Tuesday, February 28, 2017

God's Gifts Enable the Church to Work

Photo by Jasper Visser
Scripture: Ephesians 4:12
for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;

Insights: I loved my father while he was alive on this planet.  I miss him still as days have turned into years since his home going.  I mention him because he and my mother instilled within in me and my brothers a lifelong attribute of being workers.  Each of us work long hours and when we get home the work often times does not stop.  As I evaluate the world, I find this singular characteristic is becoming harder and harder to find.  People do not have the same drive to work and sacrifice as in history past.  This truth is also just as real within the organism we call the church.  I look back at my early years and it was the men of the church who sacrificed their time in order to do many of the building projects.  Today, we would rather take up an offering and let a contractor do the work.  I fear this pattern has also crept into other areas of church life.  We want our children to have great programs, but we do not want to work in those departments.  As a result, we have overworked volunteers who get themselves burned out and they stop teaching effectively and then they quit.  At some point we also started using lines like, “That’s what we pay the pastor for.”  Beloved, look at the verse today.  The reason the Lord gives us gifts is so the body of Christ could be equipped for the work of service.  We are to work in order to build up the body of Christ.  Take a few moments to evaluate your life and work in the church.  It is my prayer you are a worker and not a pew warmer.  It is my hope you would desire to grow in maturity to be a faithfully committed follower of Jesus who works to make the body stronger.  Paul tells us in Colossians 3:23 to do whatever we do as unto the Lord.  Let our work point others to Jesus.

1. Would those around you classify you as being a worker?
2. Do you find pleasure in working?

Prayer: Father, there are times it is difficult to work, but You are the One who designed and created work.  You have enabled me to work and for this reality I am grateful.  May my work honor You.  Amen.

Monday, February 27, 2017

God Equips the Church with Gifts

Photo by Antony Theobald
Scripture: Ephesians 4:11
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,

Insights: There are four passages in the New Testament that discuss spiritual gifts.  Those passages are Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4 and 1 Peter 4.  Every one of these passages are preceded or followed by a section on love.  In other words, we are to use our spiritual gift mix in love and not personal pride.  In today’s verse we see the Lord Himself is the One who appoints the gifts people have.  In today’s verse we see it is the Lord who assigns some to be apostles.  He also calls others to be prophets.  Still He sets a part evangelists.  As if these were not enough, He also administers others to be pastors and even more to be teachers.  The point I desire to make in today’s Thoughts by Scott is God Himself is the One who gives the gifts.  To further elaborate on this concept, the gift is the Holy Spirit Himself.  He manifests Himself in these various ways, but He Himself is the gift.  Considering the Holy Spirit is the gift, we know from Ephesians 1:13-14 that all who come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ are sealed with the Holy Spirit.  All believers are given the Holy Spirit and He then uses those believers to work and serve the purposes of God the Father.  There are tools out there which can be useful to help you assess what your spiritual gift mix is and I would encourage you to take those assessments.  At the same time, however, do not say something like, “I don’t have to witness because I did not receive the gift of evangelism.”  You did receive the gift of evangelism because the Holy Spirit dwells within you and He is the dispenser of the gifts.  Is it possible evangelism is not your primary gift?  The answer would be a resounding, “yes.”  But to make excuses why you can’t serve based on gift mix is ludicrous and unbiblical.  Let us serve the Lord in the way in which He equipped us and bring Him honor and glory.

1. Do you know what your spiritual gift mix is?
2. Do you understand the Holy Spirit is the gift?

Prayer: Father, thank You for giving me the Holy Spirit and thank You for having Him manifest Himself in my life the way He does.  May I be a blessing to the body and a lost world as a result of His work in me.  Amen.

You WILL Live Forever Because He is IN You

Photo by Charles Meeks
This blog ought to have been February 23, 2017

Scripture: Romans 8:11
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

Insights: Today’s verse talks a lot about raising people from the dead.  This resurrection is another way of saying one has eternal life.  Our bodies are mortal and as a result they will die an earthly death.  We, however, will rise again with an eternal body that will never die.  This resurrection is a result of Jesus’ very own resurrection.  He rose as the first fruit from the grave and we all are subsequent recipients of such a grace.  This truth of our resurrection does play into yesterday’s subject.  We are able to live life with a reckless abandon because we know this world is not our real life.  We dwell here for a time, but will be resurrected to a glorified body which will reside with Jesus forever.  This knowledge gives us the courage to look at the temporal life in which we live with a different set of eyes.  We are able to let go of inhibitions and fears.  We are able to speak with anyone because we fear no man.  What is the absolute worst thing a man can do to another man?  If he takes this believer’s life, then what concern is that to the believer?  The believer knows he/she will be resurrected to an eternal glory with Jesus and are deeply satisfied in this reality.  Beloved, my hope is you long for the day of your eternal renewal in Jesus.  It is my prayer we see Him soon.  May our lives bring Him honor and glory as we live obediently for Him as we wait for our eternal resurrection.

1. Does the realization you have eternal life give you great joy?
2. Have you ever received Jesus as Lord and Savior so that you will have eternal life?

Prayer: Father, thank You for the eternal life You have given to me through Your Son, Jesus.  I am eternally secure because of Your work and am so grateful.  Thank You again for saving me.   Amen.

You NOW Live Because He is IN You

Photo by Steven Depolo
This blog ought to have been February 22, 2017

Scripture: Romans 8:10
If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.

Insights: Verse ten is vital for us to understand who we are in the Lord Jesus.  It is a spiritual conversation and a conversation which lost people find difficult to comprehend.  Their difficulty comes in the fact they are not alive.  Here is where it gets weird for the lost person.  They are breathing and moving and display animation.  As a result, they would argue they are alive.  We who have born again understand the true nature of life and realize they are nothing more than a corpse.  Granted, they are a breathing, moving and walking corpse, but they are still dead.  For the lost person, then, it is difficult to grasp how they can be dead when they are clearly alive.  The distinction comes down to the spiritual life.  Our body is dead because of sin is what verse ten tells us.  We, who are in Christ Jesus, however, are alive because of His righteousness which has been given to us.  Our righteousness is not our own.  It is the Lord’s and He gives it to us.  When He gives us life, He tells us this life is full and abundant.  Beloved, it is my prayer you are living life with this kind of abundance.  I hope you firmly and clearly recognize your real life is found in Jesus and not in this mortal body of clay which will die and pass away.  Live life from the perspective of His righteousness being given to you.  Let His power and life in you point others to His life changing grace and mercy.

1. Do you live life to the full or abundance in the Lord?
2. Are you fully aware of your life in Christ Jesus and the power of such a life?

Prayer: Father, I now live because You have given me life.  I am capable of living victoriously in this world because of Your sacrificial work.  I praise and exalt You for Your loving character which desires to set captives free from death and brought into life in You.  Amen.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

God's Spirit Lives IN You

Photo by Waiting For The Word
Scripture: Romans 8:9
However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

Insights: This week in our Believe series we learned about how our identity is in Christ.  I opened up the sermon with the telling of a story of a man who was the son of a country preacher and a prayer warrior mom.  He had many siblings and he was very intelligent.  He became well educated and even taught for a time.  Later he was sent to the America’s as a missionary in the Georgian colony.  On his return voyager to England a horrific storm blew up in the Atlantic and this man was terrified.  He was absolutely scared out of his mind that he would die.  Yet, on this ship, there were some Moravian Brethren who were calm and at ease in the midst of the storm.  They prayed and worshipped God and were content if the ship were to go down.  After the ship made port in England, this man went and spoke with one of these Moravians and a friendship was birthed.  Not long after this event, this teacher, preacher, and missionary went to a revival service.  He went reluctantly, but he did go and while there he encountered Jesus for the very first time and in his journal he wrote, “I felt my heart strangely warmed.”  He was now alive IN Christ Jesus.  His entire identity was changed.  God’s Spirit came upon him and John Wesley was not the same man from that time until his death.  Tomorrow, I will share more about John Wesley and this identity we have in Christ Jesus.

1. Does the Holy Spirit dwell in you?
2. Do you realize you can be religious, but lost?

Prayer: Father, help me to understand that my identity is truly in Christ Jesus, and as a result, I am sealed with the Holy Spirit who lives in me.  Amen.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Love is an Eternal Gift

Photo by Bernal Saborio
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:8-13
Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.  When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.  But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Insights: In these final verses of chapter thirteen we learn love is an eternal gift.  All of these spiritual gifts, which were the cause of dissension and infighting at the church of Corinth will disappear.  In heaven there will be no more need for prophecy or tongues.  The gift of knowledge will be no more and the barrier of sin which inhibits us from learning properly will be removed.  We will be able to think like mature people and learn face to face no longer dimly because of sin.  Let’s take these last three items for a moment.  Faith, hope and love abide right now on this side of eternity, but of these three love is the greatest.  We ought to ask ourselves why this statement is true.  The answer would be, because in heaven we will not exercise faith and love as we do now.  We have faith in Jesus’ saving work on the cross of Calvary.  We do not actually see Jesus, but we have faith to believe He is alive and He has changed our lives.  Just like the wind, we see the evidence of Jesus in our lives.  Just as we do not have to have faith in Jesus once we are seeing Him face to face, so we don’t need hope.  Our hope is that Jesus’ words will come to pass.  He will return for His own one day.  We believe this fact to be resolutely true and as a result we hope for His return.  We do not hope as in a wishful thought, but rather as a declarative reality.  What will we have in heaven if we do not have faith and hope?  We do have love.  1 John 4:8 and 16 reads, “God is love.”  In fact, love is the very core essence of the Lord God.  He enables us to love and He is love.  In heaven, therefore, we experience perfect love without sins interference.  The only way you will ever experience this kind of love is to have a saving relationship with Jesus, God’s very own Son.  If you let Him forgive you of your sins, then you will be born again and will one day experience this kind of love first hand.  I pray you know Jesus or you will get to know Jesus and experience His love.  One last thought, these past three blog post titles were taken from Keith Krell’s sermon from 1 Corinthians 13.

1. Do you long for the day in which you will see Jesus face to face?
2. Have you received His love, and therefore, will spend eternity with Him in heaven?

Prayer: Father, I long for the day in which I no longer learn and receive Your love through this tainted world of sin.  May the day of Your culmination come quickly Lord Jesus.  Amen.

Love is Expressed by Supernatural Responses

Photo by Juliana Coutino
This blog ought to have been February 16, 2017

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Insights: In these verses today we find fifteen characteristics of love.  The very first thing I want you to notice about these characteristics is they are actions, attitudes and behaviors by which we demonstrate our love.  In other words, love is not a feeling or an emotion.  It is volitional at its very core.  I must admit, however, it is not volitional in our own power.  Love of the kind described by Paul is supernatural in nature.  Only God can stir the heart of a person to respond to offense and difficulties with a love that endures all things.  The problem with humanity is we too often express love toward others based on the way in which they have first displayed love toward us.  If they have been genuine and sincere with us, then we reciprocate, but if they have been harsh or unworthy, then we revoke our love and no longer endure through the hard times of the relationship.  As I personally evaluate my life, I am gripped by the reality I do not display this kind of love to the world.  I am jealous and a braggart.  I unfortunately do act unbecomingly all to often and am selfish at the core of my sinful self.  Even though these sentences are true, I fully recognize these statements are not the real me.  The real me is born again and the old me which bears resemblance to these statements has been crucified with Christ Jesus.  As a result, He supernaturally empowers me to display the kind of love described in verses four through seven.  Beloved, let us each learn to die daily to our old nature and let our new nature in Jesus be displayed before a world.  May they come to a saving knowledge of Jesus as a result of our expression of His love which He manifests in us.  May God be brought glory because of our obedience.  Let us love as Jesus would have us to love and empowers us to love.

1. Is your expression of love supernatural in nature?
2. Or is your love conditional upon the response of another?

Prayer: Father, thank You for loving me no matter how I treat You.  Your love is perfectly displayed in the fifteen character traits mentioned in these verses today.  Thank You for this amazing limitless love.  Grow me in Your grace and help me to live this love out as well.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Love is Greater than Any Spiritual Gift

Photo by Alvanman
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

Insights: This past Sunday was the Sunday before Valentine’s day.  Our community had a Valentine emphasis focusing on the refuge crises in Aleppo, Syria.  Our community prayer was for love, peace and hope to spread to those in Aleppo.  This community focus was timely chosen because of the focus on love during Valentines day.  We as a church also desired to focus on love as well.  The sermon was titled Limitless Love and focused on the love chapter found in First Corinthians chapter thirteen.  One of the aspects regarding this passage which is so often read at weddings is that fact the context of the chapter has nothing to do with marital bliss.  Rather, the dysfunctional church of Corinth had been fighting over spiritual gifts and the uses of them to such an extent that divisions were forming.  Paul had to write them in order to correct this erroneous poison that was plaguing them.  This thirteenth chapter starts off with Paul declaring love is more important than the gifts themselves.  The people of Corinth had gotten to the place of bragging over their gifts.  They were no longer using them for the edification of the Body, but were rather boasting in their own spiritual goodness.  In these three verses we see Paul mention six spiritual gifts and the first four are found in the previous chapter in verses 8-10.  Notice Paul uses the word nothing two times and also uses descriptive words like noisy gong and clanging cymbals.  We can have all six of these spiritual gifts, but if we do not have love, we are worthless.  Beloved, let us be mindful of this reality and not bring in spiritual dysfunctionality into our church walls.  Love others while you use your gifts for God’s glory.

1. What do you think your spiritual gift(s) is/are?
2. Do you always display that gift in love?

Prayer: Father, You are love, but if I am honest I focus more on my spiritual giftedness than I do on Your love being made manifest in me.  Grow me into a more loving disciple and may my use of Your spiritual gifts then be driven by love.  Amen.

The Scriptures are Divinely Inspired

Photo by Will Hastings
This blog ought to have been February 10, 2017

Scripture: 2 Peter 1:21
for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

Insights: The final truth we learn this week regarding the Bible is God wrote It.  In other words, the Scriptures are divinely inspired.  Notice in today’s verse the Holy Spirit moved men and inspired them to write the Words they penned.  Their human will had no part of providing us God’s directives and love.  In fact the first part of 2 Timothy 3:16 states, “All Scripture is inspired by God.”  The Greek word translated by the New American Standard Bible as inspired is  theopneustos and literally means God-breathed.  God breathed the Words of life into the Scriptures as His Holy Spirit moved on the hearts of the humans God used to pen the Bible.  We do see the style and characteristic of each of the authors, but they are working in conjunction and under the inspiration of God.  The scope of this argument is too grand for a blog post of this nature.  I would, however, point you to read Josh McDowell’s Evidence Demands a Verdict as a fuller tool to help you work through the issues regarding the authenticity of the Scriptures.  There are numerous other books out there that could help set your mind and heart at ease regarding the inspired Word of God.  The first place I would go is the Bible itself.  Read It and examine the content first hand.  Verses like 2 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:21 ought to help you recognize God’s involvement in writing these wonderful Words we call the Bible.

1. Do you believe God wrote the Bible?
2. If you do not, have you actually investigate the subject thoroughly?

Prayer: Father, thank You for giving me Your love letter, the Bible.  Thank Your for inspiring every word and telling us in very direct and clear ways how we may have a relationship with You.  You are wonderful and good, thank You.  Amen.

The Scriptures are Not Subjective

Photo by Dun.can
This blog ought to have been February 9, 2017

Scripture: 2 Peter 1:20
But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation,

Insights: We live in a world that often mishandles God’s Word.  Too many people approach the Bible in order to make it say whatever they want it to say.  This methodology is called eisegesis and it literally means to draw in.  We go to the Scriptures and we make them say what we want them to say to fit our desires.  Another way of saying the same thing is we look for a proof text to justify our position.  Beloved, this method is subjective to your whims and is not the way the Lord would have us approach the Bible.  Rather, we ought to approach the Scriptures using the methodology called exegesis which means to draw out.  In other words, we draw out of the Scriptures It’s intent and not put into It our intent.  The Scripture speaks and interprets itself and we then bend and mold our lives to come into compliance with It, and not us bending the Scriptures to make them comply with our desires.  The book of Hebrews tells us in the fourth chapter and the twelfth verse, “For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow.  It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.”  When we understand the authority of the Bible, we then are able to understand that we cannot subjectively manipulate the Biblical passages we read.  It does the penetrating and changing of us.  Let us let It work on our very soul and become subject to It’s authority which is given by the Lord God Himself.

1. Have you ever found yourself approaching the Scriptures with the intent to make them say what you want them to say?
2. Are you given comfort in knowing the Lord God has an intended message to communicate to you?

Prayer: Father, all too often I have tried to make the Scriptures say what I want them to say instead of letting You communicate to me through Your Word.  Forgive me of those times I approach Your Word in an inappropriate manner.  Grant me Your grace to interpret Your Word clearly.  Amen.

The Scriptures Illumine Our Path

Photo by Nathan Kolb
This blog ought to have been February 8, 2017

Scripture: 2 Peter 1:19b-c
to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.

Insights: Not only are the Scriptures reliable, but we see in the later part of verse nineteen that they also illumine our path.  Psalm 119:105 states, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  Until Jesus returns, which is what this day dawning as referring to in this verse, we are guided by His Spirit and predominantly through the way the Spirit enlightens our heart with the Word of God.  You can name the subject and the Bible more than likely addresses.  It will not give you specifics, but it will give you guiding principles.  For example, the Bible will not tell you the name of the person you are to marry, but it will give you the character traits found in a good spouse.  The Bible will not tell you the stock to pick for your next investment, but it will give you guiding principles as to how to handle your money.  The Bible will not tell you your kids will turn out fine, but it will give you guiding principles on how to raise them up in the best way possible.  The problem for many “Believers” is they do not actually read the Bible and they are confused in this world.  They do not know what their next life step ought to be because God has not illumined their path with His Word.  As a result, they look for signs and circumstances to confirm what they believe is the right step instead of letting God’s Word be the standard.  Beloved, let me encourage you to read the Bible and let God illumine your path with His grace and wisdom.

1. Are you facing some decision in which you are uncertain as to what you ought to do?
2. Have you sought God’s guidance through His Word to make your decision?

Prayer: Father, thank You for giving me Your Word, the Bible.  I cherish my time in reading Your love letter to me.  I relish the wisdom You provide me in It’s pages.  My life is much clearer now to because of Your involvement through Your Word.  Amen.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Scriptures are Most Reliable

Photo by Fernando Rodríguez
Scripture: 2 Peter 1:19a
So we have the prophetic word made more sure

Insights: To understand this first portion of verse nineteen we need to back up to the few verses before this one.  Peter has just told them he was a reliable witness to the person of Jesus Christ.  His testimony dealt with the transfiguration he saw of Jesus on the mountain years earlier.  When we get to verse nineteen Peter is telling his reading audience that if his testimony is not good enough, then this reading audience ought to at least trust the words of the prophets.  The greek phrase translated in the New American Standard Bible as “made more sure” would be better translated as “most reliable.”  Part of the reason “most reliable” is a better descriptor of the verse is because Peter is not saying the prophetic word is more important or carries a heavier weight of testimony than his very own eye witness account.  In stead, what Peter is saying is his testimony, which later became part of the Bible, is of the same weight as the Old Testament Scriptures.  Both of these witnesses point to the truthfulness of Jesus and His claim to be the Savior of the world.  There is another aspect of the Bible being made most reliable and that is the usefulness of it.  In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 we are told, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”  Notice the Bible is profitable.  It teaches us the way to live.  You have a question about being a good employee, go to the Word and let It speak truth into your life.  You have a question about being a good parent, go to the Word and let It speak truth into your life.  The Scriptures also rebuke us of our sin and tell us the correct way to rectify this sinful behavior.  After we have repented and corrected the situation, we are then instructed in the way to pursue righteousness.  Once we are living life this way, we are complete and equipped for every good work God has for us.  God’s Word is most reliable to do all of these things and to point us into a proper relationship with Jesus.

 1. With what kind of confidence do you place your faith in the Bible?
 2. Have you worked out by faith the reliability and trustworthiness of the Scriptures?

Prayer: Father, thank You for giving me Your Word.  Your Word gives me the words of life and point me to Your Son, Jesus.  I am able to have a life of meaning and significance because of Your Word.  Amen.

If you have found this blog to be helpful, please forward it in Facebook or retweet it in Twitter.  I would also appreciate if you would tell your friends to read this blog.  As always, if you have a comment you would like to make regarding this Thoughts by Scott, please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section.  Thank you.

Friday, February 3, 2017

God’s Salvation seals Us in the Holy Spirit

Photo by unknown photographer
Scripture: Ephesians 1:13-14
In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

Insights: Today concludes this weeks study on I BELIEVE in Salvation.  The final truth we glean from this passage from Ephesians chapter one is the eternal security of the believer.  In theological terms we call this the Perseverance of the Saints.  When we have received Jesus as Lord and Savior God gave us a down payment.  He gave earnest credit to the transaction.  He made a good faith pledge.  Now I have used these three economic terms and in today’s world the most familiar illustration is that of purchasing a home.  We often do these things to in order to get a home mortgage.  With God, however, His pledge is perfect and it is secure.  We can over extend ourselves and later file bankruptcy and have our debt expunged.  This option is not on the table with the Father.  When He gave His deposit of the Holy Spirit it was the equivalent of payment in full.  He does not just use this economic term to express the doctrinal truth of once saved always saved either.  He also uses the language of lords and emperors.  He declares we are sealed in Jesus with the Holy Spirit.  A seal was when a king would drop melted wax on a scroll and then would take his signet ring, which carried the weight of his authority, and he would stamp his emblem into the wax.  This emblem or seal carried the weight of the king and the only person who could open the document was the intended recipient.  If someone else tried to open it, they would be put to death.  God the Father is the only One who can open us up.  His Son sealed us in His Spirit and we now have eternal life and we cannot lose it.  This gives believers an assurance and a confidence to face all the challenges and difficulties of this world.  Beloved, let us rejoice in the Lord God our Savior for securing us for all eternity.

 1. Have you entered into a relationship with Jesus and subsequently been sealed by His Holy Spirit?
 2. Does the fact you are sealed give you more courage as you walk in this world?

Prayer: Father, thank You for sealing me with the Holy Spirit.  I can face any circumstance in this world with full confidence because I know You are with me.  You never leave me and Your Spirit gives me assurance of my security in You.  Amen.

If you have found this blog to be helpful, please forward it in Facebook or retweet it in Twitter.  I would also appreciate if you would tell your friends to read this blog.  As always, if you have a comment you would like to make regarding this Thoughts by Scott, please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section.  Thank you.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

God's Salvation provides Us an Inheritance

Photo by Kate Russell
Scripture: Ephesians 1:11-12
In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.

Insights: I love the comfort it brings to me to know I have an inheritance because of my adoption.  There is a lot verse eleven and twelve communicate to us, but the central part with which I focused in my sermon was the inheritance.  We are heirs to God and co-heirs with Christ Jesus.  This fact gives us hope for our future.  We do not belong here.  It is no wonder we feel stretched and out of sorts in this world.  It is not our home.  Our citizenship and our inheritance to that citizenship is in eternity with the Lord God.  Beloved, this hope provides us with a great deal of peace and comfort in the midst of difficult times.  It also gives us continued joy in our security during the times of great pleasure in this world.  No matter how good or bad life situations become, we know that we know, we will be with Jesus because of our inheritance.

 1. Do you long for your eternal inheritance with Christ Jesus in glory?
 2. Do you ever ponder the pure security of being in Christ and resting in His ability to take you to your eternal home?

Prayer: Father, thank You for providing me with an inheritance which brings me into Your majestic presence.  I long for that day, but until then, help me to rest assured in the eternal grace You have given me.  Amen.

If you have found this blog to be helpful, please forward it in Facebook or retweet it in Twitter.  I would also appreciate if you would tell your friends to read this blog.  As always, if you have a comment you would like to make regarding this Thoughts by Scott, please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section.  Thank you.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

God's Salvation gives Us Wisdom

Photo by Gerald Matthews
Scripture: Ephesians 1:9-10
He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.

Insights: I titled this blog post, “God’s Salvation gives Us Wisdom.”  Now, no where in these two verses do we find the word wisdom.  Yet, what we do find is this concept of mystery being revealed.  God is the One who makes known to us His will and His will is a mystery to us.  Paul goes into a great deal more discussing the fulness of time and why Jesus came at the appointed time in which He did.  These facts are interested and even worth delving into, but that was not my focus when I preached this passage.  I was finding out what kinds of things we received as a result of our new birth in Jesus and in these verses I do not think it is too large a jump to deduce that in order for us to know God’s mystery, wisdom must first have been given to us.  This sentence really is the concluding point regarding this thought.  God gives us wisdom when we receive His salvation in order for us to understand what actually has happened to us.  Beloved, let me encourage you to open up God’s Word, the Bible, and study it.  You will glean a lot more wisdom than just about your new birth from those pages.  Your life will be richly enhanced as a result of seeking the Lord and His wisdom on a daily basis, and just like with the mystery, God will give you more wisdom.

 1. Are you wise?
 2. Do you study the Scriptures daily to become wise?

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your Word and for giving us grace to understand You and how to live in this world.  Amen.

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God's Salvation joins Us with a New Family and forgives Our Sins

Photo by Rumolay
This blog ought to have been January 31, 2017

Scripture: Ephesians 1:5-8
He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight

Insights: Today we look at two more aspects regarding our salvation which Jesus purchased for us.  Firstly, we notice we join a new family.  Look at verses five and six.  We learn we are adopted into the family of God.  This adoption language is absolutely powerful.  One of the reasons is because of the time period in which this passage was written.  Paul’s audience would have understood adoption from a Roman perspective.  It was legally possible for a biological child to be disinherited from a family, but it was legally impossible to disinherit an adopted child.  In other words, once we were adopted by God into His family, we became eternally connected to His family.  Secondly, we notice our sins are forgiven.  Look at verses seven and eight.  Jesus’ blood gives us redemption and forgiveness of our trespasses (sins).  I want you to notice the manner in which the Lord Jesus gives us this redemption and forgiveness.  He lavishes it on us.  He is not sparingly covering each spot and blemish.  He is literally taking the whole bottle and dumping it on us.  Every nook and cranny of our being is covered by His grace and mercy.  Beloved, you need to understand that because every part of us is covered, we do not have to fear our future. Just as with the picture of adoption, so is the picture of covering.  There is not a part of us that is not made new.  We, who have been adopted, redeemed and forgiven have eternal life.  We can never lose it or leave it.  If we are truly born again, we are His and He is ours.  We are one and perfectly united.  Let us live life from this vantage point of life transformation.

 1. Do you enjoy your new family?
 2. Have you recently expressed gratitude for God’s forgiveness of your sins?

Prayer: Father, thank You for forgiving me of my sins and for adopting me into Your family.  It is a pleasure being Your child.  Amen.

If you have found this blog to be helpful, please forward it in Facebook or retweet it in Twitter.  I would also appreciate if you would tell your friends to read this blog.  As always, if you have a comment you would like to make regarding this Thoughts by Scott, please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section.  Thank you.