Today you should read: Revelation 2:1-7
Loving God…the greatest priority
There are many commendable things to do as a Christian. But we can often settle for the commendable, rather than pursuing the vital.
In our passage today, we see Jesus’ words, through the author John. Jesus is commending the church in Ephesus for some pretty good things. The church in Ephesus is hard working, they endure hardship, they uphold right doctrine, they keep their church pure, they suffer for Jesus, and they don’t quit. They are a good church, doing good things. But there’s a problem. Doing good things doesn’t always equate to worship. To put it another way, you can do good works as a church, and miss the point. You can miss treasuring Jesus.
In verse 7, Jesus says that the church in Ephesus has lost its intense love for God. They have lost their deep satisfaction in Christ. They have lost the main thing: worship.
- It is possible to do good things with the wrong intentions. It is possible to have Christian values and yet miss the main point of Christianity: treasuring Jesus.
- In our lives we must be careful. Our flesh can trick us that we are doing this “Christian thing right” when we do what we think God expects. When we have a good day with people, check off all of our Christian boxes, and go to bed feeling like we made it, we could still be missing the main point. Loving Jesus.
- Let’s not be deceived. Good works are good. They do bring honor to God. But unless we count all things as loss, and knowing God is of supreme worth, we’ve missed the point.
Here’s a question we can ask ourselves, today:
In all of your ambitious goals “for God,” has He remained your greatest treasure?
Posted by: Sam Cirrincione
Today you should read: Revelation 1:9-20
We started the book of Revelation yesterday and outside of a sermon series over the 7 churches and several individual passages that I’ve preached on, I’ve never given a verse-by-verse commentary on this important yet confusing book of the Bible. I know that I’m not alone in these views, for John Calvin wrote a Bible commentary for every book of the bible except this one. However, the CPC Staff ain’t scurred so let’s five in church fam.
In today’s passage we see that the apostle John (the only disciple who was not martyred for His faith in Christ) was banished from civilization (for his faith of course) and sent to the island of Patmos to live and die alone (v. 9). However God has other plans for Him on this island as He gave Him a vision for how the world will come to an end and how Jesus will defeat Satan for once and for all. With a loud voice God tells John to write everything he sees in this vision and send it to seven churches (v. 10-11) (along with specific instructions for those churches that we’ll get to later). Before revealing what Jesus instructed for these churches for the end times, Jesus reveals a picture of Himself in all His glory in the end times. This picture of Jesus that we see is not the gentle effeminate pictures you usually see of rosy cheeks Jesus like the one below.
Instead it describes Jesus as our warrior king who has eyes like a flame of fire, feet glowing like burnished bronze, with a voice that booms like the roar of an ocean with a sharp 2 edged sword coming out of his mouth. I’m not sure if anyone is falling to their feet to the Jesus in the above picture but John certainly went down to his knees at this Jesus as he laid His hand on John and said…
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. Revelation 1:17-19
Let this be a reminder to us that Jesus is not someone we want to take lightly. Yes, He is tender (which we see in the Gospels) but He is also tough dealing with sin (which we see as He describes His authority over satan, sin and death) and we need to remember that He is going to ultimately be tough and tender toward us as well. Do you have that same awe and respect toward our warrior King who fights for us and against our sin once and for all in the cross and resurrection?
Posted by: Erik Koliser
Today you should read: Revelation 1:1-8
Welcome to the book of Revelation – not only the final book in the Bible, but the final book in our JumpStart journey that we began in January 2011.
Revelation is a book of intrigue. It’s a book that so many wonder about, are confused by, or simply avoid.
The Author (v.1-3)
Revelation was written by the Apostle John (the author of The Gospel of John and 1, 2, 3 John) from the Isle of Patmos at about age 92. Patmos was a Roman desert penal colony on an island in the Aegean Sea. The Romans thought that banishing John there would quiet him – instead this became the location God would reveal mysteries of eternity to the world through him.
God showed John the sights of heaven and he faithfully reported everything he saw (v.2).
The Recipients (v.4)
John is writing to the seven churches in Asia:
Chapters 2-3 are specific instructions to each of them and to us. We’ll look at each carefully in the next few days.
The Subject (v.5-8)
In addition to end time events – the subject of the book of Revelation is of course Jesus. John describes Him as:
- The Faithful Witness (v.5)
- The First to Rise from the Dead (v.5)
- The Ruler of all the Kings of the World (v.5)
- The One who freed us from our sins (by shedding His blood) (v.5)
- The One who made us a Kingdom of priests (v.6)
- Returning Conqueror (v.7)
- The Alpha and Omega – Beginning and the End (v.8)
- The Eternal God (always was and still to come) (v.8)
- The Almighty One (v. 8)
Jesus is truly the beginning of all things –
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1
…and the end. Spend some time today realizing this. We live our lives like this is make believe and all that really matters is us and what we do. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Our lives are short and time on earth is fleeting. Live like you know that today.
Posted by: Tim Parsons
Today you should read: Hebrews 13
What causes anxiety in you? Is it the desire for security from money? Are you afraid of failing? Maybe it’s a fear of something happening to your family? Maybe it’s a fear of always being single? Whatever the case may be many of us struggle with anxiety. Anxiety is described as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. How are we supposed to deal with the unknown of the future?
Freedom from anxiety is through laying down our pride and trusting in the one who actually has control. God is in control and he promises that he will “never leave you nor forsake you” (v.5). The real question is what does that promise mean to you? The only way for those words to bring you comfort is if you truly believe in the one true God and his power.
Posted by: Chad Wiles
Today you should read: Hebrews 12:18-29
I’ve heard it said, “You will never see the value of a pearl until it is pressed against dark velvet.” The meaning of that statement is simple: some things show you just how special other things are. Let me illustrate: babysitting might be fun, but it doesn’t compare to raising your own kids. Landing your first job waiting tables can seem exciting, but getting a job in the sweet spot of your calling is awesome. Eating Great Value ice cream might be tasty, but it’s nothing compared the black raspberry chip at Graeter’s. Remember the first time you saw an NFL or NCAA football game? Compare that to the local high school games. Taco Bell or Casa Fiesta? Come on.
The second half of Hebrews 12 exposes this to a deep level. The parallel we find points us back to the covenant the Lord made with Moses at Sinai. While this was a life-altering moment for Moses and the people of God, it wasn’t a final covenant. It was the dark velvet, setting up for the bright, white pearl. What is the pearl? The everlasting covenant offered to us in Jesus Christ. This is an unshakeable Kingdom that can never be taken away from us. It is the hope for all mankind.
The New Living Study Bible put it this way: This passage contrasts the old covenant with the new. The old covenant, represented by Mount Sinai (12:18-21), is depicted as impersonal, intimidating, and unapproachable; it booms, flashes, and terrifies. The new covenant, represented by Mount Zion (12:22-24), is depicted as relational, welcoming, and celebratory.
The only way to experience this Kingdom and covenant is through knowing Jesus. If you have come to know Him as your Savior, the promise in this passage applies to you! Take hope in that truth and let it encourage your heart today. Did the Lord teach you other things from this passage? We would love for you to share in the comments section below.
Posted by: Todd Thomas
Today you should read: Hebrews 12:1-17
The Christian life is not easy. It’s a battle against sin and our own selfishness every day. It requires hard work and discipline to live for Christ and be faithful to Him in this world. Verse 1 of our reading today should be a great encouragement to us because it refers us back to chapter 11 and all the great men and women of faith listed there who struggled to live a life of faith in their day as well. These are the giants of the Christian faith and we are told to emulate their faithfulness to God by battling sin like they did and persevering to the end.
Not only are we to emulate their faith, but most importantly, we emulate Christ. I challenge you to commit verse 2 to memory this week if you haven’t already memorized it. It is essentially the summation of how we will endure in this Christian life to the end: FIX OUR EYES ON JESUS! We are to fix our eyes on Jesus, fix our eyes on the cross, fix our minds on what He endured, and fix our hearts on how much He loves us. Jesus is the author of our faith (where our faith begins) and He is the perfecter of our faith (how our faith grows and endures).
Our faith in Christ leads us to live a life of obedience to Christ. However, in those moments of disobedience our loving Heavenly Father is there to discipline us for our good. We can all relate to how discipline is loving and for our good in our own lives as children or as parents. Good parents don’t just let their children do and act however they want to because their actions may be destructive and harmful to their lives. Because they love them, they discipline them and keep them from the harm that their actions would have led them to. The discipline certainly wasn’t fun for the child to receive, and not even for the parent to dish out, but it was necessary for the good of the child. God disciplines us when we are disobedient because He is a good Father who loves us and desires to produce a harvest of righteousness and peace within us (v.11)
Maybe you are in a season where God is trying to discipline you. In your hardship, realize that God is treating you as His child (v.7). He loves you immensely. So responding to that discipline in the right way is crucial. Instead of being angry and resentful towards God, accept God’s discipline in your life as a blessing from a loving Father who desires to keep you from destruction and make you more like Him.
Posted by: Matt Mofield