July 5, Wednesday

The AMI QT Devotionals from July 3-8 are written by Andy Kim.  Andy, a graduate of Northwestern University, has recently completed his M.Div. at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is currently serving as a staff at Radiance Christian Church in San Francisco (and also soon to be married 😊).

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

Revelation 14:6

“Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.”

I hate shopping—and certainly, growing up with an older sister and mom who enjoyed it did not help. While they scavenged the stores, my usual choice of activity was limited to sitting on the bench outside, looking lost and helpless as I waited—what seemed like seconds to them, felt like an eternity to me. But on this day, while waiting, I saw a middle school student and his pastor looking at me from the corner. At the time, I was serving as a youth pastor and already guessed what they were up to. The boy then awkwardly and nervously came and sat next to me. A part of me thought this could be a good teaching moment and could make it difficult by refusing to listen or ask difficult questions about his faith. However, I chose to be a good Samaritan and take in everything he had to say. With his legs shaking and his voice quivering, he began his small talk, asking how my day was going and then proceeded to the “talk.”

I mean, did I look that helpless and miserable? It was funny and a little offensive to think that this kid was trying to share the gospel with me—a youth pastor. He was so nervous that he accidentally started with “You’re going to hell.” After his cute attempt, I calmed his nerves and let him know that I was already a believer. Instantly, he gave a huge sigh of relief and smiled, telling me that much of his fear was that I wouldn’t accept his words. In that moment I felt the Lord convicting me and teaching me through this kid. First, He was asking me when was the last time I shared the gospel with someone (at least this kid tried). More importantly, He was revealing how my lack of sharing stems from the fear of being rejected and the hearer not believing. But in today’s passage, it reminds us of this: Whether literal or not, “the great task of spreading the gospel in the world will be finished by God Himself through his angels.” Yet how often do we elevate ourselves, thinking that Christ will not return unless every nation hears the gospel through our own evangelistic effort—or even to think that the conversion of the soul is up to us.

It is for this reason, Christ commands us to be a witness (Matthew 28)—which is the act of giving one’s testimony from you experiencing the event. Christ calls us to experience Him and simply testify the gospel work in your life to those around us. Although we do play a role in His work, we are not the main agents. May this truth release the pressure of sharing the gospel, and that we may trust in the full power of the gospel and let His Spirit move the heart. There are no barriers and people groups He cannot reach. May we—like this kid (hopefully with better words)—not be ashamed to share the gospel to those who are helpless and lost until Christ returns.

Prayer: Lord, I pray that You would give us a heart for the lost. May our experiences with You overflow into a testimony for others to see who You are. We confess that salvation will only come from you; may we just be good witnesses of Your truth. “O God, grant us to know you in such a way that the fire of our wonder becomes an unquenchable flame of witness to the world” (John Piper). Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Joshua 2


Lunch Break Study

Read James 2:17-26: So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

Questions to Consider

  1. What is the relationship between faith and works?
  2. What is the difference between the two examples of people living by faith in the lives of Abraham and Rahab?
  3. What can we learn from Rahab?

Notes

  1. R.C. Sproul tells us that while both are distinct, they are both inseparable. Borrowing from the belief of the Reformed, “We are justified by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone.” This means that while it is our belief in Christ’s redemption that saves us, such a belief demands a response in our actions—that if we truly believe and have faith in Christ, it will inevitably lead to works of obedience.
  2. Abraham had the high honor of being known as the father of faith and a friend of God. Not much is known about Rahab, other than the fact she was a sinful woman and a harlot. More importantly Abraham was a Jew and Rahab was a Gentile. To think Gentiles could receive salvation was blasphemous. However, James writes that both exercised a saving faith, regardless of their background.
  3. As it was credited to Abraham, Rahab was credited with this “saving faith.” How? When the two spies approached Rahab and delivered what God had said about the city, she believed. She heard the Word and knew that her city was indeed condemned. She not only responded in her mind and emotions, she responded with her will; in other words, her belief led her to action. Spend some time applying this truth to your life.

Evening Reflection

In an interview with Pastors Timothy Keller and John Piper, a story is mentioned about a woman who had been struggling with this idea of faith and works. She explained that it was “scary” because “if you’re saved by works, there’s a limit to what God can ask of you. You’re like a taxpayer, you’ve paid your dues, and he can ask certain things of you, but not anything. But, if I’m really saved by grace, because of what Jesus has done, there’s no limit to what he can ask of me, and my obedience would have to be unconditional.” And here is the crux of their discussion: We are saved by faith alone, therefore our response is gratitude that manifests in wanting to do things for the One who saved us. (Taken from Church Leaders, “John Piper and Tim Keller Discuss: We Are Saved by Faith Alone, but What About Sanctification?” by Megan Briggs)

Spend some time reflecting on this truth. Think about your faith and belief in Him. Does it lead to some type of outward transformation? How is the goodness of the gospel revealed in your life? Remember, it’s not about a “we have to,” “but a get to” as we serve Him simply out of heart of overflowing thanksgiving and love.

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