January 12, 2014

Scripture and Commentary, January 27-February 1, 2014

Monday, January 27

Morning - Ps. 39, Prov. 10:12-14, 18-21, Phil. 1:27-2:11 
Evening - Ps. 37:1-24, Ezek. 27:1-5, 26-36, Jn. 5:1-15

Commentary, Philippians 1:27-2:11

"Let this mind be in you" (Phil.2:5). "Mind," in this verse, refers not to intelligence, but to attitude. How remarkable the mind of Christ is. He was God, from eternity to eternity, yet He became a man. He was Lord of all, yet He became the servant of all. He was the Great Law Giver, yet He humbled Himself and lived by His own rules. He was the One in whom all faith rests, yet He lived by faith instead of by sight. He was perfect righteousness, yet He became sin for us. He was the Lord of life, yet He gave Himself up to death on the cross. He was the One to whom all things belong, yet He came to give all things to us. We can never possess the intelligence or power of Christ. We can never own the eternal being of God, be Lord of all, become the center of faith, or be perfect in righteousness through our own power. These things belong to God alone. But, we can have the attitude of Christ. We can have humility. We can serve others as we serve God. We can live by faith. We can devote our lives to God. These things are within our grasp, with the help of the Holy Spirit. Are they things to which you aspire? Are they things to which you apply yourself day by day and hour by hour? "Let this mind be in you."

Tuesday, January 28

Morning - Ps. 41, Prov. 10:22-29, Phil. 2:12-18 
Evening - Ps. 46,47, Ezek. 33:1-9, Jn. 5:16-29

Commentary, Phil.2:12-18

This morning's reading reminds us why God created and saved us through Christ. If we think back to our readings in Ephesians we will remember Ephesians 1:9-10.
"Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to His good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him...."
It is God's good pleasure to gather all things together and place them under the sovereign rule of Christ forever, that we should be (exist) to the praise of his glory (Eph. 1:12). For this cause He created us. For this cause He came to earth and went to the cross. For this cause He will return. And for this cause He will judge the quick and the dead, bringing believers into eternal bliss and unbelievers into everlasting sorrow. "This cause" is His eternal purpose and glory; His good pleasure.
It is for this same cause that He is at work in His people. He leads us by His Spirit, teaches us by His Bible, and draws us into Himself by the Church, worship, sacraments, and all the means of grace. He does it all for His good pleasure. How stunningly wonderful it is that His good pleasure includes forgiving our sins and blessing us with unimaginable good forever.On the basis of God's purpose, and His work in our lives, let us work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Working out our salvation (vs. 12) does not mean we can earn Heaven by our own works. We can only enter Heaven if God forgives our sins and gives Heaven to us as a free gift. He accomplished our forgiveness by acting as our substitute and serving the sentence for our crimes against God on the cross. He offers Heaven as His free gift to us. All we can do is accept His gift by faith.
Working out our salvation does mean working diligently and actively in the things of God and Godliness. It means to strenuously exercise ourselves in the means of grace, and exert ourselves in acquiring the attitudes and virtues of Christ (see Phil. 2:5-8). God works in you by these means, therefore, "work out," and "train" in them daily in your life of faith. 

Wednesday, January 29

Morning - Ps 44, Prov. 11:9-30, Phil. 2:19
Evening - 49, Ezek. 33:10-20, Jn. 5:30

Commentary, Philippians 2:19

Paul, a prisoner in Rome as he wrote to the Philippians, was more concerned about their needs than his own. He desired to send someone to them to help provide the pastoral care of the congregation, but who? There were many self appointed "preachers" in Rome (Phil. 1:15). But real ministers, called of God, ordained by the Apostles, gifted with a pastor's love for the flock, and possessing the knowledge and ability to preach the true Gospel, were few. Those who take up the mantle of the ministry should tremble at these verses. Every care and precaution must be exercised to ensure that you preach the truth faithfully and fully. Those who attend preaching should also tremble at these verses, for they tell you that many, perhaps even most, who claim to be ministers of the Word are false, seeking their own fame and glory rather than the things of Christ (2:21). "Seek" in verse 21 means to have as their primary goal and purpose. It is the intent and purpose, the primary goal of their ministry to promote their own agenda rather than the word of Christ. They are willing to accommodate their message and practice to the whims of the people in order to appease and attract them. Many of these "ministers" may sincerely believe they preach the truth and add souls to the Kingdom of God. But the value of a minister's work is measured by fidelity to the truth (see 2 Tim. 4:1-4, and 1 Jn. 4:1-3), not by sincerity or good intentions alone.

Thursday, January 30

Morning - Ps. 45, Prov. 14:26, Phil. 3:1-16
Evening - Ps. 50, Ezek. 33:23, Jn. 6:1-14

Commentary, Philippians 3:1-16

Here is the righteousness that will get us into Heaven. It is not our own righteousness. It is not our natural goodness or our good deeds. These are all useless when we stand before the absolute perfection of God. It is the righteousness of Christ alone that makes us fit to abide in the House of the Lord. Paul lists all his own "good works" by which he formerly believed he earned the favour of God and a place in Heaven. But he says they were useless, unable to get him into Heaven. Compared to the righteousness of God, they were garbage. Everything else is loss compared to this great prize of the righteousness of Christ, which alone make us righteous before God (Phil. 3:1-9). 
Complacency in following Christ is foolishness. Satisfaction with our progress in grace is folly. Even St. Paul acknowledges the inadequacy of his own life. Far from satisfied with himself, he presses on toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ (3:16).

Friday, January 31

Morning - Ps. 51, Prov. 15:16-29, Phil. 3:17-4:3
Evening - Ps. 54, 57, Ezek 34:1-10, Jn. 6:15-29

Commentary, Philippians. 3:17-4:3

The need for fellowship and association with Godly people is stated (3:17-19). We will emulate those with traits and tastes we admire. If we admire Godliness, we will seek Godly people and follow their example of faith and piety. If we admire worldliness, self-indulgence, and sin, we will find others who admire the same things. If their end is destruction, what will our end be if we imitate them? (3:19).
But our Lord Jesus Christ is able to subdue even our stubborn wills, and to change us into the likeness of His glorious body. This is our hope and goal. 

Saturday, February 1

Morning - Ps. 55, Prov. 16:25, Phil. 4:4
Evening - Ps. 29, 99 Ezek. 34:11-16, Jn. 6:30-40

Commentary, Philippians 4:4

It is every member's duty to work for peace in the congregation (4:1-7). Paul exhorts Euodias and Syntyche to "be of one mind." He is asking them to stop fussing and quarrelling over issues that don't really matter. He also instructs the rest of the congregation to help. We are not allowed to be sources of strife among God's people. We are to be generous and forgive one another's faults. We are to be humble and quiet and to wage peace within the fellowship.
The Christian's thoughts are found in verses 8 and 9. How much temptation and sin we could avoid if our minds dwelt on these things continually. Even thinking about such things for short periods each day would have a remarkable effect on our attitudes and actions. Scripture, prayer, and worship are three ways to "think on these things."

All things through Christ? Many misunderstand Phil. 4:13 because they disassociate it from Phil. 4:12. 4:13 is about accomplishing God's will by being faithful in the circumstances He places us in. It is not about getting a promotion at work, but about doing your job well so God is honoured by it, whether you get the promotion or not.

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