Re:Verse reading–2 Corinthians 4 (day six)
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6
Moses would veil his face after his meeting with God. He had to, the people were terrified by the afterglow of God’s glory left on Moses’ face. The Glory of God in the face of Moses meant judgement and condemnation, not so with His glory in the face of Christ; Jesus brings righteousness and redemption. Paul desired his life and message to be an unveiled declaration of the Gospel, so that all would have an unobstructed view of the Glory of God in the face of Christ; knowing by faith the grace and forgiveness only He provides.
Do we want people to see Jesus in our life and hear about Him in our message? Is the story of Jesus veiled in us? What would it take for us to live out an unveiled Gospel?
Re:Verse reading–Philemon 1-25 (day six)
Although slavery in the Roman Empire was not based on race, it was equally dehumanizing and reinforced extreme prejudice against slaves, even freed slaves. In that day, Philemon had complete authority over Onesimus’ life; he was nothing more than property to do with as he pleased.
The Gospel changed that kind of thinking. The Gospel did not upend (immediately) an evil system, but it did upend Philemon’s mind. The Gospel would not allow him to think of Onesimus as property, but led him to think of him as a neighbor, and then his brother.
The Gospel will always, always change the way you think about others. Jesus quoted the Old Testament saying, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Everyone is your neighbor. Does your thinking need to change too?
Re:Verse reading–Acts 17:10-12, 16-34 (day six)
And Paul went in, as was his custom… Acts 17:2
A custom is “something that is done regularly by a person.” (Merriam-Webster) In Paul’s case he had gospel customs, or missionary customs; things he did regularly to introduce others to the person and work of Jesus. When he would come to a new city or town, he would always go to synagogue first (if the city had one) to teach his fellow Jews about Jesus. Only after spending time with his brethren would he then turn his attention to the gentiles in the city, searching for people of peace (those open and responsive to the Gospel) in the marketplace and “spiritual” places.
Certainly, there is much to learn from Paul’s customs, but will you first consider with me one thing? Right now, what are your Gospel customs? Do you have any? Should you? Should we as a church family? Sorry, that is way more than one thing, but it is well worth our while to consider such things.
Re:Verse reading–Acts 6:8-10, 7:54-58, 8:1-5, 26-38 (day six)
Did Stephen really have to die? It is such a tragedy. Young man, filled with the wisdom and Spirit of God. Doing great work, working wonders, preaching the Kingdom of God, and then what? Stoned. Gone.
What we soon discover is that Stephen’s stoning was only the beginning, others would follow, and many would be thrown in jail, but to what end? Suppression? Annihilation? No, the end result was firmly in the hands of a sovereign God. Stephen’s death would result in the furthering of God’s glory through the scattering of many believers who faithfully declared the good news wherever they went.
What they intended for evil, God intended for good. Genesis 50:20.
Re:Verse reading–2 Corinthians 5:11-21 (day six)
“…that we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
This is startling. This is the work of Jesus; he became “as if” he were our sin, so that we could become His righteousness. We have never known righteousness of our own, in the same way that Jesus never knew unrighteousness of His own. This is precisely what captivated Paul; he called it treasure. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels,” Jesus, the righteousness of God.
Does that good news startle you? Is it your treasure? What a worthwhile daily prayer:
Father, may I be totally and completely captivated by your Son, my righteousness.
Now pray it with me!
Re:Verse Passage – John 15:9-17 (day six)
This is an important question: what is the basis of our friendship with Jesus? Are we friends because we obey His commands? Do we earn Jesus’ friendship because of our meritorious behavior? Sometimes we can behave as if this is true. We lapse in our worship attendance, so we think, “If I return to worship I will find favor with God again”, or “If I get a few quiet times under my belt then Jesus will like me.”
That is not the Gospel; it’s heresy. We are friends because Christ first loved us (vs. 12) by laying down his life; we are friends because of His work, not ours. Obedience then is not the condition of friendship but the affirmation or confirmation of our friendship with Jesus.
Listen, you don’t have to earn Jesus’ love or His friendship; He has already loved you, He died on the cross for you. The cure for disobedience is not trying harder, but repentance and returning to your first love or remaining in His love; believing in the work of Jesus through which he calls you friend. We always obey whom (or what) we believe; believe in Jesus!
Re:Verse reading–Genesis 11:10-32 (day six)
Did you know that Shem is one of our spiritual forefathers? It’s true. The line of Shem runs straight to Jesus, and then extends to His church. This genealogy is a reminder that God is at work fulfilling what He has promised- the destruction of sin and death, and the restoration of humanity. We are the recipients of that fulfilled promise through Jesus, while God is also completing His Kingdom work through us . We are the light of the world, salt of the earth, image bearers of the glory of God displayed in us through the Gospel.
We share in a rich heritage of Kingdom fulfillment! Here is the exciting news, the church by the power of the Gospel will conclude what God started so long ago!
Own your spiritual heritage! Continue the Gospel work!
Genesis 7:1-4, 17-24; 8:1-5, 13-16, 20-22 (day six)
“But God remembered…” Genesis 8:1
It wasn’t as if God needed to jog His memory; that is not the right connotation. No, God doesn’t forget. This verse more accurately refers to God’s commitment to fulfill His covenant promise with Noah and His family. If one thing is certain, God makes good on His promises. That’s the essence of eternal security, God does not forget. We never have to wonder if God has forgotten us. He finishes what He starts; He completes His work, and that is good news for all who faithfully cling to His promises this side of eternity.
Re:Verse reading–Mark 14:12-31 (day six)
Mark is coming to a close, but it is a Gospel after all, and thus rapidly moves towards the Cross. In this narrative we have the securing of the upper room, the enunciation of a new covenant, the prediction of betrayal(s), followed by immediate denials (they were all wrong; perhaps most of all Peter). All narratives that we seem so familiar with. How do we look at these in a fresh way that doesn’t seem trivial? I suppose the best reminder is that we never graduate from the Gospel, nor those particular events leading up to the Cross. Every so often in ministry, I have heard the occasional mantra, “I want something deeper.” As if the Gospel is wading through shallow waters, no in fact, there is nothing more profound and worthy of contemplation.
Re:Verse reading– Mark 5:1-20 (day six)
People were amazed by the man’s story. Everywhere he went he told his story, and people marveled. This isn’t surprising, after all his story IS remarkable; demon possessed man returns to his right mind after being restored by the Son of the Most High God. Now that’s a story!
What is even more amazing is that Jesus commissioned him to go tell people about his encounter with the Most High God, rather than stay with him. What if his family and friends responses were directly tied to the authority in which he was commissioned to tell his story? What if it wasn’t his story at all, but Jesus at work in those who heard it because he was faithful to tell it.
Here’s the thing, we were not called to linger with Jesus, but to follow Jesus. Our commission is no different than the Gerasene man’s; we too must go and tell our Gospel story. God’s plan for His Kingdom was always predicated on our telling others what He has done; we just might be amazed by peoples responses when we do.
Go tell it on on the mountain…and everywhere.