Monthly Archives: June 2020

The Sweet Summons of Repentance — The Master’s Seminary Blog

“Repent.” What tone of voice comes to mind when you read that word? What facial expressions do you imagine? What demeanor do you sense?

Some view the message of repentance as harsh or unkind. Perhaps they picture angry men with signs reading Turn or Burn shouting from street corners and university campuses. And sadly, such a reputation isn’t entirely unwarranted. There are modern, self-named street preachers and apocalyptic prophets who wear harshness as a badge of honor. Their tone and volume communicate hatred and condemnation.

But is that the disposition inherent in the word repent?

“Repent” was the message of John the Baptist (Matt. 3:2)—a man dressed in camel’s hair, with a brown belt of leather around his waist and a diet of locust and honey for breakfast . . . probably lunch and dinner as well. A rough-around-the-edges kind of guy. A wilderness man. A man’s man. A man whom God sent to prepare the way of the Messiah. He warned of coming wrath. He chastised the religious hypocrites. And he called for the confession of sins. He was bold—unafraid of the confrontation that inevitably accompanies such a ministry. But did he purposefully pursue confrontation?

“Repent” was the message of Jesus Christ when He began His preaching ministry in Galilee (Matt. 4:17). He warned of the wrath of God and the horrors of hell more than any other New Testament messenger. He confronted the religious hypocrites with righteous indignation. And He even flipped tables and snapped a whip of cords. Jesus didn’t lack boldness. But more than any other preacher who utters the word “repent,” Jesus was a gentle and humble man (Matt. 11:29).1 He had compassion on sinners as lost sheep. He desired to gather them, as a hen collects her chicks under her wings. And He was so inclined with kindness toward them that others called him a “friend of sinners” (Luke 7:34). Therefore, the proclamation of repentance must be compatible with the Savior’s tenderness.

A Command and Invitation

It is true that the call of repentance confronts people in their sin, calling them to turn from the way they are going and head in an entirely different direction. Failure, misconduct, and guilt are exposed in repentance. It demands a change of mind so complete as to result in an entirely different lifestyle. One of the words often translated as “repent” in the Old Testament holds the sense of regret,2 an expression of sorrow over realized error.

This emotional countenance is often accompanied by sackcloth and ashes as external demonstrations of internal lament (Job 42:6). Repentance brings its subjects shame and humiliation (Jer. 31:19). Repentance is not a pleasant endeavor.

But repentance also promises a better way. Whether “turning” in thoughts, affections, desires, or choices, the command to repent is an invitation to life. To know what is true. To love what is lovely. To want what is right. And to walk towards the only One who can remove all feelings of remorse.


“Repent” is a call to enjoy the glory of God for all of eternity


Therefore, delight is caught up with sorrow in the call to repent.

The message of repentance proclaimed in God’s Word is an urgent, but gracious plea to forsake sin. The word shouldn’t incite angry shouts of damnation. It should exude the open arms of our loving Lord who beckoned the weary and heavy-laden to “come” (Matt. 11:28–29). Repentance is a warm invitation, bearing the gravity of a divine exhortation. Because ultimately, repentance is a message sent by a gracious and holy God.

A Message of Loving Confrontation

One powerful portrait of the disposition behind God’s demand for repentance is seen in the book of Hosea. In the form of prophetic drama, Israel is depicted as an adulterous wife. She abandons her marriage, turns to harlotry, and even credits her lovers for her husband’s ongoing provision. She’s the epitome of unfaithfulness. Her actions are nothing short of blatant treachery against her covenant. And eventually, she finds herself on the market being sold as a slave-wife.

But in the midst of marital turmoil, the voice of God cries out: “Contend with your mother, contend, for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband; and let her put away her harlotry from her face and her adultery from between her breasts” (2:2). This is a merciful invitation for His people to return home—to renounce their idolatry and remove the debauchery far from them. Sinners cannot have both spiritual adultery and union with a holy God.

As a loyal husband, God leverages His influence to plead with his wife. He names her sins, but also offers an opportunity to forsake them. The same One who disciplines His beloved speaks kindly to her with words of renewal and restoration (2:14ff.). The call to repent is a compassionate plea to return to the joy of a right relationship with Him. It’s a cry of the faithful One longing for reunion with His bride. Repentance is a loving confrontation.

A Message of Faithful Warning

Another Minor Prophet, Joel, preached the message of repentance to a people floundering in sin and facing divine judgment. His prophetic exhortation can be summarized as: “Repent, for the Day of the LORD is near.” A synonymous statement to John the Baptist and Jesus’ declarations: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Joel’s ministry came on the wake of a devastating plague of locusts—a demonstration of God’s wrath against their sin. But it was only a foretaste of what was to come in the eschatological Day of wrath.

The Day of the LORD would bring destruction as a mighty army sweeps over their land and houses, just as the locusts had poured over their fields and vineyards. And the most horrifying reality of this warning was that Yahweh Himself would lead the charge against His rebellious people: “Who can endure it?” (2:11).

Then, amidst the strongest of warnings, Yahweh once again opens His arms: “Yet even now, return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning; and rend your heart and not your garments” (v. 12).


Just before the last grain of sand slips through the neck of the hourglass,
there remains an hour for turning. An invitation to come back


This call to repent is neither trivial nor light. It isn’t without piercing demands. The sinner must show deep remorse over sin. Internal consecration must be expressed in the willingness to forsake external sustenance. Commentator Allen Ross states, “Prophetic instructions to proclaim a fast were almost synonymous with a call to repentance . . . because it is difficult to concentrate on spiritual matters while indulging in physical pleasures.”3 But physical demonstrations are hardly enough. God’s people must come to Him with a broken heart, literally “rip your heart to pieces.”4 While tearing one’s garments was a ritualistic symbol of repentance, a torn heart is the evidence of genuine change. Superficial confessions won’t do.

Joel reiterates the exhortation to repent in verse 13, “Now return to Yahweh your God.” But then he adds the motivational incentive, “For he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil.” The message of repentance is intimately connected with the faithful love of God for His people. Echoing the self-revelation of God from Exodus 34:6–7, Joel highlights His grace, mercy, and love, magnifying His readiness to forgive. Hardly a harsh and hateful message of damnation.

A Message from the Heart of God

As much as the call to repent opposes sinfulness, it also promotes holiness. It’s not simply a matter of what God is against, but also what He is for. It’s not a message that only confronts, but also one that promises. It’s not all about God’s wrath, but it is fueled by His grace. Paul argues in Romans 2:4 that the kindness of the Lord is meant to lead sinners to repentance. If God shows kindness in order to compel sinners to turn from sin, then “repent” must be a word of benevolence, not malice.

When we hear the call to repent, we should receive it with gratitude. God is extending grace in His offer to turn from destructive sin and return to Him. When we proclaim the message of repentance, we must be careful to communicate the same compassion that our Savior had for sinners. Nobody is ever browbeaten into a genuine forsaking of sinful desires. Let “repent” be a revered and solemn call, yet one that extends the welcoming arms of a waiting Savior.

 

[1] I must take this opportunity to promote the new title by Dane Ortlund, Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers. This book ought to be read by every Christian, especially those who desire to enter ministry. It uncovers the true disposition of Jesus’ heart toward sinners.

[2] “נחם” in Ludwig Koehler et al., The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, HALOT (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994–2000), 688.

[3] Allen P. Ross, Recalling the Hope of Glory: Biblical Worship from the Garden to the New Creation (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2006), 239.

[4] “קרע,” HALOT, 1146.

via The Sweet Summons of Repentance — The Master’s Seminary Blog

June 30 A Sense of Peace

 

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.
(John 14:27)

Look at what Jesus left you in His will. Peace. He called it “My peace.” It’s a sense of well-being that transcends anything you’ve ever experienced before. The wonderful thing is that He didn’t just die and leave it to you, He rose again to make sure you got it. This peace kept Paul through the worst storm of his life. Listen: “There stood by me this night the Angel of God, whose I am and whom I serve, saying, Fear not, Paul” (Acts 27:23,24). With Him on board, nothing—absolutely nothing—can happen to you.

And you can never overuse His peace or run out of it. It’s like the loaves and fishes that Jesus multiplied—the more you use it, the more it increases. Isaiah said, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3). He will become your peace only when He becomes your constant focus.

Jewish people greet one another with the word “shalom.” It means peace, well-being, and wholeness. And your Heavenly Father is actually called Jehovah-Shalom—“The Lord is [my] Peace” (Judges 6:24, NIV). What a promise—and it’s yours today! Isaiah says, “If only you had paid attention to My commands, your peace would have been like a river” (Isaiah 48:18, NIV).

 

If you’ve lost your sense of peace today, get back into God’s presence immediately and ask Him what you need to do to put things right.[1]

 

[1] Gass, B. (1998). A Fresh Word For Today : 365 Insights For Daily Living (p. 181). Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers.

Top 10 4th of July Twisted Scriptures — Michelle Lesley

It’s Independence Day week here in the U.S., so this week (except for tomorrow’s lesson in Ezekiel) we’ll be taking a look at the biblical perspective on patriotism.


Originally published July 7, 2017

Independence day is my favorite of the non-major holidays. Fireworks, picnics, barbecues, and what other holiday has such grand music that nearly the whole country can enjoy and sing together? It’s the one day of the year when we, as Americans, can set aside our political differences and bickering and celebrate our God-given freedom to have political differences and bickering.

It is good to thank God for the blessing of liberty. It is right to be patriotic and celebrate our nation’s founding. It is evangelistic to use Independence Day as a springboard for explaining to people how they can find real freedom in Christ.

And with that freedom – our freedom in Christ and our freedom as American citizens – comes great responsibility. Namely, the responsibility not to throw all of those things into the Cuisinart at once and turn them into an Americhristian smoothie with red, white, and blue sprinkles.

There is a vast difference between American political freedom and the spiritual freedom found only in Christ. But when we lift Bible verses out of their context and stick a flag behind them in celebration of Independence Day, we conflate the two. Weaker brothers and sisters in the faith who already muddle American citizenship with heavenly citizenship are further confirmed in their confusion. We should be making these distinctions clearer, not encouraging their commingling.

Yet this is exactly what happens on Christian web sites, social media, and even in our churches as the 4th of July draws near. Sisters, this should not be so.

None of the verses in the Bible which contain words like “freedom” and “liberty” are referring to American political freedom. None. The verses containing these words are usually speaking of freedom from sin in Christ, freedom from Mosaic Covenant law, or freedom from literal slavery. We must use and understand them in context, or we are doing violence to the text and treating God’s holy Word with apathetic irreverence.

Here are the top 10 Scriptures I observed being twisted on the 4th of July.

1. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17

Most of the memes using this verse omit the first phrase, because even including those six extra words tends to give too much context to the verse for the person trying to make it about American freedom. If you read all of chapter three, or even just verses 12-18, you can see that this verse is about being set free in Christ from the demands of the Mosaic Covenant. Although 2 Corinthians 3:17 was misused by many, the first place I saw it was was from Lysa TerKeurst’s Proverbs 31 Facebook page – emblematic of why Christian women should not receive Bible teaching from anyone associated with this organization.

2. For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Most incorrect citations of this verse include only its first phrase. Indeed, Christ has set us free for freedom, but freedom from what? English tyranny? Political oppression? No, as the rest of the verse goes on to say, Christ has set us free from the yoke of slavery to the Law. In Christ, we are free to stop striving to be good enough to earn right standing with Him, and to rest in His finished work on the cross to clothe us in His righteousness. That’s way better than American constitutional freedoms because that kind of freedom is available to anyone, in any country, at any time in history who repents and places her faith in Christ for salvation.

3. For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Galatians 5:13

This is a great verse that Christians can live out in service to our families, our church families, and even our fellow Americans. But we need to understand that when this verse says we were “called to freedom” it’s not talking about the rallying cry of the American Revolution. The freedom we were called to – as with Galatians 5:1 – is the freedom from striving to obey the Law to obtain righteousness. But just because we’re no longer under the constraints of the Law doesn’t mean we can go out and sin at will, or indulge the flesh by doing whatever we feel like doing. That’s antinomianism. Instead we’re to use our freedom from the Law as an opportunity to deny self and serve others.

4. if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

I’ve written at length on this verse in my article Is 2 Chronicles 7:14 God’s Promise to American Christians Today? The short answer is “no,” it is not about America. Although there’s plenty that Christians can learn from this verse, it is a promise to Israel, as the surrounding context clearly indicates.

5. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36

Even adding just two verses (34-35) to this one gives us enough context to help us understand that Jesus is talking about being freed from slavery to sin through the salvation only He can provide – the salvation that is about to cost Him the agony of scourging and death on a cross. It is appalling that this verse – spoken by our Lord Himself, about the earth-shattering, awe-provoking amazingness that is the forgiveness of sins by the grace of God in Christ – should be so lowered and sullied as to try to make it refer to American freedom.

6. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 1 Peter 2:16

The context of this verse is similar to Galatians 5:13 (#3 above), but it adds a couple of extra facets. If you read verses 9-17 of 1 Peter 2, you’ll notice the same instruction to live as people who have been set free in Christ and to use that freedom in Christ to serve others. Why? “…So that when [the Gentiles] speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God… For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.” (12,15) When we use our freedom in Christ to serve and do good, it is a testimony of the gospel to the lost. This passage also exhorts us to be subject to our government and our political leaders. And if you know anything about the first century Roman Empire, you know its Christian citizens (Peter’s audience) knew nothing of the political freedoms American Christians experience.

7. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lordthe people whom he has chosen as his heritage! Psalm 33:12

In the immediate context and application of this verse, “nation” and “the people” is referring to Israel. Examining verses 10, 16, and 17 alongside verse 12, it’s a safe assumption that the psalmist had observed some part of Israel’s history that included war against neighboring nations. And, certainly, any Old Testament Scripture referring to the people God “has chosen as His heritage” could only be speaking of Israel. America didn’t even exist at that time, nor has God, at any point in Scripture, said that America is His chosen people or His heritage. If you want to think of a New Testament “nation” or “people” God has blessed and chosen as His “heritage,” that would be the church- the worldwide body of born again believers. While, ostensibly, any nation whose God is the Lord would be blessed, we have only to look back at Old Testament history to see how unlikely it would be for America’s God to be the Lord. Israel was God’s chosen people and heritage. They were “the nation whose God is the Lord”- literally. They were a theocracy – under the direct rule of God Himself – yet they rejected Him in favor of earthly kings and repeated cycles of idol worship. And we think America is capable of becoming “one nation under God”?

8. And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan. Leviticus 25:10

It’s pretty easy to see why only the phrase “proclaim liberty through the land to all its inhabitants” is lifted out of this verse. It is obviously talking about Israel’s Year of Jubilee which has never been practiced in America because we are not, and never have been, under the Mosaic Covenant. Even Israel doesn’t observe the Year of Jubilee any more. The use of this verse is simply a case of someone looking for a Scripture to attach to a patriotic meme, doing a concordance search for the word “liberty,” and whittling away everything in the verse that is obviously un-American.

9. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, Luke 4:18

Except for the fact that this verse includes the word “liberty” or “free,” depending on your translation, it’s incomprehensible to me that anyone would see this as a verse to use in the celebration of Independence Day. This verse doesn’t even make any sense when applied to America. It’s not about a country, it’s about a person: Jesus. Jesus spoke these words. He’s quoting Isaiah 61:1-2, which is a prophecy of the Messiah to come. If you read a mere three more verses of Luke 4, you’ll see in verse 21 that Jesus says, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Meaning what? Jesus is saying, “You know that Messiah you’ve been waiting on for centuries, Israel? I’m it. I’m here.” And the liberty or freedom He’s talking about? Once again, it’s freedom from sin and freedom from the Law. Because that’s what Jesus came to give us.

10. Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. Psalm 118:5 

Nope, this one isn’t about American political freedom either. A couple of things to notice: first, this is clearly set in the context of Israel’s Old Testament history, as verses 2-3, with their references to “Israel” and “Aaron”, indicate. Next, look at the personal pronouns, not only in verse 5, but also in verses 6-7: “I,” “me,” “my.” This verse is not about America being set free from England, or even about Israel being set free from one of its enemies. This is a descriptive passage about an individual – the psalmist – being in some sort of distressing situation, and God answering his prayer for deliverance. Have you ever prayed that God would deliver you from a difficult time in your life? If He did, do you think that unique situation is applicable to anyone else, much less an entire country? This passage is kind of the same thing. The psalmist is sharing something God did for him, not commenting on politics or even assuring other individuals that God will do the same for them.

Memorial Day Bonus:

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

Memorial Day is a solemn and precious day to honor those who have laid down their lives for our freedom as Americans. Every male member of my immediate family has served or is serving in the military, and I know just how blessed I am that they have all returned safe and sound. It takes a special kind of person to make the ultimate sacrifice for his country, and I certainly don’t want to take anything away from that. But as meaningful as that is, it can’t – and shouldn’t – compare to Christ laying down His life to make sinners His friends. And that’s what this verse is about. For twelve verses, Jesus has talked to His disciples about abiding in Him because He loves them so much. In verse 13, He talks about the proof of His love for them: He’s about to give His life as the atoning sacrifice for their sin. He wants them to love each other the same way – that for Christ’s sake, in Christ’s name – they would be willing to die for the sake of the gospel. Eleven of the twelve of them would go on to do so. When we use this verse in reference to Memorial Day – as deeply consequential as that day is – it tarnishes the infinitely more important sacrifice of Christ by comparing a mere man’s offering of his life for temporal, earthly freedom, to God’s offering of His sinless Son to purchase for eternity the redemption of sinful rebels.

I’m proud and grateful to be an American. I’m thankful for this nation and the freedoms we have as citizens. But for everyone who’s a citizen of the Kingdom of God, our loyalty and reverence must lie with Him first and must surpass all other loyalties – to family, to friends, and even to country. That means we reverence God’s holy Word by being good students of it and handling it correctly, by preserving and standing up for its meaning and intentions, and by refusing to manipulate it for our own lesser purposes- even such a noble purpose as patriotism.


Photo Credits
The references below are for the purpose of photo credits only. I have not examined most of these sites and do not endorse any which contradict my beliefs as cited in the Statement of Faith and Welcome tabs at the top of this page.

1. https://www.facebook.com/Prov31Ministries/photos/a.390955286960.162138.99550061960/10154692176801961/?type=1&theater
2. https://stjosephslanc.com/july-5-2015-the-fourteenth-sunday-in-ordinary-time/
3. https://www.facebook.com/ConcernedWomenforAmerica/photos/a.119423980992.123545.77903485992/10155305900670993/?type=3&theater
5. https://twitter.com/robertjeffress/status/746696996208074752
6. http://dailybiblememe.com/tag/1-peter-216/
7. http://simplylkj.blogspot.com/2016/07/happy-4th-of-july.html
8. https://thepatriotstrumpet.com/
9. http://www.klove.com/
10. http://heavy.com/news/2016/07/patriotic-bible-verses-quotes-scripture-independence-day-4th-fourth-of-july/
Memorial Day Bonus: http://unitetheusa.org/id165.html

via Top 10 4th of July Twisted Scriptures — Michelle Lesley

June 30 Awestruck

 

Revelation 15:4

Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For you alone are holy.

The primary meaning of the word holy is “separate.” It means to cut. A holy person is cut apart from the rest. God is holy in that He is totally, in His person, separate from all of us. So much so that it is almost a foreign subject to talk of Him. He is so awesome and so overwhelming in His person that there is nothing in human language or in human experience to which we may compare Him.

Some years ago a German scholar named Rudolf Otto tried to determine in a scientific way what happened to people when they came in contact with that which they believed to be holy. He observed that there is something extra in the experience of the holy, something you can’t describe in human terms. The clearest sensation that a human being has when he experiences the Holy is an overwhelming sense of creatureliness. When we meet the Absolute, we know immediately that we are not absolute. When we meet the Infinite, we come in contact immediately with our own finiteness. When we meet the Absolute Holy, we become aware that we are not like that.[1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 189). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.

One day the door to salvation will shut — The End Time

By Elizabeth Prata

It’s vacation week for much of America. I’m going to go a little easy myself this week and get a bunch of reading done. I thought for this week I’d bring forward some of the early essays I wrote.

With 5,200 essays written here since 2009, there are some you may have missed, lol. I published this one in May 2009. You can see my heart even since the earliest days of this blog. Salvation, and judgment.


 

I know many of us have heard the phrase, “When God closes a door, He opens a window.” And He does! He sends the Holy Spirit and His angels to nudge us along the paths He knows are best for us to travel; for career, for morals, for Christian growth, for all our behavioral choices. He nudges us along that way. (Acts 16:6-7).

In RomComs, the scenes when a guy is rushing toward the girl at the end of the movie, and he HAS to get to the restaurant, but just as he arrives at the place, the owner switches the OPEN sign to CLOSED. The guy bangs on the window and pleads to be let in. Because it’s the movies, the owner shrugs, smiles, and he always lets the guy in. The guy rushes to the girl and they hug and all is well.

That’s the movies. However, there will come a day on our earth when the door will close and no window will open. There will come a day when no kindly restaurant owner will shrug, smile and let you in anyway. Once the door to salvation is shut, it will STAY shut.

The door is a frequent metaphor in the Bible. In John 10:9 Jesus says: “I am the Door, if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” There will be a day when it will be too late to enter in to His kingdom. He will shut the door against you and you will be barred from entering. Is that a mean thing? No, it is what the reprobate asked for. Those who reject Jesus will be given their desire: separation from Him. No entry.

Matthew Henry said that Jesus did not come to satisfy curiosity but to guide men’s consciences. Noah took about 100 years to build the ark. During that time the people saw, they questioned, they mocked. However they all were given legitimate chance to enter in. Only 8 were deemed worthy and one day, “Those that entered, male and female of all flesh, entered as God had commanded him; and the LORD closed it behind him.” (Genesis 7:16). The door was shut against them that rejected God and they were lost in the rising waters.

Then Jesus came, and we have had two thousand years of Bible truth, Gospel truth, and His work on the cross pointing the way. During that time the people see, they question, they mock. However they all are given legitimate chance to enter in. “He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” Luke 13:24

He has told us that the day will come when “Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.‘” Luke 13:25

Once the rapture comes and the Bride Church is united with her Groom, things change. The Tribulation begins and the age of Grace is over.

A close reading of 2 Thessalonians 9-11 indicates that salvation will be very, very difficult as many will labor under a delusion and accept the false for the real. We do know that many will be saved because the Bible talks of those beheaded for the name of Jesus. (Tribulation Martyrs). But the delusion will be pervasive and effective. There is no guarantee of post-rapture salvation being widely available. Treacherous times. No one is guaranteed a tomorrow because death lurks, as well as God giving you over to your sin (Romans 1:24) and even in these last Days of Grace, one should not wait to come to the cross.

He has warned us. The door will close someday. Whether it is upon your death or that He allows your hardened heart to remain hard or that He allows you to accept the delusion…the door to salvation will close. I think it would be the worst thing in the world to be operating under the Hollywood fallacy that the kindly restaurant owner will relent and open the door to you after all.

The door is open TODAY! All you need to is pray to be saved from your sins, believing in Jesus the Son and His resurrection and His ability and willingness to cleanse you of sin’s blots. Do it today, while the door is open.

And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut.” (Matthew 25:10).

via One day the door to salvation will shut — The End Time

June 30, 2020 Evening Verse Of The Day

Affirmation

For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. (1:5)

The final principle of motivation Paul alludes to is that of affirmation. In the two previous verses Paul mentions his remembering Timothy in prayer and recalling his tears. Now again he reflects on their intimate association, this time being mindful of the sincere faith within Timothy.

Anupokritos (sincere) is a compound word, composed of a negative prefix attached to hupokritēs, from which we get the obviously related English word hypocrite. Timothy’s faith was completely genuine, unhypocritical, without pretense or deceit. In his previous letter to Timothy, Paul had written, “The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere [anupokritos] faith” (1 Tim. 1:5). In his second letter to the church at Corinth, Paul used the term to describe his “genuine love” (2 Cor. 6:6, emphasis added). Peter used it in his admonition to all believers scattered throughout the Roman Empire: “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart” (1 Peter 1:22, emphasis added). James used it as the final qualification of “the wisdom from above [which] is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy” (James 3:17, emphasis added).

Timothy had a heritage of sincere faith within [him], which first dwelt in [his] grandmother Lois, and [his] mother Eunice. The reference to Lois and Eunice suggests that Paul knew those women personally and perhaps was instrumental, along with Barnabas, in winning them to Christ during his first missionary journey, which had taken him through Timothy’s home area of Galatia (see Acts 13:13–14:21). They probably were Jewish believers under the Old Covenant who immediately received Jesus as their Messiah, Savior, and Lord when they first heard the gospel from the lips of Paul. By the time of Paul’s second journey, the women had led their grandson and son to the Lord, and he already had become “well spoken of by the brethren who were in Lystra and Iconium” (Acts 16:2). Timothy was Paul’s indirect son in the faith who had come to belief through the witness of his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice, who had been led to faith directly by the apostle. Through them, he had “from childhood … known the sacred writings which are able to give [him] the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15).

Some years ago I was involved in a discussion regarding the choice of a man to take up the leadership of a well-known Christian organization. In looking over the list of prospects, I commented that it was interesting that every one of those men had a godly pastor for a father. The Lord has, of course, raised up many faithful leaders, including Paul, from ungodly and even godless families. But a high percentage of the great men throughout church history have come from godly homes. Timothy’s father was an unbelieving Gentile (Acts 16:3), but his mother and grandmother were believers of great godliness. Paul commends them for the immense influence for good they had on Timothy and for the sincere faith that the apostle was sure to be in Timothy as well.[1]


5 The reason for Paul’s gratitude is Timothy’s “sincere [anypokritos, GK 537; see 1 Ti 1:5; cf. Ro 12:9; 2 Co 6:6] faith,” which bodes well for the disciple’s carrying on the apostle’s legacy. Just as Jesus built his church on Peter on the basis of his confession (Mt 16:18–19), Paul entrusts to Timothy the welfare of the apostolic church on account of his “sincere faith.” The permanence of this faith is apparent in that Timothy carries on the living faith of both his “grandmother Lois” (the term mammē [GK 3439; cf. 4 Macc 16:9] is an endearing term equivalent to “grandma”) and his “mother Eunice” (a Jewish believer, Ac 16:1; see Quinn and Wacker, 581–83).

Just as Paul has been “serving” (v. 3; the only instance of latreuō [GK 3302] in the PE) God, as his forefathers did (cf. Ac 23:1; 24:14), so does Timothy (latreuō denotes the performance of religious duties; cf. Knight, 366). In previous correspondence, the apostle has already stressed the need for a “clear conscience” (v. 3; cf. 1 Ti 1:5, 19; 3:9; cf. 4:2). Paul does not take Timothy’s transparently real faith for granted; he knows it is possible that external faith can masquerade inner bankruptcy (cf. 2 Ti 3:5).[2]


5 At this point, Paul begins to close the bracket begun with his self-description in v. 3. Timothy’s faith and heritage will now be described in a way that parallels Paul’s description. Grammatically, another participial phrase creates the connection with the initial statement. Thematically, it is the thought of “remembrance” that helps forge the connection. Logically, the phrase announces the main reason for Paul’s offering of thanks. The word indicating the act of remembering or recalling (hypomnēsin) is the third of its type in this section (see mneian, v. 3c; memnēmenos, v. 4b). The noun combined with the aorist participle probably intends the passive sense “I am reminded.”37 Paul does not indicate a specific reason for this recollection; he simply fastens on a distinctive trait as a prelude to parenesis.

That trait is the quality of Timothy’s faith. Two things require discussion—the meaning of “faith” and the force of the qualifier “sincere.” “Faith” is a key concept in these letters to coworkers that carries different nuances of meaning in different contexts: often with the definite article it means the objective content of what is believed (the apostolic gospel), but it may describe the existential condition of believing in God or Christ. In this context, “your faith”40 is probably meant as Timothy’s continual disposition of belief in Christ. The qualifier, “sincere,” is more accurately understood as “authentic,” as in 1 Tim 1:5 (see discussion and note), in contrast to the inauthentic faith of those who have deserted Paul and who have been involved in spreading false doctrine (2:17–18). And the contrast is probably intended (for the wider readership) to distance Timothy from the false teaching (1:8, 12, 14; 2:2). Timothy’s faith is “authentic” in what he believes and in the fruit that belief produces.

Timothy’s spiritual heritage is traced back to his grandmother and mother: “which [faith] first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded now lives in you also.” The effect is to create a parallel with the reference to Paul’s spiritual heritage in v. 3. The verb translated “to live in” (perhaps more familiarly “to indwell”; 1:14) is Pauline and used uniformly to describe inward spiritual elements of the Christian life. “Faith” is thus depicted as an enduring characteristic of these three lives. The aorist tense of the verb suggests that this state had a beginning, and the reader is invited to see God as the initial cause.

We know nothing of the two women, except that they were Jewish (Acts 16:1). The content of their faith and the sequence in which they came to it and came to know Paul, as Paul envisages it, is a matter of speculation among commentators. Paul’s self-description leaves some room for the reference to be to a living Jewish faith that readily accepted the gospel.43 But while this continuity may be necessary for the historical connections in the sequence to make sense, Paul’s main interest is in the quality of the faith that now resides in Timothy, which is to be measured by the pure apostolic faith. In any case, we know only that Timothy’s grandmother and mother apparently came to faith in the Messiah prior to Timothy and provided an environment crucial to his conversion and spiritual development (cf. 3:15). Of the latter, Paul seems, on the surface, convinced: “And I am persuaded [the faith] now lives in you also.” But, given the context that implies some degree of ambivalence towards the mission on the part of the younger coworker, the rhetorical effect of this statement goes beyond simple affirmation and encouragement to exhortation designed to induce Timothy to demonstrate his faith.

With this statement of Paul’s conviction about Timothy, the thanksgiving prayer comes to a close. It functions to remind him of Paul’s true feelings of affection. The thanks to God and prayer offered for Timothy and the fond memories serve this purpose. Equally, the sense of identity created between Paul and Timothy intends to bridge the gap of distance that separates them. But this is not an end in itself. This same paralleling of characters and qualities—apostle and fellow-worker—which the bracketing formed by Paul’s self-description and Timothy’s description emphasizes, becomes the basis upon which Paul will urge Timothy to take up the work again. At this level, the argument proceeds as follows: “Timothy, in terms of our faith and spiritual heritage, we are cut from the same cloth. The obligations and call to duty this implies for me, it also implies for you.”

We would pass too quickly over this very personal introduction if we only considered its literary significance. Paul strikes a chord that finds some degree of resonance in all believers. The OT prophets often tell the story of an enslaved people chosen and blessed by God. These people are given privileges and promises and with them the obligation to serve the Lord in every facet of life. But one of the repeating themes of this story is how the people squander their privileges and fail to carry out the obligations that attend the blessings. In preparing the coworker for the renewal of his calling, Paul draws heavily on Timothy’s sense of loyalty and responsibility to the faith, which he has as a heritage, to live out his faith in service. He was obligated to exercise the faith in him as a gift, and this included taking seriously the people to whom God had committed him. God mediates that claim of loyalty through numerous relationships in which we have experienced his grace and call to service. Loyalty or faith in modern Western culture often operates more on the intellectual than the interpersonal level, and this puts us at a disadvantage when we seek to understand a passage like this. It boils down to this: authentic faith in God requires more from us than simply adherence to doctrinal ideas.[3]


1:5 / With this clause Paul returns to the thanksgiving proper, now expressing the basis for it—God’s work in Timothy’s life. This work is expressed in terms of Timothy’s sincere (or perhaps better in these letters, “genuine”; see disc. on 1 Tim. 1:5) faith, which in this case means at least his genuine trust in God but also perhaps moves toward the idea of “faithfulness,” that is, his continuing steadfast in his faith. Paul regularly considers this quality in God’s people to be thankworthy (cf. 1 Thess. 1:3; 3:6–7; 2 Thess. 1:3; Rom. 1:8; Col. 1:4; Philem. 5).

Because this letter will basically be an appeal to Timothy to maintain his loyalty and steadfastness (to Christ, Paul, and the ministry of the gospel) in the face of suffering, he is therefore prompted to remind Timothy that the same faith he has—and is to be loyal to—was what first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice. That is, “Don’t lose heart, because just as my ministry has continuity with my forebears (v. 3), so does yours. Don’t forget your roots; they go way back, and your own faith is like that of your mother and grandmother.”

The mention of his maternal parentage is in keeping with the evidence of Acts 16:1, where we learn that Eunice was a Jewish Christian, whose husband was a Gentile. Paul’s appeal to her faith, therefore, although almost certainly referring to her faith as a believer in Christ, also reflects his view that such faith is the genuine expression of the Jewish heritage, that is, that faith in Christ is the true continuity with the religion of the ot (cf. v. 3). It should also be noted in passing that, the more personal the letter, the more often Paul mentions personal names (twenty-two in this letter; cf. Philemon, nine).

Finally, to register his concern one more time, he adds, I am persuaded it now lives in you also. This confidence in Timothy’s genuine faith becomes the springboard for the appeal that follows (1:6–2:13). Thus, as in other letters (esp. 1 Thessalonians, Romans, and Colossians), the thanksgiving not only sets out some of the themes of the letter but actually moves directly into the letter itself.[4]


1:5.… being reminded of the sincere faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is also in you.

For the third verse in a row, Paul speaks of remembering Timothy or something about him. In this verse, the Greek construction could mean some sort of external reminder, such as Paul’s receiving a report about Timothy. But that is far from certain.

Paul has remembered Timothy’s tears, but he also remembers his ‘sincere faith’ (see the same expression in 1 Timothy 1:5 and the comments there). He is thankful for the depth of Timothy’s love and emotional bond to him. But more importantly, he is thankful for Timothy’s sincere faith in the Lord. In fact, twice in this verse Paul mentions the faith that is ‘in you’, emphasizing that it is personal and very much a part of Timothy’s being. Personal, sincere faith is cause for rejoicing, not only because it produces a bond with other believers, but also because it means salvation on the Day of Judgement. Paul’s mention of Timothy’s faith here also serves as a lead-in to his later exhortation to Timothy to persevere in that faith.

Although Timothy’s faith is personal, Paul does not privatize or individualize faith. He rejoices in Timothy’s spiritual heritage, much as he had spoken of his own heritage in verse 3. Timothy’s faith was passed on to him by his ‘grandmother Lois’ and his ‘mother Eunice’ (cf. 3:14–15). Paul’s mentioning these women probably serves no other purpose than emphasizing for us the importance of a godly heritage, much like many of the genealogies in the Bible. Evangelicals who tend to individualize the faith often miss important corporate aspects of the faith, including the spiritual ancestors who have gone before us and to whom we are indebted. Paul here steers a good course for us. On the one hand, faith is personal; it must be ‘in’ each one of us. On the other hand, we must recognize the important role of our spiritual heritage and the spiritual ancestors who taught us the faith. There is no salvation without personal faith; we do not get to heaven on the coattails of our spiritual ancestors. Yet there would be no Christian faith without godly ancestors who stood firm in it and passed it on to us.[5]


Ver. 5.—Having been reminded of for when I call to remembrance, A.V.; in thee for that in thee, A.V. Unfeigned (ἀνυποκρίτου), as 1 Tim. 1:5 (see also Rom. 12:9); 2 Cor. 6:6; 1 Pet. 1:22; Jas. 3:17). Having been reminded, etc. (see preceding note). Thy grandmother Lois. Μάμμη properly corresponds exactly to our word “mamma.” In 4 Macc. 16:9, Οὐ μάμμη κληθεῖσα μακαρισθήσομαι, “I shall never be called a happy grandmother,” and here (the only place where it is found in the New Testament) it has the sense of “grandmother.” It is hardly a real word, and has no place in Stephens’ ‘Thes.,’ except incidentally by comparison with πάππα. It has, however, a classical usage. The proper word for a “grandmother” is τήθη Lois; a name not found elsewhere, possibly meaning “good,” or “excellent,” from the same root as λωΐτερος and λώἰστος This and the following Eunice are examples of the frequent use of Greek or Latin names by Jews. Eunice, we know from Acts 16:1, was a Jewess and a Christian, as it would seem her mother Lois was before her.[6]


5. Calling to remembrance that unfeigned faith. Not so much for the purpose of applauding as of exhorting Timothy, the Apostle commends both his own faith and that of his grandmother and mother; for, when one has begun well and valiantly, the progress he has made should encourage him to advance, and domestic examples are powerful excitements to urge him forward. Accordingly, he sets before him his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice, by whom he had been educated from his infancy in such a manner that he might have sucked godliness along with his milk. By this godly education, therefore, Timothy is admonished not to degenerate from himself and from his ancestors.

It is uncertain whether, on the one hand, these women were converted to Christ, and what Paul here applauds was the commencement of faith, or whether, on the other hand, faith is attributed to them apart from Christianity. The latter appears to me more probable; for, although at that time everything abounded with many superstitions and corruptions, yet God had always his own people, whom he did not suffer to be corrupted with the multitude, but whom he sanctified and separated to himself, that there might always exist among the Jews a pledge of this grace, which he had promised to the seed of Abraham. There is, therefore, no absurdity in saying that they lived and died in the faith of the Mediator, although Christ had not yet been revealed to them. But I do not assert anything, and could not assert without rashness.

And I am persuaded that in thee also. This clause confirms me in the conjecture which I have just now stated; for, in my opinion, he does not here speak of the present faith of Timothy. It would lessen that sure confidence of the former eulogium, if he only said that he reckoned the faith of Timothy to resemble the faith of his grandmother and mother. But I understand the meaning to be, that Timothy, from his childhood, while he had not yet obtained a knowledge of the gospel, was imbued with the fear of God, and with such faith as proved to be a living seed, which afterwards manifested itself.[7]


5. When Paul says I have been reminded, it may be that he had just had news of Timothy (so Bengel). The expression in the Greek would support this (hypomnēsin labōn literally meaning ‘having received a reminder’). It is striking to note that four different expressions are used in verses 3–6 to denote memory. Remember in verse 3 is paralleled in 1 Thessalonians 3:6; recalling in verse 4 is used in 1 Corinthians 11:2; I have been reminded in verse 5 is not used elsewhere in Paul (but cf. 2 Pet. 1:13); and I remind you in verse 6 is paralleled in 1 Corinthians 4:17. This rich variety of wording emphasizes the apostle’s reminiscent mood, and his desire that Timothy himself should have stores of memory on which to draw.

It is Timothy’s sincere faith which prompts some further reflections. A similar description of faith has already been met in 1 Timothy 1:5, although it is not found elsewhere in Paul. There is no need to imply from the use of the qualifying adjective sincere that faith here means no more than religious feeling. A profession of faith, understood as commitment to the Christian doctrine, could certainly be unreal. In this case the sincerity of faith was transparent and there was good reason, therefore, for its special mention. Paul refers in the Pastorals to some of Timothy’s weaknesses, such as his timidity, but there was no deficiency in his faith.

The indwelling of faith is paralleled by the Pauline ideas of the indwelling God (2 Cor. 6:16), the indwelling Spirit (Rom. 8:11; 2 Tim. 1:14), the indwelling word (Col. 3:16) and indwelling sin (Rom. 7:17). The metaphor of a building and its inhabitants was well suited to express this inner character of Christianity.

The thought of Timothy’s faith stimulates the memory of his grandmother’s and mother’s faith. But there is difference of opinion among commentators whether the Christian or Jewish faith is here meant. The use of the word first (prōton) in this context has been supposed to indicate that Lois was a devout Jewess and was the first to inculcate religious faith in Timothy; in other words from his earliest days he had been surrounded by religious faith. Yet if Christian faith is intended, prōton may mean that Lois was the first to become a Christian, followed by Eunice and her son. The reference to Timothy’s parents in Acts 16:1 is little help in solving this question since the word ‘believer’ used of Eunice could apply equally to both Jewish and Christian believers. Since by her marriage to a Greek Eunice cannot have been a strictly orthodox Jewess, it seems more probable that Christian faith is meant (cf. comment on 3:15). The lack of mention of Timothy’s father, who according to Acts 16:1 was a Greek, was probably because he was not a Christian (cf. Jeremias). Such personal details bear a genuine stamp and some scholars who dispute the authenticity of the Pastorals as a whole list this passage among the genuine fragments (e.g. Falconer). It is difficult to believe that a pseudonymous writer would have thought of mentioning Timothy’s forebears by name if the Epistle was directed to some ‘Timothy’ of a later age.

The apostle was not only deeply conscious of the powerful home influences which had shaped his own career, but was impressed by the saintly atmosphere of Timothy’s home. Lois and Eunice were perhaps well known in the Christian church for their domestic piety. The apostle closes this personal reminiscence by the assertion of a strong conviction (I am persuaded), in thoroughly characteristic style, the verb peithō being used twenty-two times in Paul’s writings. There is no doubt in his mind about Timothy’s faith.[8]


Ver. 5. When I call to remembrance [R.V., having been reminded of] the unfeigned faith that is in thee.

Unfeigned faith:—Some recorded circumstance, some spoken words, some searching test, had convinced St. Paul that Timothy at the present time was shedding no womanish tears, that his faith had revealed its strength and reality. If put to a severe strain there was now no mistake about it. His faith was not a mask of unbelief, not a mere species of personal affection for the apostle, nor was it an unpractical faith, or one dependent on circumstances. St. Paul may once have entertained some transient doubt about Timothy. His fears may have exaggerated to himself the significance of Timothy’s excessive grief. The words of despair wrung from his lips at their parting may have distressed the apostle; but now the ugly suspicion is suppressed and no longer haunts his nightly intercession. (H. R. Reynolds, D.D.)

Unfeigned faith practical:—A lady and gentleman were being shown over the Mint by the Master of the Mint, who took them from the gate where the rough gold came in until they saw it going out in the form of coins to the bank for distribution all over the country. When they were in the melting-room, the Master said, “Do you see that pail of liquid?” “Yes.” “If you dip your hand into it I will pour a ladleful of molten gold into your hand, and it will roll off it without hurting you.” “Oh!” was the remark somewhat sceptically made. “Do you not believe me?” inquired the Master. “Well; yes, I do,” replied the gentleman. “Hold out your hand, then.” When he saw the boiling gold above his hand, ready to be poured out, the gentleman took a step back, and, in terror, put his hand behind his back. The lady, however, stooped down, dipped her hand into the liquid, and holding it out, said, “Pour it into my hand.” She really believed, and could trust, but her friend had not the practical faith to enable him to trust. (J. Campbell White.)

Timothy’s faith:

  1. The peculiar excellence for which Timothy is here commended—“Unfeigned faith.” St. Paul goes to the root of all that was excellent in Timothy—namely, his faith. Not but that he could at other times dwell with pleasure on the fruits of that faith; especially when speaking of him to others. A beautiful specimen we have in Phil. 2:19–22. But in writing to Timothy himself, he thinks it most profitable to insist upon the source of that excellent character—his faith.
  2. The instrumental cause to which the faith of Timothy is here ascribed—namely, the previous faith of his pious mother, Eunice, and of his grandmother, Lois. The only effectual cause to which unfeigned faith can be ascribed, is the grace of Christ and His Spirit. Nevertheless, in conferring this precious gift, the Lord frequently works by instruments or means. The case of these excellent women, then, may lead us to observe the special honour conferred on the weaker sex, in their being often made—1. Foremost in faith and piety. Man fell by the woman’s transgression; but it is by the seed of the woman that he is redeemed. The first convert in Europe was a woman—Lydia. In every period of the history of the Church women have been more open to conviction, more simple believers in Christ, more devoted in their zeal for His cause, than others. 2. Foremost in spiritual usefulness. Such they were in the case before us. Now this remarkable succession of piety, in three generations of the same family, was a blessing from God, in honour of female faith—“unfeigned faith.” “Them that honour Me,” saith God, “I will honour.” (J. Jowett, M.A.)

The worth of faith:—All other graces do still accompany it. Where it is they all be. Faith may be compared to a prince which, wheresoever he pitcheth his tents, hath many rich attendants (1 Cor. 13 ult.), as love, hope, zeal, patience, &c. Faith expelleth infidelity out of the heart, as heat doth cold, wind, smoke, for they he contraries. It cannot, nor will not, admit of so bad a neighbour; it shoulders out all unprofitable guests (Acts 15:9; Heb. 4:2). And besides this, faith makes our actions acceptable to God; for without it it is impossible to please God: this is that true fire which cometh down from heaven and seasons all our sacrifices (Heb. 2:6; Rom. 14 ult.). What, then, are they worthy of, that neither respect it in themselves nor others; many have no care to plant this flower in the garden of their hearts; or, if they have it, to preserve it from perishing. Jonah mourned that his gourd withered, yet we grieve not if faith be destroyed. (J. Barlow, D.D.)

Faith the chief thing:—The world cries, What’s a man without money? but I say, What’s a man without faith? For no faith, no soul quickened; heart purified, sin pardoned; bond cancelled, quittance received; or any person justified, saved. (Ibid.)

Get faith:—I say that to all, which I do to one, get faith, keep faith, and increase your faith. A mite of this grain is worth a million of gold; a stalk of this faith, a standing tree of earthly fruits; a soul freighted and filled with this treasure, all the coffers of silver in the whole world. What can I more say? The least true faith is of more value than large domains, stately buildings, and ten thousand rivers of oil. If the mountains were pearl, the huge rocks precious stones, and the whole globe a shining chrysolite; yet faith, as much as the least drop of water, grain of sand, or smallest mustard-seed, is more worth than all. This will swim with his master; hold up his drooping head, and land him safe at the shore, against all winds and weather, storms and tempests; strive then for this freight; for the time and tide thereof serveth but once, and not for ever. (Ibid.)

Faith works like effects in divers subjects:—The grandmother, the mother, and the mother’s son, had the same faith; and the like fruits proceeded from them, else Paul would never have called it unfeigned, or said that it dwelt in them, or given them all three one and the same testimony. All three had faith, and unfeigned faith. For the likeness of actions were in them, and proceed from them, by the which it was called unfeigned, and equally appropriated to each particular person. And it is an undoubted position that faith produceth the like effects in all God’s children; in truth, it must be understood, not in degree. For as faith increaseth, the effects are bettered. Many lanterns, with several candles, will all give light; but in proportion to their adverse degrees and quantities. Every piece hath his report, but according to the bigness, and each instrument will sound, but variously as they be in proportion, and that for these reasons. Because faith differs not in kind, but in degree, and like causes produce like effects. Every bell hath its sound, each tone its weight, and several plants, their diverse influences; yet not in the same measure, though they may vary in kind. Again, faith is diffused into subjects, though several, yet they are the same in nature and consist of like principles. Fire, put into straw, will either smoke or burn, let the bundles be a thousand; life in the body will have motion, though not in the same degree and measure; and reason in every man acteth, but not so exquisitely. The constitution may not be alike, therefore a difference may be in operation natural, and also from the same ground, in acts spiritual. A dark horn in the lantern dims the light somewhat. (Ibid.)

Unfeigned faith manifested:—From this point we may learn how to judge of the faith in our times which so many boast of; they cry, Have not we faith? do not we believe as well as the best? But where be the fruits of faith unfeigned? hast thou an humble and purging heart? dost thou call upon God at all times, “tarry His leisure, and rely upon His promise? art thou bold and resolute for good causes? canst thou resist Satan? cleave to God, and shun the appearances of evil? will neither poverty oppress thee by despair, or prosperity by presumption? Why, it is well, and we believe, that faith is to be found in thee, but if not, thou hast it not rooted in thee. For the tree is known by the fruit. Will not the flower smell? the candle give light? and the fire heat? and shall true faith be without her effects? Boast not too much, lest thou deceive thyself, taking the shadow for the body; and that which is not for that which should be. (Ibid.) Which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice.

Lois and Eunice:—Origen conjectured that Lois and Eunice were relatives of St. Paul. This is only conjecture. There is far more reason for believing that they were converts made by him on his first visit to Lystra. In the Jewish communities of these Asiatic towns there were elect souls who had begun to cherish larger hopes for humanity. If Lois had permitted her daughter to marry a Greek, and yet had retained her faith in the promises made to Israel, and if Eunice had so far yielded to her husband’s views or habits as to have foregone for her only son the sacramental rite of admission to the Jewish nation, and yet, notwithstanding this, had diligently instructed him in the history and contents of Holy Scriptures (chap. 3:15). We have a glimpse of light thrown upon the synagogues and homes of devout Israelites in Asia Minor. (H. R. Reynolds, D.D.) Lois is the same with the more familiar Lais; Eunice is an equivalent of the Latin Victoria. (H. D. M. Spence, M.A.)

The day of Christian faith:—Christian faith in its morning (Timothy), at noon (Eunice), and at the evening of life (Lois). (Dr. Van Oosterzee.)

Celebrated mothers:—Like the celebrated mothers of Augustine, of Chrysostom, of Basil, and of other illustrious saints of God, the life, sincerity and constancy of Lois and Eunice became vicariously a glorious heritage of the universal Church. (H. R. Reynolds, D.D.)

Lessons:—1. The infidelity of the father prevents not faith in the children. For if it had, Eunice and Timothy and many more should never have been found faithful (1 Kings 14:13; 1 Cor. 7:14). 2. Succession of faith is the best succession. 3. Where we see signs of goodness, we are to judge the best. 4. When we give others instruction, we are first to possess them with the persuasion of our affection. For then they will take it in good part, and our words will have the deeper impression. (J. Barlow, D.D.)

Memories of a mother:—Among the reminiscences of a great statesman, Daniel Webster, it is related that on one occasion a public reception was given him in Boston. Thousands of his country’s citizens crowded together and paid him homage. Bursts of applause had been sounding all day in his ears. Elegantly dressed ladies had thrown bouquets of the rarest flowers at his feet. But as he ascended the stops leading to his mansion, crowned with the honours of the gala day, a little, timid girl stepped up and placed a bunch of old-fashioned garden pinks in his hand. At sight of these old, familiar flowers, and their well-remembered fragrance filled the air, the old memories were stirred. Just such pinks used to grow in his mother’s garden when he was a child. Instantly that sweet face of the loved mother came to his vision; her tender, gentle voice sounded once more in his ears. So overcome was he with the tide of old memories that crowded into his heart that he excused himself, and went to his apartments alone. “Nothing,” said he, “in all my life affected me like that little incident.” John Newton in his worst days could never forget his mother, at whose knees he had learned to pray, but who was taken to heaven when he was but eight years old. “My mother’s God, the God of mercy, have mercy upon me!” was often his agonising prayer in danger, and we all know how it was answered. (Great Thoughts.)

Mother’s influence:—If we call him great who planned the Cathedral of St. Peter, with all its massiveness and beauty; if they call the old masters great whose paintings hang on monastery and chapel walls, is not she (the mother) great who is building up characters for the service of God, who is painting on the soul canvas the beauty and strength of Jesus the Christ? (A. E. Kittredge.)

Christian mothers:—Give me a generation of Christian mothers and I will undertake to change the whole face of society in twelve months. (Lord Shaftesbury.)

Woman’s influence:—A missionary in Ceylon writes as a “noticeable fact” that where Christian women are married to heathen husbands, generally the influence in the household is Christian; whereas, when a Christian man takes a heathen woman he usually loses his Christian character, and the influences of the household are on the side of heathenism.

Parental example:—We may read in the fable what the mother crab said to the daughter: “Go forward, my daughter, go forward.” The daughter replied, “Good mother, do you show me the way!” Whereupon the mother, crawling backward and sidling, as she was wont, the daughter cried out, “So, mother! I go just as you do.” (Family Churchman.)

Mother and child:—Sir Walter Scott’s mother was a superior woman, and a great lover of poetry and painting. Byron’s mother was proud, ill-tempered, and violent. The mother of Napoleon Buonaparte was noted for her beauty and energy. Lord Bacon’s mother was a woman of superior mind and deep piety. The mother of Nero was a murderess. The mother of Washington was pious, pure, and true. The mother of Matthew Henry was marked by her superior conversational powers. The mother of John Wesley was remarkable for her intelligence, piety, and executive ability, so that she has been called the “Mother of Methodism.” It will be observed that in each of these examples the child inherited the prominent traits of the mother. (J. L. Nye.)

Mother’s influence:—“It was at my mother’s knees,” he says, “that I first learned to pray; that I learned to form a reverence for the Bible as the inspired word of God; that I learned the peculiarities of the Scottish religion; that I learned my regard to the principles of civil and religious liberty, which have made me hate oppression and—whether it be a pope, or a prelate, or an ecclesiastical demagogue—resist the oppressor.” (T. Guthrie, D.D.)

Children to be taught young:—First, for then they will remember it when they are old (Prov. 23:13). Dye cloth in the wool, not in the web, and the colour will be the better, the more durable. Secondly, to defer this duty is dangerous, for thou mayst be took from them. Who then shall teach them after thy departure? (2 Kings 2:24). Thirdly, besides, what if they come to faith? Will it not be with the more difficulty? Fallow ground must have the stronger team, great trees will not easily bend, and a bad habit is not easily left and better come by. If their memories be stuffed with vanity as a table-book, the old must be washed out before new can be written in. Fourthly, what shall I more say? God works strangely in children, and rare things have been found in them; and what a comfort will it be for parents in their life, to hear their children speak of good things, and at the last day, when they can say to Christ, Here am I, and the children Thou hast given me! (J. Barlow, D.D.)

The secret of a good mother’s influence:—Some one asked a mother whose children had turned out very well, what was the secret by which she prepared them for usefulness and for the Christian life, and she said, “This was the secret. When in the morning I washed my children, I prayed that they might be washed in the fountain of a Saviour’s mercy. When I put on their garments, I prayed that they might be arrayed in the robe of a Saviour’s righteousness. When I gave them food, I prayed that they might be fed with manna from heaven. When I started them on the road to school I prayed that their faith might be as the shining light, brighter and brighter to the perfect day. When I put them to sleep, I prayed that they might be enfolded in the Saviour’s arms.” (T. De Witt Talmage.)

Training the young:—Rightly to train a single youth is a greater exploit than the taking of Troy. (Melancthon.)

A good grandmother:—“I owe a great deal to nay grandmother,” said a young man who was courageous and true above many in his Christian life. “Why, what did she do for you? Oh, she just sat by the fire.” “Did she knit?” “A little.” “Did she talk to you?” “A little; but grannie was not much of a talker; she did not go in for all that, you know; but she just sat and looked comfortable, and when we were good she smiled, and when we were wild in our talk she smiled too, but if ever we were mean she sighed. We all loved her, and nobody did as much for us, really, as grannie.” (Marianne Farningham.)

A godly household:—A household that fears God is another joy of my life. I would rather see it than the finest landscape. I can understand why Sir Walter Scott got his seat put down in his garden, within earshot of his bailiff’s cottage, that he might always hear the sound of the psalms at morning and evening worship. There never was incense sweeter from morning or evening sacrifice! A home, where the father and mother walk in the narrow way, is pretty sure to find their children accompanying them. Not that God’s gifts are hereditary, but example goes a great way, and if the parent, who is the highest on earth to the child, live a Christian life, it is very seldom the child will not follow him. It depends on the parent. If the mother, or father, or both, be real Christians, gentle, kind, reverent, pure, the little ones grow accustomed to these graces and catch them almost unconsciously.

Suppressed lives:—A few years ago a gentleman died in Germany whose name was almost unknown both in Great Britain and on the Continent. A physician by profession, and an inheritor of a title, he lived a life of comparative seclusion. He was never in the front at any pageant or ceremonial of any court. He was never known when treaties and alliances were made between reigning sovereigns. In diplomatic circles his name was never prominently mentioned. And yet no man of his time in all Europe had more influence in determining the destiny of nations than he. He was the power behind thrones. He was the intimate confidant of princes. He rendered the most important services to England and to Germany. His was one of those “suppressed lives” which are so often lives of commanding power. It was a suppressed life, expressed in kings, parliaments, and statesmen. Such lives are to be found in literary circles. It is often a matter of infinite surprise that such marvels of erudition and widest compass of reading in the domain of metaphysics, philosophy, theology, and ecclesiastical history, can be produced by a single man in the compass of so short a life as is given the world by many a German writer. But the secret is, that behind the life of the author, who may receive all the praise of the public, are scores of suppressed lives. These are the men of culture and training who are doing the toiling drudgery, wading through volumes, finding and verifying quotations. It is well known that in the business world these suppressed lives play a most important part. Many an employer is dependent upon the labours of faithful men, unknown to the world, who have mastered all the intricacies of a complex business, and upon whom they implicitly depend for advice in its management. St. Paul, after his somewhat depressing visit to Athens, found a home in the humble abode of Aquila and Priscilla, in the busy, sensual city of Corinth. In the house of this lowly artisan he found rest, refreshment, and strength. Working with him side by side, in the plebeian craft of tent-making, the great apostle to the Gentiles derived new zeal and energy for his great work from the life and conversation of this faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. In the same home the eloquent Alexandrian, Apollos, found shelter and instruction. In his life, full of eloquent thought and speech, and still more eloquent deeds, their suppressed lives found a brilliant and glorious expression. These two lives may justly stand for the lives of the great multitude of teachers in the Sunday Schools and other schools of our land. Suppressed lives mostly they are. Comparatively unrecognised is the influence these teachers are exerting upon the destinies of the millions of children intrusted to their care. In St. Paul’s words to Timothy, as quoted in the text, we have the recognition of the power of suppressed lives in the charmed circle of the home. An ampler life has been opened to woman than heretofore in our day. The most thoroughgoing infidel cannot deny that Christianity above all other systems guards and glorifies the home; that it has given to the wife and the mother the unique and the peerless position they hold in the countries where the highest civilisation is enjoyed. This Bible before me loves to honour the home. Who can estimate the influence of the suppressed lives in these homes? In that obscure country rectory at Epworth lived the mother of the Wesleys. The husband was a dreamy, poetical, unpractical man. The household quiver was full and running over with children. She was the teacher of them all. John Wesley was taught by her the alphabet for the twentieth time, that in her own language, “the nineteenth might not be in vain.” She kept up with the classical studies of her boys until they went away from home to school and college. She managed her large family with the economy extolled by “Poor Richard,” with “the discipline of West Point,” and yet in the loving spirit of the home at Bethany. She was the constant counsellor of her once seemingly stupid but now most gifted son John, and the earnest defender if not initiator of the greatest ecclesiastical movement of our day—the coming to the front in every Christian enterprise of the laymen of the Church. She stood in her old age by the side of that son when, as the foremost religious leader of the centuries, he preached on Kensington common the memorable sermon to twenty thousand persons, and “the slain of the Lord” lay in windrows before him. The grey-haired, bent, and silent mother was speaking in the burning words and ringing tones of the great reformer. The mother of Washington lived and triumphed in the matchless deeds of the father of his country. (S. Fallows.)[9]


1:5 “sincere faith” Literally this is “unhypocritical.” It is used in the sense of “a pure faith” (cf. 1 Tim. 1:5).

© “within you” It is uncertain from the context (and 3:15 as well as Acts 16:1) whether this refers to Judaism (Timothy’s grandmother and possibly mother) or Christianity (Timothy’s conversion). It obviously refers to faith in YHWH and His redemptive plan.

©

NASB

 

“I am sure that it is in you as well”

 

NKJV

 

“I am persuaded is in you also”

 

NRSV

 

“I am sure, lives in you”

 

TEV

 

“I am sure that you have it also”

 

NJB

 

“I am sure dwells also in you”

 

This is a PERFECT PASSIVE INDICATIVE. This phrase in Greek is a strong affirmation of continuing confidence in the Spirit’s work in Timothy’s life and ministry.[10]


5. When I call to remembrance, &c. This increased his ‘desire to see’ Timothy. [C Δ G f g, Vulgate, read lambanōn. But א A, labōn, ‘when I called to remembrance:’ implying that some recent incident (perhaps the contrasted cowardice of the hypocrite Demas, who forsook him) had reminded him of the sincerity of Timothy’s faith.] ‘Having received reminding.’ [Anamnesis, when one recalls to mind something past; hupomnesis, when one is reminded by another (2 Pet. 3:1).] faith that is in thee [tēs en soi]—not merely, as Alford, ‘that was in thee.’ which [hētis]—‘the which:’ as being that which in particular. dwelt [ἐνῴκησεν]—‘made its dwelling’ (John 14:23). The past tense implies they were now dead. first. The family pedigree of indwelling faith began first with Lois, the furthest back of Timothy’s progenitors whom Paul knew. mother Eunice—a believing Jewess; but his father was a Greek—i. e., a heathen (Acts 16:1). The faith of the one parent sanctified the child (1 Cor. 7:14; ch 3:15). She was probably converted at Paul’s first visit to Lystra (Acts 14:6, 7). It is an undesigned coincidence, and so a mark of truth, that in Acts 16:1, just as here, the belief of the mother alone is mentioned, whilst no notice is taken of the father (Paley’s ‘Horæ Paulinæ’). and [de]—‘but;’ i. e., notwithstanding appearances (Alford). Rather, ‘moreover.’ The more persuaded Paul is of Timothy’s faith, the more he exhorts him to stir up the gift of God (Leo). persuaded thatit dwells “in thee also.” The faith of his mother and grandmother is the incentive used to stir up his faith.[11]


1:5. Paul returned to the subject of spiritual heritage as he thought about Timothy: I have been reminded of your sincere faith. He had watched Timothy and worked beside him for years. In Timothy, Paul recognized a genuine faith, one adhering to the teachings of Christ and the apostles, which in turn produced righteous behavior. Proper belief and proper actions are components of sincere faith.

Paul realized that genuine faith had been modeled for Timothy through his family. It was evident in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice. Though true faith cannot be inherited, it can be demonstrated in convincing ways within the context of a family. Even so, each person must entrust himself personally to Jesus Christ. True faith is individually claimed.

Timothy’s father was Greek. His mother and grandmother, however, were Jewish (Acts 16:1). Apparently they had trained Timothy in reading and memorizing Old Testament texts because Paul later remarked how Timothy had from childhood known the holy Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:15). This had proved a good foundation as he developed into faith in Christ. The genuine faith Paul had noted in Timothy’s mother and grandmother, he was convinced now lives in you [Timothy].[12]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1995). 2 Timothy (pp. 7–8). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Köstenberger, A. (2006). 2 Timothy. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, p. 568). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Towner, P. H. (2006). The Letters to Timothy and Titus (pp. 453–455). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[4] Fee, G. D. (2011). 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus (p. 223). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Barcley, W. B. (2005). A Study Commentary on 1 and 2 Timothy (pp. 219–220). Darlington, England; Webster, NY: Evangelical Press.

[6] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). 2 Timothy (p. 2). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[7] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon (pp. 187–188). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[8] Guthrie, D. (1990). Pastoral Epistles: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 14, pp. 141–142). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[9] Exell, J. S. (n.d.). The Biblical Illustrator: Second Timothy–Titus, Philemon (Vol. 1, pp. 6–11). New York; Chicago; Toronto; London; Edinburgh: Fleming H. Revell Company.

[10] Utley, R. J. (2000). Paul’s Fourth Missionary Journey: I Timothy, Titus, II Timothy (Vol. Volume 9, pp. 136–137). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.

[11] Brown, D., Fausset, A. R., & Jamieson, R. (n.d.). A Commentary, Critical, Experimental, and Practical, on the Old and New Testaments: Acts–Revelation (Vol. VI, p. 502). London; Glasgow: William Collins, Sons, & Company, Limited.

[12] Larson, K. (2000). I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon (Vol. 9, pp. 265–266). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Christian, Will You Let This Crush Your Spirit? — Growing 4 Life

During the months of March and April, most of us were in shock. Life as we knew it came screeching to a halt and we found ourselves on house arrest. TVs blared “stay home stay safe” commercials. Empty grocery store shelves confirmed our panic. What in the world was going on?

In May, things started to loosen a bit. It wasn’t like before and we started wondering–would it ever be like before? But we could get out and about a bit and store shelves started filling up. We were still uneasy but most of us were trying to accept things at face value and resume a more normal way of life.

But then, at the end of May, there was the Floyd incident. And, at that time, all of us should have recognized that something fishy was going on with the virus narrative. I say this because, suddenly, social distancing and masks didn’t matter. The protests overrode these mandates and even our governor here in Pennsylvania walked in the protests and disobeyed his own mandate.

Other things started coming to light, as well: Things such as several states sending Covid patients back into nursing homes; skewed data practices; the encouragement of snitching. I have heard dozens of stories, both personal and through other avenues, that show the inconsistencies and outright lying of the press.

And then, as if to confirm all we were starting to wonder, social media started censoring anything it didn’t deem “appropriate”, which was any voice that was dissenting against the virus narrative.

At this point, most of us realized that it wasn’t about a virus at all. Oh, we knew there was a virus, but the lockdown itself had a far broader and deeper agenda.

During these last four months, we’ve been on a roller coaster ride of hopes and dashed hopes. We wonder what the future holds and, those of us who hold to a literal Revelation, wonder how this all will play into the end. It is very clear that it will. We are just not exactly sure how.

In the midst of our world changing so much, in the midst of losing a lot of the freedom that we thought we had, in the midst of uncertainty hanging over our heads, we simply can not allow our spirits to be crushed.

Isn’t that the temptation for many of us?

A crushed spirit feels unmotivated. It wonders “why bother?”

A crushed spirit feels disheartened and lacks joy.

A crushed spirit doesn’t look people in the eye and rarely smiles in public.

A crushed spirit focuses on self.

A crushed spirit worries and frets about the future.

A crushed spirit quietly succumbs and gives in.

The powers-that-be want to crush our spirits. People with crushed spirits are much easier to control. I have been reading a book about the Soviet Union during the Revolution and the years following and the similarities are eerily similar. You can almost see communism snaking its way into this once strong nation. You can see the crushing of the spirit of not only individuals but of a nation.

But here’s the thing– as Christians, our spirits should be uncrushable.

Of course, this is all a learning process for many of us, isn’t it? How do we, as believers, keep our spirits alive and hopeful? How do we guard against dejection and despair?

Well, the Bible has a thing or two to say about that. I won’t touch on it all, but I thought I’d mention a few things that I’ve been considering recently.

1. Keep our eyes focused in the right direction.

First, we must keep our mind on God. Isaiah 26:3 puts it like this–

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.

Second, we must stay focused on eternity, rather than temporal things. Colossians 3:1-2 makes this very clear–

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

When our minds are on God and what He has promised us in the future, the things of this present time will fade in their significance. It doesn’t take away problems but rather lessens their importance, in light of Who God is and what awaits us in eternity.

2. Submit to God and resist the devil.

I have been thinking a lot about this. I can’t think of a better time that Satan and his minions would want to crush the spirits of Christians. There are a lot of people questioning what’s going on. There are so many in despair. Many are desperately hurting. If Satan can keep Christians looking the same way as the rest of the world, he has done his job. If we are also in despair, then we have nothing to offer to someone who is lost, do we? We are rendered utterly ineffective for God when we allow ourselves to be controlled by worry, fear, and despair.

And we are so susceptible to Satan’s spiritual attacks. He roars about like a lion, seeking to devour us (I Peter 5:8). This is in the Bible and not some made-up gobbledygook.

But James gives us our best defense against Satanic attacks in a short verse in chapter 4 (vs. 7)–

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

We have the capability to make Satan flee from us.

But it’s only through submitting to God first and then actively resisting the devil.

So let’s unpack that a bit. How do we do this exactly? It’s actually simpler than you may think.

First, we must submit to God’s will in all situations. Including the one that we all are currently in. We must accept it joyfully and choose contentment. This is the first step.

The second step is that we must evaluate our lives for sin. Have we left habitual sin creep into a corner of our lives and given Satan a right to be there?

When I feel under spiritual attack, I ask God these two questions–

Would you please show me any area I have not submitted to You?

Would you please show me any sin in my life that needs to be eradicated?

If I long to cling to my rebellion or sin, I ask Him to help me to want to give these things up. It’s not always instant but God works in a heart that longs to please Him. A great cause for gladness to any believer!

3. Abhor Evil, Love Others, and Serve the Lord.

Romans 12, beginning in verse 9, is a great description of the Christian life. If we follow Paul’s instructions here, we will not have time to be fretting and caught up in despair. We will be busy living a godly life, no matter what our circumstances–

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient[c] in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given[d] to hospitality.

Read that paragraph again and reflect on all that we are instructed to do in the verses. Keep in mind that it gives no caveat for when things aren’t going as we want them to or life turns upside down. It gives no exception clause for when we just don’t feel like doing these things.

4. Remember What Matters.

If you are a believer, then you have been saved from eternal hell through faith in Jesus Christ. When we consider eternity in hell and the greatness of God’s sacrifice, we inevitably turn towards the cross with a heart full of gratitude. We are saved! In the midst of all the uncertainty and discouragement, let’s not forget the greatest miracle of all: WE ARE SAVED!

________________________________________

So there are four fairly simple things we can do to keep our spirit from being crushed. Please note that I didn’t use the word “easy.”

Some of you don’t need this post today. Probably many of you don’t. But for those of you who have struggled (and I know there are some of you because you’ve told me), I write this for you. This post reflects some of the process I’ve been working out in my own life over these past few months and I hope that it is an encouragement to you.

Of all people, we should be the most jubilant and joyful! May we remember this, in spite of all that is going on in the world around us!

via Christian, Will You Let This Crush Your Spirit? — Growing 4 Life

June—30 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

 

With the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God.—1 Thess. 4:16.

Before I drop into the arms of sleep, I would call upon my soul to ponder these words. I know not, each night, when retiring to rest, whether my next awakening may not be “with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God.” As what may be my state in this particular, and hath been the state of many, (for the hour of a man’s death is to all intents and purposes the day of judgment,) becomes an infinitely momentous concern; how can I better close the day and the month together, than by a few moments’ consideration of the solemn event? What is meant by “the voice of the archangel?” I do not recollect the name of the archangel being mentioned anywhere beside in scripture, except Jude 9; and here, as well as there, the person spoken of is but one. We have no authority to say archangels; yea, it should seem, from what the apostle Jude hath said concerning the archangel, in calling him Michael, (if compared with the vision of Daniel, chap. 10:21; and also with what is said in the book of the Revelations, chap. 12:7), that it means the person of Christ. Jesus himself hath said, that “the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and all that are in their graves shall come forth.” (John 5:25–28.) But, if the Holy Ghost speak but of one, and there be but the shadow of a probability, that “that one is Christ,” it becomes very faulty to join others in the name, by making the word plural. With respect to “the trump of God” we may understand, that as the law was given with solemn splendour and glory on Mount Sinai, so the consummation of all things will testify the Divine presence. My soul! meditate on these things: give thyself wholly to the frequent consideration of them. And by the lively actings of faith upon the person of thy Lord, contemplate thy personal interest in all the blessedness of this great day of God. If this “voice of the archangel” be indeed the voice of Jesus, and thou knowest now by grace thy oneness and union with him, shall not the very thought give thee holy joy? It is true, indeed, the day will be solemn—yea, profoundly solemn. But it is equally true, it will be glorious to all the redeemed. And if the Lord Jesus commanded his disciples to look up, and lift up their heads with holy joy, when their redemption drew nigh, shall we not suppose that it must be pleasing to the mind of our God and Saviour to welcome and hail the fulfilment of it? Yea, must it not be pleasing to our God and Father, that we believe in his Son Jesus Christ to this day of eternal salvation? We find the apostles thus encouraging the faithful. Paul tells Titus to be “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13.) Surely, if the hope be blessed, and the appearing of Jesus, as the Redeemer of his people, glorious, our souls should triumph in the expectation. Peter goes one step farther, and bids the Church not only to be looking, but hasting unto the coming of it; as souls well assured of their safety in Jesus: and therefore to cry out, with holy faith, “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!” (2 Peter 3:12.) What sayest thou, my soul, to these things? Are they blessed? Are thy hopes thus going forth in desires after Christ’s coming? Oh! the blessedness of falling asleep each night, in the sleep of nature, in the perfect assurance of a, oneness in Christ! And oh! the blessedness of falling asleep in Jesus, when the Lord gives the signal for the sleep of death? All the intervening lapse of time, from death to this hour of the “voice of the archangel,” is totally lost to the body like the unconscious lapse of time to the labouring man of health, whose sleep each night is sweet. When the patriarchs of their different ages arise, at “the trump of God,” their bodies will be equally unconscious, whether the sleep hath been for one night or several thousand years. Think, my soul, of these solemn but precious things. Frequently meditate, with holy joy and faith, upon this great day of God. Recollect, that it is Jesus who comes to take thee home. And having long redeemed thee by his blood, he then will publicly acknowledge thee for his own, and present thee to the Father, and himself, as a part of his glorious Church, “not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but to be for ever without blame before him in love.”[1]

 

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 199–200). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

Free to Stream through August 31 — Ligonier Ministries Blog

As Bible studies, small groups, and Sunday school classes around the world continue to be affected by restrictions on gatherings, Ligonier Ministries is here to help you maintain your daily growth and the discipleship within your family and community.

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via Free to Stream through August 31 — Ligonier Ministries Blog

June 30th The D. L. Moody Year Book

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, faith, meekness, goodness, temperance: against such there is no law.—Galatians 5:22, 23.

THE fruit of the Spirit begins with love. There are nine graces spoken of, and of these nine Paul puts love at the head of the list; love is the first thing, the first in that precious cluster of fruit. Some one has said that all the other eight can be put in terms of love. Joy is love exulting; peace is love in repose; long-suffering is love on trial; gentleness is love in society; goodness is love in action; faith is love on the battlefield; meekness is love at school; and temperance is love in training. So it is love all the way; love at the top, love at the bottom, and all the way along down this list of graces. If we only just brought forth the fruit of the Spirit, what a world we would have! Men would have no desire to do evil.[1]

 

[1] Moody, D. L. (1900). The D. L. Moody Year Book: A Living Daily Message from the Words of D. L. Moody. (E. M. Fitt, Ed.) (p. 110). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.