Through the Bible Week 48, Romans 4 – 1 Corinthians 11


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Romans 8:1 (NKJV) — 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

What incredible words to read. If we are in Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation for anything.  Paul is writing to the Romans and is continuing to make the point that the law can not save us. Only the grace of Jesus Christ can save us. There are no rules we have to follow to be righteous. There are no rituals we have to perform to be justified. If we are in Christ Jesus, we have no condemnation.

It is interesting that Paul does include some evidence of someone walking with Jesus. Those who walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh.  Paul reiterates what he means by this just a few verses later.

Romans 8:5 (NKJV) — 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

The evidence of someone in Christ Jesus is where their mind is. I want to be clear about something here. I know where many of your minds immediately jumped. You started to think about that “Christian” that isn’t walking in the Spirit but in the flesh. If that is where your mind went, you have twisted this scripture. Paul is not talking to me about someone else. Paul is talking to me about me. This is not a call to spot the carnal people among you, but to spot the carnality in yourself.

Where is your mind? Is your mind on spiritual things or is it on worldly things? Is your mind at peace with the love of the Spirit or in turmoil with anger and pride? These questions cut me deep. I don’t want to have a mind set on things of the flesh but a mind set on things of the Spirit. So, how do we do that? How do we get rid of the flesh? Paul tells us.

Romans 8:13 (NKJV) — 13 …but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Paul says the only way to put to death the deeds of the body is by the Spirit. That seems to be contrary to how each of us tries to conquer the flesh. We try to put to death the flesh by means of the flesh. We think if we try harder not to sin, we will put to death the old man and no longer sin. So we try harder and harder. All that does is lead to more fleshly thinking and leads to more sin. We must put to death the flesh by the Spirit.

This is done by having our mind set on the Spirit. This is only done by prayer, worship, and study. We are called to be continuously in prayer (1 Thess 5:17). We are to always be in conversation with the Lord. We should be seeking God’s guidance in every decision we make, every word we say, every thought we have. We should be asking for more of the Spirit. Worship aligns our heart to hear from the spirit. We owe God worship (Ps 29:2) and the more we worship God, the more in tune with the Spirit our minds will be. We should also be in his word. The word is where everything we hear and think and do should be weighed. It is scripture that teaches us what righteousness is  (2 Tim 3:16-17). It is scripture that shows us the promises of God. It is scripture that proves His faithfulness. By these three things, we will find ourselves with a mind  set on the Spirit.

In His Service, Scott

This Week’s Reading Plan:

  1. Day 1 – 1 Corinthians 12-14
  2. Day 2 – 1 Corinthians 15-16
  3. Day 3 – 2 Corinthians 1-4
  4. Day 4 – 2 Corinthians 5-9
  5. Day 5 – 2 Corinthians 10-13
  6. Day 6 – Galatians 1-3
  7. Day 7 – Galatians 4-6

Through the Bible Week 47, Acts 14 – Romans 3


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In this week’s readings, we come to Paul’s letters to the Romans. I believe this book is the great summary of the Gospel message. Paul lays out salvation, grace, and how to be a Christian in this book.

Paul starts out this letter making a strong point against salvation by works. We can’t be saved by works.

Romans 3:19–20 (NKJV) — 19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

We discussed this back in the gospels. The law can help no one. We can’t be justified by doing good deeds or keeping rules. By the law we only become guilty. The law has one purpose…it is to show us that we are sinners and have fallen short.  It convicts us and condemns us. We are all unrighteous and worthy of God’s wrath. Yet, there is one of those “But God” moments in scripture.  But…

Romans 3:21–26 (NKJV) — 21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Amen! Each of us, no matter our background, lineage, skin color, or language is guilty. Yet, each of us through faith is freely justified by the grace of Jesus. His death is the payment. His death took our place.

Jesus has freely given us salvation. He has freely paid the price for our sin. By faith, you can walk freely in that promise.

 

In His Service, Scott

This Week’s Reading Plan:

  1. Day 1 – Romans 4-7
  2. Day 2 – Romans 8-10
  3. Day 3 – Romans 11-13
  4. Day 4 – Romans 14-16
  5. Day 5 – 1 Corinthians 1-4
  6. Day 6 – 1 Corinthians 5-8
  7. Day 7 – 1 Corinthians 9-11

Through the Bible Week 46, John 16 – Acts 13


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In this section of readings, we close out the Gospel of John and the Gospels as a whole. We have seen the death and resurrection of Jesus from four different viewpoints. We have read His life changing words and seen His heart and love for all people.

In the Book of Acts, Luke continues from his Gospel, to tell the Acts of the Apostles. These acts are simply to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to bring in many to salvation through the hearing of the Word and faith in Jesus Christ.

Paul is preaching to both the Jews and the Gentiles in Antioch and as he describes how the prophecies are fulfilled in Jesus Christ, he says these words…

Acts‬ ‭13:38-39 (NKJV) — 38 Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; 39 and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Paul points out a contrast. The people have been trying to be justified by the law of Moses. They thought that if they kept the law, and offered the proper sacrifices that they would justified before God. But Paul says you cannot be justified by the law. Paul writes something similar to the Romans.

Romans 3:20 (NKJV) — 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

We cannot be justified before God by anything we do because we have already fallen short. There is no amount of good deeds that can now make us perfect. But, long before the coming of Jesus, Jesus was prophesied through Isaiah and Isaiah speaks of the only way we are justified.

Isaiah 53:11 (NKJV) — 11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities.

Jesus bears our sin. Those who believe are justified because He bore our sins. We had to have someone bear our sins. A sinless, perfect man had to bear our sins. Paul continues to the Romans to explain this.

Romans 3:21–24 (NKJV) — 21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

We are justified freely by grace which we accept through belief and faith.

In His Service, Scott

This Week’s Reading Plan:

  1. Day 1 – Acts 14-15
  2. Day 2 – Acts 16-17
  3. Day 3 – Acts 18-20
  4. Day 4 – Acts 21-23
  5. Day 5 – Acts 24-26
  6. Day 6 – Acts 27-28
  7. Day 7 – Romans 1-3

Through the Bible Week 45, John 1 – 15


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Towards the end of John, just before His crucifixion, Jesus has some things to say to His disciples and also says a long prayer for them and all believers to come. In this dialogue, Jesus says something about His love for the disciples and for us.

John 15:9 (NKJV) — As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.

Now we can only guess at the extent of the Father’s love for Jesus. It must be far greater than our minds can comprehend. It is a love that is absolute and infinite. Jesus says that His love for us is exactly like this. Just as the Father loved Jesus, He loves us….Just as.  That is one of the most encouraging passages from the Bible for me. Jesus loves me just as God the Father loves Jesus.

The question then comes…what am I to do with that?  How do I respond to that kind of love. We never have to worry about finding the answer. The answer is always in scripture. In fact, Jesus follows this up with exactly how we are to respond to His love.

John 15:12 (NKJV)This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Think about that! We are to love one another in just the same way that Jesus loves us. It is a commandment! That means we are to love one another in just the same way that God the Father loves Jesus Christ. Is that what your love looks like?

1 Corinthians 13:4-7  (NKJV)Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Compare your everyday actions to this list. True love is infinitely patient and is always kind, even to those that cause us to suffer. Love never envies another person. Love never wants what the other has and never wants to be important. Love does not parade itself or flaunt knowledge or position. Love isn’t puffed up and haughty and doesn’t think more highly than it should. Love is never rude, but always polite. Love never seeks its own, but always seeks what is best for others.

Love is never provoked. That’s a hard one. Love never gets angry or loses control about what someone else has done. Love does not rejoice in iniquity. That means love does not rejoice in any kind of sin. This includes your enemy’s sin. It’s easy to want our enemy to be seen as a sinner so we spread gossip and use their sin to make ourselves look good. Love does none of that. Love rejoices only in the truth of God.

Most importantly, this is all summed up in verse 7…love bears all things of man, believes all things of God, hopes in all the promises of God and hopes for the good of all people.  Most importantly, love endures all slander hardship and suffering as we wait for our Lord.

 

In His Service, Scott

This Week’s Reading Plan:

  1. Day 1 – John 16-18
  2. Day 2 – John 19-21
  3. Day 3 – Acts 1-3
  4. Day 4 – Acts 4-6
  5. Day 5 – Acts 7-8
  6. Day 6 – Acts 9-10
  7. Day 7 – Acts 11-13

Through the Bible Week 44, Luke 10 – Luke 24


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Towards the end the Gospel of Luke, we find Jesus’ disciples arguing over which one of them will be the greatest in the Kingdom. Importance is an alluring thing. People long to be important. We find this in the office. We find this in schools. We definitely find this in politics. But, unfortunately, we find this to be quite prevalent in the Church. I guess it was inevitable for this to happen in the Church as we see it start here even before Jesus’ death, resurrection, and His ascension to heaven.

Yet Jesus corrects His disciples with the following.

Luke 22:26–27 (NKJV) — 26 But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. 27 For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.

Jesus says if you want to see the greatest in the church, it’s not the person in the pulpit if the person in the pulpit lords his position over the church. It’s not the person leading the men’s group or the women’s group if that person likes to be important. It’s not the assistant pastors or elders or board if they want recognition. It’s none of these. If you want to see the greatest in the church, look for the person quietly serving God and looking for no recognition. Look for the person that puts everyone else before their own needs or wants. Jesus says it is the one who truly serves that is the greatest. It’s not the person receiving the service, it’s the one giving the service. Jesus himself came to serve.

Philippians 2:5–8 (NKJV) — 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Let the mind of Christ be in you. The mind of Christ is not a mind that clamors for recognition or claws for importance. The mind of Christ is not one that sacrifices righteousness to be seen as in charge in the Church. The mind of Christ is not one that seeks to please men for accolades. The mind of Christ is not one that loves to hear their own voice. The mind of Christ is not one that loves applause or the praise of people. The mind of Christ is one that is willing to give up all claim to importance and is a mind that lowers oneself down to be a slave.

Do you have this mind?

In His Service, Scott

This Week’s Reading Plan:

  1. Day 1 – John 1-2
  2. Day 2 – John 3-4
  3. Day 3 – John 5-6
  4. Day 4 – John 7-8
  5. Day 5 – John 9-10
  6. Day 6 – John 11-12
  7. Day 7 – John 13-15

Through the Bible Week 43, Mark 14 – Luke 9


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Jesus’ words were often spoken in parables. In one he speaks of those people hearing the word as if they are each a different kind of ground: bad ground, rocky ground, good ground, etc. This parable should be familiar to us all, but there is an interesting phrase here that I often miss when studying this.

Luke 8:15 (NKJV) — 15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.

The interesting phrase is the very last part, “bear fruit with patience”. Fruit is never quick. Fruit can’t be forced. Fruit is the result of a long abiding in Jesus Christ. To do this, we must have patience. Patience is a difficult thing for us. We live in an ever increasingly “instant gratification” world. We get angry when we are behind a slow driver. We get angry if our internet isn’t fast enough. We get angry if church services go too long. Patience is hard.

Top make it even more difficult, patience is a fruit itself. To bear fruit we must have patience and to have patience we must bear fruit. It seems like a paradox. But it isn’t a paradox, it is quite simple. When we abide in Jesus Christ, truly abide, patience is itself an outflow.

2 Thessalonians 3:5 (NKJV) — 5 Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.

The Lord directs our heart into the love and patience. And when we allow the Lord to do this, all kinds of other fruit will come of it.

In His Service, Scott

This Week’s Reading Plan:

  1. Day 1 – Luke 10-11
  2. Day 2 – Luke 12-13
  3. Day 3 – Luke 14-16
  4. Day 4 – Luke 17-18
  5. Day 5 – Luke 19-20
  6. Day 6 – Luke 21-22
  7. Day 7 – Luke 23-24

Through the Bible Week 42, Matthew 27 – Mark 13


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As we continue through the Gospels, we get to read the many words of Jesus. There are so many from which to choose that it is hard to single out any one thing. We do find one passage in the Gospels that stands out. It is a question asked of Jesus.

Mark 12:28–31 (NKJV) — 28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?” 29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

What is the greatest commandment? Jesus says it is love. Notice, this commandment is not one of the Ten Commandments. We love to post and quote and hang signs and make monuments to the Ten Commandments, but Jesus says none of those is the greatest commandment. We find the first commandment Jesus lists…Love God with all your heart…in Deuteronomy 10:12. We find the second commandment Jesus lists…Love your neighbor as yourself…in Leviticus 19:18. They were commandments given to the children of Israel. These are repeated in word or spirit often in scripture.

These two commandments are the commandments we should be quoting, and hanging in our homes, and making monuments with. You see, all the other commandments, including the Ten Commandments, are really just ways in which a person who is loving God and loving his neighbor will act. These two commandments encompass all commandments.

Romans 13:9–10 (NKJV) — 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

 It is interesting that these commandments really aren’t something you “do” as much as something that is true in you. It is by fulfilling these that we fulfill obedience to God.

Love…real Godly love… is the answer to all questions. Faith is rooted in love. Obedience is rooted in love. Forgiveness is rooted in love. Humility is rooted in love. Selflessness is rooted in love. Righteousness is rooted in Love.

1 John 4:7 (NKJV) — 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

In His Service, Scott

This Week’s Reading Plan:

  1. Day 1 – Mark 14
  2. Day 2 – Mark 15-16
  3. Day 3 – Luke 1
  4. Day 4 – Luke 2-3
  5. Day 5 – Luke 4-5
  6. Day 6 – Luke 6-7
  7. Day 7 – Luke 8-9