June 18

Psalms 1–9

The Happy Man

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” (Psalm 1:1)

The word “Blessed” in our verse involves spiritual prosperity and pleasure. It can be translated “happy.” Thus the first Psalm tells us about the truly happy man. In both a negative and positive way, the truly happy man is described in this Psalm. Our verse speaks of the negative, that is, the things a man must not do if he expects to have real joy in his life. He must refrain from ungodly counsel, ungodly conduct, and ungodly companions if he wants true happiness.

Ungodly counsel. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.” Unhappiness often starts right here. Mankind listens to the wrong counsel, to the wrong people. The ungodly will give plenty of advice; and in the world, their advice is more esteemed than the counsel of God’s Word. But ungodly advice will not bring true happiness. It will bring heartache in the long run. Be careful where you get your counsel. If it leaves out God and His Word, it is not wisdom and will not bring true happiness in life.

Ungodly conduct. “Nor standeth in the way of sinners.” Going the way of the sinner in conduct is going the way of sorrow not happiness. Holiness is the key to happiness. It is true that sin has pleasures, but they are only for a season (Hebrews 11:25), and that season is very short. Sinful living is more popular that sanctified living, but the results are not the same. There are no happy sinners at the end of life. And eternity will definitely not be a happy time for sinners.

Ungodly companions. “Nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” Unholy companions will do you no good. Keeping company with the foul mouthed and with those who scorn the things of God will not bring true happiness to anyone. It will only corrupt you and lead to trouble and sorrow every time. Those who scorn the things of God are a curse to the world. Choose your companions with great care. Make sure they are godly. Especially make sure you choose a godly mate in marriage. If you do not, your marriage will not be happy.

June 18

Psalms 1–9

The Happy Man

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” (Psalm 1:1)

The word “Blessed” in our verse involves spiritual prosperity and pleasure. It can be translated “happy.” Thus the first Psalm tells us about the truly happy man. In both a negative and positive way, the truly happy man is described in this Psalm. Our verse speaks of the negative, that is, the things a man must not do if he expects to have real joy in his life. He must refrain from ungodly counsel, ungodly conduct, and ungodly companions if he wants true happiness.

Ungodly counsel. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.” Unhappiness often starts right here. Mankind listens to the wrong counsel, to the wrong people. The ungodly will give plenty of advice; and in the world, their advice is more esteemed than the counsel of God’s Word. But ungodly advice will not bring true happiness. It will bring heartache in the long run. Be careful where you get your counsel. If it leaves out God and His Word, it is not wisdom and will not bring true happiness in life.

Ungodly conduct. “Nor standeth in the way of sinners.” Going the way of the sinner in conduct is going the way of sorrow not happiness. Holiness is the key to happiness. It is true that sin has pleasures, but they are only for a season (Hebrews 11:25), and that season is very short. Sinful living is more popular that sanctified living, but the results are not the same. There are no happy sinners at the end of life. And eternity will definitely not be a happy time for sinners.

Ungodly companions. “Nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” Unholy companions will do you no good. Keeping company with the foul mouthed and with those who scorn the things of God will not bring true happiness to anyone. It will only corrupt you and lead to trouble and sorrow every time. Those who scorn the things of God are a curse to the world. Choose your companions with great care. Make sure they are godly. Especially make sure you choose a godly mate in marriage. If you do not, your marriage will not be happy.

September 22

Joel

Special Meeting

“Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord your God, and cry unto the Lord.” (Joel 1:14)

Here is a call for a special religious meeting for the Israelites in the time of the prophet Joel. We note the prompting of the meeting, the place of the meeting, the people for the meeting, and the program for the meeting.

Prompting of the meeting. The conditions of the land of Israel prompted this call for a special religious service. Israel had suffered devastation to their land, particularly their crops. Locusts had devoured the crops, the grain bins lay empty, the cattle had no pasture and were dying for lack of food, and then on top of that a great fire had swept across the tinder dry land and had devoured everything that the locust had left. It was not a good time for Israel. What should they do? The answer was to call a special religious meeting.

Place of the meeting. “The house of the Lord.” The place for this special meeting was the “house of the Lord.” In time of trouble, men need to seek the Lord. Going to the house of the Lord emphasizes this need.

People for the meeting. “Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord.” Special meetings do not exempt anybody. All the people of the land are to be present. The same is true when a church has special meetings. But some members in every church always feel they are exempted from attending these meetings. Failure to attend makes them part of the problem, not the solution.

Program for the meeting. “Cry unto the Lord.” This was not a meeting of food, fun, and fellowship. This was not a picnic but a prayer meeting. It was a meeting where people cried out to God in repentance and sought God’s help in time of trouble. God never inflicts without cause, and the problems that came to Israel were because of Israel’s sin. Our land is facing the same situation. Evil is devouring our land and character. We need to call some solemn assemblies to repent of our sin and cry to God for help. Few things will help the land as much as these meetings.

October 10

Matthew 21, 22

Reaction to Christ

“When the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the son of David; they were sore displeased.”

(Matthew 21:15)

The reaction of a person towards Jesus Christ reveals that person’s soul and predicts his destiny. In our verse is the reaction of the chief priests and scribes to Jesus Christ. These men were the religious leaders of the day, yet they rejected Him in spite of His goodness.

To examine this verse about the reaction to Christ by these religious leaders, we will look at the performance of Christ, the praise for Christ, and the provoking by Christ.

Performance of Christ. “Wonderful things.” The time is a few days before the crucifixion. Christ has made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem and has cleansed the Temple the second time. Everything Christ did was indeed “wonderful.” There was nothing in the performance of Christ that could condemn Christ. As another text in Scripture says, “He hath done all things well” (Mark 7:37).

Praise for Christ. “The children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the son of David.” What a great thing to have children praising Jesus Christ. Christ certainly deserved the praise because of the “wonderful” things He did. If we had more children praising Jesus Christ, we would have a whole lot less juvenile delinquency. The problem with our day is that the children are praising Hollywood stars and sports stars and political stars who do not deserve praise, but they are not praising the “Star out of Jacob” (Numbers 24:17)
Who deserves praise more than anyone else.

Provoking by Christ. “They were sore displeased.” In spite of the performance of Christ and the children praising Christ, these religious leaders were “displeased.” Sounds like our courts and government today. Christ and His Word are a great blessing and are the best help for our children. But the powers that be get all upset if Christ and His Word are exalted in any way. But being provoked about the performance of Christ and the praise for Christ invites judgment.

October 22

Luke 2, 3

Gospel Message

“The angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I being you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”

(Luke 2:10)

The Gospel message the angel gave to the shepherds about the birth of Christ was a good message, a glad message, and a global message.

Good message. “I bring you good tidings.” The four English words “I bring” and “good tidings” come from one Greek word which gives us such English words as “evangelize,” “evangel,” “evangelical,” and “evangelistic.” “Evangelize” means to bring good tidings. And no tidings are better than the news that Christ has come to earth to be the Savior of men’s souls which was the angel’s message to the shepherds. It is the best message ever given to mankind. No news was so good as this news. Man is a sinner and as such has come under the anathema of God. But the good news is that Christ has come to save sinners from the judgment of their sins.

Glad message. “I bring you good tidings of great joy.” Jesus Christ is the greatest source of joy for mankind. Through salvation, He brings to men their greatest joy for time and for eternity. Therefore, Apostle Paul could say, “Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). Paul said this when he was in prison. This means Jesus Christ can bring us joy no matter how dark our circumstances. The joy we get from Christ is not dependent on our circumstances, but it is dependent upon our having received Christ as our Savior.

Global message. “Which shall be to all people.” The Gospel message is not limited to a locality. It is for all mankind on the earth. The Bible says, “God so loved the world” (John 3:16). His love is global and so the Gospel message is global. Therefore, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21). We do not need a different Gospel for different races and nationalities. There is only one Gospel, and that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is good for all who call upon Christ to be saved. Wherever you go, this message is applicable to all people.

November 19

Acts 17–19

Noble Bereans

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”

(Acts 17:11)

This verse gives a great compliment to the folk in Berea, a town where Paul and Silas ministered. The compliment concerned their attitude towards the Word of God. One’s attitude towards the Word says plenty about a person. The Bereans were said to be more noble than the folk in Thessalonica where many had rejected the Word so violently that Paul and Silas had to leave Thessalonica by night (Acts 17:10). The Bereans’ attitude towards the Word, as it is reported in our verse, can be summed up in a threefold way. They honored the word, were interested in the Word, and studied the Word.

Honored the Word. “They received the word.” The Bereans did not reject the Word. They honored it by their reception of it. So many places where Paul ministered, the people hostilely rejected the Word. Our day is rejecting the Word of God increasingly. Educators have kicked it out of our schools. Many individuals and churches are also giving little respect and honor to the Word. But that does not discredit the Word of God, it only condemns those who reject it.

Interested in the Word. “With all readiness of mind.” This phrase means they were enthusiastic in receiving the Word. They were interested in the Word of God which is a contrast to the typical church member today. Church members are more interested in socials than sermons. They are not very interested in Bible study but prefer recreation and entertainment. Furthermore, few folk read the Scriptures; and this failure also shows a great disinterest in the Word.

Studied the Word. “Searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” This was a diligent study in that they “searched” the Scriptures. It was a daily study in that they pursued the Scriptures every day. And the design of the study was to examine the message of the missionaries. We need to examine every message by the Word of God. This will keep us from being duped by error.

December 25

2 John, 3 John, Jude

Religious Deceivers

“For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” (2 John 1:7)

In this text, John the Apostle addresses the problem of the presence of religious deceivers. He speaks of the multitude of these deceivers, the message of these deceivers, and the manifesting of these deceivers.

Multitude of these deceivers. “Many deceivers are entered into the world.” In the first epistle of John, he warned, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). Here John speaks again of the presence of “many” deceivers and false prophets. Just because a man has a “Reverend” in front of his name or is called “clergy” does not mean he is okay. There are many rascals out there disguised as ministers who are charlatans deceiving people in many different ways. And the deceivers far out number those who are faithful and true ministers.

Message of these deceivers. “Confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.” As far as these men are concerned, Christmas never happened. Christ was never born. He never came to earth. They deny the truth of the Word of God. And if they deny He was born, they will also deny that He died for our sins and that He was resurrected from the grave. Their message is not one of faith but one of unbelief. Beware of men who are always denying the tenants of the faith. These men have no faith. So they honor unbelief.

Manifesting of these deceivers. “This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” How can you tell if a person is a deceiver and is against Christ? Just check his message with the Scriptures. If he denies that Christ was born of a virgin and came to save us from our sins, you are looking at a deceiver and an antichrist. The efforts to eliminate Christ from Christmas is the work of deceivers and it manifests that they are against Christ. They may say leaving Christ out of Christmas is to not offend people, but all such talk is only beguiling blabber. The facts are these people are deceivers and against Christ.

—Butler's Daily Bible Reading (2) Sermonettes