"The church in thy house."
Is there a Church in this house? Are parents, children, friends, servants, all members of it? or are some still unconverted? Let us pause here and let the question go round--Am I a member of the Church in this house? How would father's heart leap for joy, and mother's eyes fill with holy tears if from the eldest to the youngest all were saved! Let us pray for this great mercy until the Lord shall grant it to us. Probably it had been the dearest object of Philemon's desires to have all his household saved; but it was not at first granted him in its fulness. He had a wicked servant, Onesimus, who, having wronged him, ran away from his service. His master's prayers followed him, and at last, as God would have it, Onesimus was led to hear Paul preach; his heart was touched, and he returned to Philemon, not only to be a faithful servant, but a brother beloved, adding another member to the Church in Philemon's house. Is there an unconverted servant or child absent this morning? Make special supplication that such may, on their return to their home, gladden all hearts with good news of what grace has done! Is there one present? Let him partake in the same earnest entreaty.
If there be such a Church in our house, let us order it well, and let all act as in the sight of God. Let us move in the common affairs of life with studied holiness, diligence, kindness, and integrity. More is expected of a Church than of an ordinary household; family worship must, in such a case, be more devout and hearty; internal love must be more warm and unbroken, and external conduct must be more sanctified and Christlike. We need not fear that the smallness of our number will put us out of the list of Churches, for the Holy Spirit has here enrolled a family-church in the inspired book of remembrance. As a Church let us now draw nigh to the great head of the one Church universal, and let us beseech him to give us grace to shine before men to the glory of his name.
"And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away: so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."
Universal was the doom, neither rich nor poor escaped: the learned and the illiterate, the admired and the abhorred, the religious and the profane, the old and the young, all sank in one common ruin. Some had doubtless ridiculed the patriarch--where now their merry jests? Others had threatened him for his zeal which they counted madness--where now their boastings and hard speeches? The critic who judged the old man's work is drowned in the same sea which covers his sneering companions. Those who spoke patronizingly of the good man's fidelity to his convictions, but shared not in them, have sunk to rise no more, and the workers who for pay helped to build the wondrous ark, are all lost also. The flood swept them all away, and made no single exception. Even so, out of Christ, final destruction is sure to every man of woman born; no rank, possession, or character, shall suffice to save a single soul who has not believed in the Lord Jesus. My soul, behold this wide-spread judgment and tremble at it.
How marvellous the general apathy! they were all eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, till the awful morning dawned. There was not one wise man upon earth out of the ark. Folly duped the whole race, folly as to self-preservation--the most foolish of all follies. Folly in doubting the most true God--the most malignant of fooleries. Strange, my soul, is it not? All men are negligent of their souls till grace gives them reason, then they leave their madness and act like rational beings, but not till then.
All, blessed be God, were safe in the ark, no ruin entered there. From the huge elephant down to the tiny mouse all were safe. The timid hare was equally secure with the courageous lion, the helpless cony as safe as the laborious ox. All are safe in Jesus. My soul, art thou in him?
Today's reading: Jeremiah 24-26, Titus 2 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: Jeremiah 24-26
Two Baskets of Figs
1 After Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah and the officials, the skilled workers and the artisans of Judah were carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the LORD showed me two baskets of figs placed in front of the temple of the LORD. 2One basket had very good figs, like those that ripen early; the other basket had very bad figs, so bad they could not be eaten.
3 Then the LORD asked me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?”
“Figs,” I answered. “The good ones are very good, but the bad ones are so bad they cannot be eaten.”
4 Then the word of the LORD came to me: 5 “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Like these good figs, I regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I sent away from this place to the land of the Babylonians. 6 My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them. 7 I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart....
Today's New Testament reading: Titus 2
Doing Good for the Sake of the Gospel
1 You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. 2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
9 Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive....
[Gĕma rī'ah] - jehovah hath fulfilled oraccomplishment of the lord.
GOD’S ATTRIBUTES- HE IS
How can we summarize what God means when he tells us he simply is? When Moses asked God what his name was (for there were many alternative names for gods), God's answer was, "I AM WHO I AM." This was not a typical name such as "god of thunder," or "lord of water and earth," but the simplest, most comprehensive, most absolutely fundamental descriptor.
God is. That is the essence of who he is. Before anything else existed-before mountains or horses or angels, before even matter itself existed-God was. He is the one unalterable reality. So we can worship him anytime, anywhere.
He exists not as an impersonal energy in the universe, but as "the living God." "The Father has life in himself" (John 5:26). No one brought God to life. He is the one living being who had no birth, and so he is the Father of all who have been born. Moses, Joshua, David, Isaiah, and other voices in the Old Testament drew people's attention again and again to "the living God." This is what made him different from the other gods whose statues sat on shelves.
The Old Testament prophets spared no sarcasm in talking about false gods who, because they were not alive, could not be life-giving. Isaiah depicts a man cutting a tree, using some of the wood to warm himself, and "from the rest he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, 'Save me; you are my god'" (Isa. 44:17). Biting sarcasm!
Elsewhere (40:20) he talks about a man who looks for wood that he hopes will not rot before his god is carved. Scandalous! "He looks for a skilled craftsman to set up an idol that will not topple." (Hard to respect a god that keeps tipping over. Do you bend your head if he's leaning one way or the other? And if he topples over, wouldn't that suggest that you may fall no matter how strong your allegiance to this deity?) Hosea said the people "consult a wooden idol and are answered by a stick of wood" (Hosea 4:12 ). Just how many intelligent comments have you heard from a hunk of wood lately? And so in the New Testament the apostle Paul commended one group of believers as those who "turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God" (1 Thessalonians 1:9), because if one thing is true about idols, it is that they are the most lifeless, ridiculous objects on the face of the earth.
Those of us who have no wooden statues on the hearth, however, are no less capable of idolatry. Whenever we make up an idea of God to suit our purposes, we are idolators. The same is true when we put something or someone above God as the determinative influence in our lives.
The only kind of God worth worshipping must be a living God. If he is living and all-powerful, he is completely outside of our control. What other kind of God could exercise authority and control over our enemies?
Excerpt from Putting the Pieces Back Together: How Real Life and Real Faith Connect. Click for more.