VIDEO Do Not Wait Too Long

PRAY OVER THIS:

“It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.”  Hebrews 9:27

PONDER THIS:

Is there a chance after death? Absolutely not. There are some people who teach and preach that we have a second chance—after we die—to get right with God. That is false, that is heresy, and I do not want to leave that hope to you. If you want to be saved, you may be saved. If you need to be saved, Christ can save you. And whosoever will is able to come, but I want to tell you with all of the urgency, emergency, function, and unction of my soul, you will not come to the judgment of God and be able to throw yourself on the mercy of the court and say, “God I now believe; have mercy, God. Please save me.” If you want mercy, you may have it. If you want grace, you may have it. If you want forgiveness, you may have it. But you must have it in this life. The Bible says now is the accepted time. Today is the day of salvation. The Bible says it is appointed for man to die once; after this, there is not a second chance, there is judgment.

  • What is the urgency of today’s verse?
  • Have you turned to Christ for salvation? If not, how do you need to respond? If so, why should you be compelled to share with others?

PRACTICE THIS:

Make a list of people you will pray for regularly to come to know Christ. Pray that these people will not reject the opportunity to know Christ in this life.

 Did you find it helpful? 


An Inescapable Appointment, Hebrews 9:27 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study

Generous Giving

Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. Leviticus 19:10

General Charles Gordon (1833–1885) served Queen Victoria in China and elsewhere, but when living in England he’d give away 90 percent of his income. When he heard about a famine in Lancashire, he scratched off the inscription from a pure gold medal he’d received from a world leader and sent it up north, saying they should melt it down and use the money to buy bread for the poor. That day he wrote in his diary: “The last earthly thing I had in this world that I valued I have given to the Lord Jesus.”

General Gordon’s level of generosity might seem above and beyond what we’re able to extend, but God has always called His people to look out for those in need. In some of the laws He delivered through Moses, God instructed the people not to reap to the edges of their field nor gather the entire crop. Instead, when harvesting a vineyard, He said to leave the grapes that had fallen “for the poor and the foreigner” (Leviticus 19:10). God wanted His people to be aware of and provide for the vulnerable in their midst.

However generous we may feel, we can ask God to increase our desire to give to others and to seek His wisdom for creative ways to do so. He loves to help us show His love to others.

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

Reflect & Pray

How might you extend generosity today, whether through practical help, a listening ear, or some other way? When have you been on the receiving end of someone’s generosity? How did that feel?

Giving Father, thank You for sending Jesus to live as one of us and to die for us. Fill my heart with love and thanks for this amazing gift.

The Great Day of Judgment

And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God. Books were opened. — Revelation 20:12

At the time of the Second Coming, many will wake up on that day ignoring Christ, as they have ignored Him for years, and then suddenly, without warning, unexpectedly, there shall come a sound that will chill the blood of every unbeliever, but will cause God’s own to leap with joy.

It will be the sound of a trumpet, as the Scripture says. It will be a sound that will be heard around the world. Then suddenly there shall appear in the heavens the sign of the Son of man, for the Lord, Himself, shall descend from heaven with great power and glory. His glory will eclipse the sun, and every eye will be lifted up to behold His great glory as He comes.

Then all around the world, graves will be opened and the dead in Christ shall rise first with their bodies reconstituted and glorified. And then we, which are alive, shall be caught up together with Him and we shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye. We shall be changed, and all that is corruptible will put on incorruption and all that is mortal will put on immortality. From homes, and kitchens, and cars, and planes, those who have trusted in Jesus will be taken up to be with the Lord in the air, who shall come with His angels and cherubim and seraphim and with ten thousand times ten thousand of His saints. In magnificent splendor and glory, He will come.

Question to ponder: What difference does it make to you that history is marching toward its great climax, the return of Christ and the final judgment?

Many Gifts and Offices

1 Corinthians 12:27–31

Up to this point in Paul’s analogy between the church and the human body, the Apostle has left the reader to draw the conclusion that God’s granting each Christian different gifts parallels the fact that the human body has different members, all with unique functions. The Apostle makes this parallel explicit in today’s passage as he concludes the church–human body analogy.

Paul states that the Corinthian believers are collectively the body of Christ and individually members of that same body (1 Cor. 12:27). By extension, this applies to the whole church, which is the one body of Christ made up of many different members, all of whom are necessary to the proper functioning and health of that body (see vv. 12–26). Yet, given that we can name the members of the human body, how can we denominate the members of Christ’s body the church?

In 1 Corinthians 12:4–11, the Apostle named many of these members by designating some of the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given to Christians. Paul does something similar in verses 28–29, although he also includes some of the offices given to the church—Apostles, prophets, and teachers. By listing things in this way, Paul highlights the fact that gifts are not the point in themselves but are for the purpose of establishing various ministries in the church. This is not surprising, for one of Paul’s emphases is that believers are to serve one another (see Gal. 5:13). One way we do this is by using our God-given gifts to minister to each other. Some minister by teaching, as evident in the offices of Apostle, prophet, and teacher. Others minister by attending to physical needs, which is likely what the gift of “helping” refers to (1 Cor. 12:28). The point, as Paul has said again and again, is that all the different gifts and offices are needed in the church of Christ for its health and welfare. Not everyone has the same gift, but every gift is necessary (vv. 29–30).

Interestingly, Paul then says in 1 Corinthians 12:31a that we should “earnestly desire the higher gifts.” This might seem to imply that some gifts are more necessary than others, but that is not really what Paul means. In light of the overemphasis on the gift of tongues in Corinth, Paul is getting ready to point out in chapter 14 that the gift of prophecy is more conducive to edifying the collective body in gathered worship than tongues, because prophecy is always intelligible. In the specific setting of worship, prophecy is “higher,” though the other gifts are no less necessary to the health of the church.

Coram Deo

Paul’s teaching that we all have different gifts and that these gifts must be used to build up the body of Christ points out our need to identify our gifts and employ them in the local church. We should examine our own interests as well as the advice of other believers, especially our church leaders, to help us discern our gifts. Then, let us look for ways to put them to use in the local church.

“Be” First, then “Do”

Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. —Matthew 7:17

While good deeds cannot make a man good, it is likewise true that everything a good man does is good because he is a good man. Holy deeds are holy not because they are one kind of deed instead of another, but because a holy man performs them….

Every person should see to it that he is fully cleansed from all sin, entirely surrendered to the whole will of God and filled with the Holy Spirit. Then he will not be known as what he does, but as what he is. He will be a man of God first and anything else second: a man of God who paints or mines coal or farms or preaches…but always a man of God. That and not the kind of work he does will determine the quality of his deeds. WTA060

We need to remember that this world is not so much a place for doing things as for making character. Right in the midst of what some people call drudgery is the very best place to get the transformed, transfigured life. JAS276

God weigheth more with how much love a man worketh, than how much he doeth. He doeth much that loveth much. He doeth much that doeth a thing well. JAS276

He Can’t Forget!

Jesus replied, “This is the work of God—that you believe in the One He has sent.”—John 6:29

In this passage, our Lord is asked: “What can we do to perform the works of God?” (v. 28). His answer was entirely different from that which you would receive if you posed the question to adherents of different religious systems today. A Buddhist would answer: “We must follow the eightfold path of Buddhism.” A Muslim would answer: “We must fast and pray and make a trip to Mecca.” Some followers of the Christian way might answer: “We must engage in regular Bible study, prayer, tithing, and Christian fellowship.” But the answer Jesus gave was: “This is the work of God—that you believe …”

George Watson, a devotional writer, said: “To trust the Origin of our existence is the fundamental grace of life. There is one virtue [in God] that stands out forever more conspicuously than friendship, or love, or knowledge, or wisdom. It is fidelity. God’s fidelity is in Him what trust is in us.”

Understanding that God is utterly trustworthy will deliver us from such incapacitating emotions as worry, anxiety, and fear. To be overwhelmed by the concerns of this life reflects poorly upon the faithfulness of God.

An old saint who was dying became concerned that he couldn’t remember any of God’s promises. His pastor said: “Do you think God will forget any of them?” A smile came over the face of the dying Christian as he exclaimed joyfully: “No, no, He won’t.” This, too, is our confidence. He won’t forget, because being God, He can’t forget.

Prayer

O God my Father, if fidelity in You is what trust is in us, then help us come to a place where our trust matches Your fidelity. We confess we are not there yet, but we long to arrive. Help us, dear Father. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

2Tm 2:1-13; Heb 2:17; 10:23

What did Paul assure Timothy?

Why was Jesus made like His brothers?

Memorials of Faithfulness

“I assure you: Wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told in memory of her.”—Mark 14:9

We may assume that our expressions of devotion to God are small and insignificant, but in God’s eyes they may hold much meaning. Our love and dedication to Christ may even create memorials to God for future generations.

This woman performed a profound act of love for Jesus. She did not do it to impress His disciples or to gain public attention or to gain praise from Jesus. She simply sought to express her love for Jesus. She did nothing spectacular; she performed no miracles; she preached no sermons. Yet Jesus was so moved by her selfless loyalty that He deemed it worthy of remembrance throughout the remainder of history.

We do not know all that God finds most pleasing, nor do we know what acts of our love He may choose to honor through our children and future generations. Abraham could not have known that the day he demonstrated his willingness to sacrifice his only son would be memorialized and would bless many generations who heard of his obedience. David could not have known that his walk with God would please Him so much that David’s example would bless generations who followed him.

God can take your faithfulness and begin a spiritual legacy, making it a blessing to others for generations to come. You will never know until eternity all who received a blessing because of your righteous life. That is why it is so important that you daily express your love and devotion to Jesus.

VIDEO Flights of Fancy

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Revelation 21:1

Filmmakers have often tried to imagine heaven. In All Dogs Go To Heaven, the afterlife is a cloudy animated world of golden sparkles, carpets through the sky, and flights of fancy. A Robin Williams movie about heaven shows the actor wandering around inside impressionistic paintings and illusionary images. Early films depicted heaven as white, vapory fog with people walking around wearing wings.

Many people take their ideas about heaven from movies, but all the cinematic versions of heaven combined cannot begin to touch the real thing. The Bible alone is our source of definitive information, and the last two chapters of Scripture are especially rich. The Bible teaches that our universe and our planet will be recreated, and the vast city of God will descend as our eternal capital.

If you’re ever plagued by disturbing thoughts of the afterlife, don’t turn on a movie. Turn to Revelation 21 and 22. Read those chapters until the descriptions thrill you with their realities. Our Lord is preparing a marvelous home for His children.

Did you ever stop to think that God is going to be as pleased to have you with Him in heaven as you are to be there? A. W. Tozer


The Bible Overview – Revelation 21:1-8 – Alistair Begg – Part 18

In the End

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7

I’m often given the privilege of leading spiritual retreats. Getting away for a few days to pray and reflect can be deeply enriching, and during the program I sometimes ask participants to do an exercise: “Imagine your life is over and your obituary is published in the paper. What would you like it to say?” Some attendees change their life’s priorities as a result, aiming to finish their lives well.

Second Timothy 4 contains the last known written words of the apostle Paul. Though probably only in his sixties, and though having faced death before, he senses his life is nearly over (2 Timothy 4:6). There will be no more mission trips now or writing letters to his churches. He looks back over his life and says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (v. 7). While he hasn’t been perfect (1 Timothy 1:15–16), Paul assesses his life on how true he’s stayed to God and the gospel. Tradition suggests he was martyred soon after.

Contemplating our final days has a way of clarifying what matters now. Paul’s words can be a good model to follow. Fight the good fight. Finish the race. Keep the faith. Because in the end what will matter is that we’ve stayed true to God and His ways as He provides what we need to live, fight life’s spiritual battles, and finish well.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

Reflect & Pray

Imagine your life is over and your obituary is published. What would you like it to say? What changes might you make now to “finish the race” well?

Father God, strengthen me to live faithfully for You, right to the end.

Unforgiveness and Hate

The sooner we confront hatred in our heart, the brighter our witness will shine

Ephesians 4:31-32

One of the most destructive attitudes a believer can display is hate. Think about it: How well can the light of Christ shine through a life that’s shrouded in anger, bitterness, and malice? Such a demeanor doesn’t reflect a positive image of Jesus to non-Christians. But the problem affects more than our witness to the unbelieving world. Even in churches, it’s not difficult to find individuals brimming over with hostility. Where does this attitude come from?

One reason some believers struggle with hatred is an inability to forgive a hurt. Is that you? 

Think about someone who wronged you in the past, and ask yourself three questions: 

1. If you hate someone, you cannot shake the memory. Does the scene play out in your mind over and over? 

2. If you hate someone, you cannot wish him or her well. Do you want the best for a person who has hurt you? 

3. If you hate someone, you want that person to hurt, too. Do you secretly desire for this individual to experience the pain that you suffered? 

Have these questions revealed any hidden animosity in your heart? If so, don’t leave this page without prayerfully meditating on Ephesians 4:31-32. Read the passage aloud. Then personalize it into a prayer, and let the Holy Spirit move you to forgive an old hurt.