Malachi 3: The Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to His temple

(18 verses, 3:16 to read)

LISTEN and READ

What I am about to READ

  • Malachi prophesies about the coming Christ and the judgment He will bring at the end of the world.

MARK

  • v. 1-4: Malachi prophesies about John the Baptizer and the Christ.
  • vv. 5-15: Malachi prophesies about the judgment the Christ will bring.
  • vv. 16-18: Malachi prophesies about the final separation of believers from unbelievers in eternity.

LEARN

  • This prophecy in verse 1 is cited in Matthew,  Mark, and Luke as referring directly to St. John the Baptizer, who would be the final Old Testament prophet, pointing the people to the Christ. St. Luke’s Gospel picks up this theme, depicting Jesus in the temple at 40 days (Luke 2:22-38) and 12 years old (Luke 2:41-52). Even the Apostle St. John depicts the coming of Jesus to the temple early in his Gospel (John 2:13-22). Malachi’s prophecy predicted this close connection between the Baptizer and the Christ, proving that God is faithful to His promise.
  • The Christ here is called the messenger of the covenant. Just as in the covenant with Abraham, God is the one who both initiates the covenant and takes upon Himself the threats associated with breaking it. Though we have sinned, God punished His Son, Jesus, for our sins, that we might be counted as righteous in His sight. As the Father purified the sons of Levi for acceptable, so also Jesus makes the once and for all sacrifice for sinners by going to the Christ.
  • This prophecy also foretells Christ’s work as the final end times judge. God’s righteous anger over sin is on full display here. We must remember that God hates our sin and threatens to punish all who break His commandments. If we live our lives unafraid of the judgment God threatens to all who live as if His commandments do not matter, the perfect Law of God will be the standard by which we will be judged on the Last Day. God will hold up the mirror of His Law and show us our wickedness and how far we have fallen short of His demands.
  • God’s demands in the Law always remain the same. He does not change the expectations, so that when we are confronted with our sin, we know exactly where to turn for forgiveness. As the Old Testament saints looked forward to the Messiah, so we look to that same Messiah–Jesus Christ–who bears the punishment for us.
  • Finally, verse 18 seems to be a prophecy of what Jesus describes in Matthew 25, as the sheep are separated from the goats at the final judgment. This will be a public separation of those made righteous by faith in Christ and those who are outside of Christ and found guilty under the Law. Though we often cannot see the differences between those who serve Christ and those who do not due to our fallen nature, this will be made clear on the Last Day. This is a comfort to us especially, since we know that our own sins might cause others to doubt whether or not we belong to Christ. Our lives are hidden in His, and His blood covers all our sins so that the Father does not see them anymore.

MEDITATE

  • Prayer: O Lord, teach us proper fear of the return of Your Son in judgment, that we might not allow sin to rule in us. In the same way, teach us to lift up our heads, knowing that Your Son brings redemption and peace to all who trust in Him. Amen.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dailybiblemeditation/

-Rev. Jordan McKinley, pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church, Vallonia, IN

Learn more about Trinity:
On the Web: http://www.trinityvallonia.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TrinityVallonia
Twitter: @TrinityVallonia
Find our sermon podcasts through iTunes (Search “Trinity Vallonia”)
or at http://trinityvallonia.podbean.com/

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Revelation 20: The Binding, Releasing, and Final Judgment of Satan

Reposted from Rev. Stout:

(15 verses, 2:25 to read)

READ & LISTEN

What I am about to READ 

  • The Binding, Releasing, and Final Judgment of Satan.

MARK & LEARN & MEDITATE.

  • 1-3: Satan is bound for 1,000 years –  Jesus does this binding because He is the stronger man who bound the strong man (Matt. 12:29).  When the strong man is bound, his prisoners are released to the stronger man.  Jesus has released you.  You belong to Him.  Satan was bound through His death and resurrection.  The thousand years, as interpreted through other Scripture passages, is symbolic for God’s perfect length of time (Ps. 90:4; 2 Pet. 3:8) or complete amount (Ps. 50:10).  It is not literal.  This has traditionally been interpreted as the age of the church.  Satan is bound and his chain is short.  Yet, he will be released near the end of world.  Jesus is the One releasing.  He is the One who holds the key. The Church’s confidence is in Him even if they don’t understand all the “why’s.”  Jesus still holds the time of the resurrection in His hand and will bring to completion in the perfect time. “And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short (Matt. 24:22).”
  • 4-6: Christ’s reign with the saints for the same period of time – Both saints in heaven and saints on earth share in Christ’s rule and judgment.  Some of this is very mysterious.  However, we have confidence that Christ’s judgment is exercised through His pastors and Church when sins are forgiven from those who repent and forgiveness is withheld from those who refuse (Matt. 16:16-19; Matt. 18:18; John 20:22-23).  The verdict you hear through your pastor on Sunday is God’s verdict in heaven.  The absolution to give you a clean conscience is comforting judgment, not condemning judgment.  Christ’s gifts through His Word produce the first resurrection when we who were spiritually dead are made alive by His grace.  This is the comfort we cling as we wait for the bodily resurrection where we will be protected by Christ from eternal condemnation, or second death.
  • 7-10: Satan is released and the Church conflicts with Gog and Magog –  Like many Old Testament battles, you can imagine how unlikely it is that Christ’s Church will have victory when surrounded by such enemies.  But that is only if they were fighting the battle themselves.  It is then that Satan and his demons are cast by Christ, not into the pit, but into the eternal lake of fire.
  • 11-15: The Day of Judgment.  Christ’s saints are judged by His righteousness.  You are written in the Lamb’s book of life by His blood and the faith that was given to you.  Covered in Christ and by grace, we also receive credit for good works we have accomplished through and in Him.  We somehow get credit for producing fruit that was produced often without knowledge.  For many of the good works, we will ask, “When did we do these things (Matthew 25:37)?”  The answer will be found in loving, forgiving, having mercy, and providing for those through whom our vocations touch.  They do seem small and menial now, but they are precious in God’s sight, and sometimes also in the sight of those who are served.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group:  (https://www.facebook.com/groups/dailybiblemeditation/

Pastor Christopher Stout

Psalm 28: To You, O Lord, I Call

(9 verses, 1:12 to read)

LISTEN & READ

What I am about to READ

  • David prays and is heard

MARK

  • David, based on God’s promise to hear our prayers, calls out to God (vv. 1-2).
  • David prays for deliverance from and against his enemies (vv. 3-5).
  • David praises God for hearing His prayer and delivering him from his enemies (vv. 6-9).

LEARN

  • God commands us to pray. If a Christian does not call upon God’s name in prayer, he is guilty of misusing the Lord’s name. Prayer is one of the reasons God gives us His name—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—in Holy Baptism. We also have a great promise from God that He will hear our prayers. Because of that, we need not fear any lack or death or hell.
  • David recognizes that he is not immune to the sins of those who surround him. Just like Isaiah confesses, “I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” This is dangerous for all Christians. We must guard our hearts and our minds from those things that would tempt us toward evil.
  • David’s enemies are hypocrites, speaking peace but carrying evil in their hearts. God, the one who renders judgment, sees into the hearts of sinful man. Thus our outward actions are not the only thing that is pleasing to God. Good works proceed from a heart that fears the Lord’s wrath and desires to do what He commands out love for God and neighbor.
  • David confesses where the strength to do God-pleasing works comes from: God alone. He is the strength of those whose hearts trust in Him. He saves His people, anointed by the Holy Spirit in the waters of Holy Baptism, enabling them, even in this life, to begin to fulfill the law of love. Even when we do fall short of God’s righteous law, Jesus, our Good Shepherd, bears us up and carries us by His saving power.
  • Luther links this psalm to the second and third commandments (prayer and worship) and the first and second petitions of the Lord’s Prayer.

MEDITATE

  • Prayer: God of all grace, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who knows the enemies of Your Church and are able to thwart all their designs; protect us against all tyrants, heretics, and hypocrites. Hear our prayer and grant us to love Your Word, to promote Your honor upon earth, and to continue in Your service always even to the end. Amen.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dailybiblemeditation/

-Rev. Jordan McKinley, pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church, Vallonia, IN

Learn more about Trinity:
On the Web: http://www.trinityvallonia.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TrinityVallonia
Twitter: @TrinityVallonia
Find our sermon podcasts through iTunes (Search “Trinity Vallonia”)
or at http://trinityvallonia.podbean.com/

Nehemiah 10: The Covenant Sealed

(39 verses, 4:02 to read)

LISTEN and READ

What I am about to READ

  • Nehemiah records all those who signed the covenant and reports what the covenant entails.

MARK

  • vv. 1-27 are the names of those who sealed the covenant.
  • vv. 28-39 detail what the covenant required of the people.

LEARN

  • A few of the name listed above may be recognizable if you’ve been keeping a close eye on Nehemiah so far. However, with this and many other name lists in the Old Testament, we often don’t know much about these folks. A wise pastor once remarked that these were like names on the tombstones of a church cemetery. We may not personally know them, but they are known by the God who redeemed them with the blood of His Son, Jesus, and called them by name.
  • The people took their oath before God very seriously, even calling upon themselves curses for not following it. We do well to remember not to take the Lord’s name in vein when making promises. It is best to let our yes be yes and our no be no. However, in those times when we do make promises in the Lord’s name (confirmation, marriage, and ordination all come to mind), we should clearly think through the implications of such an oath. God does not give us His name for us to lie or deceive or strengthen our own position at His expense. The promises made here were certainly godly, however. These were pledges made to be faithful to God’s Law, given originally through Moses. This Law pointed the people of old to the coming Christ, all the while revealing Christ to us in the Old Testament. For example, God separated out His people from the nations in order to produce the Savior of all nations–Jesus Christ.
  • The second group of pledges dealt specifically with the upkeep of the temple and the sacrificial system. The people recognized that these were the means by which God dealt with them and gave them the forgiveness of sins. In the same way, we know that the Gospel is free, but we do well to support faithful preaching and the right administration of the Sacraments in our midst, that the saving work of the Gospel may continue unabated.

MEDITATE

  • Prayer: O Lord, You are faithful to Your promises, and Your Word is never broken. Strengthen and keep us firm in Your Word and faith until we die, forgive us when we fail to do what we have promised, and fulfill what we are unable or unwilling to do. Amen.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dailybiblemeditation/

-Rev. Jordan McKinley, pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church, Vallonia, IN

Learn more about Trinity:
On the Web: http://www.trinityvallonia.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TrinityVallonia
Twitter: @TrinityVallonia
Find our sermon podcasts through iTunes (Search “Trinity Vallonia”)
or at http://trinityvallonia.podbean.com/

Revelation 14: The Lamb’s Name, the Father’s Name, the Eternal Gospel, and the Time for Harvest

Reposted from Rev. Stout:

(20 verses, 2:47 to read)

READ & LISTEN

What I am about to READ 

  • The Lamb’s Name, the Father’s Name, the Eternal Gospel, and the Time for Harvest

MARK & LEARN & MEDITATE.

  • vs. 1-5: The first major section of this reading begins in heaven.  The saints there are marked with the Father’s name on their foreheads.  This is contradiction to the name written on others in this reading (vs. 9).  By nature, we have the mark of Satan, but the Lamb has redeemed us and made us His own and called us to follow Him.  He has placed His Name and the name of the Father on our forehead through His Word and through Baptism!  The gift that this Name brings is proclaimed in how the saints are viewed in God’s eyes.  The picture of the saints as blameless reminds us of Ephesians 5 where the Church is proclaimed as blameless in Christ’s eyes.   We in the Church on earth get small pictures and small sounds of the glorious sights and sounds of heaven when we are declared blameless and undefiled for the sake of the Lamb and give Him all glory and honor.  The Church hears it, but the world cannot understand it.  Church is heaven on earth!
  • vs. 6-13: The second major section of this reading will center around the message of the three angels.  The first angel has an eternal gospel.  That is fantastic!  It is a light that never goes out.  It is strength that never grows weary.  It has no end and had no beginning.  The good news of the Lamb of God is eternal.  The Gospel in this particular reading is that judgment has come!  The judgment for the Christian is “righteous in Christ,” and the final declaration of this judgment means no more persecution, no more struggle with sin, no more death of loved ones (and in fact, there is a full realization of this blessing: (“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” vs. 13).  The Christian receives God’s cup of kindness and peace which overfloweth rather than the cup of wrath that those who are marked by the beast receive.  The call for the Christian as they wait on this judgment is this:  (vs. 12) “Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.”
  • vs. 14-20: The final section of this reading focuses on the judgment as the time for harvest.  This is one of the most graphic parts of the judgment of unbelievers.  As grapes are pressed down in the wine press, so God’s wrath is received by those who do not take refuge in Christ.  The comfort the Christian can take in this section is twofold: 1.) As grapes are not harvested until they are ready, so God, in His patience, has decided to wait at least one more minute (the time it took you to read that part of sentence) because the earth is not fully ripe.  You don’t know the ripeness of the earth’s harvest.  He does and He loves the world and you.  2.) We have peace in knowing who holds in His hands the sickle and are called to have patience as we wait for Him to declare that the time is now – the earth is fully ripe.  The One who holds in His hand the sickle also has nail marks in those same hands.  This declares that He is God and man and has redeemed you with His blood.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group:  (https://www.facebook.com/groups/dailybiblemeditation/

Pastor Christopher Stout

Psalm 22: The Passion of the Christ

(31 verses, 3:28 to read)

LISTEN & READ

What I am about to READ

  • The Passion of Our Lord Jesus, According to St. David

MARK

  • The suffering Lord cries out in dereliction from the cross (vv. 1-22)
  • Christ praises His Father for rescuing Him from His enemies: death and hell (vv. 23-28)
  • After the death and resurrection of Christ are accomplished, the worship of God will consist of eating and proclaiming the works of God (vv. 29-31).

LEARN

  • Our Lord Christ prays this Psalm from the cross (see Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34).
  • The Holy Spirit inspired the Psalmist to write an astoundingly accurate picture of our Lord’s crucifixion.
  • Notice the theme of trust and deliverance that runs in this Psalm. This reminds us that the promises of God are sure. This is one of the ways in which Scripture benefits us. We see God make a promise, and we see how this promise plays out in the life of God’s people. These are examples for us so that our faith in God’s promises is not baseless.
  • This Psalm also proves true what St. Peter says in Acts 3:18, saying, “what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled.”
  • Here, we also see a prophecy about the proclamation of the Gospel going into all the world, even to a people yet unborn (v. 30-31). This Gospel is the righteousness of God, which He has accomplished for us sinners. Notice the reference to eating that accompanies the worship in v. 29. The Lutheran Confessions teach that to receive the gifts of God is the highest act of worship. This includes eating the Lord’s Supper!
  • Martin Luther categorizes this Psalm with the 1st Commandment and the 1stand 2nd Petitions of the Lord’s Prayer.

MEDITATE

  • Lord Jesus, Lamb of the Father’s own choosing, who offered Yourself a bloody sacrifice for our sins on the Place of Skulls, receive our thanks for Your love beyond measure. Let Your wounds be the solace of our hearts, and Your merits the ornaments of our souls in life and death, that, with Your perfected saints on high, we may forever sing Your praise. Amen.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dailybiblemeditation/

-Rev. Jordan McKinley, pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church, Vallonia, IN

Learn more about Trinity:
On the Web: http://www.trinityvallonia.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TrinityVallonia
Twitter: @TrinityVallonia
Find our sermon podcasts through iTunes (Search “Trinity Vallonia”)
or at http://trinityvallonia.podbean.com/

Psalm 16: “In Your Presence is Fullness of Joy”

Repost from Pr. Wolfmueller:

(11 verses, :46 to read)
What I am about to READ
  • This Psalm of David is a beauty. It is a special comfort to the sick and dying. Verse 10 is a promise of the resurrection of Jesus!

MARK

  • The Psalm alternates between prayer and preaching. (One of the most important questions we ask when reading the Psalms is “Who is speaking to whom?”)

LEARN

  • Psalm 16:10 is quoted in Acts 2:3 and Hebrews 13:20, and from this text we teach that Jesus body, in the grave, did not decay.
  • All throughout the Psalms the godly are distinguished from the ungodly by their faith (consider 16:2, 4, 8). This is what Luther is talking about when he says, “The entire Psalter (i.e. book of Psalms) is nothing more than an exposition on the First Commandment.”

MEDITATE

  • Consider 16:2. What do we consider good apart from God?
  • Consider 16:11, a beautiful bunch of promises contained in a prayer. This is a wonderful verse to memorize.
  • What does it mean to “set the Lord before” us (18:8)?
Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dailybiblemeditation/
-Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller