Category: Pauline epistles–BibleTrekToday

Once for All!

Scripture reading for August 18th: Hebrews 9

Key Scriptures: Hebrews 9:24-27 “For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then He would have had to suffer repeated since the foundation of the world. But as it is, He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him.”

The Hebrews Jewish believers were familiar with the Old Testament sacrifices which had been offered by priests for hundreds of years. They had to be offered over and over because they were imperfect and just a type of the final sacrifice. They were offered in an earthly tabernacle and then the temple at Jerusalem. This was also a type or model of the true temple in Heaven where God Himself was enthroned. The writer of Hebrews states that the resurrected Jesus Christ entered heaven itself with His own blood once for all to offer the last and perfect Sacrifice for the sins of the world. This sacrifice would be efficacious for all time, available for access by faith in Jesus Christ, the enthroned High Priest Who ever lives to make intercession for us. Jesus Christ is coming again! He will not deal with sin but will fulfill His promise of eternal life and a transformed body to all who are eagerly waiting by faith for Him!

Hebrews 9:14 “. . .how much more will the blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit, offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for sending Jesus Christ as the final Sacrifice for the sins of all the world. You left no one out and included all who would repent and believe! I am a citizen of heaven and await my Savior Jesus Christ and my full salvation of a glorious body like His glorious body. Fill me with the Holy Spirit today to empower me to be ready and share Christ’s great love and Good News!

Philippians 3:20-21 “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself.”

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The keys of the Kingdom!

Scripture reading for July 20th: Matthew 16

Key Scriptures: Matthew 16:15-22 “He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father Who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then He strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that He was the Christ. From that time on Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord. This shall never happen to You.””

Peter responded to Jesus’ question for His disciples concerning Who they thought that He was. “Your are the Christ the Son of the living God” was Peter’s response that Jesus attributed to revelation from God the Father. Jesus went on to say that through this revelation, His disciples would receive the keys to the kingdom of heaven. They would obtain authority to unlock doors and shut doors in the spiritual realm on earth. On the “rock” of Peter’s confession, Jesus would build His church, a called out people of faith who would believe on Jesus the Christ by revelation through the Father. As Jesus further shared how His life on earth would end, Peter rebuked Him as He shared about his death and resurrection. Jesus then rebuked Peter and Satan for denying God’s plan for Jesus sacrificial death. We must be careful to listen to Jesus and believe, because we may be listening to another spirit instead–Satan!

Matthew 16:23 “But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a hindrance to Me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.””

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for revealing Your Son, Jesus, as the Christ to me. I believe in Jesus Christ and want to hear His voice and obey but sometimes allow the flesh and Satan to bring confusion. Forgive me, Father, and help me focus through the Holy Spirit and Your Word on the things of God not the things of men or Satan, the fallen angel.

Ephesians 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

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Saved by miraculous mercy!

Scripture reading for June 28th: Titus 3

Key Scriptures: Titus 3:3-7 “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, Whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

All believers have a past life. Paul described it in this passage and it is not very complementary. Paul says we were foolish, slaves, full of malice and envy and specializing in hatred and headed for God’s wrath and judgment. This was all that was possible in our sinful condition that we inherited from birth. But God through His Son, Jesus Christ, showed us His own goodness and kindness, leading us to repentance and faith. Through faith, not works, we gained mercy and were washed and renewed and filled with the Holy Spirit. God Himself, through Christ’s sacrifice, justifies all who believe and adopts them into His eternal family giving them an everlasting inheritance: the sure hope of eternal life! What a miraculous turn-around in our life and destiny because of God’s mercy in Christ! In response, we offer ourselves to God for His use in good works through faith.

Titus 3:14 “And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your great mercy and willingness to sacrifice Your own body on my behalf. Thank You for pouring on me and all who believe the Holy Spirit and revealing the hope of eternal life. In response to your great love, I give myself to You to be used as You will to accomplish Your great plan of salvation in all who will believe! To You be all glory, now and forever!

Romans 2:4-5 “Or do you presume on the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.”

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People of purity!

Scripture reading for June 25th: Titus 2

Key Scriptures: Titus 2:11-15 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good works. Declare these things: exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”

Paul stressed to Titus that God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone had brought salvation to all men. The grace of God actually trains believers in righteousness and holy character which prepares us for the arrival of Jesus Christ in His glory. Any believer that is still living in sin has not yet obtained grace and will not be ready for Christ’s return. These simple truths were to be declared by Titus rebuking those still living in sin. Jesus Christ, our blessed hope, can return for us at any time and pastors are to be watchful over souls! They will have to give an account of their ministry to the Lord Jesus.

Titus 2:7 “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your example of patience, sound doctrine, and rebuking those who were in need of correction. I pray that the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith will not be watered down in our culture to allow believers to avoid true repentance. Use me to preach sound doctrine with integrity, bringing salvation to the lost.

Hebrews 13:17 “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

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Rebuking the deceivers!

Scripture reading for June 24th: Titus 1

Key Scriptures: Titus 1:10-16 “For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. To the pure, all things are pure, but the the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.”

Paul was a pastor and took time to instruct other pastors in dealing with problems in the church. There are people problems and problem people that must not be ignored but dealt with to keep order in the church and maintain unity. The problem in the church at Crete was false doctrine coming from a sect of Jewish converts who were still teaching Jewish ‘myths’. These ‘teachers’ were not under pastoral and apostolic authority–they were ‘insubordinate’. They thought they had truth, but were really deceived and were causing division. Paul’s instruction to Titus was to rebuke them sharply in hopes of bringing true repentance and faith. They must be silenced and stopped from fleecing the congregation and dividing it. Paul warned Titus that they may not be repentant as false doctrine and love of money from teaching it often defiles mind and conscience. They had a profession, but no possession of saving faith and were unfit for any role of church leadership.

Titus 1:9 “He (elders) must hold firmly to the trustworthy Word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I pray for pastors in Your church that are needing to correct and rebuke sharply those causing division. Give them wisdom and discernment and courage to do what You instruct that sound doctrine and true faith will bring salvation and life. Deliver us from defiled minds and consciences and fear of man.

Titus 1:5 “This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you–“

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God’s protection through faithfulness

Scripture reading for June 23rd: 2nd Thessalonians 3

Key Scriptures: 2nd Thessalonians 3:3-8 “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ. 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 burden we worked night and day that we might not be a burden to any of you.”

Paul closed this second letter with encouragement and warning to the believers. He was confident in the Lord that the believers would follow Christ Jesus and obey His Word as taught by Paul and the elders. He prayed that the Lord would direct their hearts deeper into the love of God and the steadfastness of Jesus Christ Himself. Paul had preached Christ and also set an example of faithfulness and love for these brothers and sisters. He had provided for his own needs and those of the ministry team by working and providing for their needs, even though he could have taken offerings and assistance. He asked these believers to imitate his example. Then he warned them to avoid those who were idle and living off others. This temptation came from the evil one and lead to other sins. Some of these used the pretext that Jesus was coming soon. This is not how believers are to wait for Christ’s return. We must be about the Master’s business and work to provide for our needs.

2nd Thessalonians 3:10-11 “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your example of active ministry as well as this record of Paul’s life and work ethic. Help me to imitate Your example and work at providing for my needs and also having abundance to give to Your work. May my example inspire others and lead them deeper in the love of God and the steadfastness of Your Word, which will protect them from the evil one.

Proverbs 24:30-31 “I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down.”

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Hope and comfort through grace!

Scripture reading for June 22nd: 2nd Thessalonians 2

Key Scriptures: 2nd Thessalonians 2:13-17 “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. 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.”

It is not our works that save us, but our good works and words are the fruit that come from a life of faith. Our very lives in Christ are fruit to God, as He sets us apart by the Holy Spirit after we believe the Truth of the Gospel. Through faith and grace we become heirs of eternal comfort and good hope of eternal life in God’s presence. Our only ‘work’ is to stand firm in the Gospel truth of Jesus Christ as Lord and hold onto the traditions laid out in God’s Word. As we stand firm, we share by word and example the grace of God that saved us and call others to eternal hope and comfort in Christ Jesus the Lord. God’s great love for all sinners is demonstrated by His grace in Christ made available to all through the cross by faith.

Ephesians 2:4-5 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–“

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for calling us by Your eternal love and grace to a place of comfort and hope. Help me to stand firm in Your grace and hold to the traditions taught in Your word by faith. May Your love flow towards others through my life and testimony. I have good hope knowing all Your promises are true and will not be disappointed!

Colossians 2:6-7 “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”

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God’s righteous judgment

Scripture reading for June 21st: 2nd Thessalonians 1

Key Scriptures: 2nd Thessalonians 1:5-10 “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. 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.”

God’s judgment is always righteous! It will not be perverted by prejudice towards race or social status. It will not be based on favoritism or on good works or family history. Those receiving the vengeance of a righteous and holy God will be those who have rejected His offer of mercy and righteousness through His Son, Jesus Christ. Those rejecting God’s offer of grace will suffer eternal punishment and destruction in the Lake of Fire away from the glory and presence of God. Those accepting Christ Jesus by faith will be granted relief from the suffering experienced on earth and also be able to see the punishment of the wicked who oppressed and afflicted them. They will see the Lord Jesus when He is revealed from heaven in flaming fire. They will glorify Jesus Christ and marvel at Him in His eternal glory and majesty! What a day that will be for those believing in Christ the Lord!

1st Thessalonians 1:11-12 “To this end we always pray, that our God may make you worthy of His calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by His power, so that the Name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for righteous judgment and the grace You offered me and all who will receive it by faith. Thank You for Your righteous vengeance that will repay all those who afflict the righteous in unbelief. Open doors for me today to share Your amazing love and grace with those heading for judgment without a Savior.

Revelation 19:11 “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The One sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.”

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God is faithful!

Scripture reading for June 18th: 1st Thessalonians 5

Key Scriptures: 1st Thessalonians 5:16-24 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He Who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.”

Paul closes this letter with an exhortation and a promise. He calls on the believers to be filled with joy and rejoicing and faithful in prayer and thanksgiving. This is the simple will of God. They must not quench the Spirit nor despise prophesies, but test everything to see if it is of God. They are to abstain and avoid every form of evil. He states that God will Himself sanctify them completely–spirit, soul, and body. God alone is faithful and will do it through the Holy Spirit and God’s Word (Prophesy). By faith in Christ and His grace we will be counted blameless at His sudden return and receive a glorified body, like His glorious body. Amen!

1st Thessalonians 5:28 “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for helping me through the indwelling Holy Spirit to be transformed into Your image and abstain from all forms of evil. I trust You to complete this process at Your return as You are faithful and true! I await in hope complete sanctification of spirit, soul and body.

1st Thessalonians 5:9-10 “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 with Him.”

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Abstain from sexual sin!

Scripture reading for June 17th: 1st Thessalonians 4

Key Scriptures: 1st Thessalonians 4:3-7 “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 to impurity, but in holiness. Therefore, whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, Who gives His Holy Spirit.”

The apostle Paul loved the Thessalonian believers and because of this told them the truth in very clear terms. Sexual immorality was a problem in that culture, as in every Gentile nation. God has not called us to impurity and immorality, but to holiness and being set apart for Him. He desires godly offspring, raised in a covenant marriage between a man and a woman who know God. In fact, sexual immorality wrongs those involved and God is the Avenger of all sexual sins. Those sins include fornication (any sex outside of marriage), adultery (sex with another’s marriage partner), homosexual relationships, incest, and pornography and related sins. This is God’s instruction, not Paul’s or man’s. To disregard this will bring God’s vengeance.

1st Corinthians 6:9-11 “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, not thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for loving me and clearly warning all Your brothers and sisters concerning sexual immorality. I believe that You are the avenger of such sins. Help me to clearly and lovingly preach the truth of the Gospel and call people to repentance from these sins and cleansing by Jesus’ blood. My greatest joy will be Your return!

1st Thessalonians 4:16 “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”

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