Jesus Preached the Kingdom #230

Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15)

Jesus came “preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God”. He was not preaching Moses and the law. He came proclaiming liberty from sin’s bondage – something the law of Moses could never do (Luke 4:17-21; Heb. 10:1-2). Jesus said the time of kingdom fulfillment had come – the kingdom of God was near. Through Jesus, God was about to fulfill His promise to “set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed” (Dan. 2:44). And, He did. The King, who is not of this world, built a kingdom that is not of this world – His church (Jno. 18:36; Matt. 16:18-19). Jesus preached repentance and belief; only a kingdom of repentant believers would do. And so now, the Lord Himself adds sinners to His kingdom when they believe, repent and are baptized for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:36-41, 47; Col. 1:13). His kingdom is composed of Christians. Are you in His kingdom, the church? If not, you can be. Jesus is calling you by His gospel into His kingdom.

Faith to Repent and Forgive #229

Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him. And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” (Luke 17:3-5)

Faith is required to forgive those who sin against us. The worldly impulse when sinned against is to seek retribution. Even greater faith is needed to continue to forgive when sin is repeated. Yet, God repeatedly forgives when we seek His mercy. The forgiveness Christians enjoy in Christ is the model to follow in forgiving one another (see Eph. 4:32). One final thought from this passage: It also takes faith to repent of sin, and especially to continue to repent whenever sin is committed. Strengthen you faith today. Faith will compel you to repent of your sins, and faith will compel you to forgive other sinners when they repent of theirs.

Don’t be a Stumbling Block #228

Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” (Luke 17:1-2)

Jesus acknowledged the reality of stumbling blocks in this life. But, the presence of stumbling blocks does not exonerate the one who actually stumbles (sins) or the one who causes the stumbling. Here, Jesus pronounces destruction upon the person who helps others to sin. Be careful that your words and deeds do not lead others into sin. Only through your repentance will you escape a fate worse than being drown in the depth of the sea!

Where I Go You Know #227

And where I go you know, and the way you know. Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:4-6)

Jesus was about to die, be resurrected from the dead and ascend to the Father in order to accomplish human redemption (Heb. 7:25; 9:24-28). By doing so, Jesus makes the way to heaven possible. You can only come to the Father “through” Jesus. You will only go to heaven on His terms, not your own. He is “the way”, the only way that leads to the Father. His truth is the way that leads to eternal life. Since Jesus is “the truth”, you cannot live in error and go to heaven. It will not do to define Jesus on your terms. Because He is “the truth”, you must conform yourself to Him. Eternal life is only through Jesus; He is “the life”. Come to the Father through Him and be saved.

Be Patient #226

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! (James 5:7-9)

The word patient means to be “long spirited” and is akin to forbearance. James’ illustration shows us a measure of waiting is involved in patience. In the farmer’s case, he waits patiently for the seasonal rains. By being patient in how we treat others (instead of being rash and impulsive), we avoid grumbling against one another. When the Judge comes He will avenge every wrong and unjust treatment you have suffered from others. Waiting for the Lord’s coming helps you develop a steadfast, resolute heart. Confident that He will set right every evil, you can concentrate on living by faith instead of being tossed about by grumbling animosity and personal revenge that leads to your own condemnation.

Know God by Knowing Jesus #225

Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? (John 14:8-9)

If you truly want to know God, then learn about Jesus. Listen to His words and consider His actions. By understanding Jesus you will understand the Father in heaven. He is Immanuel (“God with us”, Matt. 1:23). He is “the imagine of the invisible God”, the “brightness of His glory and the express image of His person” (Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3). In Jesus “dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9). All these Scriptures and more combine to persuade us of the deity of Jesus. Please do not say you know God if you do not know Jesus. Look closely at Jesus, and you will come to know God.

Do You Argue with God? #224

From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:21-23)

It is easy to let our expectations of what God should do run ahead of the Lord – even when the Lord clearly tells us His will. Peter had recently confessed Jesus to be “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16). But, when Jesus began speaking of his torture and death, Peter objected. Do you ever argue with God and oppose what He teaches in His word? If so, then you are minding “the things of men”. Like Peter, you become a stumbling block (like Peter was on that occasion). It is instructive that previously confessing Christ did not prevent Peter from sinning against the Lord. If you have confessed Jesus is the Son of God then willingly yield to His teachings and mind “the things of God” every day.