Theme: Teaching Everything
In this week’s lessons on the Great Commission, we are promised that Jesus is with us to the very end as we obey his command to go into all the world to make other disciples.
Scripture: Matthew 28:18-20
Yesterday’s devotional concluded by looking at the first two elements of faithful Christian teaching. Today we will consider four others.
3. The depravity of man. Church people are willing to speak of sin in the sense that all are “less perfect than God” and need help to live a godly life. That is not offensive to anyone. But it is not the full biblical teaching. The Bible teaches that men and women are in rebellion against God (Ps. 2:1–3). It says, not that they are marred by sin, but that they are dead in it (Eph. 2:1–3). It says they have been so affected by sin that even their thoughts are thoroughly corrupted: “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time” (Gen. 6:5). So great is this depravity that a person cannot even come to Christ unless God first renews His soul and thus draws Him (John 6:24).
4. Grace. While it is true that in ourselves we cannot come to Christ and so live under God’s judgment, Christ teaches that God has nevertheless acted in grace toward some who were perishing. Thus, salvation is by grace alone. Jesus said, “All that the Father gives me will come to me” (John 6:37). He said to His Father, “I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me” (John 17:9).
5. Work to do. Although God does the great work of saving individuals, drawing them to Christ, He does not abandon them at that point but rather directs and empowers them to do meaningful work for Him. Most of Christ’s teachings about discipleship fall into this area. So does Ephesians 2:10 (“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”). It is necessary that we do these good works (as Christians in all ages have), for unless we do we have no assurance that we are really Christ’s followers. Like Jesus Himself, Christians are to stand for justice and do everything in their power to comfort the sick, rescue the outcast, defend the oppressed, and save the innocent. We are also to oppose those who perpetrate or condone injustice.
6. The security of the believer in Christ. Jesus was strong in cautioning against presumption. He let no one think that he could presume to be a Christian while at the same time disregarding or disobeying His teachings. He said, “My sheep listen to my voice . . . and . . . follow me” (John 10:27). If we are not listening to Christ and are not following Him in faithful obedience, we are not His.
However, although He cautioned against presumption, He also spoke the greatest words of assurance and confidence for those who did follow Him. He said they would never be lost. Indeed, how could they be if God Himself is responsible for their salvation? Jesus said, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28).
“But,” says someone, “suppose they jump out of their own accord?”
“They shall never perish,” says the Lord.
“Never,” says Jesus. “They shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”
This does not mean that there will not be dangers, of course; in fact, it implies them. For if Jesus promises that no one will succeed in snatching us from His hands, it must be because He knows that there are some who will try. The Christian will always face dangers—dangers without, from enemies, and dangers within. Still the promise is that those who have believed in Jesus will never be lost. The Christian may well be deprived of things. He may lose his job, his friends, his good reputation. This has happened to those who have been most faithful, particularly in times of persecution. Still, believers will not be lost. The promise is not that the ship will not go to the bottom, but that the passengers will all reach the shore. It is not that the house will not burn down, but that the people will all escape safely.
What are the four other doctrines necessary for faithful Christian teaching? Describe them in your own words, not only for your own spiritual growth, but also so that you will be able to explain them to anyone who asks you.
In what ways are any of these doctrines denied or misunderstood?
Application: Pray for opportunities to fulfill the Great Commission by being able to teach others the doctrines they need to hear.
Key Point: The Christian will always face dangers—dangers without, from enemies, and dangers within. Still the promise is that those who have believed in Jesus will never be lost.