Day 327

by Rev Joel Yong

1 Timothy 3:2-13
Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

I think Paul’s intent was to ensure that overseers and deacons were not selected without a stringent process or chosen without much testing and consideration.

I do not think it means therefore that such men are faultless or perfect or expected unreasonably to have perfect households.

It should not be used as a list for those hoping to find fault with an overseer or deacon and thereafter seek to disqualify him from his role. Rather it serves as a reminder to us of the gravity of such a role and the need to get one’s home in order prior to one’s appointment or selection.

It’s hard to run a perfect household. Matthew Henry comments on the passage above saying “Who then is up to the task?” He then inferred that it must be a man who leans upon the grace and guidance of God.

After all David was forgotten by his father when Samuel came visiting, to anoint a new king.
His own brother chided him for asking about Goliath’s challenge to the army. David’s wife then mocked him for dancing in front of the Ark. His son raped his half-sister and then another son Absalom murdered the rapist. Absalom then sought to take the throne by force and failed, dying in the process.

David’s family was far from perfect but he is known as a man after God’s own heart. For God looks beyond the surface to see what is far within.

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Day 326

by Rev Joel Yong

1 Timothy 2:1-2
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

Prayers for kings and leaders – this we do, for our own nation.
Sometimes we do it too, for global leaders of strong and powerful nations – because of the impact their policies have upon the world.

What about prayers for leaders whose nation, for example, develops nuclear arms even in the face of global disapproval?
And I don’t just mean, praying that they will cease their nuclear program … but also praying that they will have opportunities to hear the gospel message and experience Jesus’ love.

Too often we forget to pray for such leaders, for they too are people that Jesus came to save.
How about starting today?

Day 325

by Rev Joel Yong

1 Timothy 1:19-20
By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Paul was likely referring to excommunication. Check out Matthew 18.17-18.

Jamieson Fausset Brown has this to say about the 2 men: “Alexander here is probably “the coppersmith” who did Paul “much evil” when the latter visited Ephesus. The “delivering him to Satan” was probably the consequence of his withstanding the apostle (2 Timothy 4:14-15); as the same sentence on Hymenæus was the consequence of “saying that the resurrection is past already” (2 Timothy 2:18)”

These men were at one point a part of the faith community and that is why the apostle writes that they shipwrecked their faith.

A shipwreck happens when the vessel strikes rocks and is torn apart and sinks- unable to travel any longer or be of any use.

In today’s world we assume that a person has to stop going to church and turn to another religion to be considered as ‘no longer a believer’.

But these 2 men – seem to have had a change of views about some faith essentials – in particular the resurrection of believers! My thoughts are – that the slide into unbelief is subtle and begins with false ideas about the faith here and there and it leads to the corruption of the believer’s perspective and subsequently those around them.

Such people may still have the outward observances and still gather with the rest of the faith community but they have ceased to believe the essentials of Christianity.

For example – it could be something the Bible explicitly says is a sin, but over time due to the influence of popular culture- people start to ‘reason’ that it was a sin only at a certain point of history when the masses were ‘uninformed’ and science ‘not advanced’.

Sound familiar??

Day 324

by Rev Joel Yong

2 Thessalonians 3:3
But the Lord is faithful and will strengthen you and protect you against the evil one.

God will not abandon us.
People will. But God does not.

He is not a coward who runs at the sign of impending battle.
He does not shy away from the task because He deems the cost is too great and the effort needed, too massive.

How do I know this?
The Cross.

While we were still sinners, He took to the Cross.
While we could give Him nothing, He gave us His everything.
While men cried “Crucify him!”, Jesus cried “Forgive them!”

The Cross convinces and convicts me of His love for me.
I know since He went to the Cross for me, that there is no depth or distance or obstacle that is going to keep Him from coming for me.

I do not fear Satan. I fear only God.
He loves me and my household and He defends us with His mighty arm.
That, not my bank account or my accolades, is what makes me sleep well each night.

Day 323

by Rev Joel Yong

2 Thessalonians 2:3 -4
Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

Throughout history there have been individuals who were against everything Christ stood for. They persecuted the people of God and were hugely popular. These antichrists have been present at various points of history.

However, just before the End – we will encounter the Anti-Christ. Like those before him, he will stand against the teachings of Christ and His people. But this Anti-Christ will also mislead many and draw them (it says here quite clearly) to worship him instead of God.

This is a great clue for us, as to who he is and how we can identify him. He will encourage a turning away from God and towards the worship of himself as the Anti-Christ.

2 Thessalonians 2:9-10
The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

The Anti-Christ powered by satanic motivation, will even work counterfeit miracles and deceive the masses.

Knowing this, we as believers should keep a lookout for a person who may seem to be capable of feats beyond human capability, but seeks not to honor or glorify God but instead desires for others to worship him instead of God.

I tell my kids all the time – “Don’t follow a stranger if they say things like ‘Come your Daddy told me to pick you up.'”
I describe what such evil persons might say so that they would not be deceived.
I believe God wants us to know this too – so that we won’t go ‘home’ with the wrong person. Rather let us be watchful and wait for our Messiah faithfully – however long it may seem at times.

Father, help us to be aware and help us to be vigilant as we live out our days.
Help us to be rooted in the faith and with knowledge of Your Word, help us not be deceived when the Anti-Christ appears on the world stage.

Day 322

by Rev Joel Yong

2 Thessalonians 1:3
We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.

The apostles were delighted to know that the church was growing in its faith and their love for one another was increasing.

Sometimes people misunderstand- thinking that the most crucial thing about Christianity is the initial profession of faith. Once they have made the decision they subsequently neglect to grow in the faith!

They do not follow up and nurture their journeys by reading the Scriptures daily or praying regularly or communing with God in daily worship.

As a result they have a 1 time encounter with the Lord and a superficial faith that does not grow beyond this encounter in subsequent years!

There is an event in the Scriptures known as the Great Falling Away. It describes the end of the world and prior to the end, many in the Church fall away in apostasy.

It’s very real and possible that as evil mounts and pressure is applied to the persecuted Church in the end days – that many will renounce their faith.

Start building on your faith journey today and all throughout your life. When the time of testing comes, may our faith hold strong.

Day 321

by Rev Joel Yong

1 Thessalonians 5:2-3
You know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When people say, “Everything is safe and sound!” destruction will suddenly strike them. It will be as sudden as labor pains come to a pregnant woman. They won’t be able to escape.

Jesus is coming again.
When He comes, this world will end and all will be judged.
The day will come suddenly as described above.

How ready am I for His return?

1 Thessalonians 5:4-9
But, brothers and sisters, you don’t live in the dark. That day won’t take you by surprise as a thief would. You belong to the day and the light not to the night and the dark. Therefore, we must not fall asleep like other people, but we must stay awake and be sober. People who sleep, sleep at night; people who get drunk, get drunk at night. Since we belong to the day, we must be sober. We must put on faith and love as a breastplate and the hope of salvation as a helmet. It was not God’s intention that we experience his anger but that we obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Great reminder to:

  1. Put on faith and love to protect myself from straying or falling away near the End. Faith that Jesus will surely come again rather than have doubt take possession of my mind and no longer persevere on this Christian journey. Love that Jesus has shown to me – and remind me of His place in my life and my place in His heart.
  2. To guard my mind and thoughts with this hope I have in Jesus. “I am saved by Him and through Him, no matter what happens.” Bad things may happen but in Jesus, I know I will experience victory in the end.

With the above, may I be faithful to Him until the very end.