Of Water and the Spirit

In his introduction to the Fall 2021 edition of The Master’s Seminary Journal, John MacArthur writes:

Here is the key lesson that runs like a powerful current through everything the Bible says about the New Birth: Eternal life is not a prize for being good. It is not a reward for those who try harder. It is not heaven’s reimbursement for those who live sacrificially in this life. It is not a wage that can be earned by being pious and legalistic. You don’t obtain it by forsaking vices or praying prayers. You can’t acquire it by paying tithes or performing religious ceremonies. It isn’t the birthright of anyone’s ethnicity or an entitlement for some privileged class. You don’t get it by joining a religious sect, no matter how meticulously you keep its traditions.

John goes on to say that the new birth is a gift one doesn’t end. It’s a work of God. That is central to the doctrine of regeneration, the theme of the Fall 2021 TMS Journal…

SOURCE: Of Water and the Spirit

Devotional Thought for Today – 09/04/21

13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. 2 Timothy 1:13-14

2 Timothy 1

CONTEXT: This is the last of Pauls’ epistles, written while he is pending execution in Rome. It is a very personal letter to a very close friend, it is a letter of great encouragement to continue the fight of faith even in suffering. Matthew Henry breaks it down like this: Paul expresses great affection for Timothy. (1-5) Exhorts him to improve his spiritual gifts. (6-14) Tells of many who basely deserted him, but speaks with affection of Onesiphorus. (15-18)

Our text for today v.13-14, comes in the second section the Henry describes as an exhortation to improve his spiritual gifts. We are not talking about Gifts as in preaching, teaching, etc. but as MH says in paraphrasing v.7: God has not given us the spirit of fear, but the spirit of power, of courage and resolution, to meet difficulties and dangers; the spirit of love to him, which will carry us through opposition.

I think everyone can agree that this is a task we need help with. Look back at v.5 for a moment, it is key to anyone desiring this is Sound Doctrine. You CAN NOT have a strong Faith, one that enables you to endure suffering and trials, built upon a weak and sinking foundation.

Paul repeats this here, in v.13, telling Timothy to Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in other words, keep and follow the sound teaching (Doctrine) you have heard from me. remember this is prior to the written Bible, internet, etc. so being a Berean (Acts 17:11) was not an option for every believer like it is today.

In v.14, Paul continues his encouragement of Timothy by telling him, he is not alone in his efforts for: That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. Timothy is to be encouraged because the Holy Spirit which indwells every true believer (YES YOU TOO) helped us to preserve the Good News of Christ, the sound doctrine we learn, the message of hope we share [Good Thing].

This is not the first time Paul speaks of preserving the Gospel, at the Jerusalem Council he is clear on its importance too. Just as Paul directly charged Timothy to preserve the unblemished Gospel Doctrine, he in fact charged every true believer, who reads the Bible to do the same. What are you doing to preserve the Unblemish Truth of God’s word?


That the Truth of the Gospel Be Preserved for You – John Piper

Grace: Common and Effectual

Here is a post from an online friend that I hope you will enjoy. It explains two types of Grace in a very easy to understand way:

Posted by Todd Linn, PhD on August 5, 2021

 Theology Thursday’s post continues our systematic theological treatment of soteriology; the study of the doctrine of salvation.

Our post provides a general introduction to the concept of grace and then gives biblical support for both common grace (grace given to all people; grace like God’s good gifts of rain, sunshine, etc.) and effectual grace (grace given to some people; grace to enable them to believe in Christ).

So, without further ado, here is today’s SlideShare presentation:

Sunday Sermon Series – Immutability

Hebrews 13:8 (ESV) - Hebrews 13:8 ESV - Jesus Christ is the same… | Biblia

HEBREWS 13

In yesterday’s devotional thought, our main text was Malichai 3:6, but the subject matter the same, God’s immutability.

Our text today Hebrews 13:8 has that same theme. The ESV Study Bible says of this verse:

Heb. 13:8 Jesus the Messiah (Christ) is eternally trustworthy in his position as high priest and as Son of God—yesterday active in creation (e.g., 1:2–4), today offering salvation (e.g., 4:7–10), and forever reigning in heaven (e.g., 10:12). This verse may be a transition from 13:7 (their leaders trusted in this Christ, and Jesus remains trustworthy) to v. 9 (strange teachings are departures from the Jesus who is always the same).


SERMON

THE IMMUTABILITY OF CHRIST

NO. 170
DELIVERED ON SABBATH MORNING, JANUARY 3, 1858,
BY THE REV. C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE MUSIC HALL, ROYAL SURREY GARDENS.
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”
Hebrews 13:8


Other Resources:

Jesus Christ Is Immutable by C H Spurgeon

The Immutable Mercy of Jesus Christ by Thomas Adams

Devotional Thought for Today – 07/05/2021

John Owen quote: Let no man think to kill sin with few, easy...

Romans 8:12-13

CHAPTER CONTEXT: Matthew Henrey Comments: The freedom of believers from condemnation. (1-9) Their privileges as being the children of God. (10-17) Their hopeful prospects under tribulations. (18-25) Their assistance from the Spirit in prayer. (26,27) Their interest in the love of God. (28-31) Their final triumph, through Christ. (32-39)

Our text for today comes in the second section or theme of this chapter. It begins with the declaration that if the Spirit is in us so is Christ. The opposite is also true if sin reigns and the Spirit of God can not be found in us neither can we (or should) claim to be Christians.

Yet as we know, the whole reason for the New Covenant, Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary, was man’s inability to forgo sinning. We are by nature sinners and even believers, sin. So does this mean that there are no true Christians? Absolutely not! That is the point John Owen and our text are making it is a constant struggle.

The KJV says it this way:  but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body while the AMP states it you are habitually putting to death the sinful deeds of the body. The emphasis is clear, we must continually take action against the sins of the flesh and mortify or put to death those deeds that are sinful.

This understanding obviously begins with each individual, but it must extend immediately to the home. Fathers and mothers have a responsibility to raise their children in a Godly manner and as such giving them the right understanding of sin and the means to combat it, is a must.


This very lengthy prayer, although intended for the Lord’s Sabbath day this could easily be modified and prayed in parts during the week. – Mike

A Family Prayer for the Lord’s Day Evening

O eternal and forever blessed and glorious Lord God! Thou art God over all, and rich in mercy to all that call upon thee, most wise and powerful, holy, just, and good; the King of kings, and Lord of lords; our Lord and our God.

Thou art happy without us and hast no need of our services, neither can our goodness extend unto thee, but we are miserable without thee; we have need of thy favours and are undone, forever undone, if thy goodness extend not unto us, and therefore, Lord, we entreat thy favour with our whole hearts; O let thy favour be towards us in Jesus Christ, for our happiness is bound up in it, and it is to us better than life. We confess we have forfeited thy favour, we have rendered ourselves utterly unworthy of it; yet we are humbly bold to pray for it in the name of Jesus Christ, who loved us and gave himself for us.

We bewail it before thee, that by the corruption of our natures we are become odious to thine holiness and utterly unfit to inherit the kingdom of God, and that by our many actual transgressions we are become obnoxious to thy justice and liable to thy wrath and curse. Being by nature children of disobedience, we are children of wrath and have reason both to blush and tremble in all our approaches to the holy and righteous God. Even the iniquity of our holy things would be our ruin, if God should deal with us according to the desert of them.

But with thee, O God, there is mercy and plenteous redemption: Thou hast graciously provided for all those that repent and believe the gospel, that the guilt of their sin shall be removed through the merit of Christ’s death, and the power of their sins broken by his Spirit and grace; and he is both ways able to save to the uttermost all those that come unto God by him, seeing he ever lives making intercession for us.

Lord, we come to thee as a Father, by Jesus Christ the Mediator, and earnestly desire by repentance and faith to turn from the world and the flesh to God in Jesus Christ, as our ruler and portion. We are sorry that we have offended thee, we are ashamed to think of our treacherous and ungrateful carriage towards thee. We desire that we may have no more to do with sin, and pray as earnestly that the power of sin may be broken in us, as that the guilt of sin may be removed from us: And we rely only upon the righteousness of Jesus Christ and upon the merit of his death for the procuring of thy favour. O look upon us in him, and for his sake receive us graciously; heal our backslidings and love us freely and let not our iniquity be our ruin.

We beg, that being justified by faith, we may have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation for sin, that he may be just and the justifier of them which believe in Jesus. Through him who was made sin for us, though he knew no sin, let us who know no righteousness of our own, be accepted as righteous.

And the God of peace sanctify us wholly, begin and carry on that good work in our souls, renew us in the spirit of our minds, and make us in every thing such as thou wouldest have us to be. Set up thy throne in our hearts, write thy law there, plant thy fear there, and fill us with all the graces of thy Spirit that we may be fruitful in the fruits of righteousness, to the glory and the praise of God,

Mortify our pride and clothe us with humility; mortify our passions and put upon us the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God a great price. Save us from the power of a vain mind, and let thy grace be mighty in us to make us serious and sober-minded. Let the flesh be crucified in us, with all its affections and lusts; and give us grace to keep under our body, and to bring it into subjection to the laws of religion and right reason, and always to possess our vessel in sanctification and honour.

Let the love of the world be rooted out of us, and that covetousness which is idolatry; and let the love of God in Christ be rooted in us. Shed abroad that love in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, and give us to love thee the Lord our God with all our heart, and soul, and mind, and might; and to do all we do in religion from a principle of love to thee.

Mortify in us all envy, hatred, malice, and uncharitableness; pluck up these roots of bitterness out of our minds and give us grace to love one another with a pure heart, fervently, as becomes the followers of the Lord Jesus, who has given us this as his new commandment. O that brotherly love may continue among us, love without dissimulation!

We pray thee, rectify all our mistakes; if in any thing we be in an error, discover it to us, and let the Spirit of truth lead us into all truth, the truth as it is in Jesus, the truth which is according to godliness; and give us that good understanding which they have that do thy commandments; and let our love and all good affections abound in us yet more and more, in knowledge and in all judgment.

Convince us, we pray thee, of the vanity of this world and its utter insufficiency to make us happy, that we may never set our hearts upon it, nor raise our expectations from it; and convince us of the vileness of sin, and its certain tendency to make us miserable, that we may hate it and dread it and every thing that looks like it or leads to it.

Convince us, we pray thee, of the worth of our own souls and the weight of eternity, and the awfulness of that everlasting state which we are standing upon the brink of; and make us diligent and serious in our preparation for it, labouring less for the meat that perisheth and more for that which endures to eternal life, as those who have set their affections on things above and not on things that are on earth, which are trifling and transitory.

O that time and the things of time may be as nothing to us in comparison with eternity and the things of eternity; that eternity may be much upon our heart and ever in our eye; that we may be governed by that faith which is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen; looking continually at the things that are not seen, that are eternal.

Give us grace, we pray thee, to look up to the other world with such a holy concern, as that we may look down upon this world with a holy contempt and indifferency, as those that must be here but a very little while, and must be somewhere forever; that we may rejoice as though we rejoiced not, and weep as though we wept not, and buy as though we possessed not, and may use this world as not abusing it; because the fashion of this world passeth away, and we are passing away with it.

O let thy grace be mighty in us and sufficient for us, to prepare us for the great change which will come certainly and shortly, and may come very suddenly; which will remove us from a world of sense to a world of spirits, from our state of trial and probation to that of recompense and retribution; and to make us meet for the inheritance of the saints in light; that when we fail, we may be received into everlasting habitations.

Prepare us, we beseech thee, for whatever we may meet with betwixt us and the grave: We know not what is before us, and therefore know not what particular provision to make; but thou dost, and therefore we beg of thee to fit us by thy grace for all the services and all the sufferings which thou shalt at any time call us out to; and arm us against every temptation which we may at any time be assaulted with, that we may at all times and in all conditions glorify God, keep a good conscience, and be found in the way of our duty, and may keep up our hope and joy in Christ, and a believing prospect of eternal life; and then welcome the holy will of God.

Give us grace, we pray thee, to live a life of communion with thee both in ordinances and providences, to set thee always before us, and to have our eyes ever upon thee, and to live a life of dependence upon thee, upon thy power, providence, and promise, trusting in thee at all times and pouring out our hearts before thee; and to live a life of devotedness to thee and to thine honour and glory, as our highest end. And that we may make our religion not only our business, but our pleasure, we beseech thee, enable us to live a life of complacency in thee, to rejoice in thee always; that making God our heart’s delight, so may we have our heart’s desire: And this is our heart’s desire, to know and love and live to God, to please him and to be pleased in him.

We beseech thee, preserve us in our integrity to our dying day and grant that we may never forsake thee or turn from following after thee, but that with purpose of heart we may cleave unto the Lord and may not count life itself so dear to us, so we may but finish our course with joy and true honour.

Let thy good providence order all the circumstances of our dying, so as may best befriend our comfortable removal to a better world; and let thy grace be sufficient for us then to enable us to finish well; and let us then have an abundant entrance ministered to us into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

And while we are here, make us wiser and better every day than others; more weaned from the world, and more willing to leave it: More holy, heavenly, and spiritual; that the longer we live in this world, the fitter we may be for another, and our last days may be our best days, our last works our best works, and our last comforts our sweetest comforts.

We humbly pray thee, accomplish all that which thou hast promised concerning thy church in the latter days; let the earth be filled with thy glory. Let the fulness of the Gentiles be brought in, and let all Israel be saved.

Let the mountain of the Lord’s house be established upon the top of the mountains and exalted above the hills, and let all nations flow unto it.

Propagate the gospel in the plantations, and let the enlargement of trade and commerce contribute to the enlargement of thy church. Let the kingdom of Christ be set up in all places upon the ruins of the devil’s kingdom.

Hasten the downfall of the man of sin, and let primitive Christianity, even pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father, be revived and be made to flourish in all places; and let the power of godliness prevail and get ground among all that have the form of it.

Let the wars of the nations end in the peace of the church, the shakings of the nations end in the establishment of the church, and the convulsions and revolutions of states and kingdoms in the settlement and advancement of the kingdom of God among men, that kingdom which cannot be moved.

Let Great Britain and Ireland (Add your homeland here _____________) flourish in all their public interests. Let thine everlasting gospel be always the glory in the midst of us, and let thy providence be a wall of fire round about us. Destroy us not, but let a blessing be among us, even a meat-offering and a drink-offering to the Lord our God.

Be very gracious to our sovereign lord the king, protect his person, preserve his health, prolong his days, guide his councils, let his reign be prosperous, and crown all his undertakings for the public good.

Bless the privy counsellors, the nobility, the judges, and magistrates in our several counties and corporations, and make them in all their places faithful and serviceable to the interest of the nation, and every way public blessings.

Bless all the ministers of thy holy word and sacraments; make them burning and shining lights, and faithful to Christ and to the souls of men. Unite all thy ministers and people together in the truth and in true love one to another; pour out a healing spirit upon them, a spirit of love and charity, mutual forbearance and condescension, that with one shoulder and with one consent all may study to promote the common interests of our great Master and the common salvation of precious souls.

We pray thee, prosper the trade of the nation and our coasts, disappoint the devices of our enemies against us, preserve the public peace, and keep all the people of these lands in quietness among themselves and due subjection to the authority God hath set over us; and let the Lord delight to dwell among us and to do us good.

Bless the fruits of the earth, continue our plenty, abundantly bless our provision, and satisfy even our poor with bread.

We bless thee for all the mercies of this thine own holy day; we have reason to say that a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! Bless the word we have heard this day to us and to all that heard it; hear our prayers, accept our praises, and forgive what thy pure eye hath seen amiss in us and our performances.

Take us under thy protection this night, and enable us to close the day with thee, that we may lie down, and our sleep may be sweet. Be with us the week following in all our ways; forgive us that we brought so much of the week with us into the sabbath, and enable us to bring a great deal of the sabbath with us into the week, that we may be the fitter for the next sabbath, if we should live to see it.

Make us meet for the everlasting sabbath, which we hope to keep within the veil, when time and days shall be no more; and let this day bring us a sabbath-day’s journey nearer heaven, and make us a sabbath-day’s work fitter for it.

As we began this Lord’s Day with the joyful memorials of Christ’s resurrection, so we desire to conclude it with the joyful expectations of Christ’s second coming and of our own resurrection, then to a blessed immortality, triumphing in hopes of the glory of God.

Bless the Lord, love the Lord, O our souls, and let all that is within us love and bless his holy name, for he is good and his mercy endures for ever. In praising God, we desire to spend as much of our time as may be, that we may begin our heaven now, for in this good work we hope to be spending a happy eternity.

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, and our God, in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, be honour and glory, dominion and praise, henceforth and for ever. Amen.

Keeping the Faith

Here is a 13 part series, first published in June 2018, from John MacArthur’s Grace to You Ministries entitled Keeping the Faith. Note some of the words used in the titles Judge, Discrimination, Humility, Discern are those likely on the hit list of “bad” words for the woke culture of today. Yet the bible says true believers are not of this world and we are to do those things living as such.

All That Glitters Is Not Gold

The Value of Discrimination

Judge Everything

Cling to What Is Good

Shun What Is Evil

Our Duty to Discern

Discernment Demands Humility

The Source and Supply of All Discernment

The Deadly Dangers of Passive Discernment

Following the Faithful

Spirit-Powered Discernment

Growing in discernment

The Deadly Dangers of Passive Discernment

Sunday Sermon Series – 07/o4/2021 – FREEDOM

Religious Happy 4th Of Jul Quote Pictures, Photos, and Images for Facebook,  Tumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter

2 Corinthians 3

Today America celebrates its 245th birthday. Unfortunately, I fear much of the “Founding Fathers” desires and intent have been lost in translation and we are no longer these “United States of America.”

Much of that is because folks have forgotten what true freedom is all about. We have (a society in general) been brainwashed by mainstream media to think true freedom is all about living an immoral self-centered lifestyle. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As our text for today notes and as both our Founding Fathers and the vast majority of founding documents support, true Freedom can only be found in Christ. When the veil that separates the human mind’s frailty and the revelation of God’s glory is dropped it is truly liberating.

Today as you celebrate with family and friends across America, reflect upon our nation’s Heritage, the cost of freedom, (both in terms of Christ’s Sacrafice and our servicemen and women), and what makes man truly free. I encourage you to PARY FOR AMERICA.


SERMON

SPIRITUAL LIBERTY

DELIVERED ON SABBATH MORNING, FEBRUARY 18, 1855
BY THE REV. C. H. SPURGEON, AT EXETER HALL, STRAND

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Corinthians 3:17

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 – 06/17/2021

Galatians 5:16 - KJV - Bible verse of the day - DailyVerses.net

Galatians 5

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 5:17 then 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

Whom are you relying on today the old man or new?

Devotional Thought for Today – 06/10/2021

James 2:13 | Insights From Tom

JAMES 2

CONTEXT: Matthew Henry comments: All professions of faith are vain, if not producing love and justice to others. (1-13) The necessity of good works to prove the sincerity of faith, which otherwise will be of no more advantage than the faith of devils. (14-26)

Our text for today comes at the end of the first theme of James Chapter 2. We find the stage set if you will in v.1 show no favoritism, no prejudice, no snobbery] the chapter then goes on v.2-7 to describe situations that may arise when one might be tempted to discriminate. James then goes on in v.8-12 to note other areas where believers might fail.

Understanding our text requires two key points first it does not mean that those who do not show mercy are condemned to hell. Romans 8:1 and other similar verses settled that issue forever.

What it does mean is those FULLY committed to Christ will show mercy just like Christ. If you have been indwelled by the Holy Spirit it is pretty difficult to resist that call to be merciful. We (believers) are going to be surrounded by sin daily; our own, fellow Christians, and for certain non-believers. What kind of testimony would we have if we went around condemning everyone?

Let me be clear about this, we should be discerning (judgmental) as to the sin of others and ourselves. We need to be protective of our property and families while at the same time as Paul emphasized to the Church in Colossae C.3; 12 So, as God’s own chosen people, who are holy [set apart, sanctified for His purpose] and well-beloved [by God Himself], put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience [which has the power to endure whatever injustice or unpleasantness comes, with good temper]; 13 bearing graciously with one another, and willingly forgiving each other if one has a cause for complaint against another; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so should you forgive.

The following Devotional may be of help:

Commended or Condemned?

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matt. 5:7).

God commends merciful people but condemns the merciless.

Scripture shows that those whom God blessed most abundantly were abundantly merciful to others. Abraham, for example, helped rescue his nephew Lot even after Lot had wronged him. Joseph was merciful to his brothers after they sold him into slavery. Twice David spared Saul’s life after Saul tried to kill him.

But just as sure as God’s commendation is upon those who show mercy, His condemnation is upon those who are merciless. Psalm 109:14-16 says, “Let the iniquity of [the merciless person’s] fathers be remembered before the Lord, and do not let the sin of his mother be blotted out . . . because he did not remember to show [mercy].”

When judgment comes, the Lord will tell such people, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me” (Matt. 25:41-43). They will respond, “Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?” (v. 44). He will reply that when they withheld mercy from those who represented Him, they were withholding it from Him (v. 45).

Our society encourages us to grab everything we can for ourselves, but God wants us to reach out and give everything we can to others. If someone wrongs you, fails to repay a debt, or doesn’t return something he has borrowed from you, be merciful to him. That doesn’t mean you excuse sin, but you respond to people with a heart of compassion. That’s what Christ did for you—can you do any less for others?

Suggestions for Prayer

If there is someone who has wronged you, pray for that person, asking God to give you a heart of compassion for him or her. Make every effort to reconcile as soon as possible.

For Further Study

Read Romans 1:29-31. How did Paul characterize the ungodly?

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.