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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.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Signs for all times


Matthew 24:15-22 / Mark 13:14-20 / Luke 21:20-24…

Jesus gives instructions to the people in Jerusalem that would be going through a severe time of tribulation. It is clear that He is speaking of the first-century Roman invasion. Yet it is equally clear that Jesus was also referring to a time in the more distant future, because there are other things mentioned that were not fulfilled in the first century.

When looking at an obviously prophetic passage, we are tempted to think it doesn’t apply to us because it was something that happened in the past, or it is something we won’t be around for in the future. Of course, we can go too far in the opposite direction and make the study of prophecy the singular focus of our daily life. The point is that eschatology (the study of the end) should spur us to evangelism (the sharing of the faith) and earnestness (1 John 3:2-3).

There are several things in this passage that apply to us today. The trials that we face are in accordance with the plan of God revealed in His Word. We know that we will face trouble because we stand for the truth. But that doesn’t mean we should put ourselves in harms’ way, or court conflict. Things may get intense, and it’s okay to pray for the suffering to end, and for the strength to endure. Whatever may be going on in our lives, we should always remember that God writes the whole story, so we can trust Him as He brings us through the drama. 

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Hard times


Matthew 24:9-14 / Mark 13:9-13 / Luke 21:12-19…

Jesus had just told of some troubling times that would begin to happen near the end of the age. The disciples had probably thought that these things would happen at the same time as the destruction of the temple and that this would all coincide with the return of the Messiah. Yet Jesus made it clear that while some of these things would happen before the destruction of the temple, all of this would happen before the return of the Messiah. It isn’t one conclusive event.

In the meantime, Jesus let them know that they should anticipate persecution and hard times. The true Christians of this world will be marked for malice. Many will fall away from the faith. If you are a true believer, you will not be able to disguise yourself. The distinctions will be made, and the false believers will come against you.

There will be all sorts of offense, sin, betrayal, and hatred, especially towards the true. We will be seen as the problem, and false prophets will lead many into deception. Because of this rampant sin and deception, the world will embrace a love that isn’t love. Civil rebellion, mutual suspicion, and hatred for the holy will reign. Outright rage will be the reality. 

These kinds of things are always present in a fallen world (Philippians 1:29 / 2 Timothy 3:12 / 1 Peter 4:12). But there will be times when they will increase in intensity. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. This was true near the end of the age of Jerusalem in the first century. It will also be the case with the end of the age in the future. In any time, our duty is to hold fast to our profession (Hebrews 10:23-25).

And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. This certainly has the flavor of the future about it. Still, it did concern those disciples and the near immediate future. Yet it also has something to do with all disciples and the future of all of us. The truth is, the end of your life will come, and the gospel has been preached to you as a testimony. The question is, if you were to die today, or if Christ were to return today, are you ready for judgment (Hebrews 9:27-28)?

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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Just the beginning


Matthew 24:3-8 / Mark 13:3-8 / Luke 21:7-11…

Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age? There is a wide diversity of interpretations offered for what is often called the “Olivet Discourse”. Some say that it is entirely about events related to the second coming of Christ. Others say that it is entirely about events related to the destruction of Jerusalem which occurred in 70 A.D. Still others believe it contains reference to both of these events. In any event, it is scripture, and therefore profitable for us to examine (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

See that no one leads you astray. Before Jesus gives the sign of His coming, He points to several happenings to be looking for. These things are important to understand no matter what era of time we are in. The main point that Jesus is teaching the disciples, all disciples, is the same thing, in essence. The point of all these prophecies and warnings is that we may not be lead astray and away from truth and into error. The key in all of this is to be anchored to the true, living Christ.  

Jesus paints a prophetic picture, where these trends and troubles would run concurrently and crescendo like the pains of a woman giving birth. False teachers and fearsome events will bring temptations to apostasy. There will be many who claim to be of Christ or claim they are the Christ, and will lead many away from the One True God. There will be an increase in deception and destruction, war, famine and death.

Still, the end is not yet… All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. We can be on the lookout for such things and still be looking away from Jesus. That is the nature of deception: we don’t know it. The question is, are you growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18), or are you carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability (2 Peter 3:17)? 

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