“Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor” (Ephesians 5:2).
“By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15).
“But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:16).
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).
As we consider the supreme sacrifice of the Lord Jesus at Calvary, it will create the sacrifice of praise in our hearts and on our lips, and will motivate us to sacrifice our temporal means, and to give ourselves as a living sacrifice for the Lord’s glory and for the blessing of others.
“Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth” (Luke 21:26).
I like to keep up on what’s going on in the world. I read the newspaper when I get a chance, and listen to a newscast from time to time. However, it must be very depressing for people who are constantly reading, listening to or watching the news, hour by hour, day in and day out.
There is so little good news in the world today. In fact it seems to me that there has never been a time in history when the above verse has been more true of the masses of humanity than the day in which we live. The Lord pointed it out as a characteristic of the end times, and certainly these are the end times.
What amazes me is that in a world of bad news, people are so slow to listen to or accept the good news of the gospel. Paul said, “We declare unto you glad tidings” (Acts 13:32). Thankfully there is still the good news that, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). Have you received and believed it?
Q. Are “sign gifts” applicable to the work of the Holy Spirit today?
A. As we noted in last month’s question “sign gifts” were given to confirm the Word spoken, not to believers, but unbelievers. “Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not” (1 Corinthians 14:22).
There is no promise in the Bible that these gifts would continue. “Whether there be tongues, they shall cease” (1 Corinthians 13:8). The gifts that will continue are given in Ephesians, “And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11). We don’t have apostles and prophets alive today, but we have their inspired writings, and we certainly have evangelists and teachers. Ephesians 4:13 tells us that these gifts are given until the Lord comes, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”
There are times when we get disheartened and are tempted to give up. There may be a spiritual reason for this, or perhaps the reason is physical.
A bottle of medicine will do good sometimes, but there are undoubtedly occasions when it is more needful to shake the patient than shake the bottle.
When David spoke to Solomon concerning the building of the temple, he said, “Be strong, and of good courage; dread not, nor be dismayed” (1 Chronicles 22:13).
The task before Solomon was a great one so David said again, “Arise therefore, and be doing, and the Lord be with thee” (1 Chronicles 22:16).
The Word of God is full of exhortation to continue, even when the task seems hopeless. As we approach the end of another month we need to realize that it was the Lord that brought us to the beginning of the month and the Lord who has enabled us to continue. Let the fact of His help given thus far stimulate us for the future. Hesitancy and weakness are only found in us, never in Him.
I had some medical tests done at the Centre for Successful Aging in southern New Jersey. It made me think of how the Lord defined the word “success,” when speaking to Joshua. “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Joshua 1:8).
Only as we read, meditate, and obey the Word of God, can we claim to be successful in life. God does not measure our success by the good grades we get, how much money we make, or how well we take care of our bodies. It is important to work hard, provide for our temporal needs, and not neglect our physical being of course, but more important is our obedience to the Word of God, and our spiritual life and walk of faith with the Lord Jesus. This is how success will be measured when we get to heaven, the final tally is in, and “everyone of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12).
I am writing this calendar page while staying as a guest in a home where there is a scripture text over the living room doorway, with the words:
“WE LOOK FOR THE SAVIOUR.” Philippians 3:20
It has made we think of some other verses that tell us that we should not just be waiting for the return of the Lord Jesus, but that we should be watching or looking as well. Here are a couple of verses that came to mind:
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
“Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when He cometh shall find watching” (Luke 12:37).
Will we be truly looking for the Lord Jesus this week? So often I lose sight of the fact that He may come at any moment. As a result I get weary and discouraged. Don’t let it happen to you. “Look for the Saviour” every day!
“When the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours” (Luke 20:14).
The husbandmen in this parable, told by the Lord, referred to the Jewish nation, and perhaps more particularly its religious leaders. The one they saw coming was the Lord Jesus, their Messiah, and their response was to kill Him. Yes, Jesus, the Son of God, was not wanted when He came to earth and was rejected by His own people, the Jews.
Thanks be to God though, that by His rejection the way to heaven has been opened, and you and I can go in. “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:11-12).
The truth of this should fill our hearts with worship, praise and thanksgiving. Because He was rejected, we are now accepted. “Accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6). Accepted in Christ because of Calvary!
I remember Aunt Bernice very well. She was a quiet lady who lived simply, and for the Lord. She was saved as a teenager, and exhibited godly piety all the years of her life.
I will never forget standing by her bedside as she gently drew her last breath, a smile crossed her lips, and I knew she was safe home. “Absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).
As I stood there, I thought of another soul who had passed into eternity earlier that week in the same hospital ward. He was a man who had been a fine, upstanding citizen in the town I live in. His reputation as a husband, father, business man and philanthropist was impeccable. But he was not saved. The wails that filled that hospital ward I will never forget. He was in agony, not so much physically, but emotionally, as he realized he was facing eternity.
What a contrast! I don’t believe the man was ever saved, and as far as we know went into a lost eternity. What about you? Remember Job’s question: “But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?” (Job 14:10). Where will you be?
Daniel prayed while his enemies plotted against him. Great and many were the powers assembled to bring about his downfall.
He was well aware of the hatred of his foes, yet he did not seek to raise a petition to the king. He did what believers are exhorted to do—he took it to the Lord in prayer.
No threat of danger could move him from the course which he knew was right. The Lord said to Jeremiah when he, too, was confronted with opposition, “Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee” (Jeremiah 1:8).
Are you aware of hostile forces, human or satanic, which are plotting your downfall? Then do as Daniel did. He made the whole affair a matter of constant prayer. “He kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime” (Daniel 6:10).
His faith was wholly vindicated, for God’s handling of the matter brought destruction to his enemies and deliverance to him. Don’t forget, you have the same God that Daniel had!