Salvation is a free gift, not a free pass. We are not offered salvation so we can keep sinning and not have to worry about it. Today’s 1 John reading reminds us that salvation is actually intended to transform us and shape us more into the likeness of Christ so we don’t keep on sinning.
- 2-35 – This section describes the struggle between the northern king and the southern king. It is describing a time that is to come, not one that has passed. Daniel has a great deal of prophecies that have come to pass and also some that we’re still waiting on.
1 John 3:7-24:
- 3 – “Little children” is how God is referring to us, his children. Not necessarily to children as defined by age
- 16-18 – Jesus didn’t just talk about loving us, he showed us by dying for us on the cross. If we simply say we love our neighbors, our words are worthless. We must show it with our actions.
- 19-24 – Salvation through grace does not exempt us from following God with our lives. We are still to follow his commands and live according to his will – actually even more so because of the gift of salvation.
- 1-9 – Imagine the Israelites marching up to Jerusalem during one of the appointed festivals singing these words. To us, these are just words in the Bible, but to them, these words were part of their rituals.
- 1 – When we don’t listen to correction, we are doomed to destruction.
Have you ever tried to stop a moving train with only your toughness and strength? I hate to break it to you, but it won’t work. In different words, Gamaliel explains this to the Pharisees in today’s Acts reading. If the movement of the early church apostles is of God, they’re not going to have a whole lot of luck trying to stop it.
1 Kings 2:1-3:3:
- 1-4 – David encourages Solomon to follow the Lord and that this will result in having someone in his line remain on the throne.
- 5-9 – David asks Solomon to avenge the wrongs done to him that he did not avenge himself.
- 13-25 – Adonijah’s request to receive part of the king’s harem, Abishag, is a clear play at taking over the throne. Solomon recognizes this move and squelches it quickly.
- 26-27 – Abiathar’s life is spared because he served David faithfully, but, because he sided with Adonijah, and because God had promised to remove Eli’s family from the priesthood, he is removed from the priesthood.
- 28-35 – The only exception to the asylum offered through grabbing the horns altar was if your sin was done with deliberate intent. Solomon felt justified because Joab’s murders were committed with intent.
- 1-6 – Ananias did not die because he only gave part, but because he presented it as the whole while holding some back. He lied about his gift to God.
- 17-18 – They are arrested because the religious leaders told them not to teach in Jesus’ name.
- 33-42 – Gamaliel gives wise counsel that the religious authorities ought to just leave the disciples alone because the effort will die unless it’s from God and if it’s from God they won’t be able to stop it.
- This is another psalm that was probably sung or recited while the Israelites traveled to Jerusalem for one of the three annual festivals that required a pilgrimage.
- And this is why we should seek God in all things.
Can you imagine if 3,000 people came to faith from a sermon today? That would be incredible!! Peter’s explanation of Jesus as the Messiah was convincing enough to help tons of people put their faith in Christ. And just think, this is way before any type of mass communication or even microphones. The good news was that powerful then and it still is today!
2 Samuel 22:21-23:23:
- 21-7 – David’s song of praise to God continues from yesterday’s reading.
- 25-27 – David portrays God’s reactions as equivalent to the actions of the human. Good behavior receives favor. Poor behavior receives punishment.
- 1-7 – These were not David’s last words before death but the last of that song. We see that later he asks for a drink.
- 14-17 – Bethlehem was David’s hometown so he wanted something from home. His request caused people to break through the camp and apparently blood was shed. David was not pleased at the consequences of his request.
- 1-4 – At the end of the gospels, Jesus tells the disciples he is going away but will send a Helper who is even better than him. The entrance of the Holy Spirit is the fulfillment of that promise.
- 17-21 – Peter interprets the prophecy from Joel correctly. Now that the Holy Spirit is present, the disciples began to see even more miracles and powerful conversions.
- 22-36 – Peter speaks directly to Israelites who did not believe in Jesus but who revered David. David was a national hero and all the connections the Messiah was supposed to have to David were fulfilled in Jesus.
- 37-41 – About 3,000 of the Israelites confessed Christ as Savior and were baptized. Whether they were convinced by the resurrection, guidance of the Holy Spirit, or proven connection to David doesn’t matter. They’re conversions are a testament to the lengths to which God will go to be in connection with humanity.
- 42-47 – These new believers became the first Christian church. These verses are often used as a basis for how we should run churches today.
- This psalm is written for Jews making their pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem for one of the three annual festivals (Passover, The Feast of Weeks, The Feast of Booths) that required being at the temple.
There are a lot of times when closing your mouth is beneficial…particularly while sleeping on a plane. Proverbs makes it clear over and over again that we are supposed to limit our words, think before we speak, and listen without trying to insert our opinions as quickly as possible. Who knew this was more than just a life skill? It’s an act of wisdom.
- 19-25 – If people offered animals with blemishes it was to keep the best ones in their herds and flocks. This meant they were not offering their best to God.
- 32 – “Afflict yourselves,” means for them to fast.
- Many of the offerings happened at the appointed times of the festivals.
- 38-41 – Jesus makes similar comments multiple times regarding people who didn’t officially follow him. As long as they were serving others and not preaching a false message, Jesus felt like they were on the same team.
- 42-48 – Whatever it is that causes us to stumble, we should remove.
- 6-8 – We tend to try to trust in our own abilities and accomplishments, but it is God who should receive the glory for saving and empowering us.
- We should all seek to be listeners first.