Devotional for October 2019

“Through the tender mercy of our God – whereby the dayspring from on high visited us – (79)  to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death – to guide our feet into the Way of peace.” [Lk.1:78-79]  

As we continue to examine the Holy Spirit inspired statement of old priest Zacharias concerning his newborn son, John the Baptist – we see that it is all about the yet to be born (which is only a few short months from happening) – the birth of the eternal Son of God incarnated into being the eternal Savior/God, the  Lord Jesus Christ. It is He that is being referred to as: the Dayspring”.

The Dayspringis descriptive of the precise moment that the light of the beginning of a brand new new day brilliantly bursts forth into existence and springs into view — completely dispelling the prevailing and all encompassing darkness of the night. And, the Lord Jesus Christ is being referred to here as the Dayspringfrom on High! Our Savior – the incarnated, holy and beloved eternal Son of God, was already conceived by the Holy Spirit of God — in the womb of Mary. Jesus – who was to be born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth — was being made ready to make His appointed and promised-by-God appearance in our history – and in the likeness of our sinful flesh (see Ro.8:3) — when old Zacharias was making this Holy Spirit inspired utterance! The event described in Gal.4:3-5 – which text says:  “…we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: (4) but when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, (5) to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” – the description of this text — was just months away from becoming a gospel reality in the midst of our fallen world! Praise the Name of God!

The sudden appearance of the glorious light of the Dayspring from on highmarks the glorious visitation of our great, holy and sovereign Savior/Redeemer into fallen-in-sin humanity! This is the “light of the truth of the gospel of the glory, only, of the Lord Jesus Christ” that suddenly and gloriously showed up and cured, or healed, poor old Zacharias of all his unbelief in God.

This whole event around the birth of John the Baptist – the prophet/messenger and forerunner of the Lord Jesus Christ – was foretold — four hundred years earlier through Malachi. Mal.3:1 says: Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before meand the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to His templeeven the Messenger of the Covenantwhom ye delight in. Behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of hosts!” This prophecy was Holy Spirit inspired and recorded by Malachi 400 years before its fulfillment which we are presently looking at in Luke one! And, take careful note of this additional fact – just as Luke 1 narrates the announcement of the event of the first coming of Jesus in the flesh – the prophecy of Malachi declares the event of the second coming of Jesus in the flesh. It says: For, behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hostsBut, unto you that fear my Nameshall the ‘Sun of righteousness’ arise with healing in His wings…” [Mal.4:1-2] The Lord Jesus is the Dayspringof Lk.1:78 – and He is the Messenger of the Covenantand the Sun of righteousnessof Mal.3:1 and 4:2. And, just as Zacharias’s unbelief was healed with the actual birth of his son, John the Baptist, even so will all of God’s eternal covenanted loved and saved ones be rescued with the rising of the Sun of righteousness – the Lord Jesus Christ. He comes with the eternal rescue of redemption in His wings! But wait, there is yet still more wonderful blessings to be focused on here. . .

For Christ’s Glory Only! – John Carpenter

Devotional for September 2019

“Through the tender mercy of our God – whereby the dayspring from on high visited us – (79)  to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death – to guide our feet into the Way of peace.” [Lk.1:78-79]

In the previous newsletter we noted the context of Lk.1:78-79. How that Zacharias, an old priest of the temple, had received a visitation by Gabriel, the Angel. He brought to him the news that the son whom he and his barren wife, Elisabeth, had long prayed for — would finally be given to them. Furthermore, that son would be John the Baptist, the forerunner and prophet/messenger of the promised Seed –  the incarnate Christ of God. And these two verses deliver to us a short list of the eternally saving blessings that by God’s grace have been bestowed upon all the redeemed people prepared for the Lord[see vs.17]  with the coming of Him who is the Christ! However, Zacharias could not believe the news divinely delivered unto him through Gabriel. Therefore, God made the priest unable to speak even a word until all “…these things shall be performed”.

Consequently, Elisabeth — Zacharias’s barren wife — conceived and gave birth to their son – who was — in fallen human history — the messenger/forerunner of Christ Jesus, our Lord. And, after over 9 months of God-caused silence the Lord opened Zacharias’s mouth and the first thing he spoke by the Holy Spirit was Lk.1:68: Blessed be the Lord God of Israelfor He hath visited and redeemed His people…”.

The capstone, however, of his whole Holy Spirit induced and inspired statement points directly to the glory of the greatest and most incomprehensible miracle that God ever performed: the incarnation of His eternal, holy and beloved and only begotten Son into the fallen human likeness of sinful flesh [see Ro.8:3]. He became the literal, historical Jesus of Nazereth. This utterance becomes Zacharias’s announcement of the gospel of the glory only of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ – the only sovereign Savior/substitute and Redeemer that there ever was,  is, or ever will be! Praise His Holy Name! [see 2Co.5:21 and Col.2:9-10]

God’s Word tells us from Lk.1:78-79 of four blessings given unto His redeemed people. The first one is His tender mercy”; and he tells us that it isthroughHis tender mercythat the other three blessings are bestowed upon us. This way of expressing His everlasting mercy (see Ps.136) emphasizes the Lord’s great compassion that He has for all those that are His prepared people. From Ex.33:19 God descriptively declares that He – will be gracious to whom He will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom He will show mercy.”

God’s chosensinner peculiar people[see 1Pe.2:9-10] – which are the same as the people prepared for the Lord[of Lk.1:17] – need His tender mercy! Mercy is where we sinners do not receive that which we truly do deserve for our sins through the person and redemptive work of Christ Jesus. Grace is where we sinners do receive that which we truly do not deserve in our eternal salvation, once again, through the person and redemptive work of Christ Jesus.

Every one of God’s eternally saved ones are quickened by the Holy Spirit to see clearly that they are hopeless and undeserving sinners just like the publican described by the Lord Jesus in Lk.18:13. We all cry out for holy God to (lit.) be mercifully propitious to me a sinner”. The only one who can and does fulfill this for us – and in us — is He who is: the dayspring from on high!

For Christ’s Glory Only!

John Carpenter

 

Devotional for August 2019

“Through the tender mercy of our God – whereby the dayspring from on high visited us – (79)  to give light — to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death – to guide our feet into the Way of peace.” [Lk.1:78-79]

These verses mark the end of a remarkable utterance! The whole of which statement constitutes the Holy Spirit inspired and induced words of Zacharias, the earthly father of John the Baptist. Before we look directly at our text, and what it delivers to us, let’s observe first some important things from its greater context.

The birth of the Baptist was announced by the angel, Gabriel, unto Zacharias, a priest of the Temple of the Lord. Gabriel delivered to the aged Zacharias the message that his prayers for a son would finally be answered. He told him that his son (whom he was to name, John) would go before the One who is to be the Christ, to make readya peopleprepared for the Lord(vs.17). However, Zacharias could not believe the good news. So, therefore, gracious and merciful God closed his mouth so that he would not be able to speak — until all that was reported to him concerning the birth of his son came to pass in its appointed time (vs.20). The silenced Zacharias returns home — and, Elisabeth, his known-to-be-barren wife, conceives. Only God who quickeneth the deadand calleth those things which be notas though they were.” [Ro.4:17]  could do something like that! Praise His Name! Fear not! Believe in Him! [see and note: Mk.5:36]

Unbelief is indeed a plague of sin to real and vibrant spiritual life and growth. Its weeds and thorns and thistles are always springing up in the grace planted garden of God in and among the hearts of mortal men and women in this fallen-in-sin and law-cursed world. Satan, himself, works tirelessly in the hearts and minds of unbelievers – lest the Light (lit.) of the gospel of the glory of the Christwho is the image of Godshould shine unto them.” [2Co.4:4]  And even an old Priest like, Zacharias, who had served many years in the Temple of the Lord is not immune to the sinful existence of unbelief. But, praise the Lord God – He will not allow unbelief to have its reigning and damning dominion over any of His servants [Ro.5:21]. From Rev.3:19  our Lord says: As many as I loveI rebuke and chasten! Be zealous therefore, and repent!” He sends His angels as a messenger with the good news of His grace and truth – that will cure His servant of the plague of unbelief – and super-abundantly provide the answer to the prayerful longing of the heart of Zacharias. This will give him  joy and gladness! [see: Lk.1:13-14]

 Vs.57 says: Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.” When the boy was 8 days old they came to the Temple to get him circumcised according to the command of the Lord – and they named him, John, just as they were told to do. This is when the Lord opened once again the mouth of Zacharias — and as vs.67 says, he, having been filled with the Holy Spirit – heralds forth vs.68-79. This remarkable statement reaches its profound peak in the words of our text (vs.78-79).

These two verses bring forward to us: “…the tender mercy of our God” — which is the source of all the rest of the good things that the most high God declares through His Priest – that will surely come to pass. Which things include: the actual coming of the birth of the God/man – and the purpose of His coming – and the ultimate divine accomplishment where rescuing the people of God is concerned! This makes up the context that encompasses Lk.1:78-79.

For Christ’s Glory Only!

John Carpenter

Devotional for July 2019

“Sanctify them by thy truth – thy Word is truth.” “For both He that sanctifieth – and they who are sanctified – are all of one. For which cause, He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the Book – it is written of me) to do thy will, O God.” “By the which will – we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ – once for all.” “For by one offering – He hath perfected forever – them that are sanctified.” [Jn.17:17; He.2:11; 10:7,10,14]

In God’s Word, to sanctify means to be set apart by holy God – for God’s holy purpose. And, in each of these descriptive passages – it is the person of our Savior/God, the Lord Jesus Christ – or, His saved ones – which is being referred to where sanctification is concerned. Specifically, God’s eternally saved ones are defined in Jn.17:2 as those out of all of fallen human flesh that the Father has given unto the Son. Unto these the Son of God has the sovereign divine authority and power to give eternal life. Even – to as many as” – the Father has given unto Him! All of these persons will – by God’s will and grace — at some point in the time of their earthly existence, they will come to personally repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as being their eternal sovereign Savior propitiatory substitute. Praise His Name! [see Jn.6:37]

The Jn.17 text also declares unto us that our sanctification is all because of the person and work of Christ Jesus, our Lord. He is both the “Truth” [Jn.14:6] and He is the living “Word” [Jn.1:1-3,14]. If it’s not all Christ, dear ones, it’s all wrong! In fact, this is substantiated by the first text brought forward from the epistle of Hebrews: For both He that sanctifiethand they who are sanctifiedare all of one.” We are one with Him, because we have been placed in Him. This verse echoes that which is written in 1Jn.4:17, which says: “…as He isso are wein this world!”

This sanctification of God’s saved ones is obviously a vital part of the eternal council and purpose of our great and sovereign God in sending His eternal Son into our world to set us apart from the rest of this fallen-in-sin world. Hence, the Son declared from eternity – in eternity – and for eternity: Behold, I come (in the volume of the Book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God.” Jesus said in Jn.6:38-39: For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent methat of all which He hath given meI should lose nothingbut should raise it up again at the last day.” Praise the grace of God!

Finally, the matter of the “will” is addressed. He.10:10 explicitly says of God’s will in our being sanctified: By the which willwe are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christonce for all.” This text makes it clear that it is not at all the will of man that initiates, or completes, his sanctification unto his eternal salvation – no – it’s all been done by the will of God – to the glory of God – alone! 1Co.1:30-31 declares the pure gospel truth: But of Him (or, by His doing) are ye in Christ Jesuswho is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemptionthat according as it is writtenhe that gloriethlet him glory in the Lord.” The pure truth of the gospel is in the fact that it is the gospel of the glory — only – of the Lord Jesus Christ – the only sovereign Savior/   substitute that there ever was, is, or ever will be! Hence, He.10:17 boldly proclaims: For by one offering He hath perfected foreverthem that are sanctified!” The Holy Spirit through Paul, without reservation, declares from Acts 20:32: And, now, brethren, I commend you to Godand to the Word of His gracewhich is able to build you up and to give you an inheritanceamong all them which are sanctified.” All glory to Christ Jesus!

For Christ’s Glory Only!

John Carpenter

Devotional for June 2019

“Then shall we know, (if) we follow on – to know the Lord – His going forth is prepared as the morning…and He shall come unto us as the rain – as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” [Hos.6:3]

The catalyst behind all the genuine followers – all the true disciples – of Jesus Christ the Lord is none other than the Lord, Himself. He is the alpha and omega of all that pertains to an eternally saving relationship with Him. Hence it connects: His going forth” – to the phrase, we follow on to know the Lord(remember the word “if” is not in the original Hebrew). We who are genuine followers of the Lord Jesus Christ – from the time that we genuinely came to know Him personally as our Lord and Savior – we began a life-long journey in this life of following, growing and getting to know Him more and more. We find ourselves among all those chosen and peculiar peoplewho have received the love of the Truth, that they might be saved! [1Pe.2:9; 2Th.2:10]

It is the Lord who has eternally purposed for this to be the Way for us to be saved and go to heaven. Therefore, it says: His going forthis prepared…”. All of this takes place in perfect accordance with the perfectly established preparation of our sovereign, all-governing Lord God.

The Holy Spirit through Hosea puts all this in direct context with the daily realization of a new morning. The scripture exhorts us by saying: We have also a more sure word of prophecy wherunto we would do well to take heedas unto a light that shineth in a dark place until the day dawn and the day star arise in our hearts.” This verse also looks to the perfect preparation of our Lord and Creator – in the dawn of every new morning.

Our Hosea text describes where we are right now in what we know of our Lord Jesus – and our following on to know Him even more; to love Him even more (and to know more of His love for us). 2Pe.3:18 goes on and exhorts us to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”. This echoes our following on to know the Lord”.

Our Lord’s perfect preparation is always in line with the perfect Way of His perfect work which will be performed according to His perfect timing. Therefore does the text mention that: He shall come unto usas the rainas the latter and former rain unto the earth.” Here, once again, is emphasized the certainty of God’s grace unto us! From what I understand, in Palestine there were typically just two seasons in the year when rain would occur. It would first come at the end of September, or the beginning of October. This was the beginning of the civil year of the Jews. This rain was regarded as the former or early rain. It came regularly right after the seed was planted so as to soak the soil and aid – or prepare – the seed for its germination. Then, by the end of March and on throughout April there would come what was regarded as the latter rain which would in turn complete the process – or prepare the crop — for the harvest. These two seasons had their own particular purpose to fulfill in God’s perfectly designed decree and plan. Without them there would only be famine and ultimately death. Spiritual growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ works out in just the same precise manner. The Word of the Lord says: For as the rain cometh downand the snowfrom heavenand returneth not thitherbut watereth the earth and maketh it to bring forth and budthat it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater: so shall my Word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me voidbut it shall accomplish that which I pleaseand it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” [Is.55:10-11]  Praise His Wonderful Loving and Gracious Name!! Amen.

-For Christ’s Glory Only!

John Carpenter

 

Devotional for May 2019

[Hos.6:3] “Then shall we know – (if) we follow on to know the Lord. His going forth is prepared as the morning – and He shall come unto us as the rain – as the latter and former rain unto the earth”

That which we are examining now is the blessing this 3rd verse descriptively declares and the certainty of it being bestowed that is bound up with it. The verses that precede this third verse deliver to us the context that explicitly builds up to what is here being stated. Vs.1-2 says (lit.), Come and let us return to the Lordfor He hath tornbut He will heal usHe hath smittenbut He will bind us up (2) He will revive us after two days; in the third day He will lift us upand we shall live before Him.” Obviously this was the message given by our Lord unto Hosea for him to declare to His people. It is typical of the message that is needing to be declared unto God’s people today. It continues to be so amazing how relevant the Word of God is to the true people of God – in every generation. The healing balm of God’s grace of repentance serves to successfully steer us time and time again directly into the merciful, forgiving and restoring presence of our loving Lord. That’s what makes Hos.6:3 such a wonderful gospel text unto us! We need to be reminded of the gospel message of this verse over and over and over again as we sojourn through this fallen and sinful world! Hos.6:1-3 descriptively declares the Lord’s great faithfulness unto us even when we (like Israel) have been, at times, grossly unfaithful to Him and His Word.

From the very beginning verse 3 declares: Then shall we know”. This is a declaration of the sovereign certainty of God’s grace unto us! According to the immediate context of vs.1-2 – after our Savior tears and heals us – after He smites and binds us up – He then leads us down the very same path that He, Himself, had to walk, in His eternally saving us just so we, (lit.) before His face, shall eternally live! “Then” – as the Word of His grace says (in vs.3) – “shall we know.

That which is also very interesting is the fact that the word “if” that starts the next phrase is not in the original Hebrew. In our English, whenever we read a descriptive statement with an “if” clause – it most often means that the declared description is conditioned on the occurrence of the “if” clause. But, that is not what’s being said here. This passage is not conditional at all upon a response from a fallen sinner human being! What is being declared is an absolute certainty to take place — in a genuinely Christ-cleansed and a Holy Spirit-of-grace converted sinner-saved-by-grace true child of God. You know your Lord – and you follow on to know the Lord even more! When God begins to bestow His grace and mercy upon you – He will go on bestowing His grace and mercy upon you. That makes these words a genuine motivation for you to turn to Him as the context of this passage encourages you to do. Praise His wonderful Name!

It’s the Lord’s going forth on our behalf that brings these wonderful things to pass. Hence the text says that His going forth is prepared”. This word means that His going forth is (lit.) causatively appointed and rendered sure by God, Himself. The Word says that the Lord’s going forth is appointed and rendered as sure to take place – as the morning”. As sure as there is a setting of the Sun in this world – there is also a rising! God has fixed this to be certain to happen. And, here He says that His going forth on behalf of His people is equally as certain. In fact, He says that He shall come unto usas the rain…”. What does that mean? We will get into that certainty in our next newsletter. Until then – may the Lord richly bless you. Amen.

-For Christ’s Glory Only!

John Carpenter

 

Pin It on Pinterest