In today's study in 3 John 1:1-14, the Apostle John addresses one man who offered hospitality to others while another chose hostility instead. In these verses we see the importance of fellowship, love, and how to deal with those who are sinning against the church.
Saturday, January 30, 2016
Grace and Peace
This week, let’s take a look at Revelation 1:4 which says,“John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;”
We can quickly determine from this verse that John is about to write to the seven churches which are in Asia. We will discuss each of these churches in detail as we get into chapters two and three. For now, just know that they were seven literal churches in Asia Minor.
Notice the second part of the verse that says, “…Grace be unto you, and peace…” I want to focus on that statement today. Did you know that of the 27 books that make up the New Testament of our Bible, 17 of them began with this phrase? Also, if you carefully look at each time this happens; never is peace before grace. It’s always grace and then peace. Why does grace always come before peace?
Well, first of all, we need to understand what grace is. Grace is God’s unmerited favor. Some have used it as an acronym for “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” In other words, you can do nothing to earn it or deserve it. It is given by God as a free gift. The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Grace is given, not earned. No Christian can ever boast that they did something that so impressed God that He saved them.
The reason that God must give grace is because we are all sinners. To sin means to miss the mark. It’s an archery term. The archer pulls back his bow and he aims for the bull’s-eye, but the arrow falls short; therefore he sins. So too, no matter how desperately we desire or try to hit the bull’s-eye, we fall short as well. This is because we are sinners by our very nature. We inherited that nature from our Grandparents, Adam and Eve. That’s why the Bible says in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
As such, we are deserving of punishment. The Bible calls that place Hell. Whoa! That’s not good! No, it’s not, but that’s where grace comes in. The Bible says in Romans 5:8, “But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” In other words, God gave us grace, through His Son, Jesus Christ, so that we would not have to go to Hell because of our sin. Of course, the question of the day is, “What have you done about it?”
Romans 10:9-10 says, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved." Did you see that? If you will call upon the name of the Lord, you can be saved. You can accept the grace, the unmerited favor that God has given to you through His Son, Jesus Christ. However, it is up to you to take the first step.
Here is the conclusion of the matter. Grace always comes before peace, because without grace there can be no peace. One person said it this way; “No Grace, No Peace. Know Grace, Know Peace.” It is true. Once you come to understand this grace. Once you’ve come to rest and relax in this grace. Then you will have peace with God. One of Jesus’ titles is the Prince of Peace. Jesus said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”Do you want peace? You can have it, but you must accept God’s grace first. Come to Jesus today!
Friday, January 29, 2016
Thursday, January 28, 2016
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
In today's study from 1 Timothy 4:10-5:5 we are told that the believer's are promised blessing, but are not exempt from suffering. We also see the importance of good doctrine emphasized once again and how we are to care for the widows of the church.
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Monday, January 25, 2016
Saturday, January 23, 2016
Friday, January 22, 2016
The Time is Near
Last week we took a look at the three blessings given in Revelation 1:3. Today, I want to take a look at the last part of that verse where it says, “for the time is near." What does that mean? What time is near? Why did the Apostle John say that?
First of all, I believe that it was said as an encouragement to the reader. In other words, we should seek to obtain the three blessings of reading, hearing, and keeping those things written in the Bible because the “end is near”. I don’t know about you, but that’s a pretty good motivator for me, especially as a student of Scripture who has his eyes on the Middle East right now. Even a novice Bible reader should know that it will all end in the same place that it all began.
I’ve often asked my congregation how they would live their lives today if they knew for sure that Jesus was going to come back tomorrow. What would they do differently? What things would they leave unsaid? I guarantee that kind of knowledge would change most of our schedules! I know that it would change mine.
However, the Bible teaches that we are to live our lives like Jesus could return at any moment. Who knows, He may come back today, tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow. No one knows for sure but the Father (Mark 13:32). The truth is that we do not know, but we should live in such a way that we are ready. Revelation 3:3 says, “Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.” Sadly, many will be caught by surprise. What about you?
The second reason that John may have said “for the time is near”was as an attempt to warn those who for whatever reason don’t find it necessary to read, hear, and to keep those things written in the Bible. It could have been John’s way of saying, “I’m warning you that the day is coming when it will be too late.” Unfortunately, many Christians are going to be heartbroken when they stand before God on that final day because they failed to read, hear, and keep the Word of God. I see them every Sunday. They come, they sit, they listen, (some of them sleep) and they leave. They are just too busy for God. God just doesn’t know how busy and important they are. Their cell phones and whatever else is going to happen after the service are just too pressing. If the truth be known, they are just there to check the box on their “to do” list. You say, “Pastor, you’re being harsh.” No, my friend, I’m just being honest. No one knows the sheep better than a shepherd.
Can you imagine the day that we all stand before God? According to the Bible, the very first thing that we will see in Heaven, after the throne of God (Rev. 4:2), is our Risen Savior, Jesus Christ. Revelation 5:6 says, “And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain…” What will go through our minds at that moment? Sorrow? Pity? Regret? Maybe that is why Revelation 21:4 says, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes…” What are these tears for? It may be because for the first time, they are going to realize just how much Jesus suffered so that they could have eternal life. Maybe, it’s because they are going to wish that they would’ve, could’ve, and should’ve, done more. Sadly, there are going to be many Christians with tears in their eyes on that day because they are simply going to be overwhelmed with the unfortunate reality of misplaced priorities. How about you? Where are your priorities right now? He hasn’t come back yet; at least, not at the time of this writing.
I pray that we can all say as the Apostle Paul to his young disciple, Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:8, “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”