Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | January 18, 2019

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be required”

Jesus used such broad and harsh language such as “This generation is a wicked generation” that I thought my devotion should be more of a specific warning to those who have heard good Reformed preaching and teaching (“knowledge of the truth”) but refused to commit and believe the truth, rather than allowing the devotion to be more general and perceived to not apply to the reader as if today’s Scriptures and other Scriptures that I quote herein does not possibly apply to them.

Therefore, I have edited the devotion that I posted on Friday, January 18, 2019, mostly adding material that I previously posted in the head note at the top of my web site titled “Reformed Doctrine” at the end of that post in an article at the end of my comment that I titled “Will Arminians be saved?”

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 11:29-32.

“As the crowds were increasing, He began to say, “This generation is a wicked generation;  it seeks for a sign, and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah.  For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.  The Queen of the South will rise up with the men of this generation at the judgment and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon;  and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.  The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah;  and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.”  Luke 11:29-32.

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The Ninevites repented at the preaching of Jonah.

“Then Jonah began to go through the city one day’s walk;  and he cried out and said, “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.”

Then the people of Nineveh believed in God;  and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them.”  Jonah 3:4-5.

If we have received the benefit of tasting the good word of God and seen God’s sovereign grace and power through good Reformed preaching and teaching, and yet treat it casually such that we do not repent and change our beliefs and behavior, then we may be condemned and may not get another chance. 

“For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.  Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?  For we know Him who said, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.”  And again, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.”  It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”  Hebrews 10:26-31.

This Hebrews 10:26-31 Scripture does not apply to those who do not go to church.  They did not receive the knowledge of truth as stated in Hebrews 10:26.  They were not sanctified, so to speak, as is stated in Hebrews 10:29.  They do not talk about the blood of Christ.  They are not superficially the people of God.  Rather, this Hebrews 10:26-31 Scripture speaks about those who do go to church and received or were exposed to knowledge of the truth and were sanctified so to speak but nevertheless denied the power of the blood and insulted the Spirit of grace.  Rather, this Scripture applies to those within the church (sometimes called “Arminians”) who love to talk about Christ’s blood all the time, but who really treat Christ’s blood as ineffective by itself, that it does not actually “save”, “purchase”, nor “redeem” anyone, because they teach that most people are not saved and that it is up to man to do sufficient works or at least generate his own faith through his own free will in order to make Christ’s blood effective to save.

Because they talk about Christ’s blood all the time, it is true that in a sense they are trampling it, not in the sense of being hateful to it, but in the sense of treating it as ineffective by itself, like the description in Matthew 5: 13:  “… if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again?  It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”

They can also be compared to the one who insults the Spirit of Grace as is mentioned above in Hebrews 10:29.  Think of a situation in which your father took you out to a very expensive dinner and even left the tip in addition.  However, you did not think that the tip was sufficient so you add your $5 to the tip.  Wouldn’t your father be insulted that you thought that what he did was not enough?  They insult God by their doctrine that believes that the blood of Christ is not enough, they feel that they must add their own tip of faith (or works) in order to be saved.  The Calvinist thinks of faith as a gift of God;  the Arminian thinks that their faith is their own gift to God which is necessary to secure salvation.

“For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.  For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God;  but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.”  Hebrews 6:4-8.

What are we going to do with Reformed Doctrine? 

Are we going to treat it casually as if “there is this doctrine and there is that doctrine”, so to speak, refusing to commit and believe the truth? 

Or, are we going to commit and believe Reformed Doctrine’s preaching and teaching that God is sovereign over salvation and performs all that we need for salvation from beginning to end as summarized in a nutshell by “TULIP” and as more fully taught by the Canons of Dordt?

Who is this Jesus Who is greater than Jonah?  Did Jesus only preach as Jonah did, or did Jesus also shed His blood to save?

What did Jesus’ blood actually accomplish?  Was it shed for everyone, but ineffective to bring anyone to salvation, unless the saved individual contribute a sufficient amount of works or will to be saved?    

Or, was Jesus’ blood shed for only God’s elect effectively bringing all of God’s elect to salvation by “bestowing upon them alone the gift of justifying faith, thereby to bring them infallibly to salvation” in the language of the Canons of Dordt?

Are we going to trust Jesus alone to save us?

Or, are we going to trust our contribution whether it be our works or our will to be saved?  

Are we going to waiver back and forth between doctrines?  

“The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah;  and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.”  Verse 32.

“…  From everyone who has been given much, much will be required …”  Luke 12:48.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | January 17, 2019

“blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 11:27-28.

“While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.”  But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”  Luke 11:27-28.

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There are those who think it is sufficient to show up at church occasionally and call themselves Christian.  They may hear the word of God, but they do not meditate on it nor remember it.  They certainly do not observe it.

There are others who take it a step further and go to church regularly and consider themselves part of the church family.  They trust their connection, thinking that they are blessed just because they are part of the church family, in the sense that one of the women in today’s Scripture said to Jesus, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.”

“But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

Jesus taught the sharp difference between the group who merely heard the word of God and the group who observed it in the Parable of the Sower.  The group who merely heard the word of God are like those in the following verses.

“Those beside the road are those who have heard;  then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved.  Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy;  and these have no firm root;  they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away.  The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.”  Luke 8:12-14.

But, the group who heard the word of God and observed it are like those in the following verse.

“But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.”  Luke 8:15.

“So then, you will know them by their fruits.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you;  DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’”  Matthew 7:20-23.

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.”  Psalm 1:1-3.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 11:24-26.

“When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’  And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order.  Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there;  and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.”  Luke 11:24-26.

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The lesson from today’s Scripture is that we not only need to be emptied by what is bad, we need to be filled by what is good.

This is what is meant by today’s Scripture :  “And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order.  Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there;  and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.”

We not only need to be emptied of one type of the deed of the flesh, we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit, so that we do not turn to practice another type of the deed of the flesh.

For example to show the importance of not only be emptied of what is bad but also be filled with what is good, there are some who feel proud and superior to others just because, so to speak, they are emptied of the sinful practice of getting drunk, but they are not filled with the Holy Spirit, and therefore, their flesh will participate in other deeds of the flesh.  “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,”  Ephesians 5:18.

So to speak, we not only need to be emptied of demons, we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

We not only need to be emptied of our sins (forgiveness), we need to be filled with the righteousness of Christ.

We not only need to be emptied of fear, we need to be filled with faith.

We not only need to be emptied of false doctrine, we need to be filled with true doctrine.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.  For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh;  for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.  Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are:  immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”  Galatians 5:16-23.

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.”  Romans 15:13-14.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 11:14-23.

“And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute;  when the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke;  and the crowds were amazed.  But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.”  Others, to test Him, were demanding of Him a sign from heaven.  But He knew their thoughts and said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste;  and a house divided against itself falls.  If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?  For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul.  And if I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out?  So they will be your judges.  But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.  When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed.  But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder.  He who is not with Me is against Me;  and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.”  Luke 11:14-23.

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Instead of praising God and giving thanks to Jesus for His amazing miracle of casting out the demon and enabling the mute man to speak, some falsely accused Jesus.  “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.”

How outrageous and wicked!  And yet, Jesus calmly refuted them.  “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste;  and a house divided against itself falls.”  In other words, no one motivated by Beelzebul would cast out demons and thereby destroy his own work.

Then, Jesus pointed out that He was motivated by God.  “But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”

We too can be falsely and wickedly accused by some when we do good works.  But, we can view it as a blessing.  “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great;  for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  Matthew 5:11-12.

But, more importantly, such false accusations do not stop nor even hinder in the least the work of God.  “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed.  But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder.”  In other words, Jesus kicked down the door of Beelzebul, overpowered Beelzebul, and distributed all of his plunder.

Other doctrine view Jesus as a weak person subject to the alleged free-will of man.

But, Reformed Doctrine shows how Scripture reveals Jesus as the Almighty, Sovereign Lord over all Who accomplishes all of His good pleasure.

“2 The kings of the earth take their stand
And the rulers take counsel together
Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
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.’”  Psalm 2:2-9.

“…  The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.”  1 John 3:8.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 11:9-13.

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you;  seek, and you will find;  knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives;  and he who seeks, finds;  and to him who knocks, it will be opened.  Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish;  he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he?  Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he?  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”  Luke 11:9-13.

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Is the basis of what God gives man-centered or God-centered?

Does God give us good gifts because we are good?

Or, does God give us good gifts because He is a good Father?

Other doctrine teaches that God is like Santa Claus and gives on the basis of whether we are “naughty or nice”.

But, Reformed Doctrine teaches that God is like a father who gives good gifts to his children.

This is such an important point that the Heidelberg Catechism teaches that our belief of God must be such that we believe that God is our “faithful Father” Who will give us what is good.

Q. 26.  What believest thou when thou sayest, “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth”?

A.  That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (who of nothing made heaven and earth, with all that is in them;  who likewise upholds and governs the same by His eternal counsel and providence) is, for the sake of Christ His Son, my God and my Father;  on whom I rely so entirely, that I have no doubt but He will provide me with all things necessary for soul and body;  and further, that He will make whatever evils He sends upon me, in this valley of tears, turn out to my advantage;  for He is able to do it, being Almighty God, and willing, being a faithful Father.  Heidelberg Catechism.

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”  Matthew 7:11.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | January 13, 2019

“with perseverance we wait eagerly for it”

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 11:5-8.

“Then He said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves;  for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’;  and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me;  the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed;  I cannot get up and give you anything.’  I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.”  Luke 11:5-8.

—————

There are many prayer requests that God grants without requiring much prayer.  We get a sense of that point from the simplicity of the following Scriptures:  Luke 11:9-13, Psalm 84:11, Psalm 34:9-10, and Romans 8:32.

But, there are some prayer requests that God does not grant without requiring much prayer.  God wants us to persistently pray for those things, because God wants to perfect us (building up our faith leading to salvation and building up our character).

“For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope;  for who hopes for what he already sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”  Romans 8:24-25.

“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;  and perseverance, proven character;  and proven character, hope;  and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”  Romans 5:3-5.

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  James 1:2-4.

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;”  1 Peter 1:6-7.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 11:1-4.

“It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.”  And He said to them, “When you pray, say:

‘Father, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
‘Give us each day our daily bread.
‘And forgive us our sins,
For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”  Luke 11:1-4.

———————-

Consider the following from the Heidelberg CatechismMy comments follow some of the questions and answers in bold italics.

Q. 120.  Why hath Christ commanded us to address God thus:  “Our Father”?
A.  That immediately, in the very beginning of our prayer, He might excite in us a childlike reverence for and confidence in God, which are the foundation of our prayer, namely, that God is become our Father in Christ, and will much less deny us what we ask of Him in true faith than our parents will refuse us earthly things.

Q. 122.  Which is the first petition?

A.  Hallowed be Thy name;  that is, grant us, first, rightly to know Thee, and to sanctify, glorify, and praise Thee in all Thy works, in which Thy power, wisdom, goodness, justice, mercy, and truth are clearly displayed;  and further also, that we may so order and direct our whole lives, our thoughts, words, and actions, that Thy name may never be blasphemed, but rather honored and praised on our account.

Other doctrine seeks to hallow its own name, to know itself, and to glorify and praise its own works.

But, Reformed Doctrine seeks to hallow God’s name, to know God, to glorify God, and to praise God’s works.

Q. 123.  Which is the second petition?
A.  Thy kingdom come;  that is, rule us so by Thy Word and Spirit, that we may submit ourselves more and more to Thee;  preserve and increase Thy church;  destroy the works of the devil and all violence which would exalt itself against Thee;  and also, all wicked counsels devised against Thy holy Word;  till the full perfection of Thy kingdom take place, wherein Thou shalt be all in all.

Other doctrine seeks its own kingdom.  “Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!”  Psalm 2:3.  Other doctrine bristles against and rebels at God’s election, God’s predestination, and God’s other tight sovereign control over everything.

But, Reformed Doctrine rejoices in God’s kingdom, God’s election, God’s predestination, and God’s other tight sovereign control over everything. 

Q. 124.  Which is the third petition?
A. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven;  that is, grant that we and all men may renounce our own will, and without murmuring obey Thy will, which is only good;  that so every one may attend to and perform the duties of his station and calling as willingly and faithfully as the angels do in heaven.

Other doctrine futilely tries to claim it has free-will and seeks its will be done.

But, Reformed Doctrine rejoices that God’s will will be done.  “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all.”  Psalm 103:19.  “But our God is in the heavens;  He does whatever He pleases.”  Psalm 115:3.  “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, 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’;”  Isaiah 46:9-10.

Q. 125.  Which is the fourth petition?
A.  Give us this day our daily bread;  that is, be pleased to provide us with all things necessary for the body, that we may thereby acknowledge Thee to be the only fountain of all good, and that neither our care nor industry, nor even Thy gifts, can profit us without Thy blessing;  and therefore that we may withdraw our trust from all creatures and place it alone in Thee.

Q. 126.  Which is the fifth petition?
A.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors;  that is, be pleased for the sake of Christ’s blood, not to impute to us poor sinners our transgressions, nor that depravity which always cleaves to us;  even as we feel this evidence of Thy grace in us, that it is our firm resolution from the heart to forgive our neighbor.

Q. 127.  Which is the sixth petition?
A.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil;  that is, since we are so weak in ourselves that we cannot stand a moment;  and besides this, since our mortal enemies, the devil, the world, and our own flesh cease not to assault us, do Thou therefore preserve and strengthen us by the power of Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not be overcome in this spiritual warfare, but constantly and strenuously may resist our foes, till at last we obtain a complete victory.

Other doctrine depends on itself to persevere, consistently (but falsely) thinking that because it needed to prove itself worthy of salvation in the beginning by something it contributed (works or will) that it needs to persevere on its own to the end or it will fall from grace.

But, Reformed Doctrine totally depends on God’s grace from beginning to end, knowing that it cannot persevere on its own.  Reformed Doctrine wholly relies on God to preserve it and teaches “Preservation of the Saints”, the “P” of “TULIP”, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation as more fully taught in the Canons of Dordt.  “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 in the Canons of Dordt.

“Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.”  Matthew 6:10.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 10:38-42.

“Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village;  and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.  She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word.  But Martha was distracted with all her preparations;  and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone?  Then tell her to help me.”  But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things;  but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”  Luke 10:38-42.

———————-

The “only one thing that is necessary” is that we search and study Scripture to come to Christ to have eternal life like Mary “who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word”.

Let us be like Mary who showed that she was devoted, not like Martha who was distracted and bothered by so many things.  “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.”  John 6:27.

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life;  it is these that testify about Me;  and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.”  John 5:39-40.

“… you have known the sacred writings (Scripture) which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”  2 Timothy 3:14-17.

“And the testimony (Scripture) is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He who has the Son has the life;  he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”  1 John 5:11-12.

“These things I have written to you (Scripture) who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.”  1 John 5:13.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | January 9, 2019

“We love, because He first loved us.”

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 10:25-37.

“And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”  And He said to him, “What is written in the Law?  How does it read to you?”  And he answered, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND;  AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”  And He said to him, “You have answered correctly;  do this and you will live.”  But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.  And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him;  and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them;  and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.  On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him;  and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’  Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?”  And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.”  Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”  Luke 10:25-37.

——————

Rather than carefully reading this Scripture, we tend to rush into thinking that our neighbor is the man who fell into the robbers’ hands and rush into a focus on our self on how we should love him.

But, what does Jesus say?

“Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?”  And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.”  In other words, the neighbor was the Good Samaritan, and our focus should be on the Good Samaritan.

Whom should we first think of as the one who shows mercy?

Jesus is our Good Samaritan.  Jesus is our neighbor.  Jesus felt compassion for us.  Jesus showed mercy to us.  Like the Good Samaritan showed mercy to the one who was “half dead”, God showed mercy to us when we were dead in our transgressions.  And, our focus should be on Jesus Who commands us to show mercy like He showed mercy to us.  “Go and do the same.”

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith;  and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  Ephesians 2:4-9.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God;  and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”  1 John 4:7-11.

But, there is hope to love one another!

There is the “Golden Chain of Charity”, so to speak!

“We love, because He first loved us.”  1 John 4:19.

“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.

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;”  2 Corinthians 9:8.

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

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

“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 2:6.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | January 8, 2019

“rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 10:17-24.

“The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”  And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.  Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.  Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”

At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, “I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.  Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.  All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”

Turning to the disciples, He said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see, for I say to you, that many prophets and kings wished to see the things which you see, and did not see them, and to hear the things which you hear, and did not hear them.”  Luke 10:17-24.

————-

The proud, wise, and intelligent seek power and authority.

The humble seek forgiveness and insight to God.

The proud, wise, and intelligent seek recognition for what they contribute for salvation.

The humble rejoice that their names are recorded in heaven.

The proud, wise, and intelligent may pay lip service to election but believe that God elects them because they are worthy of salvation.

The humble know that they are not worthy of salvation and delight in God’s “Unconditional Election”, the “U” of “TULIP”, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation, as more fully taught in the Canons of Dordt.  Here is a quote from the Canons of Dordt in the section titled FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of Divine Predestination.

Article 7.  Election is the unchangeable purpose of God, whereby, before the foundation of the world, he hath out of mere grace, according to the sovereign good pleasure of his own will, chosen, from the whole human race, which had fallen through their own fault, from their primitive state of rectitude, into sin and destruction, a certain number of persons to redemption in Christ, whom he from eternity appointed the Mediator and Head of the elect, and the foundation of Salvation.

This elect number, though by nature neither better nor more deserving than the others, but with them involved in one common misery, …

Article 9.  This election was not founded upon foreseen faith, and the obedience of faith, holiness, or any other good quality of disposition in man, as the pre-requisite, cause or condition on which it depended;  but men are chosen to faith and to the obedience of faith, holiness, etc., therefore election is the fountain of every saving good;  from which proceed faith, holiness, and the other gifts of salvation, and finally eternal life itself, as its fruits and effects, according to that of the apostle:  “He hath chosen us (not because we were) but that we should be holy, and without blame, before him in love,”  Ephesians 1:4.

“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.  In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”  Ephesians 1:3-6.

“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.  Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.  But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith;  and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  Ephesians 2:1-9.

“For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.”  So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”  Romans 9:15-16.

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