Devotional Thought for Today – 06/08/2021

James 1:22 (ESV) - James 1:22 ESV - But be doers of the word,… | Biblia

James 1

I have written or posted about this verse more than once over the years (see below) primarily because I believe the Bible is true and as such 1 Peter 4:10 demands I take action.

Of course, as always context is critical, this past Saturday’s Devotional has the chapter breakdown from Matthew Henry’s commentary. One thing to point out is v.21, James through the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit writes, So get rid of all uncleanness and [e]all that remains of wickedness, and with a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls. (AMP)

God has plans for and expects the humble of heart to be the doers of His Word, what about you?


OTHER RESOURCES:

Sunday Sermon Series – Hearers

Daily Devotional – Couch Potato Christian

Failing to Do It!

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Being a Doer of the Word

“Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22).

A doer of the Word obeys what Scripture says.

Effective Bible study is built on three key questions: What does the Bible say? What does it mean? How does it apply to my life? Each of those questions is important, but applying the Word must always be the highest goal. Knowledge without application is useless.

Both the Old and New Testaments emphasize the importance of applying Scripture. For example, just prior to leading the Israelites into the Promised Land, Joshua received this message from God: “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success” (Josh. 1:8). That’s a command to be a doer of the Word—one who receives, studies, and understands Scripture, then applies it to every aspect of his or her life. That was the key to Joshua’s amazing success.

James 1:22 is a New Testament counterpart to Joshua 1:8 and is directed to every believer: “Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” It’s not enough to hear the Word; you must also do what it says.

The phrase “doer of the word” doesn’t refer to the person who obeys periodically, but the one who habitually and characteristically obeys. It’s one thing to run in a race; it’s something else to be a runner. It’s one thing to teach a class; it’s something else to be a teacher. Runners are known for running; teachers are known for teaching—it’s characteristic of their lives. Similarly, doers of the Word are known for their obedience to biblical truth.

Never be content to be a hearer of the Word only, but prove yourself a doer in the Christian life. Your claim to love Christ will mean something only if you obey what He says.

Suggestions for Prayer

Memorize Joshua 1:8 and pray regularly that God will make you a faithful doer of the Word.

For Further Study

Read Psalm 1.

  • What are the benefits of delighting in God’s law?
  • How does the psalmist characterize those who reject righteousness?

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.

Devotional Thought for Today – 02/12/2021

6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 1 Corinthians 13: 6-7

1 Corinthians 13

One of the best known and most quoted and preached Chapters in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13 is often referred to as the “Love Chapter.”  Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit strategically places it immediately following all the teachings on Spiritual Gifts. 

I for one am convinced this is purposeful, for I have met many a “Christian” claiming to have mighty gifts yet definitely lack that key attribute of Godly love. 

Paul uses the following to explain this:

v.1-3 – The gift of tongues while useful to communicate is a waste without Godly love

v.4-7 – No matter the turmoil Godly love endures

v. 8-13 – Godly love is eternal 

In our text today v.6-7, Paul makes six (6) points:

      • Godly love never finds joy in doing wrong (iniquity)
      • Godly love DOES find joy no matter how difficult in truth
      • Godly love has no limit (beareth all) 
      • Godly love believes all. Christians are not to be gullible but to compare all things against GOd’s Holy Word.
      • Godly love hopes for all things that are the promises made by God to His elect. 
      • Godly love can endure all things that are burdensome, tempting, and otherwise contrary to the flesh.  John Gill says of this: that are disagreeable to the flesh; all afflictions, tribulations, temptations, persecutions, and death itself, for the elect’s sake, for the sake of the Gospel, and especially for the sake of Christ Jesus.

Are you using your gifts today with Godly Love?

Today’s Prayer:

Father God, I pray today that you will help me to put selfishness away and always seek to do all things with the Agape love that the Apostle Paul speaks about in First Corinthians 13.  Help me daily to be the servant in your Army that can do your will for your Glory. – AMEN 

 

When I was a Child

Demonstrators lie on the ground facing a police line in front of the White House during protests over the death of George Floyd in Washington DC on Wednesday.
Demonstrators lie on the ground facing a police line in front of the White House during protests over the death of George Floyd in Washington DC on Wednesday. Photograph: Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

Protests break out in cities across the US including Louisville, Denver, Minneapolis and New York following the death of unarmed black man George Floyd at the hands of police
Violent clashes are rumbling on across America following the death of George Floyd (Picture: AP/Getty Images)


We have two guest staying with us for a week, they are 11 months old and 2 years old. Watching them and the complete chaos on many of our city streets the past few days, reminded me of the Apostle Paul’s admonition to the church at Corinth…

Logos.com

1 Corinthians 13 (AMP and RVR 1960)


CONTEXT:

Chapter 13 of 1st Corinthians has been called the LOVE Chapter because Paul under direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit writes exclusively about the excellency of and need for Christian Love in here.

We need to back up to Chapter 12 to get a running start to fully understand it though.  This chapter is obviously about spiritual gifts. Here in C.12 Paul has cautioned the Corinthians against using any spiritual gift without applying Christian Love. All gifts God has bestowed upon us are useless for the Kingdom if we do not use them for His Glory in Love. 

Note this is not some sappy, be a whipping post, push over love. If you really read the book you will note that none of the Apostles nor Christ ever behaved in that manner. This is true Christian Love for their neighbors, those in need, and most assuredly their brethren. 

In the midst of writing on Love Paul make an almost 90° turn in v.10 when he speaks of Christ’s return. Followed immediately by our text so let us break it down:


BREAKDOWN:

When I was a child,- Note past tense Paul is saying I am not longer a child, I am standing here before you as a man recognize me as such. 

I spoke like a child,- Our 2 year old guest Temory (sp) says stuff and I have no clue what he is talking about. It is okay, he is 2 and that is to be expected. Paisley the 11 month old just kinda smiles and yelps every once in a while. They are little and we have no expectations of them making profound statement. Paul is saying the same, as immature Christians there is an understanding that you (church at Corinth specifically but applicable to all true believers) must grown in Grace.

I thought like a child, – Likewise their still learning and so their thoughts and actions do not always make a whole lot of sense to us but at their age I probably did things even more unpredictable. This learning is called Sanctification. 

I reasoned like a child. – I love to watch Paisley find something new and look it over, stare at, it feel it, even try and eat it sometimes 🙂 all to try and figure out (reason) what it is and if it is good. She concentrates so hard her forehead curls. There is no excuse for not reasoning right and wrong. 

When I became a man, –  Again past tense so Paul is declaring he is in fact a man. Along with 2 youngest members of our household this week we also have our usual grandkids one of whom my grandson Té, turned 13 this year. He is a big boy and wants to be treated like a man, I remind him he needs to behave and act like one too. 

I gave up childish ways. –  In order to be recognized as a man, you must speak and act like one. Be articulate, and well groomed not looking like some radical ready to breed chaos. The bible (and our laws) says we must be obedient to those appointed over us; Parents, Government Officials, Church Leaders, Etc.


APPLICATION:

Let me try and bring this full circle, the rioters that brought all the chaos to the streets of America reminded me of Paul’s description of untrained (spoiled) children. 

I know you know what I am speaking of you all have been in a wally world or some other store and seen some 2-3 year old throw a tantrum or what my wife calls a “hissy fit.”  Just like so many of our city authorities parents many times ignore or just let the child continue and chaos in the store ensues. 

These “demonstrators” want to be treated as adults, they want to be heard, acting like children is not the answer at least biblically. Unfortunately the liberal politicians in our country will probably kneel down to their demands. 

Question since when did we allow children to run America? 


Other Resources Biblical Manhood:

Evangelical Syncretism: Submitting to Feminism

Evangelical Culture is Beta Male Culture the two links at the top of the article by Paul Washer and Voddie Baucham great

 


OTHER:

Instead of Children why not consider some reasoned adult thinking, like that George Floyd’s younger brother Philonise Floyd who on Wednesday spoke before the House Judiciary Committee at a hearing on policing and accountability.

Whether you agree 100% with him or not, note he does not call for stupid radical change in Police Forces (disbanding, dismantling etc.) but simple changes that would effect every citizen of every color. I do not know his Spiritual Condition but I continue to pray for him and his family especially that they will use this incident, as tragic as it was to glorify God and not man.

What Are the “Greater Works” for Believers?

by Jeremiah Johnson /Friday, June 28, 2019

No mater your position on this, unless you are on the far extremes of either side you can find common ground. That ground in always rooted in Christ Jesus and sinners saved by Grace. -Mike

What Are the “Greater Works” for Believers?

In the lead-up to the Truth Matters conference in October, we will be focusing our attention on the sufficiency, authority, and clarity of Scripture. Of our previous blog series, none better embodies that emphasis than Frequently Abused Verses. The following entry from that series originally appeared on September 18, 2015. -ed.(For other articles in this series just type Frequently Abused Verses into the search bar on the right).

In the quiet intimacy of the upper room, just hours before His arrest, Christ gave His disciples some final encouragement and instruction. He revealed again His unity with the Father, comforted His disciples with the promise of heaven, and told them about the Helper who would empower them for the work ahead (John 14:1-17). But as usual, the disciples failed to fully understand what He was saying.

Some of their confusion lives on in the church today. In particular, one of Christ’s statements in this passage has confounded and divided many believers, with some using the Lord’s promise as proof of the continuation of the apostolic gifts throughout the history of the church.

In John 14:12, Jesus promises His followers: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.”

In his book The Upper Room, John MacArthur explains why there is persistent confusion in the church today about the nature of Christ’s promise.

Christians over the centuries have wondered at the richness of such a promise. What does it mean? How could anyone do greater works than Jesus had done? He had healed people blind from birth, cast out the most powerful demons, and even raised Lazarus from the dead after four days in the grave. What could possibly be greater than those miracles? [1]

For charismatic authors who believe in the continuation of the apostolic gifts, the answer is simple. In his book Authentic Fire, Michael Brown explains it this way:

Jesus gave a universal promise in John 14:12 that implies that all believers can ask God to demonstrate His healing and miracle-working power through them, since the statement in John 14:12 is programmatic, as Jesus said: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” How is this not universal in scope, given that the identical Greek phrase ho pisteuon eis eme, whoever believes in Me, is always universal in application in John? (See John 6:357:3811:2512:4446.) And while we can debate exactly what Jesus intended by the “greater works,” it is difficult to escape from the conclusion that whoever believes in the Son will also perform miraculous signs, based on: 1) the immediate context (14:9-11, with the emphasis on miracles as the works done by Jesus); 2) the universality of the language used; and 3) the assurance which follows, guaranteeing the efficacy of prayer to the Father in Jesus’ name. . . .

This promise cannot be limited to the apostle based on the language of “whoever believes in Me,” nor can it [sic] limited to non-supernatural acts of service. The reverse is actually true. [2]

Writing for Charisma Magazine, charismatic author Larry Sparks makes the same assertion that Christ’s words to His disciples are “a powerful blanket statement” for all believers, throughout church history.

Whoever means whoever. This is beyond the 12 apostles and the 72 called-out ones in Luke 10. Whoever spans all generations. Whoever invites us, in the 21st century, to once again contend for an outpouring of supernatural power in our midst.[3]

Bill Johnson, pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California, (one of the most influential charismatic churches in the world) and instructor at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, teaches a similar interpretation of the “greater works.” In his book When Heaven Invades Earth, he writes, “The miraculous is a large part of the plan of God for this world. And it is to come through the Church.” [4] Johnson teaches that in His incarnation, Christ emptied Himself of all divine attributes, and in His humanity is the model for our lives.

Jesus became the model for all who would embrace the invitation to invade the impossible in His name. He performed miracleswondersand signs, as a man in right relationship to God . . . not as God. If He performed miracles because He was God, then they would be unattainable for us. But if He did them as a man, I am responsible to pursue His lifestyle. [5]

Through that lens of Christ’s humanity, Johnson understands John 14:12 as a challenge to surpass His miraculous works.

Jesus’ prophecy of us doing greater works than He did has stirred the Church to look for some abstract meaning to this very simple statement. Many theologians seek to honor the works of Jesus as unattainable, which is religion, fathered by unbelief. It does not impress God to ignore what He promised under the guise of honoring the work of Jesus on the earth. Jesus’ statement is not that hard to understand. Greater means “greater.” And the works he referred to are signs and wonders. It will not be a disservice to Him to have a generation obey Him, and go beyond His own high-water mark. He showed us what one person could do who has the Spirit without measure. What could millions do? That was His point, and it became His prophecy. [6]

We could go on and on with examples of that kind of teaching from charismatic sources, but you get the point. For those arguing for the continuation of the apostolic gifts, John 14:12 is a battleground text.

But was it really meant to be a promise of miraculous power to every believer? The testimony of church history suggests it was not, as many generations of saints have come and gone without any evidence of apostolic power. And while charismatics will argue that there is evidence of miracles today, it’s always anecdotal, rarely documented or objectively substantiated, and often comes from the far-flung corners of the globe.

Even by that flawed standard, the Spirit’s supposed miraculous work today is significantly different than His ministry through the apostles in the first-century church. Far from healing the crippled, curing the ravages of disease, and raising the dead, it seems the focus of the Holy Spirit’s healing ministry today is limited to rheumatoid arthritis, nagging back pain, and other subjective ailments. No longer is His work dramatic, obvious, and undeniable—today it’s mysterious, indiscriminate, and surprisingly absent when and where it’s most needed.

There is no arguing against the fact that Christ bestowed His supernatural power to His disciples (Acts 5:12-16). But there is no reason to characterize their miracles as “greater” than Christ’s, either in magnitude or degree. Furthermore, there is scant evidence that His promise of power extends to the subsequent generations of the church. In other words, not only have we not seen the charismatic interpretation validated by nearly 19 centuries of Christian history, it can’t even be validated by the miraculous works of the twelve apostles! (For further exegetical explanation of the limits of Christ’s promise in John 14:12, I recommend this article from Matt Waymeyer.)

So if Christ wasn’t promising miraculous power that exceeded His own, what did He mean by “greater works?” As John MacArthur explains, Jesus was indicating that the disciples works would be greater not in power, but in extent.

The key to understanding this promise is in the last phrase of verse 12: “because I go to the Father.” When Jesus went to the Father, He sent the Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s power completely transformed the disciples from a group of fearful, timid individuals into a cohesive force that reached the world with the gospel. The impact of their preaching exceeded even the impact of Jesus’ public teaching ministry during His lifetime. Jesus never preached outside a 175-mile radius extending from His birthplace. Within His lifetime, Europe never received word of the gospel. But under the ministry of the disciples the good news began to spread, and it’s still spreading today. Their works were greater than His, not in power, but in scope. Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, each one of those disciples had access to power in dimensions they did not previously have, even with the physical presence of Christ.

The disciples undoubtedly thought that without Christ they would be reduced to nothing. He was the source of their strength; how could they have power without Him? His promise was meant to ease those fears. If they felt secure in His presence, they would be even more secure, more powerful, able to do more, if He returned to the Father and sent the Holy Spirit. [7]

Christ did not hand-pick His disciples merely to perform signs and wonders in His name. They were chosen to extend the good news of His sacrificial, atoning death beyond the reaches of Israel and Palestine, to the far reaches of the globe. They were preaching the completed work of Christ on behalf of sinners, spawning spiritual revival throughout the known world. In that sense, their work was greater than Christ’s, as they bore witness to the truth of His life and death, and saw firsthand the transforming work of the Holy Spirit.

As John MacArthur explains, the work of the gospel is the greatest ministry work of all.

After all, the greatest miracle God can perform is salvation. Every time we introduce someone to faith in Jesus Christ, we are observers of the new birth; we are supporting the most important spiritual work in the world. How exciting it is to be involved in what God is doing spiritually and to do things greater than even Jesus saw in His day. [8]

Here are five other resources to consider in this debate; I hope they are helpful:

 

Please use the search bar on the right entering “Frequently Abused Verses” to find other articles in this series.