Grace to You Devotionals

GTY Devotionals

July 5

Union with Christ

"You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house" (1 Pet. 2:5).

Christ is your life, and you are an integral part of what He is accomplishing in the world.

The Jewish culture of Peter's time centered on the Temple in Jerusalem. Apparently drawing from that picture, Peter used vivid language to teach that God no longer dwells in an earthly, material, temporal house, but in a spiritual house. Christ is the cornerstone, and the spiritual house He is building is comprised of individual believers.

That analogy introduces us to the first spiritual privilege Christians enjoy: union with Christ Himself. That makes Christianity utterly unique among religions. Buddhists are not said to be in Buddha. Muslims are not in Muhammad. A Confucianist is not in Confucius. Only Christians are united with and receive their spiritual life from the object of their worship.

When you came to Christ, the living stone, you also became a living stone yourself. You possess His resurrection life and draw from His spiritual resources. That's what Peter meant when he said that God "has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature" (2 Pet. 1:4).

Ephesians 2:19-22 adds, "You are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit." Christ is the cornerstone of the church, built on the foundation of biblical truth, which is the divine revelation given through the apostles and prophets. Rejoice in the privilege of being united with Christ and learning from His Word!

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for selecting you as one of His spiritual stones. Seek His wisdom and grace in living each day to His glory.

For Further Study

Read Acts 17:24, 1 Timothy 3:15, and Hebrews 3:6, noting what they teach about God's spiritual house.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

July 5

Hope of Glory

“We exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint” (Romans 5:2-5).

God promises all believers that one day they will receive Christ’s glory.

The security that every believer desires in his or her salvation is founded on the very fact that God is the author of salvation—every aspect of it is solely His work, and thus it cannot be lost. The final piece of God’s great work is the ultimate glorification of every Christian: “Whom [God] foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Rom. 8:29-30).

This third link in the chain that eternally binds believers to Christ completes the three aspects of salvation. Paul already established that salvation is anchored in the past because Christ made peace with God. It is anchored in the present because Christ continually intercedes for every believer and establishes our standing in grace. Here Paul proclaims that salvation is also anchored in the future because God promises His children that one day they will be clothed with the glory of His Son.

The Greek word for “exult” in Romans 5:2 refers to jubilation and rejoicing. Every believer ought to rejoice in the future rather than fearing it, because Jesus Christ secured the hope that his ultimate destiny is to share in the very glory of God. Christ is the guarantee of our hope because He Himself is our hope (1 Tim. 1:1).

We also have another reason to rejoice in the hope of glory: our tribulations contribute to our present blessing and ultimate glory. Paul states in Romans 5:3-5 that our afflictions for Christ’s sake produce increasing levels of maturity in handling the trials of life. As you continue to pursue holiness, the more you will be persecuted and troubled, but the greater will be your hope as you see God sustain you through His all-powerful grace.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to give you His perspective on your trials and show you how to focus on your future glory in the process.

For Further Study

Read Matthew 5:10-12; Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 4:17; and 1 Peter 4:19.

  • How should you view your trials?
  • When they come, what should you do?
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

July 5

Reading for Today:

  • 2 Chronicles 5:1–6:42
  • Psalm 79:11-13
  • Proverbs 20:13-14
  • Acts 13:1-25

Notes:

2 Chronicles 5:13,14 the glory of the LORD. The Lord’s presence indwelt the temple and the first service of worship was held. In the same manner He descended on the tabernacle (Ex. 40:34–38). He will do likewise on the millennial temple (Ezek. 43:1–5). His glory is representative of His Person (Ex. 33), and entering the temple signified His presence.

Acts 13:6 Paphos. The capital of Cyprus and thus the seat of the Roman government. It also was a great center for the worship of Aphrodite (Venus), and thus a hotbed for all kinds of immorality. a certain sorcerer…a Jew. “Sorcerer” is better translated “magician.” Originally it carried no evil connotation, but later was used to describe all kinds of practitioners and dabblers in the occult. This particular magician put his knowledge to evil use.

Acts 13:15 reading of the Law and the Prophets. The reading of the Scriptures. This occupied the third part in the liturgy of the synagogue, after the recitation of the shema (Deut. 6:4) and further prayers, but before the teaching, which was usually based on what had been read from the Scriptures. rulers of the synagogue. Those who had general oversight of the synagogue, including designating who would read from the Scriptures.

Acts 13:22 a man after My own heart. Some would question the reality of this designation for David since he proved to be such a sinner at times (1 Sam. 11:1–4; 12:9; 21:10–22:1). No man after God’s own heart is perfect; yet he will recognize sin and repent of it, as did David (Pss. 32; 38; 51).


DAY 5: How does Acts 13 mark a change in the Book of Acts?

Chapter 13 marks a turning point in Acts in that the first 12 chapters focus on Peter while the remaining chapters revolve around Paul. With Peter, the emphasis is the Jewish church in Jerusalem and Judea; with Paul, the focus is the spread of the Gentile church throughout the Roman world, which began at the church in Antioch. In this church were certain “prophets” (v. 1). These men had a significant role in the apostolic church (1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 2:20).They were preachers of God’s Word and were responsible in the early years of the church to instruct local congregations. On some occasions, they received new revelation that was of a practical nature (11:28; 21:10), a function that ended with the cessation of the temporary sign gifts.Their office was also replaced by pastor-teachers and evangelists (Eph. 4:11).

The leaders in the church in Antioch “ministered to the Lord” (v. 2). This is from a Greek word which in Scripture describes priestly service. Serving in leadership in the church is an act of worship to God and consists of offering spiritual sacrifices to Him, including prayer, oversight of the flock, plus preaching and teaching the Word. And they “fasted.” This is often connected with vigilant, passionate prayer (Neh. 1:4; Ps. 35:13; Dan.9:3; Matt. 17:21; Luke 2:37) and includes either a loss of desire for food or the purposeful setting aside of eating to concentrate on spiritual issues (Matt. 6:16, 17).

While they worshiped, the Holy Spirit issued the first missionary outreach: “Separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (v. 2). Saul and Barnabas chose to begin their missionary outreach in Cyprus because it was Barnabas’s home, which was only a two-day journey from Antioch and had a large Jewish population. Here Paul established the custom of preaching to the Jews first whenever he entered a new city because he had an open door, as a Jew, to speak and introduce the gospel. Also, if he preached to Gentiles first, the Jews would never have listened to him.

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

July 5 - Discerning False Prophets: Seeing Their Converts

“‘Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits’” (Matthew 7:19–20).

We can spot false prophets by the kind of people they attract. Their converts will have the same kind of superficial, self-centered, unbiblical orientation as they do. Of this sort of attraction Peter says, “Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned” (2 Peter 2:2). Many folks gravitate to false teachers because those men propagate what the majority of people want to hear and believe (cf. 2 Tim. 4:3).

God has not ordained false prophets, but within His will He allows them to exist. And it is within His purpose that false factions develop. “For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you” (1 Cor. 11:19). Factions often attract followers of false teachers. And in a sense, this protects genuine saints by separating the chaff from the wheat in the church.

Ultimately, the Lord makes sure that the converts of false prophets, who do not bear good fruit, get cut down and thrown into the fire of judgment. Peter says they are “bringing swift destruction upon themselves” (2 Peter 2:1; cf. Jer. 23:30–40; John 15:2, 6). A watchful, discerning, vigilant believer, armed with the Word of truth, will be able to isolate false teachers and withdraw from them, because he or she “will know them by their fruits.”

Ask Yourself

Discussions like these often get us labeled as haughty and narrow-minded. How do you handle these kinds of accusations? Why will some people never understand your concern for the church’s purity?

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, www.moodypublishers.com.

Del libro La Verdad para Hoy de John MacArthur DERECHOS DE AUTOR © 2001 Utilizado con permiso de Editorial Portavoz, www.portavoz.com
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