Read: Matthew 25
Marked: Matthew 25:46, “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Many deny the existence of a place of everlasting punishment believing either the punished cease to exist, or that it is a time for rehabilitation for eventual entrance into heaven.
However, the same Greek word for everlasting is also used for eternal and means without beginning or end. If life with God is eternal so too will be the punishment for those who reject God’s grace.
Hell was prepared for the devil and his angels, not for man (V41). But those who align themselves with the devil’s rebellion will likewise suffer his fate if their names are not written in the Book of Life (Revelation 20:10, 15).
The Bible clearly warns of an everlasting state of punishment and an eternal state of reward. There is a hell to avoid and a heaven to gain for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Read: Matthew 24
Marked: Matthew 24:45 “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season?”
A servant serves his Master and does as instructed. Unfortunately, the world is becoming more individualistic in its outlook.
No longer are we looking out for the common good, but self-interest is seen as a higher priority. In 2 Timothy 3:1-5 God warns us not to be like that or to be around those that are. As servants of the Most High God we are to reflect His nature, to be like His Son, and to do the work He has called us to do.
In Ephesians 2:10 we are told that Christians are God’s workmanship created in Christ to do good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Jesus says, those that do the work to which they’ve been called as His servants will be blessed (V46).
Read: Mark 13
Marked: Mark 13:1, Then as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings [are here!]”
Herod’s temple was a marvel of human engineering. Some of the stone blocks used in its construction weighed over one hundred tons. It had taken forty years to build.
We place a lot of faith in our achievements, like engineering, literature or art. And to be sure, these are great achievements. But they are not eternal.
Jesus warned that the great structure of Herod’s temple would be destroyed (V2). Civilization itself would suffer intense destructive forces, religious, geopolitical, natural disasters and more (V6-8, 24). Tribulation would come such as had never been seen before (V19).
Everything in which man puts his hope are temporary things and will suffer destruction, but God’s Word will not (V31). Sadly, the very thing which has the power to save is all but ignored.
Read: Matthew 23; Luke 20-21
Marked: Luke 20:27-28, Then some of the Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection, came to [Him] and asked Him, saying: “Teacher, Moses wrote to us [that] if a man’s brother dies, having a wife, and he dies without children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother.”
Why did they deny the resurrection? Why do we deny what we deny? Is it because we’ve made up our minds before we look into the matter? Many deny a literal hell but have no problem believing in a literal heaven. But what does God say about these things in His Word?
The Bible is light illuminating our understanding. In it we find wisdom and truth. And if we are open to discovery and learning, regardless of what we think, we will see that our understanding quite often contradicts what the Word of God says.
When we see that our thinking contradicts the Bible we should change our thinking and not what the Bible says.
Read: Matthew 22; Mark 12
Marked: Matthew 22:1-3, And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come.”
God has prepared a wedding feast for His Son to which we’ve all been invited. Jesus is the groom and the church is the bride (Revelation 19:7, 9).
Weddings are joyous occasions and most would be pleased to be invited. But many will not attend this wedding because they make light of it or are too busy with other things to accept the invitation.
Once the wedding is underway it will be too late to accept the invitation. Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).
Read: Mark 11; John 12
Marked: Mark 11:17, Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”
God is a god of mission. He told Abraham, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3) And again in Genesis 22:18, “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed because you have obeyed My voice.”
God desires, and has always desired, that the nations of the world know Him, and He sends His people on mission to accomplish that. In the New Testament Christians are commissioned to go to all the nations with the gospel (Matthew 28:19). The promise of a Saviour was to all the nations (Luke 2:10), and God takes a dim view of exclusion. To God, keeping anyone from knowing Him is thievery and a grave sin (1 Corinthians 6:10).
The temple was to be a place of gathering for all people, all nations. Our mission is to invite all to come and have fellowship with their Creator (1 John 1:3).
Read: Luke 19 Marked: Luke 19:13, “So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’”
Ten servants received one Mina each and were told to do business till the Master returned. A Mina was about three months wages, a substantial amount.
Christians have been given a commission to go and make disciples and the Lord has given us the means to do so. Like the servants in the parable, some will increase ten fold what they’ve received. Another might realize a five fold increase. Both were commended by the Master.
But one servant had done nothing with what he’d been given. Doing nothing is not an option. Yet, too many servants of the Lord do little or nothing.
Considering the commendation the first two servants received it is likely had the first servant simply invested what he’d received he would have been commended too.
God has prepared before hand the work we are to do. And the instruction from the Lord is we are to walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).
Read: Matthew 20-21
Marked: Matthew 20:10-11, “But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. And when they had received [it,] they complained against the landowner.”
The world teaches that hard work is rewarded and we, rightfully, have an expectation that we will receive more than another if we’ve worked longer.
But the grace of God isn’t like that. Grace isn’t a reward for work; it is a gift from God. It is the Father’s good pleasure to be fair to those who labour in the Kingdom whether for a time or a lifetime.
None of us deserve grace and we shouldn’t think the longer we serve the more grace we deserve. God gives grace according to His will, not according to what we deserve. And so, in God’s economy, and according to His good pleasure, grace is given to the last as well as the first.
Read: Matthew 19; Mark 10
Marked: Mark 10:37, They said to Him, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.”
In Mark 9 the disciples had argued over which of them would be the greatest. James and John take it one step further. In the world the emphasis is on power. Climbing the corporate ladder. Becoming President or Prime Minister. Amassing power, position, and prestige.
But that’s not the way it is in the Kingdom of God. There the first shall be last, the least shall be greatest, and the greatest shall be the servant of all. In the world, those with power make the rules and exercise authority over others.
Jesus sets the example for us. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many (V45). That’s how true leaders lead. They serve those they’ve been placed over. That’s what Jesus taught His disciples and that’s what a follower of Christ should do.
Read: Luke 18
Marked: Luke 18:38, And he cried out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
In his hymn, Amazing Grace, John Newton wrote, “Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see.”
There is physical blindness, but also spiritual blindness. This man was blind physically, yet by faith he could see that Jesus was the promised Messiah. He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” This was a title given to Christ in the Old Testament.
Even though I could see physically, my spirit was blind to Jesus. I didn’t “see” because I was wealthy, had need for nothing, and did not see that I was wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.
It wasn’t until I cried out to Jesus that the veil blinding me was lifted, and I saw my need for a Saviour.