Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 22 October 18:
1. Jeremiah 34:15-17 – “You recently repented and did what was right in my eyes by proclaiming liberty… and you made a covenant before me in the house that is called by my name, but then you turned around and profaned my name…. Therefore, thus says the Lord: You have not obeyed me… behold, I proclaim to you… the sword… pestilence, and… famine, declares the Lord. I will make you a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth.” Don’t mock God by repenting and returning to your sin in complacency. God will not be mocked by His people. Grace does not free you from the Lord’s discipline.
2. Jeremiah 35:18, 19 – “Because you have obeyed the command of Jonadab your father and kept all his precepts and done all that he commanded you, thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Jonadab the son of Rechab shall never lack a man to stand before me.”
– God honors obedience. The Recabites could trace their obedience back 250 years (2 Kings 10:15), never giving in to temptations to do what everyone else was doing. God lifted the Recabites up as an example to all had promised them a permanent relationship with Him. What has your family done faithfully from generation to generation to honor God? Today is a good day to commit or recommit to create generations of fidelity.
– To Jonadab’s family God said, “You shall always stand before me.” In contrast, concerning the disobedient God said, “Behold, I am bringing… all the disaster that I have pronounced against them, because I have spoken to them and they have not listened, I have called to them and they have not answered.” The Church today takes sin very lightly, as if grace means that God no longer cares that much about our sins. However, today is another day where our readings should correct us. In the first sentence of 1 John 2, John (the Apostle of Love) writes, “I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But IF anyone does sin…. He then goes on: “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” This is not at all hard to understand, but somehow we manage to create theology which suggests that there is not a real expectation for us to “walk in the same way [Jesus] walked.” Yes, John reminds us that IF we sin, “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” However, we forget Hebrews 10:29: “How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of Grace?” While we know that, in mercy and grace, we don’t get the punishment we deserve but rather the forgiveness we don’t deserve, the fear of trampling Jesus under foot should be a far, far greater motivation than fear of punishment to spur us on to holiness. Love causes us to see our sin from God’s perspective and to respond accordingly. Lord, please help me see my sin the way you do and to have Jonadabian fidelity to you – Semper Fidelis Coram Deo.
— 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 – It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lusts like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God who gives you the Holy Spirit.
3. Proverbs 22:4 – “The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.” God will honor humility.
4. Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” God will train you up in the way you should go, and you won’t always like it.
5. Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” During your formative years, did your parents train you in godliness (discipleship)? If not, your battle against ingrained habits of sinfulness is more difficult, but fortunately, the Holy Spirit empowers you to have the fruit of self-control. Don’t convince yourself that you can’t help what you do. On another note, what habits are you instilling in your children which will form the way they think and act? Is God’s word the beginning and end of your conversations?
6. Proverbs 22:11 – “He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.” Your mouth reflects what is in your heart and affects all of your relationships.
7. Proverbs 22:19 – “That your trust may be in the Lord….” This is humility and faith. You will not trust who you do not know and love. Proverbs says that the Bible was given to you that you would grow to know Jesus, to love Him, and to trust Him. Pour into your Bible daily and grow in humility, faith, hope, and love. Remember, the goal of the Bible is not to make you more moral and successful, it is to bring you into oneness with Jesus and conformity to His image, that you would truly “know” Him and make Him known.
8. 1 John 2:1 — “I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin….” It is striking how much the expectation has changed within the church. John’s expectation was that sin would be a very rare thing – “if anyone does sin.” It seems the church today expects sin within the body to be a normal thing, and the worldly church is quick to proclaim “grace” as an excuse for sin, rather than freedom from the bondage of sin through the power of the Holy Spirit. The early church certainly didn’t cheapen grace like that. We are saved by grace alone, resting upon God’s merit rather than our own unworthy merit. However, the expected response to grace is obedience motivated by love. Obedience isn’t the path to salvation, it is the evidence of salvation.
9. 1 John 2:1-6 — “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin…. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”
– Obedience is the true mark of salvation and love for Christ. John’s expectation for Christians was that they would not sin habitually but would walk as Jesus walked. Christians do not achieve holy perfection in this life, but Christians display holy direction in life. How far the church has drifted from what Jesus expects of his followers….
– These are very powerful verses worth memorizing and meditating on every day. The truth of your relationship with God is revealed in your obedience. Again, the truth of your love for God and others is also revealed by your obedience. All disobedience is selfish and unloving, no matter how you justify it. Don’t deceive yourself by going to church while continuing in sin and believe that you are good with God.
“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.” (1John 2:3)
– The ‘casual Christian (if there can be such a person) says, “Well, everyone sins.” True, and yes, we live in a state of grace. Yet the Bible commands that, in our love for Christ, we must resist sin with all of our might as our genuine act of worship (Hebrews 12, James 4:7, Romans 12:1, 1 Corinthians 10:13; John 4:23). Today is a new day. Get your armor on, and step out.
10. 1 John 2:4 – “Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. There is no such thing as a “carnal Christian.” Those who continue in sin unrepentantly don’t know Him though they may believe in Him like the demons do – “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” (James 2:19)
11. 1 John 2:18 – “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come.” Many speculate about the end times antichrist, but there have been and will be many antichrists, powerful people who are against God. Anyone who preaches a truth that is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ is an antichrist, no matter how kind that may seem.
12. 1 John 2:19 – “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” Those who reject their faith never really had faith to begin with.
13. 1 John 2:22, 23 – “Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.” Again, those who deny that Jesus is the one and only Son of God and the one and only way to God are antichrists.
14. 1 John 2:27 – “But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.” If the Holy Spirit is within you, then the Holy Spirit is your Teacher. Study God’s word daily, walk with Jesus in obedience, remain in prayer, and listen to the Holy Spirit.
15. 1 John 2:29 – “If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.” Children act like their parents. God’s children act godly. What you do reveals what you really believe in and who you really love the most. Those who really love Jesus want to please Him in love and obey Him as a desire of the heart rather than just an act of obedience.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 22 Oct 18: The theme from Jeremiah 35 and 1 John 2 today is obedience. Reread 1 John 2:3-6 and consider your actions today from the context of those verses, meditating upon what your behavior says about your love for God. From the context of these verses, consider what you allow yourself to think about, what you choose to view or listen to, what you gaze up, what you say, what you do, and what you feel. What do your actions in context with these verses reveal to you?