Think On These Things

The Good News of Christ’s Death

“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures.” –1 Corinthians 15:1-3

Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; Hebrews 4:14-5:10; 7:22-27; 9:11-14; 10:10

A professor in one of our large American universities once said that Jesus should be regarded as a genius, but not as a successful genius. The professor reasoned that Jesus was defeated in His death, that His teachings were rejected, His purposes frustrated.

But Paul does not regard the death of our Lord as defeat. He includes it in the good news, the Gospel, that he preaches. He even informs the Corinthians that he had determined not to know [preach] anything among them save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. Paul regards the death of Christ as providing good news, for he knows that the holy and undefiled Saviour died for the sins of His people, as the Old Testament had foretold and as God had determined before the foundation of the world. Our Lord had come to give His life as a ransom for many. He who knew no sin became sin for His own. He freely in their place, as their substitute, paid the penalty required by the law; He covered their guilt; He satisfied the justice of God for them; and He has propitiated God and reconciled Him to His people.

The death of the Saviour did not mean defeat for Him, but it meant triumph—yes, it meant good news! Indeed, apart from it there could be no good news or no Gospel or no salvation for men.

 

Skilton, John H. Think on These Things: Bible Truths for Faith and Life. Philadelphia: Skilton House – Sowers, 1986.

 

“Blessed Be My Rock”

Today, we’re taking a look at another psalm. Don’t forget the main focus of each psalm is Jesus who is the Son of God, one with the Father and the Spirit. In Psalm 18:1, 2, 3, 46, David, the servant of the Lord, says,

1. I love You, O Lord, my strength.”
2. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
And I am saved from my enemies.
46. The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock;
And exalted be the God of my salvation. (NASB)

Through life’s trials, let us remember that “Fearing God replaces fear of others and things” (author unknown). Nothing can sway God, nothing can change His plans, no one can change His mind. When we call on Him and trust in Him, we know that He is “my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,” because He says so. He loves His people, and nothing can get between Him and us (Romans 8:31-39). When life falls apart around us, it’s comforting to know that He won’t leave us or fail us, even if everything in this world does. He’s always with us, and like a rock, nothing will move Him. We can rely on Him. Everything He promises in the Bible, He’ll do. Always has, always will. “Blessed be my Rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation.”

We Beheld His Glory

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” –John 1:14

Reading: John 1:1-18

John beheld with his own eyes the glory of Christ. He bears witness in his Gospel to One whom he has seen and known. He is not writing about a stranger; he is not presenting the mere traditions or theories or speculations of men about the Son of God. The Word was made flesh and His glory was manifested. John witnessed that glory. And he saw mighty signs that the Lord performed in the presence of His disciples; he heard His revelations of divine truth; he observed His perfect life; he beheld Him risen from the dead. John gives us facts and an inspired interpretation of those facts.

Nothing can overthrow the testimony of John. No new theory, no discoveries of science, no ungodly philosophy can ever succeed in shaking that witness. Whatever men today may choose to believe and do, nothing whatsoever can shatter the fact that John and others actually beheld the glory of the Saviour of the world and the Son of the living God. Nothing can erase the historical record of those divine signs that John and others witnessed. Nothing can ever disprove the existence of the sovereign triune God; for apart from God there would be no facts, no signs, no existence, no meaning. John’s testimony stands, and we by God’s grace and power believe that testimony. And we look, in faith, toward that day when we will be admitted to the presence of our Redeemer and our God, and we too shall behold His glory.

 

Skilton, John H. Think on These Things: Bible Truths for Faith and Life. Philadelphia: Skilton House – Sowers, 1986.

 

The Glory of the Lord in Creation

Today we take a moment to consider the glorious and beautiful Psalm 8.

 

Psalm 8 (NKJV)

O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth, You have set Your glory above the heavens!

Out of the mouth of babes and infants, You have ordained strength, because of Your enemies, to silence the enemy and the avenger.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained,

What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?

For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor.

You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet,

All sheep and oxen (flocks and herds)–even the beasts of the field,

The birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, (all) that pass through the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!

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God is great and greatly to be praised!

God is mighty, so He can give even little children power over His evil enemies. Jesus quoted verse 2 after cleansing the temple, as the children praised Him, acknowledging that He is God (Mt. 21:16).

God only needed fingers to create the universe, not a strong arm. And yet God thinks of us and cares for us, small though we are in a vast universe. Look at His greatness, rather than the smallness of our troubles. Know that He takes care of all of it. God is in control.

God has given man dominion or power over creation, but not as an equal to the Creator. It is a gift, not a right. Ultimately, verses 5-6 speak of Christ, the Son of Man, to Whom all authority has been given (Mt. 28:18). All things have been put under His control, and He is “crowned with glory and honor” (Heb. 2:8-9).

This psalm and our meaning start and end with the glory of God and Who He is.

 

Great is the Lord

 

“But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours they all cried out with one voice, “Great is Artemis [Diana] of the Ephesians!” –Acts 19:34

“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.” –Psalm 145:3

Reading: Acts 19:23-41; Psalm 145

In the large theater of Ephesus, the devotees of Diana…confessed with one voice, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians.” The cries of their loyalty expressed the esteem that many had in that day for the crude goddess whose worship centered in the magnificent temple that was one of the seven wonders of the world. If insistent and emphatic affirmation could establish falsehood as true, the cries of faith that were uttered in the theater of Ephesus should have established forever the excellence and magnificence of Diana.

The centuries have passed, however, and the worshipers of Diana have gone; the great city of Ephesus has fallen into ruins; the temple of Diana has been destroyed, and now a stagnant frog pond is found at its site. Today, instead of cries of devotion to Diana one hears the croaking of thousands of frogs.

Ephesus is dead and Diana is dead. With other discredited and abandoned deities of antiquity, Diana has perished—and her followers have been replaced by frogs in a stagnant pond. But the Gospel that Paul preached in Ephesus is not dead and will not die. And the God to whom Paul testified in Ephesus still lives and reigns and will live and reign forever. For He is the One who alone is great and is greatly to be praised, and whose greatness is unsearchable.

 

 

 

Sufficient Unto the Day

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” –Matthew 6:34

We face the duties, the privileges, the problems, perhaps even the serious troubles, of another day…. Some of the troubles we fear may never actually occur; some of them may be much easier than we expected: but today they all nevertheless may seem real enough and threatening enough. In fact, we at times may become so disturbed and weakened by anxious thoughts about the future that we are unable to meet the problems of the  present with our full strength.

We should, of course, take prudent thought for the morrow and make reasonable and conscientious preparation for it. But we are not to be anxious about it. We are not to ruin the present day or lessen our ability to cope with its problems by worrying about what may or may not happen on the coming days. Our lives, our days, our future, are in the hands of our powerful and loving Father in heaven. The grace of our Lord is sufficient for each day as it comes. We must learn to live one day at a time as unto Him…. In the strength that God gives us now, let us strive to glorify Him every moment of this day.

 

Skilton, John H. Think on These Things: Bible Truths for Faith and Life. Philadelphia: Skilton House – Sowers, 1986.

Be Thankful Unto Him and Bless His Name

Some thoughts for Sunday, the Lord’s Day.

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Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name! (Psalm 100:4)

Let us enter the house of the Lord today with thanksgiving. In the words of the psalmist, we will “forget not all His benefits.” Has He not forgiven all our iniquities; has He not many a time healed our diseases? Has He not redeemed our life from destruction and crowned us with loving-kindness and tender mercies? Has He not satisfied us with good things? Truly His mercy is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him, and His righteousness unto children’s children. We have seen the goodness of our God in the land of the living. We have tasted and seen that the Lord our God is good. With thanksgiving and with joy, we, the redeemed of the Lord, can enter into His gates and proceed into His courts with praise.

We do not, therefore, come to the service of worship in a lifeless, formal, and simply routine way. We do not enter the house of God as mere spectators at a performance. We come with an eagerness to unite with our fellow believers in heartfelt worship. We truly love Him who first loved us. We wish to tell Him so in our hymns and our prayers. We earnestly desire to learn more about Him, to hear His Word read and proclaimed, and to receive His blessing. In all things we wish to glorify and enjoy Him whose name alone is excellent and who is God, even our own God.

 

Skilton, John H. Think on These Things: Bible Truths for Faith and Life. Philadelphia: Skilton House – Sowers, 1986.