Watching Daily At My Gates

July 12 Read I John 1:1-5

After Christ ascended into heaven, his disciples, also called apostles, began the work of spreading the Gospel throughout the world. Some of them in their work wrote epistles or letters to various churches and people of God. John spent time working in Asia Minor, and it is supposed that he wrote this epistle to churches in that area. We see that his experiences with Jesus lend to the authenticity about believing Christ. We see this in verse one. John states that there is joy in believing in God and Jesus. He then states that God is light and there is no darkness in him. True joy is walking in the light and not in the darkness. Experiencing the things of the world might seem to give us joy, but it is not true joy. Let us walk in the light that we may have the only joy there is in this world and the world to come. Sing Psalter 71.

July 13 Read I John 1:6-10

John gets right to the heart of our Christian lives. We must walk in the truth and the light. This cannot be done superficially; this must be done every day and all the day. Walking in the light is the only way to have true fellowship with fellow believers. The question is not whether we sin or not. We do. The question is, “What do we do when we sin?” If we confess our sins, we will find peace with God, ourselves, and our fellow believers. Let us walk in the light and in the knowledge that we are cleansed from sin only by the blood of Christ. Sing Psalter 83.

July 14 Read I John 2:1-6

Here we see the relationship between faith and works. We show our faith by keeping his commandments. There is no other possibility. To walk in the truth is to do the truth at all times. To do anything else is to walk in the lie. If we want to have the confidence and the assurance of faith, we must strive each day to keep his commandments. But knowing we have the old man in us, John tells us about our advocate. This was the message of John’s gospel, and he reminds us of that message in this epistle. Let us find confidence in Christ, but let us strive daily to keep his words. Sing Psalter 38.

July 15 Read I John 2:7-11

John writes several admonitions to the churches of his day and the church of today. The admonition to love our brother is one to which we should take heed each day. We cannot say we love God and hate our neighbor. You might remember that this was Christ’s word to his disciples in the upper room the night before his death. John carries out his work of bringing that message to God’s people. Do we heed that word? Do we work at loving our brothers? Let us do that because this commandment is not of John but of God. Sing Psalter 369.

July 16 Read I John 2:12-17

The Bible contains personal messages for each of us. Here we have one that specifically shows to us that it is personal. Because it is the love letter from our Father, elder brother, and bridegroom, there is a message for each of us on each and every page. The main message in this portion of Scripture, is found in verse 15. We are commanded to not love the world. This seems very straight forward, but in our lives sometimes it is hard to put into practice. The last two verses of this section give to us the reason for the commandment. The basic reason is everything of this world will pass away, but God’s people will have eternal life. Do we need any other incentive? Let us love God, and ask for grace to not love the world. Sing Psalter 271.

July 17 Read I John 2:18-29

One of John’s themes in his epistles is the end of the world. The last times began when Christ ascended into heaven. Since then he is coming. Since then the church must live by watching and praying even as Christ taught them. John could see in the world around him that the wicked were trying to cause the church to sin. John’s message to the church was that they had to be patient and to live in Christ. This is the message to us as well as we wait for the second coming of Christ. The wicked wish to do us harm. Today it is not the physical harm like the time of the Roman Empire, but the wicked wish to do us harm nonetheless. Let us pray for the grace to abide in him and wait patiently for the day of his coming. Sing Psalter 99.

July 18 Read I John 3:1-6

John wishes to point out the quality of love that God has showed to us. It is a love unlike any love that a person on this earth can exhibit to anyone, even to God himself. It is a love that is completely giving in nature. It is a love on which all love must be patterned. Do we attempt to show that kind of love to those around us? Are we grateful for the love that enables us to inherit eternal life? This is the love which make us sons of God and heirs with Christ. Let us walk in that love and seek not to walk in the sins of the world. Sing Psalter 24.

July 19 Read I John 3:7-10

In these verses John is not saying that the regenerated child of God is perfect while on this earth. That would contradict Scripture in many other places. But John is saying that the child of God does not fall away from his regeneration by sin. Before God we are without sin because of the blood of Christ. This is the doctrine of justification. This is a great comfort, but it should also be a great warning in how we must live. We must be like Joseph when tempted in Egypt to say, “”How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” Therefore, because we are justified by Christ we are also sanctified and must live lives free from sin. May this be part of our prayer each and every morning. Sing Psalter 336.

July 20 Read I John 3:11-16

In the gospel according to John, Jesus told his disciples about a new commandment which was that we ought to love each other. John, in his epistles, carries out that theme often. Here we see it explained. We also see that we should not expect love from the world. If we do, we will not be walking in the truth. John reminds us the love of God is an absolute love. He loved us so much that he gave his life for us. This is the love after which we must pattern our love for those in the church of Christ. This is not easy, but it is what we must do. Sing Psalter 371.

July 21 Read I John 3:17-24

John continues expounding the theme of the works of love. Love means that when we see a brother in need we help him. We do not evaluate his social standing, his economic standing, or the political gain it may give us. We help him. This is a plain and simple truth. We do it because it shows that God’s truth is in us, and it is pleasing to our heavenly Father. We show love in this way because this is Christ’s commandment to his church. Notice how John uses what he learned in the upper room that night before Jesus’s death. Jesus taught him that he may teach us. May we learn the truth and walk in it. Sing Psalter 25.

July 22 Read I John 4:1-6

First of all, notice John’s address. It is one of his favorites. He calls the church beloved. He has expended much love and energy towards them, and he feels close to them. This must be the sentiment of not only officebearers but also of each member of the congregation. We must truly be able to call each other beloved. Secondly, see the admonition to try the spirits. As we go throughout this world, there are many spirits of religion and even life around us. Most of them are not of God. Our enemy, Satan, will use any spirit to tempt us into falling away. We must test those spirits using the test of God’s word. This is important as we walk the walk of sanctification in our lives. Sing Psalter 276.

July 23 Read I John 4:7-16

John goes back to one of his main themes—that of love. He points out that the only true love comes from one who is loved by God. God loved first, and then we reflect that love back to him and to one another. John saw firsthand that love when he observed his friend dying on the cross. He not only shared in that sorrow on that Good Friday, but he also shared in that joy on Resurrection Sunday. After the Spirit was poured out on Pentecost, then John understood how great that love was. Let us love one another even as God loved us. Sing Psalter 370.

July 24 Read I John 4:17-21

John continues on in his theme of love. We see that our love must be perfected and made complete by God in Christ. There is a reason for that complete love. That completeness is so that we may be bold for God’s sake. We need not fear the world because God loves us. In fact, we can only love because he loved us first. This is quite often forgotten by many. God’s love is a sovereign love whereby he causes all things to work for good for his people. Finally, John finishes his theme by returning to the premise that we must show our love for God by loving our brother. Do we do this? Do we do this everyday? Sing Psalter 26.

July 25 Read I John 5:1-5

These few verses have some very sobering truths. First of all, we know we love our brother when we keep God’s commandments and love him. The three are interconnected. We cannot do only one or only two of those activities. Secondly, God’s commandments are not grievous. Sometimes we might think that it is hard to obey God. In the idol-filled world of John’s day, obeying God might seem much easier. The idols are around us today though they are more subtle. We still must obey God. Finally, to believe is to exercise our faith and overcome the world. We are not in this alone. We do not live without any help. God, who gives us faith, helps us to overcome the world. Sing Psalter 41.

July 26 Read I John 5:6-12

Notice in these verses that the truth of the Trinity is expressed. There are many places in the Bible where we find the three persons of the Trinity described. Here we see the unity of those three persons. Because of the truth of that unity, our salvation is sure, and we have eternal life. John wants the church of his day to know this truth, and the church of this day needs to know it as well. It is a blessed comfort to know that our salvation is sure, and that there is only one way to that salvation. May God give to us the grace to believe that truth and to live out of it from day to day. Sing Psalter 391.

July 27 Read I John 5:13-21

John speaks of the great confidence that we can have in prayer. We can know and believe that God will hear and will answers those prayers that are according to his will. Then he goes on to say that we can pray for the erring brother. This is a great comfort to the believer. He can have the assurance that God will care for the brother who walks in sin. It is not wrong for us to pray for that; in fact, it is our duty to show brotherly love in this way. John ends this epistle with one final admonition to the church of all ages. To follow after idols is to not follow God. May we, in whatever circumstance we find ourselves, pray for our brother and his salvation and to follow the one true God. Sing Psalter 72.

July 28 Read II John 1:1-4

In John’s final two epistles we see a new theme as well as an old one. First of all we see the theme of love once more. Secondly, we see admonitions concerning truth. Jesus had told his disciples that true worship was done in spirit and in truth. Walking in that truth must be our goal from day to day. This is not man’s truth, but rather the truth of God found only in sacred Scripture. We must diligently search the Scriptures daily to learn of that truth. And then when we have found that truth, we must live only out of that truth. This is a daily calling. May God give to us the grace to walk in and out of that truth. Sing Psalter 333.

July 29 Read II John 1:5-13

Notice verses 10 & 11. John warns the church of his day about fellowshipping with those who do not confess the doctrine and commandments of Christ. As he stated earlier, the members of these churches were his spiritual children. He cared for them, and he worried about them even as an earthly parent does for his children. He was concerned that they would be led from truth. We need this admonition today. How often do we fall prey to the idea that we should accept anyone? That was not John’s teaching. That is not Christ’s teaching. Let us be wary of those who bring another gospel. Sing Psalter 366.

July 30 Read III John 1:1-7

For parents, office bearers, and teachers nothing is more precious than to hear that their children are walking in the truth. These may be the physical offspring or spiritual children of the church. When a report comes in saying that someone’s child is walking in the truth of God, it is cause for great joy. Quite often the reports are of some wrongdoing or concern, and these bring sorrow to the parents. John had heard a good report about a man named Gaius. Gaius was showing that he loved the truth of God’s word by caring for those in need. As James tells us, we must show our faith by the works that we do. Let us walk in the truth for the purpose that others may be brought to Christ. This is the testimony found in the book of Proverbs, and this is the testimony of the Heidelberg Catechism. Sing Psalter 325.

July 31 Read III John 1:8-11

In contrast to Gaius who was full of Christian love, John speaks words of rebuke to a man named Diotrephes. All that we know about this man is found in these few verses. He may have been an officebearer, but he was an officebearer without the quality of showing hospitality to those who needed it. He also used his office to lord it over others that the Church Order of Dordt expressly forbids. John ends this section with an admonition for the church not to follow evil but to follow good because true goodness is from God. What about us? How are we walking towards the brothers in the church? Are we following good? Sing Psalter 379.

August 1 Read III John 1:12-14

At the end of this short epistle, John mentions another man. Once again, like Gaius, he is one held up for the church’s example. Demetrius had a good report of all kinds of men and also and more importantly the truth. As we walk through this world we seek these kinds of reports. As far as a report of men, we seek for a good report not for our glory but for God’s. It is not so that we become popular, but that the gospel be not harmed. And then, of course, we must have a good report when compared to the utmost standard, God’s word. How do we measure up? What will God say about us in the Day of Judgment whenever it comes? Let us seek to walk like Gaius and Demetrius and not Diotrephes. Sing Psalter 360.

August 2 Read Revelation 1:1-3

As we open the last book of the Bible, we see the necessity of reading it not just once but often. John, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote this book to show to us the things that must come to pass. No matter what our age is, we have seen things which have come to pass and point to the return of Christ, One truth that we must always remember about this book is that all things must come to pass. Until the whole counsel of God concerning his Son’s return is fulfilled, Christ will not return. The time was at hand during the days of John and the time is even more at hand today. Let us hear the words of Scripture found in this book, and let us keep them. Sing Psalter 183.

August 3 Read Revelation 1:4-8

Here we have the salutation from John that begins this most prophetic book. Notice that most of the salutation speaks of Christ. This was John’s message in his gospel as well as in his epistles. His purpose in his writings was to show Christ our Savior and his work on earth, in heaven, and in his return. In that work He has made us kings and priests because of his love for us. As we wait for the return of Christ, let us only confess the true Christ as shown to us in his word. Sing Psalter 387.

August 4 Read Revelation 1:9-16

John was now a very old man. He had fought for the gospel and now had been exiled to this island for that gospel. It is while he is here that he was privileged to have the visions that led to the writing of Revelation. While he was worshiping within himself, Christ appeared. John realized that this was Christ in all his glory as is evident from the description that he gives. John wants the beloved saints in those seven churches to know exactly what he saw and what it meant. The essence of this part of the vision is that Christ is king over his church as it is manifested in the local congregations. It is to this king that we must bow in worship each and every Lord’s Day. Sing Psalter 264.

August 5 Read Revelation 1:17-20

John knew his Lord, and John knew what Jesus had done for him. His reaction was perfectly natural. Jesus reassured John to not let his heart be troubled. Christ has a new task for John. Jesus would show to him new things, and John would have to transmit them to the church of his day and to the church of all ages. These things would surely come to pass because Jesus was God, and because these things would come to pass they would bring utmost comfort to the individual child of God and to the church of Jesus Christ. The seven churches were actual churches, but they were also pictures of the church of all ages at any time in history. These words are a comfort and a guide for us. Let us fear not because Christ is Alpha and Omega. Sing Psalter 261.

August 6 Read Revelation 2:1-7

Christ now commands John to write messages to each of those seven churches of Asia Minor. He starts with the church where the gospel was first brought, Ephesus. This was also the church that John ministered unto for a time. This church had many trials and tribulations, and it had worked hard for the gospel’s sake. But this church was leaving that first zeal. They were becoming complacent in the faith. Does this characterize us? Have we, as churches of the Reformation, forgotten from what we have been delivered? Have we, as individuals, become complacent in our worship of Jehovah? Let us hear what the Spirit said to Ephesus … and to us. Sing Psalter 246.

August 7 Read Revelation 2:8-11

The church of Smyrna is one in which nothing negative is pointed out. Does that mean she is perfect? Of course not, but rather what characterizes her is her strength in the day of persecution. That day will be ours as well. Even today we face persecution. It is subtle, as Satan knows that the church grows stronger in the face of overt trouble. But there are temptations to not follow God’s word. This is our persecution. How do we face it? We may have the confidence of the crown of life when we are faithful. Let us be found faithful today and at his coming! Sing Psalter 224.

August 8 Read Revelation 2:12-17

One of the most damaging things that Satan did to the church of the Old Testament was to introduce the doctrine of Balak. In this doctrine Satan encouraged the people of God to mingle and have fellowship with the people of the world. He encouraged the marriage of the sons of light and the daughters of darkness. When the two married, the partner who came from the dark brought the child of God into that darkness with disastrous results. Satan is still spreading that doctrine today. He does everything he can to bridge the gap between the different sides of the antithesis. We must fight against this temptation knowing that the reward of a new name in heaven is far greater than any earthly pleasure can be. Let us not fix our eye on this life but on the life to come. Sing Psalter 184

August 9 Read Revelation 2:18-29

Here we have another picture of the church of all ages. Christ uses his name Son of God while speaking to this church. He has serious charges to bring against them. While they have good points as seen in verse 19, they have a serious flaw. Not only do they allow a wicked woman to abide in the church and to cause many to sin, they refuse to discipline her. Christian discipline is one of the marks of the true church. The church that refuses to exhibit this mark will eventually lose its candlestick or place in the church of God. We must always seek to remain where the true marks of the true church of Christ are exhibited and held to. Sing Psalter 102.

August 10 Read Revelation 3:1-6

The name Christian is a very beautiful appellation. It is a badge we should wear proudly. It is a name that is full of life, for it designates one as a follower of him who rose from the dead. Are we alive spiritually? Do those around us see that life in us? This was the problem in Sardis. They did not live up to their name. We must be like those who kept their garments unspotted from the filth of this world. When we walk this sanctified lively walk, then the assurance of our salvation will bubble out of us and be evident to all those around us. Sing Psalter 69.

August 11 Read Revelation 3:7-13

The church at Philadelphia had to fight off the Jews who said they had the gospel but really perverted it. This is a hard fight. It is a fight that we must face every day. But because we have strength, not of ourselves we must understand, we will then win that fight. That strength is of Christ himself. This church also was a witness to the world around them. Are we witnesses of Christ wherever we are placed? There is a beautiful promise for those who follow the example of this church. Let us hear what the Spirit says unto us. Sing Psalter 65.

August 12 Read Revelation 3:14-22

Throughout the new dispensation there are times in which the church becomes lukewarm in its doctrine or in its love for God and his word or both. Actually the two are connected. You do not have one without the other. Out of that church God calls his people to come and repent. This is what happened during the great Reformation of the 1500’s and this is what has happened many times since then. We, too, must make sure that we are not lukewarm in our faith. We must show an ardent zeal in our love for God and his word. The reward is great; let us hear him and heed him. Sing Psalter 27.

August 13 Read Revelation 4:1-5

Throughout the rest of the book John is given visions of what will be. These visions are for the instruction of Christ’s church as well as its comfort. The church of John’s day was enduring increasing persecution from the godless Roman Empire. The church throughout history also received and will receive persecution of various degrees. John sees the throne of God. The picture is more glorious than any that he has seen on this earth. He sees representation of the church of both dispensations in the twenty-four elders. He sees them as they have been victorious in the battle of faith. Do we await this day? We must fight the battle in the confidence that the victor’s white robe and crown will be ours. Sing Psalter 22.

August 14 Read Revelation 4:6-11

In this glimpse of heaven we see that the members of the church see that they must give to God all the glory. What a difference from life on this earth! Here, men try to take the glory for themselves. There, all including the world of brute creation will see that only God is worthy of all glory and honor. Are we living lives now to prepare ourselves for that scene in heaven? Do we seek to honor our God in all things, or do we try to preserve even a small piece of glory for ourselves? Sola Deo Gloria! Sing Psalter 318.

August 15 Read Revelation 5:1-7

What man of the world really would say that he is not worthy to do something? By nature we really do not like to say I cannot do a certain chore. But by nature really there is little that we can do much less open the book that contains the whole council of God. Man does not want a sovereign God much less a Christ who has to carry out the whole plan of salvation for them. When we come to this realization, we are brought to tears because we are helpless of ourselves. But there is the Lamb! Glory be to God! Again, man would say what could a slaughtered lamb do? But the Lamb of God has prevailed over Satan and has taken away the sins of the world. What joy is ours! Sing Psalter 408.

August 16 Read Revelation 5:8-14

In heaven all creation is represented. All creation is interested in the unfolding of God’s counsel as it works out to give to him all glory. Because Christ, the Lamb of God, is God, he is worthy to reveal to us that counsel. Man would not make the slain Lamb worthy; man cannot make the slain Lamb worthy. All we can do is to give him all the glory and honor due to his name. Each day we must fall down and worship God. Each day we must sing, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain.” This is not a task for a well-trained choir. This is the task of each one who has been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Sing Psalter 405.