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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.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Warning label


Luke 13:6-9…

God is looking for the fruit of repentance (Matthew 3:8). Jesus’ warning that the Jews must repent or perish had a nearly immediate, terrible fulfillment. Within a generation, many perished in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. This serves as a warning to everyone (Romans 11:22). The problem isn’t man-made disaster or natural disasters; the problem is sin.

God hates sin, and will punish both individual sinners and nations. The fact that God doesn’t seem to punish sins and sinners immediately doesn’t mean that He approves of the sin, or that He will always allow it to go on without consequence, it is that He is merciful and allowing time to repent. We are now in the “grace period”, but Jesus is reminding us that we are on borrowed time. We need to repent now. I am talking to you, Christian.

Every individual and every nation will be found guilty when measured by the standard of God’s perfect righteousness. But Jesus came to put away the eternal consequences of sin (Hebrews 9:26-28). We’ve been extended a season of grace to become fruitful, so we’ve got to be fruitful. Repentance means we turn from sin, faith means we follow Jesus, spiritual fruit is the result. And don’t be fooled; no fruit, no root.

Jesus was explaining that disasters remind us that no one escapes death, and that we all may die at any time (Luke 13:1-5). Therefore repentance must be our priority, because no one will escape His judgment. The goodness of God has kept the wrath of God from you for now, not forever (Romans 2:4-5). People presume on God’s goodness and think they can just play the game of their lives any old way they want to. Jesus is telling us all: no way.

The fig tree couldn’t know it only had a year left, and neither can you. You can’t afford to wait another minute because you don’t know when your time will be up. The greater the space left for repentance, the greater the wrath of God that is stored up if we don’t.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The call of calamity


Luke 13:1-5…

We don’t like to admit it, but disasters are always around us. Sometimes they become more prominent because of their proportion or proximity.  How should we process these things?

Jesus speaks clearly to the matter, citing two well-known instances. One was caused by man, the other by nature. Jesus was warning the disciples against presuming to directly trace the effects of a specific sin to a specific disaster. He wasn’t saying that these people were innocent, but that all are guilty before God. He turns the question from “why did this happen?” into “what does this mean to me?” and from “what about God?” to “what about me?” The tragedies of today and tomorrow speak 4 things to us.

It speaks of reality. We live in a fallen world where these things will happen. We are supposed to weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15 / 2 Corinthians 1:4). But we don’t have to grieve as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Amidst all the calamity, catastrophe, chaos, and confusion, that is the larger point. Are you anchored in eternal reality?

It speaks of revelation. Disasters reveal His reign. He is the Creator and Sustainer (Colossians 1:15-17 / Hebrews 1:2-3). Judgment is coming (2 Peter 3:10-13). We don’t need to judge others, we need to pray for them and to show mercy, and part of that mercy is bringing the gospel message. Are you revealing the eternal truth to others?

It speaks of repentance. This is both our ongoing state of repentance (vs.3), as well as our initial repentance (vs.5). Disasters are most often sudden, and unexpected. Jesus tells us to repent otherwise we might die suddenly and in a state of unbelief. Those who died didn’t think they would die soon; we can suppose that most of them were not ready. Are you remaining ready?

It speaks of redemption. If we do repent we will not suffer eternal death, but receive eternal life. In the midst of destruction, we can hear God’s merciful plea to be reconciled to Him. Don’t turn on Him in anger, and don’t turn away from Him in fear, but turn to Him in faith. Then no matter what happens, you will avoid the ultimate disaster (John 6:37).

Calamities are bound to happen. The question is do you hear what they are saying?  

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Time to pay up


Luke 12:57-59…

Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? If someone owes a sum of money, but they can’t pay it, eventually their creditor takes them to court. The case is clear; they will lose in court and then be sentenced to prison until the debt is fully paid. This is why people try to settle out of court. They try and come to an agreement with the creditor. They will appeal for mercy, since if the case goes before the judge it is sure to go against them.

The longer you wait the harder it gets. How can you pay the bill, if you don’t have the currency? Think about this in terms of sin, and with God as creditor. If you know that you are subject to judgment, then you need to plead for mercy now while there is still time to receive mercy.

Thankfully, we have a gracious friend who will pay the bill. Jesus is God’s offer of mercy. He can foot the bill with His own blood. We can come to Him, humbly acknowledging our debt (Romans 3:23 / 1 John 1:5-10). We can reach out in repentance (Psalm 51:17 / Isaiah 57:15, 66:2) and receive mercy and forgiveness through Him. We are fools if we don’t.

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