Daily Archives: February 4, 2018

February 4 The Joy of Kindred Spirits

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


Despite their shortcomings, people of kindred spirit are precious gifts from the Lord.

Timothy was Paul’s trusted companion in the gospel. In Philippians 2:20 Paul describes him as a man “of kindred spirit.” That is, they were like-minded, sharing the same love for Christ and His church.

Elsewhere Paul described Timothy as his “beloved and faithful child in the Lord” (1 Cor. 4:17) and as a “fellow-worker in the gospel of Christ” (Rom. 16:21; 1 Thess. 3:2). Those are significant compliments coming from Paul, whose standard of ministry and personal integrity was very high.

However, as godly and useful as Timothy was, he apparently struggled with many of the same weaknesses we face. For example, 2 Timothy implies he might have been intimidated by the false teachers who challenged his leadership (1:7). He perhaps was somewhat ashamed of Christ (1:8) and was tempted to alter his theology to avoid offending those who disagreed with sound doctrine (1:13–14). He might have been neglecting his studies in the Word (2:15) and succumbing to ungodly opinions (2:16–17). Other struggles are implied as well.

Paul wrote to strengthen Timothy’s spiritual character and to encourage him to persevere in the face of severe trials.

Despite those apparent weaknesses, Paul valued Timothy highly and entrusted enormous ministerial responsibilities to him. In addition, Timothy’s friendship and ministry were sources of great joy and strength to Paul.

I pray that you have people of kindred spirit in your life—brothers and sisters in Christ who encourage you, pray for you, and hold you accountable to God’s truth. Like Timothy, they may not be all you want them to be, but they are precious gifts from God. Esteem them highly, and pray for them often. Do everything you can to reciprocate their ministry in your life.

If perhaps you lack such friends, seek the fellowship of a local church where Christ is exalted, His Word is taught, and holy living is encouraged. Build relationships with mature Christians who will stimulate you to love and good deeds (Heb. 10:24).


Suggestions for Prayer:  Identify three people who are of kindred spirit with you. Pray for them. Tell them how much you appreciate their examples and ministries.

For Further Study: Read 2 Timothy 1:1–14. ✧ What were Paul’s admonitions to Timothy? ✧ How might they apply to you?[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 47). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.


But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.


Never while the stars burn in their silence can it be said that God loves the sin in the sinner. Never can it be said that the holy God loves an unholy thing—and yet God loves sinners!

God loves sinners for that which He sees in them of His lost and fallen image, for God can never love any thing but Himself, directly. He loves everything else for His own sake. So, you are loved of God—but you are loved of God for Jesus’ sake!

God loves lost men, not because He is careless or morally lax, but because He once stood and said: “Let us make man in our image.”

Man was made in the image of God, and while sin has ruined him and condemned him to death forever unless he be redeemed through the blood of Jesus Christ, mankind is a being only one degree removed from the angels.

But sin, God knows, is like a cancer in the very being of man. Although once made in the image of God, he is now a dying man, sick unto spiritual death, because of the poison of sin.

But extract and take out that sin and you have the image of God again! And Jesus Christ was the image of God because He was a man without sin.

God sees in Jesus Christ what you would have been! He sees that in His perfect humanity, not His deity—for you and I could never be divine in that sense. When Jesus Christ came to us, He was incarnated in the body of a man without embarrassment and without change, because man was an image of the God who made him.[1]

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

Will You Pray for Awakening? Download Your Free Prayer Guide

We live in a world that needs awakening. What is awakening? It is a powerful movement of the Spirit of God to convert many people to Christ and to renew in His church a zeal for His truth, for spiritual growth, and for missions. This was Dr. Sproul’s passion, and in the final years of his life, he was constantly in prayer for awakening. He prayed and labored to see nonbelievers and the church itself awakened to the true character of God. So vital is this concern to Ligonier Ministries, we made awakening the theme of our 2018 National Conference and dedicated the entire year to pray for awakening.

When just two men–Paul and Silas–prayed, the earth itself shook (Acts 16:25-26). To help as many people as possible join us, we produced this free prayer guide. Download it today at PrayForAwakening.com or order the prayer booklet in packs of 10 to share with your friends, family, and church community.

To use the guide, find the prayer that corresponds to the current week. Each week of the month focuses on a different group to pray for, starting with you and your family and expanding to larger communities. Please share your desire to #PrayForAwakening on social media.

February Prayer Focus:

  • Week 1: Pray that you and your family would be transformed by the renewal of the mind according to the Word of God. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Rom. 12:2)
  • Week 2: Pray that you and your church would contend for the faith so that it may be proclaimed with clarity to your neighbors. “I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 3)
  • Week 3: Pray that your nation and city would treat the name of God as holy. “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” (Matt. 6:9)
  • Week 4: Pray that people in many nations would join themselves to the Lord by faith in Christ alone. “Many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people.” (Zech. 2:11)

We hope this prayer guide encourages you this year and in future years. Join us in praying fervently for a mighty movement of God’s Spirit today, thankful that He has graciously promised to hear us, and confident that He will answer our prayers according to His will.

ON FIRE FOR CHRIST: Remembering John Rogers (February 4, 1555)

Veritas et Lux

The smell of burning flesh hung in the air.  The villagers turned their heads and gasped.  Stray dogs fled.  The man’s wife wept bitterly.  His children watched inThe_Burning_of_Master_John_Rogers horror and the smell burned their nostrils.  The stench was a vivid reminder of who sat on the throne.  Mary Tudor ruled with ironclad authority.  Her subjects were obligated to obey.  Any dissenters would pay the ultimate price.  The world would remember her as “Bloody Mary.”

The day was February 4, 1555.  The man roped to the pyre was known well in the British village – a man of humble origins.  A man with bold ambitions and simple obedience to match.  A man who dared to challenge the throne with two simple acts – preaching the Word of God and printing the Matthews-Tyndale Bible.  His name was John Rogers.  Pastor, father, martyr.  He was the first Christ-follower to pay the ultimate price…

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What to do with our half-hearted affection?

Unfathomable Grace

Do we know the law of the disciple?

As Christians, we are called to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. If choices must be made between natural families and him, Jesus is to always take precedence. It is his decree that we deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow him. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and we are to walk after his model and in his footsteps. Never are we to put our hands to the plow and turn back. Never are we to deny him. For all our days we are to rejoice in the promised persecution attached to his name, and we are to persevere till the end. Whether we eat, drink, or whatever we do, we are to glorify him. Some have even said this is our “chief end.” As disciples of Christ, this is our summons. This is…

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February 4, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Proclamation of the Good News

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy (2:8–10a)

The good news of the Savior’s birth came first to a most unlikely group of people. Shepherds were near the bottom of the social ladder. They were uneducated and unskilled, increasingly viewed in the post-New Testament era as dishonest, unreliable, unsavory characters, so much so that they were not allowed to testify in court. Because sheep required care seven days a week, shepherds were unable to fully comply with the man-made Sabbath regulations developed by the Pharisees. As a result, they were viewed as being in continual violation of the religious laws, and hence ceremonially unclean.

That is not to say, however, that being a shepherd was an illegitimate or disreputable occupation. Two of the greatest figures in Israel’s history, Moses (Ex. 3:1) and David (1 Sam. 16:11–13), were shepherds at some point in their lives. Moreover, the Old Testament refers metaphorically to God as the “Shepherd of Israel” (Ps. 80:1; cf. 23:1; Isa. 40:11), while Jesus described Himself as the “good shepherd” (John 10:11, 14; cf. Heb. 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25; 5:4). Shepherds were, however, lowly, humble people; they certainly were not the ones who would be expected to receive the most significant announcement in history. That they were singled out to receive this great honor suggests that these shepherds were devout men, who believed in the true and living God. Such people are later described as those who were “looking for the consolation of Israel” (2:25) and the “redemption of Jerusalem” (2:38).

God’s choice of shepherds to receive the announcement of His Son’s birth is in keeping with Old Testament prophecy concerning Messiah’s ministry. Isaiah 61:1 prophetically put these words in the mouth of the Messiah: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners.” After reading that passage in the synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus declared, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). The Messiah’s ministry would not be to the self-righteous (Luke 5:32)—especially the religious leaders (John 7:48), or the self-sufficient wealthy (Luke 18:24). Instead, He would seek out the poor, the lowly, the afflicted, the outcasts of society (cf. Luke 1:52; 1 Cor. 1:26). Throughout His ministry Jesus attracted such people (cf. Matt. 9:10–13; 11:19; Luke 15:1–2), who were broken over their sin and humbled themselves in repentance (cf. Luke 7:37–38; 18:13–14).

These particular shepherds were watching their sheep in the region around Bethlehem, about six miles south of Jerusalem. They were staying out in the fields with their flocks, something typically done in Israel from April to November. That does not mean, however, that Jesus could not have been born in the winter, since winters in Israel are often mild. Further, as Leon Morris notes, the rabbinic writings speak of sheep being pastured between Jerusalem and Bethlehem in February (The Gospel According to St. Luke, The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975], 84). According to rabbinic law, sheep were to be kept in the wilderness, and any animal found between Jerusalem and the vicinity of Bethlehem was subject to being used as a sacrifice in the temple. It may be, then, that the sheep these shepherds were caring for were destined for that very purpose.

Sheep were kept out in the fields during the day. In the evening they were moved into sheepfolds, where the shepherds could take turns keeping watch over their flock during the night. Inside the fold the sheep could more easily be guarded from predators and thieves.

But the tranquil normalcy of the shepherds’ nightly routine was abruptly shattered in a most amazing, dramatic, unexpected way. While they were doing what they normally did during the long hours spent watching their flock an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them. The angel is not identified, but in light of his earlier appearances to Zacharias and Mary, it may have been Gabriel. Adding immeasurably to the shepherds’ shock and terror at the angel’s unexpected appearance, the glory of the Lord blazed forth out of the darkness and shone around them.

Throughout Scripture, God’s glorious presence was manifested in brilliant light (e.g., Ex. 24:17; 33:22–34:5; Deut. 5:24; 2 Chron. 7:1–3; Ezek. 1:27–28; 43:2; Luke 9:28–32; Rev. 21:23; cf. Ex. 34:29, 35; Ps. 104:1–2; Hab. 3:3–4; Rev. 1:13–16). The glory of God first appeared in the garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve had intimate fellowship with God and enjoyed His presence. But after they sinned, God banished them forever from the garden and posted an angel with a flaming sword at the entrance to keep them out. God’s glory manifested itself to Israel in the wilderness (Ex. 24:16–17), especially at the dedication of the tabernacle (Ex. 40:34–35), as it would later appear at the dedication of the temple (1 Kings 8:10–11).

But after centuries of sin and rebellion, the glory of God left the temple (Ezek. 9:3; 10:4, 18, 19; 11:22–23), symbolizing its withdrawal from Israel. It would not appear again until this very night, where it signified that God’s presence had once again entered the world through the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. Later in His life Jesus would reveal His divine glory to Peter, James, and John on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1–2). The next visible manifestation of God’s glory to the world will be at the second coming, when “the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and … all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory” (Matt. 24:30). Heaven will be lit by the all-pervasive glory of God throughout eternity (Rev. 21:10–11, 23).

The shepherds understandably were terribly frightened by the appearing of the angel and the manifestation of God’s glory. Fear was the normal response whenever anyone in Scripture either encountered an angel (cf. Dan. 8:15–18; 10:7–9, 16–17; Matt. 28:2–4; Luke 1:12, 26–30) or saw the glory of God manifest (Isa. 6:1–5; Ezek. 1:28; 3:23; Matt. 17:5–6; Mark 4:41; 5:33; Acts 9:4; Rev. 1:17). Those who experience the presence of the holy God are acutely aware of their sinfulness. Isaiah cried out, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (Isa. 6:5), and Peter exclaimed after witnessing a miracle performed by the Lord, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:8).

Seeing the shepherds’ obvious terror, the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.” The sequence of events in the angel’s appearance to the shepherds is the same as in Gabriel’s appearances to Zacharias and Mary: the angel appeared, those to whom he appeared were frightened, the angel spoke words of comfort, delivered his message, and promised a sign.

There is a sense in which it is right to fear God; the Bible declares that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10; cf. 1:7; 15:33; Job 28:28; Ps. 111:10; Mic. 6:9), and godly men are marked by reverence for Him (Gen. 22:12; 42:18; Ex. 18:21; Neh. 7:2; Job 1:9; Ps. 66:16; Eccl. 5:7; 8:12; 12:13; Matt. 10:28; 1 Peter 2:17). But the redeemed need not be terrified of God. “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again,” Paul reminded the Romans, “but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’ ” (Rom. 8:15; cf. Gal. 4:6–7). God says to His people, as He did to Abraham, “Do not fear” (Gen. 26:24; cf. Judg. 6:23; Isa. 43:1, 5; 44:2; Jer. 46:27–28; Lam. 3:57; Dan. 10:12, 19; Matt. 14:27; 17:7; 28:5, 10; Luke 5:10; 12:32; Rev. 1:17).

The shepherds did not need to fear, for the angel had come bearing good news. His message was not one of judgment, but rather that “the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14). Euangelizō (“to proclaim good news) is one of Luke’s favorite terms; he used it more than any other New Testament writer (cf. 1:19; 3:18; 4:18, 43; 7:22; 8:1; 9:6; 16:16; 20:1; Acts 5:42; 8:4, 12, 25, 35, 40; 10:36; 11:20; 13:32; 14:7, 15, 21; 15:35; 16:10; 17:18). The good news of the gospel is that the saving God sent the Savior to redeem sinners. That news produces great joy; the joy that Peter described as “inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8), which is reserved for those whose sins have been forgiven through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Pervasiveness of the Good News

which will be for all the people; (2:10b)

The good news the angel proclaimed is for all the people. Laos (people) refers first to Israel (1:68; 7:16; 19:47; 21:23; 22:66; 23:5, 14), since “salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22; cf. Rom. 1:16). But the promise of salvation is not for them only. Praising God after seeing the baby Jesus in the temple, Simeon said, “For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel” (2:30–32). Significantly, laos in verse 31 is plural, while it is singular in verse 32. Simeon’s words reflect the truth expressed in Isaiah’s prophecy:

Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the Lord will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. (60:1–3; cf. 9:2; 42:6; 49:6–9; 51:4)

The good news of salvation, having been proclaimed first to Israel, is now proclaimed throughout the world (Matt. 28:19–20).[1]

2:9–11 An angel of the Lord came to the shepherds, and a bright, glorious light shone all around them. As they recoiled in terror, the angel comforted them and broke the news. It was good tidings of great joy for all the people. That very day, in nearby Bethlehem, a Baby had been born. This Baby was a Savior, who is Christ the Lord! Here we have a theology in miniature. First, He is a Savior, which is expressed in His name, Jesus. Then He is Christ, the Anointed of God, the Messiah of Israel. Finally, He is the Lord, God manifest in the flesh.[2]

2:10good tidings … joy: The association of these two ideas occurs only here and in Luke 1:14, but they sum up what the response to Jesus’ presence should be.[3]

2:10 — Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”

The angel told the shepherds not to fear, but to open their eyes and look for the wonderfully good thing that God was doing for them and for the whole world—something that would bring great joy to everyone.[4]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2009). Luke 1–5 (pp. 155–158). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1374). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (pp. 1252–1253). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[4] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Lk 2:10). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.


But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.

Hebrews 1:8

The more we study the words of our Lord Jesus Christ when He lived on earth among us, the more certain we are about who He is.

Some critics have scoffed: “Jesus did not claim to be God. He only said He was the Son of Man.”

It is true that Jesus used the term “Son of Man” frequently. But He testified boldly, even among those who were His sworn enemies, that He was God. He said with great forcefulness that He had come from the Father in heaven and that He was equal with the Father.

Bible-believing Christians stand together on this. They may differ about the mode of baptism, church polity or the return of the Lord. But they agree on the deity of the eternal Son. Jesus Christ is of one substance with the Father—begotten, not created (Nicene Creed).

In our defense of this truth, we must be very careful and bold—belligerent, if need be!

Christ is the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of God’s Person!

Lord Jesus, the only hope the world has is that You are One with the Father. You are God Almighty! You are our Messiah! I worship You today.[1]

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

February 4 Jesus, the Model Soul-Winner

Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers … and He said to them, “Follow Me.” … Going on from there He saw two other brothers … and He called them.—Matt. 4:18–19, 21

Every believer who would be a soul winner must emulate the key principles Jesus exemplified as the model evangelist—not only in this one occasion but throughout His earthly ministry. Think about the following six, and seek to implement them as you witness for Him.

First, Jesus was always available. He never refused a genuine request for help from penitent sinners or the downtrodden.

Second, Jesus showed no favoritism. Neither Jairus nor the Roman centurion had an advantage over the woman of Sychar or the woman caught in adultery.

Third, the Lord was completely sensitive to the needs around Him. He always could discern the open heart of someone ready to come to Him. In spite of the pressing crowd, He noticed and responded to the woman who touched the hem of His garment (Matt. 9:20–22).

Fourth, Christ usually secured a public profession or testimony from the sinner, even including a specific instruction (e.g., the man delivered from demons, Mark 5:19).

Fifth, Jesus showed love and tenderness to those He witnessed to. The Samaritan woman at the well was one such recipient. She was a religious outcast and an adulterer, yet He clearly and gently led her to saving faith.

Sixth, Jesus always had time to speak to others. Even while on the way to heal Jairus’s daughter, He stopped long enough to heal the woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years.


We still live in a time of gracious evangelism, as so perfectly exemplified by our Lord and Savior. How obedient is your church being to this model? How obedient are you being to it as an individual?[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 43). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

February 4 Spiritual Progression

I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, because you have known the Father.

1 John 2:13

My own experience has taught me much about the different levels of spiritual growth described by the apostle John in today’s verse. When I was a spiritual babe, I was lost in the euphoria of loving the Lord and didn’t know much theology. At that time I was easily influenced by anyone’s teaching. Later, as I learned the Word of God, false doctrine no longer deceived me; it made me angry. And now, as I have grown in my knowledge of the Word, it’s my desire to know God more intimately, which is the final level of growth. Spiritual fathers not only know the Bible, but also know deeply the God who wrote it.

Spiritual growth progresses from knowing you are a Christian to knowing the Word of God to knowing God Himself. The way to know God is to spend your life focusing on His glory, thus learning to understand the fullness of His person. That focus becomes a magnet drawing you upward through the levels of maturity.[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 47). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

February 4, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

13 Not only is wisdom the means of making progress in life, it is life itself. (The father’s instruction and wisdom are equated here with life.) Anything so essential must be enthusiastically guarded.[1]

4:13 We should take firm hold of good instruction, and not let it slip from us. We should guard wisdom as we would guard our life—because it is our life, especially when we think of Wisdom Incarnate in the person of the Lord Jesus.[2]

4:13 Take … do not let go. Guard. The father commanded his son in v. 5 to “acquire wisdom”; here he commands him to hold on to it.[3]

4:13 Instruction for the path of life anticipates the instruction of Christ, who is the way and the truth and the life (John 14:6).[4]

4:13Seize the instruction Wisdom should be protected because of its great value and the effort required to obtain and maintain it (2:4; 3:13–15).[5]

4:13 she is your life. Life cannot exist without wisdom. In the New Testament, Christ is called our wisdom (1 Cor. 1:30) and our life (Col. 3:4).[6]

[1] Ross, A. P. (2008). Proverbs. In T. Longman III, Garland David E. (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Proverbs–Isaiah (Revised Edition) (Vol. 6, p. 73). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 802). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Pr 4:13). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1141). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Pr 4:13). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[6] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 878). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.


And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

—Acts 16:25

Wherever faith has been original, wherever it has proved itself to be real, it has invariably had upon it a sense of the presentGod. The holy Scriptures possess in marked degree this feeling of actual encounter with a real Person. The men and women of the Bible talked with God. They spoke to Him and heard Him speak in words they could understand. With Him they held person-to-person interaction, and a sense of shining reality is upon their words and deeds….

It was this that filled with abiding wonder the first members of the Church of Christ. The solemn delight which those early disciples knew sprang straight from the conviction that there was One in the midst of them. They knew that the Majesty in the heavens was confronting them on earth: They were in the very Presence of God. And the power of that conviction to arrest attention and hold it for a lifetime, to elevate, to transform, to fill with uncontrollable moral happiness, to send men singing to prison and to death, has been one of the wonders of history and a marvel of the world. POM007-008

Lord, may I respond like Paul and Silas to whatever I will face today, knowing that Your Presence is always with me. Amen.[1]

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

February 4 God Is One

“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!”

Deuteronomy 6:4


There is only one true God.

When God freed Israel to take her to the promised land, He said: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Ex. 20:3). Later Moses told the Israelites, “The Lord, He is God; there is no other besides Him” (Deut. 4:35) and “The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!” (6:4). Israel was to believe in the one and only God.

But Jesus claimed to be God. Is He God number two? Not at all. In Mark 12:29–30, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:4–5: “ ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ ” If Jesus were another God He might have said, “Split your allegiance between the two of us.” But Jesus says we are to love God with undivided commitment. Therefore He agrees with Moses that there is only one God. However, He also says, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).

Paul also discusses the unity of God in 1 Corinthians 8. The pagan priests in Corinth would often sell the meat that had been sacrificed to idols. Some new Christians were offended when other Christians ate that meat. In response, Paul told them, “Concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world” (v. 4). Since an idol represented a nonexistent god, there was nothing wrong with eating the food. He continued, “There is no God but one. For even if there are so–called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we exist through Him” (vv. 4–6). How can all things be from God the Father, for whom we exist, and by the Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we exist? Because they are one.


Suggestions for Prayer: Praise God as David did: “For this reason Thou art great, O Lord God; for there is none like Thee, and there is no God besides Thee” (2 Sam. 7:22).

For Further Study: Read Ezekiel 6. What was God’s response to Israel’s idolatry? ✧ How does God feel about anything that might take first place in your heart instead of Him?[1]

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

February 3 Daily Help

BETTER have two lights than only one. The light of creation is a bright light. God may be seen in the stars; his name is written in gilt letters on the brow of night; you may discover his glory in the ocean waves, yea, in the trees of the field; but it is better to read it in two books than in one. You will find it here more clearly revealed; for he has written this book himself, and he has given you the key to understand it, if you have the Holy Spirit. Ah, beloved, let us thank God for this Bible; let us love it; let us count it more precious than much fine gold.[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 38). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

February 3, 2018 Evening Verse Of The Day

Hope Is Fulfilled by Christlikeness

Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. (3:2)

Heaven is attractive for believers because there they will not only see the Lord Jesus Christ, but will become like Him. Concerning that dramatic and eternal change, the apostle Paul wrote:

Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly. Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Cor. 15:49–53)

Even though all who exercise saving faith in the person and work of Christ now … are children of God (cf. Rom. 8:14–18), it has not appeared as yet what they will be when they experience what Paul called “the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (8:21). It is then that “the Lord Jesus Christ … will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself” (Phil. 3:20–21; cf. cf. Ps. 73:24; Rom. 9:23; 1 Cor. 15:42–49; Col. 3:4; 1 Thess. 4:16; 2 Thess. 2:14; 2 Tim. 2:10). As a result, believers will be like Him, because they will see Him just as He is. God has promised to bring about such a climactic transformation because “those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:29). That transformation will make the redeemed perfectly holy and righteous, with a pure capacity to worship and glorify God in a totally satisfying, joyful, undiminished fashion forever (cf. Rev. 5:11–14).

It has been rightly said that imitation is the highest form of praise, and this transformation will be a supreme tribute to Jesus Christ—that He is the Chief One, the prototokos, among many who are made like Him. Those whom the Father has elected to salvation through the Son will be made like the Son, conformed to the image of Christ. He will be the first among His elect and redeemed humanity who will join with the holy angels to praise and glorify His name, reflect His goodness, and proclaim His greatness, as they worship Him endlessly.[1]

2 Many commentators have been struck by the language here, for at first glance it seems more Pauline than Johannine. Paul frequently speaks of the believer’s transformation at the second coming (1 Co 13:12; 15:35–53; Php 3:20–21; 1 Th 4:13–17), but the fourth gospel stresses that Christians have already been reborn to eternal life (Jn 1:13; 3:3–8; 5:24–26; 6:53–57; 14:23). Indeed, the Johannine Jesus has almost nothing to say about his return except that he will come to his disciples in the form of the Paraclete (cf. Jn 14:18–23 with Mk 13 and Mt 24–25). Rensberger, 89, therefore concludes that 1 John 3:2 is “closer to non-Johannine forms of early Christian eschatology” than to the fourth gospel (cf. Barker, 330–31; Marshall, 171–73; Johnson, 68). Going a step further, Stott, 119, attempts to harmonize John’s position with Paul’s, positing a threefold sequence of events: “he will appear; we shall see him as he really is; we shall be like him.” But the order of the two slogans at 3:2 suggests that John has not shifted from the realized eschatology of the fourth gospel. Contra Stott’s outline, John actually says that believers “shall be like him” before referring to their vision of Jesus. Believers will not be like Jesus because they will see him; rather, believers will see Jesus because they have been like him. As God’s children, true Christians are already “like him,” and Christ’s appearing will only confirm this established fact. Rather than shifting from the “realized eschatology” of the fourth gospel, then, 3:2 asserts that the second coming will only clarify what believers already know to be true about God and themselves.[2]

3:2 / The emphasis in v. 2 falls on the temporal dimension, i.e., on now and not yet. The author has just forcefully affirmed that he and his readers are children of God (3:1); that is what they are now, in reality, at the present moment. What their future identity will be (lit., “what we shall be”) has not yet been made known. Paul says that “the creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed” (Rom. 8:19), and that “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9). While there is much about our existence in God’s future of which we are and will remain ignorant until the right time comes, we can know something about it, namely, that we will continue on our present trajectory of becoming like Christ (cf. Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:49; Phil. 3:21): we shall be like him. Still children of God, we shall become more like “the One and Only” (John 1:14, 18) Son of God. The image of God lost in creation will be restored in Christ as we become like him, the New Man and New Adam (cf. Col. 3:10; 1 Cor. 15:45; Rom. 5:14).

This will happen when he appears (phanerōthē). Phaneroō is used in the letters of John to describe both the first (1:2; 3:5, 8; cf. John 1:31;) and second coming of Jesus (2:28; 3:2). The letters of John, written later in the first century than the Gospel (see the Introduction) and after the schism which has brought the “antichrist” to light (in the group of the secessionists; 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7), reflect a more vivid awareness of the return of Jesus; they have, compared to the Fourth Gospel, a heightened eschatology (2:18, 28; 3:2–3; 4:17). The Gospel of John, though unique in its strong emphasis on “realized eschatology,” has a place for a genuinely futuristic eschatology as well (cf. 5:28–29; 14:3).

The writer and his community expectantly look forward to the coming of Jesus (2:28). They believe that when he appears, they will be transformed to become like Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 15:51–52) and that this change will occur, at least in part, because we shall see him as he is. To see, to gaze upon, and to meditate upon what one sees is to move in the direction of becoming like that which preoccupies one’s attention. There will be a transforming vision at the return of Jesus in which believers will be purified of all that still separates them from complete likeness to Christ (cf. 2 Cor. 3:18).[3]

God’s Children

2. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

In Greek John writes, “Beloved.” This term which expresses a passive idea may imply that God is the one who loves us: “Beloved by God.” John, then, continues to stress the special relationship we have with God. The Father loves us and therefore we are now his children. Already in this earthly life we claim the right to be God’s children and are able to procure this assurance.

We are in principle children of God (v. 1) who lack perfection because of sin. But that which is principle now will become full reality in the future. John, therefore, observes, “What we will be has not yet been made known.” That is, God has only begun his marvelous work in us which in time he will bring to completion.

What will we be in the future? Although the Bible is a book that relates the work of creation and redemption, it also gives us a glimpse of the future. For instance, John tells his readers about their identity with Jesus.

“But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” In his epistles, Paul reveals the same truths. Here are three relevant passages:

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory. [2 Cor. 3:18]

[Jesus Christ] will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. [Phil. 3:21]

When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. [Col. 3:4]

Scripture discloses that at the coming of Christ we will be glorified in body and soul. “We shall be like him.” The Bible nowhere states that we shall be equal to Christ. Instead it tells us that we shall be conformed to the likeness of the Son of God. We share his immortality. However, Christ has the preeminence, for the Son of God is “the firstborn among many brothers” (Rom. 8:29). Believers will surround the throne of God and the Lamb. “They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads” (Rev. 22:4).[4]

3:2 However, understood or not, now we are children of God, and this is the guarantee of future glory. It has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we do know that when Christ is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. This does not mean that we will be physically like Jesus in heaven. The Lord Jesus will have His own definite appearance, and will bear the scars of Calvary throughout eternity. Each of us, we believe, will have his own distinct features and will be recognizable as such. The Bible does not teach that everyone will look alike in heaven. However, we will be morally like the Lord Jesus Christ. We will be free from the possibility of defilement, sin, sickness, sorrow, and death.

And how will this marvelous transformation be accomplished? The answer is that one look at Christ will bring it to pass. For we shall see Him as He is. Here in life, the process of becoming like Christ is going on, as we behold Him by faith in the word of God. But then the process will be absolutely complete when we see Him as He is: for to see Him is to be like Him.[5]

3:2 When John admits ignorance of what we shall be when Jesus appears, his statement should cause us to be humble and cautious about detailed pronouncements of future events and the nature of our heavenly existence. God has chosen not to tell us many things either because we would not understand or because it might distract us from our responsibilities as believers (Acts 1:6–8). be like Him: Though we do not know all the specifics of our future existence, we do know that we will have a body like Christ’s (Phil. 3:21). Believers will put on immortality and become free from the sin nature that presently plagues us.[6]

3:2 — … we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

One day we will exchange our worn-out, sin-prone, weak bodies for new models patterned after Jesus’ resurrection body—strong, ageless, free of all sin, and completely at home in the holy presence of God.[7]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2007). 1, 2, 3 John (pp. 116–117). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Thatcher, T. (2006). 1 John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 458–459). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Johnson, T. F. (2011). 1, 2, and 3 John (pp. 68–69). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of James and the Epistles of John (Vol. 14, p. 295). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[5] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2316). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[6] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (pp. 1710–1711). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[7] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (1 Jn 3:2). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

February 3: Wisdom Can Quickly Become Folly

Exodus 7–8; John 1:35–51; Song of Solomon 1:8–14

What we need to hear and what we want to hear are rarely the same thing. Leaders who encourage honesty, allow for errors, and establish an environment of trust usually hear what they need to hear. A dictator, on the other hand, will never learn what they really need to know. People shield them or stay away from them; an environment of fear is only destructive. It’s with this point in mind that the story of Moses, Aaron, and Pharaoh becomes even more intriguing.

Pharaoh surrounded himself with people who would tell him what he wanted to hear (Exod 7:22), not what he needed to hear: “You’re oppressing the Hebrew people and they will rise up against you. And furthermore, we’re afraid of their God and we can’t really do what He can do. We’re small-time dark magic; their God is the big time.” Instead of speaking this truth, Pharaoh’s advisors went on pretending and conjuring up cheap tricks.

Plague after plague hit Egypt, but Pharaoh’s heart remained hard. And this is where we don’t really know what happened: when God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, was it already too difficult for Pharaoh to give in on his own accord? We don’t know the answer, but we do know that God ended up making an example of his foolishness.

Even when water turns to blood, frogs appear everywhere—followed shortly by gnats and flies (Exod 7:14–8:32)—Pharaoh didn’t listen. Instead of turning to Yahweh, he turned to the same sources: his gods, his belief that he is a god (common for Egyptians), and his ill-advised counselors. And that’s the lesson: if you surround yourself with “yes” people, they will say yes, and you will be ignorant. You will lose, and you will end up on the wrong side of God.

Who do you turn to for advice? Are your friends, mentors, and church leaders more apt to tell you the truth or say something that makes you happy? If it’s the latter, who can you turn to who will speak honestly to you about faith?

John D. Barry[1]

[1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.