Truth For Today

THE MOTIVE OF THE CHURCH

To Him be glory in the church.  ~EPHESIANS 3:21                 

If you were to survey a group of people and ask them to name the primary purpose of the church, you would probably get a variety of answers.

Some might suggest that the church is a place to form friendships with godly people. It’s where believers strengthen each other in faith and where love is cultivated and shared.

Others might suggest that the mission of the church is teaching the Word, training believers for various responsibilities, and instructing children and young people with the purpose of helping them mature in Christ.

Still others might say that another purpose of the church is to praise God. The church is a community of praise that exalts God for who He is and what He has done. Some would suggest that since praise is the central activity of heaven, it must also be the primary responsibility of those on earth.

But as important as fellowship, teaching, and praise are, the primary motive of the church is to glorify God. The apostle Paul described salvation as being “to the praise of the glory of his grace”(Eph. 1:6).

Truth For Today

CALLED TO SUFFER

For to this [suffering] you were called.
~ 1 PETER 2:21

Though today’s verse seems to point out that we are called to suffer, it actually refers back to the last part of verse 20, which says, “When you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.” When Christians endure suffering with patience, it pleases God.

That shouldn’t surprise us. Earlier in this chapter of First Peter, the apostle Peter states that Christians “are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you MAY proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (v. 9). Our dark world resents and is often hostile toward those who represent the Lord Jesus Christ. That resentment and hostility MAY be felt at certain times and places more than others, but it is always there to some extent as a part of the privilege of being His own.

Truth For Today

WHY GOD ANSWERS PRAYER Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father MAY be glorified in the Son. ~ JOHN 14 : 13

Why does God answer prayer? The last part of today’s verse gives the answer: He answers prayer for His sake as well as ours. He does it to put Himself on display. Understanding this concept increases our confidence in prayer: we can know God will answer because it is an opportunity for Him to receive glory. We will grow spiritually as we interact with God through prayer and see His power on display.

The context of John 14:13 shows that the disciples were greatly distressed because Jesus told them He would be leaving. The disciples had relied on Jesus for so long that they feared being without Him. He had provided all their resources. He was their beloved friend and their spiritual, theological, and economic resource. He was their future as well as their present. They panicked at the thought of His leaving, but He left them and us the promise of John 14:13—whatever we need and ask for in His name, He will do.

Truth For Today

A MARK OF THE CHRISTIAN

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.  ~    1 JOHN 1 : 9              

The apostle John wrote his first epistle to define the difference between a Christian and an unbeliever. Our verse for today indicates that confession characterizes the former. The next verse says, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar” (v. 10). Unregenerate men deny their sin, but Christians take responsibility for it and confess it.

Confession of sin doesn’t take place only at salvation. It continues, as faith does, throughout the life of a believer. A willingness to confess sin is part of the pattern of life that characterizes every believer. That pattern also includes love (1 John 3:14), separation from the world (2:15), and instruction by the Holy Spirit (2:27). Of course there are varying degrees of confession—sometimes we don’t make as full a confession as we should—but a true believer eventually acknowledges his sin.

Truth For Today

SOMETHING OF ETERNAL VALUE

I long to see you, that I May impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you MAY be established. ~ ROMANS 1:11

Some years ago, a young woman in our church who was a student at a local university said to me, “I learned a great lesson from one of your sermons on love. I always told myself that I loved the little girls in my fourth-grade Sunday school class. They all have small, frilly dresses and the cutest smiles.”

She went on to say, “One Saturday I was attending a football game at my school—something I do every Saturday—and the Lord convicted me about not adequately preparing my Sunday school lesson. Because I attended the games on Saturday, I was in the habit of teaching a lesson on Sunday morning that was very shallow and superficial. God pointed out that I didn’t really love those girls the way I thought I did because I made no sacrifice in my own life to give them something of eternal value.”

She ended our conversation by saying, “So from now on, I will not be attending any more football games until my lesson is completed and I feel I can impart to them something of eternal value.”

Truth For Today

UNDESERVED FAVOR

Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more. ~ROMANS 5:2 0

Salvation does not come by confirmation, communion, baptism, church membership, church attendance, trying to keep the Ten Commandments, or living out the Sermon on the Mount. It does not come by giving to charity or even by believing that there is a God. It does not come by simply being moral and respectable. Salvation does not even come by claiming to be a Christian. Salvation comes only when we receive by faith the gift of God’s grace. Hell will be full of people who tried to reach heaven some other way.

The apostle Paul said, “The law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 5:20–21). The first provision of the gospel is grace, which is neither earned nor deserved.

Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse said, “Love that gives upward is worship; love that goes outward is affection; love that stoops is grace.” God has stooped to give us grace. Will you receive it?

Truth For Today

A MYSTERIOUS UNION Taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
[PHILIPPIANS 2:7]

The humanity and deity of Christ is a mysterious union we can never fully understand. But the Bible emphasizes both.

Luke 23:39–43 provides a good example. At the cross, “. . . one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, ‘If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.’ But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when you come into Your Kingdom.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’”

In His humanness, Jesus was a victim, mercilessly hammered to a cross after being spat upon, mocked, and humiliated. But in His deity, He promised the thief on the cross eternal life, as only God can.