6/13/21 “Exterminate the Spiritual Termites in Your House” Colossians 3

Colossians 3

3:1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.

(ESV)

8/23/20 “The Son of Man Lifted Up” Numbers 21:4-9; John 3:1-21

Numbers 21:4–9

From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” Then the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you. Pray to the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.

(ESV)

John 3:1–21

3:1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

(ESV)

4/28/19 “Time to Come to Your Senses” Jeremiah 5:1-31

Jeremiah 5

5:1   Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem,
    look and take note!
  Search her squares to see
    if you can find a man,
  one who does justice
    and seeks truth,
  that I may pardon her.
  Though they say, “As the LORD lives,”
    yet they swear falsely.
  O LORD, do not your eyes look for truth?
  You have struck them down,
    but they felt no anguish;
  you have consumed them,
    but they refused to take correction.
  They have made their faces harder than rock;
    they have refused to repent.
  Then I said, “These are only the poor;
    they have no sense;
  for they do not know the way of the LORD,
    the justice of their God.
  I will go to the great
    and will speak to them,
  for they know the way of the LORD,
    the justice of their God.”
  But they all alike had broken the yoke;
    they had burst the bonds.
  Therefore a lion from the forest shall strike them down;
    a wolf from the desert shall devastate them.
  A leopard is watching their cities;
    everyone who goes out of them shall be torn in pieces,
  because their transgressions are many,
    their apostasies are great.
  “How can I pardon you?
    Your children have forsaken me
    and have sworn by those who are no gods.
  When I fed them to the full,
    they committed adultery
    and trooped to the houses of whores.
  They were well-fed, lusty stallions,
    each neighing for his neighbor’s wife.
  Shall I not punish them for these things?
      declares the LORD;
    and shall I not avenge myself
    on a nation such as this?
10   “Go up through her vine rows and destroy,
    but make not a full end;
  strip away her branches,
    for they are not the LORD’s.
11   For the house of Israel and the house of Judah
    have been utterly treacherous to me,
      declares the LORD.
12   They have spoken falsely of the LORD
    and have said, ‘He will do nothing;
  no disaster will come upon us,
    nor shall we see sword or famine.
13   The prophets will become wind;
    the word is not in them.
  Thus shall it be done to them!’”

14   Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of hosts:
  “Because you have spoken this word,
  behold, I am making my words in your mouth a fire,
    and this people wood, and the fire shall consume them.
15   Behold, I am bringing against you
    a nation from afar, O house of Israel,
      declares the LORD.
  It is an enduring nation;
    it is an ancient nation,
  a nation whose language you do not know,
    nor can you understand what they say.
16   Their quiver is like an open tomb;
    they are all mighty warriors.
17   They shall eat up your harvest and your food;
    they shall eat up your sons and your daughters;
  they shall eat up your flocks and your herds;
    they shall eat up your vines and your fig trees;
  your fortified cities in which you trust
    they shall beat down with the sword.”

18 “But even in those days, declares the LORD, I will not make a full end of you. 19 And when your people say, ‘Why has the LORD our God done all these things to us?’ you shall say to them, ‘As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your land, so you shall serve foreigners in a land that is not yours.’”

20   Declare this in the house of Jacob;
    proclaim it in Judah:
21   “Hear this, O foolish and senseless people,
    who have eyes, but see not,
    who have ears, but hear not.
22   Do you not fear me? declares the LORD.
    Do you not tremble before me?
  I placed the sand as the boundary for the sea,
    a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass;
  though the waves toss, they cannot prevail;
    though they roar, they cannot pass over it.
23   But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart;
    they have turned aside and gone away.
24   They do not say in their hearts,
    ‘Let us fear the LORD our God,
  who gives the rain in its season,
    the autumn rain and the spring rain,
  and keeps for us
    the weeks appointed for the harvest.’
25   Your iniquities have turned these away,
    and your sins have kept good from you.
26   For wicked men are found among my people;
    they lurk like fowlers lying in wait.
  They set a trap;
    they catch men.
27   Like a cage full of birds,
    their houses are full of deceit;
  therefore they have become great and rich;
28     they have grown fat and sleek.
  They know no bounds in deeds of evil;
    they judge not with justice
  the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper,
    and they do not defend the rights of the needy.
29   Shall I not punish them for these things?
      declares the LORD,
    and shall I not avenge myself
    on a nation such as this?”
30   An appalling and horrible thing
    has happened in the land:
31   the prophets prophesy falsely,
    and the priests rule at their direction;
  my people love to have it so,
    but what will you do when the end comes?

(ESV)

2/3/19 “Trust in God” Jeremiah 17:1-13

Jeremiah 17:1–13

17:1 “The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron; with a point of diamond it is engraved on the tablet of their heart, and on the horns of their altars, while their children remember their altars and their Asherim, beside every green tree and on the high hills, on the mountains in the open country. Your wealth and all your treasures I will give for spoil as the price of your high places for sin throughout all your territory. You shall loosen your hand from your heritage that I gave to you, and I will make you serve your enemies in a land that you do not know, for in my anger a fire is kindled that shall burn forever.”

  Thus says the LORD:
  “Cursed is the man who trusts in man
    and makes flesh his strength,
    whose heart turns away from the LORD.
  He is like a shrub in the desert,
    and shall not see any good come.
  He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
    in an uninhabited salt land.
  “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
    whose trust is the LORD.
  He is like a tree planted by water,
    that sends out its roots by the stream,
  and does not fear when heat comes,
    for its leaves remain green,
  and is not anxious in the year of drought,
    for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
  The heart is deceitful above all things,
    and desperately sick;
    who can understand it?
10   “I the LORD search the heart
    and test the mind,
  to give every man according to his ways,
    according to the fruit of his deeds.”
11   Like the partridge that gathers a brood that she did not hatch,
    so is he who gets riches but not by justice;
  in the midst of his days they will leave him,
    and at his end he will be a fool.
12   A glorious throne set on high from the beginning
    is the place of our sanctuary.
13   O LORD, the hope of Israel,
    all who forsake you shall be put to shame;
  those who turn away from you shall be written in the earth,
    for they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living water.

(ESV)

9/16/18 “Taste and See that the LORD is Good” Psalm 34

Psalm 34

Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.

34:1   I will bless the LORD at all times;
    his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
  My soul makes its boast in the LORD;
    let the humble hear and be glad.
  Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
    and let us exalt his name together!
  I sought the LORD, and he answered me
    and delivered me from all my fears.
  Those who look to him are radiant,
    and their faces shall never be ashamed.
  This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
    and saved him out of all his troubles.
  The angel of the LORD encamps
    around those who fear him, and delivers them.
  Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
    Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
  Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints,
    for those who fear him have no lack!
10   The young lions suffer want and hunger;
    but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
11   Come, O children, listen to me;
    I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12   What man is there who desires life
    and loves many days, that he may see good?
13   Keep your tongue from evil
    and your lips from speaking deceit.
14   Turn away from evil and do good;
    seek peace and pursue it.
15   The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous
    and his ears toward their cry.
16   The face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
    to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17   When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears
    and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18   The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
    and saves the crushed in spirit.
19   Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
    but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
20   He keeps all his bones;
    not one of them is broken.
21   Affliction will slay the wicked,
    and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22   The LORD redeems the life of his servants;
    none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

(ESV)

7/23/17 “Fighting the Good Fight” 1 Kings 13:11-34; 1 Timothy 6:3-21

1 Kings 13:11–34

11 Now an old prophet lived in Bethel. And his sons came and told him all that the man of God had done that day in Bethel. They also told to their father the words that he had spoken to the king. 12 And their father said to them, “Which way did he go?” And his sons showed him the way that the man of God who came from Judah had gone. 13 And he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” So they saddled the donkey for him and he mounted it. 14 And he went after the man of God and found him sitting under an oak. And he said to him, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?” And he said, “I am.” 15 Then he said to him, “Come home with me and eat bread.” 16 And he said, “I may not return with you, or go in with you, neither will I eat bread nor drink water with you in this place, 17 for it was said to me by the word of the LORD, ‘You shall neither eat bread nor drink water there, nor return by the way that you came.’” 18 And he said to him, “I also am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD, saying, ‘Bring him back with you into your house that he may eat bread and drink water.’” But he lied to him. 19 So he went back with him and ate bread in his house and drank water.

20 And as they sat at the table, the word of the LORD came to the prophet who had brought him back. 21 And he cried to the man of God who came from Judah, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Because you have disobeyed the word of the LORD and have not kept the command that the LORD your God commanded you, 22 but have come back and have eaten bread and drunk water in the place of which he said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water,” your body shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.’” 23 And after he had eaten bread and drunk, he saddled the donkey for the prophet whom he had brought back. 24 And as he went away a lion met him on the road and killed him. And his body was thrown in the road, and the donkey stood beside it; the lion also stood beside the body. 25 And behold, men passed by and saw the body thrown in the road and the lion standing by the body. And they came and told it in the city where the old prophet lived.

26 And when the prophet who had brought him back from the way heard of it, he said, “It is the man of God who disobeyed the word of the LORD; therefore the LORD has given him to the lion, which has torn him and killed him, according to the word that the LORD spoke to him.” 27 And he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” And they saddled it. 28 And he went and found his body thrown in the road, and the donkey and the lion standing beside the body. The lion had not eaten the body or torn the donkey. 29 And the prophet took up the body of the man of God and laid it on the donkey and brought it back to the city to mourn and to bury him. 30 And he laid the body in his own grave. And they mourned over him, saying, “Alas, my brother!” 31 And after he had buried him, he said to his sons, “When I die, bury me in the grave in which the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones. 32 For the saying that he called out by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel and against all the houses of the high places that are in the cities of Samaria shall surely come to pass.”

33 After this thing Jeroboam did not turn from his evil way, but made priests for the high places again from among all the people. Any who would, he ordained to be priests of the high places. 34 And this thing became sin to the house of Jeroboam, so as to cut it off and to destroy it from the face of the earth.

(ESV)

1 Timothy 6:3–21

If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, 14 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” 21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith.

Grace be with you.

(ESV)

5/7/17 “Abiding in the Vine” John 15:1-11

John 15:1–11

15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

(ESV)

9/4/16 “In The Fullness of Time” John 7

John 7:1–31

7:1 After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him. Now the Jews’ Feast of Booths was at hand. So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” For not even his brothers believed in him. Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” After saying this, he remained in Galilee.

10 But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private. 11 The Jews were looking for him at the feast, and saying, “Where is he?” 12 And there was much muttering about him among the people. While some said, “He is a good man,” others said, “No, he is leading the people astray.” 13 Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him.

14 About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. 15 The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” 16 So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. 17 If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. 18 The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. 19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?” 20 The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?” 21 Jesus answered them, “I did one work, and you all marvel at it. 22 Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. 23 If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well? 24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

25 Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, “Is not this the man whom they seek to kill? 26 And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ? 27 But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from.” 28 So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I come from. But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. 29 I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.” 30 So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. 31 Yet many of the people believed in him. They said, “When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?”

(ESV)

4/4/16 “Divine Justice, Divine Satisfaction” Matthew 26:57-68

Matthew 26:57–68

57 Then those who had seized Jesus led him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had gathered. 58 And Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and going inside he sat with the guards to see the end. 59 Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death, 60 but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward 61 and said, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days.’” 62 And the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” 63 But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. 66 What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.” 67 Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him, 68 saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?”

(ESV)

11/9/14 Nehemiah 1

Nehemiah 1

1:1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah.

Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the citadel, that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.”

As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. And I said, “O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’ 10 They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. 11 O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”

Now I was cupbearer to the king.

(ESV)