You Wouldn’t Believe – Matthew 13:3

Most of us are familiar with the phrase, “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” There are actually several instances in the Scripture when something very similar takes place. The prophet Habakkuk declares to Israel that God was going to raise up the dreadfully violent Chaldeans to plunder the land. But his explanation included, “…for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you” (Habakkuk 1:5).

We learn from Matthew 13:3 that the Lord Jesus “…spake many things unto them in parables.” A parable is a similitude or comparison, but the root word means something thrown alongside. At this point in our Lord’s ministry, it was apparent the nation of Israel was largely rejecting Him as their Messiah and King. Therefore, going forward, except when speaking to His apostles, He nearly always addresses the masses in parables. In effect, He was walking away from aggressive ministry to the nation to focus His time and attention on preparing the “little flock” of believers for future ministry after His departure. But, as He walks away from Israel as a whole, He throws alongside those who would not respond to Him in faith, a number of parables. We do well to fully understand these parables were NOT to reveal spiritual truths or make them easier to understand. It was to conceal spiritual truths and make it more difficult for His enemies to mount further attacks against Him. Matthew 13:13-15 makes this abundantly clear when Christ explains to His disciples why He now spoke in parables, “because they seeing see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand… For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed….”

It is always a serious and dangerous thing to have the privilege of being exposed to spiritual truth, and then refuse to respond as the Lord would have us respond. God’s divine purpose in giving divine truth is that it might change us, or transform us for the better. This is true for the lost that need to respond to the gospel and be saved from eternal punishment through faith. But it is equally true for believers who are to allow God’s Word to change their daily walk. Are there any areas in your life where the Lord has shown you His will and you have remained unchanged? Right now is the time to surrender to His Will.


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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."

The Tale of a Carefree Deputy – Acts 18:12-23

Summary:

These unsaved Jews took Paul to court (v.12) and charged him with worshipping God “contrary to the law” (v.13).  In the past, unsaved Jews charged Paul with worshipping God contrary to Roman law (17:7).  But if that’s what they meant here, that’s not how the deputy took it (18:14-16).

The “words” they must have charged Paul (v.15) with saying were probably the same “blasphemous words” they charged Stephen with saying against the law (6:11,13).  But that was not true of Stephen or Paul.  The “names” (18:15) the deputy refused to hear them argue about were the names of Jesus, and whether He deserved to be called by the name Messiah. 

Gallio the deputy wasn’t the only one upset with the Jews that day.  All the Greeks in his courtroom got so mad at them that they began beating their leader (v.17). If that seems like an overreaction for wasting the court’s time, what you’re seeing is the hatred men have always had for Jews.  Gallio must have hated them too, because he was completely carefree about it.  Judges today would have a bailiff restore order.

We know Sosthenes (v.17) was the new “chief ruler of the synagogue,” because the old one got saved (18:8).  Sosthenes must have also gotten saved, because Paul mentions him in I Corinthians 1:1.  And it was no coincidence that synagogue rulers kept getting saved.  They’d usually be men who knew the Scriptures well, and men like that would know what it meant when the Gentiles in the church next door spoke in tongues. They’d know God gave tongues to Jews to help them share the gospel with Gentiles in the kingdom (cf. Zech.8:22,23). So they’d know God gave the Jews tongues in Acts 2:4 as a sign He was about to bless them with the kingdom. But they’d also know God gave tongues to Gentiles as a sign He was judging the Jews, not blessing them.  We know this because when Paul was explaining to the Corinthians why they had the gift of tongues, he quoted Isaiah 28:11,12 (ICor.14:21).  God had been telling the Jews to repent in Hebrew, but they wouldn’t listen.  So He said, “I’ll speak to you in the only language you seem to understand, that of judgment.  I’ll let the Babylonians conquer you, and speak to you in their language.”  And He did!  Half of Daniel was written in Chaldee.  And since men of the other nations that Babylon conquered were always coming and going in Babylon, they heard their languages too.  And when those Jews heard those tongues, they knew God judged them.  And when the leaders of the Corinthian synagogue heard Gentile tongues, they knew God judged them for rejecting their King.

Why’d Paul take a vow found in the law while telling others we’re not under the law?  To save the Jews (ICor.9:20,23)—the Jews who took him to court!  That’s love!  But it was a voluntary vow the law didn’t require, so he didn’t have to put himself under the law to do it.  It involved a sacrifice (Num.6), but priests will offer them in the kingdom (Ezek. 45). Later, God prevented Paul from offering one, so we know He didn’t want sacrifices to continue in our age.

Paul’s tactic worked!  The Jews listened to him (Acts18:19, 20).  So he left to do something equally Jewish—keep a voluntary feast in Jerusalem (v.21cf.Jo.10:22). After he landed in “Caesarea” (v.22), Jerusalem’s seaport, he went “up” to Jerusalem (elevation 2,474ft.). But after sailing 1200 miles, he only kept the feast and greeted the 12.  He sailed that much to show Jerusalem Jews he took that vow, so they would go home and tell Jews in their synagogues about his vow, so when Paul arrived in their synagogues, they’d listen.

Paul also stopped in his home church of Antioch (v.22) because he knew they’d have heard he took the vow, and he wanted them to know he wasn’t a hypocrite. Then he went to Galatia (v.23) to prove to those Jews he didn’t disrespect the law.  This is more proof he did nothing hypocritical.  If he had, he wouldn’t have dared show his face in Galatia, after the letter he wrote them scolding them about the law!

 

A video of this message is available on YouTube: “The Tale Of A Carefree Deputy” Acts 18:12-23

Opposing a Spiritual Response – Matthew 12:22-24

Two professing Christian couples have stood in the way of allowing spiritual ministry to their children, and do not allow their children to have a positive spiritual response. One refuses to give, or allow anyone else to give, any biblical input to their children, saying, “We want them to make up their own mind.” An appeal was made to the other couple that, even if they wouldn’t attend any church, they could at least have Bible study at home. Their response was, “They already know everything they need to know about the Bible.”

When our Lord healed one who was blind, deaf, and possessed with a demon, the Pharisees publicly described the Savior saying, “This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of devils” (Matthew 12:24). Second Kings 1:3 reveals Beelzebub to be the false god of the Canaanites, and worshipping him was considered to be most vile of all demonic worship. The Jews in Jesus’ day associated this name directly with Satan (Mark 3:26). This was not the first time the religious leaders of Israel had opposed God’s messenger. They previously accused John the Baptist of having a demon (Matthew 11:18). Likewise, they had previously said the same of our Lord when He healed “a dumb man possessed with a devil” (Matthew 9:32-34). These Pharisees were becoming progressively more spiritually hardened and bold in their opposition of the Lord Jesus Christ. Stephen hit the nail on the head when describing them: “…Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost, as your fathers did, so do ye” (Acts 7:51).

It is a very dangerous thing to seek to turn others away from faith in, or faithfulness to, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord explained about those who do so, “…it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6). The same warning is issued again in Mark 9:42 and Luke 17:2. These are stern warnings about eternal consequences for those guilty of negatively influencing, or preventing, spiritual ministry to others. For the lost, doing so will add to their sins and intensify their eternal punishment. For those who are saved but likewise hinder a spiritual response, surely there will be great accountability at the Bema Seat of Christ. We do well to warn those who oppose the cause of Christ that our Lord views this very seriously. Do you know someone with whom you should share this article?


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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."

Paz con Dios

“Justificados, pues, por la fe, tenemos paz para con Dios por medio de nuestro Señor Jesucristo” (Rom. 5:1).

El apóstol Pablo nos introduce a nuestra segunda frase cuando declara que los creyentes tienen “paz con Dios”. Si bien podemos vivir a la luz del hecho de que la paz mundial continúa eludiéndonos, podemos tener paz con Dios a través de nuestro Señor Jesucristo. Si tenemos esta paz, todo puede derrumbarse a nuestro alrededor, pero tenemos la seguridad de que nada nos separará jamás del amor de Dios en Cristo Jesús.

Estoy seguro de que la mayoría de nosotros hemos oído decir en un momento u otro: “Ya es hora de que hagan las paces con Dios”. Los que tratan de hacer las paces con Dios son dignos de lástima. Hay literalmente millones en este mismo momento que luchan por esta paz, pero no la encontrarán porque están buscando en todos los lugares equivocados.

Lo están buscando en su propia fuerza y sabiduría, y el resultado final será la desilusión. ¿Cómo se obtiene esta paz? Permítanme comenzar mostrando cómo no se obtiene.

“Ahora bien, para el que obra, la recompensa no se cuenta como gracia, sino como deuda. Mas al que no obra, pero cree en aquel que justifica al impío, su fe le es contada por justicia” (Romanos 4:4,5).

Primero aprendemos que no puedes recibir la paz con Dios por tu propio mérito. No es posible obtener esta paz a través de buenas obras, oraciones repetidas, ayuno o confirmación. De hecho, puedes ir a los servicios de la iglesia todos los días de tu vida y no experimentar esta paz.

En segundo lugar, no puedes adquirir esta paz guardando ordenanzas como la circuncisión o el bautismo en agua. Pueden verter sobre ustedes todos los océanos del agua, pero nunca les concederá el perdón de sus pecados ni la paz con Dios. Por último, puede hacer todo lo posible por guardar los 613 mandamientos y ordenanzas contenidos en la Ley de Moisés y, a pesar de todos sus esfuerzos, aún no disfrutará de esta paz.

¿Cómo recibimos la paz con Dios? Por fe: si simplemente creemos que Cristo murió por nuestros pecados y resucitó, no solo somos justificados gratuitamente por Su gracia, sino que también recibimos la seguridad de que estamos bien con Dios. Esto significa que Dios no tiene nada contra nosotros, habiendo juzgado nuestros pecados en el Calvario. El creyente nunca más puede ser puesto en peligro del juicio del fuego del infierno por venir. ¡Dios descansa con nosotros para siempre!

Forgetting Truth – Matthew 11:4-6

If you’ve ever been frustrated because you easily forget biblical truth you once learned, you are not alone. Many sincere believers struggle with this problem, and this author is one of them. By Wednesday, I usually have a hard time even remembering what I preached on the previous Sunday. My mind works forward to future responsibilities and not so well looking back to the past. For many of us, our minds are like a colander that allows truth to be washed away. Therefore we need constant review of biblical truths.

Even John the Baptizer had this problem. While imprisoned for some time and abandoned by Israel, this great man of God became discouraged and confused. John knew our Lord to be the Messiah, for when John baptized Christ, John witnessed the Spirit of God descend upon the Savior and heard the Father’s voice from heaven declaring Christ to be His Son (Matthew 3:13-17). But John was anticipating the Savior to quickly establish His kingdom on earth. With this delay and John’s persecution, he sends his disciples to Christ asking, “Art thou He that should come, or do we look for another?” (Matthew 11:3). The response of the Lord Jesus is encouraging because it was not harsh. Instead it was patient and loving. Beyond the miraculous events John personally witnessed confirming our Lord was the promised King of Israel, he should have also remembered key Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah. Isaiah 35:1-5 predicted the Messiah would open the eyes of the blind and ears of the deaf. Isaiah 61:1-3 declared Israel’s promised one would have the Spirit of God upon Him as He preached to the meek and brokenhearted, and that He would proclaim “the acceptable year of the Lord” [establishing a kingdom on earth for Israel]. The Lord Jesus told the disciples of John to return to him and confirm “again” that the blind were being healed, the dead raised, and the Gospel of the Kingdom was being “preached to them” (Matthew 11:5). All these things demonstrated that the Lord Jesus was Israel’s Messiah.

When you forget great spiritual truths previously learned, be encouraged that the Lord understands, “For He knoweth our frame; and remembereth that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14). He knows we will need constant review or we will forget. This is exactly why He provided us with His written Word. Make it your priority to read it every day.


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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."

El Rapto y los Santos Proféticos

“Parece haber cierta confusión sobre las futuras resurrecciones en estos días. C. I. Scofield, por ejemplo, enseñó que en el Rapto, ‘No solo los santos de la Iglesia, sino todos los cuerpos de los salvos, de cualquier dispensación, están incluidos en la primera resurrección’. ¿Qué piensa sobre esta declaración?

Tenemos la Biblia de referencia de Scofield en alta estima, pero el Dr. Scofield a menudo no dividió correctamente la Palabra de Dios de manera consistente, lo cual es algo comprensible, ya que la verdad del evangelio de Pablo aún se estaba recuperando. Dicho esto, el orden de las futuras resurrecciones es el siguiente:

Resurrección secreta del Cuerpo de Cristo: Este glorioso evento tendrá lugar en el Rapto de la Iglesia. Solo incluirá a aquellos que están “en Cristo”, desde el apóstol Pablo hasta el sonido de la trompeta (I Corintios 15:51-53; I Tes. 4:13-18).
Primera Resurrección de los santos proféticos: Después de que el Período de Tribulación de siete años siga su curso, será seguido por la Segunda Venida de Cristo a la tierra. En ese momento, Cristo resucitará a los santos proféticos creyentes del pasado, junto con los mártires de la Tribulación, y los introducirá en el Reino del Milenio (Juan 5:28,29; I Cor. 15:23; Apocalipsis 17:6). ; 20:6).
Resurrección de condenación: Este evento en particular ocurre inmediatamente después del reinado de 1000 años de Cristo. En ese día, los no salvos de todas las épocas resucitarán de entre los muertos y aparecerán en el Juicio del Gran Trono Blanco, donde serán hallados en sus pecados y juzgados en consecuencia (Juan 5:29; Rom. 2:4-6; I Corintios 15:24-26; Apocalipsis 20:5, 11-15; 21:8).
Afortunadamente, aquellos que han confiado en Cristo como su Salvador personal han sido librados de la ira de Dios ante el Gran Trono Blanco (Romanos 5:9). Pero, ¿qué pasa con ese ser amado o amigo no salvo hoy? No lo dejes para otro momento. Háblales de Cristo antes de que se deslicen a una eternidad sin Cristo donde se pierda toda esperanza.

Two by Two – Matthew 10:1-5

Often when missionaries return home from the foreign field on furlough, they decide not to return. Author, Gordon Franz attributes the high attrition rate for missionaries to loneliness and discouragement. He also suggests this problem could be solved by following a more biblical example.

Have you ever noticed that in Scripture, when the Savior sends people out in ministry, it is nearly always in pairs, and not alone? In our text, the apostles are listed in pairs, either brother with brother, or friend with friend. Likewise, when seventy disciples were sent out to harvest eternal souls with their Gospel of the Kingdom, Christ “sent them two by two” (Luke 10:1-2). There were likely multiple reasons for following this pattern. The Savior told them, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves…But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to their counsels, and they will scourge you in the synagogues…”(Matthew 10:16-17). These brave souls were going to minister in spiritually hostile territory. Going in pairs may have brought greater safety by making a violent attack less likely. Working in pairs likely helped lessen discouragement, and was more effective in answering questions or objections. Two heads have always been better than one. The reason for going in pairs may have been to follow the divine principle of Deuteronomy 19:15, which says, “…at the mouth of two witnesses, or…three witnesses, shall the matter be established.” In other words, it gave them greater credibility. Moreover, working together enabled them to forge a strong bond with another believer as they ministered together. It is noteworthy that as these apostles continued their ministry in the Book of Acts, Peter and John continue ministering as a team (Acts 3:1-3).

God the Holy Spirit confirms this principle when separating and ordaining the Apostle Paul for ministry. “The Holy Ghost said [to prophets and apostles in the church at Antioch] Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them” (Acts 13:2). Paul also continues this pattern of ministering with others throughout his lifetime. The lesson to learn from all this is, whenever possible, when you go to minister, especially to share the gospel, it is wise to enlist someone to go with you. They can pray for you and for the lost as the gospel is presented. They can help give biblical answers to honest questions. You can also encourage one another to be faithful and enjoy sweet fellowship together.


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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."

El fin de los diez mandamientos

Tal vez haya oído hablar de la maestra de escuela dominical que estaba enseñando a su clase los diez mandamientos. Después de analizar el mandato de “honrar a tu padre y a tu madre”, preguntó a la clase: “¿Hay algún mandamiento que nos enseñe cómo tratar a nuestros hermanos y hermanas?”. A lo que un niño respondió: “¿No matarás?”

Si se pregunta por qué hemos titulado este artículo “el fin de los diez mandamientos”, la respuesta a esa pregunta tiene que ver con las palabras del apóstol Pablo en I Timoteo 1:5:

“Ahora bien, el fin del mandamiento es la caridad…”

Si estás pensando: “Pero ese versículo habla del final del mandamiento, no del final de los diez mandamientos”, considera lo que escribió Santiago sobre los diez mandamientos:

“…cualquiera que guardare toda la ley, pero ofendiere en un punto, es culpable de todos. Porque el que dijo: No cometerás adulterio, dijo también: No matarás…” (Santiago 2:10,11).

Verá, en lo que respecta a Dios, los diez mandamientos son un solo mandamiento. ¡Si rompes uno, los rompes todos! Entonces, al hablar de “el mandamiento”, Pablo está hablando de los diez mandamientos.

Pero al hablar del fin de los diez mandamientos, Pablo no está pensando en un momento en el que sería aceptable matar a alguien o deshonrar a tus padres. Más bien está hablando del propósito o la meta de los diez mandamientos. Usamos la palabra “fin” de esa manera cuando le preguntamos a alguien, “¿Con qué fin estás haciendo lo que estás haciendo?” Es decir, estamos indagando sobre el propósito de lo que se está haciendo.

Entonces, al hablar sobre “el fin del mandamiento”, Pablo se refiere al propósito o meta de los diez mandamientos, una meta que él identifica como “caridad”, una de las palabras bíblicas para amor. Y eso tiene sentido, si lo piensas. Si amas a Dios, ¿tomarás Su nombre en vano, o tendrás algún otro Dios antes que Él? Si amas a tu prójimo, ¿le mentirás, le robarás, cometerás adulterio con su mujer, lo matarás o codiciarás sus cosas? No creo que tenga que decírtelo, ¡así no es como se comporta el amor!

Esto explica por qué Pablo dice que “el que ama al prójimo, ha cumplido la ley” (Rom. 13:8 cf. 9,10), y que “toda la ley se cumple en una sola palabra, en esto; Amarás a tu prójimo como a ti mismo” (Gálatas 5:14). Verá, “el fin del mandamiento”, el propósito o la meta de la ley, “es la caridad”.

Para terminar, tenemos que agregar que si bien es cierto que “caridad” es una palabra bíblica para amor, no cambie la palabra caridad aquí por amor. El amor es un sentimiento. La caridad es una acción. La caridad es la acción que expresa el sentimiento de amor. Entonces, cuando Pablo dice que el fin o la meta del mandamiento es la caridad, no está diciendo que el objetivo de Dios al dar los diez mandamientos era lograr que tuvieras sentimientos cálidos y confusos de amor por los demás. Él está diciendo que el objetivo de los diez mandamientos era lograr que pusieras esos sentimientos en acción al tratar a Dios y a tu prójimo con el respeto que los diez mandamientos fueron diseñados para producir en nosotros.

Buenas Nuevas del Calvario

A lo largo del Antiguo Testamento, la cruz se ve vagamente. Aunque cien personajes históricos y cien sacrificios y rituales levíticos más eran típicos de Cristo y Su obra terminada, ni una sola vez el Antiguo Testamento declara esto. El silencio es profundo. La profecía más clara del Antiguo Testamento sobre la muerte de Cristo, Isaías 53, ni siquiera especifica quién sería el Sufriente.

Fue lo mismo durante la estadía de nuestro Señor en la tierra, porque solo hacia el final de Su ministerio leemos: “Desde ese momento comenzó Jesús a mostrar a Sus discípulos que tenía que ir a Jerusalén y sufrir… y morir…”. (Mateo 16:21). ¿Y cuál fue su respuesta? “Entonces Pedro lo tomó y comenzó a reprenderlo” (Ver. 22). Lucas 18:34 declara tres veces que ellos no tenían la menor idea de que Él aun moriría, mucho menos entendían todo lo que Su muerte lograría. Incluso en Pentecostés Pedro culpó a sus oyentes por la muerte de Cristo y les dijo: “arrepentíos y bautícese cada uno de vosotros… para perdón de los pecados” (Hechos 2:38). Los doce estaban predicando “el evangelio del reino” y sabían poco acerca de la cruz y su propósito.

No es sino hasta el Apóstol Pablo, ese otro apóstol, que tenemos lo que propiamente se llama “la predicación de la cruz”, es decir, como buenas noticias. Y en el gran mensaje de Pablo, nuestro Señor ya no es visto como la Víctima, sino como el Vencedor, no meramente después de la muerte, o sobre la muerte, sino en la muerte. Su muerte misma es vista como Su mayor triunfo. En Heb. 10:12,14 leemos:

“…después de haber ofrecido un solo sacrificio por los pecados [Él] se sentó… porque con una sola ofrenda hizo perfectos para siempre a los santificados.”

Y en Col. 2:14,15, Pablo describe a Cristo en el Calvario clavando la Ley en la cruz y derrotando por completo a Satanás y sus huestes, “triunfándoles en ella (es decir, en la cruz)”. No es de extrañar que el Apóstol exclamara:

“Pero lejos esté de mí gloriarme, sino en la cruz de nuestro Señor Jesucristo…” (Gálatas 6:14).