Thoughts and encouragement from David Guzik for pastors, preachers, Bible teachers, and all those who serve God, His people, and a needy world in Jesus’ name.

Learning from Hypocrites

Learning from Hypocrites

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

Happy Monday to you! Today I want to draw your attention to a familiar story, found in Matthew 9. What Jesus said to the religious leaders of His day caught my attention for what it says to us as those serving the Lord.

But go and learn what this means:
“I desire mercy and not sacrifice.”
For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
(Matthew 9:13)

Did you know that religious leaders can be hypocrites?

I don’t mean that in the way most people mean “hypocrite” today. If you hold standards that you don’t fully live up to, that doesn’t make you a hypocrite. Hypocrisy is pretending you keep a standard when you don’t or having one standard for yourself and a stricter standard for others.

Jesus had strong words for the hypocritical religious leaders of His day. As pastors, preachers, and Bible teachers I think we can learn something from these words of Jesus to the hypocritical Pharisees of Matthew 9.

Learning from Hypocrites

First, we learn God’s priorities: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. Here Jesus quoted Hosea 6:6. In Hosea’s day, God’s people were still good at bringing sacrifices (as in Hosea 5:6), but they had forsaken mercy, and they abandoned mercy because they gave up the knowledge of God and truth (as seen in Hosea 4:1). God would rather have right hearts, full of truth and mercy than religious acts such as sacrifice. Remember, they will know we are Christians by our love, more than by our “religious” acts and events.

Second, we learn God’s focus: I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance. Jesus didn’t come for those who already consider themselves righteous and in no need of a savior. Jesus came to save those who recognize their need, and know they are sinners.

Finally, we learn shallowness of the religious leaders: But go and learn what this means. These words of Jesus show the shallowness of the leaders’ knowledge of God and His word. These were men who thought of themselves as experts with God’s word. When Jesus said, go and learn what this means these men were probably insulted and shocked that Jesus dared to say, “Go and learn what the Bible says.”

Friends, we don’t want to make the same mistakes these hypocrites made. We need to understand and do ministry in light of God’s priorities, aligned with His focus, and with a deep knowledge of God and His word. With God’s help and humble hearts, we can.

Blessings to you in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

Click Here to Receive Email from David for Pastors, Preachers, and Bible Teachers

Orr - If Christ Had Not Risen

If Christ Had Not Risen

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

Happy Monday to you! I know that this will be a busy week for you, and maybe stressful. I want you to know that I am praying for you this week, asking God to bring special wisdom, grace, strength, and spiritual power to every servant of His that reads this!

I am praying that Ephesians 1:17-20 will be real in your life and ministry this week:

that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,
may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,
the eyes of your understanding being enlightened;
that you may know what is the hope of His calling,
what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe,
according to the working of His mighty power
which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead
and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places
,

Here is a special bonus. A few years ago a received a very special Bible. It was one of the preaching Bibles of a great man of God named J. Edwin Orr. Dr. Orr had this Bible specially bound with preaching notes in it. So, below are notes that he used to preach on the resurrection of Jesus from 1 Corinthians 15. Maybe it might stir your mind for a thought or two this week!

Orr - If Christ Had Not Risen

 

Blessings to you in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

Click Here to Receive Email from David for Pastors, Preachers, and Bible Teachers

A Special Request

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

He sends out His command to the earth;
His word runs very swiftly.
(Psalm 147:15)

It is wonderful to hear that the Enduring Word Bible commentary has been helpful to many of you in your preparation and Bible reading. We are honored to have any part of the process of helping fellow believers and the local church. 

As many of you know, Enduring Word gives a lot of attention and resources to the translation of my Bible commentary in many languages. To date, our most extensive work has been in Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese.

We are pleased to tell you again that we have completed the translation of the New Testament commentary in both Arabic and Chinese.   These translated versions, including the Old and New Testament in Spanish,  are now available for free on their own “sub-domain” websites at:

In this regard, I would like to introduce you to my friend Deven Berryhill.  Over the past year, Deven has helped us share the Bible commentaries with many Arabic and Chinese language ministries like ArabicBible.com, the WeDevote Chinese Bible app, SAT7 Arabic TV, Ambassadors for Christ – Chinese Distributers, Digital Bible Society, and Trans World Radio among others. 

I know many of you have missionaries or other ministry contacts in the Arabic, Chinese and Spanish speaking worlds. Please consider connecting Deven with those friends.  We would love to get them commentary as a weblink, file sharing, PDF/Word.doc or XML formats.  We are also very interested in partnering with other ministries to distribute these resources freely and widely.

You can contact Deven at deven@enduringword.com or call him directly at 949-244-4407 (PDT).  We are excited to see how God will use these Bible commentary translations for His glory and to further Jesus’ kingdom.

In Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

Click Here to Receive Email from David for Pastors, Preachers, and Bible Teachers

Making It Personal

Making It Personal

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

Happy Monday to you! I pray that today you can re-charge a bit after a weekend spent serving God, His people, and a needy world.

Peter’s sermon on the Temple Mount in Acts 3 gives a few thoughts this week:

But you denied the Holy One and the Just,
and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,
and killed the Prince of life,
whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. 
(Acts 3:14-15)

Making It Personal

What I want you to notice about Peter’s preaching in Acts 3:12-26 is how personal he made his message. In this sermon at the temple courts (Acts 3:12-26), Peter used the words you or your at least 11 times. Here are some examples of how directly Peter spoke to them.

– Why do you marvel at this?

– Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied.

You denied the Holy One and the Just.

– Whom you see and know.

– In the presence of you all.

You did it ignorance.

Your sins may be blotted out.

– His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you.

We need this kind of direct speaking! The preacher shouldn’t fill his sermon with vague speculations and meditations on distant theological concepts. We need to speak directly to our listeners, and never be afraid to say, “you.”

Our tone and our heart must communicate “you and me and all of us,” never acting as if we think we are so right with God and our listeners aren’t. But, at the same time, we can’t be afraid to bring the message home and make it personal.

Peter didn’t always have this boldness. Just a few weeks before this he denied even knowing who Jesus was! But filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter was bold enough to speak directly to the heart of those who heard him.

Let’s pray for the same boldness of the Holy Spirit to fill our heart and words as we preach God’s Word to the hungry sheep of God’s flock and a needy world.

In Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

Click Here to Receive Email from David for Pastors, Preachers, and Bible Teachers

What Jesus Didn't Forget

What Jesus Didn’t Forget

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

I hope your Monday morning finds you resting and restoring after a weekend of serving God, His people, and a needy world.

Here’s a verse from Matthew for you to think about today:

Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed.
When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic,
“Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”
(Matthew 9:2)

What Jesus Didn't Forget

The man was obviously paralyzed, yet Jesus didn’t speak first to his leg problem. Jesus spoke first to the man’s sin problem. After telling the man to take courage (be of good cheer), Jesus pronounced his sins as forgiven.

Here is something worth remembering as we do our work and proclaim God’s word: don’t forget their sin problem.

Sometimes we would rather not talk about sin. It seems old-fashioned and unpopular. It often seems that always being positive and pleasant is better rewarded. People don’t like being reminded of their sin.

Yet, we are servants of our Master, Jesus Christ – and He knew the importance of dealing with the sin problem. Jesus addressed the man’s greater problem. As bad as it is to be paralyzed, it is infinitely worse to be bound and lost in your sin.

The old Puritan commentator Matthew Poole saw six reasons why Jesus dealt with the man’s sin first. To paraphrase Poole’s reasons why the sin was dealt with first:

  • Because sin is the root from which all our evils come.
  • Because forgiveness is more important than bodily healing.
  • Because the most important thing Jesus came to do was to deal with sin.
  • Because when a man’s sins are forgiven, he comes into relationship with God.
  • Because God forgives sin in response to faith.
  • Because it began an important conversation with the religious leaders.

Dear friend serving the Lord, as you speak to others in your work for Him, don’t forget to address the problem of sin – and more importantly, God’s solution to the problem in Jesus Christ.

In Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

Click Here to Receive Email from David for Pastors, Preachers, and Bible Teachers

Born in Bethlehem

Born in Bethlehem

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

Happy Monday! I don’t know what your weekend ministry was like, but I’m praying that today can be a day of refreshment and inspiration to you.

Here are a few thoughts leading up to Christmas from Micah 5:2:

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.”

Born in Bethlehem

Bethlehem was well known as the hometown of David, Israel’s greatest king; yet it was never a great or influential city. It was truly little among the thousands of Israel. Yet God chose it as the birthplace of the Messiah, the Ruler in Israel.

This passage from Micah 5 was quoted by the chief priests and teachers of the law when Herod asked about the birth of the Messiah (Matthew 2:5-6).

Bethlehem means House of Bread. From eternity past (Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting), Jesus came to us as the Bread of Life (John 6:35). Micah’s prophetic voice declared that though Jesus came from Bethlehem, He did not begin there. His goings forth are from eternity past.

Knowing that Jesus’ goings forth are from of old, from everlasting shows us some important things:

– It shows us the glory of Jesus, that He is far more than merely a man.
– It shows us the love of Jesus, that He would leave the glory of heaven for us.
– It shows us the sympathy of Jesus, that He remains fully man and fully God.

– It shows us the nature of Jesus, that He would add humanity to His deity.

Dear servant of God, that glory, love, and sympathy bound up in the nature of Jesus are for you. It isn’t just for the people you serve in Jesus’ name! It’s for you, and you can’t give what you haven’t first received.

Let the glory of the eternal Jesus fill your soul – and then bless others from the overflow!

In Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

Click Here to Receive Email from David for Pastors, Preachers, and Bible Teachers

What Makes One Great

What Makes One Great?

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

This Monday morning, it is an honor to write to you – a great one!

If you don’t think of yourself as great, think again and read Psalm 18:35:

You have also given me the shield of Your salvation;
Your right hand has held me up,
Your gentleness has made me great.
(Psalm 18:35)

David was the human author of the great Psalm 18, but the Holy Spirit so inspired and guided him that his words spoke not only of David himself, but of believers in general, and especially of Jesus Christ, David’s greater Son.

What Makes One Great

In an ultimate sense Jesus is One who received the shield of God’s salvation. He is the ultimate One held up by God’s right hand. Jesus is the greatest of all, and in a wonderful sense it was the Father’s gentleness that made Jesus great.

Though this was ultimately fulfilled in Jesus, in a lesser sense it was true of David the Psalmist, and also true of us. We can say that the gentleness of God makes every believer great also, more than they often consider.

– In this world, some people are thought to be great because of their royal birth; who has a greater claim to royal birth than the son or daughter of the King of Kings?

– In this world, some people are thought to be great because of their election; what greater election is there than to be the elect of God?

– In this world, some people are thought to be great because of their wealth; who has greater riches than the children and heirs of the God who owns all?

– In this world, some people are thought to be great because of their victories; who has achieved greater victory than the one who is in unity with Jesus Christ, the greatest champion of all?

– In this world, some people are thought to be great because of their influence; who has greater influence than the child of God who can move the hand of God with his faithful and righteous prayers?

– In this world, some people are thought to be great because of their discoveries; who has discovered anything greater than the nature of the infinite and eternal God?

– In this world, some people are thought to be great because of their history; who has a greater heritage than a member of the body of Christ as it spans through the ages and generations?

– In this world, some people are thought to be great because of their destiny; who has a more glorious and amazing destiny than the heirs of His glory, those who are His own inheritance?

I don’t know how your weekend of ministry was – but take comfort in the fact that God’s gentleness has made you great.

Blessings to you, great one, 

In Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

Click Here to Receive Email from David for Pastors, Preachers, and Bible Teachers

Enduring Word Quick Navigation

Enduring Word Quick Navigation Plug-In

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

I hope God sustained and blessed you through another weekend of serving Him!

Instead of a scripture and short encouragement, today I have a special announcement that is directed to you who, directly or indirectly, have websites. It could be a personal website, a church website, or a ministry website.

If your website operates on a WordPress platform, I would like to offer you and your website visitors a special opportunity: a direct link to quickly access and navigate the Enduring Word Bible commentary online.

It works through plug-in that displays on your front page, or wherever else on your website you would like to place it.

Look for this box at https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/genesis-1/ and click where it says, “Quick Navigation” to see how it works.

Enduring Word Quick Navigation

To learn more about this free plugin and for easy installation information, click here

In a few weeks I’ll be back with my normal twice-monthly encouragement by email.

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

Click Here to Receive Email from David for Pastors, Preachers, and Bible Teachers

Wrong Kind of Unity

The Wrong Kind of Unity

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

Here’s a thought for your Monday morning, after a weekend of serving God, His people, and a needy world. It’s from a strange event in the ministry of Jesus found in Matthew 8:34:

And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus.
And when they saw Him,
they begged Him to depart from their region.

Dangerous, demon-possessed men brought so much terror to a city that they took the tormented men and chained them up in a graveyard.

Wrong Kind of Unity

Those demons were no match for Jesus, and at His command the men were set free. The whole city responded – the whole city came out to meet Jesus! Surely, they came to thank Him and honor Him as Lord.

Here is the shock of Matthew 8:34: instead of thanking Jesus, they wanted him to go away. They begged Him to depart from their region.

The work of Jesus had unified the whole city, and they had all come out to meet with and to talk to Jesus; but it was not in a good way. They asked Jesus to leave, and He did.

When we minister in Jesus’ name, sometimes people will be against us. Sometimes it might even feel like everyone is against us!

In those seasons, humble yourself before God. Ask Him to search your heart, and speak to you of any wicked way in you (Psalm 139:23-24). Yet at the end of it all, if you are rejected for standing with Jesus – then stand with your Savior. He knows what you’re going through!

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

Click Here to Receive Email from David for Pastors, Preachers, and Bible Teachers

The Preacher They Listened To

The Preacher They Listened To

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

Here’s a thought for your Monday morning, after a weekend of serving God, His people, and a needy world. It’s a warning to the leaders of the Kingdom of Judah from Micah 3:12:

Therefore because of you
Zion shall be plowed like a field,
Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins,
And the mountain of the temple
Like the bare hills of the forest.

Like most of the prophets, Micah fearlessly confronted the corruption of his time. He spoke to Judah’s judges, prophets, and princes. The ruling elite of Judah were not much better than the rulers of the apostate northern Kingdom of Israel, and they could expect similar judgment unless they repented.

The Preacher They Listened To

They needed to repent from a lot. Corruption had deeply set in, like bribery among the judges and greedy attitudes among the priests and the prophets. Despite this disgraceful state of things, they still made a pretense of trusting God. The leaders of Jerusalem had a false confidence in religious ritual and form. All the while, Jerusalem was destined for judgment unless they repented.

For anyone who has studied the prophets of the Old Testament, these lines run along familiar tracks. We see the bold expose of corruption and the fearless call to repentance. But at this point the lines of Micah’s ministry run in a different direction: they actually listened to him.

The great thing about the Prophet Micah was that he was listened to. Hosea was ignored, and so was Amos. They threw Jeremiah in jail for his prophetic message of coming judgment. In contrast, King Hezekiah and the leadership of Judah listened to the Prophet Micah.

Jeremiah 26:17-19 describes how even a hundred years later the impact of Micah was remembered. King Hezekiah heard God’s warning through Micah, and they repented.

We get used to the familiar pattern of people rejecting God’s word through His messengers, and then carelessly carrying on to their appointed judgment. Yet it doesn’t have to end that way. Sometimes the people of God really do listen and respond to the voice of the Spirit and turn back to God. When they do, they find God ready to welcome them back with open arms and His transforming grace. Sometimes it really works just like it should.

Take this to heart, even in seasons of discouragement. Sometimes our work for God and His people works just like it should. We appreciate this as preachers of God’s Word, but we also need to learn from it as people under God’s word: we can listen to the messengers God sends our way.

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

Click Here to Receive Email from David for Pastors, Preachers, and Bible Teachers