Daily Devotional Materials
Week of the
Seventh Sunday after Trinity
– Thursday –
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net
that was cast into the sea and gathered of every kind. – Matthew 13:47.
Not only is the Gospel preached, but there are also those who profess the Christian faith, and come together to hear the Gospel, Of course, one can see these people, and count them, and draw up a list of their names. The whole number of those who profess the Christian faith and go to hear the Gospel is called the visible Church. The whole number of those who at one place and in an organized body profess the Christian faith and are gathered about the Gospel, is called a local Christian congregation. But in this visible Church, and within the local congregations, there are also hypocrites and ungodly people besides the true Christians. Only the Lord knoweth them that are His. If it becomes manifest that one who professes to be a Christian is a hypocrite and ungodly, then, according to Christ’s precept and established order, he must be put away from among the Christian congregation and declared a heathen man and a publican. Such is God’s will. But beyond this we cannot distinguish between believers and hypocrites, and consequently cannot excommunicate. It is because we do not know the state of any man’s heart. The Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of God, the Church of Christ on earth, is like unto a net that was cast into the sea and gathered of every kind, both good and bad fish. And when the net is full, they draw it to shore, and sit down, and gather the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. This sorting in the Kingdom of God shall be done on the last day, not now. At the end of the world the angels shall come forth at God’s behest, and sever the wicked from among the just. And then the wicked shall be cast where there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear!
PRAYER. – Lord Jesus, I thank Thee that through Thy Word and Holy Spirit Thou hast given me the true faith, and have made me a true member of Thy Church. Keep me, I beg Thee, in true faith to my end, that at the great sorting on the last day I may not be cast into hell, but be received into heaven. Amen.
O Jesus, who my debt didst pay,
And for my sin wast smitten,
Within the book of life, O may
My name be also written!
I will not doubt; I trust in Thee,
From Satan Thou hast made me free,
And from all condemnation.
Hymn 552, 5. (ELHB)
1 Corinthians 9:1-23
9:1 Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?2 If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.3 Mine answer to them that do examine me is this,4 Have we not power to eat and to drink?5 Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? 6 Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?7 Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?8 Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?10 Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? 14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.15 But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.23 And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
2 Samuel 15:1-15
15:1 And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him.2 And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel. 3 And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee. 4 Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!5 And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him.6 And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.7 And it came to pass after forty years, that Absalom said unto the king, I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the LORD, in Hebron.8 For thy servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, If the LORD shall bring me again indeed to Jerusalem, then I will serve the LORD.9 And the king said unto him, Go in peace. So he arose, and went to Hebron.10 But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron.11 And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called; and they went in their simplicity, and they knew not any thing.12 And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counsellor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.13 And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom.14 And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword. 15 And the king’s servants said unto the king, Behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall appoint.
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