VIDEO Who Would Do This?

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. 1 John 4:9

Not infrequently, we read of a healthy person donating a kidney to a person in need. For whom would you sacrifice one of your bodily organs? A more intense question is one the apostle Paul asked: For whom would you die?

It’s a hypothetical question with no fixed answer, and in Romans 5:6-7 Paul raised the question to set up a stark contrast. He said that hypothetically someone might die so that a righteous person might live—though it would be rare for someone to do that. If it would be rare to die for a righteous person, it would be unheard of for someone to die for a sinful, evil person. And yet that is what Christ did: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Christ did what no one else would likely ever do: He died for sinners (Romans 3:10-18). Let Christ’s love for you motivate you to show love to others today (1 John 4:11, 19-21).

You never so touch the ocean of God’s love as when you forgive and love your enemies. Corrie ten Boom

Blind for the Glory of God (John 9:1-12)

The Rest of Our Story

Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, . . . has triumphed. Revelation 5:5

For more than six decades, news journalist Paul Harvey was a familiar voice on American radio. He would say with a colorful flair, “You know what the news is, in a minute you’re going to hear the rest of the story.” After a brief advertisement, he would tell a little-known story of a well-known person. But by withholding until the end either the person’s name or some other key element, he delighted listeners with his dramatic pause and tagline: “And now you know . . . the rest of the story.

The apostle John’s vision of things past and future unfolds with a similar promise. However, his story begins on a sad note. He couldn’t stop crying when he saw that no created being in heaven or on earth could explain where history is going (Revelation 4:15:1–4). Then he heard a voice offering hope in the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” (v. 5). But when John looked, instead of seeing a conquering lion, he saw a lamb looking like it had been slaughtered (vv. 5–6). The unlikely sight erupted in waves of celebration around the throne of God. In three expanding choruses, twenty-four elders were joined by countless angels and then by all of heaven and earth (vv. 8–14).

Who could have imagined that a crucified Savior would be the hope of all creation, the glory of our God, and the rest of our story.

By:  Mart DeHaan

Reflect & Pray

What fears and sorrows do you have that need the hope found in Jesus? How does thinking of Him as both the conquering Lion and the sacrificial Lamb help you worship Him?

Almighty God, You deserve all power, praise, and love.

Learn more about how to read the book of Revelation.

Pray With Confidence

We can trust God to answer with what is best, even when it’s not what we requested 1 John 5:14-15

Prayer is the Christian’s most powerful God-given means for effecting change. Yet we’re often unsure whether the Lord will answer our appeals. Today’s verses assure us that He hears and grants our petitions when they’re in accordance with His will. But knowing God’s will can seem perplexing—we aren’t always sure whether our requests fit that condition. 

Here’s what we do know: Anything that God commands us in the Scriptures is His will. This includes everything pertaining to our sanctification, holiness, and spiritual growth (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8). And there are other attitudes and behaviors God forbids in His Word. For example, we can’t expect Him to answer any request motivated by pride, jealousy, selfish ambition, or sinful desires (James 4:3-5). As for insignificant matters (like what to wear or eat) or issues of conscience, such things are left to our discretion (Romans 14:1-23). 

But what about petitions that don’t fit these categories? When we’re uncertain whether our request is according to God’s will, we must submit it Him, release our grip on the outcome we want, and trust the Lord to answer rightly. Remember, our confidence is not in the answer we want, but in the God whose knowledge, wisdom, and power are perfect, infinite, and eternal.

Fulfilling the Law

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” (Matthew 5:17)

Christ makes this profound statement shortly after the famous beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus came to fulfill the predictions made about Him in the Old Testament Scriptures. He fulfilled the Mosaic law by becoming the ultimate sacrifice for sin as the Lamb of God. He fulfilled the moral requirement of the law by His perfect obedience, which we could never do, and His atoning blood paid the price for our sins. Thus, Isaiah’s words were fulfilled: “He will magnify the law, and make it honourable” (42:21).

Another point to consider is that we should beware of diminishing the importance of the Old Testament. Let us never listen to those who bid us to throw it aside as obsolete, antiquated, or useless. Its teachings are foundational to Christianity. The apostles quoted from it frequently, especially Paul in his epistles. The Old Testament saints saw many things through a glass darkly, but they all looked by faith to the same Savior.

We should also beware of despising the law of the Ten Commandments or think that it has been set aside by the gospel and that Christians should move past it. If anything, Christ exalted the law and raised its authority by going deeper and addressing the attitudes of the heart that led to its violations. By it comes the knowledge of sin through which the Spirit shows our need of Christ. While the law cannot save, it does reveal the life that is pleasing to God. In our journey of Spirit-empowered sanctification, Paul states, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Romans 3:31). JPT

The Healer

Matthew 8:14-17

OUR Lord’s ministry was threefold: teaching, preaching and healing. Matthew lists different classes of the sick—those taken with diverse diseases and torments, the demon-possessed, lunatics, those who had palsy, and then adds: “and He healed them.” No case was too difficult.

We read that the people were astonished at His doctrine, “for His word was with power.” We have that same message, which is to be given in demonstration of the Spirit and of power—but, alas, few are astonished today. It is not that they have become accustomed to it. No, the trouble is it is not preached with power, “with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven” (1 Pet. 1:12). The bench-warmers in the pews would sit up and take notice, and hungry souls would be fed and sinners convicted if we recovered that note of authority! But we speak as the scribes; there is the dreary monotone of the academic, the deaf reputation of dry platitudes. There is not even Jeremiah’s bone-fire of silence (Jer. 20:9).

Even demons recognized our Lord’s authority. These demoniacs whom He set free were not merely crazy people. Demon-possession is real, for here it is the demon who cries out with a loud voice (Mark 1:26), and there is a distinction made between the possessor and the possessed. The liberating word of God is still able to defeat the devil, but today we stand at the foot of the mountain like the disciples in failure before a devil-possessed world. Our note of authority is gone, and we are not defeating the devil! Our Lord said the power came by prayer and fasting. Of course, we are told that this verse is an “interpolation,” but certainly the truth of it is undeniable. Our note of authority over evil is lacking because prayer is lacking.

Our Lord proves His power over disease by the healing of Peter’s wife’s mother. Then follows (Matt. 8:15, 17; Mark 1:32-34; Luke 4:40-41) a sunset scene of healing which stands out in the three Synoptics. Worthy of any painter’s best efforts this lovely picture must have been!—the sick and weary multitudes pressing upon Him at the close of day and heading home well and strong again. We have grown accustomed to reading such records, but think what a sensation it would be if that should happen today!

Mark and Luke add another incident, one that shows the other side of this ministry of power. In the morning, Jesus rose a great while before day and departed into a solitary place and there prayed. He knew that if He was to give forth power He must receive power from the Father. If He needed so to pray, how can we expect to minister in power without the early retreat to the solitary place? There is the secret of power: “If he be alone, there is tidings in his mouth” (2 Sam. 18:25). There must be solitude if there is to be a testimony of power; Elijah, must hide himself before he can show himself to Ahab.

Peter finds our Lord in prayer and says, “All men seek for thee.” We would have returned to the popularity and the plaudits; indeed, we would likely never have left them! But our Lord knew what was in man, and that He must move on to where He was sent. How easy it is for us to forget orders in the flush of success. Like Abraham’s servant, may we permit no man to hinder us when God has prospered our way.

The end of all things certainly is at hand

Genesis 6:5-22

At first men lived for hundreds of years, but a few generations of long-lived men sufficed to make the race very wicked; and, when the holy seed of Seth intermarried with the graceless race of Cain, the people of God degenerated, the salt lost its savour, and the whole earth became corrupt.

Genesis 6:5

What a charge against man, and it is true of us all still.

Genesis 6:8

What a blessed but was that. In the midst of wrath the Lord remembered mercy; even as in punishing sin he remembers Christ and all those who are of his family. The distinction made was the fruit of grace. It is not said that Noah deserved preservation, but Noah found grace.

Genesis 6:9

In this he was a worthy descendant of Enoch.

Genesis 6:11

Those who are corrupt towards God are sure to be violent towards men.

Genesis 6:15

In all our actions we must follow the divine rule. If our religious observances have not this inscription upon them—”Thus saith the Lord,” they will profit us nothing.

Genesis 6:16

Noah must make the ark after God’s plan, and those who expect to be saved must receive salvation in God’s way. Not our whims but God’s word must guide us.

Genesis 6:18-20

As Noah was the preserver of life so is Jesus; and as he became the new head of the saved race, so our Lord is the Head of his church, which is the seed saved out of the world.

Genesis 6:22

Noah’s faith led him to obedience. If we would be saved from the destruction which is coming upon the world, we must submit ourselves without reserve to the commands of our Lord Jesus. We shall not be saved for keeping the commands of God, but if we have true faith we shall prove it by following the Lord’s directions.

O Lord, we praise thy sovereign grace,

Grace o’er the raging flood supreme.

How well didst thou secure the race

Thou hadst determined to redeem.

They in the ark serenely housed,

Smiled on the universal wreck.

Fierce were the waves by vengeance roused,

But mercy held them all in check.

Satan Is A Liar And Would Bind Us in Our Own Grave Clothes

… For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8

It is part of the devil’s business to keep the Christian’s spirit imprisoned. He knows that the believing and justified Christian has been raised up out of the grave of his sins and trespasses. From that point on, Satan works that much harder to keep us bound and gagged, actually imprisoned in our own grave clothes!

He knows that if we continue in this kind of bondage we will never be able to claim our rightful spiritual heritage. He knows also that while we continue bound in this kind of enslavement we are not much better off than when we were spiritually dead.

This is one reason why the Christians in today’s churches are behaving like a flock of frightened sheep—so intimidated by the devil that we can’t even say “Amen!”

I am sure that it is not glorifying to our God that Christians should be so intimidated and silenced in our day. It was Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, who came down and took our human body for Himself. He was a man, born of a woman, a man wearing our own nature—but He was also God!

He went out to the cross and they sacrificed Him there. The Father, God Almighty, accepted His sacrifice as the one, final fulfillment and consummation of all the sacrifices ever made on Jewish altars. After three days, He came out of the grave, then ascended as Victor over death and hell!

Believing this, we ought to be the most fearless, the happiest and most God-assured people in the whole world!