VIDEO The Opened Sight – Power of the Gospel

The Opened Sight

I now send you, to open their eyes…that they may receive forgiveness of sins… —Acts 26:17-18

This verse is the greatest example of the true essence of the message of a disciple of Jesus Christ in all of the New Testament.

God’s first sovereign work of grace is summed up in the words, “…that they may receive forgiveness of sins….” When a person fails in his personal Christian life, it is usually because he has never received anything. The only sign that a person is saved is that he has received something from Jesus Christ. Our job as workers for God is to open people’s eyes so that they may turn themselves from darkness to light. But that is not salvation; it is conversion— only the effort of an awakened human being. I do not think it is too broad a statement to say that the majority of so-called Christians are like this. Their eyes are open, but they have received nothing. Conversion is not regeneration. This is a neglected fact in our preaching today. When a person is born again, he knows that it is because he has received something as a gift from Almighty God and not because of his own decision. People may make vows and promises, and may be determined to follow through, but none of this is salvation. Salvation means that we are brought to the place where we are able to receive something from God on the authority of Jesus Christ, namely, forgiveness of sins.

This is followed by God’s second mighty work of grace: “…an inheritance among those who are sanctified….” In sanctification, the one who has been born again deliberately gives up his right to himself to Jesus Christ, and identifies himself entirely with God’s ministry to others.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

We never enter into the Kingdom of God by having our head questions answered, but only by commitment. The Highest Good—Thy Great Redemption, 565 R


The Power of the Gospel, Acts 26:18 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study

Paper Crowns

The Lord’s people will judge the world. 1 Corinthians 6:2

After a holiday meal at my house, everyone opened party favors filled with candy, small toys, and confetti. But there was something else in the favors—a paper crown for each of us. We couldn’t resist trying them on, and we smiled at each other as we sat around the table. For just a moment, we were kings and queens, even if our kingdom was a dining room littered with the remnants of our dinner.

This sparked a memory of a Bible promise I don’t often think about. In the next life, all believers will share ruling authority with Jesus. Paul mentions this in 1 Corinthians 6 where he asks, “Do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world?” (v. 2). Paul referenced this future privilege because he wanted to inspire believers to settle disputes peacefully on earth. They had been suing each other and consequently harming the reputation of other believers in their community.

We become better at resolving conflict as the Holy Spirit produces self-control, gentleness, and patience within us. By the time Jesus returns and completes the Spirit’s work in our lives (1 John 3:2–3), we’ll be ready for our eventual role as “a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and . . . reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:10). Let’s hold on to this promise that glitters in Scripture like a diamond set in a crown of gold.

By:  Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Reflect & Pray

How does the Holy Spirit influence your words and actions when you experience conflict? How does this affect those around you?

Almighty God, thank You for the wonderful future I have with You. Help me to look to You when it’s hard to cooperate with others.

To learn more about the Spirit’s work in our lives, visit ChristianUniversity.org/ST410-12.

Sunday Reflection: What Freedom Is and Isn’t

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the Scripture referenced throughout.

Today, we are bombarded by strong messages about freedom and how to obtain it. Whether we’re watching TV, listening to the radio, scrolling through social media, or reading the news, the message is consistent: The heart of freedom in the world is about making our own way, living life on our terms and without constraints.

Yet in order to be free as the world understands it, we must be in control—we have to be the supreme being directing our life. There’s one enormous problem with this: We’re human. And in our humanity, which is complicated by a tendency to sin, we can’t see objectively. Our vision is clouded by biases and desires and an abundance of pride.

The Lord tells us that to be truly liberated, we must submit to Him. (See Rom. 6:20-23.) He says that if we willingly give up our life, we’ll find the freedom and fullness we’ve always longed to experience. A freedom that will last forever.

Think about it
• How has the world’s definition of freedom impacted your life? Can you see its influence in your choices?

• Which aspects of life do you try hardest to control? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal anything you’re afraid to release to God.

Real Meaning of Touch Not Mine Anointed

“And [David] said unto his men, The LORD forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the LORD’s anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD.” (1 Samuel 24:6)

These words have been widely misappropriated in later times as a warning to any who would presume to question or rebuke an erring pastor or other Christian leader. In the theocracy of Israel, there were three groups of men specially chosen by God and then anointed for their offices—prophets, priests, and kings—and God indeed “suffered no man to do them wrong” (Psalm 105:14). However, all three offices were completely fulfilled in Christ. The Levitical priesthood has been abolished, and Christ is our eternal high priest. The prophetic office ceased with the completion of the Scriptures, and Christ has inherited David’s throne forever.

As far as New Testament anointing is concerned, this is now accomplished in every true believer. “Now he which…hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” (2 Corinthians 1:21- 22). No longer are we dependent on special instruction and guidance from priests and prophets, for we have the inerrant, infallible, written Word of God and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. “The anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him” (1 John 2:27).

Christians can, and should, learn and grow spiritually from godly teachers of the Word and faithful pastors of the flock, but all—leaders as well as learners—must continually be subject to correction from God’s Word, “neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:3). HMM

Keep Longing After God

Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight. —Exodus 33:13

Come near to the holy men and women of the past and you will soon feel the heat of their desire after God. They mourned for Him, they prayed and wrestled and sought for Him day and night, in season and out, and when they had found Him the finding was all the sweeter for the long seeking. Moses used the fact that he knew God as an argument for knowing Him better. “Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight” (Exodus 33:13); and from there he rose to make the daring request, “I beseech thee, shew me thy glory” (33:18). God was frankly pleased by this display of ardor, and the next day called Moses into the mount, and there in solemn procession made all His glory pass before him.   POG015

Restore to us today this deep longing I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Trinity is in Unity

It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you. —John 16:7

Among the important writings which appeared [in the fourth century] is the Athanasian Creed….It was written as an attempt to state in as few words as possible what the Bible teaches about the nature of God; and this it has done with a comprehensiveness and precision hardly matched anywhere in the literature of the world. Here are a few quotations bearing on the deity of the Holy Ghost:

There is one Person of the Father, another of the Son: and another of the Holy Ghost.

But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one: the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal.

And in this Trinity none is afore, or after other: none is greater, or less than another;

But the whole three Persons are co-eternal together: and co-equal. So that in all things, as is aforesaid: the Unity in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity is to be worshiped. POM067-068

The Holy Spirit came to carry the evidence of Christianity from the books of apologetics into the human heart. HTB028-029

Between You and Me, Lord

Psalm 32:8

I see it clearly, Lord,

every single thing that happens

is ultimately between You and me,

just the two of us alone.

No matter who is sitting beside me,

no matter how many people crowd around

or whether I am at home or abroad,

in the final analysis it is my relationship with You that counts.

There is the outside me that other people know:

how I walk and talk,

how I dress and eat,

what I like and dislike.

Folk could write essays on all that

and yet I should find it difficult to accept

for it wouldn’t be the real me.

The real me only You know fully.

The inner person that only partially expresses itself,

that struggles for life

against the bonds of the body encumbering it,

that flutters and strains for it hardly knows what,

striving for something greater than it can express—

This hidden self You know and understand,

and I am glad in that knowledge.

That is why all that happens is finally

just between You and me.

For You are the only one who can truly judge me.

You are reality, the unchangeable truth,

and a spark of Your eternal spirit has been lit in my heart

drawing me to You,

linking me with You,

invisibly and eternally.

Flora Larsson, Between You and Me, Lord