Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven
The NT reports two different forms of the expression: “the kingdom of God” and “the kingdom of the heavens.” The latter is found only in Matthew, but Matthew also has “the kingdom of God” four times (Mt 12:28; 19:24; 21:31, 43). “The kingdom of heaven” is a Semitic phrase that would have been meaningful to Jews but not to Greeks. The Jews, out of reverence for God, avoided uttering the divine name, and contemporary literature gives examples of substituting the word “heaven” for God (1 Macc 3:18, 50; 4:10; see Lk 15:18).
Elwell, Walter A., and Philip Wesley Comfort. Tyndale Bible dictionary 2001 : 775. Print. Tyndale Reference Library.
Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee
Tiberias is a city on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, in northern Israel. It was located in the Roman province of Judea. The Roman-Jewish client king Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, established the town as his capital in A.D. 20, naming it for the Roman emperor Tiberius. The city quickly became such a major population center that the Sea of Galilee soon became known by the alternate name “Sea of Tiberias.”
John 6:1, John 6:23, John 21:1, Luke 3:1
Reading of IsaiahUsually in New Testament of public reading.* After the liturgical services which introduced the worship of the synagogue, the “minister” took a roll of the law from the ark, removed its case and wrappings, and then called upon some one to read. On the Sabbaths, at least seven persons were called on successively to read portions of the law, none of them consisting of less than three verses. After the law followed a section from the prophets, which was succeeded immediately by a discourse. It was this section which Jesus read and expounded. See Acts 13:15; Neh. 8:5, 8. For a detailed account of the synagogue-worship, see Edersheim, “Life and Times of Jesus,” i., 430 sq.
25. That he may take part (λαβεῖν τὸν κλῆρον). Lit., to take the lot. But the best texts read τὸν τόπον, the place. Rev., to take the place.
By transgression fell (παρέβη). See on trespasses, Matt. 6:14. The rendering of the A. V. is explanatory. Rev., better, fell away.
His own place. Compare “the place in this ministry.” Τὸν ἴδιον, his own, is stronger than the simple possessive pronoun. It is the place which was peculiarly his, as befitting his awful sin—Gehenna.
Vincent, Marvin Richardson. Word Studies in the New Testament. Vol. 1. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887. Print.
Attitudes For Sanctification
16:12–13. Paul sent greetings jointly to Tryphena and Tryphosa, identifying them as those women who work hard (“toil”) in the Lord. Some believe they were sisters, possibly even twins. Then Persis, addressed as my dear friend (lit., “the one loved”), was another woman who has worked very hard (“toiled much”) in the Lord. Interestingly four women were said to have “worked hard” (cf. Mary, v. 6).
Whether Rufus is the same person mentioned in Mark 15:21 or not is uncertain. If so, then he, as a son of Simon of Cyrene, was a North African. Paul said Rufus was chosen in the Lord, a statement true of every believer (cf. Eph. 1:4). Consequently the word translated “chosen” may mean “eminent,” since it was given to Rufus as a statement of distinction. The greeting included Rufus’ mother who, Paul said, had also been a mother to him. Paul obviously did not say she was his actual mother, but he had been the recipient of her motherly care.
Witmer, John A. “Romans.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 500–501. Print.
Live as Servants of God
1 Peter Chapter 5
1 Peter 5:1
The term “elder” (church elders) is used frequently in the New Testament for church leaders (for example, Acts 11:30; 14:23; 1 Tim 5:17–19; Titus 1:5; 2 John 1:1; 3 John 1:1). The practice of calling church leaders “elders” was borrowed from Judaism, where the leaders, whether secular or religious, were designated by this title (compare Mark 7:3; 8:31; 11:27; 14:53; 15:1; etc.), because they would normally be chosen from the older members of the community. This element of age may also be reflected in the Christian usage of the term, but the primary component is that of leadership and not of age.
Arichea, Daniel C., and Eugene Albert Nida. A Handbook on the First Letter from Peter. New York: United Bible Societies, 1980. Print. UBS Handbook Series.
Respectful and Pure ConductExcerpt
The word “behold” in the Greek text refers to the act of viewing attentively. How carefully the unsaved watch Christians. The word “chaste” in the Greek means not only “chaste” but “pure”. The phrase “with fear” is to be understood as referring to the wives, not the husbands. It is their pure manner of life which is coupled with fear that is used of the Lord to gain these husbands. The Greek word “fear” here is used also in Ephesians 5:33 and is there translated “reverence.” The word in a connection like this means “to reverence, venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience.”
Wuest, Kenneth S. Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997. Print.
Singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord
Remember your life is to be a singing life. This world is God’s grand cathedral for you. You are to be one of God’s choristers, and there is to be a continual Eucharistic sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving going up from your heart, with which God shall be continually well pleased. And there should be not only the offering of the lips, but the surrender of the life with joy. Yes, with joy, and not with constraint. Every faculty of our nature should be presented to Him in gladsome service, for the Lord Jehovah is my song as well as my strength.
W. Hay Aitken
Hardman, Samuel G., and Dwight Lyman Moody. Thoughts for the Quiet Hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1997. Print.
November 24: The Ties that Bind
2 Kings 13:1–14:29; Galatians 4:1–31; Proverbs 7:21–27
We don’t often consider our former lives as enslavement. We characterize our lives before Christ by bad decisions and sinful patterns, but not bondage. We like to think of ourselves as neutral beings. But Paul paints another picture. The things or people we once put our trust in were the things that enslaved us. Paul asks the Galatians why they would ever want to return to bondage.
“But at that time when you did not know God, you were enslaved to the things which by nature are not gods. But now, because you have come to know God, or rather have come to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and miserable elemental spirits? Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again?” (Gal 4:8–9).
Paul tells the Galatians that turning back to the things they trusted formerly—whether the law for the Jews or spiritual beings for the Gentiles—is choosing enslavement. For us, it could be anything from thought patterns, greed, habits, people—anything we used to find value, comfort, or worth that is not God.
Before, we were subject to these things, which ruthlessly dictated our fate. Yet God didn’t leave us in this state. Paul says we “have come to know God, or rather have come to be known by God” (Gal 4:9). While we were still sinners, He broke into our spiritual bondage and broke the chains, giving us freedom and life in Christ.
We are no longer slaves with no freedom to make decisions; we are adopted as sons and daughters—we are heirs (Gal 4:7). By making this association, Paul shows the Galatians that Christ has paid the price. He also pushes them to grow up. They can’t just continue on in spiritual immaturity. Rather than trusting in the former things, they must continue in faith by being transformed by the Spirit.
What things from your life before Christ tempt you to return to spiritual bondage?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
Barry, John D., and Rebecca Kruyswijk. Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012. Print.
Direction of aspiration
Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their master, … so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God. Psalm 123:2.
This verse is a description of entire reliance upon God. Just as the eyes of the servant are riveted on his master, so our eyes are up unto God and our knowledge of His countenance is gained (cf. Isaiah 53:1. R.V.). Spiritual leakage begins when we cease to lift up our eyes unto Him. The leakage comes not so much through trouble on the outside as in the imagination, when we begin to say—‘I expect I have been stretching myself a bit too much, standing on tiptoe and trying to look like God instead of being an ordinary humble person.’ We have to realize that no effort can be too high.
For instance, you came to a crisis when you made a stand for God and had the witness of the Spirit that all was right, but the weeks have gone by, and the years maybe, and you are slowly coming to the conclusion, ‘Well, after all, was I not a bit too pretentious? Was I not taking a stand a bit too high?’ Your rational friends come and say—‘Don’t be a fool, we knew when you talked about this spiritual awakening that it was a passing impulse, you can’t keep up the strain, God does not expect you to.’ And you say—‘Well, I suppose I was expecting too much.’ It sounds humble to say it, but it means that reliance on God has gone and reliance on worldly opinion has come in. The danger is lest, no longer relying on God, you ignore the lifting up of your eyes to Him. Only when God brings you to a sudden halt, will you realize how you have been losing out. Whenever there is a leakage, remedy it immediately. Recognize that something has been coming between you and God, and get it readjusted at once.
Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year. Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986. Print.
Morning, November 24 Go To Evening Reading
“The glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams.”
— Isaiah 33:21
Broad rivers and streams produce fertility, and abundance in the land. Places near broad rivers are remarkable for the variety of their plants and their plentiful harvests. God is all this to his Church. Having God she has abundance. What can she ask for that he will not give her? What want can she mention which he will not supply? “In this mountain shall the Lord of Hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things.” Want ye the bread of life? It drops like manna from the sky. Want ye refreshing streams? The rock follows you, and that Rock is Christ. If you suffer any want it is your own fault; if you are straitened you are not straitened in him, but in your own bowels. Broad rivers and streams also point to commerce. Our glorious Lord is to us a place of heavenly merchandise. Through our Redeemer we have commerce with the past; the wealth of Calvary, the treasures of the covenant, the riches of the ancient days of election, the stores of eternity, all come to us down the broad stream of our gracious Lord. We have commerce, too, with the future. What galleys, laden to the water’s edge, come to us from the millennium! What visions we have of the days of heaven upon earth! Through our glorious Lord we have commerce with angels; communion with the bright spirits washed in blood, who sing before the throne; nay, better still, we have fellowship with the Infinite One. Broad rivers and streams are specially intended to set forth the idea of security. Rivers were of old a defence. Oh! beloved, what a defence is God to his Church! The devil cannot cross this broad river of God. How he wishes he could turn the current, but fear not, for God abideth immutably the same. Satan may worry, but he cannot destroy us; no galley with oars shall invade our river, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby.
Go To Morning Reading Evening, November 24
“Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: so shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.”
— Proverbs 24:33, 34
The worst of sluggards only ask for a little slumber; they would be indignant if they were accused of thorough idleness. A little folding of the hands to sleep is all they crave, and they have a crowd of reasons to show that this indulgence is a very proper one. Yet by these littles the day ebbs out, and the time for labour is all gone, and the field is grown over with thorns. It is by little procrastinations that men ruin their souls. They have no intention to delay for years—a few months will bring the more convenient season—to-morrow if you will, they will attend to serious things; but the present hour is so occupied and altogether so unsuitable, that they beg to be excused. Like sands from an hour-glass, time passes, life is wasted by driblets, and seasons of grace lost by little slumbers. Oh, to be wise, to catch the flying hour, to use the moments on the wing! May the Lord teach us this sacred wisdom, for otherwise a poverty of the worst sort awaits us, eternal poverty which shall want even a drop of water, and beg for it in vain. Like a traveller steadily pursuing his journey, poverty overtakes the slothful, and ruin overthrows the undecided: each hour brings the dreaded pursuer nearer; he pauses not by the way, for he is on his master’s business and must not tarry. As an armed man enters with authority and power, so shall want come to the idle, and death to the impenitent, and there will be no escape. O that men were wise be-times, and would seek diligently unto the Lord Jesus, or ere the solemn day shall dawn when it will be too late to plough and to sow, too late to repent and believe. In harvest, it is vain to lament that the seed time was neglected. As yet, faith and holy decision are timely. May we obtain them this night.
Spurgeon, Charles H. Morning and Evening: Daily Readings. Complete and unabridged; New modern edition. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006. Print.