Day 83: 2 John, 3 John, & Jude (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from 2 John, 3 John, and Jude follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

Hospitality is part of the Christian life, but there are some folks who we should not show hospitality too. We should not welcome or greet into our homes those who deny the deity of Jesus Christ. (See 2 John 9-10). While we can be polite, we can not entertain such individuals in such a way as we would a fellow Christian.  As much as a Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness might try to use the language Christianity, they are not Christian. At the core of their doctrine, they deny the deity of Christ. Some may see this as callous or rude, but the truth is, if they are headed to Hell because they have rejected Christ, they need to know it. This is not a command to hate, but to love an individual enough for them to know that they are not part of the christian fellowship.

However, there are those who we should be eager to welcome into our homes and treat with great hospitality.  We need to search out those who serve God and serve the church well (See 3 John 5-8). We need to go to great lengths to show them honor and be delighted to receive them at our dinner table.

I think sometimes we forget that we need to contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 3). Not everyone believes the truth about God as we do. There are many who twist the grace of God or deny the deity of Jesus Christ (Jude 4).  We should be careful to draw the line of distinction. There is no salvation for those who deny the deity of Christ.

These three short books should drive us to carefully consider those who are of like faith and have the common gospel at their core. We can and should fellowship with other Christian denominations who may believe differently than we do about spiritual gifts, election, church order, etc… Not that these are unimportant doctrines, but that we can misunderstand them and still get to heaven. Those who deny the deity of Christ, misunderstand the gospel and continue to be outside of the faith

FATHER, thank you for the grace of your word. I pray that our homes and our hearts would be open to our Christian brothers and sisters and that we would honor you by honoring them with true hospitality. I pray also for friends and loved ones who are outside the faith because they have believed contrived man made doctrine that teaches that Jesus was just a man and not God. We pray that you would show them the sever error of their ways. We pray that perhaps you would even use our lack of hospitality to demonstrate to them that they are outside the faith. Thank you so much for your grace in leading your people. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

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Day 76: Hebrews 11-13 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from Hebrews 11-13 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

What does saving faith look like? The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is a long description of saving faith. The author goes back through a list of biblical characters and highlights what faith looked like in their generation: For Noah, it was building an ark (11:7). For Abraham it was leaving his home for a place God would show him (11:8). For Moses it was being identified with the nation of Israel rather than Egyptian royalty (11:24-25). Each one had a crisis moment where they either had to believe God in their generation of disbelieve God. They chose to believe God and act on it.

In Chapter twelve, the scene shifts to accommodate a race theme. We are reminded that many have gone on before trusting in the Lord and that we are each to run the race set before us (121:1). It can be tempting to look in someone else’s lane and think we want to run the race that is set before them, but we each have our own race to run, filled with different trials and challenges. Ultimately we rejoice to be a part of a kingdom that cannot be shaken (12:28)… great words for today!

Chapter thirteen is filled with practical and direct points of doctrinal application. The writer also pens a prayer (13:20-21) and includes a few personal and final greetings (13:22-25). The greetings help us determine the context of the letter as possibly being a Jewish house church in Rome.

FATHER, Thank you for the legacy of faith that we see in biblical characters who were human as we are with choices to make about believing you. Thank you for the gift of faith. I pray that we would seek your will, especially in the unique days ahead. Help us to run the race that is set before us. Thank you for the grace of leading your people. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

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Day 75: Hebrews 9-10 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from Hebrews 9-10 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

We have a greater sacrifice. That is in essence what Hebrews chapter 9 and 10 remind us. That Jesus offered himself on our behalf, a perfect, spotless, once and for all  sacrifice.  The outward function of sacrifices, the temple, and priests all point us forward to Jesus as the coming fulfillment of the Old Testament.  How can anyone be saved if they leave the substance to embrace the shadow? Those who are in Christ have the substance of everything that was hoped for and are secure in their salvation.

Why then should we worry at what the world around us does? We have atonement for our sins, peace with God. The Hebrews were suffering the plundering of their property. They were seeing their stuff taken and perhaps even members of their fellowship thrown in jail. But what they couldn’t see was the once and for all peace with God that had been established on their behalf by Jesus. Peace with God was far more costly than what they were losing to a world that persecuted them.

Sometimes we need to be reminded that God has done far more for us in Jesus than we often give him credit for. The plundering of property seems like a small things compared to eternal life in Christ Jesus.

FATHER, Thank you for the forgiveness of sins and salvation found in Jesus Christ! We rejoice to know our savior. I pray that our confidence would be in you today, no matter what goes on in our world. Give us grace to minister to one another in the midst of chaos. Thank you for the grace to lead your people. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

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Day 73: Hebrews 3-5 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from Hebrews 3-5 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

In chapter three of Hebrews, the author states that Jesus is better than Moses (3:3).  Moses lead his people from captivity to the promised land. Yet, the Nation of Israel chose not to believe God when they came to the edge of the promised land and so they wandered the dessert for 40 years until an entire generation died off (3:8-10, 17). Knowing that persecution is coming, the author of Hebrews challengers the readers to be careful, lest they too fall into unbelief in the face of fear (3:12,19).

Chapter four begins the discussion of the sabbath rest. The author looks forward with anticipation to the rest that is afforded those who have believed Christ (4:3). We are charged that there is a rest to come, that we may be prevented from entering into that rest, through our disobedience (4:11). We are challenged to let the word of God have full effect in examining our hearts and exposing our motives (4:11-13).

The text flows from the end of chapter four and into chapter five stating that Jesus is the great high priest (4:14).  He is one who understands our temptation and weaknesses (4:15) and stands ready to receive us in our confession and repentance. We have been granted incredible access to God through him, and  should have no problem approaching the throne of grace (4:16).

FATHER, we thank you for the gift of belief and trust in you. I pray that we would be those who persevere in our faith even when we face obstacles that might cause of fear or concern. I pray that we would never forget the incredible high priest we have in Jesus who stands at the right hand of the father making intercession for us even now. I thank you for your grace that is so overwhelming. Thank you for the grace to pastor your people. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

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Day 72: Hebrews 1-2 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from Hebrews 1-2 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

The first recipients of the book of Hebrews were likely members of a house church made up of Jewish converts to Christianity (hence the name Hebrews). They were facing persecution (I have another article about that here) and were now being tempted to leave behind their faith in Christ to re-embrace Judaism, where the persecution wouldn’t be so severe.

The theme of Hebrews could easily be understood as “Jesus is better.” The Author relates how God has spoken throughout history but ultimately and fully revealed himself in Jesus (1:1-3). He is even superior to things like angels (1:4), which would have been highly revered in Jewish culture and tradition.

The first several chapters start out with a strong and compelling charge to keep the faith and remind the readers that there is nothing to go back too, in Judaism. In chapter two the author challenges the readers to pay close attention to what they have heard about Jesus so they don’t drift.

Drifting away from the truth is easy. It doesn’t require diligence, effort, or work. It just happens by neglect. If something is valuable we don’t neglect it. We pay attention to it. We are therefore, to pay attention to our faith.

The lack of attention to the scriptures can soften the effect of the gospel upon your life. You will generalize, moralize, and rationalize your thoughts on scripture until you pull the punches that are present in the gospel.  The writer here is challenging us to examine the truth. To go back to the genuine article and make sure that we do not drift from the truth.

FATHER, thank you for Jesus. We are grateful that he is far better than anything we could think or imagine. We rejoice in the power of the gospel to transform our lives and give us hope in you. We pray that we wouldn’t drift, but that we would be anchored to your truth. Hold us fast as we hold fast you you. Thank you for the calling if leading your people to faith in you. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

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Day 71: Philemon (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from Philemon follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

The Epistle of Philemon is a letter written by the Apostle Paul, to a man name Philemon concerning the reception of a former servant named Onesimus. We know that Philemon was seemingly wealthy man and that he hosted his local church to meet in his house (1:2). (In the New Testament era, most of the churches met in the houses of wealthy patrons. There were not many church buildings until centuries later.)

Paul writes as a close friend of Philemon. He had prayed for Philemon often ( 1:4) and kept up with him, hearing from others about Philemon’s well-being as well as his actions and attitudes (1:5). Paul was even planning to visit Philemon (1:22), and perhaps Paul had even been instrumental in Philemon’s own faith in the Lord (1:19).

Onesimus who was Philemon’s servant was spiritually lost while he served Philemon (1:11). He had chosen to run away to Rome and had probably stole some goods from Philemon (1:18). Yet, when he got to Rome he ran into Paul, who was instrumental in bringing Onesimus to faith in the Lord (1:10, 16). Paul is now sending Onesimus back to make things right with Philemon (1:17-21). This is an excellent epistle about forgiveness and restoration among individuals in the infancy of the church. Those first Christians really did struggle with some of the same issues we struggle with today.

FATHER, thank you for the reconciliation that begins when we trust Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Thank you that being reconciled to you causes us to seek reconciliation with others. Thank you for the forgiveness offered to us through the blood of Jesus Christ. I pray that we forgive others because we know what it is to be forgiven by Jesus Christ.  Thank you for the grace to shepherd your flock. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

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Day 70: Titus (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from Titus  follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

Paul writes this short epistle to Titus, a true son in the faith (1:4). He begins quickly, charging Titus to appoint elders on the island of Crete and listing their qualifications (1:5-9). He then goes on to task Titus with restoring/keeping order in the church (1:10-16).

In chapter two, Paul offers a strong description of qualities of a sound church.  He challenges Titus to set an example (2:7-8) and to boldly proclaim the truth (2:15). Titus is there to establish order through both his conduct his teaching.

In Titus 3:8-11, Paul writes,  that Titus is to both maintain good works and have nothing to do with the people that continue to cause serious division over ancillary matters. Sometimes people just talk to stir up trouble. Their doctrine isn’t worth anything because it doesn’t manifest itself in good works. Giving ear to those who are filled with pointless and trivial banter only heightens the issue or causes an errant individual to believe that they are on to something.  The task given to Titus is to correct the pointless talkers, not to hear them out.  If the individuals who have wholeheartedly fallen for the false spirituality of miner doctrine will not listen to correction, then Titus is to abandon them and leave them to themselves. He certainly isn’t supposed to give them a platform in the church.  While this might seem harsh, it’s actually very loving.

Father, we thank you that you are a God of order. We thank you for the offices of the church and those you have given to fill those offices. We pray that we would be those who hold fast to true doctrine that would be demonstrated in our good works. Thank you for the great grace of leading your people. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

Find out about New Testament 90 – Here

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