March 22, Tuesday

21Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from March 21-27 are provided by Pastor Jason Sato of OTR in Cincinnati.  Jason, a graduate of UC San Diego (B.S.) and Westminster Theological Seminary in California (M.Div.), is married to Jessica, and they have two young children: Jonah and Lily.  

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Acts 11:15-18 (ESV) 

As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. [16] And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ [17] If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” [18] When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

22The Holy Spirit, the gift of God that was given to the Jewish believers at Pentecost, is now given to Gentiles! Peter was there, yet even he sounded shocked. The Jerusalem church was so amazed that awkward silence filled the room before they could process what has happened and properly glorify God.

Why the shock? It’s because the Gentiles were people who largely did not know, let alone follow, the Mosaic Law. Traditionally, they were actively opposed to God and His people. For generations, Israel had assumed that the Messiah would come and crush the Gentiles. Yet, the Spirit of God powerfully fell on them; now, God Himself began to dwell in their hearts.
A few years ago, I visited the Grand Canyon. Having gone there as a child, I had a vague recollection of it, but when I saw the canyon as an adult, I was stunned. I realized then that I had no idea what “big” really meant.
In our passage, we see that the people of God were slow in realizing that the good news of Jesus Christ is big. Before Jesus came, many Israelites imagined salvation was about military conquest; but now, the Jerusalem church has a larger view, understanding that Jesus came to grant not temporal but eternal blessing.

With the salvation of Cornelius’ household, the purpose of God extends beyond the individual or a particular ethnicity to include every tribe, nation and tongue. The salvation of God includes even former enemies of Israel, the Romans. God’s message here is unmistakable: All peoples of the earth are to be a part of His Kingdom in Christ.

At times, salvation can be reduced to personal piety and well-being. While Jesus is certainly concerned about both, His purpose is far larger. Even as we labor in our local communities and love the people who are around us, we do so in light of the new heavens and new earth, the final defeat of sin and death, and the gathering of worshipers from every era and every nation. In view of that, our church must be a missionary congregation. Ask God what part you need to play in your local church to that end.

Prayer

Father, thank You for creating me to worship You forever. Help me to see beyond my own life and dreams that I might gladly give my life for Your global and eternal purposes.

Bible Reading for Today: Proverbs 8

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Lunch Break Study

Read Revelation 7:9-12 (ESV): After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, [10] and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” [11] And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, [12] saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

Question to Consider

  1. According to their song in v. 10, why do all peoples worship the Lamb?
  2. According to v. 11, who else worships God for this reason?
  3. According to v. 12, what is ascribed to the Lamb in light of His work?

Notes

  1. It’s because the salvation of all peoples belongs to Him.
  2. The angels, elders and four living creatures worship the Lamb because of the salvation He has purchased.
  3. Blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power, and might – essentially all glorious things – are ascribed to the Lamb because He saves.

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Evening Reflection

Reflect upon your day. Did a temporal, individual matter appear to be much larger than it is? Did the eternal, global worship of God appear to be a smaller matter than it is? Invite the Holy Spirit to give you eyes to see things in their proper perspectives.

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