledged His impartiality when they said, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any” (Matt. 22:16).
Like the Father, Jesus also extended the offer of salvation to men and women of every race, social class, and moral standing. That’s illustrated by the parable He told in Matthew 22:1-14 about the marriage of a king’s son (an illustration of Himself). The invited guests (Israel) didn’t show up, so the king commanded his servants to go out and gather everyone they could find to furnish the wedding with guests. As a result, people of every station in life attended the wedding, just as people of every station in life are called to salvation.
As you have opportunities to minister to others today, don’t be influenced by externals such as looks, clothing, or economic level. Do as Jesus did: treat them with compassion and speak the truth without compromise.
Suggestions for Prayer
Praise the Lord for His impartiality, and ask Him for special grace as you reach out to others today.
For Further Study
Read Matthew 20:1-16. How does that parable illustrate the impartiality of God?
CONTEXT: Chapters 3 and 4 of Galatians are all about Theology and the final chapters (5 and 6) the application of that in a person’s life. Matthew Henry describes this Chapter as an earnest exhortation to stand fast in the liberty of the gospel. (1-12) To take heed of indulging a sinful temper. (13-15)And to walk in the Spirit, and not to fulfill the lusts of the flesh: the works of both are described. (16-26)
Paul sets up our text for today by v.13-15 describing bitterness between brothers in Christ. He says simply that instead of surrendering to your natural lust of the flesh by lashing out at one another, Walk in the Spirit.
If we are truly that new creature (creation)2 Corinthians 5:17then turn not to the old ways but the new. Turn to the Holy Spirit to guide us in our times of weakness.
Luther said he feared his own heart, more than Pope or Cardinal. The heart is the fomenter of sin. It mints evil thoughts-and blows up the coals of fiery passions. It is the Trojan horse out of which comes a whole army of lusts! Shall we not fight the good fight, and discharge with the fire of zeal against this bosom traitor, the flesh! The primitive Christians chose rather to be destroyed by lions without-than by lusts within! – Thomas Watson
My friend Dan Darling recently offered insight on an oddity of Christian subculture. He tweeted, “If ‘stop fighting culture wars’ means rejecting irrational fear and worship of politics, yes. If it means ignoring Jesus’ command to love our neighbors by using our voice and vote to speak and work against injustices that hurt our neighbors’ flourishing, then no.”
This has never happened in the 23+ years I have been reading or writing daily devotionals, where two had the same bible verse. So I had to comment on this today.
CONTEXT: There are two major themes in Chapter 3, first Paul discusses Faith vs. Works in v.1-11, and then in v.12-21 he discusses the believer’s goal of following and being like Christ.
In order to peel back the layers of our text fully, we need to start at v.18, For there are many, of whom I have often told you, and now tell you even with tears, who live as enemies of the cross of Christ [rejecting and opposing His way of salvation], (AMP). Paul’s warning is there are enemies about those who will do anything and everything to oppose the cross.
He goes on in v.19, whose fate is destruction, whose god is their belly [their worldly appetite, their sensuality, their vanity], and whose glory is in their shame—who focus their mind on earthly and temporal things. These enemies care about nothing except their own sinful desires even if it means their own destruction. They are COMPLETLY focused on earthly and temporal things and will destroy anything that opposes them.
Before digging deep into v.20, I wish to comment on the word Conversation(KJV) and Citizenship (just about every modern translation). The Greek word is Politeuma, pol-it’-yoo-mah, used only this time in all scripture and means:
the administration of civil affairs or of a commonwealth
the constitution of a commonwealth, form of government and the laws by which it is administered
a state, commonwealth
the commonwealth of citizens
While I am not going to pretend to understand the minds of the writers of the KJV, the manuscripts available showing their reasonings for certain uses and the context of the language of the day suggests that Conversation is a proper and better translation. Our “conversation” is our actions as citizens, not just the fact that we are citizens. The Old English term conversation meant your daily walk in life deeds as much as words.
So with that in mind, v.20, But [we are different because] our citizenship is in heaven. And from there we eagerly await [the coming of] the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; Instead of earthly and temporal things the truly converted redeemed child of God will focus their Conversationand Citizenship on the Kingdom of God and the return of Christ.
How are your Conversation(daily walk) and Citizenship (eternal security)?
CONTEXT: Matthew Henry says of this book and specifically this chapter: This epistle of James is one of the most instructive writings in the New Testament. Being chiefly directed against particular errors at that time brought in among the Jewish Christians, it does not contain the same full doctrinal statements as the other epistles, but it presents an admirable summary of the practical duties of all believers...How to apply to God under troubles, and how to behave in prosperous and in adverse circumstances. (1-11) To look upon all evil as proceeding from ourselves, and all good from God. (12-18) The duty of watching against a rash temper, and of receiving the word of God with meekness. (19-21) And of living according to thereto. (22-25) The difference between vain pretenses and real religion. (26-27)
As his sermon below makes clear, this is not the social (welfare) Gospel, that has seen a marked resurgence within the ranks of evangelicals in recent times. NO this is the clear-cut duty of the church, to its members, and in LIMITED cases its neighbors. – Mike
CHARITY AND PURITY
NO. 2313, A SERMON ( With Full Chapter Exposition) INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD’S-DAY, JUNE 18, 1893 DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, MAY 23, 1889
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27
THERE is a great deal said, a great deal written, a great deal of zeal on the one side, and of anger on the other, expended upon the externals of religion. Some think that they should be very fine, not to say gaudy, very impressive, not to say imposing. They like what they call, “bright” services, though we might call them by another name. But the great question with many people is, “What are to be the externals of religion?” What dress is religion to wear? Shall it be robed in the plainness of Quakerdom, or shall it be adorned with all the brilliance of Romanism? Which shall it be? …
CONTEXT: In the final chapter of 2 Timothy, Paul writes about two major themes. The first is quite obvious the importance of preaching the Word of God (2 Timothy 4:1–8). The second section offers personal concerns and thoughts to Timothy (2 Timothy 4:9–22).
In order to understand our text, we need to understand the previous verse, the Command or Charge (v.2) from Paul to Timothy to Preach the Word! He must be ready when it is convenient (in season) and inconvenient or troublesome to preach (out of season). He, Timothy must be ready to JUDGE those in error and point out their errors (reprove and rebuke). Finally, Timothy is to encourage, support, aid, and comfort the church (exhort) by using sound Biblical teaching (doctrine) and patient leadership (longsuffering).
Now our Text for Today (v.3) makes more sense, especially in today’s churches. Far too many folks have itchy ears and want whatever they can get out of a “worship” service. Somehow their Theology and Doctrine (these are almost 4 letter words in some evangelical circles) are all screwed up. They have placed themselves and their needs above God. 😥
Paul makes it clear to Timothy and it should be clear to everyone who stands behind a pulpit (or wherever they stand or sit today) The object of Worship, the Object of Preaching is Christ and Him crucified, not the folks in the pew. Churches are not places to bring the world into they are the House of God, Holy Sanctuaries, and should be treated as such. It is far too easy today to walk into many churches and be confused thinking it is an amusement park.
” If a teacher fascinates with his doctrine, his teaching never came from God. The teacher sent from God is the one who clears the way to Jesus and keeps it clear; souls forget altogether about him because the vision of Jesus is the only abiding result. When people are attracted to Jesus Christ through you, see always that you stay on God all the time, and their hearts and affections will never stop at you.”
Question: “What should a Christian do when convictions violate a tolerant society?”
Answer: Many in society today want to view themselves as “tolerant.” By that, they usually mean “I accept people for who they are without passing judgment on any action or lifestyle choice.” But the biblically informed Christian cannot…