Together, we serve
to know Christ
and to make Christ known
for the glory of God

31 August 2020

Proverbs 13:6

Righteousness guards the person of integrity,
    but wickedness overthrows the sinner.

Righteousness is not only a standard to meet, but armor to wear and protect us from the enemy who would destroy our souls. A garment of sin not only doesn’t protect us from the evils of life, but strengthens the power of evil to harm us.


The Christian has failed already, who, thinking it necessary to survive in the world, compromises Christian ethics. God will not honor such thinking and behavior, and thus the Christian sacrifices his one true Guard. All the more likely then will he be overthrown.

Is your job threatened? Are you in danger of losing what seems necessary for living? Are you in danger of losing someone you love? Then for your sake, do only what is right in the eyes of the Lord. Do what Scripture teaches is right. It certainly is simpler to follow the clear teaching of Scripture than to figure out alone what is the cleverest action to take. And what can be safer than to walk along the path of the Lord under his protection?

But always remember that it is not our righteousness that provides security, but Christ’s. Here is the proverb in the light of Christ: The righteousness of Christ guards him who follows his Lord, but to remain under the bondage of sin is our downfall.

Matthew 3-4

3 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

‘A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
“Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.”’[a]

John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt round his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptised by him in the River Jordan.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptising, he said to them: ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our father.” I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The axe has been laid to the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 ‘I baptise you with[b] water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptise you with[c] the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing-floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.’

 

The baptism of Jesus

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptised by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, ‘I need to be baptised by you, and do you come to me?’

15 Jesus replied, ‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then John consented.

16 As soon as Jesus was baptised, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’

 

Jesus is tested in the wilderness

4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[d] by the devil. After fasting for forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’

Jesus answered, ‘It is written: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”[e]

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the highest point of the temple. ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down. For it is written:

‘“He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”[f]

Jesus answered him, ‘It is also written: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”[g]

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’

10 Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”[h]

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

 

Jesus begins to preach

12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali – 14 to fulfil what was said through the prophet Isaiah:

15 ‘Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
    the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
    Galilee of the Gentiles –
16 the people living in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
    a light has dawned.’[i]

17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’

 

Jesus calls his first disciples

18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.

21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

 

Jesus heals the sick

23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and illness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralysed; and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis,[j] Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.