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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.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Hypocrisy hurts you

Luke 12:1-12…

In the midst of a very large and somewhat hostile crowd, Jesus teaches His disciples, and us, about the problems associated with hypocrisy. This is what the Pharisees were an example of. They were inconsistent, deceived, and they practiced deliberate deception.

We can be hypocritical to achieve praise. The problem is that covering up one’s heart by outward appearance is sheer folly. It is futile to think that you can get away with it. The truth cannot be hidden for long. You will be exposed (1 Timothy 5:24-25).

We can be hypocritical to avoid persecution. We are afraid of what people might think or do. They might indeed do terrible things, but Jesus tells us that in the long run they cannot harm us like God could if He wanted to. He has the greater power (Hebrews 2:14-15). Therefore we ought to fear God rather than men. Now this is not a call for an unhealthy fear; this is about who our allegiance is with. God loves His children, and He knows them and their situations perfectly. We should thankfully and graciously accept that. God has us on His mind.

Our lives are to be lived as a testimony to God’s grace. We must speak out in behalf of our Lord, not shrink back. We must not deny the power of the gospel and its exclusive claims. Jesus is not speaking of a believer losing his salvation, but about people who will or will not believe. He is calling on bold witnessing which calls on men to publically identify with Christ (Acts 2:38-39 / Romans 10:9-10), even in times of persecution. But how can we call upon people to publicly profess their faith in Christ if we are trying to conceal our own faith?

Jesus knows that many people will be rejected, and some even martyred. But we are to be more intent upon proclaiming the gospel than defending ourselves. The right words will come if the time ever happens upon us. Then we won’t have time to be hypocritical. 


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Truth for dinner

Luke 11:37-54…

Jesus knew right what He was doing when He went in and did not do according to the religious custom. He was setting up a “teachable moment”. We would all do well to heed the lessons.

He calls the religious leaders out as a group who is hypocritical, reminds them that God is more concerned about the heart than the hands, and calls on them to repent. They needed to learn to live from the inside out.  Purity on the inside is what causes true piety on the outside, because out of the heart flow the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).  Otherwise, it is all for show.

He then goes even further to say that their disciplined giving does not give them a license to neglect the most important things (Micah 6:6-8). Their desire to appear important does not mean that they meet the marks of what is truly holy. Their appearance may conceal their corruption to some, but people were still defiled by having been with them. This, of course, really made the leaders’ blood boil. 

He then says that all they are is talk; they don’t do what they teach. They don’t even do anything to help people’s burdens; they just place more burdens upon them. They aren’t concerned with ministry to people, just mastery over them (1 Peter 5:2-3).   

Jesus now links them in the biblical line of persecutors, even though they deny it (Jeremiah 2:30 / Matthew 23:29-30). They are just like the people who pretended piety before them. They are responsible for their rebellion against God. By their legalism, they had kept people from learning God’s love, and they had not learned themselves. If you can’t learn, your own knowledge will destroy you. They were a hindrance to holiness not a help.   

They did not receive the correction (Proverbs 17:10, 28:26, 29:1 / Ecclesiastes 7:5); they did not want the truth.

The question is, do you (Galatians 4:16)?  


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The request of the reprobate

Matthew 12:38-42 / Luke 11:29-32…

The religious leaders were not sincerely looking to be convinced of the truth. They had already witnessed many miracles, and they had already made up their minds. They were determined not to believe in Jesus. They wanted their own personal miracle, but even then it was only pretense.

Jesus knows this and tells them that lesser signs had led to repentance. Lesser men had inspired faith. Even His greatest sign would not lead them to believe. If they can assign His previous works to the power of Satan, then they will not believe a new one. If hearts are hardened to Him, then it is not an issue of facts, truth, or reason; it is a matter of rebellion, defiance, unbelief.

Jesus reveals the heart of those who are supposedly seeking, but in truth are only playing the proud game. They want their own evidence; they place themselves as ultimate arbiter. They are in effect saying, “I’ll believe if He meets my terms”. But who is God in this equation? It is an insult and the height of hypocrisy to ask God to prove Himself in a way that suits us. This is the great problem of all humanity, they are their own god. They set up their idols according to their own desires.   

The problem is not a love for truth and a lack of proof; it is a love of sin and a lack of submission. We have a tendency to believe that we can always evaluate everything that happens to us correctly. We trust our power to process situations. We are wise in our own eyes, which is a great delusion (Proverbs 3:7, 26:12 / Isaiah 5:21 / Romans 11:25, 12:16).

Jesus isn’t against giving signs; what He is against is demanding them as a ransom for our allegiance. We cannot dictate terms to God.