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GAINING FROM LOSS

June 14, 2017

Wednesday

 

Matthew 19:21

 

Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

 

 

LESSON

 

By referring to being “complete,” Jesus was referring to the young man’s statement that he felt incomplete, that he needed to do something more to assure his eternal life. Jesus did not mean that the young man had eternal life and just needed to do a little more, to put the icing on the cake . What this young man needed to do was to become a disciple of Jesus, to start following Him and learning from Him. God’s will did not just involve keeping commandments. It also involved following Jesus. If he did that, he would learn how a person obtains eternal life: not by good deeds, but by faith in Jesus. To follow Jesus, this rich young man would need to “sell” his “possessions.” He could not accompany Jesus as he needed to without disposing of things that would have distracted him. Such a material sacrifice to follow Jesus would gain a reward eventually. Jesus was assuming the young man would become a believer after he became a disciple.

 

The young man was not willing to part with his possessions to follow Jesus. He was willing to keep the whole Mosaic Law, and even to do additional good works, but submitting to Jesus was something else. Jesus had put His finger on the crucial decision this young man had to make

when He told him to dispose of his possessions. Would he value his possessions, or following Jesus to learn more about eternal life, more highly? His decision revealed his values. What values are keeping you from a closer relationship with Christ?

 

Memory Verse: John 12:24

 

“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”

GAINING FROM LOSS

June 13, 2017

Tuesday

 

Philippians 3:7-8

 

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,

 

 

LESSON

 

Paul had formerly regarded all these “things” he listed that he possessed, and  others, as contributing to God’s acceptance of him. Yet he had come to learn on the Damascus Road, and since then, that such fleshly “advantages” did not improve his position with God.  Rather, they constituted hindrances because the more of them that Paul had, the more convinced he was

that God would accept him for his works’ sake. Each of his fleshly advantages strengthened his false hope of salvation. Furthermore, they were liabilities because he had to unlearn much of what he had previously boasted in.

 

Paul had regarded his advantages over other people as what put him in an especially good position with God. However, he had come to realize that absolutely nothing apart from Jesus Christ’s work on the cross was of any value in his gaining God’s acceptance. No good works improve our standing before God. They are all like filthy rags. Consequently Paul came to regard them as “rubbish.” From then on, he continued to take this view of things.

 

What he had learned to value was Christ Jesus his Lord. Consequently coming to know Christ, entering into a deeper and fuller appreciation of His person and work, was of primary importance to Paul. This knowledge is the kind that one obtains only by personal relationship.

 

Memory Verse:  John 12:24

 

“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”

GAINING FROM LOSS

June 12, 2017

Monday

 

Philippians 1:21

 

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

 

LESSON

 

For Paul, regardless of the decision about whether he would continue to live or die, or the opinions of other people, saved or lost, his whole life revolved around Jesus Christ. Paul placed “to me” first in this sentence for emphasis. Jesus’ work on the cross had become the reason for all that Paul did. Appreciation for Christ motivated him. His present enablement through the Spirit was the source of his strength.

 

The prospect of seeing Jesus Christ, and standing before Him one day, drew Paul, and constituted the goal for all he did. Many people today, if they were honest, would have to say that for them to live is money, fame, happiness, family, or any of a multitude of idols. However, Jesus Christ was the “Sun” around which Paul’s life orbited. “Paul’s only reason for existence is that he may spend his life in that glad service; and death for that cause will be the crowning service. What about you?

 

Memory Verse: John 12:24

 

“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”

LOOKING BACK

June 10, 2017

Saturday

 

2 Corinthians 5:17

 

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

 

 

LESSON

 

Whenever a person experiences conversion, as Paul did, he or she really becomes “a new person. It is not just his or her viewpoint, that should change and can change, but many other things also change. Certain old conditions and relationships no longer exist, and others take their place and continue.

 

The Christian is a “new creature” in this sense: Before conversion, we did not possess the life-giving Holy Spirit, who now lives within us. We had only our sinful human nature. Now we have both our sinful human nature and the indwelling Holy Spirit. This addition makes us an essentially “new” person, since the Holy Spirit’s effects on the believer are so far-reaching. We also possess many other riches of divine grace that contribute to our distinctiveness as believers.

 

Memory Verse: Jeremiah 29:11

 

The longer we keep looking back in the rearview mirror, it takes away from everything that’s moving forward.

LOOKING BACK

June 9, 2017

Friday

 

1 Timothy 4:12

 

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

 

 

LESSON

 

Most people regarded older people with great respect in his culture. Paul promised that no one in the church would discredit his teaching ministry if he backed it up with a godly lifestyle. In his words, as well as by his actions, by his “love” for people and his trust in God, and by his moral cleanness he should provide an example of godliness. “Purity” includes both sexual purity and integrity of heart.

 

It is the first duty of a minister to display in his own life that which he wishes his people to be.

Your example, your life is vitally important to those around you. I don’t suppose you have said to your wife, children, friends, or whoever, “If you want to see what a Christian man should look like, look at me!” That just sounds wrong, but that’s exactly what’s happening—whether we like it or not. Paul tells Timothy: “You set an example!” And that challenge remains for us. Let people know that you sometimes get it all wrong and that you do it imperfectly, but don’t use that as an excuse to not be an example to your world.

 

Memory Verse: Jeremiah 29:11

 

The longer we keep looking back in the rearview mirror, it takes away from everything that’s moving forward.

LOOKING BACK

June 8, 2017

Thursday

 

Ecclesiastes 7:10

 

Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.

 

 

LESSON

 

Both adversity and prosperity tempt people to abandon a wise lifestyle for one of folly. The wise man’s prosperity might tempt him to accept a bribe, or his adversity might tempt him to oppress others. Even a wise person can be made a fool when money becomes involved. Impatience and pride, anger, and dissatisfaction might also lure him from the submissive attitude that is part of the way of wisdom.

 

It has been said that ‘the good old days’ are the combination of a bad memory and a good imagination, and often this is true.

 

Solomon reminds us that there are 4 dimensions of time that should be important to us: past, present, future and eternity. The time dimensions that should be most important to Christians are the present and eternity.

 

Memory Verse: Jeremiah 29:11

 

The longer we keep looking back in the rearview mirror, it takes away from everything that’s moving forward.

 

LOOKING BACK

June 7, 2017

Wednesday

 

Genesis 19:26

 

But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

 

LESSON

 

Lot was a “righteous” man, though from the record of him in Genesis, we might doubt that. He chose to live as, what the New Testament calls, a “carnal” believer. First, he lifted up his eyes and saw Sodom. Then, he chose for himself. Then, he moved his tent as far as Sodom. Then, he

sat in the gate of Sodom as one of its judges. Then, he hesitated—as Sodom’s destruction loomed. Finally, he ended up committing incest with his daughters in a cave. How far it is possible for a believer to depart from God’s will when we keep making carnal decisions!

 

It is foolish for a believer to become attached to the things of this world. They will corrupt him, and God will destroy them swiftly and suddenly. There is many a man today who may be a saved man, but due to his lifestyle or where he lives, he loses his family, his influence, and his testimony.

 

Memory Verse: Jeremiah 29:11

 

The longer we keep looking back in the rearview mirror, it takes away from everything that’s moving forward.