Tabletalk Devotions with R C Sproul: Jesus Leaves The Temple

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Jesus Leaves the Temple

Matthew 24:1–2 “He answered them, ‘You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down’” (v. 2).

We have two concluding comments on Matthew 23:37–39before we study chapter 24. First, verse 38 is in the present tense in the original Greek, which is a way biblical authors often make statements of certainty. The desolation of Jerusalem’s house — the temple — is sure to come. Secondly, verse 39might indicate that this event is not God’s final word on the nation that has rejected His Son. On the one hand, Jesus’ promise that the city will not see Him again until it says, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” may mean that the Jews who have rejected Him will bow to Him as King of kings when He returns, just like every other person who has denied Him (Phil. 2:5–11). Of course, only those who have received Him before His return will be saved, Jew and Gentile alike. On the other hand, the “Blessed is he” of Matthew 23:39could be Jerusalem’s future confession of faith in Jesus. This would imply that a great many Jews will trust Christ right before His return in glory (see Rom. 11).

Matthew 23 ends with our Lord’s lament over Jerusalem due to the judgment it will soon feel. Chapter 24 depicts this judgment, beginning with a description of Jesus’ travels. Jesus has been teaching in the temple (21:23–23:39), when He then heads for the Mount of Olives (24:1–3). This is significant because the prophet Ezekiel saw the glory of God leave the temple and go east to a mountain — the Mount of Olives (11:22–12:28) — right before the Babylonians decimated Jerusalem in 586 b.c. Yahweh’s glory, John MacArthur writes, took “exactly the same route Christ follows” in Matthew 24:1–3 (The MacArthur Bible Commentary, p. 1,170). Before Babylon destroyed the first Jewish temple, God’s glory left. Now Jesus, the glory of God (James 2:1), leaves the second Jewish temple, revealing to those with eyes to see that its grandeur will soon end.

The disciples again prove that even they do not understand all that Jesus has said and done, pointing out the beauty and size of the temple to our Lord (Matt. 24:1). But this physical structure will soon be replaced by Christ as the center of true religion (Rev. 21:22), a fact He brings to light when He predicts the end of the temple (Matt. 24:2), something unthinkable to the Jews of His day.

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

It is a terrible thing to think that the Lord can become so fed up with those who claim to be His servants that He departs from their presence. God sometimes seems absent to us because we have grieved Him (Zech. 1:3). If you feel as if the Lord is far from you this day, consider whether there is unconfessed sin in your life. If we feel as though God is absent, this does not necessarily mean we are being disciplined, but it is a possibility we should consider.

For further study:

Psalm 51:11

The Bible in a year:

Isaiah 65–66

For the weekend:

Jeremiah 1–5

INTO the WORD daily Bible studies from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.

Subscribe to Tabletalk magazine and receive daily Bible studies & in depth articles from world class scholars for only $23 per per year! That’s only $1.92 per month. And you can try it out for three months absolutely free! Bringing the best in biblical scholarship together with down-to-earth writing, Tabletalk helps you understand the Bible and apply it to daily living.

Tabletalk Devotions with R C Sproul: Jesus Laments Over Jerusalem

 

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Jesus Laments Over Jerusalem

Matthew 23:37–39 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!” (v. 37).

Today we return to Matthew’s gospel and resume our study of the last week of Jesus’ life, during which the Jerusalem authorities will crucify the Lord (chap. 27). Passion week, however, is not the first time Jesus’ countrymen reject Him as the Christ. Herod would not tolerate any rival and tried to kill the newborn king (2:16–18). Many Pharisees said He was of the Devil (9:32–34), and the towns of Chorazin, Tyre, and Nazareth did not repent when Jesus preached the Gospel to them (11:20–2413:53–58). Both Sadducee and Pharisee have asked trick questions of Jesus (22:15–40), falsely believing themselves pious when they denied Jesus’ messianic office. Yet those who reject Christ reject God Himself, and they will suffer for their impudence (23:1–36; see Luke 10:16).

Matthew 23:37–39 records Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem after declaring woes on the city’s leaders (vv. 1–36). He expresses sorrow that Israel has continually rejected God’s call for repentance in a metaphor that likens the Godhead to a mother hen, a rare biblical use of a feminine image for deity (see Isa. 42:14). Such imagery reminds us that our Creator is not male, though neither is He female — He is spirit (John 4:24). Nevertheless, we call God “Father,” not “mother,” for that is how He has told us to address Him (Matt. 6:9Rom. 8:15). God is our head and initiates salvation when He pours out His grace; male images for Him remind us of this fact, for men are given headship in the church and the family and thus, the right and duty to initiate (1 Cor. 11:31 Tim. 2:12–15).

Jesus’ lament shows us that human suffering, considered in itself, does not please the Almighty. Although God has ordained Jerusalem’s destruction, His revealed will in Scripture proves He has “no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezek. 33:11). But, as John Calvin writes, “the will of God is exhibited to us in two ways,” and there is a sovereign will, unrevealed to us, that governs all that ever occurs (Deut. 29:29). By this hidden will God may ordain events that by themselves do not please Him but nonetheless contribute to His glory, which is supremely pleasing to Him (Isa. 48:9–11). God finds pleasure not in the suffering, but in the good He works for His glory through the suffering.

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

We are not perfectly holy and have no inherent right to execute wrath. How then can we take pleasure in the death of the sinner if God finds no pleasure in the death of the wicked? Our hearts should be broken, not gleeful, when we see someone destroy himself on account of his evil. As you lament the moral degeneracy of our culture, can others hear sadness in your voice? Are you grieved when the unrighteous remain impenitent?

For further study:

Ezekiel 18:31–32

The Bible in a year:

Isaiah 62–64

INTO the WORD daily Bible studies from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.

Subscribe to Tabletalk magazine and receive daily Bible studies & in depth articles from world class scholars for only $23 per per year! That’s only $1.92 per month. And you can try it out for three months absolutely free! Bringing the best in biblical scholarship together with down-to-earth writing, Tabletalk helps you understand the Bible and apply it to daily living.

A Good Thing: Decision Making

 

Day 15 Theme: Decision Making
We have no might against this great company…neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee– 2 Chronicles 20:12

This is what great leadership looks like! King Jehoshaphat knew that the enemy forces facing his own people were far more powerful than his small army; as he reviewed his options, he also realized there was no human scheme or strategy that could save them.

Rather than blustering or bluffing his way forward, however, he admitted to his own people, and to God, his inadequacy and led them together in this prayer for help.

“We do not have the strength to face this challenge on our own,” they confessed. Have you come to this point in your life, in your struggle? Not where you give up, but where you give up trying to solve and fix and overcome in your own strength, by your own willpower.

“Neither know we what to do.”Have your reached your wit’s end? Have you come to the limit of your own ingenuity or cleverness? Have you reached the point where there really is no light left at the end of the tunnel, no hope of figuring out your own way out?

Then this is the perfect place to say to God, “My eyes are on you, now.” What do you want me to do? Where do you want me to be? Where should I lead my family, my children, my church?

It is when you reach the end of your own rope, and put all your weight on God’s, that you will discover His strength and wisdom to help and to guide and to save.

To explore more Bible-based resources visit our website, that “your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ”
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Proverbs 31 ministries: Encouragement for Today: Where can I Find Joy

 

Encouragement For Today
Wendy Blight October 15, 2013

Where Can I Find JOY?
Wendy Blight

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” James 1:2 (NLT)

My daughter’s journey with scoliosis was a heart-breaking time for me as a mother. There were days I couldn’t see past Lauren’s extreme physical pain and my wondering heart questioned, why hasn’t God healed her yet?

Through those years, I struggled. I felt empty … void of hope … void of joy. I knew what God’s Word said about joy: “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy” (James 1:2 NLT). But in the midst of Lauren’s circumstances, her broken heart and wounded body, it was hard to follow that command.

How could I obey this scripture and find joy when someone I loved was in such pain? God graciously answered the cry of my heart by revealing to me these three words … Jesus Only You.

I noticed the first letter of each of those words spelled J O Y. And it clicked with me. Jesus is our joy!

When God says in James 1:2 to consider trials as opportunities for joy, He’s not talking about the joy found in earthly things. Circumstances turning out how we desire, possessions and positions, and even good health only offer happiness. They are temporary. What God longs for us to have is deep, lasting joyfound in Jesus.

The King James Version says we are to “count it all joy” when we walk through trials. This word “count” means “evaluate.”

When trials come, we must evaluate them in light of God’s truths and promises. It’s not the trial itself we consider a joy. Rather, it’s the results that will come from the trial that we consider pure joy.

This involves trusting that God is actively working for our good even in the midst of painful circumstances. And as we trust Him, we will find an inner gladness rooted not in our circumstances, but in the reality of the living God who transcends our circumstances.

After years of praying, asking God to heal my daughter, He did. It still hurts to remember the excruciating pain Lauren suffered. But God was and is faithful. God didn’t heal my girl in the miraculous way I was expecting. Instead, she endured a seven-hour surgery to place two rods in her spine. She missed nearly six weeks of school and labored through months of relearning how to sit and walk and move. She had to quit competitive cheerleading. But in and through that time, God did a new thing.

Looking back, I can see how He held us up, deepened Lauren’s faith, and drew our family closer to each other. In real and personal ways, God showed us His tender, loving care. And He taught me the meaning of true J O Y.

Jesus alone is the source of our joy.

When discouragement comes and you feel you cannot take one more step, remember these three words, Jesus Only You!

Jesus came so that I . . . so that you . . . can experience His joy fully and completely in us through any and all circumstances.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Jesus. Thank You for the joy that is ours in Him. Every time our thoughts turn to our hurt, cause our pain to bring us back to J O Y . . . Jesus Only You. We ask this in the Name of Jesus, amen.

Related Resources:
Read about how Wendy Blight found joy in her book Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner.

Visit Wendy’s blog to enter to win a copy of her book and to sign up for her newest online Bible study on the names of God: Who is God and Why Should I Care? It begins October 30th and runs through December 3rd.

Meet every day with the only One Who brings true joy through reading the NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women, filled with 366 devotions. Pick up your copy by clicking here.

Reflect and Respond:
What does it mean to be filled with the joy of the Lord?

What keeps you from receiving the fullness of His Joy? Memorize and personalize James 1:2 so that you can recall it the next time you walk through a difficult trial and feel the absence of joy.

Power Verses:
Galatians 5:22, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” (NLT)

Nehemiah 8:10b, ” Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (NIV)

© 2013 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

RC Sproul: What happens to children who die before they can accept the gospel?

Tough Questions with RC Sproul

What happens to children who die before they can accept the gospel?

In my own theological tradition, we believe that those children who die in infancy are numbered among the redeemed. That is to say, we hope and have a certain level of confidence that God will be particularly gracious toward those who have never had the opportunity to be exposed to the gospel, such as infants or children who are too disabled to hear and understand.

The New Testament does not teach us this explicitly. It does tell us a lot about the character of God—about his mercy and his grace—and gives us every reason to have that kind of confidence in his dealings with children. Some will make a distinction between infants in general and those who are children of believers, the reason being that when God made a covenant with Abraham, he made it not only with Abraham, but with Abraham’s descendants. In fact, as soon as God entered into that relationship with Abraham, he brought Isaac into it—when Isaac was still an infant and didn’t have an understanding of what was going on. This is the reason, incidentally, that a large number of Christian bodies practice the baptism of infants; they believe that children of believers are to be incorporated into full membership in the church. We see this relationship within the family in biblical history.

We also see David’s situation in the Old Testament when his infant child dies. Yet David is given the confidence that he will see that child again in heaven. That story of David and his dying child gives a tremendous consolation to parents who have lost infants to death.

Now the point that we have to make is that infants who die are given a special dispensation of the grace of God; it is not by their innocence but by God’s grace that they are received into heaven. There are great controversies that hover over the doctrine of original sin. Lutherans disagree with Roman Catholics, who disagree in turn with Presbyterians, etc., on the scope and extent of what we call original sin. Original sin does not refer to the first sin that was committed, but rather to the result of that—the entrance of sin into the world so that all of us as human beings are born in a fallen state. We come into this world with a sin nature, and so the baby that dies, dies as a sinful child. And when that child is received into heaven, he is received by grace.

Proverbs 31 Ministries: Encouragement for Today: Lord, I Need Your Help

 

Encouragement For Today
Renee Swope October 8, 2013

Lord, I Need Your Help
Renee Swope

“In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help.” (Psalm 18:6 NIV)

One evening after an intense “discussion,” my husband, J. J., told me that no matter what he did or how hard he tried, it was never enough for me. He was right. I constantly found fault with him as a husband and as a dad.

But when he implied that I was impossible to please … well, that sent my already-out-of-control emotions reeling. I grabbed my coat and stormed out the front door. Hot tears streamed down my cheeks as I replayed our conversation in my head.

I was determined to figure out what J. J.’s problem was and get Jesus to fix him. So I started filing complaints against my husband in what you might call a prayer. And I finally heard myself—all the ugliness, all the anger. That’s when I realized, I need help. I needed God to help me figure out how—after seven years of a happy marriage—we had gotten to this ugly place.

Instead of just crying, I found myself crying out to God for help.

King David was much better at this than I was that day. He had a habit of crying out to God for help when he was in distress. One Bible scholar notes that the phrase, “‘In my distress’ refers, most probably, not to any particular case, but rather indicates [David’s] general habit of mind, that when he was in deep distress and danger he had uniformly called upon the Lord, and had found him ready to help.”*

That night, when I stopped talking and started listening, I sensed God showing me I wanted J. J. to make up for all the ways my dad had fallen short as a father to me and as a husband to my mom. Years as a child in a broken home with a broken heart had led to a significant sense of loss and deep disappointment. Yet, up to that point, I had never grieved the happily-ever-after that I longed for but didn’t have.

My unfulfilled hopes had become bitter expectations. I became controlling and critical, thinking that if I could get J. J. to be the husband and dad I wanted him to be, maybe my broken dreams could be put back together. But I was wrong. Instead of expecting my husband to make up for my losses, I needed to cry out to God with my hurts and call on Him for help.

Are there hurts that hold you hostage? Expectations no one could really ever meet? Need some help today? I know I do. And I know God is there, waiting for us to cry out to Him.

As I continued to process what had happened in my childhood and how it affected my marriage, I learned to ask God for help through each step of my healing journey. It took time, prayer, and courage, but God was my very present help.

By the way, I’m crazy about my husband. And so very thankful for that day several years ago when I finally asked the Lord for help.

Dear Lord, I need Your help, especially with _______________. Please show me where to start and be my help each step of the way. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Related Resources
For 20 years Proverbs 31 Ministries has been a trusted friend to offer comfort in knowing you’re not alone in your day-to-day struggles, questions, and hopes. Today’s devotion is a sample from our newest book, Encouragement for Today: Devotions for Everyday Living.

We’ve compiled 100 of our favorite devotions to share with you. They are hopeful. Relevant. Trustworthy. And offer God’s perspective and a bit of humor to help you through the rough patches. Pick up your copy by clicking here.

Visit Renee Swope’s blog for more encouragement.

Remember
Hurts from your past can hold you hostage. God is there, waiting to heal you.

Reflect
In what ways do you file complaints against your husband (or other loved one) in what you might call a prayer?

Respond
Determine if your hurts are too deep to heal without outside help. If they are, consider seeing a pastor or counselor.

Power Verses
Psalm 46:1Deuteronomy 4:7

*Albert Barnes, Barnes’ Notes on the Old and New Testaments (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1983).

Taken from Encouragement for Today: Devotions for Everyday Living by Renee Swope, Lysa TerKeurst and Samantha Evilsizer and the Proverbs 31 Ministries Team. © 2013 Proverbs 31 Ministries. Used by permission of Zondervan.www.zondervan.com.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org