1 John 2:15

Verse of the Day: 1 John 2:15

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” – 1 John 2:15  

Our focus verse here has a lot to say about where many are heading in this world today. To start with, John wrote this epistle to help the Christians of that time be filled with joy. “These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:4-5. This is the same message Jesus gave His disciples. “If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” John 15:10-11. This is what God wants for us, to be filled by His joy. Charles Spurgeon put it this way. “What an evidence of our Savior’s deep attachment to His people that He is not content with having made their ultimate salvation sure, but He is anxious concerning their present state of mind! He delights that His people should not only be safe, but happy; not merely saved, but rejoicing in His salvation. Hear this, people of God! The object of the revelation of Jesus Christ is that you may have joy, indeed, that you may have a heart full of joy, and that you may know what full joy means.

Moving to chapter two, John speaks of Christ as the Christian’s advocate. “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. By this we know that we have come to know Him if we keep His commandments.” 1 John 2:1-3. John is encouraging the readers not to sin, but if they do, Christ will be their advocate before the Father. He, as advocate for us, stands there on our behalf, pleading our case. And because of this, He is able to save completely all who will come to God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for us. And we know these are Christians regarding verses that follow. “I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you on account of His name. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God remains in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” 1 John 2:12-14.

Now we come to our focus verse. “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15. This is a very strong statement, for what he is telling them is if they love the things of the world, they cannot love God, for the ways of the world and God are contrary to each other. The same idea is found in Matthew where Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Matthew 6:24. Pastor Chuck Smith put it this way. “You cannot, not you should not, you cannot. And wealth, of course, refers to worldly materialistic things, the monetary system of the world. You can’t serve them both.

Next, John defines for us what he is meaning by ‘the world.’ First, he is not referring here to the physical world, creation. He is referring to the world system itself. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” 1 John 2:16. John proceeds to explain more fully why love for the world is incompatible with love for God. It is because everything in the world is not from God but from the world itself. Its origin lies in the world, viewed as a system in opposition to God. Let us look at these three worldly ways. First, let us look in Genesis where these ideas are first exhibited. “The serpent said to the woman, you certainly will not die! For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will become like God, knowing good and evil. When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took some of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband with her, and he ate.” Genesis 3:4-6. Eve here was tempted by the serpent to disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. She coveted the fruit in three ways. First, it was appealing to her appetite. This John refers to as the ‘lust of the flesh,’ Next, the fruit was also pleasing or delightful to the eye, that which we see and desire to own or possess. This John referred to as the ‘lust of the eyes.’ And lastly, Eve saw that the fruit would make her wise, giving her a wisdom beyond her own. Part of Satan’s lie was that eating the fruit would make her ‘like God, knowing good and evil.’ This was also tempting to her, which is referred to as the ‘pride of life.’

Christians have and will always be lured by the same three temptations Eve and Jesus experienced. Satan doesn’t change his methods; he doesn’t have to because they continue to be successful. He tempts us with the lust of the flesh; sexual gratification, gluttony, excessive alcohol consumption, and drugs, both legal and illegal, as well as the “deeds of the flesh” about which Paul warned the Galatians, “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: sexual immorality, impurity, indecent behavior, idolatry, witchcraft, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21. He tempts us with the lust of the eyes—the endless accumulation of “stuff” with which we fill our homes and garages and the insatiable desire for more, better, and newer possessions, which ensnares us and hardens our hearts to the things of God. It is also lusts that go beyond things but includes sinful behaviors.

But perhaps his most evil temptation is the pride of life, the very sin that resulted in Satan’s expulsion from heaven. He desired to be God, not to be a servant of God. See Isaiah 14:12-15. The arrogant boasting which constitutes the pride of life motivates the other two lusts as it seeks to elevate itself above all others and fulfill all personal desires. It is the root cause of strife in families, churches, and nations. It exalts the self in direct contradiction to Jesus’ statement that those who would follow Him must take up their cross and deny themselves. The pride of life stands in our way if we truly seek to be servants of God. It is the arrogance that separates us from others and limits our effectiveness in the kingdom.

These three things, lust of the flesh and eyes, plus the pride of life comes not from the Father, but from the world. And, as such, it is passing away with the world, but those who resist and overcome the temptations listed above do the will of God, and the person who does the will of God lives forever. As I said in the beginning, many are accepting what the world offers, which automatically rejects God and what He offers. It is important that we shine the light of truth on those who do not see it, for the time is close for Jesus’ return, and if they continue to deny God’s ways, then it will be too late..

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

1 John 2:15

Verse of the Day: 1 John 2:15

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” – 1 John 2:15  

We are not to love this world and what it has to offer.  The things down here are not worth it.  What does it have to offer us?  Verses 16-17 answer this question.  “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

If you love the world then you truly cannot love the Father, for they are diametrically opposed to each other.  So, Is the world and all its pleasures worth more than our eternal God?  If so, then you will need to examine yourself prayerfully and ask why.  Then take what God tells you and change your focus.  You will not regret making the adjustments.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

John 1:10

Verse of the Day: John 1:10

“He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.” – John 1:10 

In the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” John 1:1-3.  Through Christ, everything that exists that came into existence was through Him.

Today’s verse states that the creator of all creation came to the world and they did not know Him.  This is a sad thing because throughout the entire Old Testament, it was prophesized that He would come.  And it is important to understand that all, not just some, but all the prophesies regarding the Christ, the much-anticipated Messiah, was fulfilled.  The problem was either the Jewish leadership did not understand their scriptures, or they ignored their scriptures regarding His coming. We have had 2000 years since Jesus was here on earth in human form and too many still do not know Him.  The reasons are similar; they either do not understand what the scriptures say, or they ignore it because it is not that important to them.  And that is why we are here.  As Jesus sent His disciples out to declare the truth of who He is, He now sends us, His disciples of today to do the same.  I encourage you to be attentive for opportunities to introduce them to Jesus, who is the only way of salvation.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Romans 12:2

Verse of the Day: Romans 12:2

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” -Romans 12:2.

When we become Christians, it is important for us to realize our old life is done away with and we are new creatures.  Paul wrote to the Corinthian Church the following, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.  So, being a new creature is a result of accepting Christ as Savior.

Our old life was being conformed to this world.  In order to fit in and make life easier, we would do things the way the world did it, believe what the world believed, take on habits and feelings that it considered appropriate and acceptable.  I am not saying we all accepted everything, but much of it.  Especially in the area of the existence of God, and even more fundamentally, what God is.

When we are saved through the blood of Christ and become new creatures, we are to discard these old thoughts and ways.  We are to take on the ways of Christ and not of the world.  We must change the way we think from a worldly to a spiritual view.  We must study God’s Word and make Christ’s ways the model of our own.  If something is sin, we must see it as sin.  If something is a bad witness, we must not do it.  Our life must exemplify the life God wants and demands us to live.  And as we live this transformed life, we will exhibit to ourselves as well as those around us what is good and acceptable and perfect.  Let God work through us in this process.  We can do this because He promised us He would make it happen.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

1 John 4:1

Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 John 4:1

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” – 1 John 4:1

One of the things that John warned the Christians of his day was that there are many false prophets in the world.  And this is just as true today as it was in the first century.  The enemy will do whatever it takes to convince us that the truth is actually a lie, and their lies are actually truth.  Jesus called them wolves.  “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”  Matthew 7:15.  In other words, they will appear as true Christians trying to help us understand the truth, when actually they are there to lead us away from the truth of Jesus Christ.

So, how will we know these false prophets?  “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?” Matthew 7:16. It is important that we look at what they are saying and see if it lines up with the Word of God.  We must be like the Bereans of Thessalonica as written in Acts 17:11. For they checked out everything that was taught to them to ensure it was absolutely true.  Too many people simply accept what is taught to them in church, especially from famous and prominent preachers.  They think because they are famous, they must be speaking the truth.  Or, they have great credentials so they must know what they are talking about.  Not always.  The fruit of teachers are the words they teach.  Truth comes from good and Godly teachers, sheep.  Heresy comes from liars and deceivers, wolves.  Sheep never dress as wolves, but wolves will dress as sheep.  Sheep never want to deceive the people, but wolves do.

So, back to our focus verse.  How can we ensure that we are hearing truth?  We must spend time studying God’s word and hold these truths deep in our hearts.  Then, when we hear something that is false, we will know it and reject it.  In the event we are not sure, we must check the scriptures or ask someone to show you so as to verify the validity of the teaching.  If we find it true, we can accept it.  If we find it is not, then we reject it, and if necessary, the teacher as well.

There are many false teachers out there whose purpose is to tickle our ears as Paul says to Timothy and lead us astray to further their own ambitions and desires.  Be careful what you accept as truth.  Many times, their words are in the bible, but taken out of context.  Be careful and seek the Lord, asking Him to show you what is truth and what is not.  “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” John 16:13. The Spirit of Truth is with us.  And He will, as stated above guide you into all truth.  Follow His guiding.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

John 3:17

Verse of the Day Devotion: John 3:17

“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” – John 3:17

This verse comes just after probably the most famous and well-known verse in all the Bible.  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16.  God loved the whole world.  He loved us and gave us a way that we can be reunited with the Himself.  And we know what that was, it was through the death, burial and resurrection of His only begotten Son.  And it is because we believe in the Christ, that we are saved.

In Genesis we read the following, “The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” Genesis 3:14-15.  In the very beginning God told Adam and Eve that there would come a seed of Eve that would defeat the serpent, which is the enemy that rebelled before God created them.  And this is what happened when Jesus came.  Through His work on the cross, He defeated him and provided a way that man may be rectified with the Father.  This is important, for there was no final condemnation for anyone here during His first coming.

And this is what our focus verse is saying.  God did not send Him here to condemn the world.  He was not sent here to judge or pronounce judgement on anyone.  His whole purpose was to provide a means by which man may be saved.  He was the sacrificial lamb presented as a sin offering for us, since our own sacrifices were insufficient to restore the relationship broken in Genesis 3.  For, according to the Law, the lamb that is sacrificed must be perfect with no blemishes at all.  We are far from perfect.  Therefore, anything we would do, even in dying, would not be recognized.  And this was why He had to come.

We now have the opportunity to be reconciled and have a very loving relationship with Him if we simply believe.  When He comes the second time, it will not be to provide a means of salvation, but it will be to condemn those who did not believe and chose the worlds ways rather than God’s, and to take to our final home those of us who truly believe.  There are many in this world who still have not believed, and many who have not heard.  It is important that we show them the love of God through the sacrifice given.  For now is the time for people to hear and believe.  Sometime, and I believe soon, that time of reconciliation will be over.  We must go out and tell the world.  It is our calling down here.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

John 3:16

Verse of the Day Devotion: John 3:16

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

This verse is probably one of the most recognized verses in all of scripture.  This shows how much God loves us and wants to be reconciled with us.  He loved us even though we did not love Him.  He loved us even though we refused to follow His ways.  However, His love for us does not constitute an approval of our conduct.  It shows that He loved us in spite of what we do.

This was a gift, the most valuable gift that can ever be conceived.  This was not just a book of rules or laws.  It was nothing we could ever have imagined.  And it was a free and undeserved gift.  It was a gift given for the sole reason that He loved us beyond all measure.  It was an act of pure love and eternal compassion.  It was because He did not want us to perish, to be separated from Him forever.

And what was this unimaginable gift?  It was His Son, His only begotten Son.  Something man has no claim to.  And again, something that was so amazing and incredible, it is inconceivable to the minds of men.  Imagine someone you know who committed a great crime that was punishable by death.  Someone you love and desire to fellowship with, even though they do not care to fellowship with you.  You then find out that someone who has not committed a crime could pay for the man’s crime by suffering the consequences that man deserved.  And you have a child who is completely free from any wrongdoing and could set this man free by dying in his stead.

This is what God did.  He conceived a child in the womb of Mary for the sole purpose of having Him die to pay the penalty for the sins we had committed.  He loved us before we could ever have loved Him.  Note this verse, “We love, because He first loved us.”  1 John 4:19. The basis of our love for Him is because He first loved us.  However, let’s go a little farther with this idea.  “All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.” Revelation 13:8.  Our names, us who have accepted Christ and are Christians, have been written in the Lambs book of life from before our world was created.  And this is due to God’s foreknowledge of our accepting Him, not His indiscriminate choice.  And because our names are there before the foundations of the world, so must have been the plan to give His Son for us in sacrifice.  He loved us before we were even created, before Christ came to die.  And because He came to die, we have the immense honor to love Him.  Remember, we love Him and others because He first loved us.

This beautiful and powerful verse has so much in it, we could contemplate for a long time and still not understand the full ramification of its meaning.  He loved us before He created us.  He knew we would fall away, and He still created us.  He provided the means of salvation before we even sinned, and it was through the death of His only begotten Son.  And anyone who believes in Him and the work He did on the cross will have eternal life.  There is no greater love than that which God gave.  “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13. This will be a difficult question, but is this the kind of love we have for others?  Jesus said, “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” John 15:12

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Colossians 2:8

Verse of the Day Devotion Colossians 2:8  

“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” – Colossians 2:8 

Here Paul is warning the Church of Colossae that since they had received Christ as savior, they need now not just to believe it, but to live it as well. “Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.” Colossians 2:6-7. Too many people today rely simply on their declaration of belief to be the sole proof of their salvation.  However, a declaration of belief only allows people to see what you want them to see. To live it is to allow people to see who you truly are. And it is important to go beyond surface level living, but to be firmly rooted and built up in Christ, being strengthened in the faith. This idea is of a tree.  Our roots should grow deep and strong, spread throughout the entirety of our being. We must constantly study, thereby learning more and more about our new life in Christ.

However, in the next verse, which is our focus, we are to be careful what we study. “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8. The words ‘see to it’  has the idea of ‘watch out’. Paul wants those in Colossae to watch out lest they are taken captive by this belief. The verbiage translated in this way by is a rare one, used only here in biblical Greek and sparsely elsewhere. It vividly expresses the danger that the readers may be “carried off as plunder” by an alien and fundamentally anti-Christian form of teaching. These teachings are categorized as those philosophies and teachings that are empty of truth and are according to man’s traditions and not of Christ. The theological threat concern two major tenets of the Christian faith. These being ‘soteriology’, which applies to the person and work of Christ specifically related to His work on the cross, and ‘sanctification’ which is the application of the cross to the development of personal purity. Paul addresses both here in this chapter; the theology of salvation in verses 8-15 and sanctification in verses 16-19.

The enemy wants to lead Christians away from the truth of Christianity.  His desire is to pluck as many followers as he can away from Christ. Therefore, he has many teachers in this world who try to convince Christians they do not have it quite right.  A big deception today is Jesus+.  This idea is that it takes more than Christ’s work to save us. We need to do some works as well to solidify our salvation.  I unknowingly got involved in a cult that required their followers to read the Bible, but without understanding. They would provide all the understanding needed. They also wanted everyone to dress somewhat the same, very plain clothing and no jewelry. Most Christian cults follow the same path. Believe in Christ, but do not think what He did was all that was necessary.

That is why Paul wrote to Timothy saying, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15. We must take the time to study the scriptures so that we accurately know what it says. If you have any question as to what something means, do some research to see what the writer is saying.  And do not hesitate to ask someone you trust to help you understand the meaning.  God wants you to know exactly what He is saying in His Word. Pray if you run into questions you cannot answer, and then let Him lead you to the answer. The scriptures present the entire truth we need.

Sometimes some scriptures appear to say the opposite of each other.  I have a saying I use that goes like this.  “If two scriptures appear to contradict each other, it is because we either do not understand one of them or both of them.” This could be because of previous teachings that were confusing or it is something we have not studied before. If we run into this pray, and have God show us what it means.  And again, do not hesitate to ask someone else for assistance if needed.

God desires us to understand the Word He has given us. Take the time to read  it and study it. This is the best answer on how to avoid the deceptions that are prevalent in today’s culture. And lastly, never avoid asking someone you trust, questions that you cannot get answers to. Pray while studying, and if necessary, ask Him to guide you to someone who can help you. And do not just have them answer it, but thoroughly explain it as well. Doing these things will help each of us grow in the knowledge and wisdom of God’s Word and strengthen our relationship with Him.  And is this not our goal?

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

John 8:12

Verse of the Day Devotion:  John 8:12 

“Again, therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” – John 8:12 

Over the next seven weekdays, we will be looking at seven verses where Jesus declares “I AM”, and then gives a metaphor regarding what He is.  Today, we will look at the second of these, “I am the Light of the World.”

Just prior to this verse, Jesus was teaching the people in the temple and was approached by scribes and Pharisees who brought a woman caught in the act of adultery, interrupting His teaching. It is understood that adultery was exceedingly common at this time, so common that they had ceased to put the law in force against it. The waters of jealousy were no longer drunk, the culprits or those suspected of this crime, being so very numerous; and the men who were guilty themselves dared not try their suspected wives, as it was believed the waters would have no evil effect upon the wife, if the husband himself had been criminal.  However, at this time, the Jewish leadership decided to test Jesus regarding the Mosaic Law.  “And the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the midst, now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” John 8:4-5.  They asked Him several times about this, and so Jesus stooped down and started writing on the ground with His finger.  However, they persisted in asking, so He stooped again, writing in the dirt with His finger and said, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7b. At this point, every one of her accusers left and only the woman remained. While they could not trap Him, He trapped them in their hypocrisy.  He then asked her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” John 8:10. Then He told her He also does not condemned her and therefore she is to go and sin no more.

So, resuming His teaching in the temple He proclaims a powerful statement regarding Himself. In our focus verse He says, “Again, therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12.  Now, this was a powerful statement that probably caught the people’s attention. Jesus’ words of announcement in this context would have sounded like an outrageous claim to the ears of the Pharisees. He went beyond the usual religious assertions of enlightenment and claimed to be the luminary itself. The Pharisees probably knew that the coming one would be called a light, and this would not have been taken well.  “I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.” Isaiah 42:6-7. Thus, in His claim to be the light of the world, He was claiming to be the ‘sent one’ who would be a light to the nations. We also see in the Psalms, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; Who shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Who shall I dread?” Psalm 27:1. 

There are two types of light in the world. We can perceive one, both, and neither! When we are born into this world, we perceive physical light, and by it we learn of our Creator’s handiwork in the things we see. However, although that light is good, there is another Light, a Light so important that the Son of God had to come to both declare and impart it to men. When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, ‘I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but have the light of life.’” The allegory used by the Lord in this verse speaks of the light of His Truth, the light of His Word, the light of eternal Life. Those who perceive the true Light will never walk in spiritual darkness.

And when He left at His ascension, He kept the light shining, through His disciples.  “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16. His light has not gone away, it still shines from Him, however it is reflected off us into the world.  Through our lives, the world can see the truth as opposed to deception, and the light of life as opposed to the darkness where many still reside. And through our witness, all who see and hear will be able to join us in the light by accepting Christ as their Savior and Lord. It is our job to spread this light, as Jesus did, showing all the truth of the gospel which leads to life in the light for all who believe.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

Mark 16:15

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Mark 16:15 

“And He said to them, go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” – Mark 16:15 

Forty days after Jesus was raised from the dead and just prior to His ascension, Jesus commands His disciples to continue the work He started.  This was the commission given to them by their sovereign Lord.  “And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15.  They were called to tell the world about the good news that Christ Himself came to bring, but now that He is going back to the Father, He has passed this important task onto His disciples.  Matthew brings more clarity to this calling.  “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20.  In this devotion, I will be combining the writings in order to completely cover what Jesus told them.

As stated above, I will be combining Mark’s version and Matthew’s in order to fully understand what Jesus commanded them.  Both were given the same calling at the same times  Both write they are to go into all the world.  Not just to the Jewish nations, but to all people throughout the world.  Mark writes they are to preach the Gospel throughout all the world.  Matthew takes it a step further and writes they are to make disciples of all the nations.  To preach the gospel was to declare the truth of Christ.  However, those who accept the message need to be discipled; trained in order to fully understand the message given to them as well as to their complete calling.  A disciple is in essence a follower or student of a teacher, leader of philosopher.  It comes from the Latin word discipulus meaning “student”, which is derived from the Latin root word discere meaning “to learn”.  This goes beyond simply presenting a truth to someone, but to help by training them to fully understand their calling from Christ.

In my former days as a computer programmer, there were times when I was assigned to help train a new programmer in our applications as well as how we went through the programming process; from writing specifications to coding, then to testing and ultimately implementation.  I was, in a sense, discipling them so they could understand the complete process from beginning to end and be able to carry it out.  This is basically what Jesus is calling us to do.  To start by presenting the truth to them so they can understand it and accept the calling Christ has given us all.  However, knowing the truth is only the beginning.  They must then be trained regarding God’s calling to Christians and how to live it out.  Each of the disciples of Christ accepted the calling, however, they went through three years of  being discipled by Jesus to fully understand  what was expected of them and how to live it out.   

Jesus told His disciples to make disciples.  What was meant in this was to have an unending line of disciples making disciples who make disciples who will then make disciples.  Leading someone to Christ is simply the beginning.  After that, they must be taught the full meaning of what it means to be a follower of Christ and how to live it out.  Then, they can go out and do the same.  You may not be in a position to actually be the one who teaches them.  However, you can lead them to another who is willing and able to take on this role.  The point here is that everyone who accepts Christ must be taught what this decision actually means.  It is not simply acceptance of Christ as Savior, but also as Lord, and to live this life out to the fullest.  This is what Jesus did for His disciples, and it is what He intended for His disciples to do, all the way down in time to us.

It is important to understand that we are not alone in this.  Jesus told them as the last part of His call to them that they would not be alone.  “teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20.  Jesus said He would be with us to the very end of the age of our lives here on earth.  We can always go to Him for assistance in this endeavor. He will not leave or forsake us.  Always remember to call out to Him when you need help, and He will provide the assistance you need. 

 In closing, I want to encourage us all to reach out to all we come across who need to hear the truth concerning the gospel of Christ.  We must take whatever time we need to present it in a clear and understandable way.  And, if they receive it, encourage them to be  trained in the fullness of what this life is truly about.  It can be us, or someone else we know who can take on this responsibility.  However, it should be someone we trust to fulfill this role.  We must remember that living the Christian life as we are called to do, is the most important decision we can make, for it has eternal implications.  Helping new born Christians to fully understand what it means to be a Christian is vital in their growth, and their ability to take the next step in making disciples themselves.  So many more people can be reached for Christ if we follow this model.  My email can be found below, and if you have any questions regarding how you can proceed to become a disciple who makes disciples who make disciples, let me know if there is anything I can do to assist you in whatever way needed. It would be my pleasure to help you in this.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.