"The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad."
Some Christians are sadly prone to look on the dark side of everything, and to dwell more upon what they have gone through than upon what God has done for them. Ask for their impression of the Christian life, and they will describe their continual conflicts, their deep afflictions, their sad adversities, and the sinfulness of their hearts, yet with scarcely any allusion to the mercy and help which God has vouchsafed them. But a Christian whose soul is in a healthy state, will come forward joyously, and say, "I will speak, not about myself, but to the honour of my God. He hath brought me up out of an horrible pit, and out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings: and he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God. The Lord hath done great things for me, whereof I am glad." Such an abstract of experience as this is the very best that any child of God can present. It is true that we endure trials, but it is just as true that we are delivered out of them. It is true that we have our corruptions, and mournfully do we know this, but it is quite as true that we have an all-sufficient Saviour, who overcomes these corruptions, and delivers us from their dominion. In looking back, it would be wrong to deny that we have been in the Slough of Despond, and have crept along the Valley of Humiliation, but it would be equally wicked to forget that we have been through them safely and profitably; we have not remained in them, thanks to our Almighty Helper and Leader, who has brought us "out into a wealthy place." The deeper our troubles, the louder our thanks to God, who has led us through all, and preserved us until now. Our griefs cannot mar the melody of our praise, we reckon them to be the bass part of our life's song, "He hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad."
"Search the Scriptures."
The Greek word here rendered search signifies a strict, close, diligent, curious search, such as men make when they are seeking gold, or hunters when they are in earnest after game. We must not rest content with having given a superficial reading to a chapter or two, but with the candle of the Spirit we must deliberately seek out the hidden meaning of the word. Holy Scripture requires searching--much of it can only be learned by careful study. There is milk for babes, but also meat for strong men. The rabbis wisely say that a mountain of matter hangs upon every word, yea, upon every title of Scripture. Tertullian exclaims, "I adore the fulness of the Scriptures." No man who merely skims the book of God can profit thereby; we must dig and mine until we obtain the hid treasure. The door of the word only opens to the key of diligence. The Scriptures claim searching. They are the writings of God, bearing the divine stamp and imprimatur--who shall dare to treat them with levity? He who despises them despises the God who wrote them. God forbid that any of us should leave our Bibles to become swift witnesses against us in the great day of account. The word of God will repay searching. God does not bid us sift a mountain of chaff with here and there a grain of wheat in it, but the Bible is winnowed corn--we have but to open the granary door and find it. Scripture grows upon the student. It is full of surprises. Under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, to the searching eye it glows with splendour of revelation, like a vast temple paved with wrought gold, and roofed with rubies, emeralds, and all manner of gems. No merchandise is like the merchandise of Scripture truth. Lastly, the Scriptures reveal Jesus: "They are they which testify of me." No more powerful motive can be urged upon Bible readers than this: he who finds Jesus finds life, heaven, all things. Happy he who, searching his Bible, discovers his Saviour.
[Ăpŏl'los] - a destroyer or youthful god of music. An eloquent and learned Jew born at Alexandria and deeply versed in Old Testament Scriptures (Acts 18:24; 19:1; 1 Cor. 1:12; 3:4-6, 22; 4:6; 16:12; Titus 3:13).
The Man Whose Influence Was Enriched
This educated, cultured Alexandrian Jew was an orator and an efficient worker in the Church who knew only the baptism of John (Acts 18:24, 25 ). The influence of Apollos was ample and varied and, under Aquila and Priscilla, was heightened and enriched.
I. His was the influence of eloquence (Acts 18:24). Apollos wielded an ever powerful instrument of blessing - a consecrated eloquence.
II. His was the influence of exposition. Apollos was mighty in the Scriptures (Acts 18:26). What a tribute it is to be mighty in the mightiest of books!
III. His was the influence of spiritual knowledge. Apollos taught by word of mouth the things of the Lord.
IV. His was the influence of fervency. Apollos was also "fervent in spirit" (Acts 18:25). "A lively, affectionate preacher," as Matthew Henry calls him.
V. His was the influence of accuracy. Apollos taught "carefully" or "accurately" the truth of Christ (Acts 18:25 RV). Incorrectness in teaching is detrimental to all concerned.
VI. His was the influence of courage. Apollos spoke "boldly." He had no hesitation in his tone. Courage flashed in his eyes (Acts 18:26).
Yet with all his excellent gifts and goodly influence, Apollos had a distinct limitation. He knew that Christ was coming, but his was only a partial Christianity. Yet what he knew and taught profoundly impressed many in the synagogue. Under the tuition of Aquila and Priscilla, two deeply taught believers, Apollos was led into a deeper understanding of the truth. Instructed in the way of the Lord, Apollos went out to expound the truth more fully and accurately and thereafter became an unashamed herald of the Christian faith especially among the Jews (Acts 18:28).
Later on, Apollos became an apostle and one of Paul's trusted friends and companions, and remained active in his ministry during Paul's life (1 Cor. 16:12; Titus 3:13). So effective a preacher did he become that some of the Corinthians put him before both Peter and Paul. Martin Luther hazarded the guess that Apollos was the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews.
Today's reading: 2 Chronicles 32-33, John 18:19-40 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: 2 Chronicles 32-33
Sennacherib Threatens Jerusalem
1 After all that Hezekiah had so faithfully done, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah. He laid siege to the fortified cities, thinking to conquer them for himself. 2 When Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come and that he intended to wage war against Jerusalem, 3 he consulted with his officials and military staff about blocking off the water from the springs outside the city, and they helped him. 4 They gathered a large group of people who blocked all the springs and the stream that flowed through the land. "Why should the kings of Assyria come and find plenty of water?" they said. 5 Then he worked hard repairing all the broken sections of the wall and building towers on it. He built another wall outside that one and reinforced the terraces of the City of David. He also made large numbers of weapons and shields....
Today's New Testament reading: John 18:19-40
The High Priest Questions Jesus
19 Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.
20 "I have spoken openly to the world," Jesus replied. "I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. 21 Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said."
22 When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. "Is this the way you answer the high priest?" he demanded.
23 "If I said something wrong," Jesus replied, "testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?"24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest....