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Martin Luther King Jr. Day Devotion

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SIH STSTA ICONMartin Luther King Jr. was pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama from 1954 to 1960.  In 1960, he moved to Atlanta and became co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church.  He remained in that position until his death in 1968.

While holding these pastoral positions, he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which was organized to give leadership to civil rights movement.  During his service as president, it is believed that he gave over 2500 speeches, led protests,  wrote 5 books and many articles.   All of this was done in his never-ending quest for equality and civil rights for all people.   This quest led to his arrest at least 25 times, as well as being assaulted numerous times for his beliefs.

Some of his most well-known writings and speeches were: “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and his “I have a Dream Speech”

In 1968, Martin Luther King was murdered while standing on a balcony of a hotel in Memphis, Tennessee.

Martin Luther King Jr’s life is the epitome of a life sacrificed for the good of others.  Because of this, he received many awards during his life and following his death.  Some of these awards include five honorary degrees, as well as was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963, Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, and the  Rosa L. Parks Award, presented by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. (posthumously) 1968

See the following links (and many others) for more in-depth information concerning MLK Jr’s life and accomplishments:

One of the many famous quotations of Martin Luther King, Jr. is a question that he posed to his listeners, which became a summary of his entire life’s mission:  “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life was filled with great sacrifices for others.  But the sacrifice made by our Lord Jesus Christ is the greatest of all sacrifices made on behalf of others…


Phil 2:4-8 (KJV)

4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.


In Phil 2:4-8, we find some of the Lord’s instructions to us concerning living lives of service for others…

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 

One of the greatest responsibilities our God has handed to His people is the need to love and care for others (Matt 22:38-40, Mark 12:30-31, Gals 5:14, 1 John 3:17-19)  Because of this, we should be concerned about both the spiritual and physical needs of others:

Gal 6:7-10

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all [men], especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

For many of us, it is easy to love and care for those who are our friends, but what about those who oppose us?  We are to love and care for them as well.   It is a great opportunity for us to show the love of Christ to others:

Luke 6:35-36

But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and [to] the evil.  Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 

What is one key to showing consistent concern for others?  Thinking as Christ thinks.   What was the mindset of Christ, that allowed Him to literally give all for others that He loved?…

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 

Christ’s mindset allowed Him to recognize His deity (John 10:30) …

But made himself of no reputation,

And be willing to “empty” Himself of the exercise of His divine attributes.  In other words, Christ choose to not exercise His great Godly abilities that He possessed.

 and took upon him the form of a servant,

He was willing to serve others, working for their benefit, by teaching, healing, and dying for them.

 and was made in the likeness of men: 

He was willing to take upon Himself, flesh (not sinful flesh), so as to be in the “likeness of men”.  His perfect humanity is being spoken of here. He was in the “form” of man although, as God, He was sinless.

 And being found in fashion as a man,

Not only did Christ physically appear as a man, but He also came to the earth, lived among men, conversed with men, ate as a man, worked as a man; ie – He lived his life just as any other man lived his life on earth (only without sin).  This is what is meant by Christ being found “in fashion” as a man.

 he humbled himself,

His entire earthly life was characterized by “humility”. From his birth in a stable, to His heinous suffering and death as a publicly convicted criminal (although He was actually innocent).

 and became obedient unto death,

Christ’s death was not only motivated by His love for others, but it was also an act of obedience to His Father in heaven. (Matt 26:39-42)

 even the death of the cross.

Christ displayed the ultimate self-sacrificial act by submitting to a horrible death on the cross.

The greatest aspect of His suffering was not the physical torture.  It was when He was separated from His heavenly Father, as He bore the sins of His people upon Himself. (Mark 15:34)

This was the supreme act of self-sacrifice… the sinless Son of God was willing to be humiliated by His own creation and separated from His heavenly Father.


For those who have trusted in Christ…

By following the Lord’s perfect example of self-sacrifice, we all can leave a legacy of a life that is pleasing to God and of benefit to all mankind.

1Cor 9:19-23

For though I be free from all [men], yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.  And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;  To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.   To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all [men], that I might by all means save some.23And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with [you].

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

God the Father chose to give His Son to be the Savior of His people.  Then Christ, in submission to the will of His Father, came to the earth, lived a life of self-sacrifice and then died on the cross, as He bore our sins.  All of this was done to make it possible for the people of God to be saved.

By coming to a realization that we can do nothing to save ourselves, we must come to Christ and rely upon Him to intervene in our life and save us from our sins.

Rom 3:19-26

Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth [to be] a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, [I say], at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

For more information about the way to salvation please take a look at my blog page found here:


To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

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May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”



  1. Patti (PJ) says:

    Hi Rob! Thank you for your comment. I always learn so much from them. I had a discussion about our salvation with a friend a while back. She was misguided when it came to this subject. I had made the comment that our “works” cannot save us and that we don’t “earn our salvation, that Jesus died specifically for that purpose, but we do have requirements to holding on to that salvation. She was definitely puzzled, because she was taught that all a person has to do is to confess with their mouth that they believe that Jesus Christ is their Savior, and then they’re saved. I explained that being saved is a lifetime journey, because a person has to have a relationship with God, to live for God and love Him. As the old saying goes, “talk is cheap”. We must put an effort to our relationship with Him. Anyway, I think I finally helped her to understand that there is more to receiving salvation then words.

    As far as being procrastinators, I am so glad that God is so patient with us. Can you imagine what shape we would be in if He procrastinated in watching over and taking care of us?

    God Bless!

    • Rob Barkman says:


      I would have to agree with your friend on this subject. Keep in mind, that our salvation is based on the work of Christ and Him alone. It is through Him that we have forgiveness of our sins, past, present and future. It is such a blessing to be able to know that I am eternally secure in His hands.

      I serve Him for several reasons… first of all, out of love and appreciation for all He has done for me. Also, because He has commanded me to do so, I want to please my Heavenly Father. Thirdly, by living a holy life I am
      presenting Christ to others. These are just a few of the reasons why I am motivated to serve Him even though I believe “once saved, always saved”.

      True freedom in service is not having fear of loosing my salvation. I know I am saved, and I know that He will protect me, and I know He will take me home to be with Him!
      I don’t have to fear that I will loose my salvation if I don’t “hold on” tight enough! I am in His hands, he will lose no one! Praise Him!

      PJ, I really appreciate your comment. I think I haven’t been as clear as I need to be about this subject. I’ve preached a series on eternal security and I’ve been thinking about redoing it for the blog… time will tell whether it’s the Lord’s will… so stay tuned.

      May the Lord continue to bless you.

  2. Patti (PJ) says:

    Thank you for your reply to my comment. I don’t think i express myself well. What I meant about salvation is that we cannot just mouth the words that we believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior and let it go at that. To me, if we sincerely believe this, then there should be a love for Him and a desire to serve Him and live for Him. By living for Him we will read and study His Word, thereby learning what He expects from us i.e. (if you love me you will keep my commandments) among others. Then there is also Acts 2:38 that says to be saved we must repent, be baptized and we shall receive the Holy Ghost. Also, in the Bible (I will have to look the exact verse up, (but you probably know it better than me, LOL) it talks about how people kept turning away from God. They would feel guilty and go back to Him when he reprimanded them, then after a while they would turn from Him again, and eventually He turned them into reprobate minds. I looked that word up in a Reference Bible and it said it means “hopeless”. Which means to me God counted them as being hopeless, therefore lost. Of course I’m sure you know a lot more than me, but that is just the way I have understood being taught. Thank you so much for being so understanding and patient as I present what I have learned to you. I want you to know that I value the lessons I learn from you as well. Keep ’em comin’, ok?

    God Bless you and yours,


    • Rob Barkman says:


      I was glad for the opportunity to explain more on the subject of eternal security. Since I’ve started the blog, tehre have been several questions thrown at me about the subject, and I was glad to have a chance to answer a public comment (instead of personal email question). I’m the first to admit, that the teaching of eternal security can be perverted and then used to justify “continuing in sin that grace may abound”. I think that is why some pastors are so opposed to the teaching. They are afraid that people will use the teaching to justify a lax attitude of service. But I believe that is a person understands eternal security in the proper way it actually encourages service from a heart of appreciation and love.

      Well, anyhow, keep up the good work. I do enjoy reading your blog, the Lord is using you. Your faithfulness to blogging is amazing… you almost never miss a day of posting, at times, I struggle to get two postings out a week. May the Lord continue to bless you. Rob

  3. pbus1 says:

    Hello Rob,

    I do not believe in eternal security. I believe according to the word of God that says, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. There is nothing mentioned in the Bible that says after you have been born again of the water and of the spirit, that if you continue in sin, you will be saved, regardless of continuing in sin. God forbids us to continue in sin, which is an excerpt from Romans 6, that I believe you alluded to in your response to Patti. Yes, salvation is a free gift from God, through Christ Jesus our Lord. However, once we have been born again of the water and the Spirit, if we backslide without repenting and turning away from our sins, when Jesus comes, our souls will be lost. Also, the word of God says, “As He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, be ye holy; for I am holy.” (I Peter 1:15) Also, like Patti, I believe that in order to be saved, we must abide by Acts 2:38. Verse number 37 says, “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren what shall we do? Verse 38 says, “Then Peter said unto them, repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

    I Corinthians 9:27 says, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” If Paul, who through the inspiration of God, wrote much of the New Testament,
    did not keep under his body, to bring it into subjection to the will of God, could potentially be a castaway, if we don’t do the very same thing, we too can potentially be lost. As there is no eternal security for Paul, there is also no eternal security for us. We must strive to live holy everyday of our lives, because the word of God says, “HOLINESS without which, no man shall see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)

    May God bless you!


    • Rob Barkman says:

      Hi Paulette,

      Thanks for your comment… I’ll try to take each subject one at a time.

      I, too believe that “the soul that sinneth it shall die”. This verse is teaching me that we all are in need of a Savior. Christ when He died on the cross paid the price for our sins past, present and future. He took the punishment for our sins upon Himself so that we would not have to face spiritual death as a result of our sins. When His payment is applied to our account all of our sin debt is done away past, present and future.

      If a professing Christian continues in sin that is a sign he was never saved to start with. Please remember, true repentance involves turing from our sin and coming to Christ accepting Him as both Savior and Lord of our life. The Lord makes it plain once we are saved we become new creatures in Him. Being a new creature involves a change of lifestyle. He is now our Lord and we are now in submission to His will. If someone who claims to be saved continues to live a lifestyle of sinful deeds the problem is he was never made a new creature (he was never saved).

      When the Lord tells us to be holy because He is holy it is not for the purpose of keeping us saved. It is for the purpose of revealing Him to others through our lives. For example He does not lie. If we do not lie, those who are lost around us can see our Lord in us. When a Christian lives a holy life, he is a “walking billboard” showing Christ to others.

      Acts 2:37-38 – Remember in the context of this passage the gift of the Spirit was given to the members of the assembled church at Jerusalem, giving them the ability to witness to the foreigners in Jerusalem at that time (Acts 2:1-21 Etc.) Peter, in these verses, was describing how a lost man can receive this same miraculous gift and minister to the foreigners as well. His answer was two-fold.

      Firstly, salvation would be necessary. So he tells them of the need of Godly repentance which leads to salvation. But that was not enough.

      Secondly, to receive this gift, they must also become a member of the church at Jerusalem. Remember He had given that gift to the unified, assembled church at Jerusalem not to believers in general (Acts 2:1 – “they were all in one accord in one place”) So Peter then turns his attention to their need of church membership. He tells them they must be baptized (water baptism) in the name of Jesus. This then would allow them to enter into membership in the church at Jerusalem.

      Why does the Bible say that baptism was “for the remission of sins”? Please remember baptism is a public declaration that our sins have been remitted (or in other words, we have been saved). We are baprtized because our sins have been taken away when we repented and trusted in Christ. Think of it this way, if “a man is arrested for stealing”
      he is arrested because he has already stolen something. Likewise if we are baptized for the remission of sins, we are baptized because our sins have already been remitted.

      It is only after these lost men would be saved (repentance) and become members of the church at Jerusalem (through baptism) that they would recieve this particular gift of the Holy Spirit from God.

      About 1 Cor 9:27 – Paul here is describing another reason why Christians are encouraged to lead holy lives… if we do fall back into sin, it will ruin our testimony. I have seen, over and over again, Godly men in the ministry, who because of a careless moment had their ministries ruined. By “shipwrecked” Paul did not mean to become lost again, he meant to have a ruined testimony so that it is of no use to anyone, just like a boat that is shipwrecked cannot be used anymore.

      Hebrews 12:14 – Again, I believe this verse exactly as it is written, if a man does not have the blood of Christ covering His sin (thus giving him a holy standing before God) that man will not spend eternity with the Lord, nor have communion with the Lord here on earth. This verse is expressing the need to have Christ’s work applied to our account through repentance and belief.

      I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one, Paulette.

      Thanks again for your comments giving me the opportunity to more fully explain my postings.

      May the Lord continue to bless you.


  4. This was a very very clear and timely message. I ask myself and others, “what are you doing for others?” Sometimes we get so busy with self and family and forget there are others who have basic needs and need to know Jesus. Thanks much for this post. I’mma reblog with your blessings. 🙂 As stated in the Romans passage, we all may come guilty before God. Much to think about for sure.

  5. Reblogged this on talkativeangel and commented:
    Something to think about… “What are you doing for others?”


    Greetings my friend, thank you so very much for this well taught lesson today. If we can only begin to imagine the great sacrifice that Christ made in order that we may enjoy the fruits of this eternal life, what a world of difference this world would be. Yes of course not the king made a tremendous sacrifice and he paid for it with his own life. We will celebrate his life this weekend and throughout all eternity because the sacrifices that he may is worthy of celebration. When I think about the suffering that
    Christ endured and his separation from the father had to be one of the most difficult experiences that Jesus had ever had to face. Is it possible for any of us to have withstood the humiliation, the pain and agony, and still showed humility, love, understanding and still had a spirit of forgiveness?

  7. SLIMJIM says:

    Do you know much of MLK’s theology? Just curious.

  8. When you hit the ball out of the park, so to speak…it’s a catch for the angels! Homerun!!!! ~Zoey

  9. Equipping The Saints says:

    Thank you for your like of my post. You are a blessing.

  10. sagescenery says:

    Thanks Pastor…I’m really blessed by your lesson about sacrifice in this post! It’s so clearly taught! We just taught on this topic in Kids Church, on the Scripture concerning Jesus talking to the rich young man, where we can see that he went away sad, because he didn’t want to sacrifice his riches to follow Jesus…Let us always run to Jesus with our sacrificial whole-heart worship!!! Amen!

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