VIDEO Seeking and Saving

 

For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. Luke 19:10

All four Gospel accounts record a form of the Great Commission—Jesus’ commission to His disciples to continue His work on earth. Perhaps the words that tie our commission to Jesus’ own mission most clearly are found in John 20:21: “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

What was Jesus sent to do? By His own words and His own example, He was sent to “seek and to save that which was lost.” Therefore, we are sent to do the same. As the Father sent the Son into the world to seek the lost, so does the Son send the Church into the world on the same assignment. Jesus’ words to that effect came at the end of His encounter with Zacchaeus, a wealthy tax collector who Jesus called to Himself (Luke 19:1-10). Jesus saw a man in need and reached out to him and changed his life. That’s an example of what we are sent to do as well.

Seeking and reaching out to the lost can be intimidating, but just as Jesus was obedient to the Father, we must obey Him.

God’s command “Go ye, and preach the gospel to every creature” was the categorical imperative. The question of personal safety was wholly irrelevant. Elisabeth Elliot


A Sinner Meets a Seeking Savior, Part 1 (Luke 19:1-10)

Inheritance Isn’t Earned

Today's Devotional

He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will. Ephesians 1:5

“Thanks for dinner, Dad,” I said as I set my napkin on the restaurant table. I was home on a break from college and, after being gone for a while, it felt strange to have my parents pay for me. “You’re welcome, Julie,” my dad replied, “but you don’t have to thank me for everything all the time. I know you’ve been off on your own, but you’re still my daughter and a part of the family.” I smiled. “Thanks, Dad.”

In my family, I haven’t done anything to earn my parents’ love or what they do for me. But my dad’s comment reminds me that I haven’t done anything to deserve to be a part of God’s family either.

In the book of Ephesians, Paul tells his readers that God chose them “to be holy and blameless in his sight” (1:4), or to stand without blemish before Him (5:25–27). But this is only possible through Jesus, in whom “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (1:7). We don’t have to earn God’s grace, forgiveness, or entrance into His family. We simply accept His free gift.

When we turn our lives over to Jesus, we become children of God, which means we receive eternal life and have an inheritance waiting for us in heaven. Praise God for offering such a wonderful gift!

By:  Julie Schwab

Reflect & Pray

In what ways do you feel or act as if you have to earn God’s love? How can you practice living in the freedom of His love?

Faithful God, thank You for freely giving Your Son so I can be a part of Your family. Help me to honor You in all You’ve done for me.

The Rewards of Truth

Proverbs 2:1-9

Seeking God’s truth is like digging for gold: If we find a tiny flake, we keep scraping and shoveling until we come upon another, which may be a morsel no bigger than an apple seed. That little bit keeps us searching until we find a chunk the size of a marble, and so on. Each new nugget of God-experience is so exciting that we can’t stop excavating for more.

Just think of the advantages of this pursuit. First of all, seeking truth about the Lord naturally results in a more intimate relationship with Him. And aligning our life with these discoveries brings us confidence and the assurance that He is always guarding and guiding us.

Learning about God leads to an additional benefit: the development of spiritual discernment. This is the capacity to distinguish truth from falsehood even when the latter is presented as supportable fact. Having this type of godly insight in turn equips us for greater kingdom service, especially with regard to discipling others.

When it comes to our infinite God, there are always new and exciting treasures for us to unearth. So make it your goal to build a foundation of His truth for your life. By doing so, you will gain wisdom and discover new opportunities to serve Him.

The Power from Grace

“And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.” (Acts 4:33)

The apostle Peter observed that believers are to be ministering our “gift” to one another as “good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). The words for “gift” and “grace” are very closely related. “Grace” is the most frequent translation for the Greek word charis, and charisma is most often rendered “gift.”

“The working of his mighty power” (Ephesians 1:19) appears to be “the manifestation of the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:7) displayed among God’s people by means of the gifts that the Holy Spirit has graced us with. Paul’s ability to minister was “according to the gift of the grace of God given unto [him, Paul] by the effectual working of his power” (Ephesians 3:7).

Thus, when we preach the gospel, we are using “the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16). When our lives radically change in response to the “new man” created in us by God, we do so by “the grace of our Lord” that is “exceeding abundant with faith and love” (1 Timothy 1:14). When we access the strength to rise above our infirmities or difficult circumstances, we experience that the Lord’s “grace is sufficient for thee…. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11). HMM III

Please Pray for Me Today

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

—2 Timothy 4:7-8

 

Will you pray for me as a minister of the gospel? I am not asking you to pray for the things people commonly pray for. Pray for me in light of the pressures of our times. Pray that I will not just come to a wearied end—an exhausted, tired, old preacher, interested only in hunting a place to roost. Pray that I will be willing to let my Christian experience and Christian standards cost me something right down to the last gasp!   WPJ074

Lord, I pray for all of my fellow pastors and Christian leaders. Help us, like Paul, and like Tozer, to finish strong. Amen.

 

Power in Action

Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.

—Zechariah 4:6

 

The greatest event in history was the coming of Jesus Christ into the world to live and to die for mankind. The next greatest event was the going forth of the Church to embody the life of Christ and to spread the knowledge of His salvation throughout the earth.

It was not an easy task which the Church faced….To carry on the work of a man who was known to have died…to persuade others that this man had risen again from the dead and that He was the Son of God and Saviour: this mission was, in the nature of it, doomed to failure from the start. Who would credit such a fantastic story?…

That the Church did not…perish was due entirely to the miraculous element within her. That element was supplied by the Holy Spirit who came at Pentecost to empower her for her task. PTP007-008

[T]he same God who led Israel with pillar of cloud and fire, who spoke at Pentecost through the tongues of flame, who opened Peter’s prison doors, is waiting to work the greater wonders of His grace for us. CTBC, Vol. 2/187-1

 

Wagging Heads

Matthew 27:39

Recording the crucifixion, Matthew’s Gospel says, “They that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads” (Matthew 27:39 KJV). Pondering this scene of the thorn-crowned head of Christ and the shaking heads of the scornful spectators, one remembers Job’s words about the reversal of jeering judgments: “I also could speak like you, if you were in my place; I could make fine speeches against you and shake my head at you” (Job 16:4).

He hung on a cross by the wayside. He was lifted up within sight and sound of the motley crowd. Men trample and push as they look, point, jeer and talk within the shadow of the cross. Maybe some few would weep, or recall His kindness, as the crowd went home to sup and to sleep.

As the most impressive part of the human body, the head plays a leading role in expressing man’s reactions to life. Doubt, questioning, agreement, denial, refusal, rejection and, indeed, almost the whole range of feeling and opinion may be conveyed without a spoken word by the head alone. These gestures at Calvary were the language of contempt.

And so the crowd passed by. They wagged their heads contemptuously at the Man whose ideals of love were so unworkable that they brought Him to a cross.

The cross says to man, “This is the way God loves and forgives.” The wagging heads say, “Love us if you like, but do not ask us to kneel and be forgiven.” It was the language of dismissal. God must keep His distance and not interfere in human affairs.

With the same mind and the same verdict of scorn, the world today parades past the cross. Without complete repudiation, is our impersonal view of the Savior declaring that though at times we think Him interesting, we do not really regard Him as relevant or important to the main business of living? Do we give Him a nominal acknowledgment without the least intention to own up that our sin had anything to do with Calvary?

One of the persistent follies and sins of mankind is the refusal to take Jesus Christ seriously—to wag the head and say, “A most interesting figure in history, but what a pity He was so idealistic, so set upon dying!”

The head laid in the manger, bending over the carpenter’s bench, anointed with spikenard, hurt by a traitor’s kiss, beaten with hand and rod, defiled with the persecutor’s spittle, crowned with thorns, bowed in death, will be raised in power and crowned with glory.

Albert Orsborn, The War Cry