King Ahab let his pagan wife Jezebel do all the dirty work. She conspired to get Naboth’s vineyard for him, as he pouted on his bed, face turned to the wall. The Lord sent his servant the prophet Elijah to confront him, at the very moment he was taking possession of the vineyard.
Ahab said to Elijah, “So you have found me, my enemy!” “I have found you,” he answered, “because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, 1 Kings 21.20 NIV.
Contrast what Elijah said about Ahab, selling himself to do evil, with what the Lord Jesus Christ did: Continue reading
Just as in the entire world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, so it has also been bearing fruit and growing among you from the first day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, Col 1.6.
The gospel speaks of Jesus. It is content and communication, the power of God for salvation, “the message of truth” v. 5. As communication, the Good News must be heard and understood. Anyone can communicate it. The Colossians learned it from Epaphras, v. 7. One need not be an apostle to transmit it.
On the lips of many disciples, the Good News bears fruit and grows. It is not limited in its extent nor in its location. It does not depend upon huge financial resources nor upon eloquent preachers. It does depend upon everyone speaking and many hearing. Continue reading
We want to see, but we cannot, now, see the Lord Jesus Christ. But we can love him.
We want to touch and feel, but we cannot, now, touch the Lord Jesus Christ. But we can wait for him and believe in his promise to return.
We want to listen, but we cannot, now, hear his voice. But we can hear the words he taught in person on earth and the words he inspired his apostles and prophets to write in Scripture. And we can hope to hear his words of approval and welcome on the final day. Continue reading
The God of our forefathers raised up Jesus, whom you seized and killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him to his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. Acts 5.30-31
Before the Sanhedrin, the high Jewish court, Peter and the other apostles answered, for the second time, for preaching about Jesus. With courage and truth, they made clear the great acts of God, in spite of the actions of the council. Continue reading
And when Jesus came to that place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, because I must stay at your house today.” Lk 19.5
They say that opportunity knocks only once. The phrase means that we have to recognize opportunity when it appears and take advantage of the moment, since we’ll not have another chance.
Jesus shows us another reality. He created his opportunities. He didn’t wait for opportunity to appear. He didn’t wait around for the moment. He by whom the world was created continued creating on earth opportunities to take the Father’s word to people. Continue reading
God sets people free. The freedom he gives is from sin, from its guilt, from its ultimate consequence of eternal punishment. God is not interested in changing a person’s physical condition or social situation. What happens here on earth is for but a short time. His concern is to reconcile us to himself. This is what Christ accomplished on the cross. Continue reading
In the Pisidian Antioch synagogue, where Jews of the city met together, Paul and Barnabas preached Jesus and concluded with a warning:
“Watch out, then, that what is spoken about by the prophets does not happen to you:
‘Look, you scoffers; be amazed and perish!
For I am doing a work in your days,
a work you would never believe, even if someone tells you’” Acts 13.40-41
Some preachers and missionaries hate to show weakness. They apparently believe it undercuts the message of God’s power in the gospel. They give the impression that they have arrived, in the spiritual sense, that they are nearly perfect, all the while using language of humility about how we are all sinners.
Perhaps they fear for their “jobs.” (Some people in full-time ministry are lackeys; some churches like lackeys.) Perhaps they fear showing vulnerability. Whatever their reasons, they do their Lord a disservice. They provide bad examples, because they put forward a false front. Continue reading
The apostle Paul wrote the letter of Philippians from prison. Joy is a keynote and often considered the main point of the letter. Not so noticed in the letter is how he emphasizes the power of God.
Paul begins the letter by expressing his confidence “that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” Phil 1.6. We usually talk about what we must do to be saved. That talk is important and necessary. It must not, however, overshadow that the work of salvation is God’s. Continue reading
Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Isaiah 53.10 ESV
Isaiah speaks of the suffering servant in terms of the people of Israel, of the remnant, and finally of a single person. He narrows the identification of the servant until he arrives in chapter 53. In this chapter, he reveals details of how the servant would suffer for the sins of others. Continue reading