Daily Devotionals

The Pastor of the church provides a daily devotional entitled Think Upon These Things hoping it will be a source of inspiration, encouragement, and strengthening of your faith. It is not intended to take the place of other devotional materials (Our Daily Bread, Open Windows, etc.) but to supplement those devotionals. Contact the church office if you wish to receive Think Upon These Things via email, or subscribe to the church's website and it will be sent to you automatically. We pray it will be an encouragement to you.

June 28, 2022

If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father (John 15:24).

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Roman Christians (Romans 7:7) What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” Had Jesus not come in the flesh, we would not know the righteousness of God, nor would we know His holiness, nor would we even know Him personally. We certainly wouldn’t know our own sin. Why is that so important?

June 27, 2022

He who hates Me hates My Father also (John 15:23).

The word ‘hate’ is miseo and means ‘to detest’, to ‘love less’, even ‘to persecute’. Jesus had spoken this to the disciples before. But like all things repeated in Scripture, the repetition is for emphasis - it is a truth that is not to be missed. 

June 26, 2022

If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin (John 15:22).

What does it matter if a non-Christian is exposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, engages in church and ministry, attends Bible studies and Christian conferences, then chooses not to become a Christian, or if a Christian engages in these same things, but chooses not to be a more committed Christian to the Kingdom of God? It matters a lot! Note the words of Jesus in our text. Speaking about the Elders of Israel, Jesus in essence condemned them for having an abundance of knowledge and information about Him, but rejected Him and will stand before the judgment seat of God with no excuse for their decision.

June 25, 2022

But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me (John 15:21).

The world hates Christians because it hates God’s truth that has set Christians free from sin and death. The world hates Christians because it remains under the power and authority of Satan, the lord of the earth. The world hates Christians because it hates Jesus Christ. The world hates Christians because it does not know God.

June 24, 2022

Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also (John 15:20).

June 23, 2022

If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you (John 15:19).

The world hates the Christian because the world is under the dominate evil of Satan who is lord of the earth. As Satan hates the Father, Son, and Spirit, he also hates those who belong to them. Because Jesus has chosen us out of the world to be His own, he hates us even more than he hates those under his evil influence. It is because Jesus has chosen us out of the world that we no longer belong to the world - we no longer share in its spirit, we are no more dominated by its purposes and goals, we are no longer governed by its principles.

June 22, 2022

If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you (John 15:18).

June 21, 2022

These things I command you, that you love one another (John 15:17).

What is Christian love supposed to look like? Jesus commanded His disciples to love one another. He repeated that command several times because He knew how difficult it would be given our life in sinful flesh. But as stated earlier, it was necessary to repeat the command because of the opposition and persecution they would face as they went out into the world as His Apostles. How is love for one another to be fleshed out in the fellowship of the saints?

June 20, 2022

These things I command you, that you love one another (John 15:17).

Jesus again reminds the disciples that they are to love one another. This seems almost painfully redundant that Jesus should remind us again and again that we are to love God, love Him, love fellow believers, and love others. But the motivation behind the command is warranted - we don’t love God, we don’t love Jesus, we don’t love fellow believers, and we don’t love others as we ought to. I can only speak from my experience in my generation, but the burden is a heavy one.

June 19, 2022

You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.  (John 15:16).

June 18, 2022

You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain (John 15:16).

That Christians are to be fruitful in the Kingdom of God is the product of salvation in the life. This fruitfulness is Christlikeness - to become more and more like Jesus with each passing day. That the fruitfulness of the Christian should be permanent is the effect of salvation in their life. Being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ is a reality that does not fade away in one’s life, but continues on forever. While fruit trees in orchards start off as saplings, grow into mature trees that bear fruit, and then wane in their power to produce fruit after so many years, such is not the case in the spiritual life of the believer.

June 17, 2022

You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit . . . (John 15:16).

As stated earlier, the fruit that Christians are to bear is Jesus Christ living His life in every believer without limitation or restriction. It would include those spiritual characteristics mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23, but is not be limited to them. Ultimately, it is full conformity to Christ, which is the goal of being a Christian in the earth. (Romans 8:29) For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. It is Christ-likeness in every aspect of our being and life - His affections, dispositions, graces, attitudes, etc. 

June 16, 2022

You did not choose Me, but I chose you . . . . (John 15:16).

Grace literally means ‘to rejoice’; ‘that which causes joy’, pleasure, gratification, favor, acceptance. Commonly it is defined as unmerited, unearned, or undeserved favor; a kind favor done without expectation. It is the absolutely free expression of the loving kindness of God to men, finding its only motive in the abundant benevolence of God. You did not choose Me, but I chose you. That’s grace, God’s grace.

June 15, 2022

No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you (John 15:15).

It is no secret that friends share information with each other, sometimes very important information. One of the key elements in the friendship between Jesus and His followers is the fact that He has disclosed a great deal of information to them - information about the Father, the Holy Spirit, His Messiahship, salvation, God’s plan for the ages, heaven, hell, etc. Of course, He did not disclose all we would want to know, but He has given to us information that is sufficient for us to live victorious Christian lives in a lost and sinful world.

June 14, 2022

FRIENDS
Tuesday, June 14, 2022

You are My friends if you do whatever I command you (John 15:14).

Sin is rebellion against the laws of God. (1 Samuel 15:22) Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. (Psalm 51:16 17) For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart - these, O God, You will not despise. (1 John 3:4) Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness

June 13, 2022

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you (John 15:12-14).

These are some of the more difficult verses to accept, mainly because they are misunderstood. “How can a person be commanded to love?” “What kind of friendship is based on obedience to commandments?”

June 12, 2022

THE FULLNESS OF JOY
Sunday, June 12, 2022

These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full (John 15:11).

June 11, 2022

If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full (John 15:10-11).

There can be no spiritual fruit for the Father, and no consistent living in Christ’s love, unless there is the real subjection of our will to the Father’s will. It is only in our obedience to the Word of the Lord that we enjoy fellowship with Him and He with us.

June 10, 2022

As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full (John 15:9-11).

June 9, 2022

As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full (John 15:9-11).

As a child, I asked my mother one day if Jesus really loved me. She said that He does. I asked her how much Jesus loved me. She said, “Jesus loves you so much, He stretched out His arms and died for you.” She, of course, was referring to His crucifixion, which is the expression of God’s great love for us. (Romans 5:8) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us

June 8, 2022

As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love (John 15:9-10).

In John 14:15,21,23,24,28,31, Jesus spoke of love 10 times. In John 15:9,10,12,13,17 He spoke of love 9 times. He spoke of the Father’s love for Him and His love for the Father, His love for the disciples and their love for Him, for the Father, and for each other.

June 7, 2022

By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples (John 15:8).

How is the Father glorified in our bearing much fruit? The word is edoxasthe, from which we get the word ‘doxology’; ‘to praise’ or ‘to honor’. God the Father is praised and honored when we, as His spiritual children, are conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ, when we surrender completely to the Christ-life, when we die to self and allow Jesus to live in and through us.

June 6, 2022

By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples (John 15:8).

June 5, 2022

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you (John 15:7).

June 4, 2022

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you (John 15:7).

This verse, as with John 14:13-14, cannot be taken out of context to mean that whatever the Christian wants, the Lord is obligated to give. That is not the promise there, and it is not the promise here. Context dictates the interpretation of the passage.

June 3, 2022

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned (John 15:5-6).

John 14 & 15 can be difficult to understand based upon the traditional approach to the subject of God’s grace and man’s responsibility. John 14 emphasizes God’s grace upon the believer. John 15 emphasizes the believer’s responsibility to God. Throughout the entirety of the discourse, it is to be maintained that God’s grace sustains the believer, even though the believer may fail in his responsibility to God. But that has always been the case throughout Scripture.

June 2, 2022

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned (John 15:5-6).

These matters have been addressed before. But the difference here is, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. Again, the issue is whether or not these branches, which have been previously defined as Christians, are removed from the vine and cast into hell (the ‘fire’), meaning, they lose their salvation. I contend such is not the case.

June 1, 2022

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me (John 15:4).

May 31, 2022

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me (John 15:4).

To abide (meno) is to continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry. It is more than ‘to be’ in Jesus Christ and for Jesus Christ ‘to be’ in you. The idea is that of a dynamic presence - a continual living in Jesus Christ and He in you. It is a symbiotic relationship involving the interaction between two different persons living in close physical association that is mutually beneficial. It is like the fish living in water as the water lives in the fish. You take one out of the other and both are dynamically affected.

May 30, 2022

You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you (John 15:3).

May 29, 2022

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you (John 15:1-3).

It is the work of the Father by the Holy Spirit and through His Word that every Christian is not only attached to the life of Christ, but is cleansed by His life that they bear fruit. (1 Peter 1:22-23) Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.

May 28, 2022

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you (John 15:1-3).

May 27, 2022

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you (John 15:1-3).

May 26, 2022

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you (John 15:1-3).

The metaphor of the vine and branches is one most common to Christians. But do we understand what the metaphor means? We might know a bit more about vines and branches than most other folks because we live in an area where grapes are grown in abundance. Even so, the spiritual dynamics of the biblical metaphor can be lost to us if we try to interpret it in light of the physical realities of the vineyard vine and branches.

May 25, 2022

And when they had sung a hymn, he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him (Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26; Luke 22:39).

We leave John’s account of the last hours of Jesus’ life to interject this bit of information from Matthew, Mark, and Luke. John 14:31 ends with Jesus saying, Arise, let us go from here. The 3 other Gospels tell us that after Jesus announced the Passover observance was over, they sang the customary hymn and left the upper room for the Mt. of Olives. 

May 24, 2022

I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here (John 14:30-31).

There are a couple of reasons why Jesus said, I will no longer talk much with you. (1) They would leave the upper room and walk across the Kidron Valley to the Garden of Gethsemane where He would be arrested. The disciples would flee for their lives. John and Peter would quietly follow Jesus through the remaining events leading up to the crucifixion. So, the conversations with Jesus and the disciples would come to an end until after the resurrection.

May 23, 2022

You have heard Me say to you, “I am going away and coming back to you.” If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, “I am going to the Father,” for My Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe (John 14:28-29).

All that Jesus had said and will say to the disciples has been given that they would believe He is the promised, divinely appointed, qualified, and authoritative Messiah of God. The statement harkens back to the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot (John 13:19), Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He.

May 22, 2022

You have heard Me say to you, “I am going away and coming back to you.” If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, “I am going to the Father,” for My Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe (John 14:28-29).

May 21, 2022

You have heard Me say to you, 'I am going away and coming back to you.' If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, 'I am going to the Father,' for My Father is greater than I. "And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe (John 14:28-29).

May 20, 2022

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27).

The peace that the world gives is shallow, unstable, and unsatisfying because it is a false peace. We talk much about peace, but we have known very little of peace. We have all sorts of ‘peace-keeping’ societies, groups, and organizations, but all of the civilizations of the world are experiencing conflict within themselves or with others. Besides that, all the nations of the world are armed to the teeth! Well did the Apostle Paul write (1 Thessalonians 5:3), For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman.

May 19, 2022

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27).

The peace that Jesus gives is spiritual, not material, and affects the whole person, not just the physical person. What is the peace that the world gives? The dictionary has many shades of meaning for the word peace, but the main principle is that of the end of conflict: “the normal, non-warring condition of a nation, group of nations, or the world; to end hostilities and abstain from further fighting or antagonism; a state of mutual harmony between people or groups, especially in personal relations; the normal freedom from civil commotion and violence of a community; public order and security.”

May 18, 2022

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27).

In this text we should understand the difference between the peace Jesus gives, and the peace the world gives. We also need to ask the question, is there a difference between the peace Jesus left with the disciples, and the peace He would give to the disciples? We will also need to understand how the peace that Jesus gives assuages a troubled and fearful heart.

May 17, 2022

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you (John 14:26).

As was stated earlier, the Holy Spirit it not an ‘it’, a force, a non-entity. He is a Person and the 3rd Person of the divine Trinity. This is yet another example of the personality of the Holy Spirit in that He is able to teach all things, and bring to remembrance all things that Jesus has said. A force or non-entity cannot do that. Furthermore, the pronoun ‘He’ is masculine, not neuter, a further indication of personality. 

May 16, 2022

He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me. These things I have spoken to you while being present with you (John 14:24-25).

As children we use to play ‘She loves me, she loves me not’ with the petals of a flower. We would pluck a petal and say, ‘She loves me’, then pluck another petal and say, ‘She loves me not’. We would continue to do this until the last petal plucked would ‘confirm’ whether or not ‘She loves me’. Of course that was a silly game based on chance, and it really confirmed nothing with regard to another person’s affection.

May 15, 2022

If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him (John 14:23).

In the devotional for Saturday, April 30, 2022, we introduced the subject of ‘antinomianism’ and defined it as referring to ‘a person who maintains that Christians, by virtue of divine grace, are freed not only from biblical law and church-prescribed behavioral norms, but also from all moral law’. Such a person is also called a ‘libertine’ - an immoral, freethinking, unrestrained person.

May 14, 2022

If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him (John 14:23).

Here Jesus patiently explains to His disciples this solemn truth - God has fellowship only with those who believe in, and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who love Him, and who obey His Word. The world cannot, and does not experience such fellowship with God. Only those in Christ Jesus can enjoy such fellowship. There is no such thing as ‘the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man’. God is the Creator of mankind, but only Father to those who love and believe in Him through Jesus Christ.

May 13, 2022

He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him (John 14:21).

Yesterday we considered the question, “How can I know if I genuinely love Jesus?” We answered the question by stating that our love for Jesus is demonstrated by our faith in obeying His commandments - by ‘having’ (treasuring His commandments in the core of our spiritual life) and by ‘keeping’ (obey) what He has commanded us as His disciples. But there is a second question we have to consider, and that is “How can I know that God loves me?”

May 12, 2022

He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him (John 14:21).

John 14:1-31 is called the Paschal (Passover) Discourse. It was spoken to the disciples while they were in the upper room eating the Passover and the Lord’s Supper with Jesus. It was intended to give comfort to the disciples who were upset over the news that Jesus was going to be crucified. That comfort is noted in 4:1, Let not your heart (the seat of spiritual life) be troubled (agitated, tossed like the waves of the sea in a storm). He then directed their attention away from loss through crucifixion to hope and assurance through resurrection:

May 11, 2022

At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you (John 14:20).

‘That day’ is a reference to the Day of Pentecost, 50 days after Passover, when the promised Holy Spirit came from heaven and took up residence in the Christians (Acts 2:1-4) who were fasting and praying in an upper room (most likely the same one used by Jesus and the disciples at His last Passover with them). The resurrection of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit marked the beginning of a new biblical dispensation, the dispensation of the Holy Spirit. It marked the beginning of the physical Christian church on the earth.

May 10, 2022

A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also (John 14:19).

The last time the ‘world’ saw Jesus Christ was when He hung on the cross of Calvary. After His resurrection He appeared to over 500 people, but they were the privileged few who were either already saved, or would be saved when He appeared to them (1 Corinthians 15:4-8).

May 9, 2022

I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you (John 14:18).

The word ‘orphan’ is orphanous, and means ‘destitute’. It is often spoken of children who have been left without parents, but can also speak of anyone (child or adult) that is left without resources - human or material. Today we see such people everywhere - the orphan as well as the homeless, and whole families (parents and children) who are homeless and destitute.

May 8, 2022

And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you (John 14:16-17).

Pages