March 2, 2018 | Mark and Scott McAndrew
I Corinthians 3-4 | Sunday: Notice how you could almost skip from 1 Corinthians 1:17 to 1 Corinthians 3:1. Paul was speaking of divisions around favorite preachers (1:10-13) and he picks up where he left off (3:5-9).
Why does Paul take so much time in the middle of this discussion to talk about the cross and the wisdom of God (1:18-2:16)? It is worth some reading and meditation. What do you think?
In 1 Corinthians 3 Paul returns to division in the church. He says boasting in a particular pastor/author is foolish. Why? The Apostle Paul didn’t die on the cross for you. Simon Peter was not raised for your justification. You were not baptized into the name of Apollos or given the imputed righteousness of John the Baptist (thankfully!).
“So,” Paul concludes, “let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas [Peter] or the world or life or death or the present or the future – all are yours and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” (3:21-23).
If you are boasting in men, then you have failed to grasp the depths of the reality of the gospel. In Christ (and no other), all things exist for our good and will be worked out for our joy in Christ by the Father. This means that every heart beat is “ours” – every trial is “ours” – every event or circumstance we encounter, even death, is “ours.”
What does this mean?
Jonathan Edwards is helpful here.
If you are selfish, and make yourself and your own private interest your idol, God will leave you to yourself, and let you promote your own interest as well as you can. But if you do not seek your own but the things of Jesus Christ, the things of others, God will make your interest and happiness his charge; and he is infinitely more able to provide for it and to promote it than you are. So that not to seek your own, that is, not to seek your private worldly interest, is the best way of seeking your own in another sense. It is the most direct course you can take to obtain your truest happiness.
When you are required not to be selfish you are not required, as has been already observed, not to love and seek your own happiness. You are required not mainly to seek your private and confined interest. But if you place your happiness in God, and in glorifying him and serving him by doing good, in this way, above all others, will you promote your own wealth, and your own honor and pleasure, and durable riches, and obtain a crown of glory, and pleasures forevermore.
If you seek not your own, but seek the things that are Jesus Christ’s, and are of a spirit to seek the good of others, God himself will be yours. And Christ will be yours; he will make over himself to you in covenant, and all things shall be yours. Selfish men seek to engross all, and get all into their own possession; but instead of getting, they shall lose all, and be driven out of the world naked into everlasting poverty and misery.
But if you are of a contrary spirit you shall have all things in possession. “All things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours,” 1 Corinthians 3:21–22. And 2 Corinthians 6:10, “Having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”
Genesis 36-39 | Monday: Joseph is a type of Christ. This is seen most clearly in Stephen’s great martyrdom message in Acts 7.
“And the patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him and rescued him out of all his afflictions and gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him ruler over Egypt and over all his household.” (Acts 7:9-10)
“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.” (Acts 7:51-53)
See the parallel?
Joseph’s brothers betrayed him, yet later God made him “ruler” over all Egypt. Jesus was betrayed by his kinsmen, yet later God made Him ruler over all. I think Stephen is saying that Joseph’s life, betrayal, suffering, and exaltation as savior points forward to and foreshadows the events of the life of Jesus.
For a very helpful sermon on Genesis 37 about Joseph and his dreams, listen to this message from Jerry Ediger.
For a fantastic interview about the story of Joseph foreshadowing Jesus, please listen to this of Colin Smith by Nancy Guthrie.
Genesis 38-39 are fascinating and disturbing. I (Mark) had always found the structure of the narrative odd here. Why begin with the story of Joseph in 37, then switch back to a disturbing story of Judah and his sexual promiscuity, then return again to the story of Joseph in 39 which lasts virtually uninterrupted until the end of Genesis?
After receiving some help from Colin Smith, it became clear that we are intended to contrast the actions of one brother (Judah) and another (Joseph). Judah gives into gross sexual sin. Joseph resists sexual temptation. The contrast here makes for a great study on temptation.
Also, there is a slight shock introduced when we realize that Christ descended not from the tribe of Joseph, but the tribe of Judah. For more on this, see the sermon below.
For an NAC sermon on sexual temptation (Judah vs. Joseph), see here.
Ruth | Tuesday: The story of Ruth begins with the words, “In the days when the judges ruled” (Ruth 1:1). After having finished the nightmare that is the book of Judges, here we see an oasis in the desert. Rut and Boaz are like a light shining in a dark place. Where were the true people of God during this dark time? Ruth shows us that God always has His righteous remnant.
Judges ends with the need Israel had for a righteous king. “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). Ruth is the answer to this problem. The main point of the book of Ruth is that God was preparing a king to rule Israel from the line of Ruth and Boaz.
The book ends with these words. “Boaz fathered Obed, Obed fathered Jesse, and Jesse fathered David” (Ruth 4:21-22).
The main reason, it seems, that Ruth is in the Bible is to give us the backgrounds story on King David’s genealogy. The next book is appropriately about the beginning of the monarchy in Israel and David’s eventual rise to the throne (1 Samuel).
For a brief article giving seven reasons to love and study the book of Ruth, see here.
For a Mark Dever sermon that covers all of Ruth, see here.
Psalms 27-29 | Wednesday: Psalm 27 begins with this verse: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid.”
Marshall Segal comments on this verse by giveing us this reminder:
“Whom shall we fear? No one. God has become our light and salvation. The one who has redeemed us will most certaintly rescue and deliver us. What shall we fear. Nothing. We’ve been promised an everlasting life filled with ever-increasing happiness and purified from every sin and consequence of sin. We will endure awful things for a time in this broken workd, but it’s only for a time. And we would trade any amount of groaning and suffering here to experience the fullness of what’s waiting for us there with him.”
Psalm 28:6 says: “Blessed by the LORD! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.” Tim and Kathy Keller point out something rather obvious when commenting on this Psalm reminding us, “We can’t live without prayer.” We all know this and we know as Hebrews 4 reminds us that we should “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” However, how many of us get so busy in our lives that we press onto the next item on our agenda without pausing to pray?
“God’s power is particularly evident in his voice (3-9). What God’s voice or Word does he does (verse 5 and 8). His divine power is active in his Word. Do not underestimate, then, how much the power of God can do in your life through the Bible. The voice of the Lord can break down ever our strongest defenses, defuse our despair, free us from guilt, and lead us to him.”
For sermon on Psalm 28 that Mark gave at WFBC, see here.
Job 19-20 | Thursday: In Job 20 we get yet another speech from Zophar. I think Christopher Ash gives us some helpful input on this chapter by saying:
“Why do we have to go on and on listening to these dreadful speeches? After all, God is going to tell us at then end of the book that they are wrong (42:7). So what is the point of listening to them? . . . One general answer is presumably to warn us not to be like them when our natural pharisaism causes grace to be leeched out of our conversation and we lapse into the religious certainties of grace-free…religion. These speeches stand as a warning to us to guard grace jealously.”
“First, they terrify us and move us to warn unbelievers that unless they repent, this will indeed be their destingy. Second, they help us grasp the depth of darkness and suffering that the Lord Jesus expreienced on the cross. On the cross he was indeed under the wrath of his Father as he became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21)…we are given these poetic insights, and they are enough to deepen our gratitude to “the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).”
For a great interview on the book of Job, listen to Nancy Guthrie’s interview with Christopher Ash.
Isaiah 51-55 | Friday: Isaiah 52:13-53:12 is one of the most important passages in the Bible.
For a masterful, rich message on Isaiah 53‘s Suffering Servant, watch this by Sinclair Ferguson.
Matthew 26-28 | Saturday: In Matthew 26 we read about Jesus in Gethsemane in verses 36-46. Jesus is “very sorrowful, even to death;” and Jesus prays: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Frederick Leahy writes about this cup that Jesus refers to in his prayer. Leahy says: “That cup was constantly in view as he prayed in Gethsemane. What cup? ‘This cup” – not some future cup. The cup that was symbolized in the feast was now actual: God was placing it in the Saviour’s hands and it carried the stench of hell.”
“They who would always rejoice, must derive their joy from a source which is invariably the same; in other words, from Jesus. Oh, that name! What a person, what an office, what a love, what a life, what a death, does it recall to our minds! Come, madam, let us leave our troubles to themselves for a while, and let us walk to Golgotha, and there take a view of his.”
Charles Spurgeon once said that: “The doctrine of Christ crucified is always with me.” May that be true of all of us as well!
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
“Matthew’s gospel ends with the expectation of continued mission and teaching. The five preceding sections always conclude with a block of Jesus’ teaching (3:1-26:5); but the passion and resurrection of Jesus ends with a commission to his disciples to carry on that same ministry in the light of the cross, the empty tomb, and the triumphant vindication and exaltation of the risen Lord.”
“the gospel [of Matthew] ends, not with command, but with the promise of Jesus’ comforting presence…He who is introduced to us in the prologue as Immanuel, ‘God with us’ (1:23), is still God with us, ‘to the very end of the age.’ The English adverb “always” renders an expression found in the NT only here—namely, . . . “the whole of every day.”
For an NAC Easter sermon that covers much of Matthew 26-28, see here.