Matthew 3:7-12: Baptism

Read: Matthew 3:7-12

John’s words are harsh. He calls those that are coming out to be baptized a “brood of vipers”, which in that time and place was not something nice to say. “Vipers” in the ancient near east were associated with wicked men. Jesus uses the word to describe the Pharisees and Sadducees on 3 occasion (Matthew 3:7, Matthew 12:34, Matthew 23:33). It was a serpent who deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden too (Genesis 3:1-15). Being called a viper was to associated a person as cunning and subtle with ulterior motives – they saw baptism as yet more religion. Those coming to be baptized by John were “fleeing wrath” which implies that they knew judgment was coming and were looking for a means to effectively purify themselves. The thinking was that the more piety one had, the less likely judgment was to fall in them. Likewise, those coming to be baptized were clinging to their heritage as well, thinking that because they were from the line of Abraham made them special and that they wouldn’t face judgment.

The people were right to recognize that there was impending judgment, but they were approaching it the wrong way, wanting to address sin with religion and traditions without changing their hearts and actions. John on the other hand saw through both of these. He was calling people to repent (that is, change one’s heart and mind about sin) and bear fruit in accordance with repentance. He agrees with the people that judgment is coming when he says the ax is near the root of the tree and every good tree that doesn’t bear fruit will be cut down and burned: There would be a “baptism” of the Holy Spirit while others would receive a baptism of fire.

John actually speaks of 3 baptisms in the text and there is a fourth in the Bible, namely Christian baptism.

  • Baptism of repentance – also known as John’s baptism, was a water baptism was performed by John, and is distinct from Christian baptism. In Acts 19:1-7 Paul makes this distinction where he rebaptizes 12 men in the name of Jesus, which would be Christian Baptism, on which they receive baptism of the Holy Spirit. Christians don’t receive this baptism anymore, but it pointed to Jesus.
  • Baptism of the Holy Spirit – This baptism is not a physically manifested baptism, rather it is one that comes when one believes in Jesus and the Holy Spirit comes to live in the life of a believer. This baptism is mentioned a number of times in the book of Acts: Acts 1:5 referring to Pentecost in Acts 2:16-21, Acts 2:38 in response to Peter’s sermon at Pentecost, Acts 11:16-17 where Peter calls it a “gift”, and lastly in Acts 19:1-7 with Paul.
  • Baptism by fire – this baptism refers to an impending judgment that would come to those who did not repent and turn to Jesus. John the Baptist explains in verse 12 that Jesus is coming with a winnowing fork that would separate the wheat from the chaff – the wheat would be stored while the chaff was burned. This is an allusion to the Lake of Fire Revelation 19:20 and Revelation 20:10-15 as a place of judgment for the devil and those who’s name are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
  • Christian Baptism – this is the water baptism that believers receive upon professing Jesus as Lord. Paul in Romans 6:1-12 explains that this baptism is symbolic of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Christians in a manner of speaking “die” to sin and are raised to walk as in the “newness of life” that comes from God. Ultimately, those that do believe will have eternal life made possible by Christ’s triumph over death.

Water baptism is a simple and beautiful picture that symbolizes so many things: cleansing, burial, resurrection, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. While baptism is a beautiful picture and it is indeed a command of the Lord, it in and of itself doesn’t save anyone, rather salvation comes by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). Baptism is an act of obedience that shows publicly and outwardly that of an inward change that comes from salvation. Likewise, it also shows publicly that one is identifying with Christ, which is also another reason folks would get baptized. Whether a new Christian is seeking baptism or one has already received it, it is good to be mindful of one’s motives and use the symbol to reflect on the spiritual reality of all that baptism symbolizes in one’s life.

Lord, baptism shows I have been saved by grace! Let my baptism testify to this!

Matthew 3:1-6: The Kingdom At Hand

Read: Matthew 3:1-6

John the Baptist lived as a man on the fringe of society, choosing to scratch a meager existence out of the Judean wilderness rather than enjoy any of life’s luxuries. Nevertheless, he attracted a following.

His message was simple: “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” In no uncertain terms, John is making a statement concerning the coming of Jesus and the impending judgment that would come as a result of Jesus’ second coming. For this reason, he was seen as a prophet, specifically fulfilling Isaiah 40 which is also echoed in Isaiah 57. Both of these prophecies speak of a voice calling for the people to make way for the coming king. Many of the laity in John’s day believed him to either be Elijah, who as taken up to heaven without dying (2 Kings 2:1-14) or someone like Elijah. The camel hair garment and leather belt herald back to the garb that Elijah himself wore (2 Kings 1:8). Jesus affirms this view in Matthew 11:7-14, where he applies Malachi 3:1 and Malachi 4:5-6 to John as well. Paul also affirms John’s prophetic ministry in Acts 13:24.

According to Jesus too John was the last in the line of prophets before Jesus came (Matthew 11:13). This is significant because it in a manner of speaking point to the end of the Old Testament prophecy and a transition to the New Testament era where the Apostles picked up the prophetic mantle, particularly the Apostle John. Jesus’ ministry was to fulfill the law and the prophets and Matthew is making a case for this here in chapter 3 and all through the book when he points to how Jesus fulfills various prophecies.

John himself is a prophet and a fulfillment of prophecy. This is important, because it does vindicate the ministry of Jesus as messiah and ultimately as king when his kingdom does come in glory. Recognizing the factual implications of this is what makes the need for repentance all the more important. Scoffers may look on, asking when Jesus will come back. After all, it has been 2000 years since Jesus supposedly ascended into heaven. 2 Peter 3 assures believers that scoffers will arise, but God will remain faithful to his promise. The warning against lawlessness and an encouragement to remain faithful in spite of scoffers that arise. His promises are true and he will do them.

Lord, your kingdom is coming! Help me to be mindful of this and live accordingly!

Matthew 2:13-23: “Spoken By The Prophet”

Read: Matthew 2:13-23

Jesus’ fulfillment of prophecies is a recurring theme in Matthew. Here in the latter part of chapter 2, Matthew shows how Jesus’ flight to Egypt as a baby fulfills at least three distinct prophecies (probably more) from the Old Testament.

  • v15: The first prophecy comes from Hosea 11:1, a prophecy about how God called Israel out of Egypt to be his people. Matthew likens this to Jesus, who sojourned in Egypt for a while and was called out. Jesus in a symbolic fashion spent time in the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1-11). In all this, Jesus remained obedient and faithful to God so that he might fulfill the requirements of the Law, unlike Israel.
  • v18: The second prophecy comes from Jeremiah 31:15. The entire chapter of Jeremiah 31 is a series of prophecies concerning the future blessings that would be given to Israel. Matthew invokes Jeremiah to show how mothers grieving over their children slaughtered by Herod points to a prophecy concerning the children “coming back”, speaking to a future time that even though they have lost them in the moment, they are certainly redeemed by God and Jesus’ coming makes this possible.
  • v23: The third prophecy is really more a generalized statement from many prophets, which is plural in the text. The root word for “Nazarene” in the Hebrew means “root” or “branch”. Many believe that Matthew may have originally been written in Aramaic, but nevertheless Matthew was undoubtedly familiar with this word. Without a specific reference, it is impossible to know what prophecies Matthew had in mind, but Isaiah 11:1-16, specifically verses 1 and 10, Zechariah 6:12, Jeremiah 23:5, and Jeremiah 33:15 area few possibilities. These all speak of a future king in David’s line – a very familiar theme in Matthew.

The number of prophecies that Jesus fulfills is amazing. While it is difficult to quantify this probabilities, most all estimates put the probability of Jesus fulfilling just a few prophecies as odds that are so astronomical that the numbers become a statistical impossibility that he fulfills dozens if not hundreds of prophecies. In other words, it is no mere coincidence. The fulfillment of prophecies themselves are intermingled with historical events too. Matthew is not merely showing that Jesus fulfills prophecies, but that the fulfillments are anchored in real world events, not some vague references to motifs from the Old Testament. Given this, the fulfillment of prophecy vindicates Jesus’ message and mission as being true and from God! The message of Christ is not pie in the sky, rather it is realm message grounded in history that simply cannot be written off as legend. Christians can use the power of this testimony to Jesus as tool to point people to the reality of Jesus and the salvation that he brings!

Lord, all of history points to you! Help the world to know this truth!

Matthew 2:1-12: “We Have Come To Worship Him”

Read: Matthew 2:1-12

The Visit of the Magi or “Wise Men” as they are called in some translations has been the source of much speculation concerning both who the Magi actually were and the nature of the star that the observed in the sky that prompted them to travel to find and worship Jesus. While little is actually known about the Magi that visited Jesus, history does speak to the Magi in general. They were a priestly sect in Babylon that were known as astrologers, soothsayers, and magicians which is the same sect that couldn’t interpret the dreams in Daniel 2. They traveled the land seeking fulfillment of their visions. There is evidence that they traveled as far east as China and far west as Rome during the first centuries before and after Christ.

Those that did visit Jesus were obviously astrologers because they observed a celestial event. In the Greek language and in the Ancient Near East, all celestial bodies were called “stars”, even planets and comets. They did observe that some of these stars moved against the background of what appeared to be fixed stars. The star that the Magi observed for Jesus was one of these moving stars. In the Ancient Near East, when one of these wanderers would pass near another star or “wanderer”, such an even was called a conjunction and these events were seen by the astrologers as major events in history such as the birth of a new king. Exactly which event the Magi observed is unknown, but there were several events like this around the time of the birth of Christ.

The Magi upon traveling to find Jesus went to the place they would expect to find this child: the palace where the king would be. But Herod had not had a new son and most of them were already teenagers or grown by then. The news of a new King being born caused quite a stir, so they summoned the scribes to ascertain where this new king was born. They quote from Micah 5:2. Micah 5 is another prophecy given about the King of a Assyria and this tells of a king from Bethlehem that would deliver them from the hands of the Assyrians. (The Jews were likely expecting a political leader to deliver them from Rome, their contemporary “Assyria”). Herod obviously didn’t like this news, so he conspired to have the baby killed, but the Magi went back home another way.

For Christians, it’s hard to know what to make of the Magi. They were pagan astrologers, something that is actually frowned upon in the Bible (Deuteronomy 4:19, Isaiah 47:13-14). There’s no evidence that they went away converted either even though they had seen Jesus. Even their warning dream makes no mention of an angel unlike all the other dreams of Joseph that do make mention of an angel. Yet Matthew mentions them and that they did pay homage to him with traditional gifts given to kings. What can be said though is that the Magi were there to vindicate the fact that Jesus was the fulfillment of a prophecy from Micah 5:2 telling that a a king would be born in Bethlehem and deliver God’s people. The worshiped him and paid homage to him as if he were a king. This is certainly keeping with one of Matthew’s theme to establish Jesus as the Jewish Messiah and rightful heir to the throne of David. One day, every knee will bow before Jesus (Philippians 2:9-11). The question is not who, but how: some will do it in praise and adoration while others will do it in judgment. Christians can rest in the fact that they will do it in praise!

Lord, your are King! I worship and adore you!

Matthew 1:18-25: God’s Will God’s Way

Read: Matthew 1:18-25

Mary becoming pregnant with Jesus certainly raised eyebrows. Based on what we do know about her, she was a devout Jew betrothed to the righteous Joseph. The Bible records that both Mary and Joseph followed the traditions of the Jews by observing festivals and rites and religious observances at the temple (Luke 2). Mary getting pregnant before she was married among a community of devout Jews was certainly taboo, and the penalty for such was death (Deuteronomy 22:23-14). Joseph knew this and did not want to make a spectacle of Mary or see harm come to her even though under the law she could have been killed, so he decided to to dismiss her quietly.

Twice in this text though Matthew affirms that the baby Mary was carrying was conceived by the Holy Spirit. An angel reveals this to Joseph and also reminding him that he was the Son of David. The common belief of Jews was that the Messiah would come from the line of David. Luke 1:34-35 also confirms that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, a baby conceived by the Holy Spirit means that Mary broke no law — rather it pointed to the fact that this was indeed God’s will and God was using Joseph and Mary’s lives to bring about his purposes.

Matthew shows the importance of the virgin birth by invoking the prophecy from Isaiah 7:14, which is echoed in Isaiah 8:10 and Isaiah 9:6-7. Isaiah is speaking about a prophecy concerning the coming of the King of Assyria that was coming as a conqueror to Israel, but it wouldn’t happen immediately. It would come some time after the child was born to a virgin. When this boy came of age, then the judgment would come. This would be followed by a time of restoration and this child would assume the role of King David. While this prophecy was literally fulfilled in part during the time it was given, the restoration with a King in the line of David was not and is where Jesus comes in. Like the Isaiah child, there will be a time of relative calm between of his birth and second coming, but after that judgment will fall and Jesus will be enthroned forever (Revelation 22).

But if fulfilled prophecy wasn’t enough, even the names given to Jesus pointed to God’s purposes. Emmanuel, as the text states, means “God is with us”. Jesus is the Anglicization of the Greek, which as a transliteration of the Hebrew “Yeshua” which means “God Saves”, and Matthew notes that Jesus would save people from sin.

Jesus’ first coming was not to judge the world, but to save it (John 3:17). His second coming will be the time of when he returns to judge the world. Christians today are living in the interim period between his first and second coming and God is still accomplishing his purposes through ordinary individuals like Mary and Joseph. Every believer has the Holy Spirit working in him or her like Mary guiding and directing believers (John 14:26). Christians therefore ought to be as Joseph and Mary and respond in obedience to what God wants from them so that his will can be accomplished on earth!

Lord, I am willing. Use me as you see fit for your glorious ends!

Matthew 1:1-17: Destined for Greatness

Read: Matthew 1:1-17

Matthew launches right into Jesus’ genealogy without as much as an introduction or purpose in writing the book of Matthew. Matthew’s purpose in writing his gospel was to show that Jesus was indeed the messiah that was promised to the Jewish people. In order to do so, Matthew needed to show that Jesus was indeed a descendant of David and ultimately Abraham.

Jewish genealogies would generally follow the lineage from the father to the son. Matthew follows this tradition, but also inserts the names of women in the text as well. This is no mere coincidence either. Each one of the women presented in the genealogy as some thing about her that makes

  • Tamar was actually Judah’s daughter-in-law who posed as a prostitute and seduced Judah. She became pregnant and presented his staff and cloak to incriminate the father (Genesis 38:13-26).
  • Rahab is mentioned here as being the mother of Boaz. She can’t be the Rahab from Joshua 2 because Boaz lived much later. She was probably a foreign woman like Rahab from Joshua 2 though .
  • Ruth was a Moabite woman who married Boaz and has an entire book in the Bible written about her virtuous deeds (Ruth 1:4, Ruth 4:13-22).
  • Bathsheba was the mother of Solomon. She committed adultery with David, who tried to conceal by having her husband killed in battle (2 Samuel 11:1-5, 2 Samuel 11:26-27).
  • Mary is mentioned as the mother of Jesus, who conceived him while she was till a virgin (Luke 1:26-38).

Another remarkable feature contained in Matthew’s genealogy are the remarks concerning the number of generations between various events in Jewish history: 14 from Abraham to David, then 14 from David to the exile, then another 14 from the exile to Jesus. Apparently, Matthew omitted a number of names from his genealogy that are found elsewhere (Ezra 7:1-5, 1 Chronicles 6:3-15). Scholars have offered explanations as to why this is the case – and some see this not as 14 biological generations, rather 14 divisions of history to mark time, similar to how the contemporary culture has “The Greatest Generation”, “Boomer”, “Gen X” and so on. The ebb and flow of this from Abraham to David is a rise, from David to Babylon is a fall, then from Babylon to Christ is another rise. Jesus in a manner of speaking is at the zenith of this rise and thereby “destined” in a manner of speaking to be great.

The entire story of Jesus’ coming is remarkable even from the beginning of time. God in his providence knew this and was able to redeem even sin and even used non-Jewish people to bring about his purposes. The women in the genealogy work as markers to remind his readers of many of these occasions. Likewise, Jesus numbers mentioned show that Jesus was the culmination of that history, standing with David . This sets the stage for the rest of the book – a story of how the Jewish Messiah comes into the world to redeem it!

Lord, you redeemed history to bring about salvation! Truly, you are amazing!

Luke 7:1-10: God-Pleasing Faith

Read: Luke 7:1-10

The centurion’s faith impressed Jesus. He saw authority in Jesus, acknowledging that just a word from Jesus’ mouth could heal his servant. He understood this because he too would instruct soldiers and they would act. A centurion was an officer in a Roman legion, and in command of around 80-200 men. They were paid handsomely compared to regular soldiers and command the respect of those in their legion. This particular centurion was nameless, but he was well liked among the Jews because he built their synagogue for them and he was apparently God-fearing too. Jesus healed the servant from afar, and remarked on the centurions faith, saying he had not seen such faith in all of Israel. In other words, those who were supposed to have faith apparently did not have faith that compared to this Gentile.

Luke, in keeping with his theme of the gospel being a gospel for all people includes this story to show that even a Gentile can have faith. Saying that a Roman had more faith than a Jew though was a front to the Jews, because they were supposed to be the ones that had faith. The difficulty with many Jews is that they didn’t see Jesus for who he really was. Luke has already shown that Jesus was rejected in his hometown (Luke 4:14-30) and how stiff-necked the Pharisees were when they heard him preach (Luke 5:17-26). Yet even so, Jesus was well received by the people of Capernaum (Luke 4:31-44) and Gentiles were coming to hear him preach (Luke 6:17). Jesus made no exclusions on who could hear the good news or to those he would heal.

Paul explains in Romans 2-3 the relationship between the Jews and the Gentiles. God chose the Jews to be the ones to carry the gospel to the world going back as far as Abraham. He wanted the Jews to live in accordance with the Law and witness about God so that God’s name would be made known among the Gentiles. However the Jews did quite the opposite, blaspheming God’s name among the Gentiles by their deeds. But Paul reckons that the true Jew was not the one who is circumcised or a descendant of a Jew, rather one who follows the law (Romans 2:28-29) and that Jews and Gentiles are justified by faith (Romans 3:28-31). Abraham was the father of many nations (Genesis 12:1-2. Genesis 17:4-5, Genesis 17:20, Hebrews 11:2) – not by birth but by faith (Romans 4:9-18).

Faith is how one becomes a child of God. Hebrews notes that without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). In other words, it is absolutely essential to have faith to become a Christian and live as a Christian. In the same way that the Centurion’s faith impressed Jesus, so does the faith of all those who call on his name and live accordingly even now. It is by faith that God is pleased.

Lord, help my faith be God-pleasing faith!

Luke 6:46-49: A Firm Foundation

Read: Luke 6:46-49

Jesus closes the discourse in Luke with another parable, this one describing two builders who build houses. One builds it on a rock and the house stands when the storm comes and the other on sand which collapses when the storm comes. The interpretation of this parable is pretty obvious, and Jesus gives it, saying that the one who listen and does the things that Jesus says will be like the man who builds his house on the rock. The foundation of a house is one of the most critical components of the house because on it rests the entire structure, and when the foundation is weak the house will fall flat. Jesus is saying that his words and instructions are the foundation of ones life, and the rest of one’s life is supported by these teachings.

If Jesus’ teachings are to be the foundation of ones life, then it necessary to first understand the teachings and second aptly apply the teachings of Jesus to ones life. The teachings of Jesus are codified in the pages of scripture, so if one wants to understand what Jesus said one needs to study the word of God. This is why Paul admonishes Timothy to use scripture. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that scripture is “God-breathed” and useful for instruction in the ways of righteousness. Jesus being God, worked through human writers produce the 66 books of the Bible, some of which contains the actual words of Jesus himself. Paul acknowledges the work of the prophets, a reference to the Old Testament and apostles which is a reference to what would become the New Testament, but all of this is built on Jesus who is the “cornerstone” of the building (Ephesians 2:19-22).

The process of studying and applying scripture is called “exegesis”, which is multi-part process. First, one attempts to understand what a text meant in the original context by studying the original language of the text, the literary features of the text, and also the historical and cultural settings of the text. These offer key insights into the next step, which is interpreting the text. Interpretation isn’t so much about finding hidden meanings, rather looking for what the text is trying to communicate in terms of instructions and principles. Lastly, one looks for application of the principles of the text, which is practical application of the text in one’s life and how one obeys the commands of Jesus.

Because the teachings and application of scriptures is is so important requires great care. This is why Peter warned against interpreting scripture in a vacuum (2 Peter 1:19-21). Rather, teachers are to be taught and to also teach what they have learned faithfully (2 Timothy 2:2). Holding fast to sound doctrine and sound teaching will give all who understand the knowledge necessary, and with the Holy Spirit’s help, one can aptly apply the scripture to ones life so that when the storms come one stands firm rather than falling flat.

Lord, your word is a firm foundation. Help me build my life on it!

Luke 6:42-45: A Tree and Its Fruit

Read: Luke 6:42-45

After telling a parable concerning teachers, Jesus gives another parable talking about one’s deeds and speech. He illustrates how deeds and speech are like a tree and its fruit: Any given species of tree will only produce the kind of fruit that the species produces, not the kind of fruit from another species. The analogy here is that a good heart will produce good deeds and speech and an evil hear will produce evil deeds and speech.

In logic, the kind of relationship describe by Jesus is called modus ponens, which says “X implies Y. X, therefore Y”. What one cannot do under this kind of relationship is say, “Y therefore X”. This is called affirming the consequence, which is not valid. However one can say, “X, therefore possibly Y”, which is an inference from evidence. In other words, if one has a good heart, then one will have good speech and deeds, but good speech and deeds don’t prove a good heart, rather they serve as evidence for a good heart. At times, people can “fake it”. Likewise, one can say “not Y, therefore not X”, which is called modus tollens. James makes this argument concerning the relationship between works and faith. He saying that he will show you his faith by his works inductively and without works, faith is dead via modus tollens (James 2:14-26). Works and speech are outward expressions of the inward change that happens when one believe in Christ, and there can be used to determine the condition of one’s heart. A person that calls himself a follower of Jesus yet does not do good in keeping with that faith has a questionable faith. But at the same time this isn’t necessarily a tale-tell sign of a Christian either. Jesus illustrated this with parables too concerning wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24-30), which are practically identical. Likewise, not everyone who says “Lord, Lord’ will be recognized by Jesus even though they seemingly did good things in his name (Matthew 7:21-22)

The Bible is explicitly clear: salvation comes by faith, not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9). But at the same time, works are evidence of this faith. Christians therefore ought to examine his or her own faith to make sure that he or she is not trusting in works or something else entire for salvation, rather in the completed work of Jesus. Likewise, this is not a license to go on a witch hunt to weed out the tares – in fact Jesus warns against this. Rather, again each should examine his own heart asking, “Do I call Jesus, ‘Lord’?” If not, then repent and believe the gospel! If so, “Am I obeying his commands?” If one can honestly answer “yes” answer these questions, then there is no need to worry about others questioning one’s faith based on works.

Lord, You are my Lord! Help me to follow your commands!

Luke 6:39-42: Teaching Godliness

Read: Luke 6:39-42

Jesus told numerous parables, which are earthly stories to communicate heavenly truth. A few of these parables are short while others are long, and some he offers insight into their meanings and others he does not. Luke inserts a break in the discourse that Jesus to note that Jesus was telling a parable, this one short and with an explanation. He tells a parable about two the blind leading the blind, and how in doing so they both fall into a pit. The explanation Jesus gives is quite simple: a student is not above his teacher but when trained the student will be like the teacher. This parable is typically applied to to the previous section of Jesus’ sermon that is talking about judgement. While this certainly does apply to judging others, the principle is broader, concerning those who teach. The warning here is against the sort of teachers who are unstudied, living a life of ungodliness or both. Such teachers are blinded by bad doctrine or sin of their own making it hypocritical to tell others about bad doctrine or sin. Jesus uses hyperbole to explain this: hypocrisy is the proverbial plank in one’s own eye which is huge compared to a speck in another’s eye.

The New Testament speaks often about the role of teaching in the church. Teaching is a spiritual gift (Romans 12:7) and a role in the church (Ephesians 4:11). The ability to teach is also a characteristic of church leaders as well (1 Timothy 3:2). The word of God is how one knows what to teach (2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Timothy 2:15). At the same time, there are warnings against false teachers. 1 Timothy 6:3-5 shows the characteristics of false teachers who subvert the gospel: in short they are conceited, stir up division, and seek godliness as a means of gain. False doctrine and ungodliness is a matter of life and death on matters of salvation because bad doctrine and ungodliness turn people to false gospels that cannot save.

Teaching the word of God is a high calling and cannot be understated, but it comes with great responsibility too. Jesus’ calls for anyone wanting to teach to be mindful of what he or she is teaching and to be mindful of one’s personal holiness. Both personal holiness and sound doctrine requires a teach to also be a student of the word of God because it acts as a mirror so one can see oneself (James 1:23) and also as a sword, piercing the mind of the hearer (Hebrews 4:12). Not everyone is called to be a teacher, but just about every believer will be called to teach another believer at one point, especially if one has children. The call for everyone then is to study the word of God, apply to one’s own life, and teach it faithfully so others too can live godly lives and hold to sound doctrine.

Lord, help me learn your word so I can live and teach godliness!

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