John 17:17 "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth."
God's Word is not only true, it doesn't merely contain truth-it is truth and it defines truth (John 17:17). No movement of any generation birthed by biblical theology can ever be considered a fad. God's truth never returns void. As John Locke famously wrote, ""The Bible has God for its author; salvation for its end, & truth without mixture for its matter.""
God's word not only contains truth or describes truth--it is truth. “Why you are wrong: you know not Scripture or the power of God"" (Mark 12:24). Keys to truth: Love God's word and sovereignty. ""In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence"" (Eph 3:12). So many I counsel need this truth desperately.
Each day the world bombards you with rival truth claims is a day you need to spend time in God's never-erring word. So long as the god of this age blinds and deceives, our experiences and our reason will be no safe guide to truth. The most loving thing we can do is tell the truth so people can be reconciled to God. Pray that God would give you desires that welcome truth.
Father, I thank you that your mercy is offered to the worst of us. Father, that includes all of us. We have all sinned and fallen short of your glory. But your Word is truth. It informs me that there is no so sin so high or low that you can’t forgive—save rejecting your Son. Father, you have not called us to be a belligerent or offensive people even though the truth we preach with humility may be a great offense to many. Your call to the sinner is patient and enduring. You are a compassionate and gracious God; slow to anger & abounding in lovingkindness and truth. Thank you, Lord. Thank you for saving me. Your Word is truth! In Jesus’ name, amen.
Psalm 119:9 "How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word."
Our problems with God have more to do with our twisted hearts than Him (Jer. 17:9). Sin steals our joy. There can be no happiness without holiness, nor peace without purity. ""God is light, and in him is no darkness at all"" (1 John 1:5). There is not one particle of God we need to filter out. Purity. God has elected us to be holy and blameless before Him (Eph 1:4). Everyone who has this hope purifies himself, just as He is pure (1Jn 3:3). To our Savior, our purity of heart toward him is everything. To share our love with others is, in his eyes, whoredom (Ezekiel 23).
As Jesus turned dirty water into pure wine, He transformed our sin-polluted souls into His holy likeness by the miracle of new birth.
""Take sweet spices, ... seasoned with salt, pure and holy"" (Exodus 30:34-35). True holiness and purity are not bland. Everyone who hopes someday to see and be like Jesus, purifies himself now as he is pure. See 1 John 3:2-3.
What's your motive in serving? In the church, peace is impossible without purity. Let's serve with pure hearts so that God's fame might be poured forth to another generation (Psalm 145). Pure and undefiled religion is fueled by this one great truth – He shed His own blood for our souls. One reason I love free justification is that it guarantees my full freedom from sin, and I long to be completely pure! Our innocence, purity and virginity will be restored to us (2 Corinthians 11:2). We are not damaged goods. We are the Bride. When we realize our words are inadequate to thank God, only then can we serve him with a pure heart and out of pure delight.
Father, I thank you today that you desire for us to be pure as you are pure. Thank you that in Jesus we are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Thank you that we have your Holy Spirit who, as God himself, leads us into righteousness. Yet, Lord, we know that we still fight a daily battle over sin and temptation. Grant us your strength in this our. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one - for thine is the power and the glory. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Psalm 119:11 "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."
Sin is like gravity, it's the natural direction of the human heart. Our sin is most often revealed in prayer as the Spirit of God applies the Word to our heart. The less we pray, the more blind we are to sin. The Word of God is a sharp sword and able to pierce the hardest heart and expose the deepest sin.
Sin is not primarily God's subjects breaking his rules but God's children breaking his heart (Isaiah 1:2). Sin is not tied to places like cities, it is tied to the heart of individuals and God still loves those sinful people. Sever the root of my sin, or stop its fruit.
If your heart doesn't burn when you read the Word, your eyes haven't yet been opened. Feel free to let your ears scan the dial, but keep your heart tuned to the gospel's word of blessing. The Bible in your hand is a tree of life rooted in your heart. Eat.
""Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord"" (Psalm 27:14). We quit too soon; sin too soon. Wait. With God, the deal-breaker sin is a heart that refuses. The more Christ reigns in the heart, the more sin is conquered in the life. Real Christianity is not not-sinning; it is loving Christ. Still, Christ himself gives us a new heart that hates all sin (1 John 3:4-10).
Father, we think sin is the answer and not the problem. But every sin is against your goodness, wisdom, and authority. Thank you for reminding us of that in today's verse. Lord, we want to store up your words so as not to sin against you. You aren't a doting grandfather waiting for us like a bellhop. You are the holy God who deserves all praise. Be glorified in all we say and all we do. We desire your holiness. We pray that what we learn in your word would guard our hearts. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Romans 15:4 "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope."
In many churches today, the past becomes a hero of sorts as to how they handle present or future disappointment. “I remember when we used to have 27 busloads of kids here. We had so many, they were hanging out of the window.” Or another might say, “I really remember when we used to sing this one song over and over. That’s when our church was really blessed.”
Our God doesn’t live in the past. For our local church, this means that God is working today as much as He may have done in the past. For our personal lives,
Yet, the past is informative to our faith at all times. That is what Romans 15:4 is stating. The Bible was written over 1,600 years, in 66 books, by over 40 authors, on 3 continents, in 3 languages, yet comes together as one Book.
If you treat the Bible as if it's written in some sort of secret decoder-ring spy-breaking code, and only a select few have been able to crack said code, you've missed point. The Bible describes salvation in three tenses: past, present, and future. To ignore anyone of these tenses will skew our view of salvation. Every passage in the Bible is a pastor in written form, able to help a particular kind of sinner and sufferer. The Bible is sufficient.
What’s this mean for us? Today we have many opportunities to look past the monotony and believe God is working out His glorious purposes in us and through us—as we read from past examples. The Scripture is upfront: God doesn't just present you past and future grace to live, but right-here, right-now grace as you are reading this. If you want to have a lasting legacy past your death, teach people the Bible—the Old and New Testament—for God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Is the Bible sufficient for your faith? Your church? Your life? (Yes, it is!)
Father, thank you that everything written in the past informs me how you work, who you, and what you don’t stand for. Lord, we must be so immersed in Your written Word and truth that we are trained to choose rightly in cases which the Bible doesn't speak directly. Give us such discernment today—just as you have done through the ages. Thank you that you are a God that is not bound in one age. You are the supreme Lord over all! I praise you in Jesus’ name. Amen.
2 Timothy 3:17 "So that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
Daily Bible reading is the work of kings. (Deuteronomy 17:19). A Spirit-filled believer will always be Bible-loving, Bible-learning, and Bible-living. The Spirit and the Word always work together--never apart.
Just because you affirm the value of Scripture does not mean that you are equipped to serve, you've got to study and apply Scripture. We are to present ourselves as workman ready to divide the word of truth. Not the word of a pastor. Not the word of a priest. Not the word of a church. But the Word of God is our primary source of truth that informs all these others area of life.
Let's remember how this works itself our practically: The Bible is the story of a missionary God at work accomplishing his mission among the world and calling you & I to join him in that mission. Every true Christian who can articulate the gospel is equipped for mission. Good works are worship and warfare. They aren't ""payback."" If they are payback, Christ's good work is insufficient. But the debt is paid.
Jesus died to save a people, not a program. Don't die for your programs. Make sure programs serve and equip people. Please pray that the Lord might give us discernment and lead us to the place He has prepared. Our only desire is to be in the will of God.
Friend, remember, that He who began a good work in you will perfected on the day of Christ Jesus. Live in the present. Look to the end (Philippians 1:6). He who began a good work in you will finish it. His sovereignty is greater than your weakness, confusion, doubt, wrong choices, etc. etc.
Is this God not worth studying today? Have you?
Father, I thank you that we can be your servants--all through the grace of Christ. We praise you that we are yours only through the love that you first loved us with before the world began. We so often forget the power of the Gospel through the power of the Word. Father, we are hopeless without your Word. Protect our churches and families from trusting in anything else except you as you are revealed in Scripture. Father, you are enough for us! Remind me of this today—and thank you that we get to work with you – by grace – in the great mission to reach the world with the Gospel. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Deuteronomy 29:29 "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law."
God's secret will is secret. We can't tap into this. Beware of those who seem to know all the secret mysteries of God and leave no room for those mysteries about which God's Word is silent. Every secret thing will be found out, and the eternal God of justice, though patient, is yet not slow to do it.
Yet, faith, not about discovering God's secret will, but based on his clear commands, promises, power, and faithfulness is commanded in the Bible. That is what this verse is getting at. We can't know God's secret will, but we can know his revealed will--which is what the Bible is all about!
So where can we find God? In the low place (Isaiah 57:15), the secret place (Matthew 6:6), the honest place (1 John 1:7). You have no privacy, no seclusion. None. ""God will bring every secret thing into judgment, whether good or evil."" Eccl. 12:14 ""God knows the secrets of the heart"" (Psalm 44:21). Sad He must see all that wrong. But grateful I am utterly known by Him!
If ever there were a secret to effective ministry it's this: Grow in God and you'll make a difference in people's lives. Entrust yourself to the one who judges justly, waiting for the day when all wrongs will be made right and all secrets will be laid bare.
Father, on that you judge the secrets of men by Christ Jesus, we thank you that you have given us the greatest love book ever--the Bible. We thank you that Jesus publicly bore our secrets, guilt and shame so we would never have to live in secret, shame and guilt again. And we thank you that we don't have to hide from Jesus. He knows the darkest secrets of our hearts and still wraps his arms of love and grace around us. Wow, Lord, thank you! Father, we leave all of our "Stuff" to you because only you are worthy to handle it--known and unknown. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Colossians 2:8 "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ."
Inevitably, man-made tradition claims too much for itself (Mark 7:1-13). We need a Reformation now and then, the upheaval of revival. There's nothing wrong with tradition until your tradition becomes your religion. Jesus broke just about every unnecessary tradition of men in accomplishing his mission, and the religious community hated him for it.
Isn't this why Jeremiah said: "Our fathers inherited nothing but lies" (Jeremiah 16:19). Not every cultural tradition is to be celebrated.
Be careful what you listen to. It is our duty to guard the essential doctrines of the Gospel and proclaim them to all: imputation, propitiation, repentance, faith, etc.Check everything against the Scripture. True shepherds won't only address and guard sheep from a high rock, they'll also walk among the sheep and get dirty.
The Spirit provides us with all necessary weapons and armor not simply to stand guard but to assault our Enemy's kingdom. All this through the truth found only in the Bible. "Be on guard, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong" Paul (1 Cor. 16:13).
The Bible offers our only freedom from both tradition and fads. Be grateful. There is freedom there!
Father, thank you that you are clear in your Word for us there is truth. We don’t have to make up truth or invent a good story. Thy Word is truth. It is enough. It is what we have by your Spirit to guide us through this world today. Only by a Holy-Spirit-overcome heart can we guard the deceitfully wicked wellspring of life. We praise you for watching over us and taking care of us in this way. In Jesus’ name. Amen.