Sermon on the Mount: Christ Warns Us About Lust (Matthew 5:27-30)

Better to deprive yourself from lustful intent than to destine oneself for hell.

In the previous paragraph, Jesus warned His listeners to avoid selfish anger in one’s heart that could lead to harming another imagebearer because this affects not only love of neighbor but also one’s worship of God. The solution was to reconcile oneself with the one with whom they are angry, even if that meant pausing one worship to do so. In this paragraph, Jesus warned His listeners to avoid selfish lust in one’s heart that could lead to objectifying another imagebearer because this demonstrates not only a false love but a lack of love for neighbor and for the one who created them. The solution is to take drastic measures to remove that lustful intent from one’s heart.

Good Morning Devo for 9.30.2021: A Deadly Paycheck

Good morning! All of us at one point longed for the day where we would receive a paycheck–wages for services rendered.

All of us are sinners. Every so often, you may hear, “It takes just one sin to become a sinner.” Not so! We sin because we are sinners. That desire to move away from God’s design leads to our personal and global brokenness.

God provides the gift of rescue to eternal life. We earned our sin wage, but the salvation we have is a gift from God through what Christ accomplished on our behalf on the cross and by way of the empty tomb. He is alive, and if we have received His gracious gift, we will live as well.

Have you received God’s gift of eternal life? Go here to learn more and give your life to Christ now.

Good Morning Devo for 9.29.2021: How Will You Answer This Question?

Good morning! Like yesterday, God calls us to work out what He has worked in. All through James, we are called to live out the lessons and wisdom we’ve learned through the trials we experienced as Christians. In the previous chapter (James 3:1-12), we learn that the tongue is certainly a force to be reckoned with.

Our speech and our actions come about from what happens in our hearts and our thinking. The apostle James warns us that we are to not allow fresh water and salt water to intermingle, a picture of not allowing blessings and curses to come from our mouths. We must produce that which is pure and that can only come from pursuing His wisdom and understanding.

So who is wise and understanding? The one who trusts and treasures the fount of all wisdom and understanding.

Are you pursuing Christ with all you have or are you pursuing the wisdom and understanding that the culture embraces–well, at least embraces for now. Pursue Him who lasts!

How will you answer this question?

Good Morning Devo for 9.28.2021: Working Out What God Worked In

Good morning! We are able to work out in obedience what God has work in us in diligence. We could not work out something of this nature that God could work in.  Again, only God can work in our salvation.   The pit was too deep and too dark for us to escape.  The waves were about to wash us under.  Our sin was as an avalanche ready to bury us, with no way for us to tunnel our way out.

But God has worked in us.  We can only obey him well because of His work in us.  We can only love each other, as Paul called the Philippian church his ‘beloved,’ because of the love God first worked in us (1 John 4:19).  And look at that little prepositional phrase.  Paul did not simply God would work in the world, or that God would work in the church (although in other places he has indicated this work in other places), but the Word says, “it is God who works in you.”  

What has God worked in you? Praise Him for what He’s done and tell others! That’s another incredible way to work out what God has worked in!

Good Morning Devo for 9.27.2021: Where Do I Find This Perfect Peace?

Good morning! Peace–what a longed-for reality in our broken world. So many believe that peace is an absence of war. For the Christian, that will certainly happen one day, for we know how the story ends (Revelation 21-22–if you want to go ahead and read that, feel free! I’ll wait!).

Yet, the peace to which Isaiah refers in the song sung in Isaiah 26 is not an outward peace filled with truces and treaties, but a peace based upon reconciliation between a sinful humanity and a holy God. The reason for the plethora of anxieties and depressions is a lack of peace that is based in eternity. Peace grounded here in time is fleeting, for another issue stemming from our brokenness will arise in short order.

The Spirit reminds us to keep our mind “stayed” on him based upon a trust in (dare we say, a treasure of) Christ. Do you treasure Christ? Or have other treasures served as a substitute? If the latter, then that fulfillment is fleeting. If the former, that fulfillment is foundational to all else that comes your way.

Have you trusted in and treasured Christ as your Savior–as your all in all? If not, come to Christ! Surrender your brokenness to Him. By the bloody cross and the empty tomb, he will give you that everlasting peace based upon the everlasting rock (26:4).

Spurgeon Saturday: The Roaring Lion

Photo by Petr Ganaj on Pexels.com

SATAN, who is called by various names in the Scriptures, all descriptive of his bad qualities, was once an angel of God, perhaps one of the chief among the fiery ones —

“Foremost of the sons of light,
Midst the bright ones doubly bright.”

Sin, all-destroying sin, which has made an Aceldama out of Eden, soon found inhabitants for hell in heaven itself, plucking one of the brightest stars of the morning from its sphere, and quenching it in blackest night. From that moment this evil spirit, despairing of all restoration to his former glories and happiness, has sworn perpetual hostility against the God of heaven. He has had the audacity openly to attack the Creator in all his works. He stained creation. He pulled down man from the throne of glory and rolled him in the mire of depravity. With the trail of the serpent he despoiled all Eden’s beauty, and left it a waste that bringeth forth thorns and briers, a land that must be tilled with the sweat of one’s face. Not content with that; in as much as he had spoiled the first creation, he has incessantly attempted to despoil the second. Man, once made in the image of God, he soon ruined; now he uses all his devices, all his craft, all the power of his skill, and all the venom of his malice to destroy twice-made man, created in the image of Christ Jesus, and with ceaseless toil and untiring patience, he is ever occupied in endeavouring to crush the seed of the woman. There is no believer in Christ, no follower of that which is true and lovely, and of good repute, who will not find himself, at some season or other, attacked by this foul fiend and the legions enlisted in his service. Now, behold your adversary. Yea, though ye cannot see his face, or detect his form, believe that such a foe withstands you. It is not a myth, nor a dream, nor a superstitious imagination. He is as real a being as ourselves. Though a spirit, he has as much real power over hearts as we have over the hearts of others; nay, in many cases far more. This is, I repeat it, no vision of the night; no phantom of a disordered brain. That wicked one is as sternly real this day as when Christ met him in deadly conflict in the wilderness of temptation. Believers now have to fight with Apollyon in the valley of Humiliation. Woe to the professors of godliness who are defeated by this deadly antagonist; they will find it a terrible reality in the world to come. Against this prince of darkness we utter afresh this morning the warning of the apostle, “Whom resist stedfast in the faith.”

Spurgeon, “The Roaring Lion,” MTP 7:419 (1861).

Keep Your Eyes on What Matters: Good Morning Devo for 9.24.2021

September 24 (JPG)

Good morning! In the greatest sermon ever preached (the Sermon on the Mount) by the greatest preacher who ever preached, Jesus told his listeners, “Seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). When Jesus came, the kingdom of God was central to his mission. At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus told his followers, “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). So what is this Kingdom that we are to seek? What kingdom are we to turn from in our repentance? What kingdom are we to believe in, or more importantly to treasure? Jesus tells us to seek his kingdom, we must know what we are seeking.

This was not the first time he mentioned the Kingdom in the Sermon on the Mount.  In what is known as the Model Prayer, Jesus prayed, “Your kingdom come; your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).  In Matthew 6:24, Jesus warned the listeners, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and espies the other. You cannot serve God and money”—or material possessions or the material order. In our contemporary culture (even in the church, mind you), many struggle with the notion of any sort of kingship or authority is rejected. In reading a book on the kingdom of God by Stephen Um, he quoted a postmodernist thinker Don Cupitt who declared, “The age of authority of grand institutions, of legitimating myths, and capital T-truth, is over.”

Yet, did Cupitt not make a declaration with authority, thus negating his own statement? Many of us wish to run our own lives from within and reject any authority from without. Yet, when one reads the Scriptures, we see through all 66 books written over the span of 1500 years by 40 different authors one common thread: the rule of God in His Kingdom. From the boundaries and rules he established pre-Fall in the Garden of Eden when God commanded man to be caretakers and stewards of the earth (Genesis 1:27-28; Genesis 2:15), to the giving of the covenant to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 17), to the giving of the Law (Exodus 20:1-17) to the establishing of the kingship through king David (2 Samuel 7:13-14), to the sending of the prophets to preach not only about God’s present rule but about the Messianic rule to come in the person of Jesus. Each of these steps were just that, steps—steps to bring about God’s ultimate rule in the person of His Son.

In his book The Gospel of the Kingdom, George Eldon Ladd noted:

The Hebrew-Christian faith expressed its hope in terms of the Kingdom of God. This Biblical hope is not in the same category as the dreams of the Greek poets but is at the very heart of revealed religion. The Biblical idea of the Kingdom of God is deeply rooted in the Old Testament and is grounded in the confidence that there is one eternal, living God who has revealed Himself to men and who has a purpose for the human race which He has chosen to accomplish through Israel.

George Eldon Ladd, The Gospel of the Kingdom: Scriptural Studies in the Kingdom of God (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1959), 14

Why this beckoning for God’s kingdom to come and for us to seek this Kingdom in the meantime? By seeking the kingdom of God first, Jesus is calling us to take our eyes off the kingdom of this world that can and often does occupy our hearts and minds.

Matthew R. Perry, Ph.D., serves as Lead Pastor of Arapahoe Road Baptist Church, Centennial, CO

Good Morning Devo for 9.23.2021: The Rich Table of the Humble Saint

September 23 (JPG)

Good morning! Henry Law helps us understand this verse:

Heavenly counsels call us to know by glad experience the goodness of the Lord. The cup is brought to our very lips. We are invited to exhaust these waters of delight. The strongest in their strength may suffer famine; but all abundance of real food is the rich table of the humble saint.

Do you have a relationship with Christ so you not only know about Him but also know Him? The Apostle Paul tells us the need to know Him:

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

The Apostle Paul, Philippians 3:7-12

The Apostle Peter adds to this:

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

The Apostle Peter, 1 Peter 2:1-3

Have you tasted and seen that the Lord is good? Then you will put away that which does not belong to Him. Trust in Christ–you will certainly see then how good the Triune God is.

Good Morning Devo for 9.22.2021: Adversity Does Not Mean God is Absent

September 22 (JPG)

Good morning! God never promised an absence from trouble, but ultimate deliverance in the midst of them. In 2 Timothy 3:12, we see, “All those who live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Jesus even calls those who are persecuted “blessed” because they are in a long line of faithful ones who endured persecution and derision for the cause of Christ.

One of the strangest verses (at least to our ears) is that from 1 Corinthians 16. The Corinthian church begged him to come stay with him. Here’s Paul’s answer.

But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

The Apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 16:8-9

Henry Law in his wonderful commentary on Psalm 34 noted:

Jesus at once appears. We learn from this particular, to seek Him throughout these hymns. He never is far distant from the eye of faith. When He was lifted up on the cross, the soldiers drew near to break His legs; but He was marvelously dead, and so they touched Him not. He drank to the dregs the cup of sorrow; but sorrow issued in eternal joy.

Adversity does not mean God is absent. Look to the cross. The suffering Christ endured was part of God’s plan to rescue His imagebearers from their own sin and brokenness.

Have you been rescued? If you have, you know His nearness even in adversity. If you have not, come to Christ and know that, regardless of whether you are on the mountain or the valley, He will be with you!