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Paul’s Salutation

Paul’s Salutation

Excerpt


Paul1 began his letter by identifying himself in three different ways. First, he was a “servant of Christ Jesus.” He belonged without reserve to the one who confronted him on the Damascus road. Although cultured Greeks would never refer to themselves in such a demeaning fashion, the Old Testament designation “servant of the Lord” was a title of honor given to Moses and other prominent leaders (Josh 14:7;24:29). Then Paul said that he was “called to be an apostle.” God initiated the process. Paul did not choose the role for himself. And even before he was called, he had been “set apart” to serve is the interests of the gospel of God. All three statements reflect the subordinate role the apostle played. Not for a moment did he elevate himself above his assigned position as a servant of God, set apart and called to serve is the interests of the proclamation of the gospel.


Mounce, Robert H. Romans. Vol. 27. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995. Print. …

We Are with Christ

We Are with Christ

Colossians 3:3–4

Excerpt


At the moment of his salvation, a Christian died to the evil of the “flesh,” the sin nature (Rom. 6:3-8; Col. 2:11), and his life is now hidden with Christ in God. “Hidden” implies both concealment and safety; both invisibility and security. He is not yet glorified, but he is secure and safe in Christ. In fact, Christ is his very life. Christ said He was going where “the world will not see Me anymore” (John 14:19).

But when He will appear at the Rapture (1 Thes. 4:16-18), believers will appear with Him and will be glorified. As John put it, “We know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (i.e., believers will be glorified as He is glorified; 1John 3:2; cf. 1 Cor.13:12; Col. 1:27).


Geisler, Norman L. “Colossians.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 680. Print.

The Year of Jubilee

The Year of Jubilee

‎Among the wisest and most noble of the ordinances of the book of Leviticus is that concerning the control of bondservants. An Israelite might, if driven by want, sell himself to some richer neighbor; but the purchaser was forbidden to compel him to serve “with rigour” as the Egyptians had done. The bondservant must be treated “as a hired servant and a sojourner,” not as a helpless slave; and his service must last only until the next year of jubilee. This came every seventh year and when it arrived the bondsman went free and his family with him. His property also was restored to him. “Unto the possession of his fathers shall he return.” ‎“For,” mark the reason given by God, “they are my servants, which I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: they shall not be sold as bondsmen.”


Jesus Witnesses About Himself

Jesus Witnesses About Himself

Excerpt


Again Isa. 40–55 may well provide the background. Isa. 43:10 LXX, which employs the ‘I Am’ formulation, also speaks of two witnesses, Yahweh, and Israel, the servant, who has just been portrayed as a light to the nations (Isa. 42:6). Through his claims here to be both the light of the world and the one who bears witness, Jesus can also be seen as taking on the role envisaged for the servant in God’s lawsuit with the world.


Lincoln, Andrew T. The Gospel according to Saint John. London: Continuum, 2005. Print. Black’s New Testament Commentary.

Stars and Lampstands

Stars and Lampstands

Excerpt


Christ was holding seven stars in His right hand and walking among the seven golden lampstands. The “stars” were the angels or messengers of the churches and the “lampstands” were the seven churches (1:20).

Walvoord, John F. “Revelation.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 933. Print.

Seraph, Seraphim

Seraph, Seraphim

Isaiah 6:2–6

Excerpt


Angelic beings mentioned only twice in the Bible, both occurring in the same chapter of Isaiah (Is 6:2, 6). The word seraphim is plural in number, but it is impossible to say from Isaiah’s vision just how many he saw. The prophet spoke of them as though they were quite familiar spiritual beings, which seems a little curious since they are not mentioned elsewhere.

Isaiah described each seraph as having six wings: two shielded the face, two covered the feet, and the remaining pair enabled the seraph to fly. The most that can be said from the available evidence is that they were exalted spiritual entities who were occupied constantly in the praise and worship of God. Most probably the seraphim were an order of celestial beings comparable in nature to the cherubim and engaged in a somewhat similar form of service around the divine throne.


Elwell, Walter A., and Philip Wesley Comfort. Tyndale Bible dictionary 2001 : 1179. Print. Tyndale Reference Library.

The Background to Hebrews 3:7-11

The Background to Hebrews 3:7-11

Excerpt


When the Exodus generation led by Moses first approached the Promised Land, they refused to obey God’s command to enter. Their rebellion led to a dread decree: the Israelites must wander for decades in the desert until every person over 20 had died. Disobedience demonstrated their failure to trust God in the face of a powerful enemy and doomed those who refused to believe to never see the Promised Land or experience rest there. It is this historic experience that the writer of Heb. looks back on as he utters yet another warning. The spirit of unbelief and disobedience which marked the men and women of Moses’ day will surely keep people in the writer’s day from experiencing the rest promised in Christ.


Richards, Lawrence O. The Bible Reader’s Companion. electronic ed. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1991. Print.

Connect the Testaments

June 3: Searching for Justice
2 Chronicles 6:12–8:18; Titus 1:10–16; Psalm 94:1–23

“Do you favor justice or mercy?” Trick question. Both responses are technically incorrect: God’s ways require mercy and justice. Mercy cannot be fully known without perfect justice, and justice without mercy is harsh and graceless.
God’s mercy is a regular topic in Christian communities, but we often shy away from discussing His justice. This leaves us on our own to confront the injustices we commit against Him and others, those committed against us, and our own unjust nature. Carrying out God’s justice feels scary because it requires making large-scale changes in our world. But we can’t carry out His justice if we act only from the right purpose—we must also act in His way.
The psalmist cries out for justice: “O Yahweh, God of vengeance, God of vengeance, shine forth. Rise up, O Judge of the earth.… They crush your people, O Yahweh; they oppress your inheritance. They kill widow and stranger, and they m…

Morning and Evening

Morning, June 3                                         Go To Evening Reading

         “These were potters and those that dwelt among plants and hedges: there they dwelt with the king for his work.”
         —1 Chronicles 4:23
Potters were not the very highest grade of workers, but “the king” needed potters, and therefore they were in royal service, although the material upon which they worked was nothing but clay. We, too, may be engaged in the most menial part of the Lord’s work, but it is a great privilege to do anything for “the king”; and therefore we will abide in our calling, hoping that, “although we have lien among the pots, yet shall we be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.” The text tells us of those who dwelt among plants and hedges, having rough, rustic, hedging and ditching work to do. They may have desired to live in the city, amid its life, society, and refinement, but they kept their appointed places, for they also were doin…

My Utmost for His Highest

June 3rd
The secret of the Lord


The secret (friendship R.V.) of the Lord is with them that fear Him. Psalm 25:14.

What is the sign of a friend? He tells you secret sorrows? No, that he communicate secret joys. Many will confide to you their secret sorrows, but the last mark of intimacy is to convey secret joys. Have we ever let God tell us any of His joys, or are we telling God our secrets so continually that we leave no room for Him to talk to us? At the beginning of our Christian life we are full of requests to God, then we find that God wants to get us into a relationship with Himself, to get us in touch with His purposes. Are we so wedded to Jesus Christ’s idea of prayer—“Thy will be done”—that we catch the secrets of God? The things that make God dear to us are not so much His great big blessings as the tiny things because they show His amazing intimacy with us; He knows every detail of our individual lives.
“… him shall He teach in the way that He shall choose.” At first, we wa…

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

June 3

  I am black … as the tents of Kedar.… I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me
Song of Sol 1:5; Song of Sol. 7:10
Nothing humbles the soul like sacred and intimate communion with the Lord; yet there is a sweet joy in feeling that He knows all, and, notwithstanding, loves us still.

J. Hudson Taylor

Hardman, Samuel G., and Dwight Lyman Moody. Thoughts for the Quiet Hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1997. Print.