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Thursday, September 30, 2021

Hebrews 11:1

 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

For further study - Hebrews 11:1-21

As we come to our devotional reading for today we will be presented with the "Hall of Fame" of men and women of "faith". I want you to notice that the first six men mentioned in the "Hall of Fame" have an interesting connection to Bible prophecy as well as to "faith".

Our passage starts with the definition of "faith", "it's the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen", verse 1. This is a very important statement about "faith". Notice, it is the "evidence of things not seen".

We don't have to, and in fact, we should not see the things we are "hoping for". Many people say, "show me and I'll believe", the Bible says "believe without seeing". By the way, Romans says, "Faith cometh by hearing, not seeing, and hearing by the Word of God", Romans 10:17.

It's the truth of the Word of God that is the basis for "faith", not things seen. In our extended reading for today, verses 1-21, we see six men who were "men of faith" and also have a unique connection to Bible prophecy.

"Abel", verse 4, was a son of Adam that by "faith" offered a "more excellent sacrifice" looking into the future and the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus Christ. "Enoch", verse 5, was a great preacher, Jude 14, and was one of two men who never died. This makes him one of the two witnesses during the Tribulation Period, along with Elijah.

I say this based upon the three and a half years of ministry for these two witnesses as detailed in Revelation 11:3-12. These two witnesses will die, be resurrected, and taken into heaven. This truth from Revelation must be coupled with Hebrews 9:27.

"Noah", verse 7, was another great preacher, with not real good results, he only had seven people believe him. His wife, his three sons, and the three wives of his sons. Jesus mentioned in His prophetic "Olivet Discourse" that the return of our Lord will take place at a time when it is like the "days of Noah", Matthew 24:37.

"Abraham", verses 8-19, the "father of faith" is a "man of faith" that plays a key role in Bible prophecy, as it relates to the Jewish people. The Lord promised Abraham, "in the Abrahamic Covenant" that the Jews would be a nation forever and have a land forever, Genesis 12 and 15.

Abraham's son and grandson, "Isaac" and "Jacob", are the "son and grandson of promise". It was through these three patriarchs that God focuses all of Bible prophecy. God made promises to these three, to be fulfilled, in the future. These promises must be fulfilled.

Notice how "faith" plays a role in "things to come", verse 20. I have barely touched the "hem of the garment" of blessings you can receive from this passage on "faith", and the "personalities of prophecy". Please spend more time in this passage, as we await the shout from Jesus for us to join Him in the heavenlies.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for these "men of faith" in the past. Help me to be a "man of faith" in the present, as I look to the future... by "faith".
Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Hebrews 10:25

 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

For further study - Hebrews 10:1-25

The Apostle Paul, it has been said, wrote the book of Hebrews to help Hebrews quit being Hebrews. In other words, he was telling the new converts to Christianity, from Judaism, that there was a better way than the "law".

Basically, that's how Paul starts this tenth chapter. Stating in verses 1-3 that the "law" was a "shadow" of the good things to come. Paul reminds these new converts that the blood of "bulls and goats" cannot take away sins. You can read his argument in verses 4-9.

Then in verse 10, he states that Jesus Christ was the "offering, once and for all". What a blessing verse 12 is to me, and each of us who know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

After He became the "sacrifice for sins forever" the Lord went into the third heaven and He "sat down on the right hand of God". Now our Saviour, the Son of God, is at the right hand of the Father, there to intercede as our special "advocate" with the Father, I John 2:1.

Jesus is there to represent us at the right hand of the Father. He is there to restore our fellowship with the Father should we sin, which we know we will after salvation. By the way, notice Jesus is not now on "His throne" but instead seated at the "right hand of the Father".

The Father will, in the future, give His Son, Jesus His "Kingdom", His "throne" and His "dominion". There is so much in this passage that is a blessing to each of us, Notice verses 19-22. Because of our "high priest", Jesus, we can enter the Holy of Holies in boldness, because of the blood of Jesus.

We can talk to the Father because of what the Son has done for us. When Jesus died on the cross, the "veil of the Temple" was rent from top to bottom, giving us access to the Holy of Holies. We can now approach the Father with respect, honor, and with boldness, verse 19.

Paul exhorts each of us to come together for fellowship, prayer, the study of His Word, and encouragement, verse 25. We should do this even more so as we quickly approach the time of the Rapture of the Church.

Believing that the Rapture could happen at any moment doesn't allow me to sit down on my "blessed assurance" and do nothing but wait for the Rapture. I, and each of us that know Christ, must do His work, even with greater intensity as that day quickly approaches when He will call us to be with Him in the heavenlies.

PRAYER THOUGHTThank you Lord for Your sacrifice that gave me eternal life, Your ministry as an advocate with the Father for me, and the reality of Your soon coming.
Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Hebrews 9:26

 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

For further study - Leviticus 23:26-32 ; Hebrews 9:23-28

The day on the Jewish calendar, which is the holiest day of their seven Jewish holy days, holy days that God gave to the Jews to observe on an annual basis, is "Yom Kippur," the "Day of Atonement."

During Biblical times, when the Temple stood in Jerusalem, the High Priest, after much preparation, would enter the Holy of Holies of the Temple for the purpose of pouring the "sacrificial blood" onto the "Mercy Seat" on the "Ark of the Covenant".

This act would cover the sins of the Jewish people for one year until the next Yom Kippur. This annual holy day was to be marked by a twenty-five-hour fast and was to be a very solemn day.

Today, without a Temple and the sacrificial system in place, the Jewish people must approach this holy day in a different manner. The ten days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are referred to as the ten "Awesome Days".

That's a period of time when the present-day Jews seek forgiveness from family, friends, loved ones, and neighbors that they may have trespassed against during the last year.

They will also take a piece of bread to a body of water, that preferably flows into the ocean, and will cast the bread on the water. Then they quote, Micah 7:19, "I will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea."

Many Orthodox Jews will also cut off the head of a chicken and wave its body around over their own heads. They believe all these activities will help them be included in the "Book of Life."

Since there is no Temple and no "sacrificial system" the Jews today offer up prayers three times daily, do good deeds and give money to needy causes. These activities replace the "sacrificial system".

The holy day of Yom Kippur also has a "prophetic significance." Hebrews 9:23-28 reveals that prophetic aspect of Yom Kippur. The text tells us that in days past the High Priest, "entereth into the Holy Place every year with the blood of others".

Now look at what Jesus does, verse 26, "Once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." I'll explain that verse in a moment, but first, let me remind you that Jesus Christ fulfilled the "spring feast" in the proper day sequences. Jesus Christ was crucified on "Passover", buried on "Unleavened Bread" and rose from the dead on "First Fruits".

Jesus will also fulfill the three "fall feasts" in the proper day sequences. Jesus will return to the earth on a future "Rosh Hashana," followed by the ten "awesome days" when He builds up Jerusalem, builds His temple, goes to the Jezreel Valley for the Battle of Armageddon.

Then Jesus will gather the Jews that He will have protected for the last three and a half years of the Tribulation Period, in Petra, and bring them to Jerusalem by way of the Mt of Olives, the Eastern Gate, and into the Temple, in fact, into the Holy of Holies, Ezekiel 43:7.

That will happen on the Holy Day, Yom Kippur. That's when all Jews get saved in a day, Zechariah 3:9. Passover was for "personal salvation" and Yom Kippur was for "national salvation." The Jewish feasts have always pointed to Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for Your forgiveness of my sin by the blood that You shed on the cross on Passover.
Monday, September 27, 2021

Hebrews 8:1

 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;

For further study -Hebrews 8:1-13

In the reading of our key verse, we see where Jesus is today. He is seated "at the right hand of the Father on His throne" in the third heaven. Hebrews 12:2 also reveals the present location of Christ now seated at the right hand of God, who is on His throne.

I say, and repeat this because there are those who say Jesus is now on His “throne”. That is incorrect. Our key verse tells us where He is today. One day, Jesus will sit upon His throne in Jerusalem; however, that is yet in the future.

Notice also that Jesus is our "High Priest" after the order of Melchisedec, Hebrews 6:20. This Melchisedec is a very interesting personality. He has no father or mother, Hebrews 7:3. This same verse says he has no beginning and no end of life. Remember, he was the King of Salem (Jerusalem) who met with Abraham, Genesis 14:17-20. I believe he may well be a "pre-incarnate appearance" of Jesus Christ.

The reading for today is a rich passage that deserves more attention than it will receive. Spend time reading it later. However, let me show you one more portion of our reading, verses 7-10. In this passage, the Lord promises to give the Jewish people a "New Covenant."

This is a different covenant than the one God had with Moses and the Jews. This covenant, the New Covenant, the Lord gives to the Jewish people - the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not to Christians. Now, we Christians derive benefits from the New Covenant, but it is given to the Jewish people, Jeremiah 31:31.

This covenant is also referred to as the "Everlasting Covenant," Ezekiel 37:26. This covenant that God will make with the Jewish people will be given to them in the future. The Lord will put His law in their mind and write it upon their heart, verse 10. This verse also says the Lord will be their God and the Jews will be His people, all of this because their sins and iniquities the Lord will “remove and remember no more”.

This New Covenant is to the Jewish people and it is yet to be given to them in the future, evidence that the Lord does have a plan and program for the Jewish people in the future. God is not finished with His "Chosen People." God must keep His promises to the Jews if we expect Him to keep His promises to us, i.e. the promise of eternal life.

Though the New Covenant is for the Jewish people I must again remind you that we, as Christians, will also derive benefits from this New Covenant. We will have a relationship with Jesus, which will be very unique. We will be His people, in fact the "bride" of Jesus, and He will be our Lord, "husband." Our relationship with Jesus will be very unique.

I love the fact that He cannot remember our sins anymore. That is a derived benefit. By the way, the New Covenant is given to the Jewish people at His Second Coming, which seems to be quickly approaching.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord, thank You for removing my sins and remembering them no more.
Sunday, September 26, 2021

Hebrews 5:9-10

 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.

For further study - Hebrews 5:1-10

As we come today to the book of Hebrews, we will see Jesus in His "high priest" role of the future Temple. The fact that we are discussing this issue is evidence that Jesus Christ will rule and reign in a future Temple to stand on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

The ancient Jewish prophet Zechariah tells us that Jesus will build that Temple, Zechariah 6:12. The prophet also says in Zechariah 6:13 that He will rule and reign from the Temple He builds in Jerusalem. There will be a priesthood set up for this Temple that will operate which I refer to as the "Messiah's Temple".

This Temple is described in Ezekiel 40-46 which is 202 verses of detailed information on the Temple Jesus builds. These verses give the architectural specifications for this coming Temple. It will be a Temple where future sacrifices will be made unto the Lord.

As we remember that sacrifices in the past did not take away sins, these future sacrifices will also not take away sin. Jesus himself was the ultimate sacrifice. All future sacrifices will be done in memorial to Him for what His sacrifice accomplished for each of us. It guaranteed us salvation by putting our faith in what He did for us.

Notice in the passage for today, Jesus will become the "high priest" in this coming new Temple. But look again. The high priestly duties that Jesus will perform will be not from the code of Aaron, the first high priest. Jesus will be of the high priestly order of Melchisedec.

Melchisedec is not only a "high priest" but also a "king", Genesis 14:17-19. Melchisedec was a king of the city-state of Jerusalem. There is not a lot we know about this "priest-king". We do know that he had no beginning and no end. He has always been and will always be who he is, possibly Jesus Christ himself.

This passage of prophecy is a necessity for the readers of pre-written history, penned by the ancient Jewish prophets. We must be looking daily for His return to become the "high priest". That day could be very close at hand.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you, Lord, for our own high priest, the one who has always been and will always be.
Saturday, September 25, 2021

Herews 2:9

 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

For further study - Hebrews 2:1-18

Paul introduces "angels" in Hebrews 1 and tells us that "Jesus Christ is so much better than the angels," verse 4. He reveals that angels were actually created on the first day of creation in order to minister to those of us who are saved, the "heirs of salvation", Hebrews 1:14.

As we come to the second chapter of Hebrews, and notice that I believe Paul was the author of this book, the writer reveals how Jesus chose to dwell among humankind. Paul states that Jesus took on the form of a man, "made a little lower than the angels", verse 9. Christ did this so that "He by the grace of God should taste death for every man".

Then Paul reminds us that Jesus is the Creator, verse 10, and that He created Lucifer, the most prominent of all angels, who would rebel, and become the adversary, the Devil.

However, the Devil, who had the "power of death" would be destroyed, rendered inoperative, and would no longer be able to cause those who receive Christ to fear death and live a lifetime of bondage, verse 15.

Hebrews 1 & 2 speaks much about angels. Angels played a significant role in the first coming of Jesus; announcing the birth of Christ; ministering to Jesus in the wilderness; the evil angels inhabiting human bodies, which made them demons: and ministered to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane just prior to His death.

Angels will play a key role in the Second Coming of Jesus, both good and evil angels. Evil angels inhabit lost people today, especially world leaders and false teachers. Good angels act as "guardians" especially for the little children, as well as adults.

Jesus will be accompanied by a host of angels when He returns to the earth at His Second Coming. At that time He comes to defeat the Devil.

Antichrist and False Prophet, who are humans empowered and possessed by evil angels, will be defeated by Jesus at His coming when He is "crowned with glory and honor", verse 9.

These truths should cause us to rejoice over what He has done for us and what He will do for us.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for sending angels to guard over me and for Your being made a "little lower" than angels to suffer death to take away my sin and give me eternal life.
Friday, September 24, 2021

Hebrews 1:3

 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

For further study - Hebrews 1:1-14

I could hardly wait to get to the book of Hebrews for our devotional thought for today. Now having said that, let's look at the first chapter of this book of the unknown author, unknown but believed by many to be the apostle Paul. That is a debate for another time. We do know that whoever the human author was, he had the entire book "breathed into" him by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the person of the Godhead who inspired the human authors, some 40 of them, over 1,500 years. These men wrote 66 books that have no contradiction and all of the authors speak of the Lord's plan for humankind throughout all the ages.

God, in the past, did raise up the ancient Jewish prophets to speak His word to us. But, as the text says, "in these last days has spoken to us by His Son". Our key verse tells us where Jesus is, today. He is now seated at the right hand of the Father in the 3rd heaven.

This is an important truth. It tells us that Jesus is not on His throne, which is yet to come, in an earthly kingdom that will be set up in Jerusalem. This is key to understanding what the future holds for our Lord. His kingdom is yet to come.

There is another precious truth in this first chapter of Hebrews. The reading today explains to us that Jesus is so much better than "angels", verse 4. The entire chapter tells us how superior Jesus is to angels who were created by Him.

However, there is a blessing for us with the creation of angels, they are all "ministering spirits", sent by the Lord to minister to us who are heirs of the salvation that Jesus provides.

These angels are to guard over us, to take us into His presence when we die, and to be "fellow servants" with us in our ministry for Him. By the way, when He does leave the right-hand of the Father to come for us to join Him, the angels will come with Him. I would love to see Him and His angels today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for dispatching angels to minister to us!
Thursday, September 23, 2021

Philemon 1:10

 I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds.

For further study - Philemon 1:1-25

It is true that there is no prophetic passage found in the book of Philemon. However, in this little New Testament book, I find Paul as our example of how to work towards a "crown" that will be given to some at the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is the "Crown of Glory" spoken of in I Peter 1:1-4.

The "Crown of Glory" is given to those who are always ready to step up to "feed the flock", to build them up in the things of the Lord. Peter reveals that we do not serve as "feeders of the flock" for filthy lucre and not by constraint, I Peter 5:2. Peter's exhortation is for us to be an example to the flock.

You know that is what Paul is doing in Philemon. Paul is showing Philemon, by example, how to deal with a former servant of Philemon, the person who stole from him and then fled to Rome, the servant Onesimus.

When Onesimus arrived in Rome, he made contact with Paul and was converted to Christianity. Paul knew the circumstances surrounding the relationship between Philemon and Onesimus, and he is used of the Lord to develop Onesimus into a very profitable brother in the Lord.

Next, Paul having built into the life of the "servant", now wants to build into the life of his former owner, the one who had been violated. Paul writes to Philemon requesting that he take back his former employee, one who could be very profitable to him in the future, verse 11.

Paul is working towards that "Crown of Glory" Peter wrote about, as he works with both Philemon and Onesimus. Paul was ambitious for these crowns, II Corinthians 5:9, because he knew that these crowns would one day be presented back to the Lord Jesus in thanksgiving for what He has done for us, Revelation 4:10.

The "Crown of Glory" is only one of five crowns we can receive at the Judgment Seat of Christ. We receive a "crown incorruptible" for bringing our body under subjection, I Corinthians 9:27. We will be rewarded a "crown of rejoicing" for being a soul winner, I Thessalonians 2:19. There is the "crown of life" for not yielding to temptation, James 1:12. There is also the "crown of righteousness" for loving the appearance of Jesus Christ at the Rapture, II Timothy 4:8.

In Philemon, Paul, by example, helps us to understand how to receive the "Crown of Glory".

PRAYER THOUGHT: Lord help me to work towards attaining all five of the crowns so that I can give them back to you in thanksgiving.
Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Titus 3:10

 A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject;

For further study - Titus 3:1-15

Our key verse for today's reading is a very direct statement that is made right to the heart of the issue. At the time that Paul wrote to Titus, around 65 AD, the church had been in existence for around 35 years. Already in that short history, heresy had crept into the church.

Paul wanted Titus to travel to locations that had churches up and operating, most likely churches that Paul had started or had at least helped in the "church planting" process.

Now Paul wants his young associate to travel to these locations and set them "in order", while at the same time, selecting and ordaining "elders" as the leaders of these new churches, Titus 1:5. Then Paul sets out for Titus the qualifications for the church leaders, Titus 1:6-9.

Throughout Paul's letter to Titus, this young partner in ministry to the now-aging Apostle was exhorted to challenge others to "sound doctrine". In fact, all of the "pastoral epistles" that Paul wrote, I & II Timothy and Titus, contained this exhortation that it was essential for the church to have "sound doctrine".

This same message is essential for churches today and for individuals in those churches. You and I must have sound doctrine. Notice Paul passed along this message to the churches and their leaders. God's plan is for the church, the local church, to be the "custodian" of sound doctrine.

Our key verse tells us how to deal with someone who comes with heresy, a person who is a "heretic", someone who propagates false doctrine. We are to confront the "heretic" once, and admonish him of his "false doctrine". If need be, we must do it a second time, and then reject that person.

In fact, the Apostle John, II John 10, tells us that we should not allow someone with false doctrine into our house and for sure don't bid them "God's speed", the blessings of God upon them as they travel.

This message is so important at any time in history but especially as we approach the time of the Lord's call for us to join Him in the "air" at the Rapture of the Church.

Time and time again Paul tells us that false doctrine, heresy in the church delivered by heretics, is a definite indication that the days when Jesus will take us to be with Him in heaven are quickly approaching.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Lord help me to diligently study the Word so that false teaching will never be that which could lead me astray, away from You.
Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Titus 2:12-13

 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

For further study - Titus 2:1-15

The portion for our reading today is one of my favorite writings of the Apostle Paul. Once again, as is the case with young Timothy, another young man comes alongside the experienced minister, Paul.

Young Titus will also be used to travel to the churches across the then known world to help build them in the faith. Paul has given Titus the instruction and information to take to these churches. These were churches that would benefit from the help needed to build their local churches.

This second chapter of Titus is further instruction for how individual members of these local churches should be involved in this church ministry, a church ministry that will develop the proper church leadership.

Always remember that these are new churches with a team of new leaders who actually do need to know how to build new churches. You can imagine that if these "pastoral epistles" are so needed for church leadership today, how much more important in the first century.

Paul gives Titus the instructions for the aged men and women in these new congregations as well as the young men and women of these churches. This instruction is applicable to those same people in our churches today and is found in verses 2-6.

There is much more in this chapter to appropriate for our own edification, but before I close, let's look at two more verses - verses 12 and 13.

Paul, in these two very profound verses, tells us to lay aside some activities and to live others. The apostle tells Titus to lay aside ungodliness and worldly lusts, which is negative. Then Paul goes positive when he tells Titus to live soberly, righteously, and Godly. If you stop to think about this it is pretty hard to lay aside that which is wrong and live that which is right.

However, here is the part I love the best. Paul tells us how to do that which he told Titus to do. We can "lay aside" that which is wrong and "live" that which is right by "looking" for the "blessed hope and glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ". The "blessed hope" is the Rapture of the true believers in the church here on earth.

These two verses indicate to us that Godly living is produced in our lives by focusing on the future. We can focus better on the future and His call for us to join Him in the heavens as we look at current events in light of Biblical prophecy. A good knowledge of Bible prophecy comes with a committed study of the prophetic passages in His Word.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me, Lord, to study Your word so that I have the understanding of the parallel between current events and Bible prophecy so that I can eagerly look for the blessed hope.
Monday, September 20, 2021

Titus 1:1-2

Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.

For further study - Titus 1:1-16

As we come to the book of Titus for our devotional today, there is one portion of this very important instruction from Paul to the church and its leadership that immediately comes to my mind. I am referring to Titus 2:12-13. These two verses tell us how to lay aside things that are bad and live that which is good. We do both, the negative and the positive as we are looking for the blessed hope, the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ.

For another devotional, I'll spend time developing that formula for life in the last days. However, let us look with you now for the instruction Paul gives the local church in the last days.

Paul had commissioned Titus to travel to the churches and make certain they had good leadership and were defending the faith against the apostasy of that day. God's plan for winning the lost to Him is the operation of a local church. The local church has a two-fold ministry, evangelism and education. We must win them and then grow them in the things of the Lord.

Paul would send Titus to the different churches to ordain elders, the leaders of the local assemblies, verse 5. These men had to meet certain qualifications, verses 6-8, and be men who hold fast the "faithful word of God". These men were to teach others as they had been taught so that all members at that local church might have the right doctrines to stand up against false teachers and false teachings.

Paul warned Titus that even in the local church there would be those deceivers that church leadership must deal with as these "false prophets" endeavored to spread their "false doctrine".

In light of the central theme of Titus, "how to live right as we await the coming of Jesus Christ", the local assembly must have Biblical leadership in place to teach the right doctrine as we approach the soon coming of Christ. This warning of false doctrine, false teaching, and deception is the number one sign of the second coming of Jesus Christ, Matthew 24:4, 5, 11 & 24.

Please do remember, that the Rapture precedes the Second Coming by seven years. The Rapture could happen today!

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to understand right doctrine, especially as we approach the time of Your return.
Sunday, September 19, 2021

II Timothy 4:8

 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

For further study - II Timothy 4:1-8

I love the promise of a "crown of righteousness" that will be given to me at the "Judgment Seat of Christ" according to our key verse, verse 8, in our devotional reading for today.

I'll take a closer look at verse 8 in a moment but first, let's look at the entire reading for today. Paul gives us a charge for today, even though it was written for the first century Church.

The principles of scripture are "timeless". Think about that statement. As we see even what have been "good" churches in our day slipping away from their connection with God's Word and His direction in everyday life, especially in these last days, we must heed Paul's exhortation.

Paul gives us this charge before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, verse 1Verses 2-5 reveal what the charge for us today includes. Verse 2, "preach the Word," the Word that we are to study diligently, II Timothy 2:15.

Here's what we are to do, preach the Word and do it "in season and out of season". That means when we have an opportunity, "in season;" or when we make an opportunity, "out of season."

"Preaching the Word" is for reproof, rebuke, exhortation, and doctrine, verse 2. We must "preach the Word" before there will be a time when even the members of the "body of Christ", the Church, will not endure "sound doctrine".

We are quickly approaching that time, a time when people will be going after their own lust, looking for teachers that "tickle the ears" of the hearers. We are quickly approaching the time Paul describes here when people turn from the true doctrines of the Word of God to man's fables.

Paul tells us, as he told the first century Church, to do the work, making full reproof of our ministry, verse 5. Paul then gives us his "swan song", verses 6 and 7. Paul realizes that his time of service is coming to an end. He "fought the fight", he "finished the course" and as he did so, he "kept the faith".

This is the example to follow, "fight the fight, finish the course and keep the faith" along the way. Now, at the end of Paul's thirty years of ministry, he is prepared because of what he tells us in II Timothy 4. He is looking forward to receiving the "crown of righteousness" at the Judgment Seat of Christ because he loves the "any moment" appearing of Jesus Christ at the Rapture.

Then Paul shares with us that we too can look forward to that same "crown of righteousness" if we also love His appearing and long for Him to come to take us to be with Him.

We must "love that appearing" more than anything this world has to offer. An in-depth study of Bible prophecy will help us to realize where we are in God's time for the last days. An understanding of "current events" in light of Bible prophecy will intensify our longing for His return.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me Lord, to fight the fight, finish the course and keep the faith as I eagerly await Your shout for me to join You in the heavenlies.
Saturday, September 18, 2021

II Timothy 3:1

 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

For further study - II Timothy 3:1-17

II Timothy is the last book that Paul wrote, even though Titus follows II Timothy in the New Testament canon.

Paul is actually continuing his training of young Timothy in the ministry. Timothy had been given the responsibility to travel to churches that Paul was unable to visit.

Timothy was to be of assistance to the church leadership and, in fact, he was to help the believers to set in place a good leadership team who would be responsible for making certain that the body of Christ was being taught correctly from the inspired Word of God.

Another of those famous "3:16's" is found here in Paul's letter to Timothy. II Timothy 3:16 is the absolute statement about scripture. Paul relates to Timothy, and to us, that all of the scripture was "breathed into" men for the purpose of revealing God's love, plan and doctrine for the body of Christ.

Timothy was to help men, those in Jesus, to become mature, "thoroughly furnished unto good works," verse 17. Our key verse, verse 1, is a direct warning to the Church at that time, around 65AD, and for the Church today as well.

Technically the "last days" began after Jesus left to go back to heaven, Acts 1. However, from a practical standpoint, today must be considered the "last days", the period just prior to the Rapture, the Tribulation and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Paul's description of the "last days" surely fits our day. Verse 2, in our reading for today reveals that "men will love themselves more than they love Jesus," and others. Notice the rest of the list, in verses 2-4 where Paul describes the last days. As we read through this list we can recognize our day, and the activities of people today.

As it relates to "love", Paul says men, humankind, will "love pleasure more than God", verse 4. That thought is a perfect description of our society today. Verse 5 describes much of the Church today, "having a form of Godliness but denying the power thereof."

We are to "turn away" from all that Paul has listed in these verses that is contrary to God's desired lifestyle for us. Paul warns each of us that in these "last days" it is not going to be all "roses". There will be "thorns", verses 10-12.

The Apostle exhorts Timothy to remember what he had been taught from the scriptures, as a child, and he was to do those things he had been taught. Timothy was to “live out” what the Word of God had taught him. We also must live a life dictated by the Word of God.

In our "post-modern" world some believe that the scriptures are "old-fashioned". This is a lie from Satan. The scriptures are profitable, we must study them, II Timothy 2:15, and live them out in these the last days.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me Lord, as I study Your Word to live by what it tells me to do in these the last days.