Category Archives: Devotionals

12-3-2019 Walking in Truth Devotional Update by Guy Roberson

Walking in Truth Devotional Update

Destruction of the Temple Foretold by Jesus

(Mat 24; Mk 13; Lk 21:5-36)

Guy Roberson

As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!” “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; everyone will be thrown down.” (Mark 13:1-2). “Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matt. 24:3). The disciples asked Jesus three questions and Jesus proceeds to answer them.

The first question concerned the destruction of the Temple. Jesus’ prophecy of the temple’s coming destruction, and by implication the city of Jerusalem as well, must have been surprising to many. It was magnificent and had been rebuilt by Zerubbabel and Haggai around 515 B.C., after Israel’s return from exile in Babylon. However, it had undergone a massive rebuilding program involving the entire temple mount by Herod the Great from B.C. 20 to around 63 A.D. Jesus was not awed by the “stones and offerings” of the temple. He saw beneath the surface and realized that underneath the cosmetic beauty of the temple lay all kinds of uncleanness (Matt 23:27-28). Jesus was not moved by compassion for the Temple, but for the people whom He loved and felt pity because of what they would suffer during the overthrow of the city of Jerusalem (Matt. 23:37).

History tells us, that this judgment was executed later, when the Romans under Titus sacked Jerusalem. Titus, when he took the city in A.D. 70, tried unsuccessfully to save the temple, but his soldiers put it to the torch, thus fulfilling Christ’s prophecy.

Jesus gave them signs to look for before the fall of Jerusalem would take place. These signs are given in Matthew 24:3-28. These are not the signs of the end of the world as many teach. Jesus clearly was discussing what was going to happen to Jerusalem. There would be many false Christ, wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places and these would be the beginning of sorrows. Persecution would be experienced by the righteous, lawlessness would abound, and the love of many would grow cold, and the gospel would be preached to all the nations. Paul says that this was done (Col. 1:23). His meaning is not that every creature had actually heard the gospel, but that each had been given an opportunity to hear because the gospel had been so universally preached.

Pay close attention to verses 15-22: “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” This warning was for those in Judea and their need would be to get to the mountains to be saved from the terrible destruction that would take place when Rome marched against the city of Jerusalem. He was speaking of the gates of the city of Jerusalem. If they were closed because of the Sabbath they would not be able to flee the city and get to the mountains.

There were warning signs preceding the destruction of Jerusalem, giving people who heeded the signs a chance to quickly escape and save their lives (Matthew 24:15-16). There will be no warning signs of the second coming and the end of the world (Matthew 24:35-36). “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of [f]heaven, but My Father only. 37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. 24:36-39).

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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11-26-2019 Walking in Truth Devotional Update by Guy Roberson

Walking in Truth Devotional Update

Prophecy of Isaiah About the Blindness of the Pharisees

(John 12:37-41)

Guy Roberson

http://www.peopleforjesus.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Blind-Pharisees.pngWhen Jesus had said these things, he went away and hid himself from them. Although he had done such great signs in their presence, they did not believe in him. It happened thus that the word which Isaiah the prophet spoke should be fulfilled: “Lord, who has believed what he heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” It was for this reason that they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: “He has blinded their eyes, he has hardened their heart, so that they may not see with their eyes and understand with their heart. and turn, and I will heal them.” Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke about him.”

John quotes from Isaiah 53:1-2 where Isaiah asked if there is anyone who has believed what he had been saying, if there is anyone who recognized the power of God when it is revealed to him. John then quoted from Isaiah 6:9-10: And He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ “Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed.” That is a passage which runs all through the New Testament. It is quoted or echoed in Matthew 13:14-15; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10; Romans 11:8; 2 Corinthians 3:14; Acts 28:27.

The passage is troubling because it seems to be teaching that their unbelief was caused by God. I do not believe, even for one moment, that God predestinated some to believe and be saved and others to refuse to believe and be lost. First, 1 Timothy 2:4 that God wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 2 Peter 3:9 says: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” The golden text of the Bible says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God wants us to be saved because He knows how sin diminishes us, and hinders us from accomplishing God’s divine purpose for our lives. The Bible says that God has plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11), but sin thwarts God’s plan and prevents us from experiencing God’s best. But sin is the choice of everyone committing sin and the refusal to believe in the Savior and refuse His invitation is also the choice of the one refusing.

Two problems need to be considered regarding this text: 1) Isaiah had pleaded with the people to turn to God and they refused to heed his message and was disheartened with their rebellion. 2) It was that basic view of the Jews that nothing could happen outside the purpose of God, therefore, unbelief was God’s purpose. Their preconceived notions of what the Messiah ought to be like and do had blinded them to an objective evaluation of the character, words, and works of the Lord. However, the Bible tells us that God in His controlling wisdom and power can use the unbelief for His purposes and not that He forces people to reject the gospel to be lost.

Notice that some believed in the Christ but were cowards, “Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. 44 Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45 “And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me.”

Faith in Christ is so very important there must not be any reason to fail to confess Jesus and obey Him. If one is lost, it will be because that person refused to believe and obey the Lord, not because God predestined him/her to be lost.

 

by Guy Roberson

 

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11-12-2019 Walking In Truth Devotional update by Guy Roberson

Walking In Truth Devotional Update

The Widow’s Two Mites

(Mk 12:41-44; Lk 21:1-4)

Guy Roberson

http://www.peopleforjesus.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Widow-Mites.png

I believe there are two ways of looking and this beautiful story. One has to do with the full context. Look at Mark 12:38-40 in order to see our story in context.

“Jesus also taught: “Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. 39 And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. 40 Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be more severely punished.”

41 Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. 43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”

Jesus has just been warning His disciples about how the religious teachers had been shamelessly cheating widows out of their property and then pretending to be pious by making long prayers in public. This poor widow had not been instructed by God to give everything she had into the treasury. In fact, she should have been looked after by God’s shepherds, the religious leaders (read this scathing rebuke of the failure of God’s shepherds to look after His people: Ezek. 34:2-6; 11-16). Today there may be Christians who really don’t have enough to take care of their needs and they should not be made to feel that they should give if they are unable to do so. Giving is measured according to what one has. Paul wrote, “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not” (2 Cor. 8:12).

The other way to look at this touching story is to make the point regarding sacrifice. She put in more than all others who contributed to the treasury because she gave all she had while the others merely gave out of their abundance. Jesus saw in her a heart that trusted in God’s providence for her needs and a heart that expressed its worship and appreciation to God in her giving.

God certainly does care what we give to His work of the kingdom. “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: 2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come” (I Cor. 16:1-2). Also consider what Paul said in 2 Cor. 9:6-8: “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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11-5-2019 Walking In Truth Devotional Update by Guy Roberson

Walking In Truth Devotional Update by Guy Roberson

Beware of the Scribes and the Pharisees

(Matt 23; Mk 12:38-40; Lk 20:45-47)

Guy Roberson

“And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces 39 and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, 40 who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation” (Mark 12:38-40).

In speaking to the multitudes and His disciples Jesus warned them about the scribes and Pharisees as the passages serving as our text clearly show. He told them, “All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do” (23:3). Jesus certainly did not mean that they should follow the false teachings of the Pharisees but rather those teachings that naturally and correctly arose from the Law of Moses. Jesus pointed out their hypocrisy and commanded the people, “But do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not” (Matt. 23:3). He listed some of the reasons for their hypocrisy:

“For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers (v. 4). “But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. “They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, “greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.”

Jesus then pointed out “But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. “And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. He was reminding them that Christ was their teacher and that they had forgotten the preeminence of God and their Messiah. Then Jesus taught them and us that being a servant should be our goal. Jesus clearly taught “And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Whoever exalts himself has nowhere to go but down. He will be humbled by God. Whoever humbles himself has nowhere to go but up. He will be exalted by God (Proverbs 15:33; 29:23; James 4:6; I Peter 5:5).

He pronounced seven woes on the self-righteous Pharisees and scribes in Matthew 23:13-31. Why? Because…

1. They kept people out of God’s kingdom (v. 13).

2. They took advantage of widows (v. 14)

3. They misled men to eternal destruction (v. 15).

4. They were covetous of worldly things (vv. 16-22).

5. They refused to show compassion (vv. 23-24).

6. They were inwardly corrupt (vv. 25-28). And…

7. They afflicted the righteous (vv. 29-31). Now…

Space will not permit a discussion of each these woes, but they should be studied, and we must determine not to follow in the footsteps of the scribes and Pharisees. We often teach on the Beatitudes of Christ but seldom hear about the woes. We should follow and apply the beatitudes but refuse to practice these woes.

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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10-29-2019 Walking In Truth Devotional Update by Guy Roberson

Walking In Truth Devotional Update

Which is The Great Commandment in the Law?

(Mat 22:34-40; Mk 12:28-34)

Guy Roberson

This exchange took place during the busy and intense last week before the crucifixion. In New Testament times “lawyers” were religious leaders who were what we would call “experts” in the Mosaic Law, known as scribes. Their responsibilities were to study the Law, transcribe it, and copy it meticulously. These “scribes” went beyond interpretation to the adding traditions to what God had commanded and these interpretations were considered more important than the Law itself. Jesus condemned them for their hypocrisy in Matthew 23 because they taught the Law but did not practice what they taught.

Upon our Lord’s arrival in Jerusalem He was confronted by the religious teachers who were attempting to entrap Him. But this scribe seemed to be more neutral than the previous leaders who attempted to entrap Jesus. Mark tells us, “and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He [that is, the Lord] had answered them well,” then asked Him this question about the law (Mark 12:28). In other words, the man’s question was not motivated by a desire to entrap the Lord, but rather because he saw that the Lord answered “well”. Jesus then said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom.”

The rabbis believed that, just as there were 613 separate letters in the Hebrew text of the Ten Commandments, so also there were 613 separate laws in the Pentateuch, the five books of Moses. They held that there were 247 affirmative laws, one for every part of the human body, as they knew it, and 365 negative laws, one for each day of the year. They also believed some commandments were heavy, absolutely binding, and the others were light or less binding. Therefore, to them the question, “Which one law is the greatest law or commandment” was appropriate.

Notice Jesus’ answer in verses 37 through 39. “And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. And a second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Obviously, this was a summary of the Law of God. At times the prophets also summarized the Law of God. For example see Micah 6:6-8: Verse 8 should be carefully observed: “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love [d]mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Since the Jews had been trying to get Jesus to disagree with the great law giver, Moses, notice that Jesus quoted directly from Moses: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one God. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” That was the most familiar Scripture to all Jews. Jesus was not only confirming that we are to love God as the Jew taught, but that we are love Him in a comprehensive way. Our Father in heaven wants more than our believing in Him, He wants us to love Him with the totality of our life, and with a love that is always seeking Him through obedience.

But Jesus added to the first and foremost commandment a second one: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” This command flows from the first. If we love God, then we will also love our neighbor. Jesus was also quoting from Leviticus 19:18. While the first great commandment embraced the first four of the Ten Commandments, this second command embraces the last six of the Ten Commandments. Clearly, we learn that we cannot love God without loving our fellowman because Jesus joined them together. This is also taught in the New Testament: “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” (1 Jno. 4:20-21).

Jesus concluded by saying: “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” In other words, everything else God said in the Old Testament hangs on those two things. The Lord did not mean that we could ignore all the other commands. Jesus said, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:10). The gospel of Jesus doesn’t free one from obeying God! This applies now as well as under the Old Testament.

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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10-22-2019 Walking in Truth Devotional Update by Guy Roberson

Walking in Truth Devotional Update

Jesus Tested by the Sadducees

(Mat 22:23-33; Mk 12:18-27; Lk 20:27-40)

Guy Roberson

I believe that it is important to realize that when the religious leaders were asking Jesus questions, it wasn’t because they wanted to know the answers, but because they did not believe He was the Messiah and wanted to entrap Him.

Jesus was having to deal with their unbelief. Luke helps us to understand their intentions. “So, they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor” (Lk. 20:20).

The Sadducees constituted one of the major religious influences in the first century Judaism. They are mentioned only fourteen times in the New Testament with half the references being in Matthew’s gospel. They were generally wealthy; and their influence was mostly among the upper classes of society. The Sadducees accepted as Scripture only the five books of the Torah or Pentateuch. They regarded the other sections of the Old Testament (the prophets and other writings) as late and unreliable inventions. These people did not believe in the resurrection (Matt. 22:23). As a child I was taught that one can always remember that it was the Sadducees that did not believe in the resurrection by their name: they were “Sad,” Sadducees.

Their test case was built on the levirate marriage law described in Deuteronomy 25:5-10. This law provided that when a married man died before having children the dead man’s brother was to marry the widow and produce children in the name of his dead brother. Those children were considered legally to be the line of the deceased and allowed his contribution to the family tree to continue.

The case the Sadducees presented to Jesus involved a man who married and died without children. His brother then married the widow and died shortly thereafter without children. The next brother married her and died childless. The same process happened through seven brothers and finally the woman died. The question of the Sadducees was, “Whose wife will she be in the resurrection since all of them had married her?” Of course, they were speaking rhetorically. If we had a lady today who had married seven brothers and each had died, the police would be checking into why each one died.

The question of the Sadducees assumed that resurrection life (if there was such) was simply an extension or continuation of earthly life. Jesus’ response to the question charges them with ignorance of both Scripture and the power of God. “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels of God in heaven.” Jesus here exposes his opponents’ lack of Scripture knowledge with his standard formula, have you not read . . . ? (v. 31; see 12:3; 19:4; 21:42, 46) “what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Matt. 22:31-32). The Scriptures and the power of God had been set before them; but they didn’t first choose to “know” these things in such a way as to respect and reverence them according to their proper worth. They didn’t want to; because the truths of these things would have been a light shining on their sin at the most fundamental level of their commitments.

The wonderful relationship of “marriage” was provided by God from the beginning because it was not good that man should be alone (Gen. 2:18), and also for the perpetuation of mankind during their time on earth (Gen. 1:28). This relationship, as wonderful as it is, will no longer be needed in heaven. What kind of relationship will we have? I don’t know, but I believe we will have a relationship that will be wonderful but different.

When Jesus said it was written that God is not the God of the dead, He was emphasizing that God would not claim to be the God of someone who no longer existed. Therefore, when we leave this earth we still exist somewhere and await the judgment (John 5:28-29). And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching (Matt. 22:33).

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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10-15-2019 Walking in Truth Devotional Update by Guy Roberson

Walking in Truth Devotional Update

Jesus Tested by the Pharisees

(Mat 22:15-22; Mk 12:13-17; Lk 20:20-26)

Guy Roberson

The goal of the Pharisees is to destroy Jesus’ influence, either by discrediting him in the presence of the crowds or by causing him to make a misstep that will get him in trouble with the Romans. “Then the Pharisees went and took counsel how they might entrap him in his talk” (v. 15).

This story is about one of three questions they asked Jesus to trap Him: “Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not? (Matt. 22:17).

It is interesting that the Pharisees sent their disciples with the Herodians to ask the question. The Herodians were the party actively supporting the rule of Herod the Great and favored making changes whenever Rome dictated. Palestine was an occupied nation by Rome, and the Jews had no special love for their conquerors.

They tried to veil their real intentions by flattery saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and care about no one; for You do not regard the person of men but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? 15 “Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?” But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why do you test Me? Bring Me a denarius that I may see it.” 16 So they brought it. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” And they said to Him, “Caesar’s.” 17 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at Him (Mark 12:14-17).

Swete in his commentary on Mark said: “Malice lay at the root of their conduct, unscrupulous cunning while they sought to screen themselves under the pretense of a desire for guidance and an admiration of fearless truthfulness.”

Jesus therefore answered their question by demonstrating that government does have a rightful place in everyone’s life and that one can be in subjection to government and God at the same time. Paul established this exceptionally well in writing to the church at Rome (Romans 13). Jesus also said, “Give to God what is God’s. Individuals are to be subject also to God’s authority. Therefore, we have both political and spiritual responsibilities. We must not obey the government if they contradict God (Acts 5:29).

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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10-8-2019 Walking In Truth Devotional Update by Guy Roberson

Walking In Truth Devotional Update

The Parable of the Great Wedding Banquet

(Matt. 22:1-14)

Guy Roberson

There have been efforts to relate this parable to Luke 14:16-24. In this passage Jesus spoke of a great supper provided by a “a certain man,” but this parable in Matthew is about a wedding banquet by a king. There are other differences one will find when comparing the two. It will be our purpose to consider only the one in Matthew at this time.

The passage in Matthew is set in the area of the temple of Jerusalem as observed in the previous chapter and is preceded by the parables of the Two Sons (Matt. 21:28-32) and The Wicked Husbandmen (Matt. 21:33-46). Jesus is engaged with the religious leaders and therefore verse 1 says: “And Jesus answered and spoke to them (observe the previous chapter) again by parables and said.” The parable is about the danger of rejecting Him.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son.” Weddings were very important then as they are even today. The wedding of a king’s son would be a great affair and an invitation would be treasured or greatly desired. William Barclay says “that when a great social event happened in the Jewish culture of that day, people were invited but without a set time. On the appropriate day, when the host was ready to receive the guests, they sent out messengers to say that all things were ready, and it was time to come to the feast.”

However, in this story when the servants went to call those invited to the wedding, they were unwilling to attend (v. 3). This picture is of the Jews rejection of Christ. This period was in the context of the week in which Jesus was to be betrayed and crucified. This hatred for Jesus is seen when Pilate asked the Jews “which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over” (Matt. 27:17-18).

In verses 4-7 we are told that the King sent out another gracious invitation and some made excuses and the rest seized the servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. The King then sent his army out and destroyed those murderers and burned up their city. The treatment of the king’s servants was true regarding how Israel had treated the prophets. Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 23:31-36. Jesus also predicted the overthrow of Jerusalem, which did take place when Rome marched against Jerusalem and destroyed the city and killing many Jewish people in A.D. 70. This is a clear warning for all those who reject Jesus. There is a coming judgment when all those who have rejected God’s invitation to accept His beloved Son will be punished (2 Thess. 1:7-9).

Again, the invitation was extended to those in the highways and the servants gathered together all whom they found, and the wedding was filled with guests (v. 8-10). No doubt this included the Gentiles. Jesus had said earlier, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). The people rejecting the invitation of the King were engaging in rebellion against God.

However, in the presence of the guests was a man without the proper wedding attire (Matt. 22:11-13). “So, he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” This man had so excuse and was stunned into silence. In such situations of the Mediterranean culture, the king would make sure to provide proper wedding clothes to all guests as they arrived (Malina, Synoptic Gospels, 111. Cf. also Stern, Jewish NT Commentary, 64, and Pilch, Cultural World of Jesus, 148-150).

There are different views regarding why this man did not have the proper attire. Some have suggested he was there to enjoy the feast but not to honor the Son. Some say that he came into the feast in a improper way. The proper attire would suggest the need to obey all that Jesus said was required for entrance into the Kingdom faith, repentance, baptism to contacting the blood of Christ, and a desire to love the Lord and keep His commandments.

The parable closes with the statement, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Many people hear the call of God which comes through the gospel (2 Thess. 2:14) but not everybody will respond because they lack the interest or are antagonistic toward God and Christ (Matt. 13:15).

I would like for us to see and understand the most gracious love of the Father presented in this parable. He provided His beloved Son for our salvation. If we would but meditate on what it cost the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit to offer this invitation to be saved how could we refuse His love?

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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10-1-2019 Walking in Truth Devotional Update By Guy Roberson

Walking in Truth Devotional Update

Parable of the Vinedressers

(Mat 21:33-46; Mk 12:1-12; Lk 20:9-19 (cp. Isa. 5:1-7))

Guy Roberson

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record Jesus’ Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers. In our last article we looked at an exchange between Jesus and the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. There we saw that Jesus told them the first of three parables designed to challenge and expose their hypocrisy. In this article we will examine the second of those parables, the Parable of the wicked Vinedressers. While Matthew’s account is the most complete it would be good to read all three accounts and the passage in Isaiah to receive a better understanding.

First, I would like for you to realize that this parable was neither mysterious nor ambiguous because the religious leaders, chief priests, scribes, elders, to whom Jesus was speaking clearly understood that Jesus had reference to them (Matt. 21:45).

Second, I would like for you to see the love of God manifested in this parable. The vineyard belonged to God. The passage in Isaiah 5:1-7 helped the hearers to see that Jesus was talking about God and His relationship with His people Israel, represented by their religious leaders and how hard their hearts had become toward God. God sent prophets to Israel because He loved them, and they were killed. Then God sent His Son, because of His love, saying, “They will respect my son” (v. 37). The patience of God had runout and He said, “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?” (v. 40). This was a rhetorical question simply to get those wicked leaders to think about their wickedness and the punishment they deserved.

The rejection of Jesus had been foretold in the Scriptures: Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? (Matt. 21:42; cf. Psa. 118:22,23). The “stone” which they rejected was Christ, the Son of God. Jesus then foretold what would happen: “Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. “And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder” (vv. 43, 44). This angered the religious leaders: “And they sought to lay hands on Him, but feared the multitude, for they knew He had spoken the parable against them. So, they left Him and went away” (Mark 12:12).

By turning to the Old Testament, we can see the important lesson of this parable: “Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling. Kiss his son, or he will be angry, and your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Psa. 2:10-12).

Jesus also had these same people in mind when He made the following statement: “Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar … O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Matt. 23:34-35-37).

This was according to God’s plan that could not be hindered because of their rejection of the prophets and God’s Son. “Then Job replied to the LORD: “I know that You can do all things and that no plan of Yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). I pray that you rejoice in the power of God and His ability to carry out His beautiful plan of salvation for all men despite Satan’s efforts to hinder that plan.

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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9-17-2019 Walking in Truth Devotional Update By Guy Roberson

Walking in Truth Devotional Update

The Withered Fig Tree

(Mat 21:17-22; Mk 11:12-14, 20-22)

Guy Roberson

Critics love to use this story to discredit Jesus. “Why would Jesus curse a defenseless tree for failing to have figs when Mark said, “it is not even the season for figs?” The critics are accusing Jesus of being mean-spirited and unreasonable. Such an accusation is proof they lack understanding of the passage.

The term “cursed” does not mean that Christ used profanity. This curse was a pronouncement of judgment causing the tree to die. Jesus did not attempt to steal from someone’s fig tree, nor did He destroy property belonging to another. In that day it was customary for travelers to pick fruit from road-side trees for travelers (“And seeing a fig tree by the road” Matt. 21:19).

Alfred Edersheim has called attention to the fact that “in Palestine the fruit appears before the leaves” (p. 374). Thus, to see a leafed fig tree (even at an unseasonable time — v. 13b), warranted the assumption that there would be fruit on the tree. Essentially, the tree was a picture of false advertising, having leaves but no figs. Therefore, this tree was an oddity; the leaves were there, but it was fruitless. This phenomenon, therefore, served as a perfect “visual aid” for an important lesson the Savior wished to teach regarding the failure of Israel, God’s people, to bear fruit.

The whole incident was a teaching moment for the disciples. Jesus had just cleansed the temple by driving the money changers out because they had corrupted His Fathers’ House of prayer. The pronouncement of judgment on the fig tree was a lesson regarding Israel’s failure to be faithful to God, their failure to bear fruit by being the people they should have been, and for their rejection of Jesus, the Messiah. The prophets often described Israel as a fig tree in referring to their status before God (Jer. 8:13; 29:17; Hos. 2:12; etc.). The religious leaders not only refused to accept Jesus, they determined to get rid of Him.

In verses 22-26, Mark points out the lesson of Jesus on faith, prayer, and forgiveness. “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (v. 22-24).

Jesus is not explaining how to curse fig trees, He is explaining what should be learned from this event. He is also emphasizing the fact they should have faith in the magnificent power and goodness of God. Whatever is asked in faith, without doubting, will be granted, if it is within the context of God’s goodness and His will. “Mountain” was a popular figure of speech for any insurmountable problem; Jesus said, that as we believe, God could overcome any obstacle.

This promise of God’s answer to the prayer made in faith was made to disciples, not to the multitude. “Nor should we interpret Mark 11:24 to mean, ‘If you pray hard enough and really believe, God is obligated to answer your prayer no matter what you ask.’ That kind of faith is not faith in God; rather it is nothing but faith in faith, or faith in feelings.” (Wiersbe)

This is a great lesson teaching us to be faithful and bear fruit for the Lord. If we fail as Christians to bear fruit the same judgment of God will be applied to us.

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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