The first of Luther’s 95 theses read, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent,’ he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” Through repentance, the heart is broken and prepared to receive the life-giving word of God. The word of God then further enables us to grow in faith and repentance. This divinely appointed cycle results in reformation that transforms our lives, and entire cities, for His glory.
Ephesus is estimated to have been the fifth largest city in the Roman Empire. It was a major center of materialism, the occult, and the pagan worship of Artemis, whose temple was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Yet within three years, the city was transformed. The worship of Artemis had declined precipitously and Ephesus had become a church-planting hub for the entire region. God brought about a major reformation that began with thoughtful preparation and the proclamation of Jesus Christ. God continues to work in the same way today as we proclaim the same Savior who set us free.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, known as the “Prince of Preachers” was also a persistent “pray-er.” One of the keys to his passion for prayer and the power he experienced in prayer was his private communion with God. Spurgeon reflects David’s own intimate communion with the LORD as seen in Psalm 63. There are valuable prayer lessons to glean from both the King of Israel and the Prince of Preachers.
We think we need many things in life but the only thing that is truly essential is a fresh sense of God’s divine majesty from the Scriptures. Psalm 93 lifts our eyes to the Lord who reigns on high, is robed in glory, is armed with strength, and who remains changeless forever. He not only rules over the storms of this life, but over His people, the Church, through His anointed Son who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Transitions are important. How we share the faith with our kids, reach to lost, develop new leaders, face new seasons of life, and respond to death are all critical in the lives of God’s people. Left to ourselves, our transitions are marked by sin and misery. But through the grace of our changeless Savior we may receive, run with, and pass the baton of gospel ministry with joy, for His glory.
God’s word is perfect, right, and true, bestowing life and granting joy. Yet in our sin we continually seek to live without, and even above, His word. Only the Word of God made flesh, Jesus Christ, can both atone for our sin and enable us to live faithfully and fruitfully under God’s word.
David waited on the Lord in prayer; Paul taught that we should pray continually. With these teachings in mind, Matthew Henry guides us through ways to maintain an attitude of prayer throughout each day.
As we saw last week in 1 Kings 21, covetousness is a gateway that leads to many other forms of sin. But the gate may be shut through the grace of the Savior who dwells within us. The One who never yielded to covetousness is able to strengthen us against temptation so that we may live lives of contentment before God.
Covetousness may seem less dangerous than the other nine commandments because it’s listed last, but it’s actually a gateway to all other sin. Discontent with God’s Person and provision leads to many wicked choices that soon spiral out of control. King Ahab desired a garden and ended up taking a man’s life to get it. But another King in another garden would offer His life so that many might live.