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Our DAILY GOSPEL DEVOTIONAL is the story of Jesus from Incarnation to Ascension. This is a chronology and harmony of the gospel accounts in which the ongoing narrative and doctrinal context are carefully considered. In one year we reflect on every passage of every gospel.
May God bless you as we follow the disciples on the journey through the earthly life of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

The midnight cries

Matthew 25:1-13…

The teaching of Jesus is that we cannot know the exact time of His return but we can know the signs of it drawing near. He repeatedly speaks of the suddenness and the unexpectedness of His coming, and calls us to be prepared at all times. Many know of the Second Coming, and they may believe in it, but they don’t behave like it matters what they do in the meantime. 

As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. This doesn’t mean that sleep is wrong or that everyone has to go through some period of backsliding. No, it means that life would go on as it had for a while. We have been waiting for 2000 years. Still, the wise live in a state of readiness, while the foolish are careless about it (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:6-10).

Remember, all ten virgins were supposed to be part of the wedding party. They all knew what was coming.  All ten took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.  There are many that are in some way affiliated with the church, or who have some feelings of attachment to Christ, but they are like the five foolish virgins who took no oil with them.

But at midnight there was a cry. All ten were awakened to the call. But if there is no oil in the lamp when the call comes, it will be too late. You won’t be able to get in based on family or friends. You have to buy the truth right now (Proverbs 23:23). There will be no time to buy when you hear the cry. This is true whether that be at death or upon the return of Jesus.

Truly, I say to you, I do not know you. This gives us a clear picture of what the oil represents. The foolish are those who never go beyond a superficial knowledge of scriptural truth. They have just enough knowledge to assure themselves that they can make themselves ready when the time comes. They think they can do it their way but Jesus says no way.

Lord, lord, open to us. You see, there will be a second cry in the night, but you don’t want to be a part of that one.


Saturday, October 03, 2015

Prepared means productive

Matthew 24:45-51 / Luke 12:41-48…

When we might know something important is about to happen, but don’t think that it is going to happen too soon, we are tempted to be somewhat derelict in our daily duties. We have to rush to clean up if company is coming, having allowed the mess to accumulate to the point that we are frenzied before the family or friends arrive. We cram for the exam, having allowed ourselves to be lax in our studies. We sprint to the store, having forgotten the anniversary or birthday.

Last minute preparations are fine, unless we waited to prepare until the last minute. Putting the finishing touches on something is much easier if we have been in touch with the situation all along. Production is always preferable to procrastination.

Certainly, there are times when we are caught unawares and unexpectedly have to race in order to get something done. It is inevitable. Yet something that is expected arriving sooner than expected or at an unexpected time is the point Jesus is making here. The Lord will return, and we are to be about our business of living for Christ, winning others to Christ, and edifying our brothers and sisters in Christ, while we wait on Christ to return.

It is inevitable. Jesus will return. The problem is that in the realm of true religion, we cannot afford to be perverse. Jesus is teaching us that He won’t allow it. And this is about more than the end times. The Lord rewards those who are about His business, but He will capture the spiritually lazy in their own sloth. 


Friday, October 02, 2015

The reason we cannot see

Luke 21:34-36…

Being ready for the Lord’s return doesn’t mean trying to discern the exact time of His return. Being ready means that we are living for Christ, winning others to Christ, and edifying our brothers and sisters in Christ. In other words, we remain ready by truly worshipping Christ. To have a diligent, faithful expectation means living for today by having an eye for tomorrow (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 / 2 Timothy 4:7-8 / Titus 2:11-14 / Hebrews 9:28 / 1 John 3:2-3).

Jesus tells us that the reason people aren’t making themselves ready is not for a lack of evidence, signs and warnings. It is because they are dull of mind and heart, and so they fail to see the signs as they are. So Jesus warns us of three evils that blind us.

The first is “dissipation”, which means over indulgence. It is like we have a hangover, and we are insensitive to anything we’re not directly involved in. The second, drunkenness, is related to the first. Drunkenness is the cause and dissipation is the result. People are tempted to medicate with drugs, entertainment, busyness, or any number of other numbing things, as a solution to all the chaos they see and feel. They get what they want; they wind up dull to the danger. The third, worry, means that we spend all our energy on anxiety over worldly things.

The antidote is the same for all people in all times. Knowing what is to come, we should not place too much value on material things, and we should place our value in the Word of God. Knowing that over indulgence will dull our sensitivity should motivate us to self-control, not self-indulgence. Knowing that worry hinders our watchfulness, we should pray (1 Peter 4:7).

Many say they love Jesus but their lives deny it. Seeing a sign isn’t the same thing as submitting to its instruction.