Categories
bible study devotion

Sowing and reaping

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

mock up image, box sets

John 4:30-45

After exposing and convicting the Samaritan woman of her sin, Jesus revealed  that He was the Messiah she was waiting for.  She immediately dropped her water bucket and went to town to share her testimony and invited the people to come and see the Messiah.

30 They went out of the city, and were coming to him. 31 In the meanwhile, the disciples urged him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you don’t know about.” 33 The disciples therefore said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Don’t you say, ‘There are yet four months until the harvest?’ Behold, I tell you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, that they are white for harvest already. 36 He who reaps receives wages and gathers fruit to eternal life; that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 37 For in this the saying is true, ‘One sows, and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you haven’t labored. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” 39 From that city many of the Samaritans believed in him because of the word of the woman, who testified, “He told me everything that I did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they begged him to stay with them. He stayed there two days. 41 Many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of your speaking; for we have heard for ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” 43 After the two days he went out from there and went into Galilee.

John 4:30-45

Commentary

Jesus told His disciples to open their eyes and see the Samaritan people coming towards them with their white hats. The field (Samaritan people) was ripe for harvest. The Samaritan woman sowed the seed of the gospel message into the Samaritan people (the field). The seed bear fruits, and the disciples reaped the harvest. In evangelism, the sower and the reaper worked as a team to win souls. 

Today, you may be sowing the seed of the gospel into someone’s life.  One day another Christian will come along and reap the harvest by getting that person to say the sinner’s prayer. This is how evangelism work, 1 Cor 3:6.

The woman’s testimony was powerful. Many Samaritans believed in Jesus through her testimony. Jesus stayed with them two more days, and more Samaritans believed in Him. The woman’s testimony brought the Samaritans to Christ. Their encounter with Christ convinced them that Christ is the Saviour of the world. 

The Samaritans acknowledged Jesus as the Savior of the world. Note the progressive revelation of Christ’s identity. In verse 9, she called Him a Jew, in verses 11 and 15, Sir, in verse 19, a prophet, in verse 29, Christ, and in verse 42, Savior of the world.

Jesus and His disciples travelled north from Samaria to Galilee, bypassing Nazareth.. The Galileans welcomed Jesus because they saw the miracles He did at Jerusalem during the Passover.

  I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow

1 Corinthians 3:6

Application

Many Samaritans believed and encountered Christ personally because of the woman’s testimony. Many of your contacts will believe and encounter Christ personally because of your testimony. Write out and rehearse your testimony. Include three parts to your testimony, the before, the during, and the after. Write about how you were before you know Christ, how you came to know Christ, and, how you are after you know Christ. Share it out on social media, with colleagues, friends, and family. You may be the only Bible that people will ever read. Personal evangelism is very satisfying and rewarding.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the beautiful story of this un-named Samaritan woman who met Christ and shared her testimony with other Samaritans. We pray for opportunities to share our testimonies to family, neighbours, colleagues, and friends. We pray for divine insight and understanding into Your word. We present our bodies as living sacrifices and spiritual acts of worship, holy and pleasing to You, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

mock up image of boxsets
Categories
devotion

Worship in spirit and truth

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

mock up image

John 4: 19-29

Setting

Jesus ministered to a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. He offered her living water and told her to bring her husband. When she said she had no husband, Jesus exposed her life of sin. She had previous 5 husbands  and was now living with a man out of wedlock. She was shocked by this revelation. Here was a man who knew everything about her. 

19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour comes, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, will you worship the Father. 22 You worship that which you don’t know. We worship that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to be his worshipers. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah comes, he who is called Christ. When he has come, he will declare to us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who speaks to you.” 27 At this, his disciples came. They marveled that he was speaking with a woman; yet no one said, “What are you looking for?” or, “Why do you speak with her?” 28 So the woman left her water pot, went away into the city, and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything that I did. Can this be the Christ?”

John 4:19-29

Commentary

The woman called Jesus a prophet. The Samaritans worshiped God on Mount Gerizim while the Jews worship God on Mount Zion. She wanted to know where was the right place to worship God. Jesus replied, it was not the where but the who. God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. The Samaritans got it wrong. Their theology was wrong. Their Samaritans Bible was incomplete, inaccurate, and adulterated. They only accept the first 5 books of the Bible and they changed the words extensively. Salvation was for the Jews first and then only to the Gentiles, Romans 1:16.

God is spirit and truth. A true worshiper worship God in spirit and truth, with correct doctrine and theology. Jesus revealed His Messianic identity to her i.e. I AM. When the disciples came back, they were shocked to see Jesus talking to a Samaritan woman.

She left the bucket at the well with the joy of living water (Holy Spirit) bubbling within her.  She went to town with her testimony.  She invited them to come and see Jesus who knew everything about her. Could this be the Messiah?, she asked. The town people followed her back to the well.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek

Romans 1:16,

 

I AM who I AM

Exodus 3:4

Application

Jesus knows everything about you and me. You cannot hide anything from His omnicient power. If you sinned, you must confess, repent, and come clean, 1 John 1:9.  

Have you ever told anyone what the Lord has done for you in your life? Share out your testimony. Your testimony is very powerful and life saving. No one can dispute your testimony. 

God is spirit and truth. You must worship God in spirit and truth. Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the life. Speaking of Himself as truth, Jesus said that you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. Jesus is I AM, YHWH, the pre-existing, self-existing, eternal, and only true God. 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness

1 John 1:9

Prayer

Heavenly Father, we pray that You will open our hearts to hear, feel, touch, and understand what You are saying to us. We asked for the presence of the Holy Spirit to teach, guide, comfort, convict, rebuke, and train us in righteousness. You came to seek and save the lost, the weak, the poor, the rejected, and the marginalized. May we never walk away from You unchanged after every encounter with You, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

mock up image of my books
Categories
bible study devotion

Devotion: the greatest of these is love

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

mocked-up image
mocked-up image

Prayer

Heavenly Father, open our spiritual eyes to see, ears to hear, minds to understand, and hearts to apply and obey the truth of Your words. Help us engage in Your word for the transformation of hearts and renewal of minds, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. Love is not a spiritual gift but it is the first fruit of the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Commentary

1 Corinthians 13 is the love chapter.

The Greek word for love is agape, which means selfless, sacrificial love, and unconditional love. Agape is the highest form of love. 

Without love, speaking in tongues is noisy and irritating. Without love, prophesy, words of knowledge, faith, selfless giving, and even martyrdom are valueless in God’s eyes. 

Paul spelled out the 17 characteristics of what love is, what love is not, and what love does and does not do. Love is patient, kind, not jealous, not boastful, not proud, not rude, not abusive, not self-seeking, not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not rejoice in evil and injustice, rejoices in truth, never gives up, always trusts, always hopes, always persevere, never fails. Even, prophecies, tongues, and knowledge will fail but not love. 

On this side of eternity, we do not have full revelation, perfect vision, and comprehensive knowledge. Our speech, understanding, and thoughts are only partial at best. We are works in progress being sanctified by the Holy Spirit into spiritual maturity. 

Comparing the three virtues of love, faith, and hope, the greatest of these is love.

Application

Love is the first and greatest fruit of the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23. Love covers a multitude of sins, 1 Peter 4:8. Love is the greatest commandment, horizontal love to others, and vertical love to God, Matthew 22:23.

Do you love the Lord with all your hearts, souls, and minds? Do you love your neighbour as yourself? 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23, NIV

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”

1 Peter 4:8

Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’

Matthew 22:23

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for teaching us to love. Help us to obey Your commandment to love You with all our hearts, souls, and minds and to love our neighbours as ourselves. Help us to love others just as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

mocked-up image
mocked-up image
Categories
bible study devotion

Devotion: charge that to my account

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

a mock-up image
mock-up image

Philemon: 10-25

Philemon is a story on providence. Onesimus escaped to Rome and met the great apostle Paul. Paul saved his soul and gave him a new life, a new faith, a new hope, and a new beginning. Reconciled to his old master Philemon and freed from slavery, he served his new master Jesus Christ. 

Philemon 10-25

10 I beg you for my child, whom I have become the father of in my chains, Onesimus,11 who once was useless to you, but now is useful to you and to me. 12 I am sending him back. Therefore receive him, that is, my own heart, 13 whom I desired to keep with me, that on your behalf he might serve me in my chains for the Good News. 14 But I was willing to do nothing without your consent, that your goodness would not be as of necessity, but of free will. 15 For perhaps he was therefore separated from you for a while, that you would have him forever, 16 no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much rather to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. 17 If then you count me a partner, receive him as you would receive me. 18 But if he has wronged you at all or owes you anything, put that to my account. 19 I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it (not to mention to you that you owe to me even your own self besides).20 Yes, brother, let me have joy from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in the Lord. 21 Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even beyond what I say. 22 Also, prepare a guest room for me, for I hope that through your prayers I will be restored to you.23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, 24 as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers. 25 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Philemon:10-25

Commentary

Paul converted, mentored, and adopted Onesimus as his spiritual godson. Onesimus in Greek means useful. Note the wordplay. The Greek word for useless is “achreston”. The Greek word for useful is “euchreston”. Onesimus, (useful), who was once useless (achreston) to Philemon was now useful (euchestron) to him. 

When he knew that Onesimus ran away from Philemon, he quickly sent Onesimus back to him. He urged Philemon to extend his right hand of fellowship to Onesimus.  

Paul wanted to keep Onesimus but not without Philemon’s blessing. Paul urged Philemon to receive Onesimus as a brother in Christ and set him free. In the first-century world, a runaway slave had committed a capital crime. Paul took a risk by sending Onesimus back. Onesimus could face capital punishment. 

Paul told Philemon to charge all of Onesimus’s crimes into his (Paul’s) account reminding him (Philemon) that he owed him (Paul) his soul. Paul emphasised that he hand-wrote this letter. 

Paul urged Philemon to forgive and release Onesimus. Paul requested Philemon to pray for his own release and prepare a guest room for him

Paul was a team player with a personal touch. He sent greetings from Epaphras, Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke. Epaphras was also a prisoner in Rome. He pronounced a blessing of grace to Philemon. 

Application

Onesimus ran away from his master. Have you run away from your master Jesus Christ? If you have, you must come back to Him and be useful to Him again, 1 John 1:9. 

No matter what circumstances you may be facing today it will eventually work for good in your favour. You may not see it now but you will see it in the future, Romans 8:28. 

You and I are sinners before a Holy God. We owed a debt of sin to God that we could never repay. Jesus Christ paid for our sin debt 2000 years ago, when He died on the cross. Jesus charged our debt of sin into His account.

According to tradition, Philemon forgave and freed Onesimus and he became a bishop of Ephesus. Onesimus was arrested, tortured, and martyred for his faith.

Jesus Christ forgave us. He restored us to fellowship when we come back to him in repentance.

Romans 6: 23, “for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord’’.

2 Corinthians 5:21, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”.

Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose”. 

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the epistle of Philemon. Thank You for the promise of Romans 8:28. Thank You for the forgiveness of sins, salvation by grace, justification by faith in Christ, sanctification, and the gift of eternal life. We pray for those who have run away from You to return back to You and be useful to You in the kingdom again, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

a mock up image
mock-up image
Categories
bible study devotion

Devotion: Grace and Peace

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

a mocked-up image
mocked-up image

Setting

Paul wrote 4 prison epistles during his first Roman imprisonment between AD 60-62, Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon. Nero arrested Paul and put him under house arrest in Rome where he awaited trial. He lived in a house chained to a Roman Pretorian guard 24 hours a day. Epaphras visited Paul with a love gift from the Collosian church. 

Philemon was a wealthy man from Colossae whom Paul converted and mentored in Ephesus. He (Philemon) returned to Colossae and planted the Colossian house church. Onesimus was one of Philemon’s slaves who ran away and escaped to Rome. There, Onesimus met Paul who converted and mentored him. Tychicus accompanied Onesimus to Philemon with this personal letter from Paul, Colossians 4:7-9. Ancient Colossae was a Roman province along the Lycus River valley in Asia Minor, modern-day Turkey.

Now when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard; but Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with the soldier who guarded him

Acts 28:16

 Philemon: 1-9.

Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon, our beloved fellow worker, to the beloved Apphia, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the assembly in your house: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers,hearing of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all the saints, that the fellowship of your faith may become effective in the knowledge of every good thing which is in us in Christ Jesus. For we have much joy and comfort in your love because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.Therefore though I have all boldness in Christ to command you that which is appropriate, yet for love’s sake I rather beg, being such a one as Paul, the aged, but also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. 

Philemon:1-9

Commentary

Paul mentioned his spiritual godson, Timothy, as his co-worker, in his opening salutation. Paul considered himself a prisoner of Jesus Christ and not Nero. Paul had great insight. He new that it was Jesus Christ and not Nero who put him in prison.  Nero had no power to incarcerate and imprison Paul unless Jesus Christ sanctioned it.

Paul greeted Philemon, Apphia, and Archippus, his co-workers in the gospel. Scholars believed that Apphia was Philemon’s wife and Archippus was Philemon’s son, who was also a pastor of the Colossian house church. The Greek word for grace is “charis”, which means getting what we do not deserve to get. The Hebrew word for peace is “shalom”, which means tranquility. Paul combined the Greek greeting of grace with the Hebrew greeting of peace. Grace and peace come to us from God, the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace precedes peace. Justification and forgiveness of sin result in triple peace, peace with God, peace from God, and peace of God, Philippians 4:6-7, Romans 5:1-2. Paul was a prayer warrior. He wrestled with God in prayer every day, remembering all his friends, and co-workers, by name, and interceding for them. Paul took the time to pray specifically for Philemon.

Paul was encouraged by Philemon’s love for the Lord, love for the saints, and love for the Gospel. The Greek word for saint is “hagios”, which means holy or separated. Christians are saints because they are holy and separated to serve God. Christians are holy people and a royal priesthood, 1 Peter 2:9.

Paul was refreshed when he remembered the time he spent with Philemon in Ephesus. The Greek word for refreshed is “anapsucho”, which means relief. Paul found joy, encouragement, comfort, and relief in Philemon’s love and faithfulness.

Paul was old by now. Although he had the apostolic authority to command Philemon to free Onesimus, he preferred to be diplomatic.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light

1 Peter 2:9

For this reason, I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church

1 Corinthians 4:17

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light

1 Peter 2:9

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus

Philippians 4:6-7

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God

Romans 5:1-2

Application

Paul was a prayer warrior. Even though in chains, he spent time interceding for everyone. Are you a prayer warrior? Do you pray for all your family, relatives, friends, colleagues, church members, acquaintances, and co-workers, mentioning them by name and interceding for them at a personal level?

Paul rejoiced even though he was in chains. Paul thought about others even though he was incarcerated. He was Christ-centered, and others-centered but never self-centered. Are you Christ-centered, others-centered or self-centered?

Have you experienced the peace from God that transcends all understanding? Have you experienced the triple peace, peace from God, Peace with God, and the peace of God? 

Prayer

Heavenly Father, help us to rejoice even when things are not going smoothly in our lives. Help us to be Christ-centered, and others-centered but never be self-centered. Help us to be prayer warriors. Help us to take the time to intercede for our family, friends, and co-workers by name, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

a mocked-up image
a mocked-up image
Categories
bible study devotion

New year devotion: in the beginning

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

a mock-up happy new year greeting
hew year greeting

Genesis 1:1

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth

Genesis 1:1

Commentary

The Bible begins with, in the beginning, God. When was the beginning? Who created what and when? The Hebrew word for create is bara, which means, to create something out of nothing. In the beginning, in the eternity past, God created the entire universe into existence out of nothing. 

God has no beginning because He is transcendent and outside our time-space continuum. God is pre-existent, self-existent, eternal, from everlasting to everlasting, from the eternity past to the eternity future. He is the alpha and the omega, the first and the last, the Alif and the Tau, the A and the Z, the author and finisher of our faith. 

God created the universe in six days. God’s reckoning of time is not the same as our reckoning of time. One day for God can be long as 1000 years and 1000 years for God can be as short as one day. Time is relative. According to Einstein’s theory of relativity, if you travel close to the speed of light time slows down. How fast can God travel? If God travels faster than the speed of light, time will standstill and the clock will stop ticking! So, 2000 years of our time can be as short as 2 days in God’s time. This is something for you to think about.

But don’t forget this one thing, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.

1 Peter 3:8

There are three theories regarding the universe. The young age theory postulates the universe to be 6000-plus years old. The old age theory postulates the universe to be 4.5 billion-plus years old. The gap theory postulates a time gap of billions of years between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. 

The Bible is not ambiguous. The Bible says that God created the universe into existence. The Bible did not say mention any big explosion in space.

The Gospel of John begins with in the beginning, Jesus Christ.

in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.

John 1:1

Jesus Christ was the Word, who was with God, and who was God.

Application

I find it is easier to believe in creation than in the big bang explosion. If you believe that God created the heavens and the earth, you will not have any difficulty believing the rest of the Bible. So, how big is your God? And how big is your faith?

Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands, and moves towards the goal of true maturity

Romans 12:2, J B Philips

Prayer

Heavenly Father, we pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to enlighten and give us wisdom and understanding into Your word. Open our hearts, minds, eyes, ears, and spirits to receive, understand, hear, see, feel, and apply Your word of eternal life into our very own lives, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

a mock-up image
Categories
bible study devotion

New Year Devotion: breaking 400 years of silence

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

For a permanently free book go to: https://books2read.com/u/3kYJlN

Happy New Year Mockup image
happy new year

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us hungry and thirsty hearts to seek after You. Thank You for the privilege to study Your word. Thank You Holy Spirit for teaching, convicting, correcting, transforming, and training us in righteousness, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Mark 1:1-8

The beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the prophets, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you: Malachi 3:1, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord! Make his paths straight!’” Isaiah 40:3. John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching the baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins. All the country of Judea and all those of Jerusalem went out to him. They were baptized by him in the Jordan river, confessing their sins. John was clothed with camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey. He preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and loosen. I baptized you in water, but he will baptize you in the Holy Spirit.”

Mark 1:1-8

Introduction

The 4 gospels gave us 4 perspectives of the life of Jesus from 4 camera angles. Matthew presented Jesus as King of the Jews for a Jewish audience, emphasizing what Jesus said. Mark presented Jesus as a Suffering Servant for a Roman audience, emphasizing what Jesus did. Luke presented Jesus as the Perfect Man for a Greek audience, emphasizing what Jesus felt. John presented Jesus as the Son of God for all people, emphasizing who Jesus was. 

The Gospel of Mark is a fast-moving narrative.  He used the three words, ‘and’, ‘now’, and ‘immediately’ as he moved from one scene to the next. Scholars believed that Mark wrote about himself in Mark 14: 51. Mark was not an eye-witness of Jesus. According to traditions, Mark relied heavily on the input of his spiritual god-father and mentor Peter, an eye-witness,1 Peter 5:13. Mark, or John Mark, was a cousin of Barnabas, Acts 12:12 and Colossians 4:10. He traveled with Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey, but abandoned them at Perga. Acts 13:13. Eventually Paul reconciled with Mark, 2 Timothy 4:11. 

Commentary

The Greek word for good news is ‘’evangelion’’ which means Gospel. The Gospel of Mark begins with the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Mark did not begin his gospel with a genealogy of Jesus. In the first-century world, a servant’s genealogy was not important. Malachi prophesied John the Baptist’s coming as a forerunner of Jesus 400 years before Christ. Isaiah prophesied John the Baptist’s coming as a forerunner of Jesus, 740 years before Christ.

John was a hairy and rough-looking man who wore a garment made with camel hair and a belt around his waist. His appearance resembled Elijah’s. John the Baptist was a Nazarite, from birth Luke 1:15. He ate locusts and wild honey. Some bible scholars believed he ate the carob pods from the carob tree and not the real locusts. The carob pod is also called the locust bean or St. John’s bread. He probably ate wild honey derived from the dates palm and not real honey. Referring to Jesus, John the Baptist said that he was not worthy even to be His slave. John the Baptist baptized his disciples with a water baptism of repentance. Jesus will baptize His disciples with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Malachi 3:1. “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me; and the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, behold, he comes!” says Yahweh of Armies.

Isaiah 40:3, ‘’A voice of one calling in the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’’ 

Luke 1:15, For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.

Application

Jesus Christ’s appearance in Jordan broke the 400 years of prophetic silence between Malachi and Mark. After 400 years, God finally spoke in the voice of a real person, Jesus Christ, the God-Man, the Second Person of the Trinity., Hebrews 1:1-2. God became a man and moved into the neighborhood, John 1:14, the message paraphrased version. 

Malachi and Isaiah prophesied the coming of John the Baptist as the forerunner of Jesus Christ 400 and 740 years before Christ respectively. The statistical chance of this happening is 1 in 10 to the power of 17. What if I tell you that Jesus Christ fulfilled 381 Old Testament prophecies? This proves beyond any doubt that the Bible is from God, 2 Timothy 3:16.

Jesus Christ came to earth 2000 years ago, lived a perfect life, and died a cruel death on the cross to pay the punishment for people’s sins. God loved people so much, He sent His Son to die for them so that whoever believes in Him will not die but will live forever, John 3:16, paraphrased. Do you believe this? John the Baptist was the messenger and waymaker for God. Jesus Christ is the message, and Way to God. 

God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, has at the end of these days spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds.

Hebrews 1:1-2

The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.

John 1:14, the message

Every Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness.

2 Timothy 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

John 3:16

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the Good News of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Thank You for breaking the 400 years of prophetic silence when You send Your Son to the world as Messiah. Thank You that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the punishment of our sins for us. Thank You for the forgiveness of sins, salvation by grace, justification by faith, sanctification by the Holy Spirit, and the promise of eternal life, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

happy new year iamge
happy new year
Categories
bible study devotion

Devotion: My God shall supply

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

Christmas gift! 

Grab this book for free on Smashwords from now until 31/12/2022! 

Click on the link below:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1219553

photo of 2 rainbows
2 rainbows

Philippians 4: 17-20

Introduction

Paul, the author of Philippians, wrote this thank you letter to the Philippians Christians between AD 60-62 in the Roman prison, chained to a Roman Pretorian guard, According to church tradition, Emperor Nero released Paul in AD 62, but rearrested and beheaded him in AD 66 at the Mamertine prison in Rome. 

This is one of the 4 Pauline prison epistles,. Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon. 

The theme of Philippians is “joy and rejoice in Christ”. 

Passage

17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. 18 Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. 19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Philippians 1:17-20

Commentary

Paul was not greedy for money. He encouraged the Philippians Christians, and us, to give generously out of a grateful heart, to receive God’s blessings in return. Paul was in chains, hungry, secluded, and needy, but his spirit soars like an eagle. He was contented, at peace, and grateful. He thanked his supporters  for their timely and generous support. God will supply all that he needed out of the abundant riches of Christ. God is no debtor to anyone. He owned every cattle on a thousand hills.  

 

“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully”

1 Corinthians 9:6

“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” 

Luke 6:38

Memory verse

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus”

Philippians 4:19

Application

What have you got to worry about? God knows all your needs and all your problems. He will supply all that you need. Surrender your life to Him. Let Him take over the driver’s seat of your life. God will replenish the things that Covid pandemic took away. and eaten Do not throw in the towel. Trust Him. Do nor fear, just believe.

Prayer

Heaven Father, thank You for abundant provisions. Help us to sow generously to the work of Your kingdom. Help us to store up treasures in heaven that lasts into eternity, in Jesus’ name, Amen

banner showing Smashwords end of year sales
EOY sales
Categories
bible study devotion

Devotion: the virgin birth of Christ

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

a photo of a name card
name card

Introduction

The Gospel of Matthew opened with a genealogy of 42 generations, from Abraham to David (14), from David to the Babylonian exile (14), and from the Babylonian exile to Jesus Christ (14). This proved that Jesus was from the lineage of Abraham and David. 

The genealogy included 5 women, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary, who gave birth to Jesus. Joseph was named the husband of Mary. Joseph was Jesus Christ’s legal father but not His biological father because Mary was conceived by the Holy Spirit.

Passage

Matthew 1:18-21

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was like this: After his mother, Mary, was engaged to Joseph, before they came together, she was found pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, her husband, being a righteous man, and not willing to make her a public example, intended to put her away secretly. 20 But when he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take to yourself Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 She shall give birth to a son. You shall name him Jesus, for it is he who shall save his people from their sins.”

Commentary

Mary was engaged to Joseph. She and a virgin who miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit. Joesph was a righteous man. When He found out that Mary was pregnant, he wanted to send her away quietly, so as not to shame her. God sent the angel Gabriel to Joseph in a dream and told him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife because she was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Gabriel pronounced that Mary shall give birth to a son and His name shall be called Jesus. The Greek word for Jesus is Joshua, which means, God saves. Jesus saves us from our sins. Immanuel means God with us. Joseph took Mary as his wife and did not consummate the marriage until after Jesus was born.  Jesus’ virgin birth fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy of Isaiah 7:14, prophesied 700 years before Christ. 

Immanuel.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin will conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name

Isaiah 7:14

Application

The genealogy of Jesus proved beyond any doubt that He was a descendant of Abraham and David. Anyone who claimed to be Christ (Messiah) must prove that He is a descendant of Abraham and David. God preserved the genealogy of Jesus to prove that He is Christ. Isaiah prophesied the virgin birth of Jesus Christ 700 years before He was even born! The accuracy of Bible prophecy was simply minded boggling! No one can give a prediction 700 years before it happens and fulfill it 700 years later. Only God can do this. Jesus fulfilled 581 Old Testament prophesies! The mathematical probability for this to happen by random chance is 1 in 10 to the power of 17! 

Jesus Christ is Immanuel, which means God with us. If you are a Christian, God lives in you as the third person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit. 

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for preserving the genealogical record of Jesus Christ to prove that He is Christ (Messiah). Thank You for that we have a written record of the life story of Jesus Christ through the eyewitness account of the apostle Matthew. Help us to encounter Christ through the pages of Your infallible, inspired, and inerrant words. Thank You for sending Jesus Christ into the world 2000 years ago to save us from our sins. Thank You that You are Immanuel, God with us, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

a photo of a name card
name card
Categories
bible study devotion

Devotion: Immanuel, God with us

DR. Andrew C S Koh

a photo of a business card
business card

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel

Prayer

Heavenly Father, please direct our thoughts to connect with You and speak to us from Your word. You are pleased when we talk to You. Help us to pray without ceasing. Nourish us spiritually through the living Bread of Life. Revive our hearts, renew our spirits, restore our faith, ignite our souls, and transform our minds in service and obedience, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Passage

Luke 1: 26-35

26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” 29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end. 34 Then Mary said to the angel,’’ How can this be since I do not know a man?”35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. He, therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God

(Read the rest of Luke 1 and Matthew 1)

Luke 1:26-35

Commentary

In the 6th month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to visit a teenage Jewish girl, Mary of Nazareth, who was a virgin. Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, had miraculously conceived even though she was barren and advanced in years. Gabriel pronounced a blessing on Mary saying that she was highly favoured by God. Mary was shocked by the unexpected angelic visitation. Gabriel announced to Mary that she shall conceive and give birth to a son and shall call Him Jesus.  Jesus, Son of the Most High God shall reign over the throne of His father David. At this time, the throne of David did not exist! 1000 years before Christ, God covenanted with David that his house, kingdom, and throne, shall be established forever.  One of his descendants shall reign on this throne as Messiah. Jesus fulfilled this Davidic covenant in 2 Samuel 7:16. House of Jacob refers to the nation of Israel. Jesus, the Messiah shall reign over the nation of Israel and His kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom. 

Mary was shocked because she was a virgin. The angel Gabriel proclaimed that nothing was impossible with God. The power of the Holy Spirit shall come upon her and make her conceive miraculously. This shall be a sign to her from the Lord, Isaiah 7:14.  He shall be called Immanuel, Holy One, and Son of God. Mary willingly submitted to the will of God and called herself maidservant of the Lord. Immanuel, in Greek, means God with us. Jesus is God with us in the flesh, through His incarnation. Incarnation, which means embodied in flesh. 

Joseph was Jesus’ legal father but not his biological father. because Mary was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. Mary was a descendant of the tribe of Judah and a descendant of David. 

Your house and your kingdom will be made sure forever before you. Your throne will be established forever

2 Samuel 7:16

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel

Isaiah 7:14

Application

Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born by the virgin Mary. Isaiah prophesied this 700 years before Christ was born. No one can make a prediction 700 years earlier and make it come to pass 700 years later. Only God can do this because He is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient.  This was only one of 351 Old Testament prophecies fulfilled by Christ. The statistical chance for all these prophecies to be fulfilled by random chance is 1 in 10 to the power of 17. This is mathematically impossible, but with God all things are possible. This proves beyond any doubt that the Bible is truly the word of God. 

Jesus is God in the flesh. 2000 years ago, God step out from eternity and entered the time-space continuum to become a human being through the virgin birth of Mary. He lived a perfect life and died a cruel death on a Roman cross to pay the payment of your sins for us. All we have to do is believe in Jesus and weour shall be saved. This is the good news of the gospel. 

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for speaking to us today. Strengthen us in the faith for personal life enrichment. Engage us with Your word daily. Feed our weary souls and quench our spiritual thirst. Develop in us, a desire to know You more. Let Your word dwell richly in us. Thank You for including us in Your plan of salvation for the world. Thank You for the hope that we have in You. Even as we read about the birth of Your Son, we are humbled by His humble beginnings. We pray that You help us understand what we read today, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

a photo of my business card
business card