Friday, October 30, 2009

72) Jesus paid the bill for the free gift

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

All men are sinners at birth through their connection and representation with Adam, and this earns physical and spiritual death as all men become actual sinners. Due to God’s perfect justice, the wages of sin must be paid. However, God offers as a free gift eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. By being in Christ Jesus by faith, the wages of a person’s sin were placed on Jesus Christ. He received God’s justice on the cross of Calvary, and He provides the righteousness needed to stand before God for all who are in Christ Jesus by this faith. Believers should look to Christ for both salvation and sanctification.

Focus on Christ #72

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

71) Believers have been set free from sin by grace

Romans 6:22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.

Grace not only saves sinners from the penalty of sin, it saves them from the power of sin. Believers are given a new nature that leads to a new focus and sanctification through the fruit of the Spirit. Instead of being slaves to sin and death, believers are slaves of God, and the end result is eternal life. While believers still struggle with sin, they are no longer captive to its power thanks to God’s grace. The Law has no power to defeat the slavery of sin and that is why Paul makes it clear that sanctification comes from the fruit of the Holy Spirit through grace and not from the Law carved on tablets of stone.

Focus on Christ #71

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

70) Grace defeats the law of sin and death

Romans 6:14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Grace came by Jesus Christ and it came with power. When Jesus came into the world full of grace and truth, more was provided than just satisfying the legal requirements for salvation. In addition to his atonement for sin, Jesus also provided believers with the indwelling Holy Spirit. Under the law sin had dominion and sinners were slaves to sin, but under grace the power of the Holy Spirit sets sinners free from the slavery of sin [Romans 8:2]. Not perfectly of course, but sin will no longer control the rudder and direction of all who are in Christ Jesus by faith. Grace earns the victory over the law through faith [1 John 5:4].

Focus on Christ #70

Sunday, October 25, 2009

69) Grace replaced law

John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

In the giving of the law, Moses gave the ministry of death [2 Cor. 3:7] to national Israel. The purpose of this ministry of death was to convict the Jews of sin and point them to a Messiah for mercy and redemption. Jesus Christ was this Messiah and He came into the world in human flesh full of grace and truth. The person and work of Jesus Christ fulfilled the promise of the Old Testament and paid the price for this amazing grace. Jesus rendered the Mosaic Covenant obsolete [Hebrews 8:13] by perfectly fulfilling it and suffering its curse for the redeemed [Galatians 3:13]. All who are in Jesus by faith have received Grace upon grace, and His truth abides forever.

Focus on Christ #69

Friday, October 23, 2009

68) Don’t suppress the truth about humanity

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

Many in churches today proclaim that man is basically good and announce to the world that God loves them unconditionally. They are suppressing the very truth that Paul reveals in this passage. While God is love and his grace and mercy abound in many ways to the human race, His anger and wrath against human unrighteousness and sin is revealed clearly by Holy Scripture. John the Baptist did not announce the coming of the Kingdom of God by telling people to continue on unchanged because God loves them unconditionally. No, he told them to repent for the forgiveness of sins. Through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ sinners can experience the redeeming love and mercy of God.

Focus on Christ #68

Thursday, October 22, 2009

67) Christians are reconciled to God by God

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; (19) that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

In the ministry of reconciliation God makes new creations that are in Christ by faith alone. It is all from God as Jesus provided the righteousness and paid the sin debt for sinners to be reconciled to Him. Redeemed sinners are not left unchanged as Jesus sent His Holy Spirit to indwell and lead them into ways of righteousness. While Christians are not made perfect and have setbacks along the way, they are compelled by the leading of the Spirit to be reconciled to God. This message of reconciliation was fully revealed to Paul and Paul has given it to us in Holy Scripture. The mystery of this revelation was not fully revealed until Jesus ascended to heaven. Then, beginning at Pentecost, the apostles carried the message of forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God to the world as they started and built the church of Jesus Christ.

Focus on Christ #67

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

66) Christians are reborn by the power of God

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

To be in Christ is to be redeemed by the blood of Christ. Such a person is a new creation due to the power of God and not anything done by his own effort. Having been made spiritually alive by God, the old has passed away and the new has come [Ephesians 2:5]. Those who are in Christ have new hearts, attitudes, and desires than their former self. This verse points to the reality of the coming of the counselor [Holy Spirit] that Jesus foretold. It is an occurrence that began at Pentecost with the birth of the church of Jesus Christ [Eph. 2:11-22].

Focus on Christ #66

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Focus on Christ devotional INDEX



August 2009 - devotional numbers 1-27
September 2009 - devotional numbers 28-54

October 2009- devotional numbers 55-72
November 2009- devotional numbers 73-89

December 2009- devotional numbers 90-103
January 2010- devotional numbers 104- 111
February 2010- devotional numbers 112- 118

March 2010 - devotional numbers 119- 127
April 2010 - devotional numbers 128 - 133


#31- Exodus 19:5-6

#19- Matt 5:17
#26- Matt 16:18
#53- Matt 17:5
#54- Matt 17:8
#32- Matt 27:50-51
#60- Matt 28:18-20
#61- Matt 28:18-20
#62- Matt 28:18-20
#63- Matt 28:18-20

#29- Luke 24:27
#30- Luke 24:44

#69- John 1:17
#64- John 13:34-35
#116- John 15:1
#117- John 15:2
#118- John 15:3
#119- John 15:4
#120- John 15:5
#121- John 15:6
#65- John 15:10

#55- Acts 1:1-2
#56- Acts 9:15
#27- Acts 14:27
#2- Acts 15:10-11
#28- Acts 17:11

#68- Rom 1:18
#8- Rom 3:31
#122- Rom 6:1-2
#123- Rom 6:3-4
#124- Rom 6:5-6
#125- Rom 6:7
#126- Rom 6:8
#127- Rom 6:9-10
#128- Rom 6:11
#129- Rom 6:12-13
#70- Rom 6:14
#130- Rom 6:15
#131- Rom 6:16
#132- Rom 6:17-18
#133- Rom 6:19
#134- Rom 6:20
#135- Rom 6:21
#71- Rom 6:22
#72- Rom 6:23
#73- Rom 7:4
#74- Rom 7:5
#75- Rom 7:6
#76- Rom 7:7
#77- Rom 7:8-9
#78- Rom 7:10-11
#79- Rom 7:12-13
#80- Rom 7:14-15
#81- Rom 7:16-17
#82- Rom 7:18
#83- Rom 7:19-20
#84- Rom 7:21-23
#85- Rom 7:24
#86- Rom 7:25
#13- Rom 8:1
#14- Rom 8:2
#15- Rom 8:3
#16- Rom 8:4
#17- Rom 8:5
#18- Rom 8:6
#92- Rom 8:7-8
#93- Rom 8:9
#94- Rom 8:10-11
#95- Rom 8:12
#96- Rom 8:13
#97- Rom 8:14
#10- Rom 9:8

# 6- 1 Cor 11:25
#91- 1 Cor 9-20-21

#9- 2 Cor 3:7-8
#11- 2 Cor 3:11
#66- 2 Cor 5:17
#67- 2 Cor 5:18-19

#57- Gal 1:11-12
#58- Gal 1:13-14
#59- Gal 1:15-16
#87- Gal 3:3
#88- Gal 3:23
#89- Gal 3:24-26
#90- Gal 3:27-29
#3- Gal 5:1
#12- Gal 5:18

#98- Eph 1:3-4A
#99- Eph 1:4B-6
#100- Eph 1:7-10
#101- Eph 1:11-12
#102- Eph 1:13-14
#103- Eph 2:1-3
#104- Eph 2:4-5
#105- Eph 2:6-7
#106- Eph 2:8-9
#35- Eph 2:11-12
#36- Eph 2:13
#37- Eph 2:14
#38- Eph 2:15
#39- Eph 2:16
#40- Eph 2:17
#41- Eph 2:18
#42- Eph 2:19
#43- Eph 2:20
#44- Eph 2:21
#45- Eph 2:22
#46- Eph 3:1-3
#47- Eph 3:4-5
#48- Eph 3:6
#49- Eph 3:7
#50- Eph 3:8-10
#51- Eph 3:11-12

#52- Heb 1:1-2
#4- Heb 8:6
#5- Heb 8:7
#20- Heb 8:8
#21- Heb 8:9
#22- Heb 8:10
#23- Heb 8:11
#24- Heb 8:12
#25- Heb 8:13
#1- Heb 9:15
#34- Heb 11:10

#33- 1 Peter 2:9-10

#107- 2 Peter 1:2
#108- 2 Peter 1:3
#109- 2 Peter 1:4
#110- 2 Peter 1:5-7
#111- 2 Peter 1:8
#112- 2 Peter 1:9
#113- 2 Peter 1:10
#114- 2 Peter 1:11
#115- 2 Peter 1:12

#7- 1 John 5:4

Thursday, October 15, 2009

65) In Christ believers satisfy the law’s demands

John 15:10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.

In this passage Jesus makes a clear distinction between His commandments and His Father’s commandments. Since Jesus was born under law to Jewish parents, His Father’s commandments would include the Ten Commandments. The nation of Israel was required legally by covenant to fulfill the law and Ten Commandments to receive God’s blessings. None even came close to obeying and fulfilling their covenant obligation to God’s law, but a small remnant turned to God in repentance for mercy and was saved by faith in a promised redeemer. By fulfilling these commandments as our surety, Jesus became the redeemer that saves all who are in Christ by faith. By His life of perfection and death as atonement for sin, Jesus secured the promised blessings of the Old Covenant for those who believe.

Therefore, Jesus does not send believers back to the Old Covenant that He fulfilled on their behalf. That would be to send believers back to the ministry of death that condemned them in the first place [Romans 8:2, Acts 15:10, Galatians]. Instead, He commands believers to keep His commandments that are found in the New Testament. Being under grace instead of law means obedience has changed from a yoke to heavy to bear [Acts 15:10] to a yoke that gives rest for the soul [Matt. 11:29-30]. Grace transforms believers into new creations in Christ with the motivation to keep the commandments of Christ [see Hebrews 8]. While believers fail to perfectly keep the commandments of Jesus Christ, grace and forgiveness cover their sins, since they are not placing themselves under the covenant contract of the Law. Galatians 3:10 points this out: For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” Galatians 3:23-26 points out that the Law was a guardian until Christ and faith came. Christ and faith have come and we are no longer under the Law as a guardian. We are not under the Law for justification and we are also not under Law for sanctification. Paul stated it as follows in Romans 6:14: For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. Our focus should be on Christ. His burden is light and He provides rest for our souls. ALL [100%] that we need is found in Him and His New Covenant teaching.

Focus on Christ #65

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

64) Love one another

John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (35) By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

In this verse Jesus added a commandment to the moral precepts of Ten Commandments that are restated in the New Testament. Some of these [ten] commandments were restated without change and Jesus strengthened some. While most of the Ten Commandments prohibited bad behavior and began with Thou shall not, this new commandment encouraged the positive attribute of love. In the New Covenant believers are empowered by the Holy Spirit, which enables them to have an internal heartfelt desire to obey Christ and follow his commandments. Instead of the external law keeping of the Old Covenant, believers in the New Covenant are led by the Spirit in becoming more and more conformed to the image of Christ through obedience to His law. [Hebrews 8:10-11, 2 Cor. 5:17, Romans 8:29]

Focus on Christ #64

Sunday, October 11, 2009

63) Go, make disciples, baptize, and teach (part 4)

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (19) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Jesus makes it clear that disciples are to be baptized. In this passage Jesus does not present baptism as a requirement to be saved. He commands that disciples be baptized after they become believers. Jesus is commanding that believers only be baptized which would preclude infants. Neither Jesus in this passage nor any other passage in the New Testament directs the church to baptize infants. It violates New Covenant teaching to place works or baptism before faith [Ephesians 2:8-9].

Focus on Christ #63

Friday, October 9, 2009

62) Go, make disciples, baptize, and teach (part 3)

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (19) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations. The New Testament Scriptures are clear that there is no distinction between disciples and believers. There are NOT disciples who follow Jesus and carnal Christians who accept the free gift of eternal life but refuse to follow Jesus. This heretical teaching fails to acknowledge the power of God the Holy Spirit in salvation. This POWER from God is given to all who are saved by faith alone. [John 3:3, 2 Cor. 5:17, Rom. 8:14] When Jesus said go make disciples, he was talking about one and only one classification of Christians. Christians are believers who have been regenerated and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Although they are still sinners and not perfect, they are disciples that follow Christ and have a heartfelt desire to be obedient to his teachings. This discipleship flows from the power of God.

Focus on Christ #62

Thursday, October 8, 2009

61) Go, make disciples, baptize, and teach (part 2)

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (19) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Where do we find the information to make disciples? While much can and should be learned from the Old Testament about God’s promises, history, and unfolding plan of redemption; ALL the information and precepts needed for justification and Christian sanctification is revealed in the New Testament. The New Testament quotes the Old Testament extensively in presenting Christ as the fulfillment and focus of redemptive history. In this fulfillment, Jesus removed the yoke of the Old Covenant Law by fulfilling all of its legal requirements. Therefore, the New Testament is where unbelievers go for the gospel message, and disciples go to learn all that is needed to be faithful disciples. Jesus said, Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. [Matt. 11:28]

Focus on Christ #61

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

60) Go, make disciples, baptize, and teach (part 1)

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (19) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Devotionals #52 through #59 highlight Scripture passages that direct the apostles and believers to listen to Jesus and His commands. What are these commands that Jesus gave the apostles and believers [WDJC]? The great commission sums this up directly and clearly. Believers are to make disciples of all nations and baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. We are to teach them to observe ALL that Jesus commanded. ALL that Jesus commanded is found in the New Testament and as the eight preceding devotionals point out, the apostles and writers of the New Testament received it directly from Jesus and recorded it in Scripture for us. Therefore, believers should listen to Jesus by thoroughly learning the New Testament. That is where his teaching and commands can be found.

Focus on Christ #60

Monday, October 5, 2009

59) Paul was predestined and called by God

Galatians 1:15-16 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, (16) was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone;

Paul states emphatically that his call by God was predestined before he was even born. While some may debate God’s predestination and sovereign effectual call as universal principle, there is no doubt that Paul was predestined, called, and saved by grace alone. It is also clear that Paul received his revelation and instructions unfiltered, directly from God, for the purpose of preaching among the Gentiles. It is important to note that Paul’s gospel DOES NOT conflict with the gospel principles of the other apostles. When any gospel message is in direct contradiction with the New Testament, such as the book of Mormon, you can be sure it is a false gospel.

Focus on Christ #59

Sunday, October 4, 2009

58) Before God called him, Paul was extremely zealous but wrong

Galatians 1:13-14 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. (14) And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers.

Paul’s zeal for the traditions of his Jewish fathers was so strong that he persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it completely. Paul and the nation of Israel were under the yoke of the law and all but a small remnant pursued righteousness through this law. Most failed to turn to God for mercy, as did the small remnant, and their hearts were hardened. Therefore, while Paul was extremely knowledgeable in Old Testament Scripture, he was blind to his need for mercy and redemption from God.

Focus on Christ #58

Saturday, October 3, 2009

57) Jesus spoke and Paul listened

Galatians 1:11-12 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel. (12) For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

Although Paul was extremely advanced in Judaism, he was unaware of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul, as most Jews of the Old Testament era, had a veil over his heart when he read the old covenant. The nation of Israel was under law. While God preserved a small remnant through grace, most Jews pursued righteousness based on works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone [Romans 9:32]. But now grace had come to Paul on the Road to Damascus and He received the gospel directly from Jesus through revelation.

Focus on Christ #57

Friday, October 2, 2009

56) Jesus chose and commanded Paul to preach the gospel

Acts 9:15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.

Jesus told Ananias in a vision to go to Saul of Tarsus and lay his hands on him so he could regain his vision after his experience on the Road to Damascus. His mission as described in the verse above was to carry the name of Jesus before Gentiles, kings and the children of Israel. Paul listened to Christ and spent his entire ministry preaching Christ crucified. Just as Jesus had commanded His chosen apostles right before his ascension, He chose and commanded Paul to also build His Church through the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Focus on Christ #56

Thursday, October 1, 2009

55) The apostles listened to Jesus

Acts 1:1-2 In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, (2) until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.

On the Mount of Transfiguration the message for the three apostles was to listen to Jesus Christ and in the first sentence of Acts we are told they listened as Jesus gave commands through the Holy Spirit to his chosen apostles right up to the day of His ascension. Jesus was going to build his Church through his apostles and it was important for them to listen just as God had instructed. They were His agents for starting and nurturing this completely new entity, The Church of Jesus Christ. This was more than a new administration of an existing covenant. This was a new covenant fulfilling and replacing the old covenant [see devotionals #20 through #25 on Hebrews 8:8-13].

Focus on Christ #55