HE IS RISEN!

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Maintaining Our Witness in Trials

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on September 26th.

1 Peter 2:11-12 11 Beloved, I beseech you as sojourners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lust, which war against the soul; 12 having your behavior seemly among the Gentiles; that, wherein they speak against you as evil-doers, they may by your good works, which they behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

You are being watched. That’s always a good thing to remember as we interact with people at work or in the community. How we respond to frustrations, annoyances, difficulties, and temptations is a witness for Christianity, and the last thing we want to do is misrepresent Christ.

Many times challenging situations arise unexpectedly. Therefore, it’s important that we prepare ourselves beforehand—then we’ll be equipped to display Christlikeness, and our witness will not be derailed. To be ready ...

Stay in God’s Word. Knowing Scripture helps you view situations from God’s perspective and know how He would have you respond.

Pray. Challenge yourself to make prayer an immediate response to your problems. When you bring your concerns to God, His peace will guard your heart and mind, which is a powerful witness to a watching world (Phil. 4:6-7).

Trust and obey. When you rely on God’s promises, your peace and confidence in God will stand out to those who are consumed with fear and anxiety.

Remember whose you are. You belong to God and have been purchased by the precious blood of Christ ( 1 Peter 1:17-19 17 And if ye call on him as Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to each man's work, pass the time of your sojourning in fear: 18 knowing that ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers; 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb without spot, `even the blood' of Christ: ). Your life is a display of God’s grace, and your character, conduct, and conversation should always reflect Christ.

Be gracious and kind to others. Don’t let your own troubles erupt into anger and blame. Small acts of kindness and a forgiving spirit are a tremendous witness in a world where such things are rare. 

Aggravations and problems seem like hindrances to us, but our response can change someone’s life if it reflects the love of Jesus Christ.

Bible in One Year: Nahum 1-3 Chapter 1 1 The burden of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite. 2 Jehovah is a jealous God and avengeth; Jehovah avengeth and is full of wrath; Jehovah taketh vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth `wrath' for his enemies. 3 Jehovah is slow to anger, and great in power, and will by no means clear `the guilty': Jehovah hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. 4 He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel; and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. 5 The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt; and the earth is upheaved at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. 6 Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken asunder by him. 7 Jehovah is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that take refuge in him. 8 But with an over-running flood he will make a full end of her place, and will pursue his enemies into darkness. 9 What do ye devise against Jehovah? he will make a full end; affliction shall not rise up the second time. 10 For entangled like thorns, and drunken as with their drink, they are consumed utterly as dry stubble. 11 There is one gone forth out of thee, that deviseth evil against Jehovah, that counselleth wickedness. 12 Thus saith Jehovah: Though they be in full strength, and likewise many, even so shall they be cut down, and he shall pass away. Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more. 13 And now will I break his yoke from off thee, and will burst thy bonds in sunder. 14 And Jehovah hath given commandment concerning thee, that no more of thy name be sown: out of the house of thy gods will I cut off the graven image and the molten image; I will make thy grave; for thou art vile. 15 Behold, upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! Keep thy feasts, O Judah, perform thy vows; for the wicked one shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off. Chapter 2 1 He that dasheth in pieces is come up against thee: keep the fortress, watch the way, make thy loins strong, fortify thy power mightily. 2 For Jehovah restoreth the excellency of Jacob, as the excellency of Israel; for the emptiers have emptied them out, and destroyed their vine-branches. 3 The shield of his mighty men is made red, the valiant men are in scarlet: the chariots flash with steel in the day of his preparation, and the cypress `spears' are brandished. 4 The chariots rage in the streets; they rush to and fro in the broad ways: the appearance of them is like torches; they run like the lightnings. 5 He remembereth his nobles: they stumble in their march; they make haste to the wall thereof, and the mantelet is prepared. 6 The gates of the rivers are opened, and the palace is dissolved. 7 And it is decreed: she is uncovered, she is carried away; and her handmaids moan as with the voice of doves, beating upon their breasts. 8 But Nineveh hath been from of old like a pool of water: yet they flee away. Stand, stand, `they cry'; but none looketh back. 9 Take ye the spoil of silver, take the spoil of gold; for there is no end of the store, the glory of all goodly furniture. 10 She is empty, and void, and waste; and the heart melteth, and the knees smite together, and anguish is in all loins, and the faces of them all are waxed pale. 11 Where is the den of the lions, and the feeding-place of the young lions, where the lion `and' the lioness walked, the lion's whelp, and none made them afraid? 12 The lion did tear in pieces enough for his whelps, and strangled for his lionesses, and filled his caves with prey, and his dens with ravin. 13 Behold, I am against thee, saith Jehovah of hosts, and I will burn her chariots in the smoke, and the sword shall devour thy young lions; and I will cut off thy prey from the earth, and the voice of thy messengers shall no more be heard. Chapter 3 1 Woe to the bloody city! it is all full of lies and rapine; the prey departeth not. 2 The noise of the whip, and the noise of the rattling of wheels, and prancing horses, and bounding chariots, 3 the horseman mounting, and the flashing sword, and the glittering spear, and a multitude of slain, and a great heap of corpses, and there is no end of the bodies; they stumble upon their bodies;- 4 because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the well-favored harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts. 5 Behold, I am against thee, saith Jehovah of hosts, and I will uncover thy skirts upon thy face; and I will show the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame. 6 And I will cast abominable filth upon thee, and make thee vile, and will set thee as a gazing-stock. 7 And it shall come to pass, that all they that look upon thee shall flee from thee, and say, Nineveh is laid waste: who will bemoan her? whence shall I seek comforters for thee? 8 Art thou better than No-amon, that was situate among the rivers, that had the waters round about her; whose rampart was the sea, `and' her wall was of the sea? 9 Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength, and it was infinite; Put and Lubim were thy helpers. 10 Yet was she carried away, she went into captivity; her young children also were dashed in pieces at the head of all the streets; and they cast lots for her honorable men, and all her great men were bound in chains. 11 Thou also shalt be drunken; thou shalt be hid; thou also shalt seek a stronghold because of the enemy. 12 All thy fortresses shall be `like' fig-trees with the first-ripe figs: if they be shaken, they fall into the mouth of the eater. 13 Behold, thy people in the midst of thee are women; the gates of thy land are set wide open unto thine enemies: the fire hath devoured thy bars. 14 Draw thee water for the siege; strengthen thy fortresses; go into the clay, and tread the mortar; make strong the brickkiln. 15 There shall the fire devour thee; the sword shall cut thee off; it shall devour thee like the canker-worm: make thyself many as the canker-worm; make thyself many as the locust. 16 Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of heaven: the canker-worm ravageth, and fleeth away. 17 Thy princes are as the locusts, and thy marshals as the swarms of grasshoppers, which encamp in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth they flee away, and their place is not known where they are. 18 Thy shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria; thy nobles are at rest; thy people are scattered upon the mountains, and there is none to gather them. 19 There is no assuaging of thy hurt: thy wound is grievous: all that hear the report of thee clap their hands over thee; for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?




Live Confident in God’s Sovereign Power

Published by John Piper for reading on September 26th.

The immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe . . . ( Ephesians 1:19 19 and what the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might )

The omnipotence of God means eternal, unshakable refuge in the everlasting glory of God no matter what happens on this earth. And that confidence is the source and power of radical obedience to the call of God.

Is there anything more freeing, more thrilling, or more strengthening than the truth that God Almighty is your refuge — all day, every day in all the ordinary and extraordinary experiences of life?

If we believed this, if we really let this truth of God’s omnipotence get hold of us, what a difference it would make in our personal lives and in our ministries! How humble and powerful we would become for the saving purposes of God!

The omnipotence of God means refuge for the people of God. And when you really believe that your refuge is the omnipotence of God Almighty, there is a joy and a freedom and a power that spills over in a life of radical obedience to Jesus Christ.

The omnipotence of God means reverence, recompense, and refuge for his covenant people.

I invite you to accept the terms of his covenant of grace: Turn from sin and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ; and the omnipotence of God Almighty will be the reverence of your soul, the recompense of your enemies, and the refuge of your life — forever.



What Is Guilt?

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on September 26th.

Romans 5:6-11 6 For while we were yet weak, in due season Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: for peradventure for the good man some one would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved from the wrath `of God' through him. 10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life; 11 and not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

Guilt is something with which we’re all familiar. Oftentimes, Christians wear it like a badge of honor, in some misguided effort to demonstrate humility. But this is a misunderstanding that poisons the church and steals the joy of Christ from believers. It’s worth taking the time to stop and ask the question, “What is guilt?”

When we see the term in English translations of the Bible, we tend to apply a worldly interpretation of the passage. In the context of the world, guilt refers to feelings of remorse, depression, or rejection over some event from the past. Scripturally speaking, however, the word is used only to denote responsibility. The word is not associated with feelings of shame or rejection; instead, it is more of a legal term, as when a court finds an offender “guilty.”

What does this mean for the believer? Well, we should already know that we have been found guilty—we all have an enormous sin debt that we could never pay. However, Jesus Christ took that guilt upon Himself at the cross, and He paid our debt in full. We need to realize that if He has already paid our debt and released us from liability, then we are no longer guilty. Yes, we have been tried, but we’ve been declared forgiven.

The Lord doesn’t want us to hide the joy of our salvation beneath a smothering blanket of guilt. Rather, we are called to rejoice in the glorious redemption that Christ’s sacrifice made possible. For this reason, we can proudly proclaim, “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” ( John 8:36 36 If therefore the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. ). Go, and be free today.

Bible in One Year: Nahum 1-3 Chapter 1 1 The burden of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite. 2 Jehovah is a jealous God and avengeth; Jehovah avengeth and is full of wrath; Jehovah taketh vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth `wrath' for his enemies. 3 Jehovah is slow to anger, and great in power, and will by no means clear `the guilty': Jehovah hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. 4 He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel; and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. 5 The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt; and the earth is upheaved at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. 6 Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken asunder by him. 7 Jehovah is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that take refuge in him. 8 But with an over-running flood he will make a full end of her place, and will pursue his enemies into darkness. 9 What do ye devise against Jehovah? he will make a full end; affliction shall not rise up the second time. 10 For entangled like thorns, and drunken as with their drink, they are consumed utterly as dry stubble. 11 There is one gone forth out of thee, that deviseth evil against Jehovah, that counselleth wickedness. 12 Thus saith Jehovah: Though they be in full strength, and likewise many, even so shall they be cut down, and he shall pass away. Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more. 13 And now will I break his yoke from off thee, and will burst thy bonds in sunder. 14 And Jehovah hath given commandment concerning thee, that no more of thy name be sown: out of the house of thy gods will I cut off the graven image and the molten image; I will make thy grave; for thou art vile. 15 Behold, upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! Keep thy feasts, O Judah, perform thy vows; for the wicked one shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off. Chapter 2 1 He that dasheth in pieces is come up against thee: keep the fortress, watch the way, make thy loins strong, fortify thy power mightily. 2 For Jehovah restoreth the excellency of Jacob, as the excellency of Israel; for the emptiers have emptied them out, and destroyed their vine-branches. 3 The shield of his mighty men is made red, the valiant men are in scarlet: the chariots flash with steel in the day of his preparation, and the cypress `spears' are brandished. 4 The chariots rage in the streets; they rush to and fro in the broad ways: the appearance of them is like torches; they run like the lightnings. 5 He remembereth his nobles: they stumble in their march; they make haste to the wall thereof, and the mantelet is prepared. 6 The gates of the rivers are opened, and the palace is dissolved. 7 And it is decreed: she is uncovered, she is carried away; and her handmaids moan as with the voice of doves, beating upon their breasts. 8 But Nineveh hath been from of old like a pool of water: yet they flee away. Stand, stand, `they cry'; but none looketh back. 9 Take ye the spoil of silver, take the spoil of gold; for there is no end of the store, the glory of all goodly furniture. 10 She is empty, and void, and waste; and the heart melteth, and the knees smite together, and anguish is in all loins, and the faces of them all are waxed pale. 11 Where is the den of the lions, and the feeding-place of the young lions, where the lion `and' the lioness walked, the lion's whelp, and none made them afraid? 12 The lion did tear in pieces enough for his whelps, and strangled for his lionesses, and filled his caves with prey, and his dens with ravin. 13 Behold, I am against thee, saith Jehovah of hosts, and I will burn her chariots in the smoke, and the sword shall devour thy young lions; and I will cut off thy prey from the earth, and the voice of thy messengers shall no more be heard. Chapter 3 1 Woe to the bloody city! it is all full of lies and rapine; the prey departeth not. 2 The noise of the whip, and the noise of the rattling of wheels, and prancing horses, and bounding chariots, 3 the horseman mounting, and the flashing sword, and the glittering spear, and a multitude of slain, and a great heap of corpses, and there is no end of the bodies; they stumble upon their bodies;- 4 because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the well-favored harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts. 5 Behold, I am against thee, saith Jehovah of hosts, and I will uncover thy skirts upon thy face; and I will show the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame. 6 And I will cast abominable filth upon thee, and make thee vile, and will set thee as a gazing-stock. 7 And it shall come to pass, that all they that look upon thee shall flee from thee, and say, Nineveh is laid waste: who will bemoan her? whence shall I seek comforters for thee? 8 Art thou better than No-amon, that was situate among the rivers, that had the waters round about her; whose rampart was the sea, `and' her wall was of the sea? 9 Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength, and it was infinite; Put and Lubim were thy helpers. 10 Yet was she carried away, she went into captivity; her young children also were dashed in pieces at the head of all the streets; and they cast lots for her honorable men, and all her great men were bound in chains. 11 Thou also shalt be drunken; thou shalt be hid; thou also shalt seek a stronghold because of the enemy. 12 All thy fortresses shall be `like' fig-trees with the first-ripe figs: if they be shaken, they fall into the mouth of the eater. 13 Behold, thy people in the midst of thee are women; the gates of thy land are set wide open unto thine enemies: the fire hath devoured thy bars. 14 Draw thee water for the siege; strengthen thy fortresses; go into the clay, and tread the mortar; make strong the brickkiln. 15 There shall the fire devour thee; the sword shall cut thee off; it shall devour thee like the canker-worm: make thyself many as the canker-worm; make thyself many as the locust. 16 Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of heaven: the canker-worm ravageth, and fleeth away. 17 Thy princes are as the locusts, and thy marshals as the swarms of grasshoppers, which encamp in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth they flee away, and their place is not known where they are. 18 Thy shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria; thy nobles are at rest; thy people are scattered upon the mountains, and there is none to gather them. 19 There is no assuaging of thy hurt: thy wound is grievous: all that hear the report of thee clap their hands over thee; for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?




Live Confident in God’s Power

Published by John Piper for reading on September 26th.

The immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe . . . ( Ephesians 1:19 19 and what the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might )

The omnipotence of God means eternal, unshakable refuge in the everlasting glory of God no matter what happens on this earth. And that confidence is the power of radical obedience to the call of God.

Is there anything more freeing, more thrilling, or more strengthening than the truth that God Almighty is your refuge — all day, every day in all the ordinary and extraordinary experiences of life?

If we believed this, if we really let this truth of God’s omnipotence get hold of us, what a difference it would make in our personal lives and in our ministries! How humble and powerful we would become for the saving purposes of God!

The omnipotence of God means refuge for the people of God. And when you really believe that your refuge is the omnipotence of God Almighty, there is a joy and a freedom and a power that spills over in a life of radical obedience to Jesus Christ.

The omnipotence of God means reverence, recompense, and refuge for his covenant people.

I invite you to accept the terms of his covenant of grace: Turn from sin and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the omnipotence of God Almighty will be the reverence of your soul, the recompense of your enemies, and the refuge of your life — forever.



God Meets Our Needs

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on September 26th.

Philippians 4:19 19 And my God shall supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Our heavenly Father has promised to provide everything we need. Let’s consider some of the good gifts that are ours in Christ Jesus.

One universal human need is love. Through faith in Jesus, we’ve been adopted as the heavenly Father’s beloved children. But before this could take place, God’s justice had to be satisfied. You see, we were all born with a sinful nature that is bent away from the Lord. Because of the Father’s great love, He sent Jesus to take our place and experience judgment for our sin. Out of deep compassion for us, Jesus willingly suffered and died so we might become part of God’s family and experience His rich affection for us ( John 3:16 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life. ). Through our relationship with Him, this need for love is fully met.

In fact, by means of salvation, our Father also provided for two other basic needs—companionship and security. When we accept God’s offer of forgiveness, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us, fulfilling Jesus’ promise never to leave us (Heb. 13:5). This new relationship is permanent. What Jesus accomplished on the cross was fully accepted by God as payment for our sin debt. Furthermore, Christ Himself promised that no one can ever snatch us out of His hand ( John 10:28 28 and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. ). Therefore, we can rest in the knowledge that we are God’s children forever. That is true security.

Our deep need for love, security, and companionship is satisfied in an intimate relationship with the Lord. Have you trusted Christ so you could be permanently adopted into God’s family?

Bible in One Year: Nahum 1-3 Chapter 1 1 The burden of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite. 2 Jehovah is a jealous God and avengeth; Jehovah avengeth and is full of wrath; Jehovah taketh vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth `wrath' for his enemies. 3 Jehovah is slow to anger, and great in power, and will by no means clear `the guilty': Jehovah hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. 4 He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel; and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. 5 The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt; and the earth is upheaved at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. 6 Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken asunder by him. 7 Jehovah is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that take refuge in him. 8 But with an over-running flood he will make a full end of her place, and will pursue his enemies into darkness. 9 What do ye devise against Jehovah? he will make a full end; affliction shall not rise up the second time. 10 For entangled like thorns, and drunken as with their drink, they are consumed utterly as dry stubble. 11 There is one gone forth out of thee, that deviseth evil against Jehovah, that counselleth wickedness. 12 Thus saith Jehovah: Though they be in full strength, and likewise many, even so shall they be cut down, and he shall pass away. Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more. 13 And now will I break his yoke from off thee, and will burst thy bonds in sunder. 14 And Jehovah hath given commandment concerning thee, that no more of thy name be sown: out of the house of thy gods will I cut off the graven image and the molten image; I will make thy grave; for thou art vile. 15 Behold, upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! Keep thy feasts, O Judah, perform thy vows; for the wicked one shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off. Chapter 2 1 He that dasheth in pieces is come up against thee: keep the fortress, watch the way, make thy loins strong, fortify thy power mightily. 2 For Jehovah restoreth the excellency of Jacob, as the excellency of Israel; for the emptiers have emptied them out, and destroyed their vine-branches. 3 The shield of his mighty men is made red, the valiant men are in scarlet: the chariots flash with steel in the day of his preparation, and the cypress `spears' are brandished. 4 The chariots rage in the streets; they rush to and fro in the broad ways: the appearance of them is like torches; they run like the lightnings. 5 He remembereth his nobles: they stumble in their march; they make haste to the wall thereof, and the mantelet is prepared. 6 The gates of the rivers are opened, and the palace is dissolved. 7 And it is decreed: she is uncovered, she is carried away; and her handmaids moan as with the voice of doves, beating upon their breasts. 8 But Nineveh hath been from of old like a pool of water: yet they flee away. Stand, stand, `they cry'; but none looketh back. 9 Take ye the spoil of silver, take the spoil of gold; for there is no end of the store, the glory of all goodly furniture. 10 She is empty, and void, and waste; and the heart melteth, and the knees smite together, and anguish is in all loins, and the faces of them all are waxed pale. 11 Where is the den of the lions, and the feeding-place of the young lions, where the lion `and' the lioness walked, the lion's whelp, and none made them afraid? 12 The lion did tear in pieces enough for his whelps, and strangled for his lionesses, and filled his caves with prey, and his dens with ravin. 13 Behold, I am against thee, saith Jehovah of hosts, and I will burn her chariots in the smoke, and the sword shall devour thy young lions; and I will cut off thy prey from the earth, and the voice of thy messengers shall no more be heard. Chapter 3 1 Woe to the bloody city! it is all full of lies and rapine; the prey departeth not. 2 The noise of the whip, and the noise of the rattling of wheels, and prancing horses, and bounding chariots, 3 the horseman mounting, and the flashing sword, and the glittering spear, and a multitude of slain, and a great heap of corpses, and there is no end of the bodies; they stumble upon their bodies;- 4 because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the well-favored harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts. 5 Behold, I am against thee, saith Jehovah of hosts, and I will uncover thy skirts upon thy face; and I will show the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame. 6 And I will cast abominable filth upon thee, and make thee vile, and will set thee as a gazing-stock. 7 And it shall come to pass, that all they that look upon thee shall flee from thee, and say, Nineveh is laid waste: who will bemoan her? whence shall I seek comforters for thee? 8 Art thou better than No-amon, that was situate among the rivers, that had the waters round about her; whose rampart was the sea, `and' her wall was of the sea? 9 Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength, and it was infinite; Put and Lubim were thy helpers. 10 Yet was she carried away, she went into captivity; her young children also were dashed in pieces at the head of all the streets; and they cast lots for her honorable men, and all her great men were bound in chains. 11 Thou also shalt be drunken; thou shalt be hid; thou also shalt seek a stronghold because of the enemy. 12 All thy fortresses shall be `like' fig-trees with the first-ripe figs: if they be shaken, they fall into the mouth of the eater. 13 Behold, thy people in the midst of thee are women; the gates of thy land are set wide open unto thine enemies: the fire hath devoured thy bars. 14 Draw thee water for the siege; strengthen thy fortresses; go into the clay, and tread the mortar; make strong the brickkiln. 15 There shall the fire devour thee; the sword shall cut thee off; it shall devour thee like the canker-worm: make thyself many as the canker-worm; make thyself many as the locust. 16 Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of heaven: the canker-worm ravageth, and fleeth away. 17 Thy princes are as the locusts, and thy marshals as the swarms of grasshoppers, which encamp in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth they flee away, and their place is not known where they are. 18 Thy shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria; thy nobles are at rest; thy people are scattered upon the mountains, and there is none to gather them. 19 There is no assuaging of thy hurt: thy wound is grievous: all that hear the report of thee clap their hands over thee; for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?




Daily Bible - September 26

Published by Grace To You for reading on September 26th.

Reading for Today:

  • Isaiah 43:1 Chapter 43 1 But now thus saith Jehovah that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed thee; I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine. –44:28
  • Psalms 110:1-7 Chapter 110 1 Jehovah saith unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, Until I make thine enemies thy footstool. 2 Jehovah will send forth the rod of thy strength out of Zion: Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. 3 Thy people offer themselves willingly In the day of thy power, in holy array: Out of the womb of the morning Thou hast the dew of thy youth. 4 Jehovah hath sworn, and will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever After the order of Melchizedek. 5 The Lord at thy right hand Will strike through kings in the day of his wrath. 6 He will judge among the nations, He will fill `the places' with dead bodies; He will strike through the head in many countries. 7 He will drink of the brook in the way: Therefore will he lift up the head.
  • Proverbs 26:5-9 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own conceit. 6 He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool Cutteth off `his own' feet, `and' drinketh in damage. 7 The legs of the lame hang loose: So is a parable in the mouth of fools. 8 As one that bindeth a stone in a sling, So is he that giveth honor to a fool. 9 `As' a thorn that goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, So is a parable in the mouth of fools.
  • Galatians 4:1-31 Chapter 4 1 But I say that so long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a bondservant though he is lord of all; 2 but is under guardians and stewards until the day appointed of the father. 3 So we also, when we were children, were held in bondage under the rudiments of the world: 4 but when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 that he might redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 So that thou art no longer a bondservant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. 8 Howbeit at that time, not knowing God, ye were in bondage to them that by nature are no gods: 9 but now that ye have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how turn ye back again to the weak and beggarly rudiments, whereunto ye desire to be in bondage over again? 10 Ye observe days, and months, and seasons, and years. 11 I am afraid of you, lest by any means I have bestowed labor upon you in vain. 12 I beseech you, brethren, become as I `am', for I also `am become' as ye `are'. Ye did me no wrong: 13 but ye know that because of an infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you the first time: 14 and that which was a temptation to you in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but ye received me as an angel of God, `even' as Christ Jesus. 15 Where then is that gratulation of yourselves? for I bear you witness, that, if possible, ye would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. 16 So then am I become your enemy, by telling you the truth? 17 They zealously seek you in no good way; nay, they desire to shut you out, that ye may seek them. 18 But it is good to be zealously sought in a good matter at all times, and not only when I am present with you. 19 My little children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you-- 20 but I could wish to be present with you now, and to change my tone; for I am perplexed about you. 21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, one by the handmaid, and one by the freewoman. 23 Howbeit the `son' by the handmaid is born after the flesh; but the `son' by the freewoman `is born' through promise. 24 Which things contain an allegory: for these `women' are two covenants; one from mount Sinai, bearing children unto bondage, which is Hagar. 25 Now this Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia and answereth to the Jerusalem that now is: for she is in bondage with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, which is our mother. 27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; Break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: For more are the children of the desolate than of her that hath the husband. 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him `that was born' after the Spirit, so also it is now. 30 Howbeit what saith the scripture? Cast out the handmaid and her son: for the son of the handmaid shall not inherit with the son of the freewoman. 31 Wherefore, brethren, we are not children of a handmaid, but of the freewoman.

Notes:

Isaiah 43:25 I, even I…not remember your sins. This verse is probably the high point of grace in the Old Testament. In spite of Israel’s utter unworthiness, the Lord in His grace has devised a way that He can forgive their sins and grant righteousness, without compromising His holiness. This He would accomplish through the work of His Servant (53:6). In spite of her failures, Israel will always be God’s chosen people.

Isaiah 44:28 Cyrus,…My shepherd. The prophecy—given a century and a half before Cyrus lived and became king of Persia—predicted God’s use of the Persian king to gather the faithful remnant of Israel back to the land. In this role, Cyrus prefigured the Lord’s Servant, who will shepherd the sheep of Israel in their final regathering (Mic. 5:4). The title “shepherd” applied to kings as leaders of God’s people (2 Sam. 5:2; Jer. 3:15). In Acts 13:22 22 And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king; to whom also he bare witness and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who shall do all My will. , Paul compares David to the standard of Cyrus’s obedience. Jerusalem…the temple. In 538 B.C., Cyrus decreed the rebuilding of the temple ( Ezra 1:1 Chapter 1 1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of Jehovah by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, Jehovah stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and `put it' also in writing, saying, , 2; 6:3), thus fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy. The returning Jews completed the work in 516 B.C. ( Ezra 6:15 15 And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king. ).

Galatians 4:4 the fullness of the time. In God’s timetable, when the exact religious, cultural, and political conditions demanded by His perfect plan were in place, Jesus came into the world. God sent forth His Son. As a father set the time for the ceremony of his son becoming of age and being released from the guardians, stewards, and tutors, so God sent His Son at the precise moment to bring all who believe out from under bondage to the law—a truth Jesus repeatedly affirmed ( John 5:30 30 I can of myself do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is righteous; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. , 36, 37; 6:39, 44, 57; 8:16, 18, 42; 12:49; 17:21, 25; 20:21). That the Father sent Jesus into the world teaches His preexistence as the eternal second member of the Trinity. born of a woman. This emphasizes Jesus’ full humanity, not merely His virgin birth (Is. 7:14; Matt. 1:20–25). Jesus had to be fully God for His sacrifice to be of the infinite worth needed to atone for sin. But He also had to be fully man so He could take upon Himself the penalty of sin as the substitute for man. under the law. Like all men, Jesus was obligated to obey God’s law. Unlike anyone else, however, He perfectly obeyed that law ( John 8:46 46 Which of you convicteth me of sin? If I say truth, why do ye not believe me? ; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 7:26; 1 Pet. 2:22; 1 John 3:5 5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away sins; and in him is no sin. ). His sinlessness made Him the unblemished sacrifice for sins, who “fulfilled all righteousness,” i.e., perfectly obeyed God in everything. That perfect righteousness is what is imputed to those who believe in Him.

Galatians 4:5 those…under the law. Guilty sinners who are under the law’s demands and its curses and in need of a Savior. the adoption as sons. “Adoption” is the act of bringing someone who is the offspring of another into one’s own family. Since unregenerate people are by nature children of the devil, the only way they can become God’s children is by spiritual adoption.

DAY 26: How does Psalms 110 Chapter 110 1 Jehovah saith unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, Until I make thine enemies thy footstool. 2 Jehovah will send forth the rod of thy strength out of Zion: Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. 3 Thy people offer themselves willingly In the day of thy power, in holy array: Out of the womb of the morning Thou hast the dew of thy youth. 4 Jehovah hath sworn, and will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever After the order of Melchizedek. 5 The Lord at thy right hand Will strike through kings in the day of his wrath. 6 He will judge among the nations, He will fill `the places' with dead bodies; He will strike through the head in many countries. 7 He will drink of the brook in the way: Therefore will he lift up the head. exalt Jesus Christ?

This psalm contains one of the most exalted prophetic portions of Scripture presenting Jesus Christ as both a holy king and a royal high priest—something that no human monarch of Israel ever experienced. It, along with Psalms 118 Chapter 118 1 Oh give thanks unto Jehovah; for he is good; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever. 2 Let Israel now say, That his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever. 3 Let the house of Aaron now say, That his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever. 4 Let them now that fear Jehovah say, That his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever. 5 Out of my distress I called upon Jehovah: Jehovah answered me `and set me' in a large place. 6 Jehovah is on my side; I will not fear: What can man do unto me? 7 Jehovah is on my side among them that help me: Therefore shall I see `my desire' upon them that hate me. 8 It is better to take refuge in Jehovah Than to put confidence in man. 9 It is better to take refuge in Jehovah Than to put confidence in princes. 10 All nations compassed me about: In the name of Jehovah I will cut them off. 11 They compassed me about; yea, they compassed me about: In the name of Jehovah I will cut them off. 12 They compassed me about like bees; They are quenched as the fire of thorns: In the name of Jehovah I will cut them off. 13 Thou didst thrust sore at me that I might fall; But Jehovah helped me. 14 Jehovah is my strength and song; And he is become my salvation. 15 The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tents of the righteous: The right hand of Jehovah doeth valiantly. 16 The right hand of Jehovah is exalted: The right hand of Jehovah doeth valiantly. 17 I shall not die, but live, And declare the works of Jehovah. 18 Jehovah hath chastened me sore; But he hath not given me over unto death. 19 Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will enter into them, I will give thanks unto Jehovah. 20 This is the gate of Jehovah; The righteous shall enter into it. 21 I will give thanks unto thee; for thou hast answered me, And art become my salvation. 22 The stone which the builders rejected Is become the head of the corner. 23 This is Jehovah's doing; It is marvellous in our eyes. 24 This is the day which Jehovah hath made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. 25 Save now, we beseech thee, O Jehovah: O Jehovah, we beseech thee, send now prosperity. 26 Blessed be he that cometh in the name of Jehovah: We have blessed you out of the house of Jehovah. 27 Jehovah is God, and he hath given us light: Bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar. 28 Thou art my God, and I will give thanks unto thee: Thou art my God, I will exalt thee. 29 Oh give thanks unto Jehovah; for he is good; For his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever. , is by far the most quoted psalm in the New Testament (Matt. 22:44; 26:64; Mark 12:36 36 David himself said in the Holy Spirit, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet. ; 14:62; Luke 20:42 42 For David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, , 43; 22:69; Acts 2:34 34 For David ascended not into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, , 35; Heb. 1:13; 5:6; 7:17, 21; 10:13). While portraying the perfect king, the perfect high priest, and the perfect government, Psalms 110 Chapter 110 1 Jehovah saith unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, Until I make thine enemies thy footstool. 2 Jehovah will send forth the rod of thy strength out of Zion: Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. 3 Thy people offer themselves willingly In the day of thy power, in holy array: Out of the womb of the morning Thou hast the dew of thy youth. 4 Jehovah hath sworn, and will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever After the order of Melchizedek. 5 The Lord at thy right hand Will strike through kings in the day of his wrath. 6 He will judge among the nations, He will fill `the places' with dead bodies; He will strike through the head in many countries. 7 He will drink of the brook in the way: Therefore will he lift up the head. declares Christ’s current role in heaven as the resurrected Savior (110:1) and His future role on earth as the reigning Monarch (110:2–7). This psalm is decidedly messianic and millennial in content. Jesus Christ (Matt. 22:43, 44) verifies the Davidic authorship.

“The LORD said to my Lord” (v. 1). Refers to the divine/human King of Israel—the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ’s humanity descended from David, which is demanded by the Davidic promise of 2 Samuel 7:12 12 When thy days are fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, that shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. . Using this passage, Christ also declared His deity in the Gospels (Matt. 22:44; Mark 12:36 36 David himself said in the Holy Spirit, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet. ; Luke 20:42 42 For David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, –43) by arguing that only God could have been lord to King David. “My right hand.” God the Father invited God the Son in His ascension to sit at the place of honor in the heavenly throne room (Acts. 2:22–36; Heb. 10:10–12). “Your enemies Your footstool.” Footstool was an ancient Near Eastern picture of absolute victory portraying the idea that one’s enemy was now underfoot (Pss. 8:6, 7; 47:3; Is. 66:1; 1 Cor. 15:27).

“You are a priest” (v. 4).The first time in the history of Israel when a king simultaneously served as high priest. Christ (a.k.a. “Branch,” Is. 4:2; Jer. 23:5, 6; Zech. 3:8; 6:12, 13) will build the temple at which the world will worship God (2 Sam. 7:13; Is. 2:2–4; Ezek. 40–48). “Forever.” Christ represents the final and foremost high priest in the history of Israel. “The order of Melchizedek.” This high priest could not be of Aaron’s lineage in that he would not be eternal, not be of Judah, not be a king, and not be of the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31–33; Heb. 8,9). Melchizedek, which means “king of righteousness,” served as the human priest/king of Salem in Genesis 14:17 17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him, after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him, at the vale of Shaveh (the same is the King's Vale). –20 and provides a picture of the order of Christ’s priesthood (Heb. 5:6; 7:17, 21).

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

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September 26 - An Old Testament Illustration of Salvation

Published by Grace To You for reading on September 26th.

“‘As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life’” ( John 3:14 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; –15).

To emphasize for Nicodemus that there was no excuse for him to be ignorant of the way of salvation, Jesus appealed to a familiar incident in the Old Testament (Num. 21:5–9).

The event took place during Israel’s forty years of wilderness wandering after leaving Egypt and before entering the Promised Land. As a judgment on the people’s incessant complaining, the Lord sent venomous snakes to infest their camp. In desperation, the Israelites begged Moses to intercede on their behalf. And God answered Moses’ prayerful petition by showing mercy to His rebellious people. He instructed Moses to make a bronze replica of a snake and raise it above the camp on a pole. Those who were bitten would be healed if they but looked at it, thereby acknowledging their guilt and expressing faith in God’s forgiveness and healing power.

The point of Jesus’ analogy is that just “as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up” (crucified; cf. 8:28; 12:32, 34). The term “must” emphasizes that Christ’s death was a necessary part of God’s plan of salvation. He had to die as a substitute for sinners. The stricken Israelites were cured by obediently looking to the elevated serpent, apart from any works or righteousness of their own, in complete hope and dependence on God’s Word. In the same way, whoever looks in faith alone to the crucified Christ will be cured from sin’s deadly bite and “will in Him have eternal life.”

Ask Yourself

The use of analogies and common knowledge is most effective in sharing gospel truth with others. What are some of the most compelling ones God has registered in your heart? Be deliberate about getting these down, grounding them biblically, then having them mentally available to share.

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, www.moodypublishers.com.

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The Spirit Brings Understanding

Published by Grace To You for reading on September 26th.

“‘These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will speak no more to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father’” ( John 16:25 25 These things have I spoken unto you in dark sayings: the hour cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in dark sayings, but shall tell you plainly of the Father. ).

We understand truth thanks to the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Scripture makes it clear that the disciples and all subsequent believers would need additional divine assistance to understand all of God’s teachings. Jesus Himself knew that, as we saw in yesterday’s lesson. And the apostle Paul alludes to that fact in 1 Corinthians 2:9: 9 but as it is written, Things which eye saw not, and ear heard not, And `which' entered not into the heart of man, Whatsoever things God prepared for them that love him. “Just as it is written, ‘Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.’” Our human minds and senses by themselves can’t give us an understanding of God’s truth. That’s why we need the Holy Spirit.

In John 16:25 25 These things have I spoken unto you in dark sayings: the hour cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in dark sayings, but shall tell you plainly of the Father. Jesus says, “An hour is coming when I . . . will tell you plainly.” That reference is to the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured forth to permanently indwell the disciples and all other believers. Therefore, Jesus is saying that the Spirit will help us understand God’s truth, even the veiled mysteries and figurative statements in His Word.

We know and understand all that we do about God only because His Spirit is our teacher. The Holy Spirit is the one who knows the mind of God and teaches us the deep things of God from Scripture (1 Cor. 2:10-14). All the New Testament epistles were written to plainly explain Christ’s teachings to us. At times the Spirit teaches us directly through the Word, and other times He uses people to teach us and unveil what was previously a mystery. But it’s all His working, it’s reliable, and we can thank Him every day for granting us spiritual understanding.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • If there is a Scripture passage that has been unclear to you, pray that God would clarify it for you as you study it again, or that He would lead you to someone who can help you understand it.
  • Pray for an unbeliever who has been struggling with accepting God’s truth. Ask the Spirit to draw that person to the Lord and unlock Scripture’s truths.

For Further Study

Read Acts 8:26-38 26 But an angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza: the same is desert. 27 And he arose and went: and behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was over all her treasure, who had come to Jerusalem to worship; 28 and he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 And the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. 30 And Philip ran to him, and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 31 And he said, How can I, except some one shall guide me? And he besought Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the passage of the Scripture which he was reading was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before his shearer is dumb, So he openeth not his mouth: 33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: His generation who shall declare? For his life is taken from the earth. 34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other? 35 And Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture, preached unto him Jesus. 36 And as they went on the way, they came unto a certain water; and the eunuch saith, Behold, `here is' water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 `And Philip said, If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.' 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. .

  • What does this passage teach about the importance of obeying the Spirit’s direction?
  • How did Philip and the Ethiopian exhibit different aspects of that obedience?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

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Satan Opposes God's Word

Published by Grace To You for reading on September 26th.
"Take . . . the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17).

Despite Satanic opposition, God’s Word will accomplish its work in His people.

In Matthew 13 Chapter 13 1 On that day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. 2 And there were gathered unto him great multitudes, so that he entered into a boat, and sat; and all the multitude stood on the beach. 3 And he spake to them many things in parables, saying, Behold, the sower went forth to sow; 4 and as he sowed, some `seeds' fell by the way side, and the birds came and devoured them: 5 and others fell upon the rocky places, where they had not much earth: and straightway they sprang up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6 and when the sun was risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 And others fell upon the thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked them: 8 and others fell upon the good ground, and yielded fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He that hath ears, let him hear. 10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11 And he answered and said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath. 13 Therefore speak I to them in parables; because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14 And unto them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall in no wise understand; And seeing ye shall see, and shall in no wise perceive: 15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, And their ears are dull of hearing, And their eyes they have closed; Lest haply they should perceive with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And should turn again, And I should heal them. 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear. 17 For verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men desired to see the things which ye see, and saw them not; and to hear the things which ye hear, and heard them not. 18 Hear then ye the parable of the sower. 19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, `then' cometh the evil `one', and snatcheth away that which hath been sown in his heart. This is he that was sown by the way side. 20 And he that was sown upon the rocky places, this is he that heareth the word, and straightway with joy receiveth it; 21 yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a while; and when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, straightway he stumbleth. 22 And he that was sown among the thorns, this is he that heareth the word; and the care of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. 23 And he that was sown upon the good ground, this is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; who verily beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 24 Another parable set he before them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man that sowed good seed in his field: 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares also among the wheat, and went away. 26 But when the blade sprang up and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27 And the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? whence then hath it tares? 28 And he said unto them, An enemy hath done this. And the servants say unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29 But he saith, Nay; lest haply while ye gather up the tares, ye root up the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather up first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn. 31 Another parable set he before them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: 32 which indeed is less than all seeds; but when it is grown, it is greater than the herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the heaven come and lodge in the branches thereof. 33 Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened. 34 All these things spake Jesus in parables unto the multitudes; and without a parable spake he nothing unto them: 35 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world. 36 Then he left the multitudes, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Explain unto us the parable of the tares of the field. 37 And he answered and said, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 38 and the field is the world; and the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil `one'; 39 and the enemy that sowed them is the devil: and the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered up and burned with fire; so shall it be in the end of the world. 41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that cause stumbling, and them that do iniquity, 42 and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He that hath ears, let him hear. 44 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in the field; which a man found, and hid; and in his joy he goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a merchant seeking goodly pearls: 46 and having found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it. 47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: 48 which, when it was filled, they drew up on the beach; and they sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but the bad they cast away. 49 So shall it be in the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the righteous, 50 and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. 51 Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea. 52 And he said unto them, Therefore every scribe who hath been made a disciple to the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a householder, who bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old. 53 And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence. 54 And coming into his own country he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? 55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Judas? 56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? 57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house. 58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief. Jesus tells the parable of the sower and the seed: "Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. And others fell upon the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up. . . . But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil, and yielded a crop" (vv. 3-8).

Jesus went on to explain that the seed is the truth of God's Word. Satan and his demonic forces can snatch it away from those who hear it yet don't understand what it means. They can bring affliction and persecution against those who have an emotional commitment only, thereby causing them to lose heart and fall away. In some cases they choke out the Word with worry and the deceitfulness of riches (vv. 19-22).

But truly repentant sinners receive and nurture the gospel truth, just as prepared soil receives and nurtures seed. They hear it, understand it, receive it, and produce spiritual fruit (v. 23).

Proclaiming the gospel is an important aspect of taking the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). As you do, others are saved and join God's army. But be warned: Satan never gives up territory without a fight. Some of the people you witness to will forget what you tell them. Others will refuse to turn from worldly influences. Still others may respond emotionally, but without a genuine commitment to serving Christ and forsaking sin.

Those spiritual battles should compel you to bathe your evangelism in prayer and undergird it with a clear gospel presentation. If people understand precisely what it means to receive Christ, and if their hearts are prepared by the Holy Spirit, they'll not be so easily victimized by satanic opposition.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask the Lord to give you an opportunity to share Christ with someone today, or to encourage a struggling believer.

For Further Study

Read 1 Thessalonians 3:1-8 Chapter 3 1 Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left behind at Athens alone; 2 and sent Timothy, our brother and God's minister in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort `you' concerning your faith; 3 that no man be moved by these afflictions; for yourselves know that hereunto we are appointed. 4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you beforehand that we are to suffer affliction; even as it came to pass, and ye know. 5 For this cause I also, when I could no longer forbear, sent that I might know your faith, lest by any means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor should be in vain. 6 But when Timothy came even now unto us from you, and brought us glad tidings of your faith and love, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, longing to see us, even as we also `to see' you; 7 for this cause, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our distress and affliction through your faith: 8 for now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord. .

  • What was Paul's concern for the Thessalonian believers?
  • What did he do to eliminate his concern?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

Additional Resources        

Morning Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for September 26th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on September 26th.

Zechariah 1:8 8 I saw in the night, and, behold, a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle-trees that were in the bottom; and behind him there were horses, red, sorrel, and white.

THE vision in this chapter describes the condition of Israel in Zechariah's day; but being interpreted in its aspect towards us, it describes the Church of God as we find it now in the world. The Church is compared to a myrtle grove flourishing in a valley. It is hidden, unobserved, secreted; courting no honour and attracting no observation from the careless gazer. The Church, like her head, has a glory, but it is concealed from carnal eyes, for the time of her breaking forth in all her splendour is not yet come. The idea of tranquil security is also suggested to us: for the myrtle grove in the valley is still and calm, while the storm sweeps over the mountain summits. Tempests spend their force upon the craggy peaks of the Alps, but down yonder where flows the stream which maketh glad the city of our God, the myrtles flourish by the still waters, all unshaken by the impetuous wind. How great is the inward tranquility of God's Church! Even when opposed and persecuted, she has a peace which the world gives not, and which, therefore, it cannot take away: the peace of God which passeth all understanding keeps the hearts and minds of God's people. Does not the metaphor forcibly picture the peaceful, perpetual growth of the saints? The myrtle sheds not her leaves, she is always green; and the Church in her worst time still hath a blessed verdure of grace about her; nay, she has sometimes exhibited most verdure when her winter has been sharpest. She has prospered most when her adversities have been most severe. Hence the text hints at victory. The myrtle is the emblem of peace, and a significant token of triumph. The brows of conquerors were bound with myrtle and with laurel; and is not the Church ever victorious? Is not every Christian more than a conqueror through Him that loved him? Living in peace, do not the saints fall asleep in the arms of victory?

Evening Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for September 26th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on September 26th.

Zechariah 11:2 2 Wail, O fir-tree, for the cedar is fallen, because the goodly ones are destroyed: wail, O ye oaks of Bashan, for the strong forest is come down.

WHEN in the forest there is heard the crash of a falling oak, it is a sign that the woodman is abroad, and every tree in the whole company may tremble lest to-morrow the sharp edge of the axe should find it out. We are all like trees marked for the axe, and the fall of one should remind us that for every one, whether great as the cedar, or humble as the fir, the appointed hour is stealing on apace. I trust we do not, by often hearing of death, become callous to it. May we never be like the birds in the steeple, which build their nests when the bells are tolling, and sleep quietly when the solemn funeral peals are startling the air. May we regard death as the most weighty of all events, and be sobered by its approach. It ill behoves us to sport while our eternal destiny hangs on a thread. The sword is out of its scabbard—let us not trifle; it is furbished, and the edge is sharp—let us not play with it. He who does not prepare for death is more than an ordinary fool, he is a madman. When the voice of God is heard among the trees of the garden, let fig tree and sycamore, and elm and cedar, alike hear the sound thereof.

Be ready, servant of Christ, for thy Master comes on a sudden, when an ungodly world least expects Him. See to it that thou be faithful in His work, for the grave shall soon be digged for thee. Be ready, parents, see that your children are brought up in the fear of God, for they must soon be orphans; be ready, men of business, take care that your affairs are correct, and that you serve God with all your hearts, for the days of your terrestrial service will soon be ended, and you will be called to give account for the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or whether they be evil. May we all prepare for the tribunal of the great King with a care which shall be rewarded with the gracious commendation, "Well done, good and faithful servant"

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