Devotional Thought for Today – 10/19/2020

1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 Pg 1048 In Church Bibles. - ppt video online download

In context of course Paul is speaking about comforting one another (like-minded believers) about the return of Christ 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18.

Yet is it not the “Christian” duty to comfort one another whenever possible? Not just here as Paul describes  Christ’s return but in all things.  Here are some of my favorite verses on the subject:

Romans 15:5 – Working to build up our neighbors

1 Thessalonians 5:11 – Building each other up through comfort and encouragement

Hebrews 10:23-25 – Encouraging one another to to love and to do good deeds

We all have busy lives, often too busy for those around us, but make an effort to see those in need, say a kind word and share the Love of Christ today. 

 

Daily Devotional – Meeting Together

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CONTEXT:

When COVID-19 first came around I wrote that I supported the temporary restrictions on meeting in churches, the assembling together of the saints imposed by the government and was highly criticized for it by many. 

Covid was at the time an unknown entity and I believe then and now the Constitution makes it clear that our elected officials are to,  insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, not just insure our first amendment right to speech and assembly.  

Of course many of our elected representatives are on a Bad Power Trip and have decided that Covid-19 is a catch all excuse to infringe upon our right to assemble, speak and even earn a living; and I have written about that also. 

But enough of them let me address those who claim to be “Christians” and ask you what is your excuse for not returning to the churches that are open across this nation? 

Pew Research has found that 1/2 of those Pre-Covid worshipers now attend strictly online:

Half of regular worshippers have replaced in-person attendance with virtual services amid pandemic

I guess the second question for today is how is this biblically justified? 

The writer of Hebrews here in the 25th Chapter  beginning in verse 19 makes the case that believers in Christ must live a new life one where we can unlike the common folks of ancient Israel enter the Holy Temple. In fact we are encouraged nay admonished to do just that fellowship together.


BREAKDOWN:

Not forsaking –  The Greek word Egkataleipo, translated here as forsaking means to totally abandon, to desert, renounce, give up on. 

the assembling  of ourselves together, – What are we admonished, warned, or counseled not to quit on? The gathering together with fellow saints.  

as the manner of some is; – Some back in the day when this was written were afraid to be seen together for fear of retribution by the Romans. The question needs to be asked how deep was their Faith?  Today (other than those who are at very HIGH RISK) what possible excuse could you have? 

but exhorting one another: – Do have members, friends of your congregation not attending, encourage them.

Maybe your local church is not reopened maybe your in one of those states that still has massive restrictions what can you do? Hopefully your pastor has a plan, gather in small groups in homes for Sunday services.

Maybe your church is closed; how about finding  a church that is open and fellowship with them. I recently traveled some 6000+ miles across America #DiaperRun2020 and stopped at over 12 churches obviously none my home church. I had a great time of fellowship and praising the Lord at each. 

and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. – The day is coming when “Christian” will be a name despised only  below that of “Christ” Himself. More and more hate for anything Christian is spreading across America .  Do you  really want to be that loner then?


APPLICATION:

The life of a true believer is both vertical and horizontal.

That is it is constantly pointing and seeking fellowship with the Triune God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Vertical) Prayer and private communion with God cannot be understated.

 While on earth we also need human fellowship (Horizontal) with like minded believers. You may think you can survive as a “lone wolf” but the bible makes it clear that is unacceptable Proverbs 18:1

 So today’s final question is quite simple, are you Meeting Together in proper Biblical  Fellowship?

A Call to Endurance

The 12th Chapter of Hebrews begins with the following verse: 

 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

let us run with patience the race is clearly a metaphor for a call to “endurance” but even so much more than that; note what is said: 

  1. We have a goal set before us 
  2. This aim, goal, calling is known and defined
  3. God appointed it and the path we shall run towards it
  4. There are many witnesses some fellow believers to encourage us and some non-believers to mock and discourage us on our journey
  5. We are to make steady (patient) progress in our race
  6. Out efforts will be encumbered or weighed down with sin and worldly issues making the race very hard

So how is one to actually finish strong or endure until the end of the race? How can we proclaim like the Apostle Paul I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: (2 Tim 4:7). That is the answer FAITH, Sola Fide, Faith ALone  in Christ Jesus, Sola Christus, in Christ alone. 

2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

Where are you in life’s race today? 


MacLaren Expositions Of Holy Scripture

 

Battle Buddies

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And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, (NIV)

This has always been one of my favorite verses and the only time I ever quote from the NIV. Before we get into the meaning of the verse lets look at some context.

Previously we have seen a prolonged section, Hebrews 10:1-18 explaining how the New Covenant is far superior to the Old. This is followed by a dire warning not to fall away from the faith when the eventual turmoils of life Hebrews 10:26-39 come upon us.

Sandwiched in the middle are verses 19-25 the headline above the section in the CSB reads; Exhortations to Godliness, the NLT; A Call to Persevere and the ESV: The Full Assurance of Faith. It is in this section we find the writer of Hebrews reaffirming the previous 19 verses with this conclusion:

  • We can enter the Holy places because of Christ’s sacrifice v.19
  • Christ made a new and living way for us through His flesh v.20
  • He alone is the Great High priest v.21
  • We can have a clean heart full of assurance of faith in Christ v.22
  • We must hold fast to our faith in Christ v.23
  • Spur one another to love and good deeds v.24
  • We must meet together in fellowship with like minded believers v.25

Verse 24 has many translations for the word Spur (I like this one as it helps me remember it easily, I used to ride a lot).

The ESV uses stir up, The KJV uses provoke unto, the NASB to stimulate, and the NLT to motivate. Essentially they all have the same gist, to prompt or encourage each other to do love God, love one another, love others and to do good deeds for the Kingdom of God and His Glory. In fact this is not the first time we have read this in Hebrews. Back in Chapter 3 we read v.13 But continually encourage one another every day, as long as it is called “Today” [and there is an opportunity], so that none of you will be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [its cleverness, delusive glamour, and sophistication]. “

In the Army we had Battle Buddies¹ someone we were accountable to and for. We looked out for each other, it should be no different in the Christian world, we are in a battle daily against the devil and his minions (Ephesians 6:122 Corinthians 10:3-5).

I highly recommend that each of us get a battle buddy of sorts, someone we can share with, be accountable to and most importantly SPUR ON regularly. 

¹ Battle Buddies

 

 

 

 

 

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Yesterday on our Faith Builders Ministry site I posted on Proverbs 15:1 and today’s verse seems a natural follow on.

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do (KJV)

Paul points two things out that should be obvious to everyone; the primary duties of every true Christian include comforting, encouraging and building each other up. He even commends the church at Thessalonica for doing just that.

What may not be so obvious in today’s day and age is the fact that this can not be accomplished in isolation; note Paul says: “comfort yourselves together”. Also as we noted yesterday this can only be done by those using soft, gentle and thoughtful words.