Category: General epistles-BibleTrekToday

Contend earnestly for the faith!

Scripture reading for December 1st: Jude

Key Scriptures: Jude 1-4 “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you. Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

Jude and James were half-brothers of Jesus Christ. Neither of them mention this in their letters, but rather Jude refers to himself as a servant of Jesus Christ. Jude was originally going to write the letter to further explain the wonderful salvation that the church enjoyed through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. But certain false teachers had crept unnoticed into the church and began to pervert the pure Gospel of God’s grace and drew people away from Jesus Christ into sensuality and denial of the Master. This letter was now a call to the church to war–contending earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints. It’s a good fight and Jude reminded them that others had contended for the faith before them. They could build themselves up in their most holy faith through praying in the Holy Spirit and continuing to do God’s work of mercy.

Jude 17-21 “But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.”

Faith confession and prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for giving me the gift of the Holy Spirit and calling me to Your family and church. Help me to be strong in my faith by praying in the Holy Spirit and showing mercy by preaching Your powerful Gospel. Snatch the lost from the fire and bring glory to Your Name!

Jude 24-25 “Now to Him Who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”

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Fellow workers through giving

Scripture reading for November 30th: 3rd John

Key Scriptures: 3rd John 5-8 “Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. For they have gone out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.”

John, the apostle of Jesus Christ, had lived a long life and faithfully preached the Gospel in Asia. He was appointed as an elder over seven churches and Jesus personally gave him messages for each of them as he was imprisoned for preaching the Gospel on the Island of Patmos. Now, as John writes this last letter, he commends Gaius, a faithful member of one of the churches, for the love shown by the church to traveling ministers who visited them. Even though these ministers were not known personally by the church, they were encouraged to help them financially and prayerfully to further the work that they had been called to do. John told them that when they support them, they become fellow-workers and share in the ministry and the reward. John also warned Gaius about another man, Diotrephes, who was speaking evil of John and other church elders and refused to welcome these ministers.

3rd John 9-10 “I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father, I thank You that You speak plainly with those in leadership in Your Church about loving others and giving help to brothers and sisters sharing the work of ministry, even if we don’t know them personally. Give me discernment concerning those like Diotrephes, who John knew by name, who seek to cause division and sow discord. Help me to share in Your great work of winning the lost for Your eternal kingdom.

3rd John 11 “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.” Vs. 15 “Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends, each by name.”

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Walk it out!

Scripture reading for November 29th: 2nd John

Key Scriptures: 2nd John 4-8 “I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. And now I ask you, dear lady–not as though I were writing you a new commandment but the one we have had from the beginning–that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.”

In this short letter, John writes to ‘the elect lady and her children.’ Most commentators believe that John was writing to a female church leader and the church members. His greatest joy came from finding some of the church members walking in the truth and loving each other. Jesus taught that the simple command to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves was the greatest commandment. He emphasized to His disciples that they were to walk out their love for one another and by this all men would know that they were His disciples. We are to love those made in God’s image. Jesus Christ came to earth in a fleshly body and demonstrated God’s love through healing, relationships, and teaching. Deceivers tried to deny Jesus was a man in a human body. This is the spirit of antichrist. Don’t even welcome them into your homes.

2nd John 9-11 “Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for perfectly walking out a life of obedience to all God’s commandments and summarizing them in the simple command to love one another and love God. May I bring joy to Your heart and church leadership by my walk of truth and love. Help me today to discern those with the antichrist spirit in the church and world and avoid their false doctrines.

2nd John 3 “Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.”

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Blessed assurance!

Scripture reading for November 26th: 1st John 5

Key Scriptures: 1st John 5:10-13 “Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning His Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the Name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.”

John wanted the believers to understand that they could absolutely know that they had eternal life. The fear of punishment or fear of failure to do enough causes people to shrink back from God and not enjoy a life of faith and the joy coming from no condemnation and justification by faith. John said it was simple. When we believe in the Son of God, we have that testimony in us in the confession “Jesus is Lord.” Because of the gift of the Holy Spirit, we know God as our Father and also cry “Abba, Father” from a heart that has experienced new creation. When we have the Son of God as Lord, we have eternal life and cease from a life of sin. If we do not have the testimony about Jesus the Son of God and continue in a life of sin, we do not have eternal life. Check your heart today and receive blessed assurance by the Holy Spirit!

1st John 5:18 “We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for the blessed assurance that Jesus is my Lord and Savior and that I have eternal life in Him. Thank you for delivering me from a life of sin and selfishness and calling me to Your eternal kingdom and preaching the Gospel. Guide my steps today in Your pathways and give me opportunity to share Your love and help the lost to gain this blessed assurance of eternal life through faith in God’s Son.

1st John 5:20 “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him Who is true; and we are in Him who is True; in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.”

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Confidence on Judgment Day!

Scripture reading for November 25th: 1st John 4

Key Scriptures: 1st John 4:13-17 “By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in Him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgement, because as He is so also are we in this world.”

Fear of judgment and punishment is found in every human being. This fear is there because of God placing eternity in our hearts and a basic knowledge of God’s law and conviction of sin through conscience. When we repent and humble ourselves before God, asking Him for mercy through His Son, Jesus Christ, God the Father gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit to live in us and abide with us. We can confess ‘Jesus is Lord’ because we have the Holy Spirit. We can love others because of the Spirit of God, who is Love, abiding in us. His love is perfected in us and casts out all fear of judgment and punishment, because we are now justified and made righteous. We have confidence on Judgment Day through the love of God in us by the Holy Spirit.

1st John 5:18-19 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because He first loved us.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit and a river of Your perfect love that enables me to confess Jesus as Lord and to know and believe in Your Son. Thank You for confidence that comes from the Holy Spirit and the casting out of fear from my life. Open doors today to share this great and perfect love with those who are cowering in the fear of punishment on Judgment Day.

1st John 4:20-21 “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar, for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

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True love in deed and truth

Scripture reading for November 24th: 1st John 3

Key Scriptures: 1st John 3:11-15 “For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”

John is writing to the church as an overseer of churches and an elder with wisdom. He goes back to the basics in this chapter, emphasizing a simple message that has been in effect from the beginning of recorded biblical history: ‘love one another.’ Cain and Able were the first two offspring of Adam and Eve after the fall. Cain murdered his brother out of jealousy that his brother’s offering was accepted by God (a blood offering) while his own was not (a grain offering). John pointed out that Cain was of Satan, the evil one who was a murderer from the beginning! Satan is also behind the world system that even to this day hates Jesus and those following Him. Hatred is the root stronghold behind Satan’s murderous spirit. John plainly points out that no murderer or anyone hating his brother has eternal life but actually abides in death! Love for our brothers will be displayed not by talk but by actions of love and faith.

1st John 3:16-18 “By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for this simple message of our basic need and your command to love our brothers and sisters. Help me to guard my heart against hatred of anyone made in Your image and to show compassion by serving brothers and sisters in need of help instead of siding with the evil one. I want to love in deed and truth.

1st John 3:23-24 “And this is His commandment, that we believe in the Name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as He has commanded us. Whoever keeps His commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit Whom He has given us.”

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Keys to abiding now and forever

Scripture reading for November 23rd: 1st John 2

Key Scriptures: 1st John 2:15-17 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life–is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

John had walked with Jesus as possibly the youngest disciple. He was the only one not to die a martyr’s death and lived into his ninety’s. He was the bishop or overseer of the churches in Asia. He spoke plainly to the church to help them live a victorious life of faith and to enjoy God’s presence forever. In this letter, John gives some clear advice concerning the world system of the antichrist that was present even as John wrote his letter. First, believers are not of this world system anymore. They have been born again from above. They cannot love the world system and live in the flesh and follow its desires and please God the Father. Our Father gives good gifts and calls His children to holiness and consecration to prepare them for life with Him forever. Some in the church had departed to follow the flesh and antichrist spirits. This a sign of the last hour.

1st John 2:18-19 “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father, I choose to love You and to turn away from the world system. I belong to You and long for the kingdom of heaven and Your will on earth as in heaven. Give me and Your church discernment of spirits that we might avoid the antichrist spirit that is present now in this last hour. Help me to be watchful over those in the church that the world, flesh and satanic antichrist spirit might not snare any who believe.

1st John 2:26-27 “I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie–just as it has taught you, abide in Him.”

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Up close and personal!

Scripture reading for November 22nd: 1st John 1

Key Scriptures: 1st John 1:1-4 “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life–the Life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us; that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”

As the apostle John wrote this letter to the Church of Jesus Christ, he emphasized that he hadn’t gotten second-hand information to share with them. He had heard Jesus personally for over three years then saw and touched Him after the resurrection and now had fellowship with Jesus abiding in him through the Holy Spirit. He shared with the Church so that they too might have deeper personal fellowship with him and other believers, as well as with the Father and Son. John wrote to make his joy complete as he was obeying His Father and pleasing Him.

1st John 1:5-6 “This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, I thank You again for the eye-witnesses of Your Son Jesus Christ. Thank You for their anointed testimony and proclamation of His message. You have revealed the light of His glory in Jesus Christ and I have fellowship with other believers and with the Father and Son through the Holy Spirit, Your gift to me. I humbly confess my need for ongoing cleansing of my sin that I may walk in Your light.

1st John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

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Don’t listen to scoffers!

Scripture reading for October 21st: 2nd Peter 3

Key Scriptures: 2nd Peter 3:1-4 “This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”

Peter’s final warning in this second letter and last chapter was an appeal to remember the prophetic predictions of God’s holy prophets and His apostles. If we don’t stay focused on God’s Word and the truth He revealed in Jesus Christ, it will be easy to be led astray. Unbelief will be encouraged by the scoffers in the church of the end times. They will ask mockingly about Christ’s promised return and then point to all those men and women who have died already in faith. To their natural mind, it looks like nothing has changed–or will change! They neglect the warning of the whole counsel of God. The flood of Noah’s day stands as a clear warning that God’s Word is true and things can change in a single day! God’s promised final judgment of the earth and the wicked will be by fire. Don’t scoff!

2nd Peter 3:5-7 “For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the Word of God, and by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same Word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, give me discernment for the voices that are speaking today, even in the church. Lead me in truth daily by Your Word and the Holy Spirit, recognizing the late hour we are living in and Your sure promises to judge the wicked and the earth by fire. Deliver me from the scoffer and the false prophets!

2nd Peter 3:11-12 “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the Day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!”

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Pay attention!

Scripture reading for October 20th: 2nd Peter 2

Key Scriptures: 2nd Peter 2:4-8 “For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if He did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes He condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; . . .”

Peter, in writing his last letter before his own execution by Nero, warned the church family against being taken in by false teachers and prophets. He pointed them to the Scriptures and God’s past acts of judgment upon the ungodly. God shows mercy towards the repentant and those keeping faith in Him, but He judges the wicked who refuse His mercy. The angels were created by God to serve Him and the heirs of salvation, us. Some of these created beings rebelled under Satan and God cast them into hell. The word here in Greek is “Tartarus” and is a special holding place for wicked spirits. God judged the ancient world of people and animals living before the flood by destroying them but preserving Noah and his family through their faith. God judged Sodom and Gomorrah with fire from heaven for their sinful rebellion, saving Lot and his daughters, and left that as an example of the fate of the ungodly. These warnings are clear and powerful and from God through the apostle Peter! Let’s not despise his authority!

2nd Peter 2:9-10 “. . then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for Your loving warnings through the apostle Peter to Your church. We repent of complacency and failure to listen to Your warnings and those You place in authority. Have mercy upon us and our nation in these rebellious last days. Use me to preach Your Word clearly and lovingly to the lost today and to live as an example of Christ Jesus my Lord.

2nd Peter 2:20-21 “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.”

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