Continuing Prayer

“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.” Colossians 4:2-4 (KJB)

The Apostle has just dealt with Christians who have in their employment people of lesser wealth. Masters were to treat their servants or employees rightly (Colossians 3:22-4:1).  The verses above could also be  Paul’s words for them; but even the words of Paul in the previous chapter are words for Christians in every age.

What was the Apostle encouraging the saints at Colossae to do?  To continue in prayer.  The request was for Paul to have an open opportunity to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that all about Jesus would be revealed as the word went forth.

How we need that continuing prayer today.

As I read these words this morning I got to wondering about the phrase the apostle Paul used “Pray without ceasing”.  Is there any difference between “Continue in prayer” and “Pray without ceasing”?

I found this note from the Matthew Henry Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing…

Note, The way to rejoice evermore is to pray without ceasing. We should rejoice more if we prayed more. We should keep up stated times for prayer, and continue instant in prayer. We should pray always, and not faint: pray without weariness, and continue in prayer, till we come to that world where prayer shall be swallowed up in praise. The meaning is not that men should do nothing but pray, but that nothing else we do should hinder prayer in its proper season. Prayer will help forward and not hinder all other lawful business, and every good work.

Pray for those who are standing in the place of sharing, of preaching the gospel of Christ. Pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit, for an open door of opportunity, and His work in revealing the word of God to the hearers.

In Jesus Christ alone is there honest sincere prayer heard by the throne of God; and that through the blood of Christ shed at Calvary’s cross, His burial, and resurrection.

He Is Before All Things

“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and long suffering with joyfulness; giving thanks unto the Father, which has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated into the kingdom of His dear Son: in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.
And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all He might have the preeminence.”  Colossians 1:9-18

REFERENCES: Romans 12:2; Acts 5:41; 26:18, 23; Ephesians 1:7; 6:12; 1 Peter 2:9; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 1:5; 3:14; John 1:1

Examples of Christian Living (2)

Examples Of Christian Living (2)

This being part two of this message I thought you might like a link to go to the first part, so here it is.

I do want to point out that these are just study notes.  They are not a manuscript of my sermon.  I do not do manuscript sermons.

These notes are from March of 2007 while I was pastor of Carr Lane Baptist Church.

Colossians 4:11-18
OUTLINE –

I. TYCHICUS WAS A MAN WITH THE HEART OF A SERVANT (vv. 7-8).
II. ONESIMUS, WAS A MAN WITH A PAST THAT WAS SINFUL (v. 9).
III. ARISTARCHUS, WAS MAN WITH A SYMPATHETIC HEART (v. 10a).
IV. MARK WAS A MAN WITH A SURPRISING FUTURE (v. 10b).
V. JESUS JUSTICE WAS A MAN WITH A STRONG COMMITMENT (v. 11).
VI. EPAPHRAS WAS A MAN WITH A SINGLE PASSION (vv. 12-13).
VII. LUKE WAS A MAN WITH A SPECIALIZED TALENT (v. 14a).
VIII. DEMAS WAS A MAN WITH A SAD FUTURE (v. 14b, 2 Timothy 4:10).
IX. THE APOSTLE WHO HAS THE MINISTRY OF GOD’S WORD (vv. 15-18).

On news programs and so called documentaries we have recently heard of a casket being found with the name Jesus on it. Supposedly bones were found that belonged to a man named Jesus. Could it have been this one; Jesus Justice? Or could it have been another Jesus? I do know one thing for absolutely certain, the bones in that casket are not the bones of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.

We have looked at the first four of these men who were EXAMPLES OF CHRISTIAN LIVING. The following three are good examples of Christian living while the last of the eight is very questionable to say the least.

EVERY CHILD OF GOD NEEDS A STRONG COMMITMENT TO THE LORD (v. 11).

Jesus Justice was a man of commitment. We know that because he left his family, friends, and religion to follow Jesus the Christ, and stand alongside Paul for all those years. It is said of the three, ie., Aristarchus, Mark, and Jesus Justice that Paul writes, are of the circumcision [of course meaning they are Jewish].

There are professing Christians living today who have no strong commitment to anything. I say that because if something goes different from how they desire it they are quick to become angry, be offended, offend others, and sometimes even decide to leave the church they are attending.

In the MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY is written these words,

“Nothing is known of Jesus who is called Justus apart from this verse. It is possible that he was one of the Roman Jews who believed Paul’s message (Acts 28:24). Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua, which means ‘savior.’ That certainly was a difficult name to live up to, but his Latin surname, Justus (‘righteous’), indicates that he in some measure did.” pg. 196.

A thing we can learn from Justus; is that commitment means staying power even when there is no recognition, no appreciation, and that it just seems as though no one cares. Commitment will keep you in place even when the storms blow hard.

There must first be a real commitment to Jesus as personal Lord and Savior. When you are saved you need to find a local church where Jesus is loved, worshiped, served and proclaimed.

THERE IS MUCH NEED FOR CHRISTIANS TO HAVE A SINGLE PASSION (vv. 12-13).

What was the “Single passion” of Epaphras? First of all let’s remind ourselves of who Epaprhas is. He is most likely the current pastor of the church of Collosae. He is the one that saw the lurking dangers of heresy threatening the church, and had gone to Paul for support. He was also most likely the founding pastor of the Colossians church.

Epaphras carried this passion with him on the way to Rome, while he was in Rome, on the return to the Colossian people, and while he was among them. Notice his passion – “…always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God” (v. 12). There is a Greek word from which the word “laboring” is taken; that is the word ‘agonizomai’ from which our word ‘agonize’ comes. It is the same word that speaks of our Lord’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. This pastor was a man devoted to prayer, and agonized in prayer, because he knew he could not meet their needs, but God could.

The things for which he prayed are practical for our church today. He prayed that they would be complete in Christ [‘stand perfect’], growing in Christ, and mental and moral character. In the phrase, ‘Complete in all the will of God’ is the meaning of fully knowing the will of God. It is his prayer. It was his passion. It ought to be the passion of every pastor, of every Christian to be praying to that end for our brothers and sisters.

If we should begin praying this way it would certainly have a very positive effect on the church we worship in. There is one thing we must all realize and that is when God is moving seen or unseen, then the devil, the enemy of God and His people, will come in and attempt to divide, and cause harm to the local body of believers. That is where the heart of commitment and this single passion can so mightily work together.

THOSE WITH A SPECIALIZED TALENT SERVING IN THE CHURCH (v. 14a).

Luke was a physician. We know by that that he, like Paul was a very educated man. They both were intelligent men, and probably had very interesting conversations on their travels together. Luke wrote two of the New Testament books. The first was the Gospel of Luke, of course not Luke’s title, but given at a later date; and he wrote the Acts as well. In much of the book of Acts you can tell that Luke was present with Paul during much of these journeys. He probably served Paul as his physician. Bandaging him up after the times he was stoned for his faith, and the beatings he endured; as well as any other health need he may of had

Just as Luke had no theological training; so too are those who have no theology training needed in today’s church. There are medical missionaries who go to other places and minister by offering free health care to those who are without means. There is also need for people who are builders, diggers, witnesses, chainsaw handlers, and just cleanup work. There is a need for people of all kinds and sorts in local churches. There is no one who is not needed or wanted. Each of us have our place. All cannot be pastors, preachers, teachers, but all have a place to serve. Just because you have no college degree, does not mean you have no specialized talent or work that you do.

THERE IS ALSO SOME IN THE CHURCH WHO HAVE A SAD FUTURE (v. 14b)

Paul does not say much about Demas, just that he is sending greeting to the people of Colossae. Demas is the one we do know had a sad future. Demas was a deserter of the faith. Paul writes later to Timothy these sad words,

“Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica…” 2 Timothy 4:9-10 (KJV).

It is sad to note, but it is true that all those who enter the Gospel ministry will not remain in the ministry. Demas was one such man. Jesus had Judas who betrayed Him, and Paul had Demas who deserted him.

Demas had gone to Thessalonica, evidently seeking the worlds goods. He had grown discontent with being with a man who was constantly being beaten, imprisoned, and betrayed. His eyes strayed to the material things. The gold and silver sparkles blinded his eyes, and hardened his heart. Rather than seeking those things which are above he turned to seeking the temporary things of the material world.

What do our hearts long for today? The material things that glitter in the bright sunlight, or for Christ Jesus who is the beaming Son Light.

WITHIN THE CHURCH ARE THOSE, ALSO, WHO WILL PROMOTE THE SPREADING OF THE LETTERS OF GOD’S WORD (vv. 15-18).

The apostle Paul was certainly such a man. The letters Paul is speaking of is, of course, this one, and most likely the one we know as Ephesians. It is pretty commonly accepted that the book of Ephesians was a circular letter, written by Paul, to many different churches. It could be that it received the title Ephesus due to it being the final congregation receiving the letter.

This letter to Colossae, was sent specifically to the Colossian church, but then was to be passed on to the other churches. In a sense you could say that Galations, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians were circular because they were all received, and read by the others. They are, in fact, still being read by other churches.

People are not saved by promotion of circuses, shows, or any type of entertainment. People are saved by the preaching of the Word of God, and the power of the Holy Spirit moving into the hearts and lives of the hearers.

Pass this letter along Paul says. Read the one from Laodicea as well. If you want to know what Paul wrote to the Laodicean church you need to just turn back a few pages to Ephesians. That is the most likely candidate for that letter.

There is concern also for a young man who may have been entering into ministry of the Gospel. His name was Archippus. Paul’s words to him and any other for the ministry is, “Take heed to the ministry… that thou fulfill it”. Do not neglect the ministry of God’s Word. They are the words of life; eternal life.

The apostle signs this letter with his own hand. It is signed; not with a signature, but the closing greeting.

This study in Colossians has been of the Superiority of Christ, His Sufficiency, He being First Place. The letter confronts those who would deny the deity of Jesus, and ascribe to Him as being only spirit; but not flesh and blood. Christ Jesus is the Creator, Sustainer of all that is. He is the One who showed us how to live, and how to die, and how to live again. In the epistle of Colossians we learn how to pray for one another. Let’s be sure we are doing that. People you pray for are really hard to hate or despise.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Examples of Christian Living (1)

EXAMPLES OF CHRISTIAN LIVING (Part 1)

Colossians 4:7-10

Proposed OUTLINE –

I. TYCHICUS WAS A MAN WITH THE HEART OF A SERVANT (vv. 7-8).

II. ONESIMUS, WAS A MAN WITH A PAST THAT WAS SINFUL (v. 9).

III. ARISTARCHUS, WAS MAN WITH A SYMPATHETIC HEART (v. 10a).

IV. MARK WAS A MAN WITH A SURPRISING FUTURE (v. 10b).

I borrowed the idea for the main points of this outline from  THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY, Colossians & Philemon, pp. 192-199.

Paul has given much instruction on the dangers, and destruction of those who are Gnostics, and their teachings. Remember, they deny, the deity of Jesus Christ; because to their way of thinking Deity, and flesh cannot reside in the same body; as a matter of fact Deity cannot have a body of flesh. They supposedly believed that Jesus existed, but only as a spirit being; His “death” was only faked; thus there was only a ‘spiritual resurrection’. Do you know how silly that sounds?

Paul has encouraged us to pray for one another, and the Church; and shared with us how he was praying for us. He has lifted up the name of Jesus showing that He is Preeminent in all things, that He was the Creator of the Universe, and not only Creator, but He sustained it all.

Paul has warned us about the “Philosophy of men… And going after the ways of the world, and not after Christ”. He shared with us the sufficiency of Jesus Christ, and warned us of the death knell of legalism, and angel worship.

The apostle also encouraged us, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above…” Putting off the things of the flesh. Setting our affections on things of God – things above. Putting to death all sexual sins, and covetousness. Learning to deal with anger, wrath, malice, etc… To “Put on bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness.. Meekness, longsuffering, and forbearing one another, forgiving one another. Putting on God-like love. Having godly family relationships, work relationships.

Last time we looked at having a Christian Walk with the Lord; OUR DEPORTMENT.

In these final two messages we will be looking at examples of Christian deportment. There are seven that are good, and one that does not turn out so well. These are what needs to be exhibited in our church, and in life. We are each gifted by the Holy Spirit differently, so let’s be careful about using our gift effectively, and efficiently.

THERE ARE PEOPLE IN OUR CHURCH WHO HAVE THE HEART OF A SERVANT (vv. 7-8).

“ For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.  For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;  Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;  Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.  Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.  Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another…” Romans 12:3-10 (KJV).

The word ministry in the above Scripture is speaking of “Serving”, being a servant to others. It is the type of work that is needed in the church, and everyone should be serving; first the Lord, of course, then others. There are some who are just clearly gifted with SERVING others. They are usually the first to see a need, and address it, by doing something themselves, or if it is too big a project they call on others to help out.

The one’s with the gift of ministry/serving are also the type of people who do not desire recognition. They will serve even when no one notices. They prefer anonymity in the matter of ministry, without a lot of hooplah. In the our text for the day we see Tychicus, and he was most likely this way, but Paul goes ahead and makes sure the church at Colossae knows who he is anyway.

The gift of service offered was 1) Letting the people know of Paul’s state; 2) To find out the state of the church of Colossae, and return to Paul with that info; and 3) To be an encouragement to them:

1.  A servant will be one who is concerned enough to let others know the needs of those who are preaching elsewhere;
2.  A servant will also be one who informs those who are preaching, of the needs and growth, or lack thereof, of the congregation they are serving;
3.  A servant will be an encouraging part of the congregation.

We all need to have the attitude of the Servant. Not serving to be noticed, but serving because of calling, and desire to glorify the Lord.

EVERYONE IN THE CONGREGATION NEEDS TO REALIZE THAT WE ARE ALL PEOPLE WITH A SINFUL PAST (v.9).

Onesimus was the run away slave of Philemon. It is quite possible that, not only had he ran away, but he had stolen from Philemon. Paul says to Philemon, “If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that to mine account” Philemon 1:18 (KJV). It is sure that he had a sinful past.

A lot of us might ask, “Well what is he doing going back?” He was delivering this letter with Tychicus, to Colossae. He was most likely taking another letter to his master Philemon, from the hand of Paul.

In Onesimus we see a great Christian principle. It was one which Paul taught and Onesimus was going to practice, as a matter of fact he was practicing. That that he was practicing was keeping the matter of the law of slavery. Deuteronomy says, “Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee” (23:15 KJV). The one to whom a slave had fled was to care for this bond-servant, shelter, food, etc., but for them to go back was entirely up to the slave. In the case of Onesimus it was the good and godly thing to do, especially since he had become a Christian, and Philemon was a brother in Christ.

Paul describes Onesimus as, ‘…a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you…’ The testimony of Onesimus was what every Christian testimony is. One of deliverance to new life. Change had taken place in him, and it does in all who come to Christ.

The ministry of service of both Tychicus and Onesimus was to inform the people at the Colossian church of the work, ministry and needs of Paul. Onesimus was almost undoubtedly carrying another letter addressed to Philemon, and to whom he would deliver this letter face to face with the man he had wronged. Philemon was a wealthy leader of the Colossian Church which met in his house.

I have no problem believing that Philemon completely forgave Onesimus and set him free. After reading Paul’s letter himself, and then, reading it to the congregation meeting ‘in his house’ how could he refuse.

THERE ARE PEOPLE IN THE CHURCH WHO HAVE A SYMPATHETIC HEART (v. 10a).

Aristarchus is mentioned in Acts 19:29; 20:4; 27:2. Aristarchus is a voluntary captive with Paul. He is most likely not an actual prisoner, but has chosen to stay with Paul and minister to him. Part of his ministry would have been as an encourager. There would have been days when Paul would have been about as low as a Christian man can get, and would need someone to lift him up. Aristarchus was that man.

Understanding the situation requires sympathy. What is sympathy? According to the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY sympathy is – “a relationship between persons or things wherein whatever affects one similarly affects the others”. Suffering with the one who is suffering. It would also involve being blessed with the one who is blessed. Paul has said, “Weep with those who weep…” Romans 12:15. In that same verse he said, “Rejoice with those who rejoice”. There are those who can and do weep with you when you hurt. They are there for you when you need an encouraging word.

A word of caution. Not everyone has this kind of sympathy that puts them right in the place of suffering or rejoicing. We should all have some elements of sympathy, but not all to the extent that Aristarchus had. It is always a good thing to weep with the weeping, and unless you are jealous of someone else’s success rejoice with them in their rejoicing.

THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE IN THE CHURCH WHO HAVE A SURPRISING FUTURE (v. 10b).

Mark had been a failure on Paul’s first missionary journey. In Acts 13:5 we find “John” who is John Mark ministering with Paul and Barnabus. In the thirteenth verse we have John Mark departing and going back to Jerusalem. There is absolutely no explanation, but due to the conflict that arises between Paul and Barnabus over John Mark going with them on the second missionary journey, we assume that Mark could not take the heat, so he got out while he could.

Paul was probably furious about Mark’s departure, as well as feeling like Mark deserted him. Mark was still, most likely, an immature Christian, and was not use to see persecution because of the faith. Mark had seen a challenge from Satan himself through the sorcerer Elymas, and he had seen the persecution of Paul and Barnabus, and it was all he could take. There was much contention between the two; so much that they went separate ways, and that was something God used to further the kingdom (Acts 15:36-41). One thing we can learn from this is that at all times we must use discernment. That is what Paul was doing, and at this time did not see any fruit in the life of Mark as the defeated, discouraged young man he was when he ran back to Jerusalem. When Paul saw the growth in Mark that was needed he commends him to others.

Notice in this statement by Paul that he says of Mark, “Receive him”. He mentions Mark again in the letter to Philemon, verse 24, “Salute… Mark… my fellow laborers”. Mark had grown and had become a strong believer in the faith. He mentions Mark again in 2 Timothy 4:11, as being a “profitable [useful] to me for the ministry”.

Mark went on and wrote the second Gospel. That is right the Gospel according to Mark. According to some historians and theologians Mark is the oldest of the four Gospels.

One thing by looking at the man Mark is that just because you have failed does not mean that God is finished with you. When your faith is strengthened and renewed God will use you for His glory again. When you fear you have failed just look to the One who has saved you and He will pick you up.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Christians Conduct

Our Deportment

Colossians 4:5-6

The word “Walk” has to do with one’s conduct or deportment (behavior). On grade cards teachers use to grade their students on their “Deportment”. I wonder if that is still there? If it is I wonder how many would get a passing grade? When it comes to Christian deportment how many of us would get a passing grade?

When it comes to Christian conduct Paul likens it to a “Walk”. It has to do with the way we live. All of us have “Deportment”, but of what kind is it? He gives the church of Colossae some guidance and instruction concerning their deportment.

Proposed OUTLINE:

I. WALK IN WISDOM (v.5).
II. REMEMBER OTHERS WHO ARE NOT CHRISTIANS ARE WATCHING YOU (v. 5).
III. MAKING GOOD USE OF THE TIME GOD HAS GIVEN YOU (v. 5).
IV. SPEAK WITH GRACE FROM YOUR HEART (v. 6).
V. LET THERE BE SEASONED SALT IN YOUR WORDS (v. 6).
VI. KNOW HOW TO GIVE AN ANSWER TO EVERY ONE (v. 6).

WALK IN WISDOM (v. 5).

Far too many times those who profess Christ as their Lord and Savior walk as fools and not as those who have godly wisdom. There are several ways we can walk foolishly. One of those ways is by seeking financial gain feverishly, ie., as a main goal for living. Like material/financial gain was all there was to live for, rather than Christ, His glory, and His will. Greed, nor coveting are expressions of faith, but rather of unbelief.

Another way of walking foolishly is by living in legalism. Legalism is trusting in your good deeds, behavior, works as the means of gaining God’s favor, rather than trusting that you have already gained God’s favor. The Christian who is living legalistically also finds fault, very quickly, with those they see sins within. They will be quick to judge someone that is poor as being lazy. They will judge harshly anyone who does not live up to their standard, whether it is based on Biblical law or their own. Legalism requires that you live by this standard, this law, or you are not saved, and you will not make.

Jealousy and selfish ambition comes in when Christians are not walking wisely. Brothers or sisters in Christ are blessed, and jealousy creeps in. The desire to improve one’s job situation at the expense of someone else shows the foolishness as well.

According to John MacArthur’s New Testament Commentary for Colossians there are four sources for wisdom.

“First, worship: ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding’ (Prov. 9:10). Second, prayer: ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him’ (James1:5). Third, Bible study: ‘Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, and with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another’ (Col. 3:16). Fourth, godly instruction: ‘And we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ’ (Col. 1:28). It is only through walking in wisdom that believer’s words will mean anything…” pg. 186. THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY of Colossians and Philemon.

REMEMBER THOSE WHO ARE WATCHING YOU (v. 5).

How we speak and how we live should match up with one another; and not be poles apart. That equals hypocrisy. When we mention the change Jesus Christ makes in one’s life it better show in you and me. Is there anything in your life that does and would cause others to question your testimony of Christ’s change of your life?

The “Walk of wisdom” which we walk better show godly wisdom and not foolishness. We all stumble, and when we are genuinely saved we get back up and go again. Others will see our faith in that as well as the other things we say and do.

MAKE GOOD USE OF THE TIME GOD HAS GIVEN US (v. 5).

One of the Psalms which Moses wrote says, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). We need to live as though today was our last day on earth. Not with fear, anxiety, or grasping for what the unredeemed would claim to be “Living”, but with peace, contentment, joy, love for others, seeking to tell all we can about the love of God in Christ Jesus, and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus – the personification of that love of God.

How many hours do we waste doing television viewing, and waste the opportunities which God has given to witness, and possibly win a lost soul to Christ.

Wasted opportunities where you were sitting on a bench resting from a walk and a man with a very troubled look on his face and in his eyes comes and sits near you. Do you start a conversation with him and tell him of God’s grace, God’s love? Do you just sit there, then, leave in a few minutes without a word of God? I do not think I can remember the opportunities I have walked away from without a word of God to them. There have been some I have been faithful in, never saw a change in that person, but God’s Word will not return to Him void.

SPEAK WITH GRACE SEASONED WITH SALT (v. 6).

One of my favorite topics to talk about is grace – God’s grace to be more specific. There is no other grace that compares to God’s. His grace is amazing. His grace is miraculous. His grace is marvelous. His grace is heavenly. His grace is graceful. His grace is abundant. His grace is overflowing. His grace is powerful. His grace is earth shattering. His grace is glorious. His grace is cleansing. His grace is righteous. His grace is awesome. His grace is beautiful. His grace is for all who believe. His grace is forgiving His grace breaks the bondage of hell.

Speaking with Grace also means being gracious in our speech toward others. Having a good attitude toward them. When we are addressing a condemned person we must speak with love in our hearts. The grace of God is bountiful, and every lost individual must see grace in our speech.

When we season food with salt we are adding flavor to the food. Salt added to an open sore will be painful, and it will sting, but it does a work of cleansing and healing. What is needed in our speech to the unredeemed people we speak to is to show the love of God in the way we speak to them. Not making ourselves better than they are, but helping them see, that we are “Better off” than they are. They must see, first of all, that we really believe what we are speaking to them. If they sense in us that we do not really believe it there is no way they will, unless it is purely a divine act of the Holy Spirit alone. Of course, salvation is by God alone, but He does use redeemed vessels to reach others. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has its own flavoring. It is quite pleasing to the spiritual senses.

Salt is not only a seasoning, but also a cleansing/healing agent, and when put on an open wound will cause great pain. Sometimes pain is needed to get someone to come to God by way of the cross of Jesus. The truth of God’s law will cut to the quick of the unbeliever, and when that is done the Holy Spirit can use that to open the eyes of the lost, and bring them to Jesus.

BE ABLE TO GIVE AN ANSWER TO ALL WHO ASK (v. 6).

In 1 Peter 3:15 Peter wrote by the Spirit of God, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear…”. How you respond when someone asks you, “Why do you believe in Jesus?” is as important as telling them about Jesus. You need an answer for that. How would you answer it?

It needs explained to these individuals that you believe because He is God, who became flesh, and gave His life as payment for our sin. He arose from the grave three days later proving beyond all doubt that He is the risen, glorified, Savior of mankind, and Son of God. That, everything this man Jesus said is true, beyond all doubt, and what has not yet been fulfilled; will be fulfilled in God’s own timing.

We ought always to speak the name of Jesus with awe, respect, and love. Why do I believe in Jesus? I believe because He died for me. He took my sins upon Himself, and was fully judged by God the Father in my place. He died carrying my sins away. He rose from death, and due to that victory I too will live eternally with Him. Why do I believe in Jesus – why do I trust Him completely? He is God, who became flesh, to die for me, and rise again. He is also returning for me, and for all who have trusted in Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Constant Praying

Constant Prayer

Colossians 4:2-4

Paul writes about prayer. He encourages much concerning the matter of prayer. Prayer is an important part of a Christian’s life, growth, and living. The Word of God is our food source, and we need to pray for our understanding and enlightenment, and to know how to apply it to our lives. Prayer is our communication with God, while the study and reading of God’s Word is His communication with us.

Proposed OUTLINE –

I. THE TIME FOR PRAYER IS NEVER SET; IT IS FOR ALL PLACES, ALL TIMES AND FOR ALL CHRISTIANS (v. 2).
II. THERE IS AN URGENT NEED TO BE ATTENTIVE IN PRAYER, AWAKE, WATCHFUL, AND AWARE (v. 2).
III. THE ATTITUDE OF PRAYER SHOULD BE THAT OF THANKFULNESS (v.2).
IV. PRAY FOR THOSE WHO ARE ABOUT THE TASK OF PRESENTING/PREACHING THE GOSPEL AND THE WORD (v. 3).
V. PRAYER FOR THE MINISTRY OF GOD’S WORD (vv. 3-4).

In Arabian folklore we have the story of Aladdin. Within the story is a Genie in a bottle. The one who finds the bottle and releases the Genie gets wishes. It should be a fearful thing for Christians to view the communication of prayer with God as something similar to the Genie in a bottle. We do not go to Him and request whatsoever is according to selfish human desire.

In the writing of this, and preparing to deliver it as a message makes me so aware of a lack of knowledge concerning prayer. I fall so short when it comes to prayer. There are times when in my private time with the Lord, I can hardly utter a word. Many times what I pray seems so trite, and unimportant when compared to God’s Word. Yet, in God’s Word we are told to pray. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thes. 5:17); Pray, “For kings, and for all that are in authority…” (1 Timothy 2:2); Jesus said, “…Men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1); When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane He said, “Pray that ye enter not into temptation” (Luke 22:40), and He also said, “Why sleep ye? Rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation” (Luke 22:46). That is enough to let us know the importance of prayer and praying.

When it comes to praying; it is not about getting what we want, as much as it is about giving glory to the Lord, and knowing His will for our life and living. Jesus did say,

“What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24).

What does the Christian, the follower of Jesus Christ desire? To know God, grow to be more like Jesus, for the glory of the Lord in our life. If you have seen prayer as a means of getting your feeble wishes granted then, you have fallen into the trap of “thorns and thistles”, and they will smother you out.

I. THE TIME FOR PRAYER IS NEVER SET; IT IS FOR ALL PLACES, ALL TIMES AND FOR ALL CHRISTIANS (v. 2).

There is no set time for prayer. You can pray at a planned time or event. You can pray when there is no planned event. You can pray when you feel like it, and when you do not feel like it. It seems that some of the best praying is done when we have fallen to our lowest level. When things seem to have fallen apart, then we get serious about praying. Is that what our Lord had in mind when He said, “Men ought always to pray…”. Is that what Paul meant when he wrote to the people of Thessolonica, “Pray without ceasing”?

II. THERE IS AN URGENT NEED TO BE ATTENTIVE IN PRAYER, AWAKE, WATCHFUL, AND AWARE (v. 2).

As we look around at events and happenings in our world we see an urgent need, a cry of sorts, a pleading to be in earnest prayer. A thought just occurred to me that the word “Earnest” means a ‘down payment’ in the book of Ephesians,

“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” Eph. 1:13-14.

The thought I am seeing is; Prayer that pays the price to see the requested thing accomplished. That simply means a sacrifice in time on the knees seeking God’s face and His will in all circumstances, and situations.

This prayer must be one asked for while fully aware, awake, and watching faithfully to protect, keep that very thing with which we have been blessed. It also means doing those same things for the souls of others. We have an enemy who wants, even desires ravenously to devour us. We are called to vigilant, diligent, earnest prayer. Prayer that sees God’s will is done, and He is gloriously magnified.

III. THE ATTITUDE OF PRAYER SHOULD BE THAT OF THANKFULNESS (v.2).

Christians should be the most happy and joyous people walking on this planet. Yet, far too many times there are hearts, and lips of complaint rather than thanksgiving. When we are praying we should be especially thankful to our Lord for the many blessings he has given us. One of the things we should thank Him for daily is life, because He can take it from us without a moments notice. Have you ever thanked God for each breath of air? What about each step you take?

Let’s look at this “Thanksgiving” thing from another angle. Do you thank Him for the answers to your prayers? And, even before they are answered, as far as you can tell? Can you, and will you thank Him when He gives no answer, at least immediately? Sometimes it is just plain tough to be thankful. What if God gives you the answer of “NO!”? Will you be thankful for a “NO!” answer? You could be if you knew that God had your best interests at the center of His heart, and that what you had requested might cause you irreparable harm, physically, spiritually, mentally, or whatever other way there is.

The apostle Paul wrote,

“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” 1 Thes. 5:18.

IV. PRAY FOR THOSE WHO ARE ABOUT THE TASK OF PRESENTING/PREACHING THE GOSPEL AND THE WORD (v. 3).

Those who proclaim the Word of God and the Gospel are in constant need of the prayers of the people. That is because the adversary the devil is not pleased with the Gospel and the Word going forth as God has commanded. He does not want God’s Word accomplishing what He pleases, ie. what God pleases. God’s Word will not return to God void – without accomplishing God’s purposes. It must be presented though.

The devil can throw a kink into its presentation by questioning in the mind or minds of recipients of the Word. Remember Eve, and the serpents question to her. “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” The serpent is a real liar, deceiver, con-artist, and the father of all such.

Paul request prayer for his ministry of proclaiming the gospel to all who would hear, and as many as would hear. Notice the things for which he asks: 1) for open doors (opportunities) for preaching the Gospel; 2) to be able to proclaim the message of Christ which at one time was a mystery, but has now been revealed; and 3) that he would be able to explain it so as to have it revealed more readily by the power of the Spirit. We do not need to make the Gospel difficult, but make it as clear as possible that the Spirit would work in power without any baggage

V. PRAYER FOR THE MINISTRY OF GOD’S WORD (vv. 3-4).

There is power in the Word of God. When there is enlightenment by the Spirit of God the Word of God changes lives. We must pray for the ministry of the Word to have as much an impact on individual lives as there could possibly be. How big is God? He is bigger than all that is. The Lord asked Abraham, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (Gen. 18:14).

Jesus, in His prayer for His disciples, prayed, “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy Word is truth” John 17:17. When people are praying for the Word of God to go forth in power, there will be power in the pulpit, power in the pew, power in the home, power on the road, power in the homes of the neighbors where the Word is proclaimed, power in the schools, power in government – Local, State, and Federal, and around the world. Of course, that is the ideal situation.

Too many times we pray for a sign miracle, ie. healing, a need met immediately or almost immediately met, or money to fall into our laps. Pray for the ministry of God’s Word. Pray that it will first and foremost have an impact in your own life, then, in the lives of your family members, neighbors, work associates, friends, and such.

Do you have a backsliding or backslidden brother, sister, father, mother, aunt, uncle, cousin, neighbor, or enemy? Pray for their renewing. You know their problem, most likely, mention it when you pray to the Lord. Do you have a lost brother, sister, father, mother, aunt, uncle, cousin, neighbor, or enemy? Pray that God would convict them of sin, make them miserable in their sin, then, ask the Lord to show them Jesus dying for their sins on the cross.

Pray that your pastor, and all those who proclaim the Word of God may do it clearly with understanding, with power of the Spirit, and with boldness.

-Tim A. Blankenship

At Home and At Work

At Home And Work

Colossians 3:18 – 4:1

There is much sorrow in our world. There are wars in other countries of the world. Our own nation is involved in one which has been called World War Three, because other countries of the world are involved in it. There is a war going on in politics in our country; it may not be with guns, bullets and bombs, but war, none the less. There are battles raging in the homes of American citizens. Sibling rivalry; husbands and wives in constant feud with one another, and it is not in non-Christian homes alone; it is in many professing Christian homes too.

The reason these battles rage is due to several different problems. The first one is a lack of morality within much of society. The second is due to a lack of people understanding who they are, and the third is being shut out from others and God. We could look at these in reverse and find the answer for them all. God has called us to Himself – let’s believe Him and trust His Son Jesus. When we have trusted Jesus as our personal Savior we find out and understand who we are. When we are right with God, understanding who we are in Him, then, we will, by His grace grow into the kind of living and morality that will glorify Him.

Here is a possible outline for this study –

OUTLINE –

I. WHEN CHRIST IS FIRST THERE WILL BE A SUBMISSIVE WIFE AT HOME (v. 18).
II. WHEN CHRIST IS FIRST THE HUSBAND WILL LOVE HIS WIFE, AS CHRIST LOVES THE CHURCH AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR HER (v. 19; Eph 5:25).
III. WHEN CHRIST IS FIRST CHILDREN WILL OBEY THERE PARENTS (v. 20).
IV. WHEN CHRIST IS FIRST FATHERS WILL DO RIGHT IN THE DISCIPLINE OF THEIR CHILDREN (v. 21).
V. WHEN CHRIST IS FIRST THE SLAVE/EMPLOYEE WILL OBEY THE MASTER/EMPLOYER (vv. 22-25).
VI. WHEN CHRIST IS FIRST THE MASTER/EMPLOYER WILL OBEY HIS MASTER CONCERNING SLAVES/EMPLOYEES (v. 4:1).

First of all let’s look at the idea of the SUBMISSIVE WIFE (v. 18). Now that term “Submissive” causes a stir among some women. There are many professing Christian women who will say, “Well that was for Paul’s day and the society he lived in. It is not for today”. They might even go on and say, “These words of Paul are not inspired of God, therefore non-binding for women today”. And I suppose you are inspired by God to pick out those spots that are not inspired by God. Thank you, but no thanks.

There are some things that need to be considered. The first thing to consider is that when Jesus came down and became a man, though equal with the Father He was submissive to the Father. His submission made Him no less equal with the Father. The idea of submission does not make one unequal with the one to whom they are submissive. When an individual receives employment from a business he/she becomes submissive to that employer. If not, you are fired. The idea of submitting as the wife is a basic recognition that there is a head/leader within the home. As Sarah was submissive to Abraham so too, are wives of all ages to be submissive.

A word to husbands. This is not a command for you to give. This is not an expectation you are to have of your wife. It is a blessing of the Lord you will receive when you are the husband God has commanded you to be.

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” Eph. 5:25-27 (Also verse 19, of our text.) (KJV).

So says Paul in the previous book. When Christ is first in the life of the husband he will love his wife as Jesus did for the Church, and give his life for his wife. The man who loves the Lord Jesus will sacrificially love the wife God has blessed him with. That even means he will love her when she is not being lovable. That is what Jesus has done for you and I. Jesus Christ loved us even while we were yet His enemies (See Romans 5:8-10). You love her when she will not love you back, and this love is not talking about what is supposed to be the intimate “marital relationship”. It is a simple love that expects nothing in return.

“Do not be bitter toward them” infers the thought of ‘stop being bitter toward them’. We must admit there are times we can become bitter toward or wives, and Peter gives us warning concerning these things; “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” 1 Peter 3:7 (KJV).

Have your prayers been hindered lately? Maybe you have not been treating your wife rightly, and harboring bitterness toward her. God has blessed you with a beautiful vessel of more value than anything you possess. Thank God for her, and love her.

Children are a blessing to a home. There is a commandment given especially to the children, and that is,

“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee” Exodus 20:12 (KJV).

Paul reminds us of this in Ephesians,

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.  Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)  That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth” Eph. 6:1-3 (KJV).

Paul mentions in this verse that this commandment has a promise attached to it. He says it is the ‘First commandment with promise’, and it is the only one with promise. The promise is long life for those children who obey and honor their mother and father. My, how this needs to get into the hearts of children of today. I have heard children say, “I would respect them if they would respect me”, but there is no commandment for parents to respect their children. Parents are the preventative measure to keep the children from danger, and out of trouble.

I do not think some parents realize that sometimes when your child comes asking permission to do something, they are really wanting you to say “No!”, because they know it will not be a good thing for them, or they just simply do not want to participate. When it is a godly church activity always say, “Yes!” Children will honor you when you have their best intent for them. Not what you want for them, but what they need.

When God has blessed a home with children we are so ill equipped for it. We learn how to be parents, then, by the time they are grown we do not need the skills. Is that right? We do need them, because most of the time there will be grandchildren coming.

WHEN CHRIST IS FIRST, FATHERS WILL DO RIGHT IN THE DISCIPLINE OF THEIR CHILDREN.

When raising children it is sometimes frustrating to see them make some of the same mistakes we made. We need to realize that every individual, even our children, must learn from their own mistakes. We make a big mistake when we become so aggravated with them that we begin to belittle them, calling them names, such as, ‘Stupid’, calling a son ‘Sissy’ or ‘Baby’. Our children are very precious, and we must learn to praise them for their achievements and lessen their failures, but encourage them in the failures, of their own worth.

To call them the names mentioned above, and belittle them provokes them to feeling worthless, unappreciated, and unloved. You do not want your children or grandchildren feeling that way. If you want to lose your children just practice name calling, belittling, and leave out encouragement. They will leave your house, and live lives of discouragement, and torment.

I have reached the conclusion that one of the best things a man can give his sons and daughters is for them to see that he loves their mother. Another of the best things a man can give his sons and daughters is for them to be able to see that he loves the Word of God, and the Lord God too – they can see this by the time you spend in the Word, and the time of day in which you spend it. Your children know when you are real and when you are being phony.

Now, let’s go outside the home to the workplace. There are some who disagree with the thought of the slave and master relationship being a teaching for the employee and employer relationship. In our day this is the only thing that relates to it, and it must. A slave of Paul’s day was working for his/her master to meet a debt owed, or to fulfill an obligation of some sort. Maybe the slave was purchased for a price, and was actually owned by the master. There is a picture of the employee and employer present.

When you are employed by a factory to work on their assembly line, haul materials to the others who are assembling, preparing boxes for shipping or whatever you do there has been an agreement between them for payment of services rendered from the employer to the employ, and the employ gives services for payment. In the slave and master deal there is little difference.

Notice the term, “Not with eye service, as men-pleasers…”. This is speaking of only working heartily when the boss/master is looking, but as soon as he leaves going back to the slackard, slothful, loafing mode.

WHEN CHRIST IS FIRST THE SLAVE/EMPLOYEE WILL OBEY THE MASTER/EMPLOYER even when she/he is not watching. The Christian should be the best employ on the floor or in the field; in any situation, and without complaint.

The Christian employee must always keep in mind that he/she is working for the Master. The life you live will either exemplify the Savior as a life changing Savior or will show Him as an excuse for poor work efforts. We work as unto the Lord. Live for His glory.

WHEN CHRIST IS FIRST THE MASTER/EMPLOYER WILL OBEY HIS MASTER CONCERNING SLAVES/EMPLOYEES and treat them with love, respect, fairness, and justness. There will be a fair wage paid in order that the family of the employ may be cared for properly. When the employer treats his/her employees justly, they might just be surprised to find out how hard they will work, and how loyal they will be to the business.

If places such as WalMart would treat their employees with a good wage, insurance, and fairness they would be a much better organization.

The Christian master/employer will treat his people fairly, justly and see that they are paid enough to live.

SUMMARY –

I. WHEN CHRIST IS FIRST IN THE HOME THERE WILL BE A HAPPY MARRIAGE AND RESPECTING CHILDREN.
II. WHEN CHRIST IS FIRST IN THE HOME PARENTS WILL BE ENCOURAGEMENT TO THEIR CHILDREN.
III. WHEN CHRIST IS IN THE HOME THE CHRISTIAN ADULTS WILL BE THE BEST EMPLOY AT THE FACTORY OR IN THE FIELD.
IV. WHEN CHRIST IS IN THE HOME THE CHRISTIAN MASTER/EMPLOYER WILL BE FAIR AND JUST TO HIS SLAVES/EMPLOYEES.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Bond of Perfection

The Bond Of Perfection

Colossians 3:12-17

OUTLINE –

I. PUT ON THE GRACES OF FORBEARANCE (vv. 12-13).
II. PUT ON THE BOND OF PERFECTION – GODLY LOVE (v. 14).
III. THE RESULTS OF THE PUTTING ON GODLY LOVE (vv. 15-16).
IV. DOING ALL FOR HIS NAME AND BEING THANKFUL (v. 17).

We have looked at the idea of “Put off” and “Put on” previously (vv. 8-10), and it tells us quite clearly what we are to be shed of concerning Christian living. These are not to be the normal ‘Clothing’ of the believer/follower of Jesus.

The putting off of those vile things means, also, the putting on of something else. In this case Paul mentions in the tenth verse to “Put on the new man”, and that is, of course having to do with one’s salvation.

“Therefore, if any man be in Christ; he is a new creation: old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17).

When we have put on the new man that means a different walk, different talk, different lifestyle. It is clear that one’s desires, diets, attitudes, and drives change for the glory of Christ, the betterment of others and one’s self, as well.

Let’s begin by looking at those verses called twelve and thirteen. Again we have the call of Paul to ‘Put on’. Having been stripped of the old dirty garments of sin; the old man and his deeds, we need something stronger, better, able to do the job. Notice what we are to ‘Put on’. Just a word of instruction – these are unknown to the unloving, unredeemed heart and life. These things are evidence of a changed life, redeemed, called and chosen by God, and beloved of God.

The redeemed of the Lord have “Bowels of mercies”, “Kindness”, “Humbleness of mind”, “Meekness”, “Longsuffering”, “Forbearing one another”, and “Forgiving one another”. There could possibly be a smidgen of these things in the unredeemed mind and heart, but not as in the case of the Believer. Now, let’s look at the meaning of these things:

Bowels of mercies is speaking of a love that reaches down into your innermost being; when you see a brother or sister in Christ fall into sin – you do not blame, castigate, gossip, or slander the individual, but you minister and encourage by grace and mercy; tenderheartedly, considering yourself (Gal. 6:1).

Kindness is usefulness – a going out of one’s way, even, to aid, give help; even in showing the kindness to someone whom you have perceived as having wronged you – probably especially so with them who have wronged you.

Humbleness of mind – having to not think of one’s self more highly than they ought to think; that which is always thinking of others, and seeking their good; rejoicing when others are achieving, but you do not seem to be.

Meekness – someone said, “Meekness is strength or power under control”. Jesus would fit this description to a tee. Too many times in politics, in churches, or any place of leadership power is the main interest, and to whose harm?

Longsuffering – it is said that the actual meaning of this is not known, but some have said it means “suffering long”; Strong’s gives a word ‘Longanimity’ or we could call it Patience. One example of this word is God’s ‘longsuffering’ for us. It is the ability to hold on no matter how long it will take – until the end.

Forbearing one another – is also called “Put up with”. One thing we as Christians really ought to realize is that we are all redeemed by the same blood of Jesus Christ, called to the same salvation, the same body of Christ; and with differences. We are not all going to see everything eye to eye. We should and will agree on the basic doctrines of the faith of Christ, His Word, etc., so at times when we get obstinate, hard headed, and stubborn with each other we should laugh about these differences of opinion and go on caring for one another.

Forgiving one another – this almost sounds like the previous one, but they are different. Forgiving someone is you paying the debt they owe you, by wiping the “slate” clean. That is what Jesus did for us on the cross. He asked the Father to forgive as the soldiers drove the nails in His hands. He was paying a debt He did not owe.

In verse 14 we see what it is that we need in order for these things to stick together and work efficiently, and sufficiently. When you are building a house there are many nails used to put board to board to erect the structure. These nails, whether a single nail, or a gang nail holds this building together. The idea is to be held together so well that it will never fall. We do not really have that kind of security in our fallen world.

Paul tells us, “Put on charity”, and by ‘charity’ he means a God-like love. Love like God does. How does God love us? He loves us unconditionally, ie., without conditions. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8b). Even while we were His enemies, yet He loved us, each and everyone.

When we have this God-like love there will be nothing anyone can do to cause us to hate them, to be jealous of them, to envy them, and instead we will rejoice with them when they are rejoicing; and we will weep with them when they weep. Here Paul commands us to “Put on charity”. This is not an ‘Itchy, goody, feely, emotionally moving” type of love. This is the love that is motivated by the heart of God, and it has no qualifications, or hindrances. Remember this, though, “God loves us just as we are, but He loves us too much to leave us the way we are”.

The next thing Paul deals with is having the “Peace of God” in verses 15 – 16. Paul mentions the peace of God in Philippians 4:7,

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Without the peace of God there could be no love; either for others or for God. We gain the peace of God through His work of justification.

When you are at peace with God, ie., not trying to gain peace on your own merit, works, etc. and accepting the gift of grace which God gives through the cross of Christ; there will be no problem with letting Him rule in your life; and that will include being at peace with your brother and sister in Christ. Even if a brother or sister is still at odds with you; you can still look them in the eye when they are broken down on the side of the road, and you pull over to help them. It is also the means to remaining always thankful.

It does not matter the Christian’s lot in this life. There are brothers and sisters in Christ who own worldly possessions and there are brothers and sisters who do not. Some are quite poor in this world’s goods, and those who have are commanded to help those who have not; and to do it without murmuring and complaining.

How does one go about letting the “Word of Christ dwell in you richly…”? John MacArthur writes,

“To let the word of Christ richly dwell is identical to being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18).” FROM THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY ON COLOSSIANS AND PHILEMON pg. 159.

The word of Christ is to be in us abundantly, overflowing, but how can it be doing so, when we seem to remain Biblically illiterate. It is by the word of Christ that we grow in Him. It is by the word of Christ that we become like Him. It is by the word of Christ that we can have ‘all wisdom’, and teach and admonish “…one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord”.

Here is a further word of explanation from John MacArthur,

“Having the Word of Christ richly dwell in us produces not only information, but also emotion. It generates psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, and singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Psalms were taken from the Old Testament psalter, the book of Psalms. They sang psalms put to music, much as we do today. Hymns were expressions of praise to God. It is thought that some portions of the New Testament (such as Col. 1:15-20 and Phil. 2:6-11) were originally hymns sung in the early church. Spiritual songs emphasized testimony (cf. Rev. 5:9-10). They express in song what God has done for us.” Ibid. pg. 160.

The glory of Jesus Christ is the purpose of our being. He saved us for His own glory. He sanctifies us for His own glory. He fills us with His Spirit for His own glory. Shouldn’t everything we do be for His glory, and that must be “In His name” (v. 17).

When we are full of Jesus Christ we will also be the most thankful people on earth. Murmuring will cease. Complaints will be complaining because there are no tensions between brothers and sisters in Christ. When those things are so, then, the devil will certainly buffet us, and try and stir things up.

Let’s be thankful. Thank You Jesus. Thank You Lord. Thank You Father. Thank You Holy Spirit for pointing us to Jesus. Thank You Lord for making it possible for me to love You. Thank You Father for judging Jesus in my place. Thank You Father for every trial which is working for Your glory and my good.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Satisfaction of Imperfection

Satisfaction Of Imperfection

Colossians 3:5-11

Why the title, “THE SATISFACTION OF IMPERFECTION”? It just seems that people who profess themselves to be Christian, are more and more giving excuse for their rude, and sometimes lewd behavior, as “Well! Nobody’s perfect”. That is an acclamation of THE SATISFACTION OF IMPERFECTION.

To excuse our sins as just being normal for being human, rather than seeing them as an offense to God, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit; and harm to our fellowship with them is wrapped in hardcore unbelief, or pure ignorance. Paul has told these things are dead with Christ on the cross, however, in our present text we are told to put them to death.

The Gnostics had a problem with the flesh and the Spirit of God being together, so they basically just said, “Live how you want in the body. You will be okay”, but Paul tells us to put these evil practices to death. “Mortify” means to put to death. This requires “The Set Mind” which we looked at in verses 1 – 4. Paul believed we were able, by the power of the Holy Spirit within to put these evils to death; put them out of our lives.

It is true that we are not perfect people, and as humans, yes, we will and do sin. That is no excuse for offending the holiness of God which is within us. As has been stated before, “We do not have to sin”. If we have been saved by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, and His resurrection, then we do not have to sin. We have been made free. That is the greatest independence that has ever been given to mankind, if we would only receive it, and its blessings.

OUTLINE –

I. PUT TO DEATH THOSE THINGS WHICH SO EASILY DRAG US INTO SIN (v. 5a).
II. A LIST OF SINS CONCERNING PERVERTED LOVE THAT LEADS TO EVIL MOTIVES (v. 5b).
III. THESE ARE SINS OF THE CHILDREN OF UNBELIEF AND WILL COME UNDER THE WRATH OF GOD; WE USE TO LIVE THERE, BUT ARE DELIVERED (vv. 6-7).
IV. A LIST OF HATE SINS WHICH LEAD TO AN EVIL ACT (v. 8).
V. EACH ONE PUTS ON THE ‘NEW MAN’ AND PROCEEDS TO HOLINESS AND A SATISFACTION FOR HOLINESS (vv. 9-11).

I. PUT TO DEATH THOSE THINGS WHICH SO EASILY DRAG US INTO SIN (v. 5a).

A. We, as Christians, have been given a gift; the gift to say no to sin, and not let sin reign in our lives.

“ Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.  For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” Rom. 6:12-14
B. It is up to the Christian to live with the Set Mind to overcome sin, and not let it have dominion.

1. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ has freed us from sins death and bondage, but the mind of the Christian must work out the victory in living it.

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” Philp. 2:12-13.

II. A LIST OF SINS CONCERNING PERVERTED LOVE THAT LEADS TO EVIL MOTIVES (v. 5b).

A. All of these sins are acts related to sexual immorality.

1. Fornication – The Greek word for this is ‘porneia’ from which we have the word pornography, and has to do with harlotry, idolatry, adultery and incest.
2. Uncleanness – physically or morally impure.

“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:  All these evil things come from within, and defile the man” Jesus (Mark 7:21-23).
3. Inordinate affection – unregulated, disorderly passion and lust.

“That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;   Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God” 1 Thes. 4:4-5.
4. Evil concupiscence – depraved, forbidden, injurious desire or lust.
5. Covetousness – Greediness, avarice = excessive desire for wealth; REMEMBER THE TENTH COMMANDMENT, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s” Ex. 20:17.

B. All of these things are connected to covetousness which is “Idolatry”.

1. Whatever consumes your mind, and your time is your god; that is what you worship.
2. Our lives are God’s – Let’s worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.

III. THESE ARE SINS OF THE CHILDREN OF UNBELIEF AND WILL COME UNDER THE WRATH OF GOD; WE USE TO LIVE THERE, BUT ARE DELIVERED (vv. 6-7).

A. The afore mentioned sins are sins of the children of the devil.
B. The “Wrath of God” will come on all those who are living in them.
C. In the past we were also ‘children of the devil’ walking like them, but no longer are ‘in them’

IV. A LIST OF HATE SINS WHICH LEAD TO AN EVIL ACT (v. 8).

A. Hate in the mind leads to hateful actions which lead to all kinds of deeds, and their consequences.

1.. Anger – is desire with a violent passion.

a. Anger is an emotion that is given us by God, but what we do with it and how we use it is another thing.

b. In this verse it has meaning of negative actions; uncontrolled, destructive actions.

2. Wrath – fierce passion and indignation.
3. Malice – to actively seek the harm of another whether by words or by actions.
4. Blasphemy – evil speaking, railing against God – ‘Railing’ is to mock, babble, joke; to complain angrily.
5. Filthy communication – cursing, swearing, filthy joking, taking the name of the Lord in vain, etc..

B. The Christian is to “Put off” these things.

1. These things should be like clothing that smells terribly bad, or on fire; we get them off really quick.
2. Since we are told to do this we must believe that we can do it.

V. EACH ONE PUTS ON THE ‘NEW MAN’ AND PROCEEDS TO HOLINESS AND A SATISFACTION FOR HOLINESS (vv. 9-11).

A. Having ‘put off’ the “Old man” and “Put on the new man” we are to practice holiness and have the satisfaction of perfection.
B. We are renewed daily as we read, study and apply the Word of God to our lives, and daily living

1. We are renewed in knowledge after the image of Him who created us.
2. We progressively become more like Jesus – there is growth; though much of the time we may not be able to see it ourselves.

C. The ethnic background does not matter; we are equal before God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Set Mind

SO010707

THE SET MIND

Colossians 3:1-4

OUTLINE –

I. RAISED TO LIFE IN JESUS CHRIST (v. 1a).

II. GIVE YOUR ALL TO SEEKING THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE ABOVE (v. 1b).

III. THE POSITION OF JESUS CHRIST (v. 1c).

IV. A SET AND REASONING MIND WILL BE ON WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO IT (v. 2).

V. BEING DEAD TO SELF, HIDDEN WITH JESUS CHRIST IN GOD (v. 3).

VI. THE APPEARING OF JESUS CHRIST AND BEING WITH HIM (v. 4).

We have looked at the first two chapters and the apostle Paul dealt with the problems of the Gnostics who were involved and committed to teaching error. Denying the Deity of Jesus Christ, and that Jesus Christ was/is God incarnate [in flesh]; teaching and believing that they were more knowledgeable than even the apostles who had spent time with Jesus, witnessed His resurrection, etc..

Paul has already instilled in the readers of this short and marvelous letter that Jesus is the supreme one; He is our sustenance; He is our sufficiency. There is no mystical message that we need to hear. The message of the Word spoken to us by the apostles and the prophets is the message for God’s people. There is no ritual or religious practice we need do to be right with God. It is solely by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, His burial and His resurrection.

I. RAISED TO LIFE IN/WITH JESUS CHRIST (v. 1a).

A. Since we have died with Him we have also been resurrected with Him, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection (Rom. 6:3-5).

1. We were dead in trespasses and sin, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins…” (Eph. 2:1).
2. Before Jesus came in there was no way for us to acknowledge God, nor to be near Him.

B. There is no question as to the salvation of those to whom Paul is writing; it is clearly addressed to believers.

II. GIVING OUR ALL TO SEEK THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE ABOVE (v. 1b).

A. Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33).

1. Why is it that some sports fans do not mind paying out a couple of hundred dollars for a three hour football game, but will complain when it comes time to give a little to support the cause of Christ?
2. Why is it that vacationers will spend a few hundred dollars, even thousands of dollars, to go away for fun and relaxation, but will not spend a little to take a trip and spend time and money for the cause of Jesus Christ?

B. The answer to these questions is, “Their heart is in the sports, the vacations, etc.”, and not in the things which are above. “Where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21; Luke 12:34).
C. Think of the time spent in the ball games, the vacations; the dollars spent.

1. In 1991 there was 2 billion dollars spent on golf, and that same amount was spent on missions within all denominations.
2. Golf has increased in popularity since then I would guess that that dollar amount has quadrupled for golf; but has either decreased or increased very little for missions since that time.

III. NOTICE THE POSITION OF JESUS CHRIST (v. 1c).

A. He has been exalted to the right hand of the Father.

1. Where does Paul say that the believer is in relation to Christ?

a. With Christ.
b. Seated with Christ, “…And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus…” (Eph. 2:6).

2. Stephen the deacon/evangelist saw Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father (Acts 7:55ff).

B. He has been given all things of the Father.

1. All power.
2. All glory.
3. All things.
4. Rule with a rod of iron.

C. Jesus Christ our sufficiency for all things; why should we be seeking anywhere else than those things which are above?

IV. THE SET AND REASONING MIND WILL BE SET ON WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO IT (v. 2).

A. We are commanded in verse 1 to ‘seek those things which are above’, and then, told here to “Set your affection on things above…”.

1. This answers the Gnostics approach to the physical, antinomian practice of loose living.
2. When the heart and mind are set on the eternal things, then the earthly things for living and life will be right as well.

B. Paul is not commanding something that is not possible.

1. It is possible by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit within all who are born again.
2. Any one who does not have the Holy Spirit does not belong to God – that is; is not born again – “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any one have not the Spirit of Christ, they are none of His” (Rom 8:9).

C. The things of earth are only temporary; the things above are eternal – So which is most valuable?

V. BEING DEAD TO SELF, HIDDEN WITH JESUS CHRIST IN GOD (v.3).

A. Some people have or get the mistaken idea that this life, salvation, eternity, glory, met needs, problems, sorrows, sickness, disease, and such is all about us.

1. It is not: it is about God, His power, His glory, His grace, His will.
2. Originally made to glorify God Adam fell short of God’s glory – He failed to glorify God, and passed that on to us.

B. Jesus died to restore that glory that was taken away because of disobedience and sin.
C. When we die to self we are “Hid with Christ in God”.

1. Since all sin has been judged by Jesus’s death on the cross, there is no sin that will condemn us.
2. Since Jesus died for our sins, we die with Him.
3. Since Jesus rose from the dead, we rise with Him.
4. Since we are hid with Him we are one with Him (1 Cor. 6:17), we are partakers of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), we have understanding (1 Cor. 2:14-16), and we are secure (1 Peter 1:4).

D. The greatest thing about what Jesus did is that we now walk in the glory of the Lord God who created us all.
E. There is certainly no need for the mystic teachings, the denials of the truths of Jesus and His identity as God in flesh for the true believer.

VI. THE APPEARING OF JESUS CHRIST AND WE ARE WITH HIM (v. 4).

A. He is our life.

1. Jesus gives all life
2. Jesus gives eternal life.

B. Who or what is the center of your universe – your life? What does your world revolve around?

1. If it is not Jesus, and those things which are above, then you are lost, and headed the wrong direction.

C. Jesus is coming again; will you be with Him at His appearing, or will you be against Him?

SUMMARY –

I. RISEN WITH CHRIST GLORIFY HIM.

II. GLORIFY HIM BY CLINGING TO THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE ABOVE.

III. REMEMBER YOUR POSITION IN RELATION TO CHRIST – WITH HIM.

IV. WHO, WHAT AND WHERE IS YOUR AFFECTIONS – YOUR HEART – IN RELATION TO JESUS CHRIST?

V. LIVING FOR SELF EQUALS DEATH – LIVING FOR CHRIST YOU ARE HIDDEN WITH HIM IN GOD.

VI. JESUS IS COMING AGAIN; WILL YOU BE WITH HIM, OR WILL YOU BE AGAINST HIM?

-Tim A. Blankenship

Christ in You

SN110506

Christ In You

Colossians 1:24-29

In the past few years and months I have heard of sermons having to do with growing in your suffering, rejoicing in your suffering and such as that. Paul was writing from a place of suffering, and he was suffering for the cause of Christ and the cross. Can we or should we rejoice in suffering?

If we are to rejoice in suffering; how is that possible? It does seem that while Paul was suffering from imprisonment in a Roman prison he was rejoicing in Jesus our Lord and Savior. He has voiced words of approval of the people of Colossae, so we see he was not bitter. He did not complain. You hear nothing but contentment, and peace in his words.

Just how is it we can rejoice in suffering? Does this rejoicing include all suffering, such as sickness, financial hardship, family problems – marriage or having to do with children? It seems that we can rejoice in suffering, and in all forms of suffering.

There is a “Mystery” revealed in this passage of Scripture which gives us reason to believe that we can suffer and rejoice in the suffering as well. It is the mystery of “Christ in you, the hope of glory”.

OUTLINE –

I. REJOICING IN THE SUFFERING OF AFFLICTIONS OF CHRIST (v. 24). See MacArthur
II. CALLED TO FULFILL THE WORD OF GOD (vv. 25-26).
III. THE MYSTERY REVEALED AS ‘CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY’ (v. 27).
IV. THE PREACHING, THE PRESENTATION, THE PERFECTION, AND THE POWER (vv. 28-29).

In verse 23 Paul states that he is a “Minister of Christ”, and in verse 24 “And now rejoice in my sufferings for you”. Paul was REJOICING IN THE SUFFERING OF AFFLICTIONS OF CHRIST (v. 24). How can Paul do this? The word for “Rejoice” here means “to be full of cheer”. Cheerful and suffering just do not even seem to belong in the same sentence little lone the same life together.

What would the word “Cheerful” mean if we had no suffering? Would the word or the condition even exist? That goes with the words of a song of several years ago which says, “If I never had a problem, how could I know that God could solve them?”

Here are some thoughts from John MacArthur on why suffering is a cause for joy,

“First, suffering brings believers closer to Christ.” (Philippians 3:10). “Second, suffering assures the believer that he belongs to Christ.” (John 15:18; Matthew 10:24; 2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 4:14). “Third, suffering brings a future reward.” (Rom. 8:17-18; 2 Cor. 4:17). “Fourth, suffering can result in the salvation of others.” “Fifth, suffering frustrates Satan. He wants suffering to harm us, but God brings good out of it.” The above quotes by John MacArthur are from The MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Colossians/Philemon pg. 75.

In suffering for Christ, Paul was fulfilling the will of God and Jesus Christ in his life. For every child of God that suffers for the faith, Christ is glorified and exalted above all. Thus, suffering for Jesus fulfills the suffering of Christ for the Church. This has no redemptive purpose, but is due to redemption.

Paul saw his ministry to the church as being one CALLED TO FULFILL THE WORD OF GOD (vv. 25-26). There were many things that had been hidden in mystery (a secret hidden in the past, but now revealed) concerning grace, salvation, and the church. These things were not even seen in the law, but were there. Such things as having a “Heart of stone” and it becoming “Heart of flesh”;

“And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:” Ezekiel 11:19.

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26 (KJV).

The only way this kind of change is possible in an individual’s life is through the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Word of God is fulfilled when these wonderful things have been made plain. They are now revealed, and open for all to see, hear, and receive. To some, whose eyes may be darkened to the light of the Gospel, it will remain a mystery, and only by the power of God will they ever see. That is the only way it ever came to be in the first place.

There is a glorious thing about all of this, and that is THE MYSTERY REVEALED AS ‘CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY’ (v. 27). This is a wonderful, glorious thing. Our hearts should be full to overflowing to think, to know that Jesus Christ is in us. He is in us individually, and as a corporate body of believers when we are gathered together.

How can sinful people have the essence of holiness living within them? It is by the grace of God. How can we as the people of God – made so by grace – continue to live in our own power, and not rely on the One who lives, who abides within us?

The answer to the problem of the “Mystery” is “Christ in you”. You will not find that in the law, or in the Old Testament. Jesus Himself is “The Hope of Glory”. He is our hope of being with Him in glory ie., heaven. He is though, far more than just a hope. He is our salvation. He is our joy. He is our strength. He is our Savior. He is our Lord. He is our Master. He is the One in whom we trust. He is Creator, and our creator. He is Sovereign. He is All-present. He is All-powerful. He is All-knowing. He is God. He lives in those who confess Him as their personal Lord and Savior, whose lives He has changed.

Jesus did say to us, “Abide in Me…” (John 15:4). To abide in Him is to have Him abiding in us. The two go together “Abide in Me, and I in you.” O, the things we must give unto Him to make His life and presence revealed to this lost and dying world. Wherever we go do others see “Christ in you, the hope of glory”, or do they just see the ordinary? May God help me to have others see Christ in me, the hope of glory for others.

THE PREACHING, THE PRESENTATION, THE PERFECTION, AND THE POWER (vv. 28-29). Why did Paul suffer for the cause of Jesus Christ? Why did he rejoice in his suffering? He gives us the answer in these two verses.

He desired to present to Christ in that day a people who were complete in Christ. It is not a work to be left to the disciples own doing. The individual disciple of Christ is ultimately responsible for their own growth in Christ, but only after they have been taught the way; you might even say, after they have been taught to feed themselves.

All those who are in Christ will have presentations to make before Christ. The ones we have led to faith in Jesus will be there for that presentation. Do you desire that they be complete? That should be a strong burden for every Christian, ie., to see the newborn to faith in Christ grow from a babe to full grown adulthood.

The only way we can accomplish this, of course, is through the power of God – Christ in us, the hope of glory. We have no power, but His. We have no Word, but His. We have no spirit to accomplish this task, but His.

CONCLUSION –

I. THERE IS REJOICING WHEN WE SUFFER FOR THE NAME OF CHRIST, AND IN HIS NAME.
II. AS CHRISTIANS WE HAVE BEEN CALLED TO FULFILL THE WILL OF CHRIST IN OUR LIVES.
III. LET THE TRUTH OF ‘CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY’ NO LONGER BE A MYSTERY.
IV. GROW IN LOVE AND BE BURDENED TO SEE OTHERS GROW IN GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST; THAT YOU MIGHT PRESENT THEM COMPLETE BEFORE JESUS AT HIS COMING.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Presentation

The Presentation

SO102206&102106

Colossians 1:21-23

“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,” Jude 24 (KJV).

There is coming a day where those who have trusted the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross – His death, burial and resurrection; when Jesus will come and gather His Bride to Himself, and make a glorious presentation to the Father. What a day that will be.

I. WE HAVE BEEN DELIVERED FROM WHAT WE ONCE WERE.

A. In truth we were active participants against God, godliness, holiness, righteousness.

1. We were enemies of God.
2. That actually means we were actively participating against the work of God.

B. We are not left without promise or hope here though.

1. Even with us in this wicked condition, because of the grace of Jesus and the Father there is reconciliation.
2. Reconciled, reconciliation one and the same – the rejoining of two who have been separated.

II. WE HAVE BEEN RECONCILED TO GOD BY THE BODY OF CHRIST AND HIS DEATH.

A. Some may ask, “What is the need of reconciliation?”

1. God and man has been separated by sin.
2. God in His grace and love seeks to unite us to Himself, but cannot leave us as we are.

B. The Scriptures Paul has written are clear that Jesus died in a real, physical, human body.

1. He suffered – The suffering was genuine and real.
2. He bled. He died. He did it to redeem fallen humanity and all creation.

C. Even though we were in our sins God came down to us in the form of human flesh, in the person of His Son.

1. His death and resurrection means life for all who will believe Him.
2. It also means a new mind and heart.

III. WE WILL BE PRESENTED HOLY, UNBLAMEABLE, UNREPROVEABLE, BEFORE THE VERY FACE OF JESUS.

A. Notice the way we are presented;

1. We are presented HOLY;
2. We are presented UNBLAMEABLE;
3. We are presented UNREPROVEABLE.

John MacArthur writes,

“God sees us now as we will be in heaven when we are glorified. He views us clothed with the very righteousness of Jesus Christ. The process of spiritual growth involves becoming in practice what we are in reality before God. We ‘have put on the new self’ and that new self ‘is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him’ (Col. 3:10). The Christian life involves ‘beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord [which covers us before God, and] being transformed into the image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18).
The MacArthur New Testament Commentary COLOSSIANS/PHILEMON pg. 65.

B. This is before His face, or in His presence.

1. Because of Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection God sees us now just as we will be in Heaven when we are glorified.

IV. WE HAVE A CONTINUING FAITH WHICH IS SURE EVIDENCE OF AN ABIDING FAITH IN CHRIST.

A. The sure evidence of faith is a continuing faith.
B. When there is a true confession of faith in Jesus there is also a desire to know Jesus better.

1. There is a desire to tell others of what He has done for you.
2. There is a hunger to hear His Word and apply that Word to daily living.
3. One sign of abiding faith is also, when trouble comes along you keep looking to the Lord; not turning away believing He has forsaken you.

Let me quote Dr. J. Vernon McGee on this verse,

“This is not a conditional clause that is based on the future. The if that Paul uses here is the if of argument. It does not mean that something shall be if something else is true; rather it means that something was if something else is true. We would say, ‘Since ye continue in the faith grounded and settled.’ Paul’s point is that we have been reconciled — it is an accomplished fact. So if you are a child of God today, you will continue in the faith grounded and settled. You will not be moved away from the hope of the gospel which you have heard.”
THRU THE BIBLE COMMENTARY series Phillipians and Colossians pp. 140.

C. Through the faith of Jesus Christ we will be presented before the Almighty Father without sin, and be glorified.

1. This presentation will be glorious.
2. The glorious thing about it all will be that Jesus Himself will be the very object of glory.
3. Jesus will be glorified over all.

-Tim A. Blankenship

He Pleased the Father

SO081506&101406

Pleased The Father

Colossians 1:19-20

The argument of the Gnostics was that God could not become flesh. If God did become flesh it would make Him corrupt, thus there could be no salvation. This was the reckoning of the “Know-It-Alls”.

Paul’s argument is that God became flesh. God’s flesh is seen in the person of His Son. Not only that, but God chose that all the fulness of God should be in this One who was flesh and was holy, righteous, undefiled, perfect and obedient. Not only that, but that God, the Father, was pleased that His fulness dwell in Him.

I. FIRST, WE WILL LOOK AT THE THOUGHT; ‘FOR IT PLEASED THE FATHER’.

A. The Scriptures are very clear on the message of the sinfulness of mankind.
B. We are out of God’s glory, and that was the reason for our being created.
C. God, the Father, in His grace, mercy, knowledge, and wisdom sent us a Savior.

1. Everything about His Son pleased and pleases Him.
2. He endured a time of separation from the Father he had never known before,

“Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” Heb. 12:2b (KJV).

D. Paul not only mentions the Son’s pleasing the Father here, but once again in chapter two verse nine, “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”

II. SECOND, WE WILL LOOK AT WHAT IT MEANS THAT ‘ALL FULNESS DWELL IN JESUS.

A. Three times Paul mentions this to the Ephesian church

1. “Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” Eph. 1:23;
2. “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Eph. 3:19;
3. “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” Eph. 4:13 (KJV).

B. When we talk of being full, what do we mean?
C. The Creator became the created in flesh, but was every bit God. From the top of His head, to the soles of His feet – GOD, YHWH.
D. We must rest in the Fulness of Christ if we are to be like Him.

III. THIRD, WE SEE THAT THE SON OF GOD HAS MADE PEACE BETWEEN GOD AND MEN. “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” 1 Timothy 2:5

A. Within fallen humanity there is war between them and God.
B. If you will not trust God’s means of salvation; if you believe you are good enough to gain God’s favor; if you think your good deeds will out weigh the bad deeds you do; if you think any religion is just as good as another to get you to heaven, then the sad news is; you are still at war with God.
C. Jesus paid the price that we might have peace with God.

IV. FOURTH, WE COME TO THE MEANS BY WHICH JESUS ACCOMPLISHED SALVATION, RECONCILIATION, AND THAT IS THROUGH THE ‘BLOOD OF HIS CROSS’.

A. In thinking of the blood we ought to think of life.
B. When we speak of the “cross” or the “blood of His cross” we speak of a life that was given where their blood was shed.

1. . It has to do with a violent death.

C. Remembering Jesus as the Son of God; God is the offended Deity – offended by our sin – Jesus became our sin (2 Cor. 5:21), on the cross.
D. God was pleased, not only in the death of His Son, but He is the One who sentenced Him to death.

1. In Isaiah 53:10 Isaiah penned down, “Yet it PLEASED the LORD to bruise Him…”
2. How could the Father be pleased in the death of His Son?

a. He is the offering for sin.
b. He bore the sin of many.
c. Many would be justified.

V. FIFTH, BECAUSE JESUS PLEASED THE FATHER ALL THINGS ARE RECONCILED TO GOD.

A. When Adam chose to disobey, and ate the fruit which God had commanded him not to eat, sin came into the perfect creation, and all creation has been groaning ever since;

“For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” Romans 8:19-22 (KJV).

B. The whole creation will be reconciled to God, because of Jesus’s payment for sin.

1. There will be a change in the animals;

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11:6-9;

“The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.” Isaiah 65:25 (KJV).

2. There will be change in the earth and the solar system;

“ Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.” Isaiah 24:23;

“ Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the LORD bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.” Isaiah30:26;

“The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.” Isaiah 60:19-20 (KJV)

C. The curse of Genesis will be removed and all things reconciled.

1. That only means, that those who have fought, warred against, denied and hated God will stand before Him – not as an enemy, but God will be their just and holy and righteous Judge.

D. God became flesh in the person of His Son to redeem His creation. Beginning with man.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Image of the Invisible

100706

Who Is The Image…

Colossians 1:15-18

I. JESUS IS THE VISIBLE OF THE INVISIBLE (v. 15a).

A. God, the Father desired to reveal Himself to the only part of creation which He made in His image and likeness, and lost it.

1. He wanted to do more than reveal Himself.
2. He also desired to have sweet fellowship with us, but there was something which had to be done first – RECONCILIATION.
3. The Father loved us, and sent His Son to pay our sin debt. When we see Jesus Christ we are looking at the Father.

B. Is anything too hard for the LORD?

1. Jesus said, “I and my Father are one.“ John 10:30 (KJV), and “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one” John 17:22 (KJV).
2. Jesus also said, “He that has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

C. He [Jesus] is the ‘exact representation’ (Heb. 1:3; NIV) of the Father.

II. JESUS IS THE IMAGE, THE ‘FIRSTBORN’, THE HEIR OF ALL THINGS (v. 15b).

A. As the ‘Firstborn’ in preeminence He receives all that is the Father’s.

1. He is heir of all things, because the Father has placed all things under His feet.
2. It is because He was completely obedient unto the Father as He walked in human flesh that He was accounted worthy.

B. As the heir of all things, by His death, burial and resurrection; by faith in Him we become joint heirs with Him;

1. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Romans 8:16-17 KJV).

III. JESUS, OUR LORD, ALSO THE IMAGE OF THE CREATOR (v. 16).

A. Paul writes, “For by Him were all things created…”.

1. The very one who took on Himself the body of a created being was in fact the Creator Himself.
2. This should blow the mind of the Gnostic “Know-It-Alls”.

B. When we read back in Genesis 1, “In the beginning God created…” it does not appear quite clear that Jesus was there in the creation.

1. However, when we read the gospel of John and verses one through three,
2. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.” we have confirmation that this same Word which is spoken of here is the same Word which went forth in the work of creation, creating, and is the same Word which John tells us ‘became flesh’; “And, the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14); it becomes very clear, to one’s who have sight to see.

C. All things were not only created ‘by Him’, but also, ‘for Him’.

1. We must understand that the Godhead is in need of nothing.
2. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are Self-sufficient, Self-sustaining, and Self-existent.
3. God does desire to be glorified in all that He has created.

D. You will notice that in this verse (16) that even kings and kingdoms, all authorities were created by Him.

IV. JESUS IS THE IMAGE OF THE ETERNAL (v. 17).

A. He is before all things.
B. Jesus is the One who holds all things together, “By Him all things consist”.

Here are the words of John Gill on this portion of the verse, “…and by him all things consist; he upholds all things by the word of his power; the heavens have their stability and continuance from him; the pillars of the earth are bore up by him, otherwise that and the inhabitants of it would be dissolved; the angels in heaven are confirmed in their estate by him, and have their standing and security in him; the elector God are in his hands, and are his peculiar care and charge, and therefore shall never perish; yea, all mankind live and move, and have their being in him; the whole frame of nature would burst asunder and break in pieces, was it not held together by him; every created being has its support from him, and its consistence in him; and all the affairs of Providence relating to all creatures are governed, directed, and managed by him, in conjunction with the Father and the blessed Spirit.”

V. JESUS IS THE IMAGE, THE HEAD, OF THE CHURCH (v. 18a).

A. When we say we are Christian and a member of a church; we are telling the world that we know its Head.

1. What does the Head of the Church look like.
2. To those outside the Church it will resemble the one we are supposed to be following.

B. We as followers of Jesus should be the light in this dark, condemned, crazy, lost, decaying, world of evil societies, and their rulers whose main goal in life is exalting themselves.
C. Exalt the image of Christ as the head of the Church, the body of Christ in the world.

VI. JESUS IS THE IMAGE OF ETERNAL LIFE (v. 18b).

John MacArthur writes concerning the word ‘Beginning’ in this present verse, “Arche (beginning) is used here in the twofold sense of source and primacy. The church has its origins in Jesus. God ‘chose us in Him before the foundation of the world’ (Eph. 1:4). It is He who gives life to His church. His sacrificial death and resurrection on our behalf provided our new life. As head of the Body, Jesus holds the chief position, or highest rank in the church. As the beginning, He is its originator.” pg. 51 of THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY on Colossians and Philemon.

A. Jesus said to John the revelator, “ I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending” (Rev. 1:8; KJV).
B. As the ‘firstborn from the dead’ we see Him as having conquered death, hell, and the grave.

1. Since the resurrection proves the divinity, power, and victory on the cross of our Lord and Savior; He most definitely is the image of eternal life.
2. Eternal life is not just something you may or may not gain later; it is what you can have [present tense] now.
3. In Jesus’s own words of John 3:16 it is quite clear. “…Shall not perish, but have everlasting life”.
4. On that day we will be “Like Him”; “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” 1 John 3:2-3 (KJV).

VII. JESUS IS THE IMAGE OF FIRSTNESS (v. 18c).

A. Remember He is ‘firstborn’ in the promise of inheritance, and because of His work on the cross we become ‘joint heirs’ with Him.
B. The word ‘preeminence’ is used here, meaning, ‘first in rank’ and certainly Jesus fits this category.

1. There are no gods of men, if they could, even become like the creature of their creation.
2. There is no one; god or other wise, who would die for their created being.
3. There is no god or being anywhere that has risen from death and the grave after giving themselves for their created beings.

C. If you want to see an image of ‘Firstness’ you have to look no further than, to the living Son of God – Jesus Christ.

1. Firstborn in creation.
2. Firstborn in life
3. Firstborn in death.
4. Firstborn in eternal life.

D. He is the preeminent One.

1. All things rest on Him.
2. In Him alone is there consistency in life, death, and eternal life. He holds it all together.

SUMMARY –

I. WHEN YOU LOOK AT JESUS YOU SEE THE FATHER.
II. BEING PREEMINENT IN ALL THINGS, JESUS IS HEIR OF ALL THINGS.
III. JESUS, GOD INCARNATE, IS THE CREATOR OF ALL THAT IS.
IV. BEING BEFORE ALL THINGS JESUS IS THE IMAGE OF THE ETERNAL.
V. JESUS, AS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH, IS THE IMAGE FOR OTHERS TO SEE.
VI. JESUS IS THE PHYSICAL IMAGE OF ETERNAL LIFE.
VII. JESUS, AS THE IMAGE OF FIRSTNESS, IS PREEMINENT IN ALL THINGS.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Our Qualifying

Our Qualification

Colossians 1:13-14

This makes the seventh message on this prayer which Paul prayed for the church of Colossae. The first part of the prayer has to do with having “Knowledge of the will of God…”. The second part, that we “Might walk worthy of the Lord…”. The third, “Being fruitful in every good work…”. The fourth, that we “Might be increasing in the knowledge of God”. Fifth, that we “Might be strengthened with all might…”. Sixth “Giving thanks…, and now the final one – OUR QUALIFICATION

There are four things to be noted about OUR QUALIFICATION in these two verses:

1.  We have been qualified, because we have been delivered, by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross;
2.  We have been qualified, because we have been translated into His kingdom;
3.  We have been qualified, because we have been redeemed;
4.  We have been qualified, because we have been forgiven, by the just and holy God of heaven.

I. OUR QUALIFICATION is due to the delivering work Jesus did for us on the cross.

A. The devil was defeated on the cross.
B. Darkness was defeated on the cross.

1. Jesus went through the deepest, darkest, dungeon of despair anyone could ever go through as the Father forsook Him.
2. When the battle on the cross was over the fellowship between the Father and the Son was restored, while He was still hanging on the cross – I know that because He prayed, “Father, into thy hands I commend My spirit” Luke 23:46 (KJV).
3. When Jesus had entered the battle with the devil and darkness, and as He came out of it He had prayed, “My God, My God…”. He had experienced the brokenness of the fellowship.

C. Because of this great battle we are qualified.

John Calvin concerning the phrase “Who hath delivered us…”; “Mark, here is the beginning of our salvation-when God delivers us from the depth of ruin into which we were plunged. For wherever His grace is not, there is darkness, as it is said in Isaiah 60:2, ‘Behold darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the nations; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee.” ‘In the first place, we ourselves are called darkness, and afterwards the whole world, and Satan, the Prince of darkness, under whose tyranny we are held captive, until we are set free by Christ’s hand. From this you may gather that the whole world, with all its pretended wisdom and righteousness, is regarded as nothing but darkness in the sight of God, because, apart from the kingdom of Christ, there is no light.” CALVIN’S COMMENTARIES Vol. 21, pp. 147&148.

II. OUR QUALIFICATION is due to Jesus translating us into His kingdom.

A. We have been transferred by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ into His kingdom.

1. His kingdom is a present reality.

B. If you are not part of His present kingdom you will not be part of His coming kingdom when He rules and reigns on earth.

III. OUR QUALIFICATION is because we have been redeemed.

A. We have been bought with a price.

1. First Corinthians 6:20 tells us to glorify God in our bodies, since we have been bought with a price.
2. . Another verse in 1 Corinthians and chapter seven and verse 23 tells us not to be servants to men – that, of course, means not to become servants unto them by means of debt, or feeling we are obligated to them to the point of denying our faith.

B. A price has been paid in full, and it was paid in blood.

1. It was the life’s blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son that was shed on the cross that day so long ago, yet so close to home.
2. We are redeemed by shed blood of the Lamb of God who came to take away our sin.

IV. OUR QUALIFICATION is because we have forgiveness of sins.

A. We cannot have forgiveness without redemption.

“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission [forgiveness]” (Heb. 9:22).

1. All sins debt has been paid, by the blood of calvary’s Lamb.
2. The Lamb of God, whom John the Baptist proclaimed, “…Taketh away the sin of the world.”

B. Because of the redemption provided through the shed blood of Jesus Christ we have forgiveness, remission.

The Merriam/Webster Dictionary defines ‘Remission’ = ‘the act of remitting’ with the word ‘Remit’ = ‘forgive, pardon’. If you were a prisoner which would be better to be put on parole or pardoned? Myself, It would take the pardon. That means the sin has been forgiven, and with no conditions. If you are paroled then, you must check in to your parole officer or sheriff, or some other authority of law. Your sin is not forgiven.

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.” Psalm 32:1-6 (KJV).

John Calvin in his commentary said, “In the first place, he says that we have redemption, and immediately explains it as meaning the remission of sins; for these two things agree together by apposition. For questionably, when God remits our transgressions, He exempts us from condemnation to eternal death. This is our liberty, this our glorying in the face of death-that our sins are not imputed to us. He says that this redemption was procured through the blood of Christ, for by the sacrifice of His death all the sins of the world have been expiated.” CALVIN COMMENTARIES p. 148.

SUMMARY –

I. Because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ He has qualified us, fit us for His kingdom.
II. He has qualified us by delivering us from the deep, dark, dungeonness, of sin.
III. He has qualified us by translating from the kingdom of darkness, death, and destruction into His kingdom of love, light, and His limitless presence.
IV. He has qualified us by paying the price to redeem us from our sin debt; He paid the full price, not to the devil, but to the Father to whom the debt was owed.
V. Now that the debt has been paid in full the Father is truly forgiving all our sin, and seeing you and I in the garments of the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Be Fruitful

Be Fruitful

Col 1:10 (KJV) Might be fruitful in every good work…

When a tree matures enough to begin bearing fruit it will bear the fruit it is supposed to bear. An apple tree will bear apples. A peach tree will bear peaches. A thorn tree will bring forth thorns. You get the picture.

People bear fruit as well. When you were a lost sinner you bore fruit which would be compared to a thorn tree – basically useless and certainly not glorifying the Lord. We all were in that “thorny situation” at one time. A sinking ship, that was going down fast.

Now, that we are saved we will bear fruit that is honoring to our Savior, and will glorify Him. What kind of fruit do Christian’s bear? 1) Evidence of a changed life; 2) Telling others about Jesus; 3) Praising God; 4) Living a holy life; 5) Displaying holy attitudes. The Christian, when sin has invaded the heart, is convicted, and immediately upon the conviction by the Spirit of God will seek forgiveness. She/he does not let sin lay around for long, but wants that fellowship with Jesus Christ sweet and glorious.

When we pray for fruitfulness in one another we ourselves will become fruitful.

Last Sunday morning we looked at the first part of the prayer Paul prayed here in the first chapter of Colossians, “…to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;“ Col 1:9 (KJV), and Sunday evening at the second part, “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing” Col 1:10 (KJV).  (Please note that this message was preached 9/17/2006 at Carr Lane Baptist Church)

Is this prayer important to the life of the church? Is it important that the Christians of today pray a prayer similar to this? I believe so to both of the above questions. It should be every Christian’s desire to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. It should also be our desire to walk worthy of the Lord and be pleasing to Him; glorifying Him. It should also be our desire to see all our brothers and sisters in Christ fulfilling the same. Therefore, we must pray for one another to that very effect.

The desire of Paul’s heart for this part of the prayer is that, “We might be fruitful in every good work”.

Let’s define what ‘Every good work’ is. It would seem to me that every is self explanatory, as is good, and work. Does anyone do “good works” apart from the work of Jesus Christ in us though? It is necessary that on the outward appearance, there are many who do ‘good works’, but what is meant by us being ‘fruitful in every good work’? It would most certainly mean that all the good things we do in the Spirit of God working in us, which brings glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.

A quote from John Gill, “being fruitful in every good work; saints are trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord; good works are the fruit, which, under the influence of divine grace, they bring forth; and this is not of one sort only, as trees usually do, but of every kind; being ingrafted into Christ the true vine, and deriving life, sap, and nourishment from him, they are filled with the fruits of righteousness by him, which they bring forth and bear, to the glory of his heavenly Father; and being such, they are pleasant plants to him, as fruit bearing trees are to the owner of them: wherefore, in order to the saints walking in their lives and conversations unto all pleasing, or pleasing in all things, the apostle prays they might be fruitful in good works, and that in everyone, in every kind of good works: “ (From John Gills Exposition of the Entire Bible – e-Sword).

We cannot bear fruit except we abide in the vine. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.“ John 15:1-8 (KJV). Part of being in the vine and bearing fruit is getting answers to your prayers. That is seen in the above verse seven.

Let’s look at some of the fruits that we bear when we give ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ.

1.  There will be evidence of a changed life, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.“ 1 Cor 6:9-11 (KJV). Note, particularly the last verse. “Such were some of you…”
2.  Telling others of Jesus, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” Matthew 28:18 (KJV). This commandment/commission is for all who follow Jesus;
3.  Praising God, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Heb. 13:15 (KJV);
4.  Living a holy life, “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” 1 Cor. 5:7-8 (KJV);
5.  Displaying the “Fruit of the Spirit”, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” Gal. 5:22-26 (KJV).

This fruit is not the same fruit. It is multiple fruits, and they are the good fruits of the Spirit of God, that works in us to accomplish the will of God and glorify Him.

Without knowledge which we spoke of last time, there would be no fruitfulness. Fruitfulness is a product of righteousness, which is produced through knowledge received by the Spirit of God, working in the mind, accomplishing the will of God in us. Every Christian bears fruit.

Let’s look now at how this fruit it produced.

1.  Comes by union with Christ Jesus, “ Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:4-5;
2.  The wisdom of God is needed, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” James 3:17. John MacArthur writes, “Lack of fruit is directly related to lack of spiritual wisdom”. (From THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY pg. 32).
3.  As Christians we must make every diligent effort, “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Be Strengthened

Be Strengthened

Colossians 1:11

“Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness…”  (KJB)

There are times when our strength just seems to fade away. It comes after work, play, and sometimes sickness. We need renewing of that strength, and many times can find it in a nights rest, or maybe just a few minutes rest.

We are all really in need of spiritual strength. This is something we cannot get just by an overnight rest, sleep. It is what we find in God. True Spiritual strength comes only from God. He created all things. He is the strength that we need.

In our own strength, when it comes to walking with the Lord, we will come up short. The prophet Zechariah wrote,

“Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6b).

We will look at the three words mentioned in our text, and the result of walking with God in His strength. Those words are; 1) Strengthened, 2) All might, 3) Glorious power, and 4) the results of walking in His power “longsuffering, patience, and joy.

I. IN A WORLD WHERE THERE IS MUCH WRONG DOCTRINE, ATTACKS ON CHRIST, AND THE CHURCH WE NEED GOD’S STRENGTH.

A. The world is against all that is godly and righteous, and seeks to get even Christians to except and approve all that is not godly or right.

1. Errant doctrine is not godly or right
2. Any doctrine that points away from the one true God is basically godless and even demonic.

“But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.” (1 Cor. 10:20-21).

B. We cannot stand in our own strength; if we try we will fail and fail hard.
C. There must be a source of power and strength which is above us, beyond anything we could ever imagine, and which will not only sustain us but embolden and empower us.

D. We need the strength of God and by faith in Christ Jesus we are the recipients of His power.
1. The Greek word for the word strength here is “dunamoo” which means ‘enable’, and from it comes the word “dynamite” and we here are the receivers of this strength.
2. We are not able until we are enabled by the power of God.

II. THERE IS NO POWER GREATER THAN THE ALMIGHTY POWER OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER.

A. From our Father comes the “strengthened with ‘all might” mentioned next in our verse.
1. This word too is similar, in Greek, as the former one, but is different in that it comes from the source of ‘All might’, that word is ‘dunamis’, and means; “force; specifically miraculous power : – ability, abundance, meaning, might, miracle, power, strength, violence, mighty work.” (From Strongs of e-Sword; editing deleted parenthesis).
2. We can think about dynamite as a very powerful source for working and accomplishing good things, and it can be used for things not so good.
3. The power of God is nothing but good.

B. For people of our day the word nuclear would be more fitting to describe the power of God.

1. Now the people of the Bible days did not have dynamite, but these words is where our word for dynamite came from.
2. They used the word describing a great source of power; greater than anything else they could imagine.

C. Our God and Father of this awesome power desires for us to walk in His strength and power.

III. COMING FROM GOD THIS ‘MIGHT’ COMES IN GLORIOUS POWER, AND BRINGS GLORY TO THE GIVER.

A. If we walk in our own power God will not be glorified.
B. This “glorious power” is the action part of the power we are looking at.

1. It is, in fact, the power that is glorious and will bring glory to God in and through the works we do in His power.
2. God’s power is glorious and He receives glory by that power at work in you and me.

C. The Greek word for this is ‘kratos’; “According to the might of his glory (kata to kratos tēs doxēs autou). Kratos is old word for perfect strength (cf. krateō, kratilos). In N.T. it is applied only to God. Here his might is accompanied by glory (Shekinah).” From Robertson’s Word Pictures @ e-Sword.

D. If we desire to walk in His glory and every Christian does, the knowledge or our own personal weakness, and of God’s power will motivate us to walk with Him.

IV. THE RESULTS OF WALKING/LIVING IN THE GLORIOUS POWER OF GOD OUR FATHER AND SAVIOR.

A. There will be an attitude of “patience”.
1. Here the word means “constancy – long enduring patience”.
2. It is a cheerful patience.
B. There will be an attitude of “longsuffering”, another form of patience.
1. Longanimity, forbearance, fortitude – tolerating and putting up with others insolence, and such.
2. That does not mean you do not try to correct them.

C. There will be a heart of joy – a cheerfulness, and calm delight, which cannot be taken from you.

1. It is certain that Jesus wanted His followers to have a life of joy. Abundant joy is ours in Him. Here are a few of Jesus’s words on joy,

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” John 15:11 (KJV);

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” John 16:20-22 (KJV);

“Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:24 (KJV);

“And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” John 17:13 (KJV).

2. Notice in these verses that Jesus wants His joy to “Remain” in us; that our joy might be full; that there will be times of sorrow, but that the sorrow will be “turned into joy”; that there is a joy that “no man taketh from you”; we can ask in prayer, “and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full”; and last we see that that we might have His “joy fulfilled in themselves [us]”.

Remaining joy;
Sustaining joy;
Securing joy;
Fulfilling joy.

D. This ‘longsuffering’, ‘patience’, and ‘joy’ is impossible to have in our own strength.

1. It is possible only by trusting in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross of Calvary, His death, burial and resurrection.
2. Once you have called on His name for salvation you will desire to walk with Him and this is when you will we walking in His glorious power.
3. This is when you will be able to stand against false teaching, false teachers, and be able to confront the culture in which we live.

SUMMARY –

I. WE MUST BE RECIPIENTS OF THE POWER OF GOD – WE ARE NEEDY OF IT.
II. IT IS ONLY BY THE ALMIGHTY POWER OF GOD THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO LIVE AND EXPERIENCE VICTORY.
III. WE WILL WALK AND LIVE IN THE GLORIOUS POWER OF GOD, AND BY DOING SO WILL GLORIFY OUR GOD AND SAVIOR.
IV. THE RESULTS OF WALKING IN HIS GLORIOUS POWER WILL BE ENDURING PATIENCE, PUTTING UP WITH OTHERS, AND JOY WHICH IS FULL AND ABUNDANT.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Preached at CLBC on 9/24/06

Praying For Knowledge

Praying For Knowledge

Colossians 1:9

I. THERE IS A DESTRUCTION FOR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE.

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.“ Hosea 4:6 (KJV).

A. “Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.“ Prov 19:2 (KJV).
B. “Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men (be mature).“ 1 Cor 14:20 (KJV).
C. Without knowledge you cannot know what is truth.

“Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.“ Isaiah 5:13 (KJV).

II. BE FILLED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE.

A. The Bible speaks of being ‘Filled with sorrow’ –

“But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.“ John 16:6 (KJV).

B. The Bible speaks of being ‘filled with fear’ –

“And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day. Luke 5:26 (KJV).

C. There is the term ‘filled with rage’ –

“And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.“ Luke 6:11 (KJV).

D. Then, last but not least of which is ‘Filled with the Spirit –

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;“ Eph 5:18 (KJV).

1. The filling represents total control.
2. Being filled with knowledge would then, have you and me under control of Biblical and godly knowledge.
a. That means when we are ‘filled with knowledge’ when the “Know-it-alls” [Gnostics] surround us; when they overwhelm us; when they belittle us; and tell us, “You know nothing”, we are knowledgeable and can stand on the truth of the knowledge we have of God from His Word.

III. KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WILL.

A. Sometimes, it is a struggle to find and know the will of God.
B. There are seven things for which we can be certain is the will of God for our lives:

It is God’s will that we be Saved –

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.“ 2 Peter 3:9 (KJV).

“Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.“ 1 Tim 2:4 (KJV).

It is God’s will that we be Spirit filled – (Eph. 5:18);

It is God’s will that we be Sanctified –

“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:“ 1 Thess 4:3 (KJV).

It is the will of God that we be Submissive –

“Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;  Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.  For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:“ 1 Peter 2:13-15 (KJV);

It is the will of God that we be Suffering –

“Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.“ 1 Peter 4:19 (KJV);

It is the will of God that we be Serving –

“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.“ 1 Peter 4:10 (KJV);

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,” Eph 4:1 (KJV);

If we are faithful in following these six elements of God’s will then it is what ever we desire.

“Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.“ Prov. 16:3 (KJV); and

“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart “ Psalms 37:4 (KJV).

John MacArthur writes,

“How does a person obtain knowledge? First, he must desire it. In John 7:17 Jesus says, ‘If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself.’ That thought is echoed in Hosea 6:3, “Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord.’ Second, he must depend on the Holy Spirit. It is through Him that we know the things God has revealed to us (cf. 1 Cor. 2:10-12). Finally, he must study the Scriptures, for they make the believer ‘adequate, equipped for every good work’ (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Perhaps the most graphic text related to the pursuit of divine truth is Job 28.”  From The MacArthur New Testament Commentary -Colossians & Philemon p.29

IV. WISDOM AND SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING.

A. In an age of careless theology where people make their own god and interpretation of Scriptures the wisdom of God is greatly needed.
1. Scriptures, nor personal experiences can be properly understood by the question – What does this say to me?.
2. Scripture must interpret Scripture, comparing spiritual with spiritual, and personal experience in light of Scripture (1 Cor. 2:13-14).
B. With wisdom we collect and organize principles taught in Scripture.
C. With understanding we apply these principles to daily living.

John MacArthur writes, “Having knowledge of God’s Word control our minds is the key to righteous living. What controls your thoughts will control your behavior. Self-control is a result of mind-control which is dependent on knowledge. Knowledge of God’s Word will lead to all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”

SUMMARY –

I. CHRISTIANS WILL FILL THEIR HEARTS AND MINDS WITH THE KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM OF GOD AND HIS WORD.

II. BEING FILLED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD…WILL ENABLE US TO DEFEND THE TRUTH, STAND FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND BE VIBRANT AND DILIGENT WITNESSES FOR CHRIST.

III. HAVING THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WILL WILL FULFILL OUR BEING AND WE WILL BE MOST SATISFIED IN CHRIST, AND WILL GLORIFY HIM.

“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”. John Piper

IV. WISDOM AND SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING IS NECESSARY IN A WORLD THAT IS FULL OF DARKNESS, AND THE COMING OF CHRIST DRAWS NEARER.

V. IF YOU DO NOT KNOW JESUS CHRIST AS YOUR SAVIOR YOU NEED HIM NOW.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Christmas Day Sixty Four

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want the Lord Jesus to be honored, revered, worshiped, praised and glorified in my life, in my home, and in my Church today, and everyday; and in the lives  of every Christian in the world.

“Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.” Colossians 4:15 (KJV)

Christmas Day Sixty Nine

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to be the Christian God wants me to be; to walk with Him faithfully, to be a witness of His power, glory, and life; to live in His fullness, and to glorify His name; that I might see souls come to faith in Him.

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” Colossians 2:8-9 (KJV)

Christmas Day Seventy and One

What do I want for Christmas today?

To be the man of prayer that I ought to be; praying in the will of God, for His glory, power and praise; to pray continually, earnestly, diligently that His purposes may be accomplished in my life and the lives of others.

“Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.” Colossians 4:2-4 (NKJV)

Christmas Day Seventy and Two

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to wear the clothing  of the mind of Christ which include tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing others, and forgiving any who may offend me.

“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” Colossians 3:12-13 (KJV)

For further study on this topic follow this link.

Christmas Day Seventy and Three

What do I want for Christmas today?

In my walk with Christ Jesus I want to be like a tree planted by the river, and bring forth the fruit that will honor and glorify my Savior, and I want others who name the name of Christ to desire the same.

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him: rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7 (KJV)

Christmas Day Seventy and Four

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want you and the world to know that without Christ Jesus, the Son of God, God the Son; was all things made, and that by Him all things are held together; that this One who holds all things together will also keep you and hold your life together when you call on His name.

“…Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him…” Colossians 1:15-16 (KJV)

Jesus Christ – Our Sufficiency (2)

Colossians 2:16-23

 OUTLINE –

I. JESUS IS SUFFICIENT OVER THOSE THINGS THAT WERE SHADOWS (vv. 16-17).

II. JESUS IS SUFFICIENT OVER THOSE WHO HAVE PUFFY MINDS (v. 18).

III. JESUS IS SUFFICIENT FOR THOSE WHO DESIRE TO GROW IN FAITH (v. 19).

IV. JESUS IS SUFFICIENT OVER THE LEGALISTS, THE MYSTICS, AND THE ASCETICS WHO PROJECT THEMSELVES AS BEING CLOSER TO GOD (vv. 20-23).

It seems as we get deeper into the teachings of the apostle Paul to the Church at Colossae that we find how relevant the teaching is for Christians and local churches in our day.

People can get hung up on “Days”, “Moons”, and “Sabbaths”, as though that were the thing to gain one’s favor with God. There can also be a problem with legalism among Christians of our day. There is a growing problem of the “Mysticism” within many of our modern churches which call themselves Christians, who put as great an emphasis; or greater; on their experience as upon the Scriptures. When will Christians learn that Jesus is enough? He is all we need. There is enough of Him to go around, and at the cross where He died the ground is level.

Then, there are those who want to “Do without” to appear holy. They will fast, and let everyone know they are doing so. They will speak lowly of themselves before other people, but yet are very full of themselves; priding themselves in their “Humility”. These have not come to the place of humbling themselves before the God of Heaven and earth. They have not met this personal, merciful, loving God. When one meets God you fall on your face before Him and you are humbled by His presence and glory.

In the church at Colossae, these who were “Holy” and above others, by their own behavior; were even worshipping angels. It was the apostle John who fell down on his face before an angel, and the angel demanded that John arise, “See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God” Rev. 22:9. They were or soon would be leading the church at Colossae, and Laodicea astray from the worship of God. Don’t you suppose that the reason Paul wrote to the Galations, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8-9) was partly for this reason.

JESUS IS SUFFICIENT OVER THOSE THINGS THAT WERE SHADOWS (vv. 16-17). Jesus – the One who casts the shadows. This ought to be particularly meaningful for the time of year we are in. Our annual celebration of the Nativity – the Birth of Jesus Christ – or Christmas as we have all become accustomed to calling it.

It is almost a sin in some people’s eyes if you do not send out cards. It is a sin to not buy anyone Christmas gifts. God forbid if you do not spend enough on . Whose Birthday are we celebrating?, and who gets gifts at their birthday? It is Jesus’s Birthday, and He is the one who should get the gifts. Right or wrong?

In my thinking Easter is the most meaningful, because He died and rose again, and that is how we readily remember Him. Of course, some will say, “Well He had to be born, before He could die for our sins”, and I would agree with that. Why was He born? He was born to die. Die for the sins of mankind.

I am not saying that there is anything wrong with remembering the birth of our Savior. We do need to remember, that, we do not really know what day He was born, but it is my belief that it would have been Spring or Summer, maybe closer to the day of “Passover”. My reason for believing that is that the shepherds were in the fields watching their sheep. It is not likely that they would have been out on a Winter’s evening. It makes little to no difference as long as we give Him the worship and glory in this day; that we should every other day.

Paul tells the people, “Be satisfied in Jesus – He is your sufficiency”, and “Do not let these others judge you”. The days, the feast, the moons Paul speaks of were shadows of Christ Jesus. We do not need shadows any longer. We have the very substance.

JESUS IS SUFFICIENT OVER THOSE WHO HAVE PUFFY MINDS (v. 18). “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind…” We can see by this verse that the Gnostics who were the mystics, the “Righteous”, and “Closest to God” were really not righteous at all, were teaching lies to lead Christians away from true doctrine; especially the doctrine of Christ as God in flesh.

These “Know-It-Alls” prided themselves in their “Humility”. They made little of themselves; may have said things like, “O I am nothing”, yet exhibited great pride over their humility. It is surely a good saying, “Humility is a funny thing, when you think you have it; you don’t”. I do not remember where I first heard that, but it is true. We are not to make little of ourselves. We are to make much of our God and Savior. Look what Jesus has done for us. Think of the cross. Think of His burial. Think of His resurrection. Think of Him as who He is – our Creator. Before Him we all pail in comparison. We have no need of tearing ourselves down, but we do have need of building Him up.

I have heard Christians, both preachers and others who are speaking publicly say, “I am nothing. I do not deserve to be here”. My thoughts when I here that is, ‘No! You don’t, and I don’t either, but get on to the One you are here to talk about. He is worthy”. For some reason we spend too much time belittling ourselves, and not enough time lifting Him up. Could it be that in our ‘False humility’ we are seeking the approval of others? That was the goal of the Gnostic – mystics, and such.

Jesus is our sufficiency over puffed up minds.

JESUS IS SUFFICIENT FOR THOSE WHO DESIRE TO GROW IN FAITH (v. 19). “And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God”. There is a right way to grow in faith of the Lord Jesus. It is not through mystic experiences, public self humiliation, or in ‘legalism’ which is basically the use of the law to gain salvation, or for the keeping of one’s salvation.

It is God’s calling that every Christian grow in faith, and knowledge of Him in the right way. John MacArthur writes, “We, like the Colossians, must not be intimidated by those who would make something other than knowing Christ through His Word a requirement for spiritual maturity. Christ is all sufficient, ‘seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence’ (2 Peter 1:3)”. From The MacArthur New Testament Commentary on Colossians pg. 122.

JESUS IS SUFFICIENT OVER THE LEGALISTS, THE MYSTICS, AND THE ASCETICS WHO PROJECT THEMSELVES AS BEING CLOSER TO GOD (vv. 20-23). “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,  (Touch not; taste not; handle not;  Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?  Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh”. The life of the Christian is free from the ordinances, and manmade rules that so quickly bind, and enslave those who practice them.

By the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross, all the things that were shadows of Jesus became meaningless. Jesus was/is the real thing. He is the reality of the photograph. Anyone who would honor the ordinances, laws, days, and Sabbaths over the fulfillment is floating in the wrong boat, without motor or paddle, headed over a waterfall to destruction. Those who are trusting their own experience over the truth of God’s Word is deceived, deceptive, and living toward destruction. Those who are dependent upon their own “Humility”, their asceticism, are beating themselves to death for no reason.

Jesus is sufficient – He fulfilled the Law. Jesus is sufficient – the Word of God tells us about Him, “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10b). How can there be any more? Jesus is sufficient – There is no need of false piety, false humility, and depriving one’s self to gain the honor of men. Jesus is the One who deserves all the honor, glory and praise.

Just as the Gnostics tried to lord over the churches by trying to appear more ‘spiritual’ so there are those in churches today who say they have ‘spiritual’ experiences which draw many people’s attention. Who is getting the attention? He or she is usually oooohed and aaaaahed and counted as being really spiritual. Who is getting the glory?

JESUS CHRIST IS OUR SUFFICIENCY. In Him we must glory. We must count our life’s gain but loss. We count Christ everything. Quoting the nineteenth century Scottish preacher Alexander McClaren, John MacArthur writes, “Any asceticism is a great deal more to men’s taste than abandoning self. They will rather stick hooks in their backs and do the ‘swinging poojah’ than give up their sins and yield up their wills. There is only one thing that will put the collar on the neck of the animal within us and that is the power of the indwelling Christ. Ascetic religion is godless, for its practitioners essentially worship themselves. As such, we are not to be intimidated by it.” IBID.

These things, are perversions of the truth. They replace Christ with self. JESUS CHRIST – OUR SUFFICIENCY.

Jesus Christ – Our Sufficiency

Colossians 2:10-15

OUTLINE –

I. SUFFICIENT IN THE ONE WHO IS SUPREME OVER ALL (v. 10).
II. SUFFICIENCY IN THE PUTTING AWAY OF THE FLESH BY JESUS CHRIST (vv.11-12).
III. SUFFICIENT IN FORGIVENESS, RESURRECTION LIFE, PUTTING AWAY THE ORDINANCES OF MEN, TRIUMPHING OVER THEM OPENLY (vv. 13-15).

The whole of the book of Colossians is about the first place, the preeminence of Jesus Christ. One of the greatest things about being a Christian is “Being in Christ” and He being in us. When we are in Him we have His assurance that He is Lord of all; and that does not mean only of ourselves, but of those who want to exalt themselves over Him. Those who hate Jesus and you and myself.

If there is one thing that Christians of our day need to see clearer than anything else is that Christ is SUFFICIENT to meet our every need. He is our every need.

HE IS SUFFICIENT – THE ONE WHO IS SUPREME OVER ALL (v. 10). In Jesus we are “filled full of God”. When we are walking in Jesus our Savior there is no more of Him that can be in us, than, who is in us. Even when we are not walking in Him; He is still filling us full of Himself; it is due to our sin that He is not being seen, and that we are not being victorious in Him.

Jesus is the Supreme One. He rules over all. Even when the rulers – kings, presidents, prime ministers, dictators, etc. – do not yield to God He is still supreme, and His will is carried through. God is not surprised by our decisions against Him, for Him, nor is He surprised by our indecisions.

In order for us – the Christian – to have Jesus seen in our lives and for you and I to have victory also, we must endeavor to walk in Him. We do that by maintaining our daily devotions, Bible reading, Prayer, and Planning to live for Him in love.

Jesus is sufficient to give us the power, grace, mercy and strength to live for Him. We were not saved in our own strength. We cannot maintain our faith, keep our faith or grow our faith in our strength. It is by His. In Him alone we must trust and obey.

HE IS SUFFICIENT IN THE PUTTING AWAY OF THE FLESH (vv. 11-12). In the Hebrew’s culture circumcision was a sign of one’s commitment to God. It showed in symbol the cutting away of sin from the life. It of itself, was a bloody act, and we know that because Moses’s wife Zipporah told him, “Surely a bloody husband you are to me”. Moses had been forty years in the wilderness taking care of his father-in-laws herds and flocks, and evidently had forgotten about the circumcision part of his commitment. On the way to Egypt, while they stopped at an “Inn” to spend the night; God “Sought to kill” Moses, and somehow it occurred to Zipporah to circumcise their son. Thus was God’s anger toward Moses stayed.

Sin is a serious matter. We all sometimes make silly little jokes concerning sinful matters, but sin is a serious matter. With God there is no joking about sin. It must be cut away and it must be put away. Christ’s death was the cutting away of sin, His burial was the putting away of sin, and His resurrection is the cancellation of all sin’s power. In Leviticus 16 there is a picture of the putting away, or carrying away of sin. There were two goats brought to the door of the tabernacle. Aaron would ‘cast lots’ to determine which goat would be for the sacrifice to the LORD, and which would be the scapegoat. These goats represent the cutting away of sin, and the putting away of sin. The one offered as a sacrifice was the cutting away of sin, and the scapegoat was the putting away of sin. They both represent the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, and His burial. The picture of these goats as representative of the work of Christ shows Him as a sin bearer – sin that was not His, but ours.

The ‘scapegoat’ was led into the wilderness, after the sins were pictorially placed on the goat, and some tell us was cast over the edge of a cliff, or something like that, and that goat was never seen again. Thus, once again there is the picture of sins being put away. How far has our sin been put away from us? “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” Ps. 103:12 (KJV). How deep are our sins buried to never surface again? “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” Micah 7:19 (KJV). In the burial of Jesus our sins were carried away and Jesus arose bodily from the grave. We are buried with Him in His burial, and risen with Him in His resurrection. It is certain. It is sure. By the resurrection of Jesus He showed the conquering of sin’s power which is death.

HE IS SUFFICIENT IN FORGIVENESS, RESURRECTION LIFE, PUTTING AWAY THE ORDINANCES OF MEN, TRIUMPHING OVER THEM OPENLY (vv. 13-15). Having been dead in ‘trespasses and sin’ we have been made alive in Jesus Christ, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” Eph. 2:4-6. The word ‘quickened’ means to “make alive”.

Verse 13 tells us three things which happen upon one’s conversion through Christ Jesus; having been dead – 1) We are made alive; 2) We are with Him; and 3) We have been forgiven ‘all trespasses’. Because of the finished work of Jesus on the cross, all our sins are washed away; never to be held against us. That is, considering that the sinner has sought repentance, and has received forgiveness and cleansing in the first place.

In verse 14 Paul writes of ‘blotting out the handwriting of ordinances…’, and that they ‘was against us’. These laws did condemn us. Verse 17 reveals to us that these things were or ‘are’ ‘a shadow of things to come’. All the written laws, the sacrificial laws, ceremonial laws were pictures, shadows, types of the coming of the Lord Jesus. He fulfilled all of these, by His death on the cross. By His death on the cross these ordinances are forever powerless to cause guilt, fear, or condemnation. The work these portrayed has been done. It is finished. They were nailed to the cross with Jesus.

In verse 15 it speaks of spoiling the ‘principalities and powers’ and that ‘He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.’. The Scribes, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees all used the law to try and condemn Jesus. By the abuse of their laws they did condemn Him to death, but He arose victorious over death, doing so openly, and being also victorious over the powers that be.

Philosophy or Christ

Colossians 2:1-9

Philosophy is defined in The Mirriam/Webster Dictionary [Pocket edit] as, “A critical study of fundamental beliefs and the grounds for them”. Here is the definition from the old Webster Dictionary, “PHILOS’OPHY, n. [L. philosophia; Gr. love, to love, and wisdom.]

1. Literally, the love of wisdom. But in modern acceptation, philosophy is a general term denoting an explanation of the reasons of things; or an investigation of the causes of all phenomena both of mind and of matter. When applied to any particular department of knowledge, it denotes the collection of general laws or principles under which all the subordinate phenomena or facts relating to that subject, are comprehended. Thus, that branch of philosophy which treats of God, &c. is called theology; that which treats of nature, is called physics or natural philosophy; that which treats of man is called logic and ethics, or moral philosophy; that which treats of the mind is called intellectual or mental philosophy, or metaphysics. The objects of philosophy are to ascertain facts or truth, and the causes of things or their phenomena; to enlarge our views of God and his works, and to render our knowledge of both practically useful and subservient to human happiness. True religion and true philosophy must ultimately arrive at the same principle.” To put the meaning into a shorter definition, mine, it would be the study of ideas concerning God, morality, man, and nature.

While taking a class on Philosophy at Boyce Bible School in Louisville, Kentucky in 1977 I quickly learned that not all people, and supposedly christian professors, believed the Bible. The teacher I had relegated the teaching of Genesis to allegorical hodge podge. There was no seven day creation, there was no Adam and Eve, they were only allegorical; having only a ‘spiritual’ meaning. That was back in the days when liberalism was running the Southern Baptist seminaries. It is not philosophy that declares these things to be true. It is God’s Word that declares an actual Adam, and a living Eve – made from the rib of Adam – walked with God in the garden of Eden. The philosophies of men will almost always deny the truths of God’s Word, or relegate them to allegorical meaning. The use of allegory itself can be good and helpful in understanding a thought or idea. Jesus used allegory in His teaching, such as, “A sower went forth to sow” (Matthew 13:3). As a matter of fact He used many of them.

The apostle Paul “Struggled” much with what was going on in the Colossians church and the church at Laodicea. The word used here is the word “agony”; “agōn

ag-one’

From G71; properly a place of assembly (as if led), that is, (by implication) a contest (held there); figuratively an effort or anxiety: – conflict, contention, fight, race.”

OUTLINE –

I. STRUGGLING OVER THE ISSUES FACING THE CHURCHES OF THE COLOSSIANS AND LAODICEA (vv. 1-3).
II. ENCOURAGING WORDS AGAINST ENTICING WORDS OF MEN (vv. 4-5).
III. WALKING, ROOTED, BUILT UP, AND STABLISHED WITH THANKSGIVING (vv.6-7).
IV. BEWARE OF BEING LED AWAY FROM BIBLICAL TEACHINGS AND FROM CHRIST (v. 8).
V. JESUS IS ALL WE NEED (v. 9).

STRUGGLING OVER THE ISSUES FACING THE CHURCHES (vv. 1-3) Paul agonizes in prayer. We have looked at the prayer pretty extensively in verses 9 – 14. He is concerned for them. These Gnostic “Know-It-Alls” coming in denying the only Lord and Savior.

Some would argue that statement, “Denying the only Lord and Savior”, but by declaring the heresies they declare, such as; God and flesh cannot dwell together; that God created a little god, who created a littler god; who, thus created an even littler god; and created an even littler teeny god, who created all that we see. This final one being the Jesus who created and sustains all things; is out and out heresy, and it is not the Jesus Paul preaches, nor the One Whom I know.

To his letter to the Galation church Paul warned of “another gospel”, which would be ‘another Jesus’ (Gal. 1:6-10). The Jesus I know and the One whom Paul writes of is truly the divine Son of God. He has been with the Father always. Is just as much God as is the Father, and He became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).

Is it important that we declare the Jesus of Paul and warn about the teachings of some who deny the Lord Christ Jesus by saying He was and is not the incarnate God? If people are to know the one true God who is the sovereign Lord of all creation, who rules in the hearts of men, who sustains all things by the word of His power, who died for our sins, was buried and rose again, and is returning for His Bride; then YES! That is the Jesus we must preach. The people of the world will not perish as in some future fire, they are currently perishing, and will continue to perish in that future fire, unless they come to this glorious Savior.

Words of comfort are extended to the church. Their hearts knit together in love for Christ Jesus and for one another. Dr. J. Vernon McGee writes,

“Unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding.’ ‘Full assurance is an interesting expression; it literally means ‘to be under full sail.’ It means that believers should be moving along spiritually – they should be moving along for God.”
FROM pg. 150 of THRU THE BIBLE COMMENTARY SERIES The Epistles Philippians and Colossians.

As far as the mystery spoken of here it would make perfect sense to say that Jesus Christ is the Revelation of this ‘Mystery’. In Christ are the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and the Church is the Body of Christ where that wisdom and knowledge abides.

ENCOURAGING WORDS AGAINST ENTICING WORDS OF MEN (vv. 4-5). Would to God that all that professes to be the church would be holding steadfastly to the doctrine of Jesus Christ.

Sadly, there are many people who are in religious cults and even within legitimate religious organizations and like churches who believe they have an inside connection with God and all things spiritual. The thing that makes them in error is that they believe their experience with “God” overrules what Scripture says. Every believer in Jesus Christ has an “inside connection” with God. It is called faith in Jesus Christ, prayer, the reading and study of God’s Word the Bible. Anyone who declares themselves to have a better or stronger connection to God apart from the written Word of God should be placed on your “BEWARE” list. Such as anyone who says they have been to Heaven, and what they say is more than the Bible says, and not what the Bible says, thus placing more authority on their “vision” or “dream” than upon God’s Word.

These are the “Philosophies of men” and should be open to scrutiny from every child of God. This letter from Paul says to the Christians at Colossae, and to the Christians of Laodicea that they have a great “stedfastness of … faith in Christ”. There is no hope in mysticism and that is what those special “Connections” with God really are. All Christians have a special connection with God. You can talk to Him. You have power with Him when you pray. You can know His will for your life by reading and studying His Word; you cannot leave all the study and reading up to the pastor, or to just one day a week, or month, or year. Get in the Word. Get in prayer. Get in the Spirit of God through Jesus Christ.

Have you noticed how gullible some professing Christians are to such stories as, “I Saw Heaven”, or “I Was In Hell”, or “How I Journeyed To Israel Without Leaving Home” – as far as I know these are all made up titles [Mine]. If I wrote anything on these telling you these had happened to me I could probably entice many people, but it would not be true.

Paul could not be with the people to whom he is writing, but he was with them in spirit, and he was serious about that. The testimony of Epaphras was what Paul was speaking from. He was encouraged by what he heard of them.

WALKING, ROOTED, BUILT UP, AND STABLISHED WITH THANKSGIVING (vv.6-7). Walking is an average exercise. It is not real strenuous, nor real tiring. The average, fairly healthy individual can walk all day long, with occasional rest stops, of course. If you doubt that just go to a mall and watch the people walking around; as a matter of fact; just look at yourself. “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him” (v. 6).

You can walk longer than you can run. Do you not imagine that is why the picture of walking is used in Scripture of a life that continues with the Lord. It is said of Enoch that he “Walked with God”. It is also said of Noah. As far as I have been able to see no other character of the Bible has that said of them. However, it is mentioned many times in the New Testament, and in this present verse, “Walk ye in Him”. We are told to be “Filled with the Spirit”. These are all speaking of the same thought. If you are walking with God you are filled with the Spirit. If you are filled with the Spirit you are walking with God. If you are filled with the Spirit and walking with God you are walking in Christ Jesus. “Walking” has for it the matter of endurance. Walk in Christ. Walk with God. Be filled with the Spirit. One more, Walk in the Spirit. It does not involve mysticism.

“Rooted” has to do with stability. When something is rooted it is planted to stay. When we are “In Christ” it is to stay. We must root ourselves in the practice of daily Bible reading and study, prayer, and all the things Christians ought to do. As the Psalmist says in the first Psalm, “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Ps. 1:3). This tree the Psalmist speaks of is rooted in good soil, next to a good water supply. The foundation of a building is its ‘root’, firmly planted.

For the Church; Jesus Christ is the Chief Cornerstone which sets the size and shape of the building. The foundation is then the apostles and prophets, “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Eph. 2:20). The Church and the individual Christian is built up by walking with Jesus, and is in the process of being built up. Jesus alone determines the numbers and direction of the Church. There will be one final “living stone” placed to complete it. SEE 1 PETER 2:4-6.

To be “Stablished in the faith” you are rooted and built up accomplishing the Lord’s purposes for your life and walk with Him. It is a life of “super abundance” ie., abundance of the Lord’s presence, power, glory, with wisdom and knowledge, and especially a life of thanksgiving. Be thankful for the many abundant blessings of our God and Savior.

BEWARE OF BEING LED AWAY FROM BIBLICAL TEACHINGS AND FROM CHRIST (v. 8). The “Philosophy” spoken of here is “Reasoning that is sound in appearance only”. It may sound good, but is really full of holes. The reasoning of the Gnostics may have made sense, but it does not fit with the teachings of God, godliness, and truth of God’s Word.

Philosophy itself is to find the answers to questions we as the human being asks. Questions such as, “Who am I?”, “Where did I come from?”, “Why am I here?”, “Where am I going?”, and “How do I get there?”. Those questions are answered through thinking and philosophy gives an answer. It is actually an attempt to answer. Mankind offers many philosophies. Probably as many as there are people.

There is, however, only one correct answer, and God gives us the answer. The philosophy of the evolutionist to the first question above, is “You are the product of chance. You are nothing more than an animal with a little intellect.” God’s answer to that question is, “You are the special creation of God’s created order, made in My image and likeness”. Which of those answers fit with the Word of God? Of course, the latter of the two.

The way we are to guard our lives, our hearts, our minds is what was said in the previous point; “Walk in Christ” – study His Word, hide it in your heart, live by it; pray fervently, diligently; be a vibrant witness for Christ. Live, as you grow in Christ, live like Jesus.

JESUS IS ALL WE NEED (v. 9). In Christ Jesus is “Housed permanently” the fullness of God. There is a absolutely nothing lacking. Because there is nothing lacking in the person of Jesus of the Godhead He is all we need.

The philosophies of men may deny it. They can teach and preach against it. The false science of the day may even have “evidence” against it, but the Word of the Lord is the test. The Word of the Lord says to us clearly and without exception Jesus is “The fullness of the Godhead bodily”. When you trust Jesus you trust the Father. When you call on Jesus you are calling on the Father. When you pray in Jesus’s name you are calling on the Father’s will to be done. When we walk, live in the Spirit we are walking in Jesus.

Jesus is all I need. Jesus is all you need. Jesus is all this world needs. The “traditions” and “rudiments” of men are not trustworthy and certainly cannot show one the way of eternal life. Only Jesus can. PHILOSOPHY OR CHRIST. That is really your choice. Jesus Christ is FIRST PLACE

Christmas Day Two Hundred and Twelve

What do I want for Christmas?

Since this is Memorial Day weekend I want us to remember all those who gave their lives protecting this nation, and our freedom, beginning with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – the Ultimate Freedom giver who willingly went to the cross to pay our sin debt, who was buried carrying all of our sin, iniquities, transgressions, shame, guilt, condemnation away; then rising bodily, victorious over sin, death, hell and the grave.

For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” Colossians 1:19-20 (KJV)

Day Two Hundred Fifty and Nine

In continuing my “What do I want for Christmas?” daily question; I want for everyone reading this today; and all who are are not reading it to have a day, and week where their hearts and minds are directed to the LORD or all people; His name is Jesus.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.” John 1:1-3 (KJV)

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.” Colossians 1:12-17

Day Two Nine Three

What do I want for Christmas?

I want each and every one of the people who are coming to Broken Pieces, and reading this post and/or any others to know that I appreciate you, and thank you for coming and reading, and sticking with me this far.

I want you to be blessed by God today, and everyday.  I also thank God for this privilege. God bless you each and all.

Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!  And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing. ” Psalm 107:21-22 (KJV)

“I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.” Psalm 116:17

“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving…” Colossians 4:2

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men…” 1 Timothy 2:1

 

Praying Always for You

Praying Always For You
Colossians 1:1-8

I. WE ARE SAINTS BY POSITION (vv. 1-2).

A. What we do does not make us a saint, nor does an edict by some religious authority figure make us one.
B. We are placed in the position of saint by the pronouncement of God Himself.
C. It is our justification.

*1. Our sin has been placed to Christ’s account, on the cross;
*2. His righteousness was placed on us [to our account], by the pronouncement of God the Father. “…The LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).
D. Grace and peace are from God.
*1. If you have grace you can have peace;
*2. If you have real peace – peace with God – you have grace; God’s grace.

II. AS SAINTS WE GIVE THANKS AND PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER (v. 3).

A. As a saint we can go directly to the throne of God; “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).
B. You or I need no go between who calls himself a priest – except or Great High Priest who is Jesus Himself.

*1. You and I are priests.
C. We, like Paul, are to give thanks, pray, glorify our Lord and Savior.
D. Pray always for one another.

III. SAINTS OF FAITH, LOVE AND HOPE (vv. 4-5).

J. Vernon McGee writes, “Here Paul links the trinity of graces for believers” (1) faith – past; (2) love – present; and (3) hope – future” (pg. 121).

A. Paul acknowledges the faith of this people – their faith in God and of Christ.

*1. He also acknowledges their “love” for their brothers and sisters in Christ.
B. The last of those attributes mentioned by Paul is “hope”.

*1. The had hope [the church at Colossae].
*2. This hope is the “Blessed hope” that is mentioned by Paul to Titus in chapter 2 verse 13, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ…” (Titus 2:13).

IV. SAINTS WORLDWIDE FRUIT (v. 6).

A. In Paul’s day Rome was “All the world”.

*1. By the time Paul had sent these letters by the hands of Epaphras and the others the gospel of Jesus Christ had spread to every area of the Roman Empire.
*2. It is believed by some that it may have even gone as far as into Great Britain.
B. The fruit of a Christian goes forth and bears more fruit.

V. SAINTS, PRAYING ALWAYS, WILL BE COMPLIMENTARY OF THOSE WHO PROCLAIM GOD’S WORD AND THE GOSPEL (vv. 7-8).

A. Paul credits Epaphras – remember he is probably the pastor of the Colossian church.

*1. He would have been the one God used to bring the gospel to Colossae and saw the bearing of much fruit.
*2. Epaphras is recognized as being a “faithful minister’ and, a “fellow servant”
*3. He is also credited for being the source of information for Paul of the church.

a. Learning from this we see that Epaphras brought nothing negative of the people, but we do know that he brought word of a creeping element of a deceiving, demonic teaching which could cause problems later.
B. Paul had heard the good things about the church.

*1. He commends the pastor/leader.
*2. It is a good lesson to learn – we ought to do no less.

SUMMARY –

I. WE ARE SAINTS BY POSITION NOT BY WORKS.

II. AS SAINTS WE GIVE THANKS.

III. WE ARE SAINTS OF FAITH, LOVE AND HOPE.

IV. AS SAINTS WE BRING FORTH WORLDWIDE FRUIT.

V. SAINTS WILL BE COMPLIMENTARY OF THOSE WHO PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL AND PREACH THE WORD OF GOD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Through the Bible in a Year – 082513

Always Faithful

1.  APPRECIATE THE FAITH OF OTHERS WHO ARE FAITHFUL (Colossians 1:3-8).

2.  ACKNOWLEDGE THE HIDDEN TREASURES WHICH ARE IN CHRIST (2:1-3)

3.  PUT TO DEATH THE WORKS OF THE FLESH (3:5-11).

4. APPRECIATE THE FAITH OF YOUR FELLOW SERVANTS AND WORKERS (4:7-11).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Words for Christian Living 061513

“When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: for which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: in the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.”  Colossians 3:4-7  (KJV)

The Christian life is a changed life.  The grace of God changes the heart of the one receiving grace.  Love for God, His Son, His cross; the death, burial and resurrection.  God loves you just the way you are.  By His grace He will not leave you the way you are.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Who Is The Image…

Who Is The Image…

Colossians 1:15-18

I. JESUS IS THE VISIBLE OF THE INVISIBLE (v. 15a).

A. God, the Father desired to reveal Himself to the only part of creation which He made in His image and likeness, and lost it.

1. He wanted to do more than reveal Himself.
2. He also desired to have sweet fellowship with us, but there was something which had to be done first – RECONCILIATION.
3. The Father loved us, and sent His Son to pay our sin debt. When we see Jesus Christ we are looking at the Father.

B. Is anything too hard for the LORD?

1. Jesus said, “I and my Father are one.“ John 10:30 (KJV), and “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one” John 17:22 (KJV).
2. Jesus also said, “He that has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

C. He [Jesus] is the ‘exact representation’ (Heb. 1:3; NIV) of the Father.

II. JESUS IS THE IMAGE, THE ‘FIRSTBORN’, THE HEIR OF ALL THINGS (v. 15b).

A. As the ‘Firstborn’ in preeminence He receives all that is the Father’s.

1. He is heir of all things, because the Father has placed all things under His feet.
2. It is because He was completely obedient unto the Father as He walked in human flesh that He was accounted worthy.

B. As the heir of all things, by His death, burial and resurrection; by faith in Him we become joint heirs with Him;

1. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Romans 8:16-17 KJV).

III. JESUS, OUR LORD, ALSO THE IMAGE OF THE CREATOR (v. 16).

A. Paul writes, “For by Him were all things created…”.

1. The very one who took on Himself the body of a created being was in fact the Creator Himself.
2. This should blow the mind of the Gnostic “Know-It-Alls”.

B. When we read back in Genesis 1, “In the beginning God created…” it does not appear quite clear that Jesus was there in the creation.

1. However, when we read the gospel of John and verses one through three,
2. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.” we have confirmation that this same Word which is spoken of here is the same Word which went forth in the work of creation, creating, and is the same Word which John tells us ‘became flesh’; “And, the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14); it becomes very clear, to one’s who have sight to see.

C. All things were not only created ‘by Him’, but also, ‘for Him’.

1. We must understand that the Godhead is in need of nothing.
2. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are Self-sufficient, Self-sustaining, and Self-existent.
3. God does desire to be glorified in all that He has created.

D. You will notice that in this verse (16) that even kings and kingdoms, all authorities were created by Him.

IV. JESUS IS THE IMAGE OF THE ETERNAL (v. 17).

A. He is before all things.
B. Jesus is the One who holds all things together, “By Him all things consist”.

Here are the words of John Gill on this portion of the verse, “…and by him all things consist; he upholds all things by the word of his power; the heavens have their stability and continuance from him; the pillars of the earth are bore up by him, otherwise that and the inhabitants of it would be dissolved; the angels in heaven are confirmed in their estate by him, and have their standing and security in him; the elector God are in his hands, and are his peculiar care and charge, and therefore shall never perish; yea, all mankind live and move, and have their being in him; the whole frame of nature would burst asunder and break in pieces, was it not held together by him; every created being has its support from him, and its consistence in him; and all the affairs of Providence relating to all creatures are governed, directed, and managed by him, in conjunction with the Father and the blessed Spirit.”

V. JESUS IS THE IMAGE, THE HEAD, OF THE CHURCH (v. 18a).

A. When we say we are Christian and a member of a church; we are telling the world that we know its Head.

1. What does the Head of the Church look like.
2. To those outside the Church it will resemble the one we are supposed to be following.

B. We as followers of Jesus should be the light in this dark, condemned, crazy, lost, decaying, world of evil societies, and their rulers whose main goal in life is exalting themselves.
C. Exalt the image of Christ as the head of the Church, the body of Christ in the world.

VI. JESUS IS THE IMAGE OF ETERNAL LIFE (v. 18b).

John MacArthur writes concerning the word ‘Beginning’ in this present verse, “Arche (beginning) is used here in the twofold sense of source and primacy. The church has its origins in Jesus. God ‘chose us in Him before the foundation of the world’ (Eph. 1:4). It is He who gives life to His church. His sacrificial death and resurrection on our behalf provided our new life. As head of the Body, Jesus holds the chief position, or highest rank in the church. As the beginning, He is its originator.” pg. 51 of THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY on Colossians and Philemon.

A. Jesus said to John the revelator, “ I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending” (Rev. 1:8; KJV).
B. As the ‘firstborn from the dead’ we see Him as having conquered death, hell, and the grave.

1. Since the resurrection proves the divinity, power, and victory on the cross of our Lord and Savior; He most definitely is the image of eternal life.
2. Eternal life is not just something you may or may not gain later; it is what you can have [present tense] now.
3. In Jesus’s own words of John 3:16 it is quite clear. “…Shall not perish, but have everlasting life”.
4. On that day we will be “Like Him”; “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” 1 John 3:2-3 (KJV).

VII. JESUS IS THE IMAGE OF FIRSTNESS (v. 18c).

A. Remember He is ‘firstborn’ in the promise of inheritance, and because of His work on the cross we become ‘joint heirs’ with Him.
B. The word ‘preeminence’ is used here, meaning, ‘first in rank’ and certainly Jesus fits this category.

1. There are no gods of men, if they could, even become like the creature of their creation.
2. There is no one; god or other wise, who would die for their created being.
3. There is no god or being anywhere that has risen from death and the grave after giving themselves for their created beings.

C. If you want to see an image of ‘Firstness’ you have to look no further than, to the living Son of God – Jesus Christ.

1. Firstborn in creation.
2. Firstborn in life
3. Firstborn in death.
4. Firstborn in eternal life.

D. He is the preeminent One.

1. All things rest on Him.
2. In Him alone is there consistency in life, death, and eternal life. He holds it all together.

SUMMARY –

I. WHEN YOU LOOK AT JESUS YOU SEE THE FATHER.
II. BEING PREEMINENT IN ALL THINGS, JESUS IS HEIR OF ALL THINGS.
III. JESUS, GOD INCARNATE, IS THE CREATOR OF ALL THAT IS.
IV. BEING BEFORE ALL THINGS JESUS IS THE IMAGE OF THE ETERNAL.
V. JESUS, AS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH, IS THE IMAGE FOR OTHERS TO SEE.
VI. JESUS IS THE PHYSICAL IMAGE OF ETERNAL LIFE.
VII. JESUS, AS THE IMAGE OF FIRSTNESS, IS PREEMINENT IN ALL THINGS.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Be Fruitful

Be Fruitful

Col 1:10 (KJV).Might be fruitful in every good work…

When a tree matures enough to begin bearing fruit it will bear the fruit it is supposed to bear. An apple tree will bear apples. A peach tree will bear peaches. A thorn tree will bring forth thorns. You get the picture.

People bear fruit as well. When you were a lost sinner you bore fruit which would be compared to a thorn tree – basically useless and certainly not glorifying the Lord. We all were in that “thorny situation” at one time. A sinking ship, that was going down fast.

Now, that we are saved we will bear fruit that is honoring to our Savior, and will glorify Him. What kind of fruit do Christian’s bear? 1) Evidence of a changed life; 2) Telling others about Jesus; 3) Praising God; 4) Living a holy life; 5) Displaying holy attitudes. The Christian, when sin has invaded the heart, is convicted, and immediately upon the conviction by the Spirit of God will seek forgiveness. She/he does not let sin lay around for long, but wants that fellowship with Jesus Christ sweet and glorious.

When we pray for fruitfulness in one another we ourselves will become fruitful.

Last Sunday morning we looked at the first part of the prayer Paul prayed here in the first chapter of Colossians, “…to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;“ Col 1:9 (KJV), and Sunday evening at the second part, “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing” Col 1:10 (KJV).

Is this prayer important to the life of the church? Is it important that the Christians of today pray a prayer similar to this? I believe so to both of the above questions. It should be every Christian’s desire to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. It should also be our desire to walk worthy of the Lord and be pleasing to Him; glorifying Him. It should also be our desire to see all our brothers and sisters in Christ fulfilling the same. Therefore, we must pray for one another to that very effect.

The desire of Paul’s heart for this part of the prayer is that, “We might be fruitful in every good work”.

Let’s define what ‘Every good work’ is. It would seem to me that every is self explanatory, as is good, and work. Does anyone do “good works” apart from the work of Jesus Christ in us though? It is necessary that on the outward appearance, there are many who do ‘good works’, but what is meant by us being ‘fruitful in every good work’? It would most certainly mean that all the good things we do in the Spirit of God working in us, which brings glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.

A quote from John Gill, “being fruitful in every good work; saints are trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord; good works are the fruit, which, under the influence of divine grace, they bring forth; and this is not of one sort only, as trees usually do, but of every kind; being ingrafted into Christ the true vine, and deriving life, sap, and nourishment from him, they are filled with the fruits of righteousness by him, which they bring forth and bear, to the glory of his heavenly Father; and being such, they are pleasant plants to him, as fruit bearing trees are to the owner of them: wherefore, in order to the saints walking in their lives and conversations unto all pleasing, or pleasing in all things, the apostle prays they might be fruitful in good works, and that in everyone, in every kind of good works: “ (From John Gills Exposition of the Entire Bible – e-Sword).

We cannot bear fruit except we abide in the vine. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.“ John 15:1-8 (KJV). Part of being in the vine and bearing fruit is getting answers to your prayers. That is seen in the above verse seven.

Let’s look at some of the fruits that we bear when we give ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ.

1.  There will be evidence of a changed life, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.“ 1 Cor 6:9-11 (KJV). Note, particularly the last verse. “Such were some of you…”
2.  Telling others of Jesus, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” Matthew 28:18 (KJV). This commandment/commission is for all who follow Jesus;
3.  Praising God, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Heb. 13:15 (KJV);
4.  Living a holy life, “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” 1 Cor. 5:7-8 (KJV);
5.  Displaying the “Fruit of the Spirit”, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” Gal. 5:22-26 (KJV).

This fruit is not the same fruit. It is multiple fruits, and they are the good fruits of the Spirit of God, that works in us to accomplish the will of God and glorify Him.

Without knowledge which we spoke of last time, there would be no fruitfulness. Fruitfulness is a product of righteousness, which is produced through knowledge received by the Spirit of God, working in the mind, accomplishing the will of God in us. Every Christian bears fruit.

Let’s look now at how this fruit it produced.

1.  Comes by union with Christ Jesus, “ Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:4-5;
2.  The wisdom of God is needed, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” James 3:17. John MacArthur writes, “Lack of fruit is directly related to lack of spiritual wisdom”. (From THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY pg. 32).
3.  As Christians we must make every diligent effort, “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Sermon notes from a sermon preached at Carr Lane Baptist Church September 17, 2006.

Praying For Knowledge

Colossians 1:9

I. THERE IS A DESTRUCTION FOR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE.

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.“ Hosea 4:6 (KJV).

A. “Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.“ Prov 19:2 (KJV).
B. “Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men (be mature).“ 1 Cor 14:20 (KJV).
C. Without knowledge you cannot know what is truth.

“Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.“ Isaiah 5:13 (KJV).

II. BE FILLED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE.

A. The Bible speaks of being ‘Filled with sorrow’ – “But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.“ John 16:6 (KJV).
B. The Bible speaks of being ‘filled with fear’ – “And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day. Luke 5:26 (KJV).
C. There is the term ‘filled with rage’ – “And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.“ Luke 6:11 (KJV).
D. Then, last but not least of which is ‘Filled with the Spirit – “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;“ Eph 5:18 (KJV).

1. The filling represents total control.
2. Being filled with knowledge would then, have you and me under control of knowledge.

a. That means when we are ‘filled with knowledge’ when the “Know-it-alls” [Gnostics] surround us; when they overwhelm us; when they belittle us; and tell us, “You know nothing”, we are knowledgeable and can stand on the truth of the knowledge we have of God from His Word.

III. KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WILL.

A. Sometimes, it is a struggle to find and know the will of God.
B. There are seven things for which we can be certain is the will of God for our lives:

The first time I heard of these seven things I believe, were from a message by John MacArthur, then I read them in a study of Spiritual Gifts.

It is God’s will that we be Saved – “ The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.“ 2 Peter 3:9 (KJV). “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.“ 1 Tim 2:4 (KJV).

It is God’s will that we be Spirit filled – (Eph. 5:18);

It is God’s will that we be Sanctified – “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:“ 1 Thess 4:3 (KJV).

It is the will of God that we be Submissive – “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;  Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:“ 1 Peter 2:13-15 (KJV);

It is the will of God that we be Suffering – “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.“ 1 Peter 4:19 (KJV);

It is the will of God that we be Serving – “ As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.“ 1 Peter 4:10 (KJV); “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,” Eph 4:1 (KJV);

If we are faithful in following these six elements of God’s will then it is what ever we desire. “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.“ Prov. 16:3 (KJV); and “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart “ Psalms 37:4 (KJV).

John MacArthur writes,

“How does a person obtain knowledge? First, he must desire it. In John 7:17 Jesus says, ‘If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself.’ That thought is echoed in Hosea 6:3, “Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord.’ Second, he must depend on the Holy Spirit. It is through Him that we know the things God has revealed to us (cf. 1 Cor. 2:10-12). Finally, he must study the Scriptures, for they make the believer ‘adequate, equipped for every good work’ (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Perhaps the most graphic text related to the pursuit of divine truth is Job 28.”  From The MacArthur New Testament Commentary -Colossians & Philemon p.29

IV. WISDOM AND SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING.

A. In an age of careless theology where people make their own god and interpretation of Scriptures the wisdom of God is greatly needed.

1. Scriptures, nor personal experiences can be properly understood by the question – What does this say to me?.
2. Scripture must interpret Scripture, comparing spiritual with spiritual, and personal experience in light of Scripture (1 Cor. 2:13-14).

B. With wisdom we collect and organize principles taught in Scripture.
C. With understanding we apply these principles to daily living.

John MacArthur writes,

“Having the knowledge of God’s Word control our minds is the key to righteous living. What controls your thoughts will control your behavior. Self-control is a result of mind-control which is dependent on knowledge. Knowledge of God’s Word will lead to all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” Ibid p. 29ff

SUMMARY –

I. CHRISTIANS WILL FILL THEIR HEARTS AND MINDS WITH THE KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM OF GOD AND HIS WORD.
II. BEING FILLED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD…WILL ENABLE US TO DEFEND THE TRUTH, STAND FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND BE VIBRANT AND DILIGENT WITNESSES FOR CHRIST.
III. HAVING THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WILL WILL FULFILL OUR BEING AND WE WILL BE MOST SATISFIED IN CHRIST, AND WILL GLORIFY HIM.

“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”. John Piper

IV. WISDOM AND SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING IS NECESSARY IN A WORLD THAT IS FULL OF DARKNESS, AND THE COMING OF CHRIST DRAWS NEARER.
V. IF YOU DO NOT KNOW JESUS CHRIST AS YOUR SAVIOR YOU NEED HIM NOW.

-T.A.

Day 83 – Living, Until Jesus Comes Again

Most of us can say we enjoy living.  Though Christians have a longing to see Jesus face to face, and that would mean leaving this life; the life we live in the here and now; we  too have a joy for living in this world and life.  That is as it should be.  My reading this morning was Colossians 1-4; 1 Thessalonians 1-5, and 2 Thessalonians 1-3.

There are many who are believing that the freedoms we have in Jesus Christ means there are no laws or rules we must obey.  What it really means to be free in Christ is that we have even greater responsibility to live right, just and holy in this world for the glory of Christ our Lord and Saviour.  We have living within us the presence of the Holy Spirit; which is Christ in us.  He lives in us to make us more like Jesus.  We are no longer free to sin; we are, however, free from sin.

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.  For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power…”  Colossians 2:8-10 (KJV)

The world we presently live in is out to pervert the gospel of Christ through the teachings of men [philosophy].  Christianity is not a philosophy; it is a life to live; a life to give; a fellowship with the One who gave His life for us.  Our lives are not our own.  Christ Jesus is the “Fulness of the Godhead bodily”.  Remember what Jesus said to Philip, “If you have seen Me you have seen the Father” (John 14:9).

Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians was one about living in this world too.  In the Thessalonian letters he does address the second coming of Christ, even the rapture of the church; which I know some Christians do not believe in, or believe that Jesus has already returned; but so did some of the Thessalonians.

There are five chapters in the first letter addressed to the Church of Thessolonica.  Each chapter ends with a mention of the return of Jesus Christ,

“And to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”  1 Thessalonians 1:10 (KJV)

“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?  For ye are our glory and joy.”  2:19-20

“Now God Himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.  And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: to the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”  3:11-13

“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”  4:14-18

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.”  5:23-24

In each of these letters Paul admonishes believers to live faithfully in this world.  He even addresses the issue of not working.  It would appear that some Thessalonian Christians had quit their jobs, because “Jesus was on His way” and they did not need to work anymore – so they thought.  The apostle has written,

“For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.  For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.  Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.  But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.   And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.  Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.”  2 Thessalonians 3:10-15 (KJV)

How should we live until Christ comes?  As though His coming might be today; yet living in this world, working, faithful toward God, as though it might be a thousand years away.  Jesus’s words, were “Occupy til I come” (Luke 19:13).

-Tim A. Blankenship

One Together

Jesus said,

“My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.”

It tells us in the following verse,

“And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God”  (John 5:17-18).

Why do Christians see Jesus as Deity or God?  There is only one clear answer to that and it is this.  The Scriptures declare it.  Jesus Himself calls Himself and the Father as one; “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30).  In the above text the religious leaders knew what He meant when He said, “My Father”, and they considered it blasphemy.  It is clear that Jesus meant what He said.

Jesus was with the Father in the beginning creating, bringing all that is into being.  “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made”  (John 1:3).  He is also the One who still holds all things together; “…And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist [are held together]” (Col. 1:17).  If you believe Him you believe the Father.  If you deny Him, you deny the Father.

Jesus is the Living Word that was with God, was God, and became flesh and walked among men.  See John 1:1, 14.  There is only one access to God, and that is through the Son of God – Jesus Christ, and His death, burial and resurrection.

-Tim A. Blankenship