Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 19 July 21:
Note: Here is a short video overview of Luke, chapters 1-9: https://youtu.be/XIb_dCIxzr0
Luke 1:15-17 – “…for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
John the Baptist was given the mission of preparing people to receive Jesus, a mission of reconciliation, preparing people to be reconciled with God through Jesus. Reconciliation with Jesus would also result in reconciliation between believers, changed hearts turned towards God and each other. While John the Baptist was given the message of reconciliation to prepare people for Jesus’ earthly ministry, we have, likewise, been given the message and ministry of reconciliation, imploring people to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior and preparing believers (discipling) for Jesus’ Second Coming –
- 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 — Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
“…for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit….” John’s mission and calling was not self-appointed, and it wasn’t something he could accomplish in His own power and authority. God chose John and gave Him the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish His mission, and John was to remove any other influence in his life which would quench the Spirit within him, such as alcohol. Likewise, you have been chosen by God and given the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish your mission of spreading the Gospel and making disciples. Do not allow anything to control you other than the Spirit, and don’t allow anything to distract you from your calling.
- Ephesians 1:13 — In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit….
- John 16:13-15 — When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
- Galatians 5:16 — But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
- Romans 8:5 — For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
- Ephesians 5:18 — And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit….
- Romans 14:17 — For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit
- 1 Thessalonians 5:19 — Do not quench the Spirit.
- Ephesians 4:30 — And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
- Galatians 5:25 — If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
- Matthew 28:18-20 — And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
- 1 Corinthians 2:13 — And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
“And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom.” John the Baptist’s message was that unity and peace on earth could only come through repentance and unity with Jesus. The evidence (the fruit) of love and oneness with Christ is genuine, observable, extraordinary love and oneness with fellow believers. This oneness with God and others was the focus of Jesus’ prayer to the Father as Jesus prepared for the Cross –
- John 17:22-23 — “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
How is your oneness, and does it proclaim the truth of Christ in your life “that the world may know” that Jesus is Lord? Are you being used by God to “turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom”?
- John 16:33 — I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
“…to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” Are you ready for Jesus’ return? Do you have a great sense of urgency to make others ready for Jesus’ return? What will you do today to prepare others?
- Matthew 24:44 — Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
- Luke 12:35-38 — Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them. Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.
- 1 John 2:28 — And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.
- Romans 13:11 — Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.
- Jude 1:17-23 — But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 19 July 21: Be a faithful ambassador for Christ today, faithful with the Gospel, the message of reconciliation. Proclaim the Gospel in word and deed to all around you. Let the evidence of the power of God be revealed to others by your obvious faith, hope, peace, thankfulness, grace, love and unity with fellow believers.