Grace to You Devotionals

Devotionals

July 19

Receiving Compassion

"You once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy" (1 Pet. 2:10).

Because of God’s compassion, He withholds the just punishment of your sin.

Hosea had a unique role among the prophets. God used him and his adulterous wife, Gomer, as living illustrations of His love for unfaithful Israel. When Gomer gave birth to a daughter, the Lord told Hosea to name her Lo-ruhamah, which means "No mercy," because His mercy for Israel would soon come to an end. When Gomer later gave birth to a son, the Lord said to call him Lo-ammi, which means "Not mine," for He no longer considered Israel His people. Yet He offered this hope, saying, "It will come about that, in the place where it is said to them, 'You are not My people,' it will be said to them, 'You are the sons of the living God'" (Hos. 1:10).

In our Scripture for today, Peter applied that Old Testament text to the New Testament church, just as Paul did in Romans 9:25-26: "I will call those who were not My people, 'My people,' and her who was not beloved, 'Beloved.' And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people,' there they shall be called sons of the living God." God rejected unbelieving Israel, but extended His compassion to anyone willing to trust in Christ. It is particularly true that Gentiles in the church were once not the people of God, but now have received mercy and are God's beloved children.

God's mercy includes His general providential care for all mankind, but Hosea, Peter, and Paul were speaking of His special compassion—first in salvation, then in daily blessings—for those who belong to Him. By it He withholds the punishment we deserve for our sins and grants us His lovingkindness instead.

As you reflect on God's mercy in your own life, let Psalm 136:1 be the song of your heart: "O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever" (KJV).

Suggestions for Prayer

Memorize Psalm 59:16-17. Recite it often in praise to the Lord.

For Further Study

What do these verses teach about God's mercy: Psalm 103:11, 2 Corinthians 1:3, and Titus 3:5?

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 19

Discernment Between Truth and Error

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world” (1 John 4:1-3).

God’s children are able to discern false doctrine.

A sure mark of every false religious system is doctrinal error, particularly about the Person and work of Jesus Christ. Those systems deny that He is Savior and Lord, God in human flesh, the only way to the Father (John 14:6) because salvation comes only through Him (Acts 4:12).

A sure mark, then, of all true children of God is that they believe the truth about Jesus Christ and do not deviate into doctrinal error. Although they may be temporarily duped by false teaching, they will not be permanently deceived by it. The apostle John wrote, “[False teachers] are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:5-6).

When you were saved, you were clear about who Christ was. “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ,” writes John, “is born of God” (1 John 5:1). Had you not passed that doctrinal test, you wouldn’t have been saved. God’s children distinguish spiritual truth from doctrinal error because the Spirit of truth (John 14:16) indwells them.

“O Timothy,” Paul exhorted his beloved son in the faith, “guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’” (1 Tim. 6:20). I pray that you will guard the precious treasure of truth entrusted to you in the Scriptures and so assure your heart that you belong to the God of truth.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for revealing His truth to us in the Bible.

For Further Study

Read John 1:1; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 2:9. What do they teach about the Person of Christ?

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 19

Reading for Today:

  • 2 Chronicles 34:1–36:23
  • Psalm 86:1-5
  • Proverbs 21:13-14
  • Acts 21:1-17

Notes:

2 Chronicles 35:3 the holy ark. The ark of the covenant which was to remain in the Most Holy Place had been removed, probably by Manasseh who set a carved image in its place (33:7). The law for the carrying of the ark during the tabernacle days, when it was portable, called for poles to be place through rings on the sides and Levites (Kohathites) to carry it by the poles without touching it (Ex. 25:14, 15). Now that the temple was built and the ark had a permanent place, it no longer needed to be transported in the old way.

Chronicles 35:21 God commanded me. Necho is referring to the true God—whether he had a true revelation or not is unknown. Josiah had no way to know either, and it is apparent he did not believe that Necho spoke the word of God. There is no reason to assume his death was punishment for refusing to believe. He probably thought Necho was lying and, once victorious with Assyria over Babylon, they would together be back to assault Israel.

2 Chronicles 36:11–21 The reign of Zedekiah, a.k.a. Mattaniah (ca. 597–586 B.C.). Jeremiah prophesied during this reign (Jer. 1:3) and wrote Lamentations to mourn the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 586 B.C. Ezekiel received his commission during this reign (Ezek. 1:1) and prophesied from 592 B.C. to his death in 560 B.C.

Acts 21:2 finding a ship…Phoenicia. Realizing he would never reach Jerusalem in time for Pentecost if he continued to hug the coast, Paul decided to risk sailing directly across the Mediterranean Sea to Tyre (v. 3).The ship they embarked on would have been considerably larger than the small coastal vessels on which they had been sailing. The ship that later took Paul on his ill-fated voyage to Rome held 276 people (27:37); this one was probably of comparable size.

Acts 21:9 virgin daughters. That they were virgins may indicate that they had been called by God for special ministry (1 Cor. 7:34).The early church regarded these women as important sources of information on the early years of the church. prophesied. Luke does not reveal the nature of their prophecy. They may have had an ongoing prophetic ministry or prophesied only once. Since women are not to be preachers or teachers in the church (1 Cor. 14:34–36; 1 Tim. 2:11, 12), they probably ministered to individuals.


DAY 19: Why did Paul not heed all the warnings about going to Jerusalem?

The church in Tyre had been founded by some of those who fled Jerusalem after Stephen’s martyrdom (Acts 11:19)—a persecution Paul himself had spearheaded. When Paul arrived there, the disciples there told Paul “to not to go up to Jerusalem” (21:4). This was not a command from the Spirit for Paul not to go to Jerusalem. Rather, the Spirit had revealed to the believers at Tyre that Paul would face suffering in Jerusalem. Understandably, they tried to dissuade him from going there. Paul’s mission to Jerusalem had been given him by the Lord Jesus (20:24); the Spirit would never command him to abandon it.

Later, a prophet named Agabus (11:28) met Paul in Caesarea. Although it was located in Judea, the Jews considered Caesarea, seat of the Roman government, to be a foreign city. Old Testament prophets sometimes acted out their prophecies (1 Kin. 11:29–39; Is. 20:2–6; Jer. 13:1–11; Ezek. 4; 5), and Agabus’s action of binding his hands and feet with Paul’s belt foreshadowed Paul’s arrest and imprisonment by the Romans (Acts 21:11).Though falsely accused by the Jews (vv. 27, 28), Paul was arrested and imprisoned by the Romans (vv. 31–33).

Hearing these warnings, it is not surprising that both Paul’s friends (Luke and the others traveling with him) and the Caesarean Christians pleaded with Paul to not go. Paul’s response is to say, “I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (v. 13). Jesus’ name represents all that He is. That said from Paul, his friends response was, “The will of the Lord be done” (v. 14)—a confident expression of trust that God’s will is best (1 Sam. 3:18; Matt. 6:10; Luke 22:42; James 4:13–15).

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 19 - Jesus’ Reality Check on Salvation

“‘I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’” (Matthew 8:11–12).

Jesus’ words to the Jews in Capernaum shattered their proud spiritual worldview, contradicting everything the rabbis had taught about salvation. Their apocryphal literature pictured a great heavenly feast in which only Jews would be present in the end.

Jesus, however, drastically revised that scene and declared that many Gentiles would be included and many Jews excluded. His Jewish listeners thought they still had exclusive possession of God’s kingdom promises and privileges. But because many of them rejected Messiah when He came, they disqualified themselves from salvation blessings and destined themselves to the condemnation of outer darkness. (Part of the frightening supernatural quality of hell is that it is a place of pain, torment, and fire that lasts for eternity in total darkness—a combination not found in the present world.)

The Jews enjoyed many blessings (Rom. 3:1–2), but being physical descendants of Abraham did not guarantee salvation. True salvation is for all who are children of Abraham’s spiritual faith, those whom God adopts as His children (Rom. 8:14–17; Gal. 3:7–9, 26–29). When many Jews, especially the leaders, rejected Jesus as Messiah, they proved they were not true, spiritual children of Abraham, but actually children of the devil (John 8:42–44). As such, Jesus in effect said, they forfeited God’s promised blessings and any hopes of entering heaven, unless they repented. That was the radical, sobering clarification Christ brought to the Jews’ profound misunderstanding of the nature of salvation.

Ask Yourself

Again, we must look within to isolate any self-righteous tendencies that place others in categories and inflate our inherent worth before God. Ask Him to bring such sins of pride and presumption to the surface, where they can be identified and disposed of.

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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