Tabletalk Devotions with R C Sproul: Jesus Leaves The Temple

TT_devotionswithrc_ttlogo

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.

Advertisements

Standing Through The Storm: Love Your Neighbor

 
 
SSTS_Devotional_header

LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14

The scriptures teach that God is committed to one major objective in the lives of all His people; conforming us to the image of His Son. What is the “image of His Son?” It is found in the words of Jesus, Himself, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark10:45).

It makes sense then to say that God desires the same for us. After bringing us into His family through faith in His Son, the Lord sets His sights on building into us the same qualities that made Jesus distinct—a servant’s heart and a giving spirit. It’s so easy to lose sight of our primary calling as Christians. Even those who lead must do so with an attitude of genuine humility and an authentic desire to help others.

The best-known symbols of Christianity are the cross, theichthus (fish symbol), and the dove symbolizing the Holy Spirit. Probably the least known—yet most appropriate for the Christian—is the symbol of the towel and basin. The towel Jesus used when in humility and service, he washed and wiped his disciples dirty feet. Jesus instructed his disciples after washing their feet that they were to wash one another’s feet.

J. Dudley Woodbury tells a poignant true story that occurred in the dismal refugee camps of Peshawar, Pakistan. The fighting between the Majahideen in post-Soviet Afghanistan and the rise of the Taliban resulted in thousands of refugees flooding into the camps near the border. Most of the children in the camps ran around barefoot in both the intense heat and intense cold.

A Christian organization brought in hundreds of sandals for the children but decided not to just distribute them but care for the children’s feet as well. So they utilized as many Christian volunteers as possible who washed the children’s filthy feet, put medication on their sores and prayed for them silently as they gave out the sandals.

As he tells the story, some months later a Muslim primary school teacher in the camp asked her students who the best Muslims were. One little girl raised her hand and responded, “The kafirs.” (unbelievers).

After the teacher recovered from cardiac arrest, she asked, “Why?” The little girl said, “The Mujahedeen killed my father, but the kafirs washed my feet!”

Missions to the Muslims, he concludes, will be affected less by the flames of 9/11, or even the flames that started the Arab Spring, than by the inner flames that are ignited if we so follow our Lord.[1]

RESPONSE: Today I will look for ways to serve others in genuine humility as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

PRAYER: Lord, help me love as You did, serve others as You did and give of myself as You did!

1. J. Dudley Woodberry, “Muslim Missions: Then & Now,”Christianity Today (September 2011), p. 36.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS)
A daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks

© 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission

 

 

Tabletalk Devotions with R C Sproul: Jesus Laments Over Jerusalem

 

TT_devotionswithrc_ttlogo

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”
and
follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Listen to the Baptist Bible Hour (BBH) broadcast on OnePlace.com.

 
        

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

NIV Devotions for Women: Letting Go of the Familiar

This message contains graphics. If you do not see the graphics, click here to view.

Letting Go of the Familiar

Genesis 19:1–26

Letting go of the familiar is tough. Changing careers or colleges or moving to a new city can take an emotional toll on us. It’s even more difficult to leave behind old habits, attitudes and behaviors.

Lot’s wife wasn’t able to let go of her home in Sodom, even though God sent angels to warn her family to run for their lives because judgment was coming. In fact, the angels’ warnings included such grave commands as “Don’t look back” and “Don’t stop.” Why in the world did this woman choose to stop and look back? Could it be that she loved the life she was leaving too much? Though Sodom was full to overflowing with sin and vice, apparently the dark and oppressive city was comfortably familiar to Lot’s wife.

It is difficult to leave the familiar behind. That fact is as true today as it was in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction—even when God himself is saying, “It’s time to move on.” If you’ve ever struggled with a destructive habit, you’ve felt the pull of the familiar—even as you’ve sensed God’s nudge, “Move on now.” You’ve experienced the temptation to turn back just one more time, for one last look, one last taste, one last “fix”—even as God has whispered, “Don’t look back.” Maybe you’ve agonized over a loved one’s downward spiral, desperately attempting to rescue them time and time again—until finally God impressed upon you, “Stop. Let go.”

Unlike Lot’s wife, none of us has ever become a pillar of salt by turning back for one last peek. Yet we all struggle with the difficulties of letting go of the old in order to grasp the new. Take heart. God understands that letting go of the familiar is hard. Yet he has called us to move on to new life in Jesus Christ by letting go of our old worldly lives, our old habits, our old dreams—to boldly move forward without looking back. When you feel God’s call to move, allow him to guide you. He will give you the grace to do whatever he has asked.

Reflection

  1. What does the passage in today’s reading teach you about letting go in order to move forward?
  2. Why is it so difficult sometimes to let go of the past?
  3. What is one thing you think God may be asking you to let go of right now? Spend some time praying that God will help you let go of whatever is hindering you from moving forward in your spiritual journey.

Genesis 19:26
But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

Related Readings

Genesis 12:1–7Numbers 14:1–38Philippians 3:13

RC Sproul: Tabletalk Magazine: Persecutors of the Prophets

TT_devotionswithrc_ttlogo

Persecutors of the Prophets

Matthew 23:29–36 “On you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah” (v. 35).

Christ’s reference to the scribes and Pharisees being like whitewashed tombs (Matt. 23:27–28) allows for an easy transition to His final woe. Though the religious leaders think they are honoring the prophets when they build and embellish tombs and monuments, they are actually acknowledging themselves as being in league with those who killed the holy men (vv. 29–31).

In Jesus’ day, a period known as Second Temple Judaism, there was a boom in monument construction. These structures were intended to pay tribute to the prophets. They were also supposed to point out the piety of the builders, who in building meant to show that they would have obeyed the prophets their forefathers condemned. Yet in rejecting Jesus, the prophet par excellence, these men allied themselves with their wicked ancestors; in fact, they were worse than their forefathers because in Christ they saw truth more clearly (12:1–6John1:17–18). Jesus’ woe tells us that the scribes and Pharisees would have happily buried the prophets just as they gleefully sought to bury Jesus.

Since they are plainly evil, these enemies might as well get on with it and fill the cup of transgression to overflowing (Matt.23:32), a metaphor for making oneself fit for judgment beyond the shadow of a doubt (Gen. 15:12–16). Basically, Jesus is telling the Pharisees: “God’s wrath is coming on you anyway, why not hurry it along?” Our Savior knows there is more evil for them to do before they are judged. He is going to send them prophets, wise men, and teachers who will also be rejected, as if rejecting Christ is not enough (Matt. 23:33–34). Apostles, evangelists, prophets, and teachers will come to this evil generation and offer one more opportunity for repentance, but just like the Master, the bearers of good news will also be killed (Luke 21:17Acts 12:1–2).

Jesus’ foes will not miss a chance to spurn God’s grace; thus, on them will fall the blood of all the saints from Abel to Zechariah (Matt. 23:35–36). Abel is the first martyr (Gen. 4:1–8) in Old Testament history; Zechariah is the last (2 Chron. 24:20–21). Those who kill the Messiah and His apostles will feel the anger the Creator has stored up against all those who have hated His own.

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

Matthew Henry says it is easy for us to assume that we would be unlike the scribes and Pharisees and follow Jesus willingly. Yet even centuries later, he writes, “Christ in his Spirit, in his word, in his ministers, is still no better treated.” Are we quick to follow the Lord as He presents Himself today through the preaching of the Word? We have no right to think ourselves better than Pharisees if we are not quick to obey His Word this day.

For further study:

Isaiah 63:1–6

The Bible in a year:

Isaiah 41–42

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.