Jesus came to finish God’s plan of salvation.

March 27, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
(John 19:30 (NIV))

Why did Jesus go to the cross?

What did He have to finish?

According to many people alive today, Jesus was concerned about social issues and equality. His own words let us know that this was not the reason for His crucifixion.

You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me
(John 12:8 (NIV))

Did Jesus come to preach acceptance of alternate lifestyles and diversity as some people now claim?

“Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

Don’t get me wrong. Jesus is concerned about social issues. He cares for the poor. He cares for the outcast. He cares for those on the edge of society. He does not care for them as the world cares. He cares for their repentance and salvation.

We all know John 3:16 by heart. What the world, and often members of the Body of Christ, forget is that this is not the complete passage. There is more to embrace.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

Jesus is the Light of the World. He walked among us to bring light, to teach God’s desires and to offer salvation through repentance. He came to seek and to save the lost! He did not accept the sin of the lost.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:9-11 (NIV))

Jesus did not come to condemn. He came to bring salvation. He had to offer an atoning sacrifice that would cover all of our sins. He had to go to the cross. He had to finish the plan for repayment of our debt in sin.

Jesus did not come to condemn. Sadly, too many people are teaching that he came to ignore our sins and as long as we call upon His name we will be saved. Jesus did not tell the woman to call on him the next time she was caught in sin. He told her to leave her life of sin. If we continue to live in our sin, we are not truly living in the Light. We are still lost in our own evils and lost in the darkness.

Jesus came to finish God’s plan of salvation. God’s plan of salvation did not keep us in our sin. It cleansed us of our sin. All we have to do is repent and accept.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Bad words

September 19, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
(James 3:9-12 (NIV))

It is sad that the words written in James are all too true.

How many times have you left a wonderful worship service only to have someone cut you off in traffic and you find yourself saying things that you know you shouldn’t?

Be honest with yourself.

How can we, as the Body of Christ, do such things? How can we expect the world to see a difference in our lives when this is the rotten fruit that our mouths produce? How can we praise God, yet curse a part of His creation?

I can hear some of the grumbling now.

You are probably thinking that God did not intend for people to behave like those who get you upset. Did God intend for you to curse someone else? How is this showing the love of Jesus?

Did Jesus ever get angry? What angered Jesus?

You may be thinking about the money changers in the temple.

Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, ” `My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a `den of robbers.’ ”
(Matthew 21:12 (NIV))

Jesus did not get angry at people for their sins against each or against God’s laws. He got angry over the fact that people took God for granted, or they did not respect God. Think of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Why did Jesus get angry with them?

In every situation in which Jesus did show anger, it is not recorded that He cursed them or blasphemed. Why do we do any different?

Think about that old question, “Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?”

With some of the things that we all let slip, do we feel worthy of praising God with the same mouth?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Reprehensible

August 15, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think about what condemnation means?

The definitions mean to blame or the state of being condemned.

Don’t you just love when a definition of a word uses the root of that word to define it. I thought that I would go ahead and look up the dictionary definition of the word “condemn” and the language is stronger than I realized. According to Merriam-Webster, “condemn” means

to declare to be reprehensible, wrong, or evil usually after weighing evidence and without reservation; to pronounce guilty

To be honest with you, using the word condemn to mean being found guilty is what I think of when I hear the word. This in and of itself is wonderful news, for we are not found guilty through our faith in Jesus. However, the first part of the definition caught me off guard!

Reprehensible

Wrong

Evil

We all like to think of ourselves as minimal sinners in that we have not murdered or stolen, yet, we are all guilty of sin. In the eyes of God, we were reprehensible. We were wrong. We were evil. The evidence weighed heavily against us and there was no hope.

What do you think of when you hear the word “reprehensible?”

Is it the most vile and foul thing that you have ever imagined?

Through our sin, that is what we were. We had no hope. Still, God loved us even in our reprehensible sin.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

Jesus did not come into this world to find us guilty of the reprehensible sins that we commit. He came, because of God’s love for us, to offer us grace and mercy. He came out of love.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Think about this. Think about your understanding of something that is reprehensible in your eyes. Would you do what Jesus did in order to save the reprehensible?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Judgment belongs only to Jesus

August 3, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:1-11 (NIV))

Then neither do I condemn you.

Can we, as the church, say the words that Jesus said and mean them?

Think about that for a moment.

It is not our place to condemn, for we are all sinners. Sometimes I think that the church forgets this. Sadly, the non-believing world sees our human faults and equates them to Jesus. How many times do you think Jesus literally shakes His head and thinks, “Will they ever learn?” I know that I have caused some of those episodes.

Just as the church forgets the part about not condemning, the non-believing world ignores that part about leaving your life of sin. To be honest with you, this is not limited just to the non-believing world. The individual members of the Body of Christ all sin. Some of us even have our own little “pet” sins. Still, we try to follow Jesus and give up our sins.

What is the difference between not leaving your sin and trying to leave your sin?

What is the difference between condemning others and reaching out to others?

What is the difference between being a witness for Christ and being a stumbling block?

When do we, as the Body of Christ, need to hold our tongues and hold our actions and when do we need to speak out?

The Body of Christ is made up of many different backgrounds and many different races. We are as different as night and day, yet we all share a common faith that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, that He died and on the third day He arose, and that He now sits at the right hand of God the Father.

We share a common faith.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Just who does the world comprise?

It is not made up of people only like you. God loves us all. He loves the sinners who have claimed redemption and He loves the sinners who have not claimed redemption. With what is going on in this country right now, the Body of Christ needs to be in prayer about what God would have us do. We need to listen to that still, small voice and be the Light that He is calling us to be.

And, we also must remember that all sins are equal in the eyes of God. And, yes, that means our own little “pet” sins.

When I think of my sins each day, I am eternally thankful for God’s grace.

It is that grace that we must be showing to the world. Don’t allow the world to shake your faith and do not judge. Judgment and condemnation is not ours to show. Judgment belongs only to Jesus.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you guilty of this?

June 4, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
(John 4:4-21 (NIV))

I love my Sunday School class!

This morning, I was leading a discussion on a new chapter in the book that we are studying, and, true to form, we got off topic. I must admit that we often get off topic, for we use the topic as a springboard for discussion and questions. The questions often lead to very interesting and deep answers. Today was no different.

I raised the question about how does society’s view and the Biblical view on Hell compare. After much discussion, someone asked a question about certain denominations claiming that those who are divorced and remarried would be going to hell. It was also asked if it is Biblical to withhold communion to these individuals.

This passage came to mind a few minutes later once the class was over.

How many husbands had the Samaritan woman had? Was she married to the man that she was living with at the time of this encounter with Jesus?

Did Jesus refrain from offering her salvation – living water – even though she was a Samaritan and a sinner in the eyes of the community?

We, as the Body of Christ, cannot place restrictions upon those who would come when Jesus did not put any restrictions on those who came to Him. We are not able to judge whether someone is worthy, for our judgment is human judgment. Only God can judge. Only Jesus can offer grace. Grace is freely given to any who would simply accept.

We, as the church, cannot put restrictions and limitations on what God has freely offered.

I can hear the thoughts that some may be thinking – that these people are sinners. I have some news for you. We all are sinners.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

How can one sinner tell another sinner that they are not worthy to receive what God has freely given?

I pray that I am not guilty of this!

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Politically correct?

April 5, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

Do you consider yourself to be politically correct?

I know that those words bring many different thoughts to light, but in the way that our society would have you believe, do you fit that definition? Do you even want to fit that definition?

Think about that in relation to the things that Jesus did while He walked among us.

Was Jesus politically correct when he ate with tax collectors? Was He politically correct when He performed the miracles that we all know? Was He politically correct in His dealings with the religious authority? Was He politically correct when He overturned the tables of the money changers in the Temple? I realize that the political climate was different then from now, but the same concept applies.

Did Jesus say that we must embrace each other’s sins because they are ok, or did He say that we must stop sinning? Why do so many people today make the false claim that Jesus did not teach that certain sins are wrong?

To use a saying that became popular a few years ago, let’s honestly think about “What would Jesus do?”

How would Jesus react to those who wish to modify His teachings in order to support their own agenda? How would Jesus react to people embracing sin because we are too worried about what people may think if we confront the sin?

Don’t get me wrong. We are to love the sinner, but hate the sin!

That does not mean to sit back and accept the sin because it is their right to sin. Think about this in relation the story of the woman caught in adultery. Did He tell her that it was ok to do what she was doing, or did He tell her to go and sin no more?

I honestly do not think that Jesus would ever be labeled politically correct.

How about you?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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