Scripture reading for May 26th: 2nd Samuel 21-23, Psalm 18, Romans 3
Key Scriptures: Romans 3:21-26 “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it–the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins. It was to show His righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
Paul was explaining to the Romans God’s plan to make His righteousness available to all people, Jews and Gentiles. This righteousness came by faith in Jesus Christ, not in keeping the Law. All men and women have sinned and no human effort or works can justify them. But God’s plan was to provide redemption and covering (propitiation) for sins through His Son’s blood shed on the cross. The shed blood satisfied God’s demand for justice–payment for sins. God can now be the justifier of all who come by faith in His Son. Praise the Lord!
Psalm 18:30; 2nd Samuel 22:31 “This God–His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for providing a covering and cleansing for my sins and all sins through faith in the blood of Jesus. Help me to pass the Good News of this Gift to others today.
Scripture reading for February 3rd: Exodus 7-9, Psalm 105, Ephesians 1
Key Scriptures: Exodus 7:2-5 “You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go out of his land. But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply My signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay My hand on Egypt and bring My hosts, My people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt with great acts of judgment. The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out My hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.”
God gave Moses specific instructions to tell Pharaoh and specific signs and wonders to do each time he and Aaron appeared before Pharaoh. He also told them that Pharaoh would not listen. He revealed that He would lay His own hand on Egypt and He would bring His people out with His own mighty hand! Jesus Christ is God’s mighty ‘hand’ that delivers us from death according to God’s plan!
Psalm 105:43 “He brought the people out with joy, and His chosen ones with singing.”
Faith confession and prayer: I thank You Lord for Your unstoppable plan of redemption through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! Help me to spread the Good News before the fullness of time!
Ephesians 1:7-10 “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purposes, which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth.”
Scripture reading for February 27th: Mark 14, Psalm 42, Proverbs 11
Key Scriptures: Mark 14:22-24 “And as they were eating, He took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take, this is My body.” And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.””
Jesus celebrated His last Passover with His disciples and prepared them for His coming death. His broken body and shed blood were to be offered before God as a ransom for the sins of mankind. These symbols of broken bread and the cup of fruit of the vine would come to bring remembrance to believers of all ages of Christ’s sacrifice. It is now a way of believers identifying with Christ and looking ahead to the coming fullness of the Kingdom when they will share the cup with Jesus at the wedding of the Lamb!
Faith Confession: I trust in the final sacrifice of Jesus Christ of His body and blood as the only hope for my righteousness! I look forward to partaking in the wedding supper of the Lamb!
Psalm 42:1-2 “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?”
Scripture reading for December 5th: 1st John 5:1-21
One of the favorite tricks of our enemy, the devil, is condemnation. After we make a commitment to Christ, he loves to keep us in doubt about our faith or the level of our faith! He doesn’t bring assurance, but constant doubt and fear of rejection by God. John, as a wise pastor, brought assurance to his flock by sharing truth in a spirit of love!
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves His Child as well. this is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out His commands. This is love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.” (1st John 5:1-4) John emphasized that faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God was the key to living a life of love and victory. Anyone who said they loved God and hated his brother was a liar. (1st John 4:19) Faith was simple and worked through love. Faith must be centered in God who alone is love!
Jesus Christ has given us three witnesses to verify that He is the Christ. John was again emphasizing that Jesus came as a man who was the Son of God. At Jesus’ baptism, the Spirit came down as a dove and the Father Spoke: “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) This is the witness of the water. At Jesus crucifixion, the centurion declared, “Surely this Man is the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39) This is the witness of the blood. The Holy Spirit testifies that Jesus is the Christ by His resurrection. (Romans 1:4) In Jewish culture, all truth was established by two or three witnesses! (Deuteronomy 19:15)
“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who 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 so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1st John 5:11-13) We can have full confidence before God when we believe in His Son!
Scripture reading for June 23rd: Acts 15:1-31
The church today is sometimes affected by legalism. Well-meaning Christians, pastors, and leaders try to define holiness by developing rules or traditions that help them summarize what pleases God. In early days, this confused people and often caused conflict and division. Most of the early church members were Jews and had a history of keeping the Law of God. These new believers struggled to know how to balance keeping the law with salvation by faith through grace!
“Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” (Acts 15:1) This teaching brought sharp debate in the early church and Paul and Barnabas were appointed to go to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders to discuss this question. They had seen God pour out His Spirit on uncircumcised Gentiles in many places where they were sent by the Holy Spirit to preach and disagreed with this teaching.
At Jerusalem, this conflict was found to be simmering as well. There were believers who came from the party of the Pharisees who agreed that the Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the Law of Moses. (Acts 15:5) The apostles and elders gathered for discussion and Paul got up and addressed them. He noted that God accepted the Gentiles and poured out the Holy Spirit on them without their keeping of the Law. God purified their hearts by faith, not by law-keeping! In fact, no Jew was ever able to keep the Law and be justified by that work! (Acts 15:8-12)
James spoke up in agreement, citing the Old Testament prophet Amos as confirming Paul’s word to them. “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.” (Acts 15:19-20) This seemed good to the elders and apostles and the Holy Spirit, so they sent Paul and Barnabas back to Antioch to share the ruling.
Salvation by grace alone was then taught by the early church. Adding law would not be allowed to hinder people from coming to Christ from a Gentile background. Are you trusting in Christ alone for salvation?
In this podcast Pastor John continues his summary of the book of Leviticus.
Wow! Leviticus really makes you appreciate what we have today because of Jesus Christ! I know I would have had a hard time bringing all those animals to offer for my sins. It’s hard to admit sin privately before the Lord. I can’t imagine having to confess my sins to the priest and then offer an animal that would die right in front of my own eyes! Sin might become detestable after a few times! Maybe that was God’s intent!
Being a priest would have been difficult and very messy! Killing animals daily and sprinkling blood and washing and lifting dead carcasses up before the Lord would have been gruesome work. Going into the Tent of Meeting knowing that you might die yourself would also not be exciting. I am sure that Aaron had his moments too. He lost two sons who went into that Tent, probably under the influence of alcohol. Can you imagine his thoughts each year as he had to go in with the blood of a bull for himself and his family and then the blood of a goat for the whole nation? He had to go in alone and by faith make the acceptable sacrifice. It was probably not something he took lightly!
We have it easy today! Jesus has done it all! He is our high priest and intercedes for us. He sacrificed his own body and blood for our “atonement” covering of our sins. Our sins are taken away and our consciences are cleansed! It is finished! He did not have to sacrifice for Himself, like Aaron, because He was without sin. He ever lives to make intercession for us! Take time and reflect on this past week’s reading and thank Jesus for fulfilling all the law! Ask Him to make you holy, as He is holy. By faith, claim His righteousness. True Christianity brings rest and true joy! God bless you and have a great sabbath rest!
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! . . .”God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2nd Corinthians 5: 17, 21.
Scripture reading for February 6: Leviticus 16-17
Man is always looking for someone to blame for sin. It was the “woman you gave me” for Adam. Eve became his “scapegoat”! It was the “serpent” for Eve that became her “scapegoat”. God Himself was blamed by both of them as the ultimate problem. Amazingly, God had already planned to provide a “scapegoat”!
God loves man and worked out a picture of salvation from sin which is recorded in these chapters of Leviticus. God set apart one day a year when the High Priest could go behind the curtain of the Holy of Holies in the Tent of Meeting. That day was called the Day of Atonement. The term “atonement” simply means a “covering”. On this day, the Israelites could have a yearly “covering” for their sins.
First, a bull was killed and the blood sprinkled for the High Priest as a sacrifice for his sins. Then two goats were brought before the Tent and lots were cast. One of the goats was sacrificed and the blood sprinkled by the High Priest behind the curtain for the sins of the people. Everyone waited outside to see if God would accept the sacrifice for sins committed. They were relieved when the High Priest came out. (Leviticus 16:6-19)
The second goat was then brought forward. The High priest laid his hands on it and confessed the sins and rebellion of the Israelites. This goat was then led out away from the camp into the wilderness to a solitary place and left there. As the Israelites watched the goat bearing their sins disappear in the distance, they were reminded of the sacrifice necessary to bring a covering for their sins. God provided a “scapegoat” who would take the blame for them! (Leviticus 16:20-28)
God’s point was that sin was costly! Life is in the blood and blood alone could “atone” for the sins of a rebellious people. (Leviticus 17:11) One bull must die for the High Priest and his family. One goat must die for the sins of the nation. One goat must be burdened with the sins of the nation and bear it into the wilderness to face the wild beasts and certain death. This all was an illustration that taught of man’s need for covering from sin and our corporate need for a “scapegoat”!
Jesus Christ came as God’s designated “scapegoat”! He offered Himself on the cross to make “atonement” for our sins. He shed His own blood to pay the penalty for our sins, once for all time! (Hebrews 9:11-14) He bore our sins and carried them away into a place of God’s forgetfulness, never to be remembered again! (Hebrews 10:17)
Wow! What we tried to do on our own by blaming others, God did for us by laying our sins on His own Son and sacrificing Him for us! All we can do is say “amen” to God’s work on our behalf! What a loving and giving Lord!
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10 NIV