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Thursday, August 16, 2018

The days are coming


Luke 17:22-37…

When responding to the Pharisees, Jesus focused on His first coming. When instructing His disciples, He stresses His second coming. The coming of the kingdom of God means blessings to those who are saved, yet the emphasis here is on the judgment of God which will come upon the lost sinners at His return.

Jesus says that there will be difficult times ahead. Accordingly, many will be seeking for signs of the coming kingdom. So there will be those who are deceiving and those who are deceived about Jesus. Yet we are not to go looking after signs, and we are not to follow the false prophets, because the second coming of Christ will be unmistakable, and the timeline of redemption will be fulfilled. We will not be ready for the Second Coming unless we understand His cross, and remain devoted to the Scriptures. There is a danger of over-zealous expectation.

There is also a danger of worldly preoccupation. Those who dismissed Noah’s preaching and carried on as before were taken away to judgment (2 Peter 2:5), and it came very suddenly. Those who mocked Lot and despised the warnings of the destruction of Sodom were also taken away suddenly to judgment (2 Peter 2:6-7). When Jesus speaks of Lot’s wife (Genesis 19:26), He is not speaking so much of a return to the world, but a reluctance to break with it.

It will happen again. People will be going about all their regular activities, and be caught unawares. Jesus describes a terrible separation that will happen. The wheat and the weeds, the good and the evil, the converted and the unconverted, they will be made distinct forever. These are the words of warning from our Savior, and they weren’t to the wicked religious leaders but to those who said that they believed in Him! Jesus was warning that people will be taken away, by death, and into hell.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Here I am


Luke 17:20-21…

The kingdom of God is in the midst of you. Is Jesus saying that the kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom that resides in the hearts of men, or is He declaring the presence of the kingdom in His person?

Remember that Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees. Jesus would not be saying that the kingdom of God was in their hearts. Most of His conversation with the religious leaders of the day was to inform them of their wicked hearts. These were not hearts in which the kingdom resided.

Later, Jesus would specify that the kingdom is not a present spiritual kingdom in the heart but a kingdom that will come in the future. He clearly counters the idea that the kingdom would be established immediately (Luke 19:11). He also indicates that the kingdom would be coming near with the events of the future tribulation (Luke 21:31). It is clear that Jesus was speaking of the kingdom as a future entity, not as a kingdom of the heart.

The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed. What does Jesus mean when He says that? The reason He said that is because at that time the kingdom was present in Jesus’ person as He stood before them. Jesus was bodily present, so there was no need to look for signs of the kingdom. After He went back to heaven, then it would be the proper time to look for signs of His return and the coming of the kingdom of God (Luke 21:31).

The significance is that they failed to recognize the Messiah, the king of the kingdom they were looking for. If they missed that, they would miss the signs of the future too. If you don’t recognize Jesus as Lord now, all your prophecy charts and end times books won’t help you to recognize Him then (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12). 

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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The predicate of praise


Luke 17:11-19…

Many people receive blessings and mercies from God in this life. The purpose of these blessings and mercies are to bring us closer to God in worship. Often we are thankful, but fail to dive deeper in faith, into true adoration and praise. Jesus wants not only to give something to us, but to be something to us.

All ten men were wonderfully, miraculously healed. For nine that was enough. The tenth man wanted more. He sought after Jesus Himself and was made whole. Sure he was looking for the physical healing first, but the power of Jesus caused him to see his real need. 

It is interesting to note that this man was a Samaritan. He had been a leper, separated from society, but was made well and able to integrate once again. He had been a Samarian, marginalized by the Jews, but made to be in right standing with God. Your praise of Jesus puts you into the place beyond the physical, beyond the social, beyond the racial or economic, and into the truly spiritual. People can despise and dismiss you, but no one can destroy that.  

This one man saw Jesus as He truly was. Jesus was not just great enough to give him what he wanted, but so great that Jesus became what he wanted. Nine saw their physical problem, but one saw his spiritual problem. Don’t miss the fact that Jesus calls Himself God here (vs.18). All ten were cleansed in their body, but one was cleansed in his heart.

How deep is your desire for Jesus Christ? Do you know what you really need? Jesus wants to not only be the source of a blessing, but to be the blessing itself. That is the predicate of praise. We thank God for what He does; but we praise Him for who He is.  

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