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What Is Sin? (Monday, September 25, 2017)

1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

Introductory Thoughts

The scripture provides several examples of sin. According to Proverbs 21:4, “An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.” Proverbs 24:9 adds, “The thought of foolishness is sin.” Romans 14:23 says, “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” James 4:17 declares, “to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” 1 John 5:17 broadens the scope by stating that “All unrighteousness is sin.” Although all of these thoughts serve to help man’s understanding of sin, none seem to completely identify exactly what constitutes sin. However, First John clearly and definitively defines sin: “sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4).

Devotional Thoughts

• (For children): We sin when we disobey God’s commandments (Exodus 20:3-17). Read what David said when he broke the sixth and seventh commandments (2 Samuel 12:9, 13a); Achan when he broke the eighth and tenth commandments (Joshua 7:20-21); and Saul when he broke the first commandment (1 Samuel 15:24). Have you ever broken the fifth commandment? Then that is sin.
• (For everyone): What is the relationship of sin and the law of God? Why does law have to exist before there can be sin? What kind of laws did God have in place before the law of Moses?
• What are some things you would consider to be sin? Which laws of God are violated by these actions?

Prayer Thoughts

• Ask God to give you a greater understanding of sin.
• Ask the Lord to give you His hatred for sin.

SONG: MY SAVIOUR’S LOVE

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Church Day (Sunday, September 24, 2017)

Sin—found 835 times in 707 verses; Note: This does not include other Bible words that generally convey the same concept as sin.

Variations: sin, sinful, sinned, sinner, sinners, sinnest, sinneth, sinning, sins

First usage: Genesis 4:7 (sin)

Last usage: Revelation 18:5 (sins)

Definition: the transgression of the law

Interesting fact: Despite the vast number of occurrences of the forms of the word sin, there are thirteen books of the Bible (Ruth, Esther, Song of Solomon, Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum, Haggai, Malachi, Philippians, Philemon, 2 John, and 3 John) that do not contain a single variation of the word. This does not mean that these books do not refer to some elements of wickedness. After all, two of these books (Esther and 2 John) contain a form of a sister word transgress.

Bible study tip: When the Lord sent letters to the seven churches of Asia Minor (see Revelation chapters 2 and 3), He addressed problems within the churches. Although not as obvious, the same element takes place in the epistles found in the New Testament (perhaps with the exception of Philemon). That being said, each epistle defends or critiques doctrinal issues. When reading books of the Bible, pay particular attention to the doctrine being taught along with considering the errors threatening the truth.

Sunday, Day 260—Church Day (no devotional)
Monday, Day 261—What Is Sin?
Tuesday, Day 262—The Knowledge of Sin
Wednesday, Day 263—Church Night (no devotional)
Thursday, Day 264—All Have Sinned
Friday, Day 265—My Sins Are Not Hid
Saturday, Day 266—God Hates Sin
Day 260: Church Day
1 John 5:17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

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Salutations in the Lord (Saturday, September 22, 2017)

1 Corinthians 16:19 The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.

Introductory Thoughts

Everything about the Christian life is wrapped up and founded in the person of Jesus Christ. For instance, the Bible says that the saints witness to the lost “in Christ’s stead” (2 Corinthians 5:20). The saints find their approval “in Christ” (Romans 16:10). Their love for each other is “in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 16:24). It should, therefore, be of no surprise that the saints’ salutations are also given “in the Lord” (Romans 16:22; 1 Corinthians 16:19). This means that the salutations of the saints are to be given through prayer along with the word of God and will of God in mind. The saints of God should salute one another as led by the Lord to do so. Those salutations are offered as ambassadors of Christ.

Devotional Thoughts

• (For children): Read Colossians 3:17a. This includes salutations. Our greetings should bring glory to God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Our greetings should build people up in the Lord (1 Corinthians 14:26b; 2 Corinthians 12:19b; Ephesians 4:29).
• (For everyone): Read some of Paul’s salutations. What words or phrases did he use to signify that his salutations were given with the will of God and the ministry in mind?
• Do you greet your brothers and sisters in Christ only with carnal talk and carnal subjects? How can this be a sinful practice and a failure on your part to minister for the Lord?

Prayer Thoughts

• Ask the Lord to help you take your salutations seriously.
• Ask God to help you realize that you are always His ambassador.

SONG: LET US RUN THE CHRISTIAN RACE

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Salute the Saints (Friday, September 22, 2017)

Philippians 4:21 Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you.

Introductory Thoughts

Salutations were an integral part of Paul’s ministry. Paul, like John, thought it important to “Greet the friends by name” (3 John 1:14). Romans chapter 16 is a testimony of Paul’s love for the saints. Name by name, Paul acknowledged many saints of God, specifically asking that they be saluted on his behalf (Romans 16:5, 7, 9-15). No doubt, Paul knew multitudes of people, and yet, he called the saints of God by name when writing his salutations. The world today seems to take a much different approach. The world generally recognizes a man’s name if that man has done some perceived great work or has something to offer in return. The apostle Paul knew the saints of God and desired to greet them by name. This serves as a tremendous demonstration of brotherly love!

Devotional Thoughts

• (For children): Note the word every in Philippians 4:21. Every means all (Hebrews 13:24). Find someone outside your own circle of friends and salute them.
• (For everyone): Do you know the names of the saints of God in your local church? Do you greet them by name and care about their well-being?
• Do you care about those who are serving the Lord in other locations? Do you ever take the time to write them? Do you ever send your salutations?

Prayer Thoughts

• Ask God to guide you to some saint who needs your salutations.
• Ask the Lord to give you a stronger love for the saints.

SONG: BLEST BE THE TIE THAT BINDS

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The Salutation of Paul (Thursday, September 21, 2017)

2 Thessalonians 3:16 Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.
17 The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write.
18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Introductory Thoughts

Contrary to what many Bible teachers claim, the apostle Paul’s salutations appeared at the end of his epistles and not at the beginning. It is at the end of each of his epistles that one finds the words salute, saluteth, and salutation. Many people do not realize that Paul rarely penned the epistles personally (Romans 16:22). It was such a rare occurrence that the apostle pointed out that he personally took the time and effort to pen the epistle to the churches of Galatia (Galatians 6:11). Paul’s salutation was so important that although he did not personally pen most of his epistles, he informed us that he personally penned his salutation (2 Thessalonians 3:17).

Devotional Thoughts

• (For children): Paul personally penned his salutations (1 Corinthians 16:21; Colossians 4:18). The word grace is in every salutation of Paul’s fourteen epistles. Paul knew grace was important to save (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 2:11) and to serve (2 Corinthians 9:8; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Hebrews 12:28).
• (For everyone): What was the content of Paul’s salutation (see 2 Thessalonians 3:16-18)? Why was it so important to him that he actually took the time and effort to personally pen the salutation, contrary to his common practice?
• How important is it to you to be able to salute those who know and love the Lord? Do you share Paul’s heart on the matter?

Prayer Thoughts

• Thank God for the believers He has brought into your life.
• Ask God to give you a love for your brethren.

SONG: GOD BE WITH YOU TILL WE MEET AGAIN

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Salutations, a Window to the Soul (Tuesday, September 19, 2017)

1 Samuel 25:2 And there was a man in Maon, whose possessions were in Carmel; and the man was very great, and he had three thousand sheep, and a thousand goats: and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel.
3 Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb.
4 And David heard in the wilderness that Nabal did shear his sheep.
5 And David sent out ten young men, and David said unto the young men, Get you up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name:
6 And thus shall ye say to him that liveth in prosperity, Peace be both to thee, and peace be to thine house, and peace be unto all that thou hast.
7 And now I have heard that thou hast shearers: now thy shepherds which were with us, we hurt them not, neither was there ought missing unto them, all the while they were in Carmel.
8 Ask thy young men, and they will shew thee. Wherefore let the young men find favour in thine eyes: for we come in a good day: give, I pray thee, whatsoever cometh to thine hand unto thy servants, and to thy son David.
9 And when David’s young men came, they spake to Nabal according to all those words in the name of David, and ceased.
10 And Nabal answered David’s servants, and said, Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? there be many servants now a days that break away every man from his master.
11 Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be?
12 So David’s young men turned their way, and went again, and came and told him all those sayings.
13 And David said unto his men, Gird ye on every man his sword. And they girded on every man his sword; and David also girded on his sword: and there went up after David about four hundred men; and two hundred abode by the stuff.
14 But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master; and he railed on them.

Introductory Thoughts

A man’s salutation can serve as the initial window to the condition of his heart. David sent out ten of his young men to salute Nabal (1 Samuel 25:14) with salutations of peace (1 Samuel 25:6). Instead of responding with like salutations, Nabal railed on David’s young men (1 Samuel 25:14) saying, “Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? there be many servants now a days that break away every man from his master. Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be?” (1 Samuel 25:10-11). Why did Nabal respond in such a way? The Bible says he did so because he was “churlish and evil in his doings” (1 Samuel 25:3).

Devotional Thoughts

• (For children): Martha’s and Mary’s salutations showed much sorrow in their souls (John 11:20-21; 32). Boaz’ salutations showed a kind, generous person (Ruth 2:4, 8-9). Mary’s salutation to Elisabeth showed a believing heart (Luke 1:39-45).
• (For everyone): How do you greet others when things are going well in your life? How do you greet others when you are spiritually struggling? What does this teach you about the connection between your salutations and your walk with God?
• How can your salutation hurt your testimony? How can it hinder you from being able to reach the lost?

Prayer Thoughts

• Ask the Lord to teach you the importance of your salutation.
• Ask God to help your greetings reflect a healthy walk with God.

SONG: EVERY DAY WILL I BLESS THEE

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What Is a Salutation? (Monday, September 18, 2017)

2 Corinthians 13:13 All the saints salute you.

Introductory Thoughts

The Bible often defines words through their associations. For instance, the words salute, saluteth, and salutation involve a greeting. This can best be understood as salute is identified and associated to words like meet (1 Samuel 13:10), bless (2 Samuel 8:10), and greet (Romans 16:5, 11; Philippians 4:21; Titus 3:15; 3 John 1:14). In person, the salutation is the initial greeting (Judges 18:15), but in written correspondence, it often appears at the conclusion of the letter (see Romans chapter 16). One specific salutation can be found by comparing Matthew 10:12 with Luke 10:5-6. In Matthew 10:12, the Bible says, “And when ye come into an house, salute it.” The word salute is defined in Luke 10:5 as “first say, Peace be to this house.” This serves as another example of the Bible’s built-in dictionary.

Devotional Thoughts

• (For children): A salutation is more than just saying, “Hi,” to someone. It is a greeting that offers expressions of goodness or well-being. Consider these Bible examples: Genesis 24:29-31; Genesis 43:29; Judges 6:12; Ruth 2:4; 1 Samuel 15:13; Luke 1:28-30.
• (For everyone): Paul admonished the recipients of his epistles to salute the brethren. How do you salute the brethren? Do you salute them as Paul and John did by commending the saints unto the grace and peace of God (Colossians 4:18; 3 John 1:14)?
• Why is it important that believers strive to conform to the will of God down to the details of having scriptural salutations?

Prayer Thoughts

• Ask God to help you to be a blessing to others in your salutations.
• Ask the Lord to help you learn how to salute the brethren.

SONG: TAKE THE NAME OF JESUS WITH YOU

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Church Day (Sunday, September 17, 2017)

Salutations—found sixty times in fifty-three verses

Variations: salutation, salutations, salute, saluted, saluteth

First usage: Judges 18:15 (saluted)

Last usage: 3 John 1:14 (salute)

Defined: a courteous and respectful greeting

Interesting fact: When Mary, the mother of Jesus, saluted her cousin Elisabeth, the Bible says that the babe in Elisabeth’s womb joyfully leaped (Luke 1:41, 44). This directs the reader to two points of interest: (1) Mary’s salutation along with the presence of Jesus brought joy both to Elisabeth and John, and (2) John was a living soul in his mother’s womb.

Bible study tip: When studying Bible geography, it is wise to consider the following: (1) the various names by which the place is called throughout history, (2) the major events that took place at the location, (3) the people groups who have inhabited the location in question, and (4) the bordering places of the location.

Sunday, Day 253—Church Day (no devotional)
Monday, Day 254—What Is a Salutation?
Tuesday, Day 255—Salutations, a Window to the Soul
Wednesday, Day 256—Church Night (no devotional)
Thursday, Day 257—The Salutation of Paul
Friday, Day 258—Salute the Saints
Saturday, Day 259—Salutations in the Lord
Day 253: Church Day
Luke 1:26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

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Ye Have Not Looked Unto the Maker (Friday, September 15, 2017)

Isaiah 22:11 Ye made also a ditch between the two walls for the water of the old pool: but ye have not looked unto the maker thereof, neither had respect unto him that fashioned it long ago.

Introductory Thoughts

The Lord never has nor ever will compete for the respect of man. The Bible says, “The LORD he is God; there is none else beside him” (Deuteronomy 4:35). God said, “I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me” (Isaiah 45:5). Yet, God desires fellowship with mankind. He does not need it, but for reasons that only He knows, He desires it. For this reason, He invites mankind to “look unto” Him and be saved (Isaiah 45:22). He not only desires man’s respect, but even more so, He deserves it. No god can do for man what God has done for man in sending His Son to the cross. In spite of all that God has done for man, men still refuse to look to their Maker and have the utmost respect for Him (Isaiah 22:11).

Devotional Thoughts

• (For children): Read Numbers 21:5-9. Compare this to John 3:14-18. The only way to be saved is to “look” unto the true and living God (Hebrews 12:2).
• (For everyone): Have you looked unto the Lord for salvation? Have you respected Him in lieu of the gods of this world? Will you give Him preference in every facet of your life?
• How has mankind disrespected God by following after false gods which “speak not,” “see not,” “hear not,” “smell not,” “handle not,” and “walk not” (Psalm 115:1-8)?

Prayer Thoughts

• If you have not trusted Christ as Saviour, call upon Him!
• Ask the Lord to help you have “respect unto him” daily.

SONG: LOOK AND LIVE

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Preferring One Another (Thursday, September 14, 2017)

Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Introductory Thoughts

People in the world are generally quite self-centered. For this reason, it is hard to imagine what it would be like to find a people who esteemed others “better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3), but this is the very thing that God expects from Christians. Although men are not to be respecters of persons in judgment, they are to prefer and esteem others above themselves, especially when it comes to fellow believers. The Bible says that “As we have . . . opportunity,” believers are to “do good unto all men,” but “especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). This failure on the part of the Church is a great indicator of the last days. Even saved people are often “lovers of their own selves” (2 Timothy 3:2) instead of preferring “one another” (Romans 12:10).

Devotional Thoughts

• (For children): Jesus went about doing good (Acts 10:38). He is our example in humility and service (Matthew 20:28; Luke 22:26-27; John 13:4-5; 12-15). We need to be more like Him (Philippians 2:5, 7; Ephesians 5:21; Galatians 5:13c; 1 Peter 5:5).
• (For everyone): Do you give preference to your brothers and sisters in Christ above yourself? Do you have respect unto them? Are you doing good to them who are of the household of faith?
• How can you demonstrate respect for your brethren in Christ? What kind of things could you do for them to show preference above yourself? How often do you do those things?

Prayer Thoughts

• Ask God to give you a heart for others.
• Thank the Lord for the brotherly love that still exists.

SONG: BLEST BE THE TIE THAT BINDS

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