"And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish."
The Christian should never think or speak lightly of unbelief. For a child of God to mistrust his love, his truth, his faithfulness, must be greatly displeasing to him. How can we ever grieve him by doubting his upholding grace? Christian! it is contrary to every promise of God's precious Word that thou shouldst ever be forgotten or left to perish. If it could be so, how could he be true who has said, "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I never forget thee." What were the value of that promise--"The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee." Where were the truth of Christ's words--"I give unto my sheep eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." Where were the doctrines of grace? They would be all disproved if one child of God should perish. Where were the veracity of God, his honour, his power, his grace, his covenant, his oath, if any of those for whom Christ has died, and who have put their trust in him, should nevertheless be cast away? Banish those unbelieving fears which so dishonour God. Arise, shake thyself from the dust, and put on thy beautiful garments. Remember it is sinful to doubt his Word wherein he has promised thee that thou shalt never perish. Let the eternal life within thee express itself in confident rejoicing.
"The gospel bears my spirit up:
A faithful and unchanging God
Lays the foundation for my hope,
In oaths, and promises, and blood."
"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"
"The Lord is my light and my salvation." Here is personal interest, "my light," "my salvation;" the soul is assured of it, and therefore declares it boldly. Into the soul at the new birth divine light is poured as the precursor of salvation; where there is not enough light to reveal our own darkness and to make us long for the Lord Jesus, there is no evidence of salvation. After conversion our God is our joy, comfort, guide, teacher, and in every sense our light: he is light within, light around, light reflected from us, and light to be revealed to us. Note, it is not said merely that the Lord gives light, but that he is light; nor that he gives salvation, but that he is salvation; he, then, who by faith has laid hold upon God, has all covenant blessings in his possession. This being made sure as a fact, the argument drawn from it is put in the form of a question, "Whom shall I fear?" A question which is its own answer. The powers of darkness are not to be feared, for the Lord, our light, destroys them; and the damnation of hell is not to be dreaded by us, for the Lord is our salvation. This is a very different challenge from that of boastful Goliath, for it rests, not upon the conceited vigour of an arm of flesh, but upon the real power of the omnipotent I AM. "The Lord is the strength of my life." Here is a third glowing epithet, to show that the writer's hope was fastened with a threefold cord which could not be broken. We may well accumulate terms of praise where the Lord lavishes deeds of grace. Our life derives all its strength from God; and if he deigns to make us strong, we cannot be weakened by all the machinations of the adversary. "Of whom shall I be afraid?" The bold question looks into the future as well as the present. "If God be for us," who can be against us, either now or in time to come?
[Jŏhn] - jehovah hath been gracious.
John, the son of Zebedee and Salome, the fisherman who became the beloved disciple, The Apostle of Love.
The Man Whom Jesus Loved
This younger brother of James has the rare distinction of being known as "the disciple whom Jesus loved." The original of his name means, "whom Jehovah loves" and John's experience corresponded to his name. From the many references to this honored disciple we can gather these facts:
He was a native of Bethsaida in Galilee.
His godly parents were probably cousins of Christ, and John was their youngest son.
His mother followed Christ, ministered unto Him, was at the Cross and among those who went to anoint the body of Christ with sweet spices.
His father was a fisherman owning his own vessel and prosperous enough to hire servants.
John himself was also a successful fisherman.
He was called to discipleship while plying his nets.
He was the youngest of the disciples, the Benjamin among the Twelve.
He was one of the select triumvirate, Christ's inner cabinet of three, Peter and James being the other two.
He was surnamed by Christ as a son of "Boanerges" because of his prophetic zeal and resolution to witness for Christ.
He was treated by Christ with greater familiarity than the others enjoyed.
He sat next to Christ at the Last Supper.
He was intrusted with the care of the mother of Jesus.
He died when he was almost one hundred years of age.
He wrote the gospel and three epistles bearing his name, and also the Book of Revelation. How true are Wesley's words of John the Beloved:
A Caesar's title less my envy moves
Than to be styled the man whom Jesus loves;
What charms, what beauties in his face did shine
Reflected ever from the face divine.
From manifold references in the four gospels, the Acts and Revelation, the preacher can develop these traits in John's character: his natural energy (Mark 3:17); his intolerance (Mark 9:38); his vindictiveness (Luke 9:54); his ambition (Mark 10:35-37); his eagerness to learn (John 13:23; I John 2:9); his sympathy ( John 19:26); his love (1 John 4:7-21).
Today's reading: Nehemiah 4-7, Acts 2:22-47 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: Nehemiah 4-7
Opposition to the Rebuilding
1 When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews,2 and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, "What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble-burned as they are?"
3 Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, "What they are building-even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!"
Today's New Testament reading: Acts 2:22-47
22 "Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God's deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25David said about him:"'I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest in hope,
27 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
you will not let your holy one see decay.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.'