Category: Pauline epistles–BibleTrekToday

Christ’s mission: saving sinners!

Scripture reading for June 27th: 1st Kings 6, 2nd Chronicles 3, 1st Timothy 1

1st Timothy 1:12-16 “I thank Him Who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because He judged me faithful, appointing me to His service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, the foremost, Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life.”

Paul was ever thankful for the opportunity and strength to serve. He had been a blasphemer of Christ and lived in unbelief. God granted him mercy and called him into His service of ministry to Jew and Gentile. As one of the ‘foremost’ sinners, Paul understood Christ’s amazing mercy and salvation by grace through faith. He could effectively use his own testimony of God’s mercy and patience to share with others living in sin. God used him to reach many lost sinners, which was the goal and purpose of Jesus Christ coming into this world and offering His body and blood for our salvation and justification.

1st Timothy 1:17 “To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Prayer: Thank You Lord for having patience with me and showing me Your mercy through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I acknowledge Your mission of saving lost sinners and offer myself to be used to reach those who still need salvation. Overflow Your grace in my life along with Christ’s love and faith to reach many lost souls and produce a harvest to Your glory that will build Your House.

1st Kings 6:12-13 “Now the Word of the Lord came to Solomon, “Concerning this house that you are building, if you will walk in My statutes and obey My rules and keep all My commandments and walk in them, then I will establish My Word with you, which I spoke to David your father. And I will dwell among the children of Israel and will not forsake My people Israel.”

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The sin of idleness!

Scripture reading for June 24th: 1st Kings 5, 2nd Chronicles 2, 2nd Thessalonians 3

2nd Thessalonians 3: 6-10 “Now we command you, brothers, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone in not willing to work, let him not eat.”

Paul admonished the believers concerning those in the church who were idle and taking advantage of others generosity. The teaching concerning Christ’s immanent return had caused some to think that there was no need to work but just to wait as Christ was coming soon. But Paul pointed to his own example of working hard to supply his own needs and not be a burden or a hindrance to the Gospel. Each believer has a responsibility to use their gifts and talents to provide for themselves and their families. We are warned not to hang around those who are habitually idle, lest we pick up their bad habits. We are to warn them as brothers, not treat them as enemies.

2nd Thessalonians 3:13-15 “As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for the gift of work that we can do and for the ability to work and bless others and Your kingdom. Our culture has lots of those who are idle and some who major in taking from others. Help me to discern how to warn them if they are brothers or sisters in the Lord. Help me to set a good example for other believers in working and in loving You and others.

2nd Chronicles 2:1-2 “Now Solomon purposed to build a temple for the Name of the Lord, and a royal palace for himself. And Solomon assigned 70,000 men to bear burdens and 80,000 to quarry in the hill country, and 3,600 to oversee them.”

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Beloved by the Lord

Scripture reading for June 23rd: Song of Songs 7-8, Psalm 127, 2nd Thessalonians 2

2nd Thessalonians 2:13-15 “But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this He called you through our Gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.”

Paul’s letter to them was meant to encourage them in their patient love and faith in the midst of trials and persecution. Paul expressed thanks for them and called them “beloved by the Lord” and “chosen” by God for salvation. He reminded them of the Holy Spirit they had received when they believed the truth of God’s Word of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They were called by God and given this gift of the Holy Spirit so that they might obtain the glory of Jesus Christ in a full salvation on His return. Paul closed this passage with a prayer for them as more encouragement from a spiritual leader who loved them too.

2nd Thessalonians 2:16-17 “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, Who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.”

Prayer: Father God, Thank You for Your great love for us whom You have called and lavished on us the the Holy Spirit. Echoing the prayer of Paul, give us eternal comfort and good hope through continued grace. Lead us by the Spirit to the good works that You planned for us and fill our hearts and mouths with Your Word in season for each person you place in our path. We look for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Song of Songs 8:6 “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord.”

Considered worthy of the Kingdom of God

Scripture reading for June 22nd: Song of Songs 4-6, 2nd Thessalonians 1

2nd Thessalonians 1: 3-8 “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering, since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus.”

The Thessalonian believers were undergoing trials and persecution because of their faith and love of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote to encourage them that their testimony of love and faithfulness under trial had reached him and God was pleased. Their patient endurance under persecution was ‘evidence’ that their faith was genuine and that they were ‘worthy’ of God’s gift of salvation. They must continue in faith and love until Christ’s promised return. Christ would punish those afflicting the believers at that time. In the meantime, they must keep preaching the Gospel in hope that even those who persecuted them would experience salvation and eternal life instead of God’s vengeance and ‘eternal destruction’.

2nd Thessalonians 1:9-10 “They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His might, when He comes on that day to be glorified in His saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.”

Prayer: Father God, I know that the only way I am considered ‘worthy’ of Your kingdom is by faith in Jesus Christ. Thank You for the gift of salvation and the promise of Jesus’ return for His Bride, the church! Empower me to increase in love and faith as I share the Good News of a loving Savior Who died for sinners and rose again to live eternally. Let none I share with suffer eternal destruction under Your wrath!

Song of Songs 5:9-10 “What is your Beloved more that another beloved/ O most beautiful among women? What is your Beloved more that another beloved, that you thus adjure us?” “My Beloved is radiant and ruddy, distinguished among ten thousand.”

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Living as children of Light!

Scripture reading for June 21st: Song of Solomon 1-3, Psalm 72, 1st Thessalonians 5

1st Thessalonians 5: 5-10 “For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live for Him.”

Paul loved to use contrasts to encourage believers and instruct them in righteous living and motivate them to persevere in the faith. In this passage, light and darkness, day and night are contrasts of the righteous and how they live as opposed to the wicked and their life-style. Those living in the light and day are awake and sober. They are full of faith and love and have the vision of hope of the return of Jesus Christ and the full salvation He promises. Those living in darkness are asleep spiritually and cover their darkness in drunkenness. They have no hope of salvation or a vision of the light of Christ. Those living in light know that they are not destined for wrath and eternal separation from God so they live for Christ!

Psalm 72:18-19 “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, Who alone does wondrous things. Blessed be His glorious Name forever; may the whole earth be filled with His glory! Amen and amen!”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for the Light of Life, Jesus Christ! I am a child of the light and live in anticipation of seeing Jesus Christ on His return to earth for His people. Thank You for the Holy Spirit Who lives in me to empower me to live by faith and to love God and share His love with the nations through preaching the Gospel and giving to missions. Blessed by Your glorious Name forever and ever!

Song of Songs 2:4 “He brought me to his banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.”

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Abstain from sexual immorality!

Scripture reading for June 20th: Proverbs 29-31, 1st Thessalonians 4

1st Thessalonians 4: 3-8 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, Who gives His Holy Spirit to you.”

Paul called believers to clearly know and follow the Lord’s will for them and their sexuality. They were to abstain from all forms of immorality as decreed in God’s Word. They were to control their bodies and live in holiness since the Holy Spirit lived in them and they were His temple. When a person engages in immorality, adultery, fornication, or homosexuality, they are doing wrong not only to their own souls, but to the one they are involved with. God promises to avenge this wrong. Paul told them about this and warned them solemnly. If they disregarded his warning, they were also disregarding God Himself! Beware!

1st Thessalonians 4:10-12 “. .for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with you hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.”

Prayer: Father God, I desire to be holy as You are holy! Thank You for the Holy Spirit and Your Holy Word to lead me in Your way everlasting. Help me to never wrong others by sexual misconduct and to faithfully warn those who are engaged in that life-style that they may escape Your holy wrath. Help me to live quietly and walk properly before outsiders.

Proverbs 29:1 “He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing.” Proverbs 29:3 “He who loves wisdom makes his father glad, but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.”

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Standing fast in the Lord!

Scripture reading for June 17th: Proverbs 26-28, 1st Thessalonians 3

1st Thessalonians 3: 6-10 “But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you–for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith.”

Paul was in jail for his faith and sent Timothy to the Thessalonians to see how the church there was holding up under persecution. Timothy brought a good report of the believer’s faith and love and their steadfast devotion to Christ Jesus. This comforted Paul and encouraged him. He was deeply grateful to God for this grace in a newly established church family. His prayer was that he be able to come and further strengthen their faith through teaching and preaching more of God’s Word. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God and allowing the Holy Spirit to apply it to our lives! (Romans 10:17) Jesus is coming soon!

1st Thessalonians 3:11-12 “Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all as we do for you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.”

Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your Word which brings faith, first for salvation, and then for growing holiness and deeper faith. Help me to stand firm in faith in You and Your Truth as I wait for the soon return of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let me hear reports of faithfulness and love among those that you have sent me to as well. This will comfort and encourage me and others!

Proverbs 28:20 “A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.”

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Powerful Gospel preaching!

Scripture reading for June 16th: Proverbs 24-25, Psalm 41, 1st Thessalonians 2

1st Thessalonians 2:3-8 “For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God Who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed–God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the Gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.”

Paul reminds these faithful believers of how he presented his Gospel appeal. Paul and Silas had just come to them after their experience of beating and imprisonment and then God freeing them from the jail and the jailer and his family getting saved. Paul had simply and powerfully preached the Gospel to these Thessalonians, not holding back anything for fear of man but to fulfill God’s commands to him. He had been gentle among them and loved them in the short time he was there with them. He treated them with integrity and sacrificially served them. God was his witness! Paul had done his part and God had done his part and the believers there had responded in faith in the midst of affliction!

Psalm 41:12-13 “But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in Your presence forever. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen!”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for calling me to preach Your Gospel of grace through Your Son Jesus Christ! Thank You for this example of grace among the Thessalonian believers through the simple and powerful preaching of Paul in the Holy Spirit. Help me to love the people deeply and share my life and Your Word with them through Your Holy Spirit. Use me to rescue those being taken away to death!

Proverbs 24:10-12 “If you falter in the day of adversity, your strength is small. Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not He Who weighs the heart perceive it?”

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Steadfastness of hope!

Scripture reading for June 15th: Proverbs 22-23, Psalm 117, 1st Thessalonians 1

1st Thessalonians 1:2-8 “We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that He has chosen you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the Word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.”

Paul began his letter to the Thessalonian believers with thanksgiving and prayer! The church there that he had helped found was only newly established when persecution forced Paul to leave for other cities. He was pleased to learn that the church there had flourished because of the faith and steadfastness of these believers. They had come to Christ because of God’s grace drawing them through the Word preached to them. The Holy Spirit had brought full conviction of sin and they had repented and believed. In spite of the persecution and affliction, the Holy Spirit had filled them with joy and vision of Christ’s purposes and were now a great example to other believers of God’s amazing grace and faithfulness!

Psalm 117:1-2 “Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol Him all peoples! For great is His steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for the power of the Gospel to bring full conviction and repentance leading to a transformed life of faith. These believers are an example to all believers and me today of Your power to keep those You call in the midst of affliction and persecution steadfast in the Blessed Hope, Jesus’ soon return! Praise Your Name, in all nations now and forever! Amen!

Proverbs 22:1 “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.”

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Gracious speech

Scripture reading for March 10th: Numbers 19-21, Colossians 4

Colossians 4:2-6 “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the Word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison–that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”

Our world is filled with all kinds of speech. Much of it is derogatory and complaining and seeks to tear down those we disagree with. Paul taught the believers in Colossae that gracious speech should be a distinction among Christ’s followers. Their speech should bless, commend, and encourage those around them. Their speech should be guided by Christ’s wisdom and the Word of God. It should be seasoned like a tasty meal, with salt flavor, and appropriate for each situation. As examples, Paul commends Tychicus and Onesimus to the believers as faithful ministers whose speech was gracious and seasoned with salt. We win others respect with gracious speech and kindness, backed by faithful prayer that God open doors of hearts to receive truth.

Colossians 4:7-9 “Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here.”

Prayer: Father God, even Moses failed to graciously speak to the people of Israel and to the Rock. His unbelief had a cost. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and grant me gracious speech and attitudes towards those rebelling against you. May my speech be seasoned with the salt of grace and reflect the kindness and mercy of our Lord. Forgive me for reacting in anger and with a bad attitude.

Numbers 20:11-13 “And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in Me to uphold Me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.”

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