February 5, 2017: Daily Devotional Guide Collection

FEBRUARY 5
WHY WE WITNESS

By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

John 15:8

Most people probably think we should be saved for reasons other than to glorify God. Many Christians will usually give the following as the reasons they witness:

  • To keep people out of hell. They want them to avoid eternal punishment.
  • To manifest God’s love.
  • To obey Christ’s command. In Matthew 28:18–20 and Acts 1:8, Jesus tells us to evangelize.

Those are all valid, biblical reasons for evangelism, but the main reason we should preach the gospel is for the glory of God.[1]


February 5 God Is Three

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.”

2 Corinthians 13:14

✧✧✧

Though there is only one God, He exists in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

God is one, but He exists in three distinct Persons. We call this the Trinity, a contraction of “tri–unity,” meaning “three in one.” The word Trinity doesn’t appear in the Bible, but God’s existence as three Persons in one God is clear from Scripture.

Old Testament evidence of God’s plurality can be found in the very first verse: “In the beginning God …” (Gen. 1:1). The Hebrew word used for God is Elohim, which is a plural noun. Isaiah 42:1 speaks of the Messiah: “Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.” The Messiah says in Isaiah 48:16, “The Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit.”

The New Testament is more explicit about God’s triune nature. After Jesus’ baptism, the Spirit of God descended upon Him as a dove, and the Father said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well–pleased” (Matt. 3:17). The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are together in the same scene.

Jesus says, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16–17). Paul closes 2 Corinthians by saying, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all” (13:14). Peter declares that believers are chosen “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:2).

So God is one, but God is three. This is a profound mystery that no human illustration can adequately describe and no scientific explanation can prove. The Trinity is something we have to take on faith, because God has taught it in Scripture.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Praise God that He is so far above our finite understanding, yet has chosen to reveal Himself to us.

For Further Study: Read John 14–16. What does Jesus teach about His relationship with the Father and the Spirit? ✧ What do you learn here about the different functions or ministries of each member of the Trinity?[2]


FEBRUARY 5

GOD SPEAKS TO MEN

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.

—Hebrews 1:1-2

I think it may be accepted as axiomatic that God is constantly trying to speak to men. He desires to communicate Himself, to impart holy ideas to those of His creatures capable of receiving them.

This divine impulse toward self-expression may account for the creation, particularly for God’s having made intelligent and moral beings who could hear and understand truth. Among these beings man stands at the top, having been created in the image of God and so possessing purer and finer organs for the apprehension of whatever can be known of God. The Second Person of the Godhead is called the Word of God, that is, the mind of God in expression….

That the creative voice of God is constantly sounding throughout the creation is a truth forgotten by modern Christianity. Yet it was by His word that He called the world into being and it is by His word that all things are held together. It is the still voice of God in the heart of every human being that renders everyone culpable before the bar of God’s judgment and convicts of sin even those who have never been exposed to the written word. GTM007,009

Lord, may I make use of the intellect You have given me and open my ears to hear Your voice today. Amen. [3]


February 5

Kingdom Good News and Jesus’ Healings

Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.—Matt. 4:23

Gospel means “good news,” and it was the good news of God’s kingdom—around which all of Jesus’ teaching revolved—that He preached throughout Galilee. His emphasis never veered off into politics, economics, social activism, or resolution of personal disputes, which is as it should be for any faithful gospel messenger.

Jesus’ primary teaching was always the divine good news—God’s gracious offer to deliver sinners “from the domain of darkness … to the kingdom of His beloved Son” where they are saved and forgiven of their sins (Col. 1:13–14).

Initially, synagogues were the places where Jesus proclaimed the good news, the places where sincere, God-fearing Jews came to worship and hear God’s Word. Essentially, it was in those facilities that Jesus expected to find receptive audiences to His words, but He did not restrict His outreach to the people of Israel. The basic message of entering the sphere of God’s rule by faith in the saving gospel was and always has been open to anyone who trusts Christ’s invitation.

Jesus’ powerful, eternal words were unlike the words any other teacher had ever proclaimed. Even His fellow residents of Nazareth knew this and “were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips” (Luke 4:22). People at Capernaum also “were amazed at His teaching, for His message was with authority” (v. 32). Jesus’ teaching on the kingdom of God and His subsequent healings were the surest credentials that the Father had sent Him.

ASK YOURSELF
Jesus’ priorities were plainly obvious by the way He conducted Himself and the activities He chose to involve Himself in on a typical day. How would you enumerate your own priorities? And what day-to-day actions of yours back this up?[4]

FEBRUARY 5

BOTH LORD AND CHRIST

God hath made the same Jesus…both Lord and Christ.

Acts 2:36

 

No Christian believer should ever forget what the Bible says about the Person and the offices of the eternal Son, the Christ of God.

“God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). Jesus means Savior; Lord means Sovereign; Christ means Anointed One.

The Apostle Peter did not proclaim Jesus only as Savior—he preached to them Jesus as Lord and Christ and Savior, never dividing His Person or His offices.

Remember, also, the declaration of Paul: “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus…thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9).

Three times in the passage to the Roman Christians telling how to be saved, Paul calls Jesus “Lord.” He says that faith in the Lord Jesus plus confession of that faith to the world brings salvation to us!

 

Sovereign Lord, You are the One I choose to serve. Help me to meditate on this truth as I journey through some mundane tasks today.[5]


February 5 The Joy of Faithful Service

“Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus . . .” (Phil. 1:1).

✧✧✧

A faithful slave fulfills the will of his master.

The metaphor of Christians as slaves to Christ is common in Paul’s writings. It is one his readers would have readily understood because of the prevalence of slavery in the Roman Empire.

Peter, James, John, and Jude used the same metaphor of their own ministries, as did Jesus in Mark 10:45—“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” In Philippians 2:7 Paul refers to Christ as a bond-servant who set aside the glory He was due and humbled Himself to the point of death.

The Greek word translated “bond-servant” in Philippians 1:1 was commonly used of those who, out of devotion to their masters, chose to remain as slaves though having the opportunity to be released. They were also known as love slaves because they served out of love, not compulsion.

That is a beautiful picture of the believer. We are God’s “bond-servants” (Rev. 1:1), “having been freed from sin and enslaved to God” (Rom. 6:22).

While slavery brings to mind deprivation and inhumane treatment of one’s fellowman, slaves in the Roman Empire usually were treated with dignity and respect. Although most had no personal possessions, their masters supplied everything they needed for life and health. Additionally, many were entrusted with significant responsibilities in their master’s home.

A disobedient or self-willed slave was of no use to his master, but faithful slaves who set aside their personal interests to accomplish their master’s will were valued highly.

Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work” (John 4:34). As God’s bond-servant, that should be your goal as well. Be faithful, so God can use you mightily.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the privilege of serving Him. ✧ Seek wisdom to appropriate your spiritual resources as you perform the tasks God has entrusted to you.

For Further Study: The book of Philemon is a letter Paul wrote to accompany Onesimus, a runaway slave whom Paul had led to the Lord and was now returning to his master, Philemon. ✧ Read Philemon. ✧ What was Paul’s desire for Onesimus? ✧ What does this letter reveal about Philemon’s character?[6]


FEBRUARY 5

CHRIST’S VICTORY RIGHTFULLY BELONGS TO US

…In all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren….

HEBREWS 2:17

“Is it possible to be a true Christian and still suffer in the doldrums of discouragement?”

This is a question that we are hearing often. Frankly, I cannot assure you whether Christians should know discouragement or not: I can only tell you that they all do! Inwardly, they are often heavyhearted, defeated, unhappy and a little bit frightened—yet they are Christians!

What we need, brethren, is to get the true scriptural vision of our victorious Lord, our victorious human brother. Paul wrote to the Philippians about Jesus Christ humbling Himself and becoming obedient even unto the death of the cross, and then: “Wherefore, God also hath highly exalted him and given him a name which is above every name” and “every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God, the Father.”

Now, that is our victorious Lord, our victorious human brother.

Someone may say: “It is no great news to say that God is victorious.”

But what we read in the New Testament is that God has joined His nature to the nature of man and has made a Man victorious, so that men might be victorious and overcoming in that Man!

God has made Him to be Head of the Church and He meanwhile waits for the time of His returning, guiding and keeping and instructing His Church. This He does by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God![7]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 48). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[2] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[3] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[4] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 44). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[5] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[6] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 48). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[7] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

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