Grace to You Devotionals

Devotionals

October 17

A Psalm of Sufficiency

"The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.

"They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them Thy servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

"Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults. Also keep back Thy servant from presumptuous sins; let them not rule over me; then I shall be blameless, and I shall be acquitted of great transgression.

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer" (Ps. 19:7-14).

God’s Word addresses the soul’s every need.

King David was a man of stark contrasts. He knew the humility of shepherding a flock and the prestige of reigning over a nation. He experienced glorious triumphs and bitter defeats. He sought after God, yet also suffered immense guilt and pain from immorality and murder. That led to even his own son's seeking to take his life. Some of his psalms reflect great hope and others, despair. But through it all he continued to look to God, being assured of God's sovereignty and the sufficiency of His divine resources.

In Psalm 19 David penned the most monumental statement ever made on the sufficiency of Scripture. As we study it in the days ahead, keep in mind that every need of your soul or inmost being is ultimately spiritual, and God has supplied sufficient resources to meet those needs completely. That was David's confidence. May it be yours as well.

Suggestions for Prayer

Throughout our study of Psalm 19, ask God to give you fresh insights that will enable you appreciate and rest more fully in His gracious provisions.

For Further Study

Reread Psalm 19:1-14.

  • What terms did David use for God's Word?
  • What benefits does the Word bring to believers?
  • Are you enjoying those benefits?
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.

October 17

Yielding to God

“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace” (Romans 6:12-14).

Believers are to yield themselves to God, not to sin.

Three key words in Romans 6 define the believer’s relationship to sin: “know” (vv. 3, 6, 9), “consider” (v. 11), and “present” (v. 13). The first two speak of understanding and believing that we are dead to sin. The third demands of us active obedience in our lives based on that truth. Since we are truly dead to sin, we must not allow it to be the dominant force in our lives.

Sin is a dethroned monarch, but it is still present in this fallen world and desires to lure the believer back into its grasp. Knowing that, Paul exhorts Christians, “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts.” He says, “Sin has no right to rule; so don’t let it!” Peter echoed that thought in 1 Peter 2:11: “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul.”

How does a believer keep sin from reigning? Negatively, believers defeat sin by no longer “presenting the members of [their bodies] to sin as instruments of unrighteousness.” We must make sure that our thoughts, speech, and actions are not used for unrighteous purposes. Positively, we must yield all of our faculties to God as “instruments of righteousness.” To do both requires self-discipline—like that which Paul expressed in 1 Corinthians 9:27: “I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.”

Yield to sin, and experience chastening and sorrow; yield to God, and experience joy and blessing. Which will you choose today?

Suggestions for Prayer

Is there a part of your life (thoughts, speech, actions, habits) where sin still reigns? If so, confess it to God, and ask for His help in breaking sin’s hold in that area.

For Further Study

Memorize Romans 12:1 to help you remember the importance of yielding your body to God.

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.

October 17

Reading for Today:

  • Jeremiah 19:1–20:18
  • Psalm 119:1-8
  • Proverbs 27:13
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:1-18

Notes:

Jeremiah 20:2 struck Jeremiah. Pashur or others acting on his authority delivered 40 lashes (see Deut. 25:3) to the prophet. put him in the stocks. Hands, feet, and neck were fastened in holes, bending the body to a distorted posture, causing excruciating pain. high gate. The northern gate of the upper temple court.

Psalm 119:1–176 This longest of psalms and chapters in the Bible stands as the “Mt. Everest” of the Psalter. It joins Psalms 1 and 19 in exalting God’s Word. The author is unknown for certain, although David, Daniel, or Ezra have reasonably been suggested. The psalmist apparently wrote while under some sort of serious duress as comes through in many verses. This is an acrostic psalm (Pss. 9; 10; 25; 34; 37; 111; 112; 145) composed of 22 sections, each containing 8 lines. All 8 lines of the first section start with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet; thus the psalm continues until all 22 letters have been used in order. The 8 different terms referring to Scripture occurring throughout the psalm are: 1) law, 2) testimonies, 3) precepts, 4) statutes, 5) commandments, 6) judgments, 7) word, and 8) ordinances. From before sunrise to beyond sunset the Word of God dominated the psalmist’s life: 1) before dawn (v. 147), 2) daily (v. 97), 3) 7 times daily (v. 164), 4) nightly (vv. 55, 148), and 5) at midnight (v. 62).

1 Thessalonians 4:13 those who have fallen asleep. Sleep is the familiar New Testament euphemism for death which describes the appearance of the deceased. It describes the dead body not the soul (2 Cor. 5:1–9; Phil. 1:23). Sleep is used of Jairus’s daughter (Matt. 9:24), whom Jesus raised from the dead, and Stephen, who was stoned to death (Acts 7:60; John 11:11; 1 Cor. 7:39; 15:6, 18, 51; 2 Pet. 3:4). Those who sleep are identified in v. 16 as “the dead in Christ.” The people, in ignorance, had come to the conclusion that those who die miss the Lord’s return, and they were grieved over their absence at such a glorious event. Thus the departure of a loved one brought great anguish to the soul.

1 Thessalonians 4:18 comfort one another. The primary purpose of this passage is not to teach a scheme of prophecy, but rather to provide encouragement to those Christians whose loved ones have died. The comfort here is based on the following: 1) the dead will be resurrected and will participate in the Lord’s coming for His own; 2) when Christ comes, the living will be reunited forever with their loved ones; and 3) they all will be with the Lord eternally (v. 17).


DAY 17: How does Paul describe the return of Jesus Christ in 1 Thessalonians 4:15,16?

It is clear the Thessalonians had come to believe in and hope for the reality of their Savior’s return (1:3, 9, 10; 2:19; 5:1, 2). They were living in expectation of that coming, eagerly awaiting Christ. First Thessalonians 4:13 indicates they were even agitated about some things that might affect their participation in it. They knew Christ’s return was the climactic event in redemptive history and didn’t want to miss it. The major question they had was: “What happens to the Christians who die before He comes? Do they miss His return?” Clearly, they had an imminent view of Christ’s return, and Paul had left the impression it could happen in their lifetime. Their confusion came as they were being persecuted, an experience they thought they were to be delivered from by the Lord’s return (3:3, 4).

Paul answers by saying “the Lord Himself will descend with a shout” (v. 16). This fulfills the pledge of John 14:1–3 (Acts 1:11). Until then He remains in heaven (1:10; Heb. 1:1–3). “With the voice of an archangel.” Perhaps it is Michael, the archangel, whose voice is heard as he is identified with Israel’s resurrection in Daniel 12:1–3. At that moment, the dead rise first. They will not miss the Rapture but will be the first participants. “And with the trumpet of God.” This trumpet is illustrated by the trumpet of Exodus 19:16–19, which called the people out of the camp to meet God. It will be a trumpet of deliverance (Zeph. 1:16; Zech. 9:14).

After the dead come forth, their spirits, already with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23), now being joined to resurrected new bodies, the living Christians will be raptured, “caught up” (v. 17). This passage along with John 14:1–3 and 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52 form the biblical basis for “the Rapture” of the church.

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.

October 17 - Jesus’ Deity in His Works

“Jesus answered and was saying to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel’” (John 5:19–20).

For a mere man to claim to be God was, to the Jews, outrageous blasphemy. Therefore if they had misunderstood Him, Jesus surely would have immediately and vehemently denied making such a claim. But instead, He became even more forceful and emphatic. In the strongest possible terms, the Lord assured His hearers that what He said to them was true.

He further defended His healing on the Sabbath by tying His activities directly to those of the Father. “The Son can do nothing of Himself,” Jesus declared, “unless it is something He sees the Father doing.” He always acted in perfect harmony with and subordination to the Father’s will. Thus His works paralleled those of the Father in both their nature and extent: “for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” Christ’s statement is a clear declaration of His own divinity.

Jesus continued by declaring that the Father would show Him still greater works. His healing of the crippled man had amazed the crowds. But in obedience to the Father, Jesus predicted that He would perform even more spectacular deeds—deeds that would make His listeners marvel.

Ask Yourself

Is there any application of this principle for us—observing what the Father is doing, and then participating in those very things “in like manner”? How could this become more than a theory, shielded from human error? What would be some of the expected results from this kind of lifestyle and ministry approach?

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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