Category Archives: Devotionals

5-21-2019 Walking in Truth Devotional Update By Guy Roberson

 

Walking in Truth Devotional Update

Let the Little Children Come to Me

(Mat 19:13-15; Mk 10:13-16; Lk 18:15-17)

Guy Roberson

“Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there” (Matt. 19:13-15).

Jesus always seemed to have a crowd around Him. People wanted to be close and to touch Him and be touched by Him, hoping for a blessing. Not only were the adults always around Jesus they were also bringing their children. Luke tells us they even brought their infants to Him.

Little children are to learn about God, love God, and as they grow, they should be taught to do God’s work on earth. Little ones come to parents from God and parents should see themselves as caretakers of these precious gifts. It is the responsibility of parents to not only provide for them but to teach them about God and help them to achieve their purpose in life. That means that we must learn to find the time necessary to give them all the support and guidance to grow as Jesus did: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52).

Jesus taught us a very important lesson about the nature of little children when He said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus doesn’t say that the Kingdom belongs to little children or that they are already in the Kingdom. He says that those who inherit or possess the kingdom will be “like” these children. Jesus was speaking of the characteristics of children that must characterize those entering the kingdom. Qualities like innocence, openness, trust, receptivity and humility. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Luke 18:17).

These passages show clearly that babies are not born in sin as many teach. If children are born in sin, then Jesus is telling us that one must become sinful to enter the kingdom which is foolishness. Paul declared that none who are unclean can enter the kingdom of heaven (Ephesians 5:5). The Bible teaches that children do not bear the sin of their parents (Exodus 32:32-33; Deuteronomy 24:16; 2 Kings 14:6; 2 Chronicles 25:4; Jeremiah 31:30; Ezekiel 18:20). The Bible is clear: sin is not inherited. No baby has ever been born bearing the guilt of Adam’s sin. No one bears the responsibility for Adam’s sin but Adam himself.

May the day hasten when adults love and care for little children as they deserve and as God commands.

 

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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5-14-2019 Walking in Truth Devotional update by Guy Roberson

Walking in Truth Devotional Update

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

(Luke 18:9-14)

Guy Roberson

 

Jesus was making His way to Jerusalem—the place where everything written about the Son of Man would be accomplished (Luke 18:31-33). Jesus had been teaching that men ought to pray and not lose heart and had just related a story about the efforts of a widow to get justice from her adversary in verses 1-8.

Our text concerns the character flaw found so often in many of us regarding trusting in ourselves while despising others (v. 1). The word “despised” means “to count as nothing,” and describes the religious egotism the Pharisees repulsively personified.

Are you that kind of person? Do you think you’re a good person? Are you confident that you are better than others? If you think the thing that separates you from other people is that there is some goodness in you that is not in them, you will become prideful, contemptuous and arrogant. But if you think that the only thing that separates you from those who are justly under the judgment of God is not in you but in God’s mercy, it will make you tender and humble.

This parable illustrates two different men, the Pharisee and the tax collector (publican), with two different attitudes: self-righteousness and humility who went to the temple to pray.

“The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.” “And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!” Jesus then said, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

There were some similarities of these men: Both wanted to stand before God, both approached God in the Temple, a place set apart for prayer. Both wanted to enter God’s holy presence. Both had a measure of self-knowledge that they were bringing to their prayers and both came with the intention to pray.

It isn’t that the Pharisee was speaking falsely, for everything he said was true. His fault was that he missed the true nature of his blessing. As Luke states in his introductory sentence, he trusted in himself. He located his righteousness entirely in his own actions and being. Look at what was missing: There was no sense of sin or need whatsoever in this prayer. There is not the slightest sense that this man has anything that he needs to be forgiven for.

The tax collector had no means to claim righteousness. He had done nothing of merit and had broken many commands of the law and therefore, threw himself on the mercy of the Lord praying, “‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!”. There is the presence of humility and the presence of God-focused trust. Do you remember David’s prayer for his sins regarding Bathsheba? “Be gracious to me, O God, because of Your loving-kindness.”

That is why Jesus said, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

The world says, promote yourself, look out for #1. God says, humble yourself, seek Me first. This tax collector’s prayer should be our prayer because we all need God’s mercy every day. Don’t let pride in your achievements cut you off from God.

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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5-7-2019 Walking in Truth Devotional Update by Guy Roberson

Walking in Truth Devotional Update

Jesus Teaches the Pharisees About the Kingdom

(Lk 17:20-37)

Guy Roberson

The Pharisees asked when the kingdom of God would come. John the Baptizer had been proclaiming that the kingdom of God was near. Jesus had also been repeatedly teaching the nearness of the coming of the kingdom of God. Luke has emphasized this truth in several places throughout this gospel.

Since the kingdom of God was near, the Pharisees wanted to know when this kingdom would come. Jesus answered this question in two sections, first to the Pharisees and second to his disciples.

The Pharisees believed the kingdom would come with great signs, but Jesus countered this view pointing to the fact that the kingdom would not come as they were thinking.

“The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” Jesus was not telling the Pharisees that the kingdom of God was within them. Jesus had taught over and over that the Pharisees were not in the kingdom. Who was in their midst? Jesus was in their midst, the King of Israel. Recall what Jesus said in Luke 11:20. If Jesus casts out demons by the power of God, then the kingdom of God had come upon them. What is Jesus’ point? The kingdom (the rule and reign of God) was already working in their very midst. The rule and reign of God was working through Jesus. The kingdom was arriving, and the king was in their very presence. There was no need to look around all over the place for the kingdom. The kingdom is seen in Jesus.

In verses 22-37 Jesus was teaching His disciples about the coming judgement on Jerusalem. Many have tried to make this section teach about the final judgment of all men, but that is incorrect, and the context shows that fallacy clearly. Jesus described that event as one that would not be hidden.

Before the days of the Son of Man can arrive, He will experience suffering and rejection.by this generation. “And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.”

Observe that Jesus pointed out that “he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise, the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.”

In the final judgment there will be no where to run as the earth will be destroyed (2 Peter 3:10-11) and every soul will be rushed before the final judgment. There will not be one left while the other is taken. Everyone will stand before the Lord in final judgment and give an account, as the scriptures teach (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Notice now verse 37 as Jesus gives the final description: “So He said to them, “Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.” In the destruction of Jerusalem there were dead bodies everywhere and the vulture were circling and gathering for their meals because of so many dead bodies. That will not the picture in the final judgment because everyone will be taken before the Judgment seat of Christ with the world having been destroyed.

The Jewish nation was being judged for their sins and their rejection of Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords and God brought the Roman army against Jerusalem and destroyed the city and millions were killed.

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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4-30-2019 Walking in Truth Devotional Update by Guy Roberson

Walking in Truth Devotional Update

Lord, Increase Our Faith

(Luke 17:5-10)

Guy Roberson

Jesus had taught a very important lesson regarding the need for his disciples to be very careful about offending one of the little ones, a young or new disciple (cp. Matt. 18:6). This is not talking about hurting the feelings of such a person but causing them to sin.

Jesus felt so strongly about this that He said it “would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.”

Immediately, Jesus discussed the matter of forgiveness and emphasized that “if one sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, “I repent,” you shall forgive him.”

It was after this that the apostles asked the Lord, to “Increase their faith.” The apostles were overwhelmed with the difficulty of such a task as forgiving a penitent brother seven times. So, the Lord illustrated the power of faith by the following example: “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” Whether this was hyperbole, or the description of apostolic power the point is that faith is powerful. They realized that they needed a faith great enough to serve the Lord.

Would I be mistaken if I said that probably every Christian at some time realized that he/she needed greater faith to deal with a particularly difficult problem in life? I know that has been true in my life and in the lives of Christians I have counseled in 67 years of preaching. Having strong faith is essential in living the Christian life. Satan will endeavor to weaken and even destroy our faith if he can: “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Cor. 4:3-4). Peter also warned us about Satan’s efforts to devour us (I Pet. 5:8).

The Hebrew writer said that we not only need faith to please God, but also to believe that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. Here is where I think great faith is so very important. The world calls to us from every possible temptation to abandon our faith to succumb to temptation to enjoy all the earthly rewards that the flesh could ever desire. We need to remember that we will die one day, and all of the rewards of the world will not be able to help us. We need great faith in God and His all-important rewards He offers us in eternity. We will either live in heaven or suffer in hell.

Great faith is necessary because it will affect the decisions we must make in life. The decision to put God first, to interact with people in a godly way, and treat everyone with the love of God is one we face every day.

Yes, Lord increase our faith as we read, study, and meditate on your precious Word. Hep us to be led by the Spirit as we seek to be conformed to our Lord and Savior and as we seek to worship our Heavenly Father in spirit and truth.

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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4-23-2019 Walking in Truth Devotional Update by Guy Roberson

Walking in Truth Devotional Update

The Rich Man and Lazarus

Lk 16:19-31

Guy Roberson

Our Lord had just spoken about wealth and that one cannot serve both God and money.  “Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they [f]derided Him” (Lk. 16:14).  And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God” (v. 15).  That for which the Pharisees prided themselves, Jesus viewed as wicked.

In verse 19 Jesus again spoke of a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. In other words, he lived a life of very great luxury.  In contrast to him was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at the rich man’s gate and the dogs licked his sore.  He desired only to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. The rich man was completely indifferent to the plight of Lazarus, showing him no love, sympathy, or compassion whatsoever. This revealed that he had a wicked heart, a non-repentant heart. By refusing to provide for the poor beggar sitting at his gate, the rich man was rebelling against God who, through Moses, had given Israel specific instructions on how those with resources were to treat their poor fellow countrymen (see Deut. 15:7-11).

Jesus described both men dying and that their roles in life being completely reversed. “So it was that the beggar died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.  And being in torments in Hades, he lifted his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.”

The question is often asked, is the account of the rich man and Lazarus a historical account or is it a parable?  While there are those who consider this account a parable, many others view it as not parabolic.  R. C. Foster’s comment is helpful: “This is usually called a parable, but Jesus does not state it is a parable. In no parable is a person named, as Lazarus is. Discussion as to whether it is a parable is not necessary. The pictures Jesus gives of life beyond the grave cannot be tested by us because of our lack of information. They are true to the facts or else Jesus deceived us (1971, 955).

The Lord was revealing the reality of what takes place following physical death to drive home an important truth: an individual’s wealth and social standing, or the lack thereof, is not necessarily an indication of that person’s spiritual standing before God. The key to understanding the point that the Lord is making in telling the story of the rich man and Lazarus is found in verses 15 and 16; “And He said unto them, ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. The Law and the Prophets were until John: since that time the Kingdom of God is preached and every man presseth into it” (Luke 16:15-16).

What can we learn from this account of those two men?

  1. After death there is a state of consciousness (22-25ff)
  2. One’s destiny is sealed at death (25,26) there is no escape from it.
  3. Death is the separation of our body from our spirit. The body goes to the grave, while the spirit enters either into torment and rest.
  4. The word “torment” means “pain, anguish”.
  5. Basic teachings from this parable include the state of felicity for the righteous and the state of torment for the wicked, with no time-lapse whatever between death and the entering of the soul into one or the other of the Hadean compartments.
  6. Apparently after physical death, unsaved people will have regretful memories (25-28)
  7. Neither the saved nor the lost will cease to exist.

We also learn that it is only in this life that a man or woman can be reconciled to God. If we fail to turn to God and serve Him in this life, we will be lost forever. To serve God we must develop the proper attitude toward money and the compassion we need for those less fortunate than ourselves, the very things the rich man lacked.  However, obedience to God involves believing in Jesus and obeying Him in baptism as well as having a godly attitude.

I believe Jesus rolled the curtain back so we can see what happens when one dies, to warn us that we must take the initiative and turn to God in this life. If you were to die today, where would you go: torment or Abraham’s bosom?

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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4-16-2019 Walking in Truth Devotional Update by Guy Roberson

Walking in Truth Devotional Update

Exposes the Hypocrisy of the Pharisees

(Lk 16:14-17)

Guy Roberson

The enemies of Jesus were primarily the religious leaders.  Jesus even warned His disciples about the leaven of the Pharisees meaning their false doctrines (Matt. 16:5, 6,12).   Jesus exposed their hypocrisy upon many occasions, but Matthew 23 is the most devastating passage in the Scriptures.

“Repeatedly Luke shows us Jesus’ condemnation of the Pharisees – for hypocrisy (11:39, 42; 12:1), for social pretentiousness, for lack of compassion towards the needy (11:43; 14:7, 12-14), for greed (16:14), for a self-justifying spirit that lacked humility before God (10:29), and for willfully refusing the invitation of God (14:18-20).”
In our text notice that the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things [the parable of the unjust Steward], and they derided  [ridiculed] Jesus.  Jesus replied, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God (v. 15).  They measured their life by wealth and possessions, not by their spirituality or relationship with God. They made themselves look good by saying that their wealth was a sign of God’s approval. God saw what was in their heart.  Christians must be willing to honor God by the things God desires: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise” (Psa. 51:17).

Listen, God knows what is in our hearts.  He understands it completely. The reason He knows your heart so well is because He fashioned it Himself (Psalm 33:15). Not to mention, He knows absolutely everything about absolutely everything. He is omniscient: all-knowing (Psalm 147:5).  “The LORD observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil” (Genesis 6:5).  “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).  David wrote, “You understand my thought afar off. … Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:2, 23-24).  So, understand that we cannot fool God.

God knows everything there is to know about us, which is amazing because He still loves us anyway. How great You are God, for “Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether” (Psalm 139:4).

Hypocrisy is always wrong, and we should strive to be pure in heart and serve God in sincerity and truth.

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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4-9-2019 Walking in Truth Devotional Update by Guy Roberson

Walking in Truth Devotional Update

The Story of the Elder Brother

(Luke 15:22-32)

 Guy Roberson

 

In the last lesson we looked at the prodigal son, leaving home and his return to his father and how the father and the household rejoiced over his return.  However, the elder brother did not rejoice in his brother’s return and refused to enter the home and participate in the rejoicing.  “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So, he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.  ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound” “The older brother became angry and refused to go in” (v. 25-28a).

The chapter begins with the tax collectors and sinner drawing close to hear Jesus teach.  But the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”  This provoked Jesus into telling the parables found in Luke 15.  He related the parable of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost boy to show how God rejoices over one sinner who turns and repents.  Jesus is showing how the Father is constantly seeking the lost and is desirous of sinners to turn back to Him: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (I Tim. 2:3-4).

Just as the Pharisees were standing aloof and refusing to show kindness to the tax collectors and sinners, the elder brother was standing aloof and refusing to show kindness to his brother who had sinned and finally come to his senses and returned to his father.

Notice how the elder brother was angry and spoke to his father, “So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him’” (v. 29-30).  Mercy to the undeserving made him angry, just as the Pharisees demonstrated. Self-righteousness cannot exist without producing an attitude of moral superiority, a lack of mercy, and a joyless servitude. In his self-righteousness, he had neither love nor mercy for His brother.  We need to make an application here regarding the fact the elder brother cut himself off from his brother who was accepted by the father.  One today who refuses fellowship to one who has sinned and has been accepted by our Father will hurt the one refusing fellowship.  The elder brother was 1) guilty of being self-willed by refusing to go in; 2) self-righteous by claiming he never transgressed his father’s will; 3) self-centered because he complained that the father never gave a feast in his honor; 4) and he was selfish because he did not want to share his possessions with his brother.

The father replied: ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”   Here Jesus demonstrates that while the Pharisees were wrong in their failure to show kindness to sinners, our heavenly Father is willing to forgive them and entreat them as the father did the elder brother.

Thank God for His love and kindness He shows to any and all who will come to Him through our beloved Savior (John 14:6).

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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4-2-2019 Walking in Truth Devotional Update by Guy Roberson

Walking in Truth Devotional Update

The Parable of the Lost Son

(Luke 15:11-27)

Guy Roberson

The story of the Prodigal Son, also known as the Parable of the Lost Son, follows immediately after the parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin.  Of all the parables that Jesus spoke, the one featuring the prodigal son may be the most touching and best remembered.

In this parable it is not a sheep or a coin, but a boy, a precious, beloved son who is lost. Note the common theme of all three parables. Whether it was a lost sheep, a lost coin or a lost son, there is rejoicing when that which was lost is recovered.

As Expositor’s Bible Commentary notes: “Not only is there a mathematical progression, as the lost fraction increases from one-hundredth to one-tenth, and then to one-half of the whole, but the intrinsic value of the loss rises in a corresponding series. In the first it was a lost sheep, a loss which might soon be replaced, and which would soon be forgotten; in the second it was a lost coin, which, as we have seen, meant the loss of what was more valuable than gold, even honor and character; while in the third it is a lost child” (comments on Luke 15:1-32).

The parable begins with the younger son asking his father for his share of the estate. Though it was perfectly within his rights to ask, it was not a loving thing to do, as it implied that he wished his father dead. Instead of rebuking his son, the father patiently grants him his request. This is a picture of God letting a sinner go his own way. The father clearly illustrates God’s love. His love allowed rebellion and, in some sense, respected human will. The father knew that the son made a foolish and greedy request, yet allowed him to go his course, nonetheless.  Once received, the son promptly sets off on a long journey to a distant land and begins to waste his fortune on wild living.  “But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything” (v.14-16).

Like the prodigal, we long for a feeling of well-being, peace, security, fun, and happiness. Also like him, we pursue after them, attempting to produce them in virtually every way but the Father’s way. We, like the prodigal, experience the same empty, hollow, something-is-missing feelings.

“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants”’”(17-19).  But when he came to himself: In his misery the prodigal son was finally able to think clearly. Before it might be said that he wasn’t really himself and thought as another man; then he came to himself.  What is significant, is the fact that he did not blame anyone but himself. The general practice today is for one to blame everybody and everything but oneself.

“Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” In his prepared speech to his father, the son showed his complete sense of unworthiness and an honest confession of sin. He would not even ask to be treated as a son, but as a hired servant.  This shows a complete change of thinking. He didn’t think like this before; now he made no attempt to justify or excuse his sin.

“And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry” (20-24).

It was a happy and joyous thing to find the lost sheep and the lost coin. It was much more to find the lost son. They had a wonderful party with special clothing, jewelry, and food. It wasn’t just finding a lost son; it was as if he were back from the dead.  “For this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.”   This is a picture of what occurs in heaven over one repentant sinner.

What is our attitude toward those who are lost?

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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3-26-2019 Walking In Truth Devotional Update

Walking In Truth Devotional Update

The Parable of the Lost Coin

(Luke 15:8-10)

Guy Roberson

Jesus turns His attention to a woman who misplaced a coin.  He had just discussed the parable of lost sheep.  The ratio turns from one in one hundred, to one in ten, but the lesson is still the same.

The situation in which Jesus is speaking can be seen in Luke 15:1–2. “Now the tax collectors and ‘sinners’ were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’”  To associate with people of this class was considered contaminating; to eat with them, outrageous! The religious leaders just didn’t understand. They couldn’t understand because they were blinded by their own self-righteousness.

Why would this woman be so concerned about losing a coin?  When a Jewish girl married, she began to wear a headband of ten silver coins to signify that she was now a wife.  It was the Jewish version of our modern wedding ring, and it would be considered a calamity for her to lose one of those coins. Others have taught that the coins represented a poor woman’s savings.  The point is evidently not significant. Either way the loss of a coin would be a serious matter for a poor woman. The women in the audience would have understood right away and would have felt for the woman in the story.  Common to each parable is the thought of something or someone lost but whose recovery brought much rejoicing.

This woman made every effort to find the coin.  Jesus said, “What woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it?” (v. 8).  To that woman the coin was so important that she dropped everything to search diligently for it.

William Barclay committed: “The houses were very dark, for they were lit by one little circular window not much more than about eighteen inches across. The floor was beaten earth covered with dried reeds and rushes; and to look for a coin on a floor like that was very much like looking for a needle in a haystack. The woman swept the floor in the hope that she might see the coin glint or hear it tinkle as it moved.”  Note the words, Light…sweep…search – these three verbs indicate the great effort and zeal undertaken in order to find what was lost. She left nothing to chance.

“And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (v. 9-10).

All three parables in Luke 15 concern the restoration of lost relationships—ultimately God seeking out human beings who were lost to Him and bringing them back into a loving relationship with Him.

God’s joy (at the repentance and salvation of sinners) is contrasted with the sullenness of the scribes and Pharisees and their grumbling over our Lord’s association with tax-gatherers and sinners (15:1-2).

May each of us develop the attitude of God toward those who are lost, regardless how one may have been lost.

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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3-19-2019 Walking in Truth Devotional Update by Guy Roberson

Walking in Truth Devotional Update

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

(Luke 15:4-7)

Guy Roberson

The situation in which Jesus is speaking can be seen in Luke 15:1–2. “Now the tax collectors and ‘sinners’ were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them’” (NIV).

Jesus began by asking the people for their opinion: ‘Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.” I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent’” (Luke 15:3-7).

Then Jesus focused on the shepherd of the sheep. He says that a good shepherd will leave the ninety-nine and search for the one lost lamb.  The religious leaders would have responded properly to a sheep being lost, but on the other hand, they did not understand the value of a lost soul, evidenced by the fact that they murmured against Jesus when He taught and sought after the souls of men who had gone astray.

A shepherd understood that a sheep that had strayed from the flock was defenseless and in grave danger.  Jesus understood this principle regarding mankind.  When a person is lost and separated from the Lord because of his/her sins and transgression (Isa. 59:1-2; cp. Eph. 2:1-3) the Lord knows that such a person is groping aimlessly in darkness and needs to be rescued.  The shepherd in the parable didn’t despise his straying sheep and with a heart of compassion went to rescue it.  Our Lord also with a heart of compassion values each lost sinner.

It is a humbling reminder that God is not just interested in us but also in those who do not know Him. After Jesus reveals Himself to be the Good Shepherd who lays His life down for the sheep, He goes on to say, “I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice. Then there will be one flock, one shepherd” (Jn 10:16).

Instead of murmuring about our Lord’s association with the publicans and sinners, they should have been rejoicing that men lost in sin were being brought back to God.  It is not the will of God that any should perish.  “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward [a]us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).

“The Early Church believed this parable was a reference to Jesus Himself. Jesus left Heaven and, like the shepherd in the parable, came to earth to seek and to save that which was lost. The early Christians of the First and Second Centuries were so convinced this parable was about Jesus that they often used the image of a shepherd carrying a lamb across his shoulders as the graphic to depict Him. In ancient catacombs in Rome where early Christians once gathered to worship and pray, painted images of a shepherd carrying a lamb, representing Jesus, are still visible on the walls.”

Jesus ends this beautiful story with the following statement: “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”  So, when a sinner repents, Jesus sees this as a time for Heaven to celebrate! He calls on all of Heaven’s inhabitants to celebrate every time a sinner is saved! Consider the profound action that transpires when a soul doomed to eternal destruction is redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. It’s no wonder that Jesus wants all of Heaven to join with Him in throwing a celebration!

What is our attitude toward the lost and dying sinners?

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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