Tuesday, January 31, 2017

1 Corinthians 5

When we accepted Christ, we had been freed from sinful ways and Satanic influences. But Paul noticed a blatant abuse of freedom by the Corinthians inside the church for allowing the sins of sexual immorality, that a man has his father's wife (v1). His two alternative options in dealing with this case are; deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh (v5), or not to keep company with such kind of person (v9). The intent of Paul was for the salvation not only of the sexually immoral person, but also of the Corinthian church. In the gospel, Jesus said that if your eyes causes you to sin, pluck it out, or your right hand, cut it off. It means that we should remove those things, or parts, or people that may cause us to be judged and be cast in eternal fire of hell on the final judgment. If Christ will not reign in our lives, the devil will come to reign over our homes. The bad influence of an evil person is very mischievous; it spreads far and wide. Therefore, purge out the old leaven (sin), because the sacrifice of Christ as our Passover Lamb had made us whole and holy. God bless.

Monday, January 30, 2017

1 Corinthians 4

Both Jews and Christians are chosen people, God's servants, and have honorable place in the heart of God. They are stewards of God's mysteries, example: the word of God, the kingdom of God, mission, etc. However, they are required by God to be faithful to this task. It is a comfort that men are not our final judges, but God who can see both the outward and inward being of a person. There is a day that He will bring all secret sins into open, and all things shall be discovered, good or bad. Praise God for Jesus, who will erase our sins through His blood. In this world, Christians are considered fool, weak, dishonorable, persecuted, defamed, and being accused of all kinds of evil (v10-12). But in the eyes of God, we are the wise, strong, honorable, beloved, protected and righteous. It is true that Christians may commit mistakes and differ in their views, but the most important things is the virtue of mercy and forgiveness. Jesus said that no one is good because all have sinned against God, but through the Spirit of God, we can strengthen our ourselves one with another. God bless.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

1 Corinthians 3

The Corinthians had much doctrinal knowledge, gifted by the  Holy Spirit, yet mere beginners in the life of faith and experience. Contentions and quarrel within the religious group are sad evidences of carnality and worldliness. But, we must understand that we have specific roles in the body of Christ; while some planted the church, others watered it, but only the Lord gave the increase. We have different gifts from the Holy Spirit in promoting the cause of Christ, and the most faithful shall have the best reward, while the unfaithful shall be judged to the everlasting darkness. Paul claimed that he was a master-builder, and the grace of God made him such (v10). All Christians are builders too, because we are building up our own faith individually. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit! Christ should be our foundation because He alone is the immovable Rock. His teaching is true and His gospel is able to bring us to eternity. Therefore let us avoid carnal wisdom that does not promote the cause of Jesus Christ, but study and obey the Word of God and the ways of Christ. He is the Lord over us, and we must submit cheerfully to His dominion. God bless.

Friday, January 27, 2017

1 Corinthians 2

Paul continued to compare the wisdom that comes from the Lord and the wisdom of this world. The wisdom of the Lord is a divine revelation through the Holy Spirit (v10), a mystery, hidden to all men in all generations. While the wisdom of this world can be learned from schools and learning institutions. The natural man or those people without the Spirit of God cannot understand the wisdom of God, for they are foolishness to them, and will never appreciate the study of the Bible. But those who receive Christ as Lord and Savior, having enlightened by the Holy Spirit shall be given spiritual understanding by the Holy Spirit. Faith in Christ and in His Words is necessary in order to obtain spiritual wisdom, otherwise a person shall be lost forever. Paul and all followers of Jesus Christ were not guided by wordy principles, they have the revelation from the Spirit of God. The saving faith that they declared in plain and simple language is different from the enticing words of men's wisdom. Since we have already Spirit of God in us, it also means that we have the mind of Christ, so let us use His wisdom in every action that we made. God bless.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

1 Corinthians 1

Believers in Christ are called by God to be saints (v2). The Greek word is 'hagiois' which means to be holy and separated from the evil ways of this world. The church in Corinth is a mixed congregation; Jews and Gentiles. Paul had to contend with many superstitious beliefs and sinful conduct of other members, so that they may be united as they move forward to fulfill the mission of Christ. Greece was said to be the intellectual capital of the world at the time, and some members pretend to be wiser and learned. They used the wisdom of this world instead of the wisdom of the Lord in administering the church and handling some spiritual things. Paul said that God is not impressed with human being's educational advancement, because they are only foolishness to Him. In fact, God has chosen the simple people of this world to put to shame the so called 'philosopher, wise men and noble' (v27). The message of the cross will remain forever and no one can change this as the way of God for humanity's eternal salvation. Christ is our wisdom, and apart from Him, human being will be forever lost in this dark and corrupted world. God bless.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Romans 16

As Paul ends this epistle, he did mention several names in the church of Rome and sends salutations to each one with their particular characters. He recommends Phebe to the brethren, and encourages everyone to help one another in their affairs, like Pricilla and Aquila, who had risked they necks for the sake of faith in Christ. Then he urged the brethren to avoid and take note of those people that cause division and offenses contrary to the teaching of Christianity. They are not true followers of Christ, but serving their carnal and sensual personal interest (v16). These people corrupt the mind of some believers by deceiving the heart, perverting the truth, and focusing on emotion and not in the obedience to the word of God. Be wise as not to be deceived, because our goal is victory, crushing Satan under our feet (v20). Finally, Paul declared that the gospel is given to proclaim to all nations; not to be disputed about, but to be submitted to. We are called for special purpose, and our faith and wisdom is a grace from the Lord Jesus Christ who is with us forever. God bless.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Romans 15

The Christians' role is to please their neighbors and win them to Christ, not to judge and criticize their non-biblical beliefs. The Bible or Scriptures are written for our use and benefit, a precious gift of God. The goal is to encourage the believers by showing the character of Christ as meek and lowly in spirit, the same disposition ought to mark the conduct of all His servants. The great end in all our service must be, that God may be glorified, not that people may be stumbled. And for this reason, the Gentiles (unbelievers) should praise God through our godly and gentle actions. Through Christ, our sacrifices and offerings to God may be acceptable because they had been sanctified by the Holy Spirit (v16). Remember that whatever good deeds we do, it is Christ who does it by us. But let us not forget our connection with the Jewish people, that if we have shared in their spiritual blessings, we owe it to the Jews to share with them our material blessings (v27). Let us be earnest in prayer with each other, that for Christ's sake, and by the love of the Holy Spirit, great blessings may come upon the souls of all Christians, and the labors of ministers. God bless.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Romans 14

Christians are free from evil forces, but let not Christian fellowship be disturbed with strifes of words and rebellious spirit. Let us not despise the brethren who were new in the word of God, and weak in faith. But rather, let us use words of encouragement so that the name of Jesus maybe glorified, and the brethren edified. Though some are weak and others are strong, yet all believers must agree not to live to themselves alone. The concerns of our lives is not to please ourselves, but to please God. That is true faith; all are looking, serving and approving one another which makes Christ all in all. Let every one search his own heart and life, because each of us shall give account to God (v12). Christ deals gently with those who are gentle, therefore our great concern is to appear before God justified by Christ's death, sanctified by the Spirit of His grace. Humility and self-denial bring peace, and we cannot edify one another while contending and quarreling. Enjoy the blessing of God, but do not trouble others by a wrong use of it. God bless.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Romans 13

The grace of the gospel teaches the believers submission and quiet life, where pride and the carnal mind only see causes for murmuring and discontent. God ordained all powers and authorities, and we are being encouraged to submit and obey them. It tells that the godly people in this world will always find the quiet and peaceable living wherever they are. As Christians, we are to avoid useless spending, and be careful not to contract in any aimless debt. But exercise love, for it is a living and active principle of obedience to the whole law. Consider our past life with present, and let us mind our present way that are nearer on our journey's end. Therefore, cast off the sinful works of darkness and put on the armor of light to secure the souls from Satan's temptation and the wicked acts in this world. Let's put on the Lord Jesus to rule our lives, so that we can walk and obey the divine rules of the kingdom of God. Be blessed.

Romans 12

After pages and volumes of doctrinal discussions, Paul encourages the Christians to present their bodies to God as living sacrifice, in opposition to dead animal sacrifice in the Old Testament period. What God requires are not dead offerings but living sacrifice, alive in Spirit, holy people, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. In serving God, we must use the spiritual gifts that the Lord gave us as members of the body of Christ. What are your spiritual gifts? Use them for the glory of God and edification of the members of the church. Don't hide them, don't misuse and abuse them, but utilize them for the glory of God. As Christians, it is our responsibilities to propagate the things that Jesus had taught and started; to love people even the unloveable. After all, that is the true meaning of being a Christian. God bless.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Romans 11

God has not rejected His own people, because God had made a covenant with Abraham in ancient time and this would be forever. Though many Israelites had rejected the plan of God, Paul said that there is a remnant or a small group of people who had righteousness and life by faith in Jesus Christ. These were kept by God according to the election of grace. And because the Israelites had ignored God's plan, salvation has come to the Gentiles (v11). Some of the natural branches were cut off, so that wild branches may be grafted in. The Gentiles were grafted into this tree in their room; being admitted into the church of God. Now that the Gentiles had been admitted in the house of God, the warning to them is not to be arrogant but fear God.  They ought to beware of self-confidence and all kinds of pride or ambition, or else they shall forfeit their privileges from the Lord. We stand by faith in Christ, and this faith should be demonstrated with humility. Thanks be to God for saving us not because we are worthy and good people, but He is merciful and loving Savior. God bless.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Romans 10

Paul's desire to his people is salvation through faith in Christ Jesus, but they refused to come to Him for the free gift. They sought God's salvation by establishing their own way and had not submitted to the way of the Lord (vv3). When we speak of receiving Christ, it means we received the words or the commands of Jesus, and lived by them (v5). The Bible is clear that whoever believed in Christ shall not be put to shame, whether Jews and Gentiles. So, we must devote and give up our souls and bodies to God; our souls in believing with the heart, and our bodies in confessing with the mouth. It is necessary that the gospel should be preached to all, because how they shall believe in Him if they have not heard. The beginning, progress, and strength of faith is by hearing and it is only by hearing the word, because the word of God will strengthen the faith. Thanks be to God for sending the message of grace to the people of the world, and to His servants and missionaries who had obeyed the Lord willingly to expand His kingdom. God bless.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Romans 9

Israel had rejected Jesus as their Messiah, but it does not mean that God had failed on His plan. Paul said that not all children of Israel are true Israelites, like Abraham who had two sons, Isaac and Ishmael. The promise was not given to both sons, but only for Isaac. This is the same thing that not all Christians are true Christians, but only those with Spirit of God. Salvation cannot be done by one's own efforts, but by the grace of God to the people whom He had chosen, and we cannot question God about this plan (v20). Now, if we say we are Christians, there must be growth and changes in our lives, and new things should happen as the result of God's grace and provisions. Paul is clear that though the people of Israel are as numerous as the sand of the seashore, only a remnant will be saved (v27). This is also true to Christianity, that many are professing to be Christians, but only a remnant will be saved. So, let us continue to love the Lord and obey His commands. God bless.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Romans 8

The suffering of Christ at the cross is God's demonstration that men can be pardoned and justified from their sins, if they will repent and believe in His name. God sent his Spirit in our hearts so that we may be able to follow God's command, and all carnality in our mind may be driven out. Because we have the Spirit of God, we can live a righteous living, can cry out to Him and truly understand the right meaning of "Our Father." If the Spirit is in us, Christ is in us, and He dwells in our hearts by faith. Then, we can see how much it is our duty to walk with Him, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. If there are some trials and distress in life, remind yourself that it is always for good, because all things work together for good, not for bad (v28). If God is in us, it is He who is in control, not us. Our role is to trust His words and promises. God allows sufferings in our lives that we may be conformed into the image of His Son, who is our Lord and Redeemer forever. God bless.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Romans 7

The law of God is holy, but it gives men the knowledge of sin. It means that the law gives us an idea about our own sinfulness. If a person is zero knowledge of the law, he or she is totally ignorant of his/her sinful lifestyle. People will just do anything they want to do; steal, lie, smoke, gossip, drink, think evil and do all dirty ways. Through Christ, believers had died to sin and raised from the dead, that they should bear fruit to God (v4). The goal of the law is to show men's evilness, while the goal of the gospel is to show the forgiveness of sin. The law produces death, the gospel produces life eternal. The intent of the law is to tell men to do good things, but men's nature is sinful and weak, unable to obey God's law. Paul said, "the things that I want to do, I cannot do" (v15). It means, people want to change their lives, but they have no power to change it. Only Jesus can change man's life! Apart from the gospel, people will always do sinful things and be lost forever. Let us thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord who gives us new life. God bless.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Romans 6

Christians are identified with Christ. We were buried with Him through baptism into death, and raised with Him when we receive the Holy Spirit, so that we can walk with Him in the newness of life. No one at the same time can be alive with Christ and living in sinful and evil world. Since we are dead from our old selves, we are no longer slaves of our former lifestyle, but slaves of God in the spirit of righteousness. That's why death has no longer dominion over Christ and all His followers, that we can no longer be separated with Him. Paul encourages us to use all parts of our body in the service of Christ instead of using them in this world. Let us use our mouth in sharing the gospel, our feet in evangelism, our brain in the kingdom of God, our ears to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, etc. Sinners are only sowing sins and vanity in present time, but in the end of their lives, they shall reap the same; the wages of sin is death. But to the believers, there is a gift awaiting, eternal life in Christ Jesus. God bless.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Romans 5

Because of our faith in Christ , we have peace with God, we have access into the grace of God, we can bear our trials and sufferings, and we put our hope in Him. Even when we were still unbelievers, God had already demonstrated His love toward us when Christ died at the cross. Through the act of Christ, we are saved from the wrath to come and we had been reconciled to our Creator who will judge the living and the dead. When Adam sinned at the Garden, his nature became corrupt and so all his children. All have sinned, and all miseries in life entered this world, and all mankind are exposed to eternal condemnation. But, the grace and mercy of God also entered the world through Jesus Christ, and whosoever believed in Him shall receive forgiveness. Through Christ, we have gained  more and obtained greater privileges than what human being lost by the offense of Adam. Let us look up for the promises of Christ, that we had been justified through Him, and we shall obtain eternal salvation in His name. God bless.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Romans 4

Faith is necessary in order to obtain salvation. But this faith is a gift from God, it originates from Him, and we cannot produce it. The process was this, God spoke to Abraham, then Abraham believed God's words and promises, "and it was accounted to him for righteousness" (v3, 22). Abraham had been justified by God not because he was doing good works, but he believed in the word of God. Abraham was idol worshipper, but when he began to hear the gospel of God, he changed his life totally. It tells that when a person heard the gospel of Christ, then believed, obeyed and lived for it, that is the meaning of faith, and their faith has been counted for righteousness. He or she is being united to Christ who is the "Lord our Righteousness," regardless of his/her former religion. God shall justify or defend those who will accept the word of God, just as He did to Abraham, even tough he was still uncircumcised. Circumcision came after as a sign of his covenant with God. In New Testament, the circumcision of the heart happened when we accepted Jesus and the Holy Spirit in our lives. This makes us new creation, and the inward evidence of this faith is personal sanctification. God bless.
 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Romans 3

God is the God of both Jews and Gentiles, and the law was given to the Jews in order to spread and share it and make the name of God known. The law could not save man from judgment, yet it gave the Jews advantage for salvation. The law was given to tell the Jews that they are sinners, and if they would accept their wretched condition and ask God's forgiveness, then they will be forgiven. Unlike the Gentile who were ignorant of the law, had no fear of God before their eyes (v18). Therefore, through the law, men could discover that God is holy while men are sinners. Unfortunately, no one can save himself from the wrath of God. And it is in vain to seek for justification by the works of the law. But, is the wound of humanity incurable forever? No, here comes the righteousness of God, and it can be seen when He came down on earth to save humanity from their sinfulness. Though all human beings are guilty, the Savior was sent as a free gift of God to save those who believe. The law is still of use to tell us that our past was a disaster, but through Christ we have better present and glorious future. God bless

Monday, January 9, 2017

Romans 2

The judgment of God is according to the truth against those who practice evil deeds. Both Jews and Christians thought themselves a holy people, but Paul said that all who acts evil things must be reminded that the judgment of God will be according to their real character. That in every willful sin, there is contempt of the goodness of God, and the only solution is true repentance, "for there is no partiality with God" (v11). In repentance, there must be hatred of former sinfulness, to choose the good way and refuse the evil thing. The Jews rest on the law, but proud in outward profession and are not living according to their knowledge of the law. They teach others, but don't obey what they taught. As a result, their Gentile neighbors refused to embrace their faith, and caused God's name to be blasphemed (v24). Circumcision is nothing if there is no regenerating grace that will lead them to seeking an interest in the righteousness of God. The true people of God are not outward but inward, those who truly obeyed God through faith with clean lifestyle. God bless.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Romans 1

The epistle to the Romans was addressed to all believers, and Paul set forth the fulfillment of the promises made by God through the prophet. Jesus is the Messiah who came from the seed of David as to his human nature, but was also declared to be the Son of God by the Divine power which raised Him from the dead. The believers are privileged to be members of the body of Christ, with the duty to be holy and separated for the gospel. We should be ready to impart to others what God had entrusted to us, because all of us are debtors to all men (v14). Both Jews and Gentiles are guilty before God, having their own self-righteousness and religious beliefs. The true righteousness is our faith in the gospel of Christ. Faith is all in all, both in the beginning and progress of Christian life, moving upward and gaining the victory over unbelief. Paul said that all mankind need the salvation of the gospel, because none could obtain the favor of God and escape His wrath to come. Men have dishonored God through idolatries and unthankfulness. Paul encouraged us for self-examination, and to have a deep conviction of sin, that we may be delivered from a state of condemnation. God bless.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Acts 28

Malta was the name of the island, and the people thought that Paul was a murderer, and that the viper was sent by Divine justice, to be the avenger of blood. But Paul shook the viper into the fire, and God made him remarkable among the people, making the way to preach the gospel. Here, the Lord raises up good people so that the gospel of Christ may be known. After three months, the voyage continued and they reached Rome at last. The people in Rome are kind to Paul, because God puts the spirit of kindness into their hearts. Then, Paul persuaded the Jews concerning Jesus, while some were receptive upon the word, others were negative. The apostle kept to his principle, to know and preach nothing but Christ, and Him was crucified. He was not tempted on other thing but focused on the Lord's business alone, the propagation of the gospel to the Gentile world. In conclusion, the book of Acts had started from Jerusalem and ended in Rome with only one goal, to preach the gospel. There may be some difficulties, but who can stop the plan of God. If God is for us, who can be agasint us? God bless.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Acts 27

Paul has been determined by the Lord to go to Rome, before it was determined by the counsel of Festus, because God had work for Paul to do there. Here we can see that the Lord encourages those who suffer for Him to trust in Him, for He can use even nonbelievers for their own protection. When the winds are contrary, we must continue going forward as much as we can. But we should not ignore if there is a warning from spiritual leader, as Paul did to the ship owner. As a result, the voyage had suffered a great disaster. Most people bring themselves into trouble because they do not listen to the advice of others. In fact, no storms or tempest can hinder God's favor to His people, for He is a Help always at hand. Remember that as long as the Lord has any work for us to do, our lives shall be prolonged in order to accomplish His plan. Those who are in spiritual darkness should abide in Christ, and wait till the day break, and the shadow flee away. God is our strength always, a reliable Help in time of trouble. God bless.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Acts 26

Paul was able to testify to the great people of Israel like King Agrippa and governor with only one message, that Jesus is the Messiah and He is risen from the grave. Paul had a holy regard for the ancient promise made by God unto his forefathers, and he built his hope upon it. It means that the promise of eternal life in Christ should engage us to be more diligent and stedfast in all ministerial assignments. For the third time, the writer of the book of Acts wrote the first encounter of Paul with Jesus on his way to Damascus (see: Chap 9, 22). For Paul, that encounter was the very foundation of his faith and ministries. He brought the gospel to Jews and Gentiles, to the learned and unlearned, to nobles and common. All believers had the same "first encounter" with Christ, and we should not forget that moment when Christ Jesus revealed Himself on personal level. King Agrippa was almost persuaded to be Christian, but his heart was not changed, and did not pursue his conviction. Thank God that we were able to follow the voice of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. God bless.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Acts 25

The accusation of Paul's enemies was nothing but preaching about Christ, that He was not dead but alive forevermore (v19). Christ is the end of the law, and it was not a crime against the law of Moses to preach His name. Jesus came not to destroy but to fulfill the law of God. In his case, Paul was willing to abide by the rules of the law, and if he deserved death, he would accept the punishment. However, if none of the things whereof they accused him were true, no one could deliver him unto his accusers with justice. The Bible said that the accuser of the brethren is Satan (Rev. 12:10), and his only intention is to weaken our faith and relationship with Christ and with one another. Felix, Festus, Agrippa and Bernice and all the assembly were all important people in their time, and all of them were able to hear the gospel of Christ, but none believed in His holy name. Many people, even in our time, were attending at the places where the gospel is proclaimed, not to seek the truth but only to gratify their curiosity. But for the people of God, we go and listen that we may understand the perfect will of God in our lives. God bless.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Acts 24

Paul's accusers had only one intention, to destroy him so that the preaching of the gospel might be stopped. They charged Paul of being trouble maker, a plague, and perverting the law of God, the very same charges to the prophets of God in the Old Testament time. Here, Paul was being judged by the people, but in the Day of Judgment, all of them shall stand before the court of the Lord to be judged. As believers of Christ, let us not be dismayed by false accusations of ungodly men, for God knows everything in our lives. Paul gives an account of himself, that the true reason of the violence against him was his belief that there is resurrection of the dead both for the just and unjust (v15). When Paul spoke about the righteousness, self-control, and judgment to come, Felix was afraid and stopped him (v25). This is also true to many people today, that they are afraid of the consequences of sin, yet continue to practice a sinful living. As we enter a new year today, let us make obedience to the word of God next to nothing, because today is the day of salvation and tomorrow may be too late. God bless.