Response, Request, Reminder2 John 1:4-6
Scripture’s clear that salvation isn’t earned by good behavior. Christ alone redeems. Does that mean we’re free to live however we want under God’s grace? Discover the balance between obedience and “walking in love,” on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.
From the Sermon
Teaching With Integrity
Paul never succumbed to the temptation to shape his message to cater to his hearers’ tastes, and neither must we.
It is always tempting to temper what we say to avoid the prejudices or tickle the fancies of those we’re speaking to, whether we’re speaking from a platform or over a meal table. But if we are going to be honest stewards of the message given to us in the Bible, then our teaching and speaking about it needs to be marked by integrity.
Faithfulness to all of Scripture’s teaching is crucial. Scripture itself warns us that false teachers will arise and tell people what their itching ears want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3). Times will come when people turn away from sound teaching, instead seeking out voices that don’t challenge them with biblical truth but simply reinforce their own views.
Paul spent more than two years teaching among the Ephesians, publicly and privately, and his message was always pure, open, and straightforward. It didn’t matter where he was or who his hearers were; what he knew to be profitable—the proclamation and application of God’s word—was what he brought.
If someone had come from one of Paul’s addresses and was asked, “What did Paul say today?” the response must always have included sentences like these: “He said that we’re supposed to turn in repentance toward God. We need to forsake our sins. We are to trust in Jesus as our only Savior. He really challenged me, but he really encouraged me.” No matter where you met him and no matter when you heard him, Paul always got to the heart of the gospel. His life and ministry were gospel-centered. He was not willfully offensive or obnoxious, but at the same time, he did not shrink from saying hard but necessary things.
The day will come, if it has not already, when you will be tempted to soften the message of God’s word—tempted to loosen your convictions in order to make the warnings, promises, and commands of Scripture seem more palatable to those in your hearing. How will you respond when this day comes? Will you shrink from declaring God’s message, as so many around Paul did? Or will you follow the example of the apostle by declaring the truth plainly, trusting that it will bring glory and honor to the Lord, and remembering that what people want to hear is not always or often the same as what they need to hear—what is profitable to them?
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
Preach the Word
1I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3For the time is coming when people will not endure sound1 teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people… . You shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him.
Slander emits a threefold poison, for it injures the teller, the hearer, and the person who is being slandered. Whether the report is true or false, we are by this precept of God’s Word forbidden to spread it.
The reputations of the Lord’s people should be very precious in our sight, and we should regard it as shameful to help the devil dishonor the church and the name of the Lord. Some tongues need a bridle rather than a spur.
Many rejoice in putting down their brothers and sisters, as if in doing so they raised themselves. Noah’s wise sons cast a covering over their father, and the one who exposed him earned a fearful curse.
We may ourselves one of these dark days need leniency and silence from our family; let us offer it cheerfully to those who require it now. Let this be our family motto, and our personal bond: Speak evil of no man.
The Holy Spirit, however, permits us to censure sin and prescribes the way in which we are to do it. It must be done by rebuking our brother to his face, not by talking behind his back.
This approach is manly, brotherly, Christlike, and under God’s blessing will be useful.
Do we shy away from it? Then we must lay the greater stress upon our conscience and commit ourselves to the responsibility, in case by tolerating sin in our friend we become partakers of it.
Hundreds have been saved from gross sins by the timely, wise, affectionate warnings of faithful friends and family. Our Lord Jesus has set us a gracious example of how to deal with erring friends in His warning given to Peter, the prayer with which He preceded it, and the gentle way in which He endured Peter’s boastful denial that he needed such a caution.
1 Chronicles 26
Divisions of the Gatekeepers
1As for the divisions of the gatekeepers: of the Korahites, Meshelemiah the son of Kore, of the sons of Asaph. 2And Meshelemiah had sons: Zechariah the firstborn, Jediael the second, Zebadiah the third, Jathniel the fourth, 3Elam the fifth, Jehohanan the sixth, Eliehoenai the seventh. 4And Obed-edom had sons: Shemaiah the firstborn, Jehozabad the second, Joah the third, Sachar the fourth, Nethanel the fifth, 5Ammiel the sixth, Issachar the seventh, Peullethai the eighth, for God blessed him. 6Also to his son Shemaiah were sons born who were rulers in their fathers' houses, for they were men of great ability. 7The sons of Shemaiah: Othni, Rephael, Obed and Elzabad, whose brothers were able men, Elihu and Semachiah. 8All these were of the sons of Obed-edom with their sons and brothers, able men qualified for the service; sixty-two of Obed-edom. 9And Meshelemiah had sons and brothers, able men, eighteen. 10And Hosah, of the sons of Merari, had sons: Shimri the chief (for though he was not the firstborn, his father made him chief), 11Hilkiah the second, Tebaliah the third, Zechariah the fourth: all the sons and brothers of Hosah were thirteen.
12These divisions of the gatekeepers, corresponding to their chief men, had duties, just as their brothers did, ministering in the house of the Lord. 13And they cast lots by fathers' houses, small and great alike, for their gates. 14The lot for the east fell to Shelemiah. They cast lots also for his son Zechariah, a shrewd counselor, and his lot came out for the north. 15Obed-edom's came out for the south, and to his sons was allotted the gatehouse. 16For Shuppim and Hosah it came out for the west, at the gate of Shallecheth on the road that goes up. Watch corresponded to watch. 17On the east there were six each day,1 on the north four each day, on the south four each day, as well as two and two at the gatehouse. 18And for the colonnade2 on the west there were four at the road and two at the colonnade. 19These were the divisions of the gatekeepers among the Korahites and the sons of Merari.
Treasurers and Other Officials
20And of the Levites, Ahijah had charge of the treasuries of the house of God and the treasuries of the dedicated gifts. 21The sons of Ladan, the sons of the Gershonites belonging to Ladan, the heads of the fathers' houses belonging to Ladan the Gershonite: Jehieli.3
22The sons of Jehieli, Zetham, and Joel his brother, were in charge of the treasuries of the house of the Lord. 23Of the Amramites, the Izharites, the Hebronites, and the Uzzielites—24and Shebuel the son of Gershom, son of Moses, was chief officer in charge of the treasuries. 25His brothers: from Eliezer were his son Rehabiah, and his son Jeshaiah, and his son Joram, and his son Zichri, and his son Shelomoth. 26This Shelomoth and his brothers were in charge of all the treasuries of the dedicated gifts that David the king and the heads of the fathers' houses and the officers of the thousands and the hundreds and the commanders of the army had dedicated. 27From spoil won in battles they dedicated gifts for the maintenance of the house of the Lord. 28Also all that Samuel the seer and Saul the son of Kish and Abner the son of Ner and Joab the son of Zeruiah had dedicated—all dedicated gifts were in the care of Shelomoth4 and his brothers.
29Of the Izharites, Chenaniah and his sons were appointed to external duties for Israel, as officers and judges. 30Of the Hebronites, Hashabiah and his brothers, 1,700 men of ability, had the oversight of Israel westward of the Jordan for all the work of the Lord and for the service of the king. 31Of the Hebronites, Jerijah was chief of the Hebronites of whatever genealogy or fathers' houses. (In the fortieth year of David's reign search was made and men of great ability among them were found at Jazer in Gilead.) 32King David appointed him and his brothers, 2,700 men of ability, heads of fathers' houses, to have the oversight of the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of the Manassites for everything pertaining to God and for the affairs of the king.
1 Chronicles 27
1This is the number of the people of Israel, the heads of fathers' houses, the commanders of thousands and hundreds, and their officers who served the king in all matters concerning the divisions that came and went, month after month throughout the year, each division numbering 24,000:
2Jashobeam the son of Zabdiel was in charge of the first division in the first month; in his division were 24,000. 3He was a descendant of Perez and was chief of all the commanders. He served for the first month. 4Dodai the Ahohite1 was in charge of the division of the second month; in his division were 24,000. 5The third commander, for the third month, was Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada the chief priest; in his division were 24,000. 6This is the Benaiah who was a mighty man of the thirty and in command of the thirty; Ammizabad his son was in charge of his division.2 7Asahel the brother of Joab was fourth, for the fourth month, and his son Zebadiah after him; in his division were 24,000. 8The fifth commander, for the fifth month, was Shamhuth the Izrahite; in his division were 24,000. 9Sixth, for the sixth month, was Ira, the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite; in his division were 24,000. 10Seventh, for the seventh month, was Helez the Pelonite, of the sons of Ephraim; in his division were 24,000. 11Eighth, for the eighth month, was Sibbecai the Hushathite, of the Zerahites; in his division were 24,000. 12Ninth, for the ninth month, was Abiezer of Anathoth, a Benjaminite; in his division were 24,000. 13Tenth, for the tenth month, was Maharai of Netophah, of the Zerahites; in his division were 24,000. 14Eleventh, for the eleventh month, was Benaiah of Pirathon, of the sons of Ephraim; in his division were 24,000. 15Twelfth, for the twelfth month, was Heldai the Netophathite, of Othniel; in his division were 24,000.
Leaders of Tribes
16Over the tribes of Israel, for the Reubenites, Eliezer the son of Zichri was chief officer; for the Simeonites, Shephatiah the son of Maacah; 17for Levi, Hashabiah the son of Kemuel; for Aaron, Zadok; 18for Judah, Elihu, one of David's brothers; for Issachar, Omri the son of Michael; 19for Zebulun, Ishmaiah the son of Obadiah; for Naphtali, Jeremoth the son of Azriel; 20for the Ephraimites, Hoshea the son of Azaziah; for the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joel the son of Pedaiah; 21for the half-tribe of Manasseh in Gilead, Iddo the son of Zechariah; for Benjamin, Jaasiel the son of Abner; 22for Dan, Azarel the son of Jeroham. These were the leaders of the tribes of Israel. 23David did not count those below twenty years of age, for the Lord had promised to make Israel as many as the stars of heaven. 24Joab the son of Zeruiah began to count, but did not finish. Yet wrath came upon Israel for this, and the number was not entered in the chronicles of King David.
25Over the king's treasuries was Azmaveth the son of Adiel; and over the treasuries in the country, in the cities, in the villages, and in the towers, was Jonathan the son of Uzziah; 26and over those who did the work of the field for tilling the soil was Ezri the son of Chelub; 27and over the vineyards was Shimei the Ramathite; and over the produce of the vineyards for the wine cellars was Zabdi the Shiphmite. 28Over the olive and sycamore trees in the Shephelah was Baal-hanan the Gederite; and over the stores of oil was Joash. 29Over the herds that pastured in Sharon was Shitrai the Sharonite; over the herds in the valleys was Shaphat the son of Adlai. 30Over the camels was Obil the Ishmaelite; and over the donkeys was Jehdeiah the Meronothite. Over the flocks was Jaziz the Hagrite. 31All these were stewards of King David's property.
32Jonathan, David's uncle, was a counselor, being a man of understanding and a scribe. He and Jehiel the son of Hachmoni attended the king's sons. 33Ahithophel was the king's counselor, and Hushai the Archite was the king's friend. 34Ahithophel was succeeded by Jehoiada the son of Benaiah, and Abiathar. Joab was commander of the king's army.
To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
2May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
Confirm Your Calling and Election
3His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to3 his own glory and excellence,4 4by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,5 and virtue with knowledge, 6and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8For if these qualities6 are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10Therefore, brothers,7 be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
12Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13I think it right, as long as I am in this body,8 to stir you up by way of reminder, 14since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.
Christ's Glory and the Prophetic Word
16For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son,9 with whom I am well pleased,” 18we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. 21For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
The Mountain of the Lord
1It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and it shall be lifted up above the hills;
and peoples shall flow to it,
2and many nations shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,1
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
3He shall judge between many peoples,
and shall decide for strong nations far away;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore;
4but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree,
and no one shall make them afraid,
for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.
5For all the peoples walk
each in the name of its god,
but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God
forever and ever.
The Lord Shall Rescue Zion
6In that day, declares the Lord,
I will assemble the lame
and gather those who have been driven away
and those whom I have afflicted;
7and the lame I will make the remnant,
and those who were cast off, a strong nation;
and the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion
from this time forth and forevermore.
8And you, O tower of the flock,
hill of the daughter of Zion,
to you shall it come,
the former dominion shall come,
kingship for the daughter of Jerusalem.
9Now why do you cry aloud?
Is there no king in you?
Has your counselor perished,
that pain seized you like a woman in labor?
10Writhe and groan,2 O daughter of Zion,
like a woman in labor,
for now you shall go out from the city
and dwell in the open country;
you shall go to Babylon.
There you shall be rescued;
there the Lord will redeem you
from the hand of your enemies.
11Now many nations
are assembled against you,
saying, “Let her be defiled,
and let our eyes gaze upon Zion.”
12But they do not know
the thoughts of the Lord;
they do not understand his plan,
that he has gathered them as sheaves to the threshing floor.
13Arise and thresh,
O daughter of Zion,
for I will make your horn iron,
and I will make your hoofs bronze;
you shall beat in pieces many peoples;
and shall devote3 their gain to the Lord,
their wealth to the Lord of the whole earth.
Repent or Perish
1There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree
6And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ 8And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. 9Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”
A Woman with a Disabling Spirit
10Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. 12When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” 13And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. 14But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” 15Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? 16And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” 17As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.
The Mustard Seed and the Leaven
18He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”
20And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? 21It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”
The Narrow Door
22He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24“Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. 29And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
Lament over Jerusalem
31At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. 33Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.’ 34O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 35Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’”
Get the Program, Devotional, and Bible Reading Plan delivered daily right to your inbox.