Devo – Romans 12:1-2 – Reasonable Service

Romans 12:1-2 – Reasonable Service

  1. Intro

    1. Last week I was talking to Pastor Don about how I was struggling more than normal preparing for this devotion and he shared Romans 12:1 with me, and so I’m just going to jump right in. Reading Romans 11:32 – 12:8, but focusing on Romans 12:1-2.

    2. Read Romans 11:32 – 12:8

    3. PRAY!

    4. Book intro:

      1. Romans can be outlined in many different ways. My study Bibles gave outlines from six to eight main points with additional sub points under those.

      2. Romans covers condemnation, justification, sanctification, Israel and our behavior as Christians.

      3. A possible even simpler outline would be to divide the book at chapter twelve, where before you have eleven chapters of doctrine and theology, and then followed by five chapters of application for how Christ should be exemplified in a believers life.

  2. [Rom 12:1 NKJV] I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, [which is] your reasonable service.

    1. I beseech you”

      1. Here Paul is asking nicely, yet he has full apostolic authority.

      2. But instead of being commanding, he is coming along side the church in Rome and imploring them.

    2. therefore, brethren,”

      1. Therefore because of God’s mercy as we read in Romans 11:32.

      2. Therefore because of how great God is, Romans 11:33-35.

      3. Therefore because of God’s glory, Romans 11:36.

      4. Many consider this “therefore” to apply to the previous eleven chapters.

        1. That therefore we were condemned:

          • [Rom 5:12 KJV] Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

          • [Rom 3:23 NKJV] for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

        2. That therefore we are justified:

          • [Rom 3:24-25 NKJV] 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth [as] a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,

          • [Rom 5:18 KJV] Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life.

        3. That therefore we are sanctified:

          • [Rom 8:1-4 NKJV] 1 [There is] therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God [did] by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

    3. by the mercies of God,”

      1. Quoting David Guzik: “Think of all the mercies of God Paul has explained to us thus far [in Romans]:

        1. Justification from the guilt and penalty of sin

        2. Adoption in Jesus and identification with Christ

        3. Placed under grace, not law

        4. Giving the Holy Spirit to live within

        5. Promise of help in all affliction

        6. Assurance of a standing in God’s election

        7. Confidence of coming glory

        8. Confidence of no separation from the love of God

        9. Confidence in God’s continued faithfulness”

        10. And I would add God’s gift of faith to us

    4. that you present your bodies a living sacrifice,”

      1. Paul is using an Old Testament word picture here.

      2. That we are to submit in whole to God, our whole self.

        1. When giving an offering, you gave the the whole animal, to be sacrificed and used for the Lord.

          • You were not even to give a lame or blind animal to be sacrificed to the Lord

          • [Deu 15:21 NKJV] “But if there is a defect in it, [if it is] lame or blind [or has] any serious defect, you shall not sacrifice it to the LORD your God.

          • [Malachi 1:8 NKJV] And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, [Is it] not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, [Is it] not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?” Says the LORD of hosts.

            • How can our sacrifice be glorifying to God, if what we are giving Him is worse than what we are willing to give to those in authority of us on earth?

        2. Hughes writes: “We must put away the medieval thinking that makes a distinction between clergy and laity – the idea that ministers and missionaries should have 100 percent commitment, but the laity is permitted 75 percent, or 30, or… [less]. The truth is, ALL BELIEVERS are called to be totally committed to Christ.”

        3. Honestly, how can we not give our whole selves to God, when we know that we are not even our own?

          • [1Co 6:19-20 NKJV] 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit [who is] in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

      3. This sacrifice that Paul speaks of is also different than that of the Old Testament. It is a living sacrifice. It is continual, that each day we are to commit to live for Christ.

        1. [Rom 6:6, 10-11 NKJV] 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with [Him], that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. … 10 For [the death] that He died, He died to sin once for all; but [the life] that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

          • Each morning it seems we need to commit to and surrender to God to put away the “old man” and put on the new.

        2. [Eph 4:22-24 NKJV] 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

    5. holy, acceptable to God,

      1. What is a holy and acceptable sacrifice to God?

        1. [Pro 15:8 NKJV] The sacrifice of the wicked [is] an abomination to the LORD, But the prayer of the upright [is] His delight.

        2. We know in Hebrews 11:6 it says it is impossible to please God without faith.

        3. And we learn in Hebrews 11:4 that it was by faith that Abel’s offering to God was more acceptable than Cains.

      2. An acceptable offering is one made in faith.

        1. I am so thankful and amazed that God even gives us faith and perfects our faith.

        2. That He has given each one of us a measure of faith (Romans 12:3).

        3. That He is the author and finisher or perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

        4. That through faith we are justified and have access to His grace.

          • [Rom 5:1-2 NKJV] 1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

        5. Because God is faithful to us, He will sanctify us, making us blameless.

          • [1Th 5:23-24 NKJV] 23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you [is] faithful, who also will do [it].

    6. [which is] your reasonable service.

      1. Other translations use “your spiritual service” or “your spiritual worship”

      2. The word “reasonable” here is translated from the Greek word logikos (lo-gē-ko’s), which is where we get our word logic.

      3. Knowing what we do, is it not reasonable, is it not logical to serve God?

        1. [Gal 2:20 NKJV] “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the [life] which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

        2. [Rom 8:32 NKJV] He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

      4. That as Paul says, we have been crucified with Christ, that Christ lives in us, we have the Holy Spirit, the Helper, the Comforter in us. This life we are living now in the flesh is to be lived in faith in God. That God did not spare His own son for our sake because He loves us.

      5. To quote Spock “It is only logical” that we have faith in God, love God, and server God with our everything.

        1. [Deu 6:5 NKJV] “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

  3. [Rom 12:2 NKJV] 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what [is] that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

    1. And do not be conformed to this world,

      1. Conformed here is an outward change.

        1. Like a thing being forced into a mold.

        2. We as Christians should not be, cannot be, conformed to this world for we have the Holy Spirit in us.

      2. [1Jo 2:15-17 NKJV] 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that [is] in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

      3. This world is not our home, nor should it be our filter to how we read the Bible, or our view of God. But the Bible should be how we filter our world view.

      4. [1Pe 2:11 NKJV] 11 Beloved, I beg [you] as sojourners and pilgrims [NASB uses aliens and strangers], abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,

      5. Our residence here on this earth is only temporary, in so we should love the Eternal Creator, not the things that have been created.

    2. but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,

      1. The Greek word that is translated transformed is the same word we get metamorphosis from, and the same word used to describe Christ’s transfiguration in Matthew 17:2.

      2. It is in the present, passive, imperative; so it is a command that we are receiving that we are to currently and actively follow.

      3. By the renewing of our mind through God’s word

        1. [Psa 119:11 NKJV] 11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

        2. And

        3. [Philippians 4:8 NKJV] 8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things [are] noble, whatever things [are] just, whatever things [are] pure, whatever things [are] lovely, whatever things [are] of good report, if [there is] any virtue and if [there is] anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.

      4. We are to be transformed. Different from this world.

        1. [2Co 3:18 NKJV] 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

        2. And

        3. [2Co 5:17 NKJV] 17 Therefore, if anyone [is] in Christ, [he is] a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

    3. that you may prove what [is] that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

      1. Other translations use “discern” instead of prove.

      2. Paul also uses this language which mirrors the old testament to describe what is an appropriate sacrifice to God.

      3. As we continually grow in faith and knowledge in Christ, as we are sanctified through Christ. We will be able to discern what is good, acceptable and the perfect will of God.

      4. [Eph 5:8-11 NKJV] 8 For you were once darkness, but now [you are] light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit [is] in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose [them].

  4. Closing

    1. We have a God that loves us, that forgives us. That did not keep His own Son from us. Jesus became sin for us, that we might be justified once and for all, by the shedding of His blood we are made clean. That as Christians we have the Helper, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit that lives with in us, that seals us, and we are not our own but bought with a price.

    2. So knowing all this and more, how is it not reasonable that we fully commit ourselves to Christ?

      1. We should, but I’ll be the first to admit that I fail at this daily. That I fail in my own strength, that I am often distracted by the things and cares of this world.

      2. As I mentioned at the beginning that I have more difficulty then normal preparing for this devotion. Which I shared with some of you and as I said before Pastor Don.

      3. To which he brought up that isn’t it reasonable? That’s all he asked, he didn’t go into detail, but shared some of the thoughts and things he was going through.

      4. It made me think, how is it not reasonable? Our struggles, our hardships, even the pain and suffering we experience. That with everything we go through, it is reasonable in the service of God.

      5. I say it again, it is only logical that we commit fully to God, that we serve Him completely. Through His strength, not our own. Through the faith that He has given us, not our own. It is only through God that we can be fully committed to Him.

      6. PRAY!

Notes – 1 Peter 5:10-11

Here are the notes for the first devotion on 1 Peter 5:10-11 I posted here.

1 Peter 5:10-11 Devotion

1 Peter 5:10-11 (NASB)

10 – After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

11 – To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.

My background in choosing this as my life verse:

When I was 17, a senior in high school, I had surgery on my left hand and my right shoulder. I tore the tendon on my left ring finger from the bone and my shoulder was destroyed from playing sports with it subluxed. The capsule, rotator cuff, tendons and muscles in and around my shoulder were all damaged and I currently have hardware in my shoulder to help keep it in place.

For both of these I had to go through physical therapy. So I thought this was a good analogy for what I was going through. That after suffering through therapy, which over all is a short time. Then my injuries would heal and I’ll become stronger. In reality my shoulder and hand are weaker then they were before the injuries. So let’s dig deeper and see that these verses are more then the Bible version of “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

Verse Break Down:

“After you have suffered for a little while”

We have this statement, “After you have suffered for a little while.” It’s not that you might suffer, but after you have suffered.

“the God of all grace”

God’s grace is sufficient, we can not do anything without God’s grace, it is God’s grace that saves us.

“who called you to His eternal glory in Christ”

Called to God’s glory, our purpose as Christians is to glorify God.

“will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”

Maturing as a Christian

“To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

God is sovereign

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Thoughts that aren’t continuous:

Examples suffering:

  • 2 Samuel 12 – David, Sin

  • Job – Loss of possessions, boils, loss of children (God allows suffering)

  • 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 – Paul’s thorn, may have been suffering of the flesh (grace is sufficient)

  • 2 Timothy 4:14 – Alexander the coppersmith did Paul much harm;

  • Disciplines the one He loves Hebrew 12

Other Christian’s suffering

  • 1 Peter 5:9 – But resist him [the Devil], firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.

Christ suffering

  • Luke 22:42 – Jesus was in agony before being betrayed, sweating blood

  • Matthew 27, Mark 15 – Crucifixion

  • Hebrew 12:2 – Christ endured the cross

  • 1 Peter 4:1 – Christ suffered in the flesh

We not only have a God who understands our temptations, Jesus being tempted in as we were. But also He was betrayed, beaten, mocked and executed in one of the most painful ways.

Suffer so we can encourage others: 2 CORINTHIANS 1:3-5

Psalm 33 ???

Romans 8:18

Philippians 3

JAMES 5:10-12

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John MacArthur

“Dominion (kratos) actually signifies strength, and here denotes God’s ability to dominate, to have everything in the universe under His sovereign and unassailable control.”

==========================

Conclusion:

These verses have changed in how they apply to my life.

I can sit here and tell you that even though God gave me a child who was mentally disabled, physically disabled and deformed, that did not make it to his first birthday. I believe this fully.

This isn’t scripture that promises healing from physical pain and hardship. It is Peter praying, knowing that being Christians we will suffer. That in and after our suffering we have a God that cares about us and takes a personal interest in us. That He will take our suffering and mean it for good. That He will strengthen our faith, set us on the right path and give us a foundation so that we can stand firm in our faith in Jesus. That we are called to His glory not our own.

That Our God is sovereign, loving and powerful and that He worthy to be praised.

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Outline

1 Peter 5:10-11 (NASB)

10 – After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

11 – To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.

  1. Pray for help from God, a loose throat and leading of the Holy Spirit. Thank God for this opportunity to stretch and grow me

  2. Read verse

  3. Intro:

    1. High school senior

    2. Went through two surgeries

    3. Picked for my senior quote

  4. Historical context of 1 Peter

    1. Written 62-64 AD

    2. Nero was emperor and persecuting Christians

    3. Theme

      1. Christians are transient, this Earth is not our home.

      2. Christians will suffer

      3. Christ’s suffering is an example to Christians

  5. Read verse again then break it down

  6. “After you have suffered for a little while”

    1. God allows suffering

      1. God is sovereign

      2. If God did not allow for suffering we would have a weak God

      3. 1 Peter 5:11 – “To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

      4. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – We suffer in our affliction, so that we might comfort others

    2. Examples of suffering

      1. 2 Samuel 12 – David suffered because of his sin

      2. Job – God allowed Job to suffer (James 5:11)
      3. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 – Paul’s thorn, may have been suffering of the flesh

      4. 2 Timothy 4:14 – Alexander the coppersmith did Paul much harm

      5. 1 Peter 5:9 – Persecution of Christians

    3. Christ Suffering

      1. Peter mentions Christ suffering

        1. 1 Peter 1:11 – Christ’s suffering was predicted

        2. 1 Peter 2:21 – Christ suffered for us

        3. 1 Peter 3:18 – Christ died for us, “the just for the unjust”

        4. 1 Peter 4:1 – Christ suffered in the flesh, an example for us

        5. 1 Peter 4:13 – Christians share in the suffering of Christ

        6. 1 Peter 5:1 – Peter witnessed the sufferings of Christ

  7. “the God of all grace

    1. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 – God’s grace is sufficient

    2. Ephesians 2:8-9 – Saved by God’s grace

    3. 1 Peter 4:10 – Be stewards of God’s grace with gifts he has given us.

  8. who called you to His eternal glory in Christ

    1. Prime purpose of man is to glorify God

    2. 1 Peter 4:11 – In all things God should be glorified

    3. David Guzik writes: “ iii. We are called us to His eternal glory; but what does this glory entail?

      1. – It is the glory of purified character.

      2. – It is the glory of perfected humanity.

      3. – It is the glory of complete victory.

      4. – It is the glory of being honored by a King.

      5. – It is the glory of reflecting the glory of God.

      6. – It is the glory of the immediate and constant presence of God.

      7. – It is the glory of the enjoyment of God Himself.“

  9. “will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”

    1. God will personally help us in our suffering

      1. Perfect (G2675)

        1. Make fit or complete

      2. Confirm (G4741)

        1. Make stable, strengthen

      3. Strengthen (G4599)

        1. Only used once in the New Testament

        2. To make strong in a spiritual sense

      4. Establish (G2311)

        1. To lay a foundation

    2. Maturing as a Christian

      1. We should see these things happen in our own life as we mature in the faith

      2. We know that God is the Perfecter of our faith

        1. Hebrews 12:2 – fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

      3. We are called to stand firm in our faith

        1. 1 Corinthians 16:13 – Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

      4. James echo’s this, that trials should grow our faith in Christ

        1. James 1:2-4 – Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
          knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
          And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

  10. “To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

    1. Our God is sovereign

    2. We do not suffer because can’t help us

    3. God is in control even in our suffering

    4. John MacArthur writes: “Dominion (kratos) actually signifies strength, and here denotes God’s ability to dominate, to have everything in the universe under His sovereign and unassailable control.”

==========================

Conclusion:

These verses have changed in how they apply to my life.

I can sit here and tell you that even though God gave me a child who was mentally disabled, physically disabled and deformed, that did not make it to his first birthday. I believe this fully.

This isn’t scripture that promises healing from physical pain and hardship. It is Peter praying, knowing that being Christians we will suffer. That in and after our suffering we have a God that cares about us and takes a personal interest in us. That He will take our suffering and mean it for good. That He will strengthen our faith, set us on the right path and give us a foundation so that we can stand firm in our faith in Jesus. That we are called to His glory not our own.

That Our God is sovereign, loving and powerful and that He worthy to be praised.

Grandpa’s Message

This past Thanksgiving, I was able to have breakfast with Grandma and Grandpa. During our conversation John 14:2 came up and Grandpa shared how he liked the way the KJV worded the verse, that “In My Father’s house are many mansions…” while other translations use “dwelling place” or “rooms.” He shared that this wording gave even more glory to God, as it so wondrous, that in heaven a house would be filled with mansions. You could almost see his architect mind trying to work out how one would fit mansions inside of a mansion.

So today I share in honor of my Grandpa John 14:1-6, reading from the New King James Version.

[Jhn 14:1-6 NKJV] 1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, [there] you may be also. 4 “And where I go you know, and the way you know.” 5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

To give you context, this is the night of Jesus is arrested. Jesus is going to be crucified the very next day. He is going to experience one of the most excruciating physical deaths, and be sacrificed for the sins of the world, our sins, in less than 24 hours. Yet He still takes time to comfort His disciples, and in this time of loss we can find comfort in Jesus’ words also.

  • [Jhn 14:1 NKJV] 1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.

    • We do not have to be troubled, because of our faith in God. When we face trails, adversity or times like today, the loss of a loved one. We can find comfort in our Lord Jesus Christ.

    • [Psa 18:2 NKJV] 2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

    • We can find rest, comfort and peace in our God

  • [Jhn 14:2-4 NKJV] 2 “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, [there] you may be also. 4 “And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

    • Christ is going to leave them soon, He is going to be crucified. But in doing so He is lovingly preparing a place for them, for believers, in Heaven.

    • That when we pass or on Christ’s return we as Christians have a place in heaven for us. It will be a loving homecoming being united with Christ for eternity.

    • That is the reason for Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection, to restore fellowship with us, that through the shedding of His blood we can be made clean. That where He is in heaven we may be also.

  • [Jhn 14:5-6 NKJV] 5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

    • I like Thomas, he asks the questions that I would be embarrassed to asked. Jesus just told His disciples that they know the way. But here Thomas honestly admits that they do not know where Jesus is going, so how could they know the way?

    • Thankfully Jesus answers them clearly: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

  • There is so much packed in that statement by Jesus.

    • “I am” in the Greek “egō eimi.” Here Jesus is saying He is God, that He is the same God that appeared to Moses in the burning bush, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That He is the God of Israel.

    • That because He is the truth, that He is the life, no one comes to the Father except through Him.

    • That He, Jesus, is the only way to heaven.

    • [Act 4:12 NKJV] 12 “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Conclusion:

My Grandpa lived a “good” life. He worked hard from a young age on the dairy farm. He was a veteran, willing to serve this country and put his life on the line for a country that was not his home. He was a faithful husband, a caring father, a loving grandfather, a joyful great grandfather. But the life grandpa lived was not why he is now in heaven. Grandpa is in heaven because of faith in Christ Jesus.

You see without faith in God, we cannot even please God.

[Heb 11:6 NKJV] 6 But without faith [it is] impossible to please [Him], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and [that] He [God] is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

And just one sin, one little sin is enough to separate us from the Holy God.

[Rom 3:23 NKJV] 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

And

[Rom 6:23 NKJV] 23 For the wages of sin [is] death, but the gift of God [is] eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Salvation is God’s gift, a gift that we cannot earn.

[Eph 2:8-9 NKJV] 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; [it is] the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

That it is only by Christ’s work on the cross, Christ’s death and resurrection, conquering death and sin that we might be saved. For Jesus is the way, Jesus is the truth, and Jesus is the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him. If you are here and you are like Thomas, you know that you do not know the way, that you are unsure of your place after death. I ask that you examine yourself, with the knowledge that there is nothing you can do to save yourself. That you have, that we all have, fallen short of perfection. That there is no one that can measure up to the Holy God.

But know that God is also a loving God. That through Christ Jesus He has a plan to redeem us. Roman’s 10:9 and 10 says:

[Rom 10:9-10 NKJV] 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

And that God is faithful to forgive and heal us.

[1Jo 1:9 NKJV] 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

It is because of these things, because of Christ’s work in my Grandpa that we can celebrate his life and death. That through the sorrow of loosing him, through the pain and tears, we as Christians can still have joy. Joy in our salvation, joy in that we will be reunited with grandpa and Christ in heaven.

Amen.

Devo – 2 Corinthians 13:1-14 – Examine Yourself

2 Corinthians 13:1-14 – Examine Yourself

  1. Intro

    1. PRAY!

    2. It is interesting around this time of year that I find myself thinking about how I am insufficient, that I need God’s help to even get me through the day. That I am weak, that my flesh fails and that I need God’s grace. Thankfully in my weakness God is faithful and He is my strength, and I have joy in my salvation, that God’s grace is sufficient for me.

    3. With these thoughts it is not surprising that I find myself in 2 Corinthians again for my fourth quarter devo. As I prepared to write this, I thought to review the other devotions I’ve done and saw that my last devo of 2016 was 2 Corinthians 3:1-6. Thankfully I didn’t overlap with this study and we will be in 2 Corinthians 13:1-14.

    4. Read 2 Corinthians 13:1-14

    5. Book intro:

      1. 2 Corinthians was written by Paul in 56-57 AD. After his first two visits, and speaks of a future third visit.

      2. The letter can be divided into four sections

        1. Paul’s greeting to the church in Corinth

        2. Paul’s Apostolic ministry

        3. Collections for the believers in Jerusalem

        4. Paul’s authority and response against the “Super Apostles”

  2. [2Co 13:1-4 NIV] 1 This will be my third visit to you. “Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” 2 I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent: On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others, 3 since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. 4 For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him in our dealing with you.

    1. [2Co 13:1 NIV] 1 This will be my third visit to you. “Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”

      1. Paul clearly states that this future visit will be his third to the church in Corinth.

      2. Paul then quotes part of Deuteronomy 19:15, that in context states one witnesses is not enough to convict a person of a crime.

        1. There are two views on why Paul quotes Deuteronomy 19:15, one is that as Paul is coming to Corinth with his Apostolic authority to discipline, and in implementation following the pattern established in Deuteronomy 19, and also Matthew 18.

        2. The other view is again that Paul is coming to visit in authority as an Apostle, and is quoting Deuteronomy 19:15 in reference to his first and second visit, that they each serve as a witness to the sin in the Corinthian church.

          1. This view is taken by Hodge and Guzik and seems to fit in context with the following verses.

    2. [2Co 13:2 NIV] 2 I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent: On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others,

      1. Referencing his second visit, which has been labeled as “severe” or “painful” and would seem did not go well. This next visit, there will be no beating around the bush, it is almost like “Daddy’s back and you’re going to be in trouble.”

      2. Paul is warning them that he will not spare or treat leniently anyone in the church that is found still in sin. Guzik puts it, Paul is coming to clean house.

    3. [2Co 13:3-4 NIV] 3 since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. 4 For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him in our dealing with you.

      1. Because of Paul being discredited by the “Super Apostles” they were questioning Paul’s authority as an Apostle.

      2. The “Super Apostles” were pomp and flash, they were loud and boisterous. This was the opposite of Paul’s ministry, where he was humble and he worked to served others.

      3. Christ can also be seen as weak, the world would consider dying an act of weakness.

        1. That Christ not only died but He did so willing. He willing took the insults, beatings, lashings and being nailed to the cross without a fight, not even a defense. The way of the world would say that was weak.

      4. The power and authority of Paul was from Christ, it wasn’t his own, and that power is not weak. For Christ is not dead but alive by God’s power.

      5. Paul was warning that he would use God’s power and authority in dealing with them.

  3. [2Co 13:5-10 NIV] 5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test? 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong–not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is that you may be fully restored. 10 This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority–the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.

    1. [2Co 13:5 NIV] 5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?

      1. Paul turns the question of his authority as an Apostle back on them, by telling the church of Corinth they were to examine and themselves.

      2. Followed by a rhetorical question asking if they do not realize or know as Christians that Christ dwells in them?

        1. Unless they aren’t Christians, in which case they fail the test because they do not have Christ.

        2. As believers in Christ the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-24) should be evident in their lives.

        3. And to go a little deeper we have the three “tests” in 1 John:

          1. Doctrinal – [1Jo 2:22-23 ESV] 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.

          2. Moral – [1Jo 2:3-4 ESV] 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,

          3. Love for God – [1Jo 4:7-8 ESV] 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

    2. [2Co 13:6 NIV] 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.

      1. Then he prompts, in knowing that he is writing to a Christian church that they should recognize Christ in him.

      2. So instead of questioning Paul to see if Christ was speaking through him, Paul tells them to take a look at themselves and see if Jesus Christ is inside them.

        1. We as Christians should examine ourselves. We should be able to take stock of lives, and see how our walk with Christ has grown, and has matured through time.

        2. God’s saving grace and sanctifying work in our lives should be evident to us.

        3. Though, we need to be careful when we do our self examining, and make sure that it is truly inward focused on the work of Christ in our life and not how we measure up to others.

        4. In Matthew 7 we the know parable of having a log in our own eye.

          1. [Mat 7:3-5 NASB] 3 “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

          2. I have this mental image of the show Gilligan’s Island, where Gilligan is carrying a plank or log and every time he turns to help the Skipper he ends up whacking him. Gillian’s good intentions were defeated by the harm he was causing.

          3. Before we can even look at others, we need to be sure our own lives, our own walk is right with God.

        5. Even so we need to make sure that our measuring stick is true. We can try measuring ourselves against other Christians but in the end what we are going to find is another sinner.

          1. This really hits home with me. I remember thinking as a kid thinking… King David committed adultery, had a kid conceived out of wedlock and then committed murder to cover it up… and he was considered a man after God’s own heart… so I must not be doing half bad. I’d never do any of those things.

          2. But we know better, I know better, for in Matthew 5 Jesus says:

          3. [Mat 5:21-22 NASB] 21 “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ 22 “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.

          4. And [Mat 5:27-28 NASB] 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; 28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

        6. Even though David was a man after God’s own heart, he is not the standard by which we are saved. A single thought is enough for us to deserve hell, and I measure up to exactly that, hell, I deserve hell.

        7. But praise God we don’t have to measure up.

        8. It is only by Christ’s eternal sacrifice, by His shed blood by which we are saved. So even though I know I will never match up, I am so thankful that I am washed clean by Christ’s blood shed for me.

    3. [2Co 13:7 NIV] 7 Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong–not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed.

      1. Here Paul shares that he actually prays that they are not doing anything wrong when he arrives, that they are not in sin.

      2. They were testing or questioning Paul’s authority as an Apostle, and he expressed earlier in chapter 13 that he was going to show them that authority through discipline, and not be lenient either. But it is his prayer that he will fail that “test” of showing authority because there will not be any need for discipline.

    4. [2Co 13:8 NIV] 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.

      1. Unlike the “Super Apostles” Paul’s authority is in Christ and it would not be used in falsehood, not used just for show to gain notoriety.

    5. [2Co 13:9 NIV] 9 We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is that you may be fully restored.

      1. The NASB and NKJV say “made complete.”

      2. Again it is Paul’s prayer is that the church in Corinth would be complete, that they wouldn’t be lacking in any area of their faith. That would continue to grow in their faith and knowledge of God.

      3. It would even make him glad, that if he didn’t have to exercise any authority, thus again failing the “test” and appearing weak.

    6. [2Co 13:10 NIV] 10 This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority–the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.

      1. Paul wants to build the Corinthian church up, in the beginning of this chapter Paul writes that he is willing come with full authority to discipline the church.

      2. But he is writing this letter as a warning to them and in the hope that they would recognize their sin, repent and make corrections before he arrives.

      3. He cares for these people, and does not want his visit to be harsh for them, but rather to build them up and edify them.

    7. [2Co 13:11 NIV] 11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

      1. Just as the verse says, Paul wants them to rejoice. Not to be sad, discouraged or even afraid of his arrival.

      2. They are to to strive for full restoration, by encouraging one another, living in harmony with each other.

      3. And he wants that God, being a God of love and peace would also be with them.

  4. Closing

    1. It’s not odd that I came to 2 Corinthian because I find myself insufficient, and that that feeling of insufficiency multiplies during this busy time of year.

    2. But I came away with this scripture that asks the Corinthian church to examine themselves, examining oneself and the past year is also pretty common around this time of the year.

    3. And looking back I am glad that I am insufficient, that God can and does use us who are broken.

    4. God used Gideon, who was afraid, threshing wheat in a wine press, Rhab the harlot, Ruth the widowed Moabite, to name very few.

    5. My prayer for end of this year and the next is that I remain completely insufficient, that there is never a thought in my mind that I measure up. That it is by God’s grace, strength, comfort, joy and love that I live my life. That I will not rely on my own weakness but God’s strength, that my eyes would be fixed upon Him and nothing else.

    6. [2Co 13:14 NIV] 14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Devo – 2 Peter 1:1-11

2 Peter 1:1-11 – Our Response and Assurance of our Faith in Jesus

  1. Intro

    1. PRAY!

    2. Intro about Parenting, chapter on our Identity, Tripp’s reference to 2 Peter 1:3-4, in that finding our identity in our vertical relationship with God, and that He gives us all we need. As opposed to finding our identity in the horizontal and being caught up in the perishable things of this world.

    3. Read 2 Peter 1:1-11

    4. Book intro:

      1. The epistle 2 Peter was written by the Apostle Peter around 67-68 AD, though some think as early as 65 AD. Possibly while he was held in prison in Rome and close to his death (1:14).

      2. Peter is writing to Christians and first addresses of our calling, election, and gaining knowledge of Christ and living our lives for Christ. Then addresses false teachings (again possibly Gnosticism similar to 1 John as Andy pointed out in his devotion) and then the Day our Lord.

      3. It is thought to be written to the same audience as 1 Peter, though the recipients are not directly addressed in the letter, there is mention of a previous letter in 3:1.

      4. Interestingly the authorship of 2 Peter is contested by some, thought that it was written by another that was using Peter’s name to lend authority to the letter. One of the reasons for this is that the style of Greek is different between the letters. A possible reason for this difference could be that Peter had help from Silvanus/Silas with the first letter as mentioned 1 Peter 5:12.

      5. Though there are skeptics, Peter identifies himself clearly at the beginning of the letter in 1:1, and later in 1:16,17 he speaks of being an eye witness to Jesus’ transfiguration which Peter, James and John had witness. (Mat. 17)

  2. [2Pe 1:1 NKJV] Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

    1. Simon Peter, a bondservant an apostle of Jesus Christ, …

      1. Peter addresses himself by his given Jewish name, and then by the name that Christ gave him.

      2. Then first refers to himself as a bondservant, as slave, “doulos”

        1. We also see Paul and James starting their letters this way.

          1. Though James does not refer to himself as an apostle.

        2. By calling himself a slave of Jesus Christ Peter is saying that he is a servant to and devoted to Christ above all. That his will is not his own but he is to do the will of Christ.

        3. Culturally the lowest slaves were property, that they were not to do anything out of their masters will. Even to the point of breaking the law, the command of their master was garnered more weight then the law of the land. (MacArthur, p. 19)

      3. Peter also says an apostle of Jesus Christ, which states his authority to write this letter.

    2. “… To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:”

      1. The NASB says “… a faith of the same kind as ours, …”

      2. The HCSB says “… a faith of equal privilege with ours …”

      3. That is, that we have the same faith, the same saving faith by Christ’s righteousness that Peter has.

        1. That his faith as apostle does not make him more righteous then the readers, but they are the same in that both Peter and the readers have been washed clean by the blood of Christ and have His righteousness imputed or attributed to them, to us.

      4. Here Peter is also affirming the deity of Jesus, that Jesus is God.

        1. “The grammar leaves little doubt that in these words Peter is calling Jesus Christ both God and Savior.” (Blum) (Guzik’s Study Guide)

        2. The Greek construction places just one article before the phrase God and Savior, which makes both terms refer to the same person. Thus Peter identifies Jesus not just as Savior, but as God, the author and agent of salvation.” (MacArthur, p. 23)

  3. [2Pe 1:2-4 NKJV] 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that [pertain] to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption [that is] in the world through lust.

    1. 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,

      1. The Greek word for knowledge in verse two is epignōsis (G1922). That is a knowledge deeper than gnōsis (G1108) which is used later in the chapter.

      2. Dr. J. Vernon McGee referred to it as a “super knowledge.”

      3. From Thayer’s a precise and correct knowledge, of things ethical and divine.

      4. God is divine, and Jesus is glorified. By Peter using epignōsis wants us to grow in our knowledge of God, not just academically but spiritually grow closer to God.

    2. 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that [pertain] to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,

      1. God hasn’t left us to our own devices, to pull ourselves up by our own boot straps. He has given us all things needed to live a life worth of Him.

      2. To quote Paul Tripp: “Because God loves you, He hasn’t left you to your own wisdom, strength, and resources.”

        1. We can rely on God for all things, we can not live this life to please Him without Him. We need God’s strength, God’s grace, God’s forgiveness, God’s peace, God’s wisdom and discernment in our choices every moment of our day.

        2. [Phl 4:19 NKJV] 19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

        3. Thank God that through Jesus Christ we share in His righteousness and He gives these things to us freely and abundantly.

      3. Godliness here is not just in reference to living a good, clean pious life in and of itself. But it is a respect, a reverence towards God. That our lives should reflect that reverence to God and His glory.

      4. Again we find that knowledge is translated from epignōsis (G1922), that we are to have that true, life changing knowledge of God’s divine glory.

        1. According to Blum, the ancient Greek word knowledge doesn’t refer to a casual acquaintance. It means an exact, complete, and thorough knowledge.” (Guzik Study Guide)

    3. 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption [that is] in the world through lust.

      1. As believers in Christ We have the promise of salvation, that God is faithful and just and will forgive our sins.

      2. That as born again believers we have been crucified with Christ, that as believers we receive the Holy Spirit.

      3. That through salvation, the cleansing of our sins through Christ’s shed blood we can share in God’s divine nature, not becoming a god ourselves but being a new creation and able to rely on God’s faithfulness to us to escape the sin and corruption of this world

  4. [2Pe 1:5-9 NKJV] 5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, [you] will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

    1. Here we have a ladder or stepped listing of attributes that a believer should have evident in their life, similar to the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians.

      1. Peter says we have these available to us and that they should abound in us.

      2. We should diligently seek God to foster these in us, so we may bare fruit and grow in knowledge of God (epignōsis (G1922))

    2. 5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,

      1. The foundation is faith. That we are to start with faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

        1. Faith isn’t just something that we can make up on our own. Even faith is a gift from God.

        2. [Eph 2:8-9 KJV] 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

        3. Our faith comes from God, He gives it to us first. One can not brag about their faith, that they themselves has such great faith in God. Because they would be boasting about themselves and not the work that God did in them, not the faith that He gave them.

        4. We are so dependent on God, we need Him to give us faith so we may even have a relationship with Him.

      2. add to your faith virtue, …”

        1. After we have become a new creation in Christ, after our conversion through faith in Christ we are to be virtuous.

          1. We are to live a life that is excellent in morals, body and mind for God. Through His strength and for His Glory.

      3. “… to virtue knowledge…”

        1. Here Peter switches things on us and uses gnōsis (G1108), this is a more general knowledge or understanding.

      4. “… 6 to knowledge self-control, …”

        1. From knowledge we add self-control. The KJV uses temperance.

        2. This self-control isn’t a passive act that is just abstaining from things that are wrong or harmful.

        3. It is an active self-control that just as athletes trained beating their bodies into submission. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians:

        4. [1Co 9:27 NKJV] 27 But I discipline my body and bring [it] into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

      5. “… to self-control perseverance, …”

        1. Not only self-control but perseverance, steadfastness, endurance

        2. This perseverance is cheerful or hopeful

        3. Christ serves an example of this for Christians in Hebrews 12:1-2, that he endured the cross because the joy set before him.

        4. We have the joy of our salvation while we are here on earth. We are to cheerfully endure the trials here, looking forward to when we will be with God in heaven.

      6. “… to perseverance godliness, …”

        1. Godliness here is the same Greek word eusebeia (G2150) that is used in verse 3

        2. MacArthur says “It could be translated ‘true religion,’ or ‘true worship’ and conveys the idea that one who has it properly honors and adores God.”

        3. Godliness here isn’t being like God, it is instead a Christian living a life in reverence to God, a life of ‘true worship’ of God that is pleasing to Him.

      7. “… 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, …”

        1. Brotherly kindness, philadelphia (G5360), we are to love our fellow believers, to be kind to one another, to even have affection for the family, the body of Christ.

      8. “… and to brotherly kindness love. …”

        1. We end with love, the KJV says charity, it is the Greek word is agapē (G26).

        2. Just as I spoke in my last devotion in 1 John, we as Christians are to love God and one another.

        3. Peter brings us here as well, where the top rung, or step of attributes that should be evident in a maturing Christian’s life should be love.

        4. [Mat 22:36-40 NKJV] 36 “Teacher, which [is] the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 “This is [the] first and great commandment. 39 “And [the] second [is] like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

    3. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, [you] will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

      1. Just as God gives us all we need, these attributes, these fruit, are ours through Jesus Christ.

      2. Not only are they ares, not only should they be evident but they should be obvious, abounding, over flowing in us. So much so that people should see the love of Christ in us.

      3. [Jhn 13:34-35 NKJV] 34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

      4. Peter goes on to say that as these attributes abound in us, we will be neither barren or unfruitful, that we will instead be fruitful and grow in the knowledge (again epignōsis (G1922)) in our Lord Jesus Christ.

    4. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

      1. Christians who lack these things are short-sighted, they live as though they do not have a clear view of the joy we will have in heaven.

      2. They store their treasures here, locally where they will perish on earth instead of looking towards eternity, storing their treasures in heaven.

      3. [Mat 6:20 NKJV] “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

      4. Their lives do not reflect the cleansing work of Christ.

      5. May we never be this way, may the world see Christ’s redeeming work in our lives, may we not be viewed as no different then the world. That when the world speaks of us, may they say there is something different about our lives. That Christ’s love would be reflected by us, being ambassadors of Christ to the world.

  5. [2Pe 1:10-11 NKJV] 10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    1. 10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;

      1. That by having these things; faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. Shows Christ’s redeeming work, us being washed by his blood, will be evident in our life.

      2. In that our reliance on Him, for these works, for our salvation, that He is faithful to complete a good work in us.

      3. So let us lay aside things that which entangle, Heb 12:1, and live a life with full reliance on God, giving full glory to God.

    2. 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

  6. Closing

    1. We have such great assurance in Christ. That His work on the cross, the shedding of His blood, His resurrection, conquering death and sin. That through faith in Him we are blameless, our forgiveness, our salvation is assured.

    2. That even the faith we have is a gift from God. That we are so dependent on Him that we need to rely on God to believe. May we cry out to God as in Mark 9:24 – Lord I believe; help my unbelief.

    3. Not only faith but God gives us all things which we need to live a life worthy of Him. That, these things listed are not of us but of God and that through our reliance on Him we can live them out to be a light to the world.

    4. Not because it will earn our salvation, because as Christians that is secured in Christ, but because God is worthy of it. He is more then worthy that we should live a life of godliness. A life fully in devotion, reverence and worship of God.

    5. May we do this to honor God, that we may finish this race well, have an abundant entrance into Heaven and be told well done good and faithful servant. Not for our honor or recognition but for God’s kingdom and His glory. PRAY!

Devo – 1 John 4:19

1 John 4:19 – We love, because He first loved us

  1. Intro

    1. PRAY!

    2. Book intro:

      1. The book 1 John was written by the Apostle John after 70 AD while he was in Ephesus. John writes to address the issue of people leaving the church to follow false doctrine. Because of this I believe that John addresses key concepts in the Christian life: Faith in Jesus Christ, obedience to God, and loving God and others.

    3. Read 1 John 4:7-21

  2. God’s love came first

    1. 1 John 4:19 – We love Him because He first loved us.

      1. God loved us first, it was nothing that we did, nothing that we were going to do that caused God to love us. He loved us first, in His plan He loved us before we could even respond to that love.

      2. Romans 5:8-10
        [Rom 5:8 NKJV] But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

        [Rom 5:9 NKJV] Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

        [Rom 5:10 NKJV] For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

      3. Again, God loved us not because He knew that we would love Him back, or do something worthy of His love. But the opposite, knowing that we would rebel, knowing that we would sin. Even so He loved us first.

      4. Because of this love we can have boldness in our faith, in our walk with God.

        1. Not having fear or uncertainty, wondering IF God loves us, IF God will respond to our love, IF we have done enough to earn God’s love.

        2. In loving us first He those fears are taken away and we can faith and peace resting in God’s love.

    2. How much does God love us?

      1. John 3:16

        [Jhn 3:16 NKJV] “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

      2. 1 John 4:9,10
        [1Jo 4:9 NKJV] In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.

        [1Jo 4:10 NKJV] In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.

      3. God loves us so much that He gave His only begotten Son, Christ to die for us. We are loved so much that Christ gave His life for us. Not on a whim, or because of our merit, because we could not earn God’s love or even please Him on our own. As Hebrews 11:6 says “[Heb 11:6 NKJV] But without faith [it is] impossible to please [Him], …”

      4. Neither is it a reaction to our corrupted state in sin. It is not as if God did not know man would rebel, and Christ’s sacrifice was an impromptu bandage because God grew to love us. But because it was God’s plan and He loved us from the beginning. God knew we would sin, God knew blood would need to be shed, that Christ would be the payment for our sins.

      1. John 15:13

        [Jhn 15:13 NKJV] “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

      2. What great love does God have for us, that it was His plan to save rebellious sinners by giving of Himself on the cross. That Christ would bare the cup of God’s wrath for our sake.

      3. As it says in Isaiah 53:10 “But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, …” [NASB]

        1. Jesus was crushed for our sake, and that pleased God. Could you imagine, willfully giving your child to be brutally murdered? Which is difficult in itself, but God didn’t do it to save the innocent, or those worthy of His love. Christ was sacrificed to save the lost, the guilty, the sinners. He did it to save us.

        2. Yet Christ endured the cross because of the joy set before Him, Hebrews 12:2, the joy of a restored relationship with us.

  1. Response to God’s Love

    1. Knowing the price God paid, what is our response to God’s love?

      1. 1 John 2:3-5

        [1Jo 2:3 NKJV] Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.

        [1Jo 2:4 NKJV] He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

        [1Jo 2:5 NKJV] But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.

      2. 1 John 3:23,24

        [1Jo 3:23 NKJV] And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.

        [1Jo 3:24 NKJV] Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

      3. 1 John 5:1-3
        [1Jo 5:1 NKJV] Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.

        [1Jo 5:2 NKJV] By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.

        [1Jo 5:3 NKJV] For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

      4. We are to love God and follow His Commandments.

        1. We follow His commandments because we love Him.

        2. Not to earn His love, but in response to the love that God already has for us.

        3. By following God’s commandments, and loving one another, it acts as evidence of knowing Him.

          1. John 13:35

            [Jhn 13:35 NASB] “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

          2. Matthew 7:16, 20 talks of knowing them by their fruits

          3. Galatians 5:22 lists love as part of the the fruit of the Spirit.

          4. So that if we are believers in Christ, having the fruit of the Spirit, good fruit should be reflected in our lives. There should be a love in our lives that can only be found through God and it is a reflection of His love towards us.

    2. What are God’s commandments for us?

      1. Mark 12:30,31
        [Mar 12:30 NKJV] ‘And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This [is] the first commandment.

        [Mar 12:31 NKJV] “And the second, like [it, is] this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

      2. Matthew 5:43,44

        [Mat 5:43 NKJV] “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’

        [Mat 5:44 NKJV] “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,

      3. 1 John 4:21

        [1Jo 4:21 NKJV] And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God [must] love his brother also.

      4. God commands us to love Him and love our neighbors, our enemies, our brothers and sisters in Christ.

      5. In Mathew 25, Jesus gives us examples of loving others and in so doing we are loving Him. Mathew 25:40 – “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

      6. Hebrews 13:1,2 and 1 Peter 4:9 speaks to us being hospitable to strangers and our fellow Christians. Ministering to one another and sharing in God’s grace.

      7. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13, that without love he would be a clanging symbol, even he would be nothing without love.

    3. We are to love one another

      1. 1 John 2:9-11

        [1Jo 2:9 NKJV] He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.

        [1Jo 2:10 NKJV] He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.

        [1Jo 2:11 NKJV] But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

      2. 1 John 3:16

        [1Jo 3:16 NKJV] By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren.

      3. 1 John 4:11,12

        [1Jo 4:11 NKJV] Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

        [1Jo 4:12 NKJV] No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.

      4. God has provides an example of love for us.

        1. He loved us first, He initiated love. So the love we show others should be in the same way. We should not wait for others to love us, wait and see if they are worth or can earn our own favor. But actively love others first.

        2. Christ gave His life for us, John 15:13 tells us there is no greater love than this. John in 1 John 3:16 tells us we should be willing to do the same for our brothers and sisters in Christ.

      5. As we become closer to God and grow in our faith God’s love is perfected in us. It is a process that we as believers will go through and become more evident as we mature in our faith.

  2. Closing

    1. To know that God experienced what I felt as a parent losing my boy, Theo, but on such a more drastic level has made God’s love all the more real to me.

    2. That in the mystery of the Trinity, God gave His Son to die, to be separated from, being a guilt offering, taking on our sins, bearing His wrath so that we might be saved is amazing. That it pleased Him, that He had joy in it for our sake, while we were His enemies… doing so willingly, with full knowledge of our sins. That it was His plan, His sovereign will to do so… what an awesome God we serve. How can we not respond to Christ’s love by loving Him and one another.

    3. PRAY!

Devo – Regret and Guilt

  • Pray!

  • Maybe – Joke: Why don’t oysters give money to charity? Because oysters are shellfish!

  • Maybe talk about hitting the home run and the third hit of the season

  • Talk about struggling with regret, would of / could of / should of. It’s one thing to learn from your mistakes and another to dwell on them.

    • Little things about doing better at my job, interacting better with people

    • Of passed sins committed, guilt of failure to share God’s word with people

    • That how could I as a Christian commit that sin, or not share with that person

  • In the past months, I’ve struggled with the death of my Son, not just in the way of loss but feeling guilt of his passing. Which honestly doesn’t make any sense to me because I know, I believe that God is sovereign, that God is in control. That His ways are not my ways and that He is righteous and just. But I still have struggled with these feelings.

  • I have “would of / could of / should of” the death of my son Theo.

    • What if knew we took him to the doctor or had him hospitalized?

    • Why didn’t I practice CPR more?

    • Why did I fail at protecting my son?

    • What sin did I do to cause this?

      • 2 Samuel 12 went from giving me peace about Theo’s passing in v23 where David asks “… Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” This part of scripture is why I believe that Theo is in Heaven. But later turned into a way of accusing myself (12:13-15) it talks about God striking the child because of David’s sin and I have been troubled by this.

      • Then I would have guilt about having guilt, that how could I feel this way after saying what I did when I spoke at Theo’s funeral?

So I get myself entangled in this web of guilt, regret, self-pity. This inward focus that benefits no one, that takes my eyes away from Christ and focuses on my ugliness. That instead of seeing Christ’s work in my life, that I am cleansed by the blood of Christ. I falter, try to take it back from God and cause myself to stumble. Where I should be following Hebrews 12:2, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith.

So how do I deal with these feelings of regret and guilt in my life? What should be my response?

  • Simply go to God’s word, seek guidance form the Scriptures:

[Heb 4:12 NASB] 12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

  • We can read God’s word and use it to discern if these thoughts, these feelings… are they from God, or not.

  • Not only can we read God’s word we can go to God directly, we can draw near to Him and receive His help and mercy:

[Heb 4:15-16 NASB] 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

  • Go to God and His word for everything.

  • If what we are struggling with is sin we are to repent:

[Act 3:19 NASB] 19 “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

[2Co 7:10 ESV] 10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

  • If we are in sin we need to repent and seek forgiveness. That we may be refreshed in the Lord.

  • When we are feeling guilt from prior sin that we have repented from:

    • There is such a thing of guilt, grief, sorrow, that is not from God.

[2Co 7:10 ESV] 10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

  • So if I have repented of this sin that is troubling me, I can be confident that God has wiped it away and have freedom from it and can rest in Him

[Psa 103:10-12 NASB] 10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

[Jer 31:34 NASB] 34 “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

  • We should not take our sin back from God. God paid for our sin, He takes our sin and removes it from us as far as the east is from the west. He will remember it no more. That we can have salvation without regret.

  • Do we not have a great God, a loving God. God gave Himself for us, once and for all. Not for anything we have done, quite the opposite, but because of His lovingkindness, His mercy, His Grace, for His Glory He redeems us.

  • What if these thoughts fiery darts are from Satan?

    • As Christians we do battle not in a traditional way, but in a spiritual way.

[Eph 6:12 HCSB] 12 For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.

[2Co 10:3-5 NASB] 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,

  • Paul writes in Ephesians 6 about the armor of God, tools we have in spiritual warfare:

[Eph 6:16-17 NASB] 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

  • Our faith can quench the fiery darts that Satan uses to attack us, confuse us, that causes doubt. We have the word of God to rightly discern, to learn the will of God. The Gospel is the power of God for salvation.

  • So in this battle, how can we prepare?

[Jas 4:7-8 NASB] 7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

[Rom 12:2 NASB] 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

[Psa 19:14 NASB] 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.

[Phl 4:8 NASB] 8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Conclusion:

We will feel guilt and regret in our life. When we do we need to discern where these thoughts and feelings are coming from. Is there sin in our life? Is it spiritual warfare? Are we lacking in faith and trying to take our sin back from God?

If it is sin, repent! If it is spiritual warfare, seek God asking Him to bolster your faith that Satan’s fiery darts may be quenched. If it is past sins that you have repented from, know that God has forgiven you and that He does not remember them and that you can be refreshed by the Lord.

Meditate on God and His word. As Christians we are to be transformed, do not conform to this world. Dwell on what is good, right, pure. In all things focus on God and glorify God.

Pray!

Devo – Hebrews 12:1-2

Hebrews 12:1-2 Devotion

[Heb 12:1-2 HCSB] 1 Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.

Outline

  1. Prayer

  2. Read verses

  3. Intro:

    1. I first thought about doing a devotion on Hebrews 12:1-2 when I heard “Holiness Is a Race, Not a Prohibition” on episode 650 of Ask Pastor John

    2. I will not play it for you as I am not able to follow up with the clarity or the passion with which he speaks

    3. http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/holiness-is-a-race-not-a-prohibition

  4. Historical Context of Hebrews:

    1. Author of Hebrews is unknown, possible authors are Paul, Apollos, Peter, Barnabas and Luke.

      1. Traditionally Paul is accredited with authorship

      2. Greene believes that Paul wrote Hebrews, and even titled his commentary “The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews”

      3. While MacArthur sides with Origen Adamantius quoting “No one knows”

        1. An early Christian theologian, lived ~184 – ~254, not Origen the Pagan who lived around the same time

      4. Hebrews is different then most of the New Testament as it is not a letter but more of an essay form, possibly a sermon.

    2. Written around 64-68 AD during the persecution of Christians by Nero, as there is no mention of the temple in Jerusalem being destroyed which happened in in 70 AD

    3. It is written to Hebrew Christians with the theme of “The Preeminence of Jesus Christ” and endurance in their faith, that they would not abandon their faith and go back to Judaism

    4. MacArthur breaks down the audience of Hebrews even further into three parts

      1. The believing Hebrew Christian

      2. The Hebrew non-Christian that were “intellectually convinced but not committed”

        1. Cognitive but not trans-formative knowledge of Christ

        2. That Christ was not on the thrown, not the Lord of their life

      3. The Hebrew non-Christian who was not convinced

  5. Read verses and break down

  6. “Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us”

    1. Here there is a transitions from the past heroes of faith to us/audience

    2. The cloud of witnesses is used to refer back to the heroes of faith

      1. Able, Enock, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Issac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. (Heb. 11:1-32)

      2. The author says he could list more, if he had time

    3. Also fits well with the analogy of running a race, the idea of the Colosseum full of people, a massive cloud of people

    4. It is not to say that these heroes of the faith are looking down on us spectating, but their lives bear witness to us of their faith in God. Which is to be an example to us that we should not abandon our own faith in Jesus.

  7. “ let us lay aside every weight” – HCSB

    1. “let us also lay aside every encumbrance” – NASB

    2. The Greek word “ogkos” (Strong’s G3591)

      1. Strong’s Definition: a mass (as bending or bulging by its load), i.e. burden (hindrance)

      2. Outline of Biblical Usage: I. whatever is prominent, protuberance, bulk, mass

      3. This only used here in Hebrews 12:1, but in other secular Greek literature is has been used in conjunction with vices

    3. Runners would would strip down to the minimum not allowing for any extra weight or heavy clothes to slow them down

    4. Example of training weight vest, ankle weights and parachute

    5. Nothing is specifically given as an example of what weight the author is talking about

    6. Though as Christians running our race we are to lay aside anything that weighs us down, that is takes greater prominence then Jesus in our life.

    7. To quote Greene “We should not ask, ‘Is it a sin for me to do this thing? Is it harmful for me to go to this place?’ Rather, we should ask ‘Will this glorify God? Will it magnify the name of Jesus? Will it make me a better Christian or cause someone else to want to become a Christian?’”

    8. We should ask these questions of our actions, hobbies and habits. Knowing we have freedom in Christ, but also knowing that we might become a stumbling block to others and in so doing committing sin (1 Corinthians 8:9-12)

  8. “and the sin that so easily ensnares us” – HCSB

    1. “and the sin which so easily entangles us” – NASB

    2. Our sin does more than slow us down, it can stop us from running the race

      1. We may not be out of the race, but sin can impede us to the point where we are not making any progress

    3. Give experience of running into old rusted barb wire while hunting Jack Rabbits and Quail

    4. Sin, is so troublesome to our walk, our race, our faith that it doesn’t just slow us down, or make us stop, but it is damaging to us and our testimony to others

    5. It is very important that we confess our sins, that we do not sin so grace may abound but seek forgiveness from God knowing that he is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us. (1 John 1:9, Romans 6:1)

  9. “Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us,” – HCSB

    1. KJV uses “patience,” NIV uses “perseverance”

      1. I like the use of endurance as it fits with the example of running a long race.

    2. Strong’s G5281 – cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy

    3. Outline of Biblical Usage: I. A. in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings

    4. The Greek word for race is “agon” (G73), from which we get the word agony.

    5. In this race, it is not a sprint, we are to be in it for the long haul. That we are to run with endurance, and persevere in any trials that we may face

  10. “keeping our eyes on Jesus,” – HCSB

    1. “fixing our eyes on Jesus,” – NASB

    2. “Looking unto Jesus” – KJV, “looking to Jesus,” – ESV

    3. The Greek word used here is “aphorao” (G872)

      1. Outline of Biblical Usage: to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something

      2. That we should remove our eyes from what ever is distracting us and look to Jesus

      3. It is not that we should glance at Jesus, only sometimes look His way, but pointedly fix our eyes to Jesus

    4. One of the first things taught when learning to run in a race is to look forward

      1. Looking around at other racers, your feet, getting distracted will slow you down

      2. Same applies to this race. We must focus on Jesus, to run to Him as fast as we can

        1. Not looking at others, comparing our race with theirs

        2. Not looking at our own feet, focusing on our own actions and not the work of Jesus in us

        3. Not looking at the sidelines, the distractions of this world

        4. But looking unto Jesus because He is the “author and perfecter of our faith”

  11. “the source and perfecter of our faith” – HCSB

    1. “author and perfecter of faith,” – NASB

    2. “the founder and perfecter of our faith,” – ESV

    3. Jesus is the start of our faith and the end of our faith

    4. He is also an example of faith for us

      1. He set aside His glory, became flesh for us to be our eternal sacrifice

      2. Doing the will of the Father and not His own, even to the point of sweating blood because of the stress of what He would go through

    5. Christ’s example of faith is even better example to us then the heroes of faith mentioned in chapter 11

      1. Because He has authored and perfected our faith we can look to Him as he as already completed the race

      2. He becomes our focus and strength as we could not even start this race without Him

  12. “who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.” – HCSB

    1. “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.” – KJV

    2. Christ endured through the agony of the cross by looked forward to the joy that would happen after

    3. Christ experienced the pain and shame that was owed to us

    4. Taking on our sin, paying the penalty for our transgressions

    5. Becoming our eternal sacrifice so that we might be saved and join him in heaven

    6. Knowing that He would conquer death, be glorified being set at the right hand of the throne of God, where He intercedes on our behalf, and that we through faith in Jesus’ sacrifice would join Him there also.

Conclusion

[Heb 12:1-2 HCSB] 1 Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.

We as Christians have a great examples of people that are faithful to God, the heroes of faith listed in chapter 11. Because of this we can find encouragement in their lives to help us in our own race of faith. So let us remove any distraction, any weight, that can slow us down, that will hinder our race. We have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20, 7:23), we are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17) and we should run this race to the glory of God.

We are to run this race with endurance and perseverance, considering it joy when we run into trials because they produce endurance (James 1:2,3). Looking away from everything else fixing our eyes on Jesus, who is our strength and shelter (Psalm 46:1), the author and perfecter of our faith. For we know He began a good work in us and He will perfect it (Philippians 1:6).

Jesus also being an example Himself as He endured the shame of the cross for our sake. That we might have eternal life through faith in Jesus, who glorified God on earth and was faithful to accomplish the work on the cross, conquering death and returning to His glory (John 17:3-5) being seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Pray!!!

Devo – 1 Peter 5:10-11

In April I led a devotion at my work. It covered my life verse 1 Peter 5:10-11, I’m not very good at speaking but I still thought I would share my presentation. Here is the link to the slides and audio.

Theo’s Message

In the wake of the tragedy of loosing my son I have heard many common saying that are meant to bring comfort and assurance in this painful time. That “it was God’s time…,” “he’s in a better place” that there is “another angel in Heaven.”

These words alone do not answer the question of why Theodore is gone? They do little to dissuade the pain of me not being able to save my son while I tried so hard in my living room to get him to breath. To tell the doctors to stop trying to save him… the pain of telling them to let him go. Why even though I earnestly prayed to God with my eyes full of tears that He would bring him back to us… only to be answered with having to leave my son’s lifeless body on a hospital bed.

I don’t know why Theodore is gone, I don’t know why our family had to go through this. Why we were given Theodore to have him taken from us just after a short time and so abruptly. But I do know he is gone… and that you are here now with me.

I wanted you to know that Theodore is in a “better place,” that Theodore is in Heaven. While the words alone do not help with the pain, the knowledge that my son is in Heaven does. God has prepared a place for him, John 14:2. That in this place that Jesus has prepared, all of his aliments will no longer hinder him. There is no more pain, no more suffering and God will wipe away every tear as stated in Revelation 21:4. So I can be happy that Theodore is beyond happy, there is no better place for him than to be in the presence of God.

So not those words alone but the knowledge and faith that go with them bring my family comfort. Knowing that Theodore is in the best of care and that I will see him again in Heaven. That as King David said in 2 Samuel 12:23 regarding the loss of his own child. That we can not bring our child back but we will go to see him.

Just as we have that faith, I want everyone else here to have that faith and assurance also. So that you know what lies on the other side, that you can know you are going to Heaven. It might be selfish of me, wanting the death of my son to mean something. But all this pain and heart ache to me will be worth it if Theodore’s life and death touches just one person enough to come to faith in Jesus Christ.

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