Today’s devotion comes from Luke 23:1-7.

“Then the whole body of them got up and brought Him before Pilate.  And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.”  So Pilate asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?”  And He answered him and said, “It is as you say.”  Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.”  But they kept on insisting, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching all over Judea, starting from Galilee even as far as this place.”

When Pilate heard it, he asked whether the man was a Galilean.  And when he learned that He belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who himself also was in Jerusalem at that time.”   Luke 23:1-7.

———————-

It is noteworthy that despite the accusations, Pilate did not ask any question to Jesus about the accusations that Jesus was misleading the nation or forbidding the paying of taxes to Caesar.

Pilate did not have to do so;  he knew that the accusations were not true.

And, it is also noteworthy that he did not care about how Jesus would answer the only one question that he did ask:  “Are You the King of the Jews?”.  If Pilate did care about how Jesus answered the question, then he would either have found him guilty or asked follow-up questions.  Instead, in response to Jesus’ simple and unequivocal admission (“It is as you say.”), Pilate immediately “said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.”

“But they kept on insisting, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching all over Judea, starting from Galilee even as far as this place.”

When Pilate heard their insistence, Pilate conceived an excuse and “passed the buck”, so to speak, and “sent Him to Herod”.

In summary, Pilate made it appear that He was sincerely searching for the truth.  But, He was trying to deceive with the goal of pacifying the chief priests and the crowds.

The purpose of this review is to not specifically condemn Pilate but rather to generally consider that Pilate exhibited a trait that is common to man.

The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?”  Jeremiah 17:9.

“10 as it is written,

“THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS,
THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;
12 ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS;
THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD,
THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.”  Romans 3:10-12.

When we are presented with the Jesus of Scripture by Reformed preachers and teachers, we may be like Pilate and try to deceive the Reformed preachers and teachers and others in the crowd by asking questions that seem to be sincere, but we do not care how those questions are answered.  We may also be like Pilate and admit certain truths about Jesus.  We may be like Pilate and try to “pass the buck” by promising that we will study Reformed Doctrine more.  But, we may be doing all of these things and other things to deceive without any sincere intent to pursue truth.  

But, there is hope!

“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;  and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”  Ezekiel 36:26-27.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 22:66-71.

“When it was day, the Council of elders of the people assembled, both chief priests and scribes, and they led Him away to their council chamber, saying, “If You are the Christ, tell us.”  But He said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe;  and if I ask a question, you will not answer.  But from now on THE SON OF MAN WILL BE SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND of the power OF GOD.”  And they all said, “Are You the Son of God, then?”  And He said to them, “Yes, I am.”  Then they said, “What further need do we have of testimony?  For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.”  Luke 22:66-71.

——————

The chief priests and scribes did not believe.  Although they asked the question, “If You are the Christ, tell us.”, Jesus recognized their unbelief and said to them:  “If I tell you, you will not believe”.

And even though they did not believe, they were not interested in further testimony that would show that they pursued truth.  There were many witnesses who could testify, but the chief priests and scribes were only interested in getting enough evidence through which they could crucify Jesus.  “What further need do we have of testimony?”

Their own words condemned them.  “For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.”

So, it should not surprise us that there are those today who do not believe but are not interested in pursuing truth.

“10 as it is written,

“THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS,
THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;
12 ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS;
THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD,
THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.”  Romans 3:10-12.

And yet, other doctrine is built upon a belief in man and in man’s goodness, man’s wisdom, and man’s alleged free-will.  Other doctrine plans its strategy of evangelism accordingly.  “If only our evangelism was more seeker sensitive and our evangelists were wiser and more eloquent!”

But, Reformed Doctrine is built upon God, His wisdom, His will (“Unconditional Election”), and His work (“Limited Atonement”, that is, Christ’s death for God’s elect providing all the  gifts needed for salvation included faith).  Reformed Doctrine plans its strategy of evangelism accordingly.  “Our evangelism is God sensitive, that is, our evangelism is directed and powered by God Who is at work within us for His good pleasure!”  

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation …”  Romans 1:16.

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

“And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.  For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.  I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”  1 Corinthians 2:1-5.

““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 Luke 22:54-65.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+22&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“Having arrested Him, they led Him away and brought Him to the house of the high priest;  but Peter was following at a distance.  After they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter was sitting among them.  And a servant-girl, seeing him as he sat in the firelight and looking intently at him, said, “This man was with Him too.”  But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.”  A little later, another saw him and said, “You are one of them too!”  But Peter said, “Man, I am not!”  After about an hour had passed, another man began to insist, saying, “Certainly this man also was with Him, for he is a Galilean too.”  But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.”  Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed.  The Lord turned and looked at Peter.  And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.”  And he went out and wept bitterly.”  Luke 22:54-62.

———–

“Peter *said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.” All the disciples said the same thing too.”  Matthew 26:35.

And, as we read today’s Scripture, we may think the same thing, that we would never deny Jesus.

But, we can deny Jesus through our actions as well as through our words.

Do we deny Jesus by neglecting to be with Him and His people through attending church?

Do we deny Jesus by our behavior which is too much like the world around us?

“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.”  1 Corinthians 10:12.

But, there is hope!

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man;  and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”   1 Corinthians 10:13.

“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.  And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;”  1 John 2:1.

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat;  but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail;  and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”  Luke 22:31-32.

Other doctrine trusts in its own wisdom, its own alleged free-will, its own strength, and its own works.

But, Reformed Doctrine trusts in God and His “Preservation of the Saints”, the “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

Consider the following articles from the Canons of Dordt in the section titled FIFTH HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Perseverance of the Saints.

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.

Article 8.  Thus, it is not in consequence of their own merits, or strength, but of God’s free mercy, that they do not totally fall from faith and grace, nor continue and perish finally in their backslidings;  which, with respect to themselves, is not only possible, but would undoubtedly happen;  but with respect to God, it is utterly impossible, since his counsel cannot be changed, nor his promise fail, neither can the call according to his purpose be revoked, nor the merit, intercession and preservation of Christ be rendered ineffectual, nor the sealing of the Holy Spirit be frustrated or obliterated.

Article 9.  Of this preservation of the elect to salvation, and of their perseverance in the faith, true believers for themselves may and ought to obtain assurance according to the measure of their faith, whereby they arrive at the certain persuasion, that they ever will continue true and living members of the church;  and that they experience forgiveness of sins, and will at last inherit eternal life.

“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.

“Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace;  and the God of love and peace will be with you.  Greet one another with a holy kiss.  All the saints greet you.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.”  2 Corinthians 13:11-14.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | April 7, 2019

“Stop! No more of this.”

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 22:47-53.

“While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him.  But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”  When those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?”  And one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear.  But Jesus answered and said, “Stop!  No more of this.”  And He touched his ear and healed him.  Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders who had come against Him, “Have you come out with swords and clubs as you would against a robber?  While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me;  but this hour and the power of darkness are yours.”  Luke 22:47-53.

———————

It is easy for us to lash out in revenge at others for the slightest offenses, even when we deserve it or even when the perceived offense may not have been intentional.

But, here was the greatest offense.  Jesus knew that they would beat Him, cause him other great suffering, and then crucify Him.

Jesus also knew that He did not wrong:  “Have you come out with swords and clubs as you would against a robber?”  Verse 52.

Jesus had every justification and ability to destroy them.  “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?”  Matthew 26:53.

But, Jesus did not defend Himself.  When one of Jesus’ followers in the crowd.cut off the ear of the slave of the high priest, Jesus said:  “Stop!  No more of this.”  Moreover, Jesus even healed him.

Other doctrine believes that what comes to us comes to us through man’s alleged free-will.

But, Reformed Doctrine believes that what comes to us comes to us through God’s sovereignty.

Q.  28.  What advantage is it to us to know that God has created, and by His providence doth still uphold all things?

A.  That we may be patient in adversity;  thankful in prosperity;  and that in all things which may hereafter befall us, we place our firm trust in our faithful God and Father, that nothing shall separate us from His love;  since all creatures are so in His hand, that without His will they cannot so much as move.  Heidelberg Catechism.  

Jesus entrusted Himself to God and knew that the suffering and death that He would experience was part of God’s will for him.

We may pray that we do not experience persecutions, trials, and troubles, “saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me”, but, we also add in our prayer as Jesus did, “yet not My will, but Yours be done.”  Luke 22:42.

“Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord.  “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK;  FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  Romans 12:19-21.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven;  for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?  Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others?  Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  Matthew 5:43-48.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 22:39-46.

“And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him.  When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”  And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”  Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him.  And being in agony He was praying very fervently;  and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.  When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, and said to them, “Why are you sleeping?  Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”  Luke 22:39-46.

—————–

During this time of Jesus’ great agony, Jesus commanded His disciples twice (verses 40 and 46) to pray that they not enter into temptation.

When we feel agony, sorrow, or slight adversity, we tend to pray for relief, comfort, and prosperity.

But, today’s Scripture shows us what is most important.

“Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation;  the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  Matthew 26:41.

But, there is hope!

“For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did:  sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.  For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God;  for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.  But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.  If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.  But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die;  but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.  For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba!  Father!”  The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”  Romans 8:3-18.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 22:35-38.

“And He said to them, “When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?”  They said, “No, nothing.”  And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.  For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, ‘AND HE WAS NUMBERED WITH TRANSGRESSORS’;  for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.”  They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.”  And He said to them, “It is enough.”  Luke 22:35-38.

——————-

Jesus points to two very different times.

One time represents prosperity.  ““When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?”  They said, “No, nothing.”

The other time represents adversity.  “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.”

Q. 27.  What dost thou mean by the providence of God?

A.  The almighty and everywhere present power of God, whereby, as it were by His hand, He upholds and governs heaven, earth, and all creatures;  so that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, yea, and all things come, not by chance, but by His fatherly hand. 

Q. 28.  What advantage is it to us to know that God has created, and by His providence doth still uphold all things?

A.  That we may be patient in adversity;  thankful in prosperity;  and that in all things which may hereafter befall us, we place our firm trust in our faithful God and Father, that nothing shall separate us from His love;  since all creatures are so in His hand, that without His will they cannot so much as move.  Heidelberg Catechism.  

The concluding verse represents that even in adversity, we can be patient and content with what God provides.  “They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.”  And He said to them, “It is enough.”

“Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity;  in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”  Philippians 4:11-13.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 22:24-34.

“24 And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest.  25 And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them;  and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’  26 But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.  27 For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves?  Is it not the one who reclines at the table?  But I am among you as the one who serves.

28 “You are those who have stood by Me in My trials;  29 and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat;  32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail;  and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”  33 But he said to Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!”  34 And He said, “I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.”  Luke 22:24-34.

——————-

These three separate paragraphs could be subject to separate devotions, but I do not think it is coincidence that Luke joined them together.  They each teach a facet of the one theme of greatness.

The first paragraph (verses 24-27) is the lead Scripture which teaches that those who want to be great must be humble and willing to serve the others.

The second paragraph (verses 28-30) teaches that those who want to be great must endure like the disciples who stood by Jesus in His trials, but there is also the promise that they will be rewarded.

The third paragraph (verses 31-34) teaches that those who want to be great must receive God’s grace.  They will experience times of weakness, but through God’s grace, they must turn from their own weakness to strengthen their brothers.

But, there is hope!

Jesus prays for us.  We may be weak, “but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail;  and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”  Verse 32.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 22:7-23.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+22&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“When the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him.  And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;  for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”  And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves;  for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.”  And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you;  do this in remembrance of Me.”  And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.  But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table.  For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined;  but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!”  And they began to discuss among themselves which one of them it might be who was going to do this thing.”  Luke 22:14-23.

—————–

“…  “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.”  Verse 20.

For many, the Lord’s Supper will be served at the worship service next Sunday, the first Sunday of the month.  It is good to use today’s Scripture to consider the following questions to prepare us for it.

What do we honor and celebrate when we partake of the Lord’s Supper?

When we drink the Cup do we honor and celebrate that God loves everybody, Christ died for everybody, and that we chose Christ though our free-will and thereby we obtained the benefits of Christ’s sacrifice?

Or, when we drink the Cup do we honor and celebrate God’s election of us, Christ death for us, God’s elect, and that by Christ’s sacrifice He obtained for us, God’s elect, all that is needed for our salvation?  

These are very different intentions.

With which group of people do we have communion?

The group of people that honors and celebrates man’s wisdom to choose Christ and man’s alleged free-will choice of Christ that distinguishes him or her worthy of salvation?

Or, the group of people that honors and celebrates all that Christ obtained for us, God’s elect, through His most precious death?

Article 8.  For this was the sovereign counsel, and most gracious will and purpose of God the Father, that the quickening and saving efficacy of the most precious death of his Son should extend to all the elect, for bestowing upon them alone the gift of justifying faith, thereby to bring them infallibly to salvation:  that is, it was the will of God, that Christ by the blood of the cross, whereby he confirmed the new covenant, should effectually redeem out of every people, tribe, nation, and language, all those, and those only, who were from eternity chosen to salvation, and given to him by the Father;  that he should confer upon them faith, which together with all the other saving gifts of the Holy Spirit, he purchased for them by his death;  should purge them from all sin, both original and actual, whether committed before or after believing;  and having faithfully preserved them even to the end, should at last bring them free from every spot and blemish to the enjoyment of glory in his own presence forever.  SECOND HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Death of Christ, and the Redemption of Men Thereby of Canons of Dordt.

“In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood;  do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”  For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.”  1 Corinthians 11:25-27.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 21:37 to Luke 22:6.

“37 Now during the day He was teaching in the temple, but at evening He would go out and spend the night on the mount that is called Olivet.  38 And all the people would get up early in the morning to come to Him in the temple to listen to Him.

Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching.  2 The chief priests and the scribes were seeking how they might put Him to death;  for they were afraid of the people.

3 And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve.  4 And he went away and discussed with the chief priests and officers how he might betray Him to them.  5 They were glad and agreed to give him money.  6 So he consented, and began seeking a good opportunity to betray Him to them apart from the crowd.”  Luke 21:37 to Luke 22:6.

———————

The people liked Jesus and wanted to listen to Him.

But, the chief priests and scribes hated Jesus and wanted to put Him to death.

Today, the people still want to listen to Jesus, so to speak.

But, too often, preachers and teachers present too much of their own stories and their own wisdom and too little of presenting Jesus through Scripture.

“And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.  For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.  I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”  1 Corinthians 2:1-5.

We proclaim Him (Christ), admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.”  Colossians 1:28.

“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.  For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;”  Colossians 2:8-9.

“in whom (Christ) are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument.  For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.  Colossians 2:3-7.

“For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God.  I have been crucified with Christ;  and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;  and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.  I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”  Galatians 2:19-21.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 21:25-38.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+21&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap;  for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth.  But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”  Luke 21:34-36.

——————-

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.

Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!  But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless,”  2 Peter 3:10-14.

Who has “strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man”?  Verse 36.

Who will “be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless”?  2 Peter 3:14.

Other doctrine trusts in its own wisdom, its own alleged free-will, its own strength, and its own works.

But, Reformed Doctrine trusts in God and His “Preservation of the Saints”, the “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

Consider the following articles from the Canons of Dordt in the section titled FIFTH HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Perseverance of the Saints.

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.

Thus, the reason why the saints persevere is that God powerfully preserves them to the end.

Article 8.  Thus, it is not in consequence of their own merits, or strength, but of God’s free mercy, that they do not totally fall from faith and grace, nor continue and perish finally in their backslidings;  which, with respect to themselves, is not only possible, but would undoubtedly happen;  but with respect to God, it is utterly impossible, since his counsel cannot be changed, nor his promise fail, neither can the call according to his purpose be revoked, nor the merit, intercession and preservation of Christ be rendered ineffectual, nor the sealing of the Holy Spirit be frustrated or obliterated.

Article 9.  Of this preservation of the elect to salvation, and of their perseverance in the faith, true believers for themselves may and ought to obtain assurance according to the measure of their faith, whereby they arrive at the certain persuasion, that they ever will continue true and living members of the church;  and that they experience forgiveness of sins, and will at last inherit eternal life.

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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