VIDEO Without Equal, The Great White Throne Judgment

The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Revelation 20:10

It’s hard to think of something in our world that doesn’t have an opposite, or at least an equal. Night and day, light and darkness, up and down, big and small, good and evil, fast and slow. Those pairs are considered to be on equal footing with one another.

Too often, people make the mistake of thinking that God’s opposite is Satan. After all, God is good, righteous, and true, and Satan is evil, unrighteous, and a liar. But here’s the difference: God is eternal and infinite while Satan is a created being. (Actually, as a created angel, Satan’s opposite is Michael, God’s archangel.) The Bible’s story is clear that God will be the ultimate victor in the story of redemption, unchallenged by Satan. Satan is cast into the lake of fire for eternal punishment; God rules in eternal righteousness and glory.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Satan can thwart God’s plan and provision for your life. God has no equal, no opposite. He rules over all.

Satan and his demons never, never act against God’s people without the permission of God. John MacArthur


John MacArthur : The Great White Throne Judgment

Longing for God

Even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen. Nehemiah 1:9

When Conner and Sarah Smith moved five miles up the road, their cat S’mores expressed his displeasure by running away. One day Sarah saw a current photo of their old farmhouse on social media. There was S’mores in the picture!

Happily, the Smiths went to retrieve him. S’mores ran away again. Guess where he went? This time, the family that had purchased their house agreed to keep S’mores too. The Smiths couldn’t stop the inevitable; S’mores would always return “home.”

Nehemiah served in a prestigious position in the king’s court in Susa, but his heart was elsewhere. He had just heard news of the sad condition of “the city where my ancestors are buried” (Nehemiah 2:3). And so he prayed, “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, . . . ‘if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name’ ” (1:8–9).

Home is where the heart is, they say. In Nehemiah’s case, longing for home was more than being tied to the land. It was communion with God that he most desired. Jerusalem was “the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.”

The dissatisfaction we sense deep down is actually a longing for God. We’re yearning to be home with Him.

By:  Tim Gustafson

Reflect & Pray

What’s your idea of home and why? In what ways do you sense yourself longing for God?

Father, help me understand that only You can satisfy my longings. Help me be at home with You, no matter where I am

Characteristics of the Lord’s Servants

2 Timothy 2:24-26

When we hear the phrase “serving God,” we usually think of activities like teaching Sunday school or visiting the sick. But the most important thing about a servant of the Lord is character. Though today’s passage was written about pastors, it is applicable to every believer.

Those who serve God are not to be quarrelsome but instead should show kindness and patience when wronged. Frequently we want to argue our point and fight for our rights. And if offended, we’re quick to retaliate or hold a silent grudge. But Paul advises us to instead exercise self-control and respond with the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).

God wants His children to know how to instruct and correct others with gentleness (2 Timothy 2:25). All believers—even those of us who aren’t specifically gifted to teach—should be able to convey biblical truths, explain the gospel, and wisely correct those who have believed false teaching.

Finally, we must pray for those who don’t know God, asking Him to lead them to repentance and knowledge of the truth. Only the Lord can save, but He uses His children’s godly responses to open doors.

His Doom Is Sure

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44)

The third verse of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” focuses on Satan’s end. God has willed triumph through His truth.

And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear; for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim—We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, For lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.


When Satan was cast from heaven, fully a third of the angels fell with him (Revelation 12:4), such that a “legion” of them could inhabit one individual (Mark 5:9). But God has other plans for His children. He desires “to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they might receive forgiveness of sins” (Acts 26:18). He desires us to “resist the devil” (James 4:7) and not “give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:27).

He also has plans for Satan, including “everlasting chains under darkness” (Jude 1:6), and “everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). Just one word and Satan will be “cast into the lake of fire and…tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:10). Jesus, anticipating His execution, spoke of it triumphantly. This had been His Father’s will all along. “Now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:31-32), and now the battle is His. JDM

For She Loved Much

Luke 7:36-50

LUKE alone (7:36-50) records the anointing of our Lord in the house of a Pharisee. This man had perhaps invited Jesus out of curiosity or admiration, and our Lord, who received sinners and ate with them, being a friend of publicans and sinners, accepted the invitation. As He ate, a woman who had been a sinner, doubtless a harlot in the city, came to Him and anointed His feet. She had likely heard Him teach and came in a state of genuine contrition, godly sorrow and repentance. Such a state manifests itself in brokenness. There is much shallow repentance today because men have such a shallow sense of sin.

The Pharisee reasoned within himself that if Jesus were a prophet He would not have allowed such a contact and defilement. But our Lord, reading his thoughts, gave him the parable of the two debtors, one owing five hundred pence and the other fifty. Both were forgiven: now which loved his creditor most? The plain application, as He Himself gave it, was that those who are forgiven most love most; and this woman, being a grievous sinner and realizing it, was full of gratitude because much was forgiven. While all are sinners—and it is not the amount of sins committed that condemns the sinner—yet those who have offended most grievously in degree, though all offend in kind, usually are most grateful. That explains why men converted from terrible careers of vicious sin often are most exuberant in their testimony, and why those saved early and not conscious of years of vile transgression do not generally manifest the same sense of deliverance.

“Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little” is not to be taken to mean that the woman was forgiven because she loved. She loved much because she was forgiven much. Her love was the expression of gratitude for sins already forgiven. Some think she had already been forgiven before this incident; others, that Jesus, perceiving in her genuine repentance, forgave her at the outset and announced it at the close of the incident.

Our smug and pale Christianity today shows little of that broken and humble gratitude for sins forgiven that marked this woman. Few alabaster boxes are broken in tearful joy over forgiveness. Sin has been glossed over; men do not regard themselves sinners and consequently feel no burden of guilt and, of course, no relief in His pardon. We bring Him verbal tribute, wordy compliments on Sunday, but few kneel weeping at His feet.

“Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.” It is faith that saves, so far as our part goes. Of course, Christ the object of our faith, saves us, but faith looks unto Him and appropriates His pardon. And because we are forgiven and saved, we may go in peace—peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ and the peace of God that passeth all understanding.

Lies Have Short Legs

One with a twisted mind will not succeed, and one with deceitful speech will fall into ruin.—Proverbs 17:20

Both the universe and ourselves are made for truth and honesty, and both the universe and ourselves are alien to untruth and dishonesty. The universe is made for the same thing as we are—namely, righteousness. Not only the face of the Lord but the face of the universe is set against those who live below its standards.

I know that this may sound somewhat hollow in an age that appears to thrive on dishonesty and corruption, but I stand by it nevertheless. The universe is not built for the success of dishonesty and corruption. A lie breaks itself upon the moral universe, perhaps not today, not tomorrow—but certainly at some point in the future. The Tamils of South India have a saying: “The life of the cleverest lie is only eight days.” The Germans have a saying: “Lies have short legs.” During the Second World War, they adapted that saying to, “Lies have one leg.” That was because Goebbels, the Propaganda Minister, had one short leg.

A passionate antagonist of Communism is reported to have said: “In our fight against Communism we are handicapped by our decency and honesty.” Since when were honesty and decency handicaps? Rather, Indecency and dishonesty are handicaps; they bring us into bondage—inwardly and outwardly. Governments, organizations, and institutions that practice dishonesty will be broken from within. History has proved that. The Roman Empire collapsed not from without but from within—broken upon the rock of its own corruption. Believe me, no one gets away with anything in a moral universe. No one.

Prayer

Gracious Father, I don’t want my moral joints to creak with dishonesty, so dwell deeply within me by Your Spirit and lubricate them with the oil of Your honesty. In Jesus’ name I ask it. Amen.

Further Study

Lk 12:1-12; 1Co 4:1-5; Nm 32:23; Eccl 12:14

What will happen when the Lord comes?

What can we be sure of?

The Eleventh Commandment

John 13:34, 35

Have we the right to assert that in the final hours of His earthly ministry Jesus added to the commandments of God? Yes, certainly, if we believe His statement that He was giving a new commandment. Obviously that must increase the number.

But was it really new? What was so novel about telling people to love one another? All great religions in the history of the world say something of the sort. The Old Testament certainly did, as Jesus was well aware. For, when asked to identify the greatest commandment He declared that it was the injunction to love God with all one’s heart (Deuteronomy 6:5). He went on to quote from Leviticus 19:18: “The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31).

Religious teachers have always inculcated the principle of benevolence or goodwill or love to one’s fellows. What was so new about the words of Jesus at the Last Supper?

The novelty was twofold. First, Jesus added a cutting edge to an old ideal. If you preach about love no one quarrels with what you say—so long as you keep it vague and abstract. It is when you get down to the practical application of the idea that you provoke people. (He’s getting personal now!) Everyone will agree that loving the human race is hugely desirable. It is loving the people next to us that we cannot stomach.

The command Jesus gives will not let us get away with that. It takes our eyes away from distant horizons and fastens them on the person next door. When we ponder these words we begin to see that there is certainly a new commandment because it is linked with the life of the new community which Jesus is beginning—

His Church. They must love one another or the whole thing would be a sham.

But He did not leave it there. The greater novelty, indeed the essential newness, lay in the force of His personal example and the demand that they measure up to it. “Love… as I have loved you” (John 13:34, 35).

In greater measure, this is a new commandment because Jesus gives His personal image to the ideal of love. “Love as I have loved you” must mean a costly, caring love.

This is the eleventh commandment. Orthodoxy is important; moral rectitude is a vital foundation for the Christian life; faith needs works and is dead without them. But above all there must be love for the brethren, for by this are Christ’s disciples to be known.

David Guy, The Eleven Commandments