Daily Nuggets

Jul. 31, 2021

Romans 14 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not to have quarrels over opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but the one who is weak eats only vegetables. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

One person values one day over another, another values every day the same. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and the one who eats, does so with regard to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and the one who does not eat, it is for the Lord that he does not eat, and he gives thanks to God. For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

10 But as for you, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or you as well, why do you regard your brother or sister with contempt? For we will all appear before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written:

“As I live, says the Lord, to Me every knee will bow,
And every tongue will give praise to God.”

12 So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.

13 Therefore let’s not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this: not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s or sister’s way. 14 I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to the one who thinks something is unclean, to that person it is unclean. 15 For if because of food your brother or sister is hurt, you are no longer walking in accordance with love. Do not destroy with your choice of food that person for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For the one who serves Christ in this way is acceptable to God and approved by other people. 19 So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. 20 Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the person who eats and causes offense. 21 It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother or sister stumbles. 22 The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is the one who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But the one who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.

 

In today’s text it says:  But as for you, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or you as well, why do you regard your brother or sister with contempt? For we will all appear before the judgment seat of God. For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, to Me every knee will bow, And every tongue will give praise to God.”  So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.  Therefore let’s not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this: not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s or sister’s way.  In the context, Paul is talking about what was permissible to eat and drink, whether some stood strictly by the Old Testament Law or others felt more liberty. He makes the case that it is an individual decision, based on a person’s faith. Some people try to extend that same reasoning to sin and unrighteousness. Paul says:  Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the person who eats and causes offense.  Keep in mind that just prior to this, in Romans 12:9, Paul said: Love must be free of hypocrisy. Detest what is evil; cling to what is good.  When he says all things are indeed clean, he is speaking of food, not immorality, unrighteousness and sin.

Still, we are not to be the judge of other people’s sin. In the same way Paul says we should not judge, in Matthew 7:1-5, Jesus says:  “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”  There is a difference between being a judge of another person and being their advocate or helper. In John 3:17-21, Jesus Himself says: God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”  That we do not judge the sin of others, does not mean that tolerate, condone or embrace sin and unrighteousness. Remember Paul says:  Love must be free of hypocrisy. Detest what is evil; cling to what is good.  In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus says:  “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”   Rather than judging the darkness, we should shine the light of Christ to dispel the darkness. Perhaps if some have loved darkness more than light, they will see clearly through our good works, and glorify the Father in heaven.

But as for you, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or you as well, why do you regard your brother or sister with contempt? For we will all appear before the judgment seat of God. For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, to Me every knee will bow, And every tongue will give praise to God.” So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.  James 4:17 says:  For one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, for him it is sin.  With greater understanding comes greater responsibility and greater accountability.  When we stand before God, we will give account for what we have done with the revelation we have been given. If we have known His grace, have we shown His grace? 

‘Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name.  ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. ‘Give us this day our daily bread. ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’  

 

 

Jul. 30, 2021

Romans 13 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

Every person is to be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a servant of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a servant of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Pay to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; respect to whom respect; honor to whom honor.

Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the Law. For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law.

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 first believed. 12 The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let’s rid ourselves of the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let’s behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and debauchery, not in strife and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

 

Daniel 19:20-22 says: May the name of God be blessed forever and ever, For wisdom and power belong to Him. It is He who changes the times and the periods; He removes kings and appoints kings; He gives wisdom to wise men, And knowledge to people of understanding. It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him.    Today’s text says:  Every person is to be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a servant of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a servant of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Pay to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; respect to whom respect; honor to whom honor.   This is perhaps one of the most difficult portions of scripture for many people today to accept and abide by. It is particularly hard when the government authority promotes unrighteousness and lawlessness; when the taxes they levy against the citizens are used to pay for things that are an abomination to God.  None of this though takes God by surprise. He knows what is in the darkness. The question for all of us is, is there a time when it is right for us not to be in subjection to authority?  

I don’t have all the answers to that question. Keep in mind though that Paul wrote these words of instruction and exhortation when he himself was held prisoner by the oppressive Roman authority, the same government that crucified Jesus. Jesus Himself also submitted to that authority. In fact when He stood before Pilate, in John 19:11, Jesus said:  “You would have no authority over Me at all, if it had not been given to you from above; for this reason the one who handed Me over to you has the greater sin.”  One thing that we do need to acknowledge concerning ungodly leaders and governments, is what it says in Ephesians 6:10-18: Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having belted your waist with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having strapped on your feet the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit.  Our real battle is not with the rulers of government authority, but rather with the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. If we want to change things, it will not be by protest and rebellion, it will be by prayer and revival. In 2 Chronicles 7:14 God says:  If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.   God is the one who changes the times and the periods; He removes kings and appoints kings; He gives wisdom to wise men, And knowledge to people of understanding.

The text says:  Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the Law. For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law.   Remember though, just prior, in Romans 12:9 Paul clarified how our love should be saying: Love must be free of hypocrisy. Detest what is evil; cling to what is good. He continues: 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 first believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let’s rid ourselves of the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let’s behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and debauchery, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Holy Spirit enable and empower me to live in the world but to effect change in the heavenly realm. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven, in and through my life.  Amen.

 

 

Jul. 29, 2021

Romans 12 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many parts in one body and all the body’s parts do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually parts of one another. However, since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to use them properly: if prophecy, in proportion to one’s faith; if service, in the act of serving; or the one who teaches, in the act of teaching; or the one who exhorts, in the work of exhortation; the one who gives, with generosity; the one who is in leadership, with diligence; the one who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Love must be free of hypocrisy. Detest what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor, 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Never repay evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all people. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written: “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

As Christians, we are often called hypocrites because we don’t embrace the choices that some people make; because we don’t conform to the thinking of the culture. We are called unloving, intolerant and not inclusive.  1 John 4:19 says:  We love, because He first loved us.  Our ability to love and our capacity to love is based on our response to God’s love for us. Romans 5:8 says:   God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  John 3:16 says:  God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.  Our ability and capacity to love is based on our response to the cross, where Jesus suffered and died to redeem us from sin. In today’s text it says:  Love must be free of hypocrisy. Detest what is evil; cling to what is good. We would be hypocrites if we tolerate, embrace and condone the very things that Jesus died to redeem us from. Far from embracing or tolerating evil and unrighteousness, we should detest it.  In Matthew 5:17-19 Jesus says:  “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”   Jesus didn’t come to change God’s mind about sin. He came to change our minds, to change us. Even relaxing God’s commandments to suit the whims of our culture is hypocrisy.  In John 5:14 Jesus told the man whom He had healed at the pool of Bethesda: “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”  In John 8:11, when Jesus interceded on behalf of the woman caught in adultery, He said: “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on do not sin any longer.” Jesus came that we would be free from sin, not free to continue in sin.

John 3:16-21 says:  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him. The one who believes in Him is not judged; the one who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, so that his deeds will not be exposed. But the one who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds will be revealed as having been performed in God.”  In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus says: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”  Far from embracing or tolerating darkness, we should detest and dispel darkness with the light of Christ.

In Psalm 23:5, the psalmist says: You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.    In today’s text, after saying love should be without hypocrisy, it says:  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never repay evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all people. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written: “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.  “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  Apparently, when God prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies, we are to share it with them. When our cup is overflowing, we are to give them a drink.  The burning coals that we heap on their heads are not for their destruction or demise. Rather, they are like the coals in Isaiah 6:6-7:  Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your guilt is taken away and atonement is made for your sin.”  They are coals of cleansing to overcome evil with good.

In John 14:15 Jesus says:  “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”  In Matthew 28:18-20 He commands and commissions us saying:  “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Our only response can be, yes Lord.  Amen.

 

 

Jul. 28, 2021

Romans 11:13-36 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Therefore insofar as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14 if somehow I may move my own people to jealousy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection proves to be the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are as well.

17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; 21 for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. 22 See then the kindness and severity of God: to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; for otherwise you too will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?

25 For I do not want you, brothers and sisters, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written:

“The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.”
27 “This is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.”

28 In relation to the gospel they are enemies on your account, but in relation to God’s choice they are beloved on account of the fathers; 29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. 32 For God has shut up all in disobedience, so that He may show mercy to all.

33 Oh, the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34 For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? 35 Or who has first given to Him, that it would be paid back to him? 36 For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

 

In today’s text it says:  See then the kindness and severity of God: to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; for otherwise you too will be cut off.  Ephesians 2:4-10 says:  God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,  even when we were dead in our wrongdoings, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the boundless riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.   Grace is defined as: unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification. (Merriam-Webster)  Grace is unmerited or undeserved. It is God’s kindness toward us when in truth we deserved His severity. Because grace is undeserved, we cannot presume on God’s grace.  We need to continue in His kindness or be cutoff.

The text says:  “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either.  It is faith that keeps us in God’s kindness and grace; believing that Jesus died for our sins. On the cross, in Luke 23:34 Jesus said:  “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”  Jesus sacrifice on the cross was for every sin, past, present and future. We should not presume though that His grace and forgiveness extends to the sins that we choose to continue in. In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus says:  “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; leave Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”  In order to continue in God’s kindness and grace, we need to walk the good works, which God prepared beforehand. He planned and prepared them for us before we were born and He prepared us for them by the redemption and restoration of the cross.

Here’s the thing, Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  The demonstration of God’s love and the activation of His grace toward us, was through the cross. 1 John 4:19 says:  We love, because He first loved us.  In John 14:15 Jesus says: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”  God’s grace is a free gift to us, but if we choose disobedience, we disqualify ourselves from God’s grace and kindness. We cut ourselves off from His kindness. The alternative then is to know His severity. In John 3:16-21 Jesus Himself says:  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him. The one who believes in Him is not judged; the one who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, so that his deeds will not be exposed. But the one who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds will be revealed as having been performed in God.”

Thank You heavenly Father for showing me Your kindness and grace, Thank You for Your love demonstrated in the cross. I believe in Your Son, that He died for my sins, not only that I might be saved, but also that I might walk in Your grace, in obedience to Your word and Your will, through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.  

 

Jul. 27, 2021

Romans 10:14-11:12 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

How then are they to call on Him in whom they have not believed? How are they to believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? 15 But how are they to preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”

16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

18 But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? On the contrary:

“Their voice has gone out into all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world.”

19 But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says,

“I will make you jealous with those who are not a nation,
With a foolish nation I will anger you.”

20 And Isaiah is very bold and says,

“I was found by those who did not seek Me,
I revealed Myself to those who did not ask for Me.”

21 But as for Israel, He says, “I have spread out My hands all day long to a disobedient and obstinate people.”

11 I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? Far from it! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed Your prophets, they have torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” But what is the divine response to him? “I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, since otherwise grace is no longer grace.

What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened; just as it is written:

“God gave them a spirit of stupor, Eyes to see not and ears to hear not,
Down to this very day.”

And David says,

“May their table become a snare and a trap, And a stumbling block and a retribution to them. 10 May their eyes be darkened to see not,
And bend their backs continually.”

11 I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? Far from it! But by their wrongdoing salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. 12 Now if their wrongdoing proves to be riches for the world, and their failure, riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!

 

In Matthew 4:4-14, regarding the time of His return at the end of the age, Jesus says:  “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will mislead many people. And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pains.Then they will hand you over to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. And at that time many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will rise up and mislead many people. And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will become cold. But the one who endures to the end is the one who will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.  In today’s text it says:  How then are they to call on Him in whom they have not believed? How are they to believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? But how are they to preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? On the contrary: “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world.”  In Mark 16:15-18 Jesus says:  “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. The one who has believed and has been baptized will be saved; but the one who has not believed will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not harm them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”  We have been sent to preach the gospel of the kingdom as a testimony to all the nations of the world. Today more than ever, because of the technology that we hold in our hands, we have the ability to reach around the world with the message of the gospel.  

Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. In Acts 1:7-8 Jesus says: “It is not for you to know periods of time or appointed times which the Father has set by His own authority; but  You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and as far as the remotest part of the earth.”  We should not concern ourselves with when Jesus will return. We should only be faithful to be His witnesses; to testify of Him, that the world might hear the word of Christ. In John 12:32 Jesus says:  “I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself.” Verse 33 says: He was saying this to indicate what kind of death He was going to die.   In 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 Paul says:  When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come as someone superior in speaking ability or wisdom, as I proclaimed to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I also was with you in weakness and fear, and in great trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of mankind, but on the power of God.   We don’t need to be trained orators or eloquent speakers. We don’t need to be Biblical scholars. We need only to point people to the cross, where Jesus was lifted up; crucified for our sins. He, Jesus will draw them, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to Himself. So much of the message of the church today focusses on grace. We don’t need to tell people about God’s grace. His grace toward us is revealed in the cross of Christ. Romans 5:8 says:  God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  God’s love and His grace are demonstrated and revealed in the cross, through Christ’s suffering and sacrifice.  He died so that we could live by grace.

Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit. Your grace is not that You accepted our sins, but that while we sinners, Christ died for us. By grace, may I live to testify of Your love. May I point others to the cross, that You would draw them. May the gospel be known in all the world.  Amen.