Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 26:69-75.

“Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came to him and said, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.”  But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about.”  When he had gone out to the gateway, another servant-girl saw him and *said to those who were there, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”  And again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.”  A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away.”  Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know the man!”  And immediately a rooster crowed.  And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, “Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”  And he went out and wept bitterly.”  Matthew 26:69-75.

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Jesus prophesied Peter’s denials and the disciples’ flight.

“Then Jesus *said to them, “You will all fall away because of Me this night, for it is written, ‘I WILL STRIKE DOWN THE SHEPHERD, AND THE SHEEP OF THE FLOCK SHALL BE SCATTERED.’  But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.”  But Peter said to Him, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.”  Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”  Matthew 26:31-34.

Like the betrayal and arrest of Jesus, Peter’s denials and that the disciples’ flight took place to fulfill the Scriptures.

“But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets.” Then all the disciples left Him and fled.”  Matthew 26:56.

Other doctrine trust man’s alleged free-will.

But, Reformed Doctrine trusts God’s will.

Reformed Doctrine trusts God’s will and work in salvation as summarized by “TULIP” from the beginning of God’s “Unconditional Election” through God’s “Limited Atonement” through God’s “Irresistible Grace” to the end of God’s “Preservation of the Saints”, the “U”, “L”, “I”, and “P” of “TULIP”.

“5 Thus says the Lord,
“Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind
And makes flesh his strength,
And whose heart turns away from the LORD.
6 “For he will be like a bush in the desert
And will not see when prosperity comes,
But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness,
A land of salt without inhabitant.
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD
And whose trust is the LORD.
8 “For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit.”  Jeremiah 17:5-8.

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 26:57-67.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+26&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death.  They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward.  But later on two came forward, and said, “This man stated, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days.’”  The high priest stood up and said to Him, “Do You not answer?  What is it that these men are testifying against You?”  But Jesus kept silent.  And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.”  Jesus *said to him, “You have said it yourself;  nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.”  Matthew 26:59-64.

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Article 37:  Of the Last Judgment.

Finally we believe, according to the Word of God, when the time appointed by the Lord (which is unknown to all creatures) is come, and the number of the elect complete, that our Lord Jesus Christ will come from heaven, corporally and visibly, as he ascended, with great glory and majesty to declare himself judge of the quick and the dead;  burning this old world with fire and flame, to cleanse it.  And then all men will personally appear before this great judge, both men and women and children, that have been from the beginning of the world to the end thereof, being summoned by the voice of the archangel, and by the sound of the trumpet of God.  For all the dead shall be raised out of the earth, and their souls joined and united with their proper bodies, in which they formerly lived.  As for those who shall then be living, they shall not die as the others, but be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and from corruptible, become incorruptible. Then the books (that is to say the consciences) shall be opened, and the dead judged according to what they shall have done in this world, whether it be good or evil.  Nay, all men shall give an account of every idle word they have spoken, which the world only counts amusement and jest:  and then the secrets and hypocrisy of men shall be disclosed and laid open before all.  And therefore the consideration of this judgment, is justly terrible and dreadful to the wicked and ungodly, but most desirable and comfortable to the righteous and elect:  because then their full deliverance shall be perfected, and there they shall receive the fruits of their labor and trouble which they have borne.  Their innocence shall be known to all, and they shall see the terrible vengeance which God shall execute on the wicked, who most cruelly persecuted, oppressed and tormented them in this world;  and who shall be convicted by the testimony of their own consciences, and being immortal, shall be tormented in that everlasting fire, which is prepared for the devil and his angels.  But on the contrary, the faithful and elect shall be crowned with glory and honor;  and the Son of God will confess their names before God his Father, and his elect angels;  all tears shall be wiped from their eyes;  and their cause which is now condemned by many judges and magistrates, as heretical and impious, will then be known to be the cause of the Son of God.  And for a gracious reward, the Lord will cause them to possess such a glory, as never entered into the heart of man to conceive.  Therefore we expect that great day with a most ardent desire to the end that we may fully enjoy the promises of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  AMEN.

“Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” – Revelation. 22:20.  Belgic Confession.

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”  2 Corinthians 5:10.

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 26:47-56.

“While He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a large crowd with swords and clubs, who came from the chief priests and elders of the people.  Now he who was betraying Him gave them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the one;  seize Him.”  Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.  And Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you have come for.”  Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him.

And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear.  Then Jesus *said to him, “Put your sword back into its place;  for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.  Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?  How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?”

At that time Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as you would against a robber?  Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching and you did not seize Me.  But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets.”  Then all the disciples left Him and fled.”  Matthew 26:47-56.

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When apparently bad things happen to us, we tend to panic and think things are out of control.  Even Jesus’ disciples fled.

Other doctrine panics at the alleged free-will of man.

But, Reformed Doctrine is calm and composed knowing that God still is sovereign and totally in control and that all of Scriptures will be fulfilled.  

Jesus summarized:  “But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets.”  See verse 56.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | July 17, 2018

“Your will be done.”

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 26:36-46.

“Then Jesus *came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and *said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”  And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed.  Then He *said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death;  remain here and keep watch with Me.”

And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me;  yet not as I will, but as You will.”  And He *came to the disciples and *found them sleeping, and *said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour?  Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation;  the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.”  Again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy.  And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more.   Then He *came to the disciples and *said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting?  Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.  Get up, let us be going;  behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!”  Matthew 26:36-46.

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During His time of great grief and distress, Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethesame three times “Your will be done.” or words to that effect.

And, in His “Lord’s Prayer”, Jesus taught:

“9 “Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.”  Matthew 6:9-10.

Other doctrine seeks man’s alleged free-will to be done.

But, Reformed Doctrine seeks God’s will to be done.

Other doctrine believes that man’s alleged free-will will be done.

But, Reformed Doctrine knows that God’s Sovereign Will will be done.

“3 “Let us tear their fetters apart
And cast away their cords from us!”

4 He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.
5 Then He will speak to them in His anger
And terrify them in His fury, saying,
6 “But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”

7 “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
8 ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
9 ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron,
You shall shatter them like earthenware.’”

10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment;
Take warning, O judges of the earth.
11 Worship the LORD with reverence
And rejoice with trembling.
12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way,
For His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!”  Psalm 2:3-12.

“The LORD has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.” Psalm 103:19.

“9 “Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;
11 Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man of My purpose from a far country.
Truly I have spoken;  truly I will bring it to pass.
I have planned it, surely I will do it.”  Isaiah 46:9-11.

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 26:14-35.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+26&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat;  this is My body.”  And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you;  for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.”  Matthew 26:26-28.

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Other doctrine teaches Christ shed His blood for all.

But, Reformed Doctrine teaches that Christ shed His blood only for God’s elect.

We note that today’s Scripture does not say that His blood was poured out for all, but rather, Christ’s blood was poured out “for many”.

This point of Reformed Doctrine is called “Limited Atonement”.  Although Christ’s atonement was limited to God’s elect, Christ’s atonement was unlimited in its ability to totally atone for all of the sins of all of the people within that class of God’s elect.  “Limited Atonement” is the “L” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation, as summarized in the Canons of Dordt.

When we consider the comparisons of the Lord’s Supper with Passover, Reformed Doctrine’s teaching of “Limited Atonement” should not seen like some strange teaching.  

The Passover memorialized the physical deliverance of how the LORD passed over the homes of the Israelites (His chosen people) who placed blood on the lintel and two doorposts of their homes but smote the Egyptians who did not do so.

“For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians;  and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you.  And you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever.  When you enter the land which the LORD will give you, as He has promised, you shall observe this rite.  And when your children say to you, ‘What does this rite mean to you?’ you shall say, ‘It is a Passover sacrifice to the LORD who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes.’” And the people bowed low and worshiped.”  Exodus 12:23-27.

The Lord’s Supper memorializes the spiritual deliverance of how the Lord passed over the sins (forgiveness) of “the many” (His elect) for whom He poured out His blood.

We know that not all are forgiven.

And, we also know that not all were spared from the Passover as stated in the Exodus Scripture above.

We know that not all celebrate the Lord’s Supper.

And, we also know that not all celebrate the Passover.

We know that if Christ poured out His blood for all, then all would have been forgiven.

And, we also know that if blood was applied to the lintel and doorposts of all the homes, then all would have been spared.

Just like a good shepherd does not lay down his life for all sheep, but only for his own sheep, our Lord laid down His life only for His people (the elect). 

“I am the good shepherd;  the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”  John 10:11.

“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,”  John 10:14.

“But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep.  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;  and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish;  and no one will snatch them out of My hand.”  John 10:26-28.

Just like a husband does not love all women and does not give Himself up to all women, but loves only his wife and gives himself up only for his wife, our Lord only loved the church (the elect) and gave Himself up only for her. 

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing;  but that she would be holy and blameless.”  Ephesians 5:25-27.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | July 15, 2018

“It is the Spirit who gives life”

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 26:1-13.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+26&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“Now when Jesus was in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table.  But the disciples were indignant when they saw this, and said, “Why this waste?  For this perfume might have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.”  But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you bother the woman?  For she has done a good deed to Me.  For you always have the poor with you;  but you do not always have Me.  For when she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial.  Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”  Matthew 26:6-13.

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The woman poured very costly perfume only on Jesus’ head (not every head) while He rested.

The LORD poured His very costly Spirit only on the heads of His chosen people (not every head) and gave them rest.

The woman’s perfume stayed with Jesus only a few days.

But, the LORD’s Spirit stays with His chosen people forever.

The woman’s perfume prepared Jesus for death and burial.

But, the LORD’s Spirit gives His chosen people life and salvation.

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;  that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.”  John 14:16-17.

“But now listen, O Jacob, My servant,
And Israel, whom I have chosen:
2 Thus says the LORD who made you
And formed you from the womb, who will help you,
‘Do not fear, O Jacob My servant;
And you Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
‘For I will pour out water on the thirsty land
And streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring
And My blessing on your descendants;”  Isaiah 44:3.

“As the cattle which go down into the valley,
The Spirit of the LORD gave them rest.
So You led Your people,
To make for Yourself a glorious name.”  Isaiah 63:14.

“It is the Spirit who gives life;  the flesh profits nothing;  the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.  But there are some of you who do not believe.”  For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.  And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”  John 6:63-65.

“But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.”  2 Thessalonians 2:13.

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 25:31-46.

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before Him;  and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;  and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat;  I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink;  I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;  naked, and you clothed Me;  I was sick, and you visited Me;  I was in prison, and you came to Me.’  Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?  And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?  When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’  The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;  for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat;  I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;  I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in;  naked, and you did not clothe Me;  sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’  Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’  Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’  These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”  Matthew 25:31-46.

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First, we see another example of election a/k/a predestination taught throughout Scripture.  “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”  Verse 34.

“just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.  In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,”  Ephesians 1:4-5.

Second, we see that there are consequences of such election a/k/a predestination in addition to eternal life.  As Ephesians 1:4 teaches, there is the consequence of election a/k/a predestination that we will be holy and blameless.  And, as today’s Scripture teaches, we become loving to others and do good.  “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat;  I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink;  I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;  naked, and you clothed Me;  I was sick, and you visited Me;  I was in prison, and you came to Me.’”  Verses 35-36.

“So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”  Matthew 7:17-19.

Third, the righteous remain humble, trusting God’s work within them and not trusting their own goodness nor trusting their own will nor their own works.  “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?  And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?  When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’”  Verses 37-39.

Fourth, the righteous are given different spiritual gifts and opportunities.  The collective church may do it all, but we as individuals are not expected to do it all.  “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’”  Verse 40.

Fifth, even with spiritual gifts and opportunities. we may feel little desire to do these things.  I feel little desire to do these things.  But, that feeling is not necessarily bad if it leads us to “… learn more and more to know our sinful nature, and thus become the more earnest in seeking the remission of sin and righteousness in Christ;  likewise, that we constantly endeavor, and pray to God for the grace of the Holy Spirit, that we may become more and more conformable to the image of God, till we arrive at the perfection proposed to us in a life to come.”  Heidelberg Catechism.  Answer 115.

Sixth, there is hope in God.

Article 11.  But when God accomplishes his good pleasure in the elect, or works in them true conversion, he not only causes the gospel to be externally preached to them, and powerfully illumines their minds by his Holy Spirit, that they may rightly understand and discern the things of the Spirit of God;  but by the efficacy of the same regenerating Spirit, pervades the inmost recesses of the man;  he opens the closed, and softens the hardened heart, and circumcises that which was uncircumcised, infuses new qualities into the will, which though heretofore dead, he quickens;  from being evil, disobedient and refractory, he renders it good, obedient, and pliable;  actuates and strengthens it, that like a good tree, it may bring forth the fruits of good actions.  Canons of Dordt.  THIRD AND FOURTH HEADS OF DOCTRINE Of the Corruption of Man, His Conversion to God, and the Manner Thereof.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love …”  Galatians 5:22.

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 25:14-30.

“For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them.  To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability;  and he went on his journey.  Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents.  In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more.  But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

“Now after a long time the master of those slaves *came and *settled accounts with them.  The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me.  See, I have gained five more talents.’  His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave.  You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things;  enter into the joy of your master.’

“Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me.  See, I have gained two more talents.’  His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave.  You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things;  enter into the joy of your master.’

“And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed.  And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground.  See, you have what is yours.’

“But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed.  Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest.  Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’

“For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance;  but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.  Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness;  in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  Matthew 25:14-30.

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There are two things in this Scripture of the Parable of Talents upon which I would like to comment in this devotion.

First, we see the same praise given by the master to the slave who had five talents and gained five more talents as the praise given to the slave who had two talents and gained two more talents.  This should be an encouragement to those who feel that they have few talents.  Instead of being jealous or not content, or striving to do more than what one is called and gifted to do, we can focus on what we have and know that God will be pleased if we faithfully use the few talents that we do have.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:10.

“for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”  Philippians 2:13.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6.

Second, we see “everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance”.  The following Scriptures encourage us that this promise refers to us, God’s elect.

“And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”  Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.  For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance;  but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.”  Matthew 13:10-12.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.  …”  Ephesians 1:3-4.

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 25:1-13.

““Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent.  For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.  Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep.  But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom!  Come out to meet him.’  Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.  The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’  But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too;  go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’  And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast;  and the door was shut.  Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’  But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’  Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.”  Matthew 25:1-13.

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This Scripture continues the theme of the prior Scriptures that we do not know the time when Christ will return, so we need to be prepared and ready, He can come at any time.  And, the consequences are severe.    “… those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast;  and the door was shut.  Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’  But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’  Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.”  Verses 10-13.

Some depend on their understanding of the signs and will start preparation when they see the signs.

But, the Scriptures make it clear that this is a foolish approach.

“Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.”  Verse 13.

“Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.  But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.  For this reason you also must be ready;  for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.”  Matthew 24:42-44.

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.  For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.  For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.”  Matthew 24:36-39.

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, …”  2 Peter 3:10.

Some are prepared and ready at all times.

“… the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.”  Verse 4.

How do we apply the lesson of this parable of the Ten Virgins and carry oil along with our lamps?

“Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.”  Psalm 119:105.

Everyone, even the foolish, have the lamp (God’s Word).

But, unlike the foolish, the prudent also carry oil by reading God’s Word, by faithfully attending churches to listen to good preaching and teaching, and by applying God’s Word to their lives.

“You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;  so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”  2 Timothy 3:14-16.

In the language of the Canons of Dordt, Article 16 of the FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of Divine Predestination, the prudent diligently persevere in using the means of grace.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house;  and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.  Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house;  and it fell—and great was its fall.”  Matthew 7:24-27.

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 24:32-51.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+24&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.  But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.  For this reason you also must be ready;  for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.

“Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time?  Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.  Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.  But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’ and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards;  the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites;  in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  Matthew 24:42-51.

—————

We do not know the time when the Lord is coming.  Therefore, we should be ready at all times, faithfully and sensibly living out our whole life according to the will of our Lord as if He could come at any time.  In a word, we “persevere” despite trials and tribulations and temptations and tediousness of life.

But, how do we persevere?

Other doctrine looks within and urges us to just try harder.

But, Reformed Doctrine looks above to God and urges us to trust more God’s preservation of us.

Here is what the Canons of Dordt states.

Article 3.  By reason of these remains of indwelling sin, and the temptations of sin and of the world, those who are converted could not persevere in a state of grace, if left to their own strength.  But God is faithful, who having conferred grace, mercifully confirms, and powerfully preserves them herein, even to the end.  FIFTH HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Perseverance of the Saints.

This is “Perseverance of the Saints” better described as “Preservation of the Saints”, the “P” of “TULIP”, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely;  and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.”  1 Thessalonians 5:23-24.

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