All posts by JT

Christian. Husband. Dad. 911 dispatcher. Baseball fan. Horror nut. Music nerd. Bookworm. Time Magazine's 2006 Person of the Year.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 160/260: Read 2 Peter 2

In stark contrast to the precious promises of God, Peter warns against false prophets and false teachers “who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.”

We can see the grace and mercy of God throughout the New Testament, but there are unscrupulous men and women who will blaspheme God and His revealed gospel. “By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words.”

In this age of instant news through the avenues of television and the internet, and the especially rapid spread of false information via social media, it is no surprise that more are being deceived by false teachers.

Promoters of “health and wealth” prosperity gospel messages are exceedingly popular, but in truth “they speak great swelling words of emptiness.” They line their own pockets but fail to make followers of Jesus. Sure, the people who listen to these false teachers believe they are following Christ, but they have been duped by the false teachers, and in the end will hear the words, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:23).

Friends, I urge you to investigate what you are being taught, and “search[] the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things [are] so” (Acts 17:11).

Memory (Recite to a friend without looking)

1 Peter 3:15. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.

Pray

Pray for those who believe falsehoods, that they may turn from the lies and seek the truth.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 159/260: Read 2 Peter 1

It is an interesting study to examine those things that Peter held as “precious.” The word appears several times in his two epistles, including twice in the first chapter of Second Peter.

First, notice that faith is precious to Peter (1 Peter 1:7; 2 Peter 1:1). How precious? “Much more precious than gold that perishes.”

In his discussion of modesty, Peter says that “a gentle and quiet spirit” in a woman is preferred over an outward show of beauty. One’s physical appearance may diminish over time, but a woman’s “hidden person of the heart” is “precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:1-4).

There is “the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19). We remember this blood that was shed every first day of the week as we observe the Lord’s Supper.

Christ Himself is precious as “a living stone,” “a chief cornerstone,” even though He is rejected by the disobedient (1 Peter 2:4-7). Our acceptance of Christ makes Him no less precious to those who are faithful.

Finally, the promises of God are precious (2 Peter 1:4). No one can stop God from accomplishing what He has promised to His elect.

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

1 Peter 3:15. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be _______________ to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with _______________ and fear.

Pray

Pray for a better outlook on the precious things of God.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 158/260: Read 1 Peter 5

Humility is a hallmark of the fifth chapter of Peter’s first epistle. Even in the first four verses, as Peter encourages the elders, humility shines through. Yes, our shepherds are our leaders, but not in the sense of being lords over the flock. Rather, they gently lead as examples of how we should live.

Peter then urges, “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’”

Humility is highlighted by an attitude of selflessness and consideration of the opinions and desires of another. When we are wise enough to know that we don’t know everything, we are more likely to hear what other people are saying. Their experiences can help us understand different perspectives if we are only willing to listen.

We must also be humble when we consider our position relative to God. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” If we submit to Him and serve Him, He will take care of us and lift us up when we need it most.

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

1 Peter 3:15. But _______________ the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a _______________ to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.

Pray

Pray for humility in your dealings with other men and with God.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 157/260: Read 1 Peter 4

Suffering is a part of this life, but it does not have to be a part of the next. Peter writes, “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.”

When this life is over, we will give an account for how we lived it. If we wasted it “in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries,” how will we be judged? We may be “the life of the party.” But when we decline those activities, we are called “no fun,” “goody two shoes,” or “party poopers.” But the people of this life will not judge us for eternity.

Peter says those who walk according to worldly values “will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” They will be found wanting. Paul says of those who follow after sinful activities and lifestyles, “the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

Don’t let the world influence your day-to-day decisions in such a way that you are drawn away from the Lord. Do what is right, regardless of their attitude toward you. “Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.”

Memory (Copy into a notebook 5-10 times)

1 Peter 3:15. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.

Pray

Pray for wisdom in making decisions and choosing friends.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 156/260: Read 1 Peter 3

Apologetics is the use of reason when defending a system of belief and is often used in the religious world. There are several fine groups that focus on apologetics in their writings and productions, such as Apologetics Press and The Daily Apologist.

It is important to know why we believe what we believe. We need to “always be ready to give a defense” for our hope. One thing we often overlook when reading 1 Peter 3:15, however, is the context.

Peter wrote to Christians who were suffering persecution because of the faith. “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. ‘And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.’” In America, we simply do not face the same type of persecutions as our brothers and sisters in the first century.

Are we mocked? Sure. Shouted down? Yes. Unfriended on Facebook? Absolutely. And while these things may be unpleasant, they are a far cry from the physical harm of the disciples two thousand years ago.

Even in the face of death, Peter told them to “always be ready.” He even told them what attitude to have when presenting their defense: “meekness and fear.” Are we always ready today? Are we humble and respectful in our defense?

Memory (Read aloud 5-10 times)

1 Peter 3:15. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.

Pray

Pray for opportunities to prepare yourself to defend the faith, and for the proper attitude in so doing.

Who Is My Neighbor? (Luke 10:25-37)

The Good Samaritan sermon Who Is My Neighbor Luke 10

Luke 10:25-37

I. The question(s)

    A. “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25)
    B. “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” (Luke 10:26-28; cf. Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18)
    C. “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29)

II. The parable

    A. The priest (Luke 10:30-31; cf. Deuteronomy 22:1-4; Exodus 23:4-5)
    B. The Levite (Luke 10:32)
    C. The Samaritan (Luke 10:33-35)
    D. Which acted as a neighbor to the victim? (Luke 10:36-37a)

III. The call to action

    A. “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37b)
    B. A timeless truth (Micah 6:8; Matthew 23:23; Romans 13:10; Galatians 6:10)

Deludedism*

Deludedism

John 8:31-32

I. Applications from life and nature

    A. What is 2+2? What happens when you drink poison? When you shoot a loaded gun at someone?
    B. In nature, you reap what you sow (Galatians 6:7-8)
    C. The spiritual application (Matthew 7:15-23)

II. Applications from the Old Testament

    A. Eve believed a lie (Genesis 3:1-6, 16-19)
    B. Jacob believed a lie (Genesis 37:28, 31-35)
    C. The prophet believed a lie (1 Kings 13:11-24)

III. Applications from the New Testament

    A. Saul of Tarsus (Acts 7:59-8:1; 9:1-2; 23:1)
    B. Cornelius (Acts 10-11)
    C. Apollos (Acts 18)
    D. Our advantage (John 8:31-32)

* You will not find this word in the dictionary. If you type “deludedism” into Microsoft Word, it will get the squiggly red underline. The word was made up by the late brother Paul Hodges, and I first heard it in a lesson he presented at Lehman Avenue church of Christ in Bowling Green, Kentucky, over fifteen years ago. On July 11, 2016, brother Hodges went home to his reward, and I know the Lord’s kingdom was benefited greatly by his service over the years. He was a gifted song leader and a dedicated servant, and he was staunch in his opposition to the various false “ism’s” of the religious world, including “deludedism.” The idea behind “deludedism” is this: it doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you are honest and sincere, God will save you. What do you think? Is it a valid system of belief?

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 155/260: Read 1 Peter 2

“Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” As you scroll through social media, do these attitudes prevail?

We must not lift one category of people up above another, whether that be based on race, economic status, or fame, above others. God is concerned with character, not classification (Acts 10:34-35).

We must not tear down our brothers and sisters in Christ, ever, but especially in a public forum! If there is someone doing wrong or teaching wrong, approach them with meekness, and try to help them discover the truth (Galatians 6:1). Even if they do not accept the truth, do not insult them personally. Teach the truth and expose false doctrine, being careful that you do not attack or insult on a personal level the one behind the false doctrine.

We must not speak flippantly about spiritual things. Do not take the name of the Lord in vain. This includes the acronym, “OMG.” His hallowed name must not be treated callously or carelessly (Ephesians 4:29).

We must not defy the government when the government is not hindering us from our Christian duty. Our citizenship is first in heaven. We must obey God above all others. Obedience to God includes subjection to the powers that be (Romans 13:1-7).

Memory (Recite to a friend without looking)

Matthew 26:28. “For this is the blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

Pray

Pray for wisdom in applying these godly principles.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 154/260: Read 1 Peter 1

Peter writes, “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’”

Why are Christians different from the world? Because the child of God has “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” Those who are of the world do not have that same hope of future heavenly riches.

How are Christians different from the world? Are we making it up as we go along? Or does God provide inspired instructions of how to live holy like Him? “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.”

We live different because we have the hope of an incorruptible inheritance in eternity; we love different because we have faithfully obeyed His enduring Word.

Are you living and loving as Christ lived and loved?

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Matthew 26:28. “For this is the blood of the new ______________, which is shed for many for the ______________ of sins.”

Pray

Pray for strength through the various trials and griefs of this life; pray for guidance in living holy as God calls you to live.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 153/260: Read Matthew 28

What is your reaction to the message of the resurrection?

The women who went to the tomb and found it empty were greeted by an angel, described as one whose “countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.” He said to them, “Do not be afraid.…And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him.”

Matthew tells us that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary “went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.” Fear mingled with joy motivated these women to urgently tell others of their Lord’s resurrection.

Why should we have a sense of fear when we are teaching others the truth? Perhaps part has to do with the fate of those who reject Him and rebel against Him. There is also the thought of our own shortcomings; if we do not find some way to tell others, we have neglected our own responsibility.

However, we should never let that fear dampen the joy of the gospel message. Jesus lived a sinless life; His blood was shed for the remission of our sins; He was raised the third day and now reigns in heaven! What hope we have because of His love!

Do we feel the same urgency about spreading the message as the women in the last chapter of Matthew? If not, why not? Is it because we lack the proper fear and joy?

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Matthew 26:28. “For this is the ______________ of the new covenant, which is ______________ for many for the remission of sins.”

Pray

Pray for a greater sense of urgency in teaching the gospel; pray for a proper dose of fear and joy in the truth.