Scripture reading for September 1st: 1st Corinthians 6
Key Scriptures: 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, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God And such were some of you. But you were washed, your were sanctified, you were justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
The Corinthian believers lived in a very carnal and immoral culture. Most of the believers had been saved from the sins of that culture and were growing in Christ. However, some in the Church still were involved in their past sins and failed to repent or allow the washing and sanctification of the Holy Spirit to cleanse them. Some were deceived and it was also confusing the whole church. Paul reminds them that those failing to repent and turn away from their sins will not inherit the kingdom of God. True repentance and salvation brings cleansing and washing from sin’s grip and increasing holiness as the Spirit sets us apart for Christ alone for eternity. Those claiming to be believers must be held to account by the body and leaders.
1st Corinthians 6:14-15 “And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!”
Faith confession and prayer: Father, thank You for clear instructions about what the Holy Spirit truly does for us in washing and cleansing us and preparing us to live in Your presence for eternity. As we await the resurrection of our bodies and total transformation at the return of Jesus Christ, help us to live like Your sanctified children, glorifying You in our bodies.
1st Corinthians 6:19-20 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, Whom you have from God? You are not you own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
Scripture reading for July 29th: Matthew 23
Key Scriptures: Matthew 23:25-28 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like white-washed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
In His last week on earth, Jesus talked plainly to the religious leaders about their personal hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is related to play-acting. They outwardly professed to be holy and righteous and law-abiding. In fact, others couldn’t measure up to their standards of keeping the law but what they did was done for show, not because of a pure heart or faith in the grace of God. Jesus plainly rebuked them, speaking ‘woe’ over their lives because inside they were full of greed, evil, covetousness, malice and lawlessness. They kept their appearance looking tidy, but inside they were a terrible mess. Jesus likened them to white-washed tombs that were full of dead man’s bones and all manner of decaying flesh and corruption. Jesus wasn’t trying to be mean. In fact, He was calling them to repent! God would clean the inside of the tomb if only they would humbly confess and turn to Jesus for cleansing. Each person chooses whether to continue the show or to come clean.
Matthew 23:33 “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?”
Faith confession and prayer: Father, have mercy on me and speak plainly to my heart concerning hypocrisy. It is easy to judge and blame others, but harder to apply Your Word to my own heart and life. I want to be clean on the inside as only You can cleanse me. This is my only escape from the woe of hell. Thank You for Your great mercy and the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ!
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, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, or revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
Scripture reading for September 20th: 2nd Thessalonians 2, Psalm 39, Proverbs 4
Key Scriptures: 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 was thankful for the believers in Thessalonica who had come to Christ as a result of his ministry there. He noted that they had been sanctified, set apart, by the Holy Spirit and had believed the true Gospel. They had heard God’s call to salvation through that Gospel and now needed to stand firm in the truth they had believed. Glory awaits those who are truly saved and living in truth.
Faith Confession: I thank God for the Gospel of grace through faith in Jesus Christ. That Gospel called me into relationship and through the Holy Spirit I am standing firm in the truth.
Psalm 39:7-8 “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You! Deliver me from all my transgressions. Do not make me the scorn of the fool.!”
Scripture reading for September 18th: 1st Thessalonians 5
“Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” (1st Thessalonians 5:1-2) Paul concluded his letter to the young believers with a final reminder about the coming of Jesus Christ. He repeated the teaching of Jesus about no one knowing the day or the hour. (Matthew 24:36, 43-44) In fact, people would be thinking that everything was normal when the Lord would suddenly return like a thief in the night. The return of Christ requires watchfulness and readiness on the part of His Church!
“So then, let us not be like others, who sleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath, but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1st Thessalonians 5:6-9) God appointed His people for salvation from His coming wrath upon sinners who refuse repentance. Those who continue to sin, live in darkness. The Church lives in the light of Christ and His word.
“May God Himself, the god of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it.” (1st Thessalonians 5:23-24) Paul’s final prayer is for the believers complete sanctification. Jesus will complete in us what He began!
Scripture reading for September 17th: 1st Thessalonians 4
Believers can’t please God except to live by faith in His holy word. The word of God must be read, memorized, and acted upon day by day in order to grow spiritually and to be ready for Christ’s soon return. Paul, a loving pastor, continued to remind the believers about God’s will for their daily conduct.
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who give you His Holy Spirit.” (1st Thessalonians 4:3-8)
Sexual sin and temptation has been a stumbling block for many believers of every age and culture. The Roman culture was strikingly similar to what believers live in today in America. Sexual contact was frequent and lust was cultivated by the media and entertainment of their times. Paul warned and instructed the church, as pastors must today, about the dangers and the call of God to live a holy life. Believers must separate themselves from sexual sins because God will judge and punish men for these sins if not repented of. Grace will not cover those living in known sin!
Remember, if we reject these simple instructions, we are rejecting God’s word! This will not help us when Jesus returns for His holy Bride!
Scripture reading for September 3rd: 2nd Corinthians 6:14-7:7
When one is reconciled to God and is filled with God’s love, the things of this world lose their attraction. The Holy Spirit begins the work of sanctification. This word ‘sanctification’ means being ‘made holy’ or ‘set apart’ for God. The Holy Spirit helps us to separate ourselves from the worldly influences and ways that we had before salvation. When we become a ‘new creation’, the old things pass away and new things come that are from God. (2nd Corinthians 5:17-18)
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?” (2nd Corinthians 6:14-16a) Paul urged the Corinthians to not be yoked with unbelievers. He asked them questions with an obvious answer of ‘none’ or ‘nothing’ to emphasize their need to maintain separation and cooperate with the Holy Spirit.
They were now the temple of the living God. God lived in them and called them to be a holy and separated people! God wanted to be their Father and they would be called ‘sons’ and ‘daughter’s’ of God the Father. They would be known as the people of God. These promises of God were “Yes” and “Amen” in Christ Jesus! (2nd Corinthians 1:18) These promises should motivate believers at Corinth and everywhere to perfect holiness in reverence for God.
This process of holy separation is initiated by the Holy Spirit living in us. He is the Spirit of Truth who reveals Christ to us. He convicts of sin, righteousness, and the coming judgment. He reveals to us all that we are and have through our relationship with God in Christ. (1st Corinthians 2:10-12) As we study the word of God, we are also required to do our part in a response of faith. We put off the old ways of the world and put on the new ways of the Spirit.
“Do not be yoked with unbelievers!” Paul’s instruction and questions were for self-examination. Take a moment today and ask yourself the questions Paul asked. Are there unbelievers who are influencing you because of close associations? Take Paul’s advice today!