Some Further Reflections on Joseph’s Story

Over the last several weeks at Park Community Church, we have been hearing the stories from the Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament) that point to the greatest story of all–God’s plan to redeem His people through Jesus Christ. As the most recent “episode” of the “Great Stories” series at the Forest Glen church, we heard a message from Pastor Steve Coble on the story of Joseph from the book of Genesis, chapters 37 – 50.

Here are a few of my takeaways from the message:

1. Every evil and tragic thing that happened in Joseph’s life was not only used by God, but actually intended by God for Joseph’s eventual good. God did not merely “use” the trouble and tragedy in Joseph’s life, as though He was working out a Plan B. Rather, it turns out He actually had a plan from the beginning that superseded all the evil intentions of the “villains” in the story.

Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. The wife of Potiphar, Joseph’s master, falsely accused him of sexual assault. In prison, Joseph was forgotten and left to rot, by someone he had helped. And yet every single one of these seeming misfortunes was a stepping stone toward Joseph’s final promotion (to second in command of the whole kingdom!) and reconciliation with his family.

Even the famine that struck the region worked out for good, as it brought Joseph’s brothers and father to him. God’s sovereign plan often has, worked into it, evil people doing evil things. He does this in order to show that He is in complete, sovereign control. His creatures will freely choose to do wrong, but God is greater than our plans.

He is totally good, and He is in total control. The same is true in your life today. If you love God and have been called according to His purpose, then God is working all things in your life together for good–to make you more like Jesus and unite you to Him as His brother or sister (Romans 8:28-30).

2. Joseph’s story had implications that stretched far beyond his own lifetime. Joseph himself became a pattern of the Messiah who would come–namely Jesus. Jesus was betrayed by his own people into the hands of evil men, falsely accused, and punished as an innocent man. And like Joseph (though infinitely more significantly) Jesus was vindicated–raised from the dead!–and promoted to the most exalted position in the kingdom.

The story of Joseph and his brothers is one chapter in the grand story God wrote in history, leading to the conclusion in which Jesus Christ rescues His people from calamity and establishes his righteous reign. In fact, Jesus is reigning now, and possesses “all authority in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). Right now you may be on the wrong side of His reign–not yet submitted to Him–but you can be reconciled to God, just as Joseph’s brothers were reconciled to him, by admitting you are a sinner and repenting to God, trusting in Jesus as Savior and King.

3. I can stop worrying, and so can you. Joseph’s story, and the Gospel to which it points, powerfully conveys that God has a good plan, He is in control of our circumstances in order to bring about that plan, and His plan is good for us. If God can bring His Son back from the dead (and He did), and if God has promised everlasting life to those who trust in Jesus (and He has), and if He will be with us always (and He will), then what is there to worry about?

I tend to worry about my children–that I will fail them as a father. No doubt Joseph’s father, Israel (the name God gave to Jacob and where the nation of Israel gets its name), felt like a failure on that day that his sons reported that Joseph had been killed. But God was in control, working out His plan. Israel saw the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (cf. Psalm 27:13), and he realized the truth: God is able to use the worst tragedies to bring about redemption and rescue.

Joseph’s story is a great story, and it doesn’t end with Him. It continues on to the Messiah and through Messiah to his people. Are you one of His people? Trust in Him!

What Kind of Church Outreach Works?

Since I started in ministry back in 2011, I have been a student of church outreach methods and practices. What is outreach? Outreach is simply the activity of extending one’s attention beyond one’s church community in order to bring the Gospel to outsiders, and to bring outsiders to faith in Christ and into the church.

Outreach is important, because as followers of Jesus, we ought not to keep the good news to ourselves. We want to share it and see others–as many as the Lord will give us–come to saving faith, reconciliation to God and others, and the transformed life that only Jesus can give.

Over the years, I have worked with ministries and staffs to develop strategies ranging from pub theology groups, to backyard barbecues, to evangelistic retreats and lock-ins, to well-known programs like the Alpha Course. I have attended conferences and researched curriculum. I have preached it from the stage, and I have obnoxiously wedged it into conversations. I would by no means call myself an expert in outreach, but I am a student of it. I don’t know everything (far from it), but I have learned a few things. And after years of studying and practicing outreach, I am convinced that there are two methods of outreach that is more effective than everything else.

The two most effective methods for evangelism I have found are these:

  1. Studying the Bible in a small group.
  2. A personal invitation to church.

Studying the Bible in a small group

There is something about opening up God’s word with a group of two-to-12 people, reading it, discussing it, and asking and answering questions about it that is just powerful. In Isaiah 55:11, the Lord says, “My word that comes from my mouth will not return to me empty, but it will accomplish what I please and will prosper in what I send it to do” (CSB). I have written about the benefit of small group Bible study to spiritual growth, so I won’t belabor this point.

If you are looking for something you can do to reach unbelievers with the Gospel, I would just encourage you to pray first, and then recruit one or two other believers to do this with you. Together, pick up a book on one-to-one or small-group Bible study (like this one) and start inviting your non-Christian friends and acquaintances to study the Bible with you. You can say something like, “Would you have any interest in reading the Bible with me and a couple other guys (/gals) for a few weeks?”

An evangelistic, small-group Bible study on a book like Romans or one of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) can be a powerful environment for outreach.

A personal invitation to church

Ideally, there is one place you can count on the Gospel being announced at least once a week. That place, of course, is your local church (if your pastor is not preaching the Good News about Jesus every week, then you need to have a sit-down with him. Come on, Preacher! We’ve got souls to save here! Get on your horse!). Because of this, a church invite can be a great way to get your non-Christian friends, neighbors and family members in front of Jesus. The fact is, most of us are not inviting people to church. Before churches plan to spend money, time and volunteer hours on large-scale outreach initiatives, we should take advantage of the “outreach event” happening every weekend!

The invitation can be something as simple as saying, “Hey, if you don’t have any plans this Sunday morning, I’d love to have you join me at my church this Sunday. We can even grab lunch afterward. Want to come?”

These two outreach methods are simple, but let’s be honest, they are still intimidating. You still have to make the invitation. Sometimes, we may prefer large-scale events, because it allows us to hid behind everyone else in the church. These two methods require personal, face-to-face interaction and taking a risk. But this is exactly what the Lord did for us. Jesus came down and met us face-to-face. And last time I checked, He still invites us, through His word, to come to Him (see here and here).  It’s our privilege, as His followers, to pass that invitation along.

Further reading: 

  • Why Church Members Don’t Invite Others to Church: http://thomrainer.com/2014/07/church-members-dont-invite-others-church/
  • Five Surprising Insights about the Unchurched: http://thomrainer.com/2016/12/five-surprising-insights-unchurched/

One Sure-Fire Way to Grow in Spiritual Health this Summer

Before we begin, join me, for the sake of argument, in assuming two things:

  1. You have a spirit.
  2. Your spirit could be healthier.

Your spirit is the deepest core of who you are.  It’s the truest essence of “self” that you have. It’s your very life. When your spirit departs your body (i.e. when you die), your body dies. Ever since our Creator breathed the first human spirit into the first human body (creating the first human being), all people ever since have been both physical and spiritual (or “psychosomatic”).  While it is relatively easy to find reliable data on how to pursue physical health, when it comes to spiritual health, things get a littler more murky. There are countless traditions, techniques, and writings out there on how to grow in spiritual health, but I want to suggest one simple, repeatable, and enormously beneficial practice that is guaranteed to grow you in spiritual health.

That practice is: study the Bible with followers of Jesus.

Now, you might object that you aren’t a Christian. That’s fine, you don’t have to be one, to study the Bible with some. If you live close to a Bible-believing church, call them up and see if your local pastor or church leader can recommend any Bible-study groups meeting in your neighborhood. But the goal must be to get into a group where followers of Jesus–Christians–are studying the Bible together.

Why do I say that this practice is guaranteed to grow you spiritually? There are three reasons:

It’s God’s own recommendation for spiritual growth.

In the ancient book of Deuteronomy, it’s recorded that God told His people, “man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3). Later, in another book (Hebrews, chapter 10), it is written, “…let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.” So the Bible is like food for the soul, and we’re instructed to gather together for encouragement. Together, we see a strong recommendation for studying the Bible together. 

It will give you access to supernatural insight.

Jesus famously told His disciples, “…I tell you truly that if two of you on the earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven. For where two or three gather together in my name, there I am with them” (Matthew 18:19-20). Jesus does not physically show up at every gathering of His followers; rather He shows up by God’s Spirit–the Holy Spirit, who indwells every true Christian. When Christians gather together around God’s word, they should expect the Holy Spirit to give them insights together that transcend anything they could come up with on their own. This insight is relevant to life changes, to one’s relationships to God and others, and to simply understanding life’s important questions.

It works.

Studying the Bible with Christians has been one of the top three practices that have grown me spiritually. In other words, I know from experience. In case you’re wondering, the other two practices have been prayer and teaching (what you prepare for, you learn!). When I think back on the periods of my life in which I grew the most spiritually–when I grew in peace, humility and confidence, when my heart grew larger toward my fellowmen, I immediately think of early morning and late night conversations with followers of Jesus, had while studying Scripture together.

Where to find a group:

Many churches (and probably one in your area) offer small group ministries or so-called Sunday School classes. If you happen to find yourself in Chicago, click here to get connected through Park Community Church. Again, whether you have faith or not, whether you consider yourself a strong believer or are just looking into spirituality for the first time, my recommendation is: get in a group and study the Bible with followers of Jesus. It’s God’s own recommendation, it will give you access to supernatural insight, and it works.

What About Those Who Don’t Believe in God?

As I prepare for tomorrow’s message on the book of Jonah–the man who was plunged into the abyss, into the belly of a giant fish, and returned after three days–one concept has really shocked me. In this incredible (though not un-credible) story, there are two groups of people who become worshipers of the Lord, namely the polytheist sailors and the wicked citizens of Nineveh, who had previously been the furthest thing from believers. And yet, it is clear from the story that God actually expected their worship. He deserved it. They owed Him worship.

There is no sense, from Scripture, that worship of the Lord is something optional, or that God only certain people to worship Him, or that He only wants to be known, glorified and enjoyed by people who currently adhere to a particular religion.

God is the God of everyone He has created. And He has created everyone. He is even the God of those who don’t believe in Him. (Or at least, they claim to believe in Him. Whether anyone can truly be an atheist is an issue for another time. Spoiler alert: they can’t.)

These theme of the universality of God’s worship-worthiness continues on into the New Testament, in which Jesus is said to be the Savior, not only of certain people, but of the whole world (see 1 John 2:2 and 4:14). That is to say, there is only one God, and One who goes between God and man, to make peace between us.

Like the pagan sailors and the Ninevites in the book of Jonah, you, me, and everyone we know owe our allegiance to the one true God.

This is difficult, because there are many religious systems out there claiming to be true, and insofar as they deny the Gospel, they are therefore all wrong (see the recent controversy with Senator Bernie Sanders and presidential appointee).

However, it is also wonderful news (the word Gospel means “good news”), because there is a sure way to God. There aren’t multiple ways, but that’s okay, because there aren’t multiple gods. There is only one. And He has given us a way. That way is through faith in Jesus (John 1:12).

This Gospel is the message that Christians must take to our family, friends and neighbors: there is one true God. He made us, and we owe Him everything. We’ve been refusing Him the worship He deserves, and we’ve earned His punishment (that’s why God sent Jonah to Nineveh in the first place!). Rescue from that punishment comes through faith in the one who was plunged into the abyss of death and returned to the land of the living after three days. Not Jonah, but Jesus. Do you know Him? Whom will you tell?

Catechism Q5

How much does God know? 

God knows everything! 

Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking plainly. You are using examples that are clear.  Now we can see that you know everything. You don’t even need anyone to ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.”

John 16:29-30 (NIrV)

Jesus spoke to him a third time. He asked, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Peter felt bad because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He answered, “Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

John 21:17 (NIrV)

If our hearts judge us, we know that God is greater than our hearts. And he knows everything.

1 John 3:20 (NIrV)

So far, we have seen that there is one true God, who exists in three Persons. Question five teaches us that God knows all things. He is omniscient [omnishuh nt], or all-knowing.

Theologians disagree about how exactly the Lord knows everything.

Is God like an observer, standing outside time and viewing it all, as one might look down at a village in a valley from the top of a mountain, where the houses in the village are moments in time, all laid out before Him?

Or does God know the future because He has declared it? Does He know all things because He is the Author of the universe’s story? This certainly seems to be what the Bible teaches. The Lord is portrayed in Scripture as not only an observer but as the Author; yet He did not just pre-determine what would happen and then sit back.

The Bible presents God as intimately involved in the narrative of the world. And of course, the ultimate example of His involvement is in the person of Jesus Christ–God in the flesh, who entered into our world to experience humanity firsthand and save us from ourselves.

God is the God who knows us, both by virtue of being our Designer, as well as by His own experience.

What does all this mean for you and your family? It means many things, but among them is the truth that God really knows you–not just about you. If you are His child, if you are part of His family, then He knows you as a Father. Everything you have ever thought, said and done–and all that you ever will–is laid out before the Lord who wrote your story and knows everything.

He has been providing for you since the moment you were conceived. This is the God who invites you and your children into a relationship with Himself–as His servant, as His subject, but also as His child and His friend.

As the New Covenant Catechism for Little Ones progresses, we will get into the weeds of the human story, what went wrong with us, what is our only hope, and how to enjoy a relationship with the all-knowing God. Stay tuned. And again, if this has been helpful to you, your family, or your church, please let me know in the comments.

Advanced Christianity

The (anonymous) author of the biblical Letter to the Hebrews spends 9 1/2 chapters laying down the basics of the Christian faith. He meticulously proves that Jesus Christ is better than everything else, and that He is the only rational ground for confidence in life regarding what truly matters.

Then, in chapter 10, having established the absolute supremacy and utter trustworthiness of Jesus Christ, the author decides it is time to move on from the basics. Note that he is not “moving away” from the Gospel. Rather, he is demonstrating some of the implications of the Gospel being true. In other words, it’s not, “You’ve got the Gospel, now let’s put that aside and get to the meaty stuff,” but rather: “You’ve got the Gospel, now let’s really dig in and see what your life will look like as you grow in that truth.”

So here are four components of “Advanced Christianity” according to Hebrews 10:19-35

  1. Draw near to God with a true heart and full assurance of your faith (verses 19-22).
  2. Hold fast the confession of your hope without wavering (verse 23).
  3. Be thinking about how to stir up one another toward love and good works, encouraging one another (verses 24-31).
  4. Do not throw away your confidence (32-35).

If the Lord wills it, and I’m still alive this Sunday, we’ll dig into this passage at Grace Pointe Plainfield and explain just why these four things are so important–and the terrifying consequences of ignoring God’s incredible rescue plan.

Spiritual Progress (An Outline of 2 Peter 1:3-11)

Translation:

3 As His divine power has bestowed to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of the one who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 through which he has bestowed to us the valuable and exceedingly great promise, in order that through these you all may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the ruin that is in the world because of lust. 5 And in the same way, but introducing simultaneously all earnestness, supply in your faith excellence, and in excellence knowledge, 6 and in knowledge temperance, and in temperance endurance, and in endurance godliness, 7 and in godliness brotherly affection, and in brotherly affection love. 8 For these coming into existence for you and increasing, are making you neither useless nor fruitless in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For the one to whom these things are not at hand, he is blind, being nearsighted, being struck with forgetfulness of the cleansing of his former sins. 10 Consequently, brothers, be diligent to make your calling and election stable, for, doing these things, you may by no means ever stumble. 11 For in this way it will be richly supplied to you—the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Outline: 

  1. (3-4) His divine power has bestowed to us all things that pertain to life and godliness
    1. bestowed through the knowledge of the one
      1. who called us to his own glory and excellence.
        1. through which excellence he has bestowed to us the valuable and exceedingly great promises
          1. He has bestowed in order that through these you all may become partakers of the divine nature
            1. become partakers having escaped the ruin
              1. the ruin that is in the world because of lust.
  2. (5-7) And in the same way, but at the same time introducing all earnestness, supply…
    1. supply excellence in your faith
    2. and supply in excellence, knowledge
    3. and supply in knowledge, self-control (temperance)
    4. and supply in self-control, endurance
    5. and supply in endurance, godliness
    6. and supply in godliness, brotherly affection
    7. and supply in brotherly affection, love.
  3. (8) For these things… make you neither useless nor fruitless in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    1. …as they come into existence for you…
    2. …and as they increase…
  4. (9) For the one to whom these things are not at hand, he is blind,
    1. being nearsighted,
    2. being struck with forgetfulness of the cleansing of his former sins.
  5. (10) Doing these things will assure you of your calling and election.
    1. Consequently, brothers, be diligent to make your calling and election stable.
    2. For you may by no means ever stumble.
      1. as you do these things
  6. (11) For in this way it will be richly supplied to you—the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Commentary: 

God has given us everything we need to live a godly life. He is powerful enough to do that. And the means by which He gives us everything we need is the knowledge of himself. He has called us–not just to a “good” life–to his own glory and excellence. His goal is that we actually share in the divine nature. The alternative to this glorious future is being dragged back down into the world and its destruction. The world brings about its own ruin, because of its self-destructive lusts. Christians are called to remember that they have been saved from that destruction. We have been called by God, chosen by Him, and He has set us apart from the world. Because that is true, we may live in a godly way–which, when practically lived out, looks a bit like climbing a ladder–from faith all the way up to spiritual maturity in love. Note that the upward progression is not what saves a person. Rather, it is how a saved person may be assured of his salvation. To fail to live this way is to fall back into sin–how could we forget that God has cleansed us from our sins! Let’s not go back and live like we haven’t been cleansed.

Application: 

Do I really believe that God has given me everything needed to live in a godly way? Am I actively pursuing godliness–striving toward experiencing and manifesting the same love that God has bestowed upon me in His power? Do I hope for the resurrection and the glory that I will share with God? May I seek today to live with humble thankfulness to the Lord, for choosing me, for washing me in Christ Jesus, and for promising me a glorious future. And may I demonstrate to others the love that He has lavished upon me–that others may come to experience God’s salvation, washing, and love for themselves.

Helping One Another in God’s Household (A Sermon Skeleton of Titus 3:12-14)

Translation:

12 When I may send Artemas or Tychicus to you, endeavor to come to me in Nicopolis. For I have decided to spend the winter there. 13 Promptly send on their way Zenas the lawyer and Apollos, in order that nothing may be lacking for them. 14 But our people are also to learn to practice good works for necessary needs, in order that they may not be unfruitful.

Outline of main points and subpoints:

  1. (12) Endeavor to come to me in Nicopolis
    1. Endeavor when I send Artemas or Tychicus to you
    2. Endeavor for I have decided to spend the winter there (in Nicopolis).
  2. (13) Send on their way Zenas the lawyer and Apollos
    1. Send them
    2. Send them in order that nothing may be lacking for them.
  3. (14) But our people are to learn also to practice good works for necessary needs
    1. They are to learn in order that they may not be unfruitful.

Commentary:

Paul mentions his companions by name. This pastor was friends with his people, and he desired that they learn the things that would keep them from being ineffective for Christ’s kingdom. Paul himself was a living example of godly fruitfulness. He knew what it meant to practice good works that met people’s needs. He instructs Titus to practice the same, when he gives him instructions for Zenas and Apollos (Titus is to fully equip them), and he instructs Titus to teach this practice to the rest of the congregation—indeed this is something for the whole Church.

Application:

As a pastor, I need to do what I can to meet the necessary needs of God’s people. I should practice this, instruct other leaders to practice this, and teach the congregation to practice this as well. The goal is to be fruitful for the kingdom.

Knowledge is good by itself; but knowledge put into action—helping others meet their needs—that is productivity and progress. Who will I reach out to in assistance today? Even just to let them know I am praying for them?

God’s Household (Titus 1:1-4)

As a young pastor I appreciate the investment I’ve received from pastors with more experience and wisdom. Lately I’ve been working through the Apostle Paul’s pastoral letters, outlining them by hand from the Greek, an interlinear and a couple of good, literal translations. My goal has been to identify main and supporting points, adding brief commentary and preaching notes, all to get mentorship from the man himself.

I’ve found this process to be really helpful. It is really as if I’m being personally discipled by the Apostle Paul! I have been able to gain a greater understanding of what Paul was saying, and that has been hugely beneficial to my spiritual life. I think these outlines would be beneficial to others too, so I am sharing them here for your perusal.

These are not fully fleshed out sermons; they are what David Martyn Lloyd-Jones called “skeletons.” I hope you find them as helpful as I have. Without further ado, here’s Titus 1:1-4.

My translation: 

(1) Paul, a slave of God and apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of truth that accords with godliness, (2) according to the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before eternal times, (3) but manifested His word in proclamation, with which I was entrusted according to the authority of God our Savior.

(4) To Titus, a genuine child according to common faith.

Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

Skeleton: 

  1. (1-3) Section One
    1. I, Paul, am a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ
      1. I am a slave and apostle according to (two things)
        1. According to the faith of the elect of God (Paul’s apostleship agrees with what God’s chosen ones believe)
        2. And according to the truth
          1. The truth accords with godliness
        3. I am a slave and apostle in the hope of eternal life
          1. God promised eternal life before eternal time
            1. God cannot lie
            2. But God manifested His Word in his own times
              1. He manifested His Word in the proclamation
                1. I was entrusted with the proclamation
                  1. I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior.
    2.  Notes on Section One
      1. Paul is a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ.
      2. This fact agrees with the truth Christians believe and by which they may live godly lives.
      3. Paul serves in the hope of eternal life which God promised before time began.
      4. God cannot lie, (so how did he bring his promise to life?).
      5. He brought his word to life in preaching
      6. Paul was entrusted with that preaching by the commandment of God, who is our Savior.
      7. So Paul’s proclamation of the Gospel is the means God uses to bring His promise of eternal life to the world.
  2. (4a) Section Two
    1. Titus is my true child
      1. Titus is my true child according to our common faith.
    2. Notes on Section Two
      1. Paul is a father figure to Titus.
      2. Their bond is not genetic but spiritual
      3. Their bond is based upon their common faith.
      4. When two people have entrusted themselves to Jesus Christ, they become part of the family of God, which makes them family with each other (cf. Eph. 4:25 – we are members of one another)
  3. (4b) Section Three
    1. (4b) Grace and peace (be to you) from
      1. God the Father
      2. And Christ Jesus
        1. Christ Jesus is our Savior
    2.  Notes on Section Three
      1. He calls God “Father”
        1. This is what Jesus called God.
        2. Jesus is God’s Son.
        3. We are of the family of Christ, by our common faith in Him.
        4. Therefore we have the same Father that Jesus has.
      2. Earlier Paul called God (the Father) our Savior. Here he calls Jesus our Savior. God the Father and God the Son are both God. And they are both properly called our Savior. They are one in unity and Deity, distinct in Personhood (Doctrine of the Trinity)
  4.  Applications from this passage:
    1. We are united with fellow believers by faith, into a “true” family.
    2. Older believers bring up younger believers and bless them.
    3. Our promise-keeping Father manifests eternal life through the preaching of the Gospel.
    4. So unite with your faith family around the Gospel, and preach that Gospel to everyone!

A Tale of Two Sauls

1 Samuel 18:10-11; 19:1
1000 B. C.
Saul, the first king of Israel, abused his authority and viciously pursued and tried to destroy David, who would become the ancestor of the Messiah. God intervened, Saul’s plan was later vanquished, and he was killed in battle.

Acts 8:1-3; 9:1-6
Fast forward a thousand years:
Saul, an Israeli religious scholar (Pharisee), abused his authority and viciously pursued and tried to destroy the fledgling church, the movement begun by the Messiah, the descendant of David. God intervened, Saul’s plan was vanquished, and Saul became Paul–the world’s greatest missionary and apostle of the faith he had tried to destroy.

God’s plan to usher in His kingdom through His Messiah, Jesus Christ, cannot be stopped by mere mortals. You and I must end up like one of the two Sauls–either destroyed while shaking our fist at the King, or humbled and transformed by repentance and faith in the King.

In Matthew 4:17, the the Messiah says, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” How will you answer His command?