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

Day 85 – Pastors, Brethren, and Priests

My reading today was Titus 1 through Hebrews 6.  A wonderful reading.  I read of Titus a faithful Christian pastor on the Isle of Crete (1:5), and his ministry to the people.  Paul’s call to Titus for the appointing of “Elders” which is another word for “Pastors”.  Titus is the third and final “Pastoral Epistle”

You can see that the words “Elder” and “Bishop” are similar; because of how Paul uses them in verses five and seven. Paul addresses several issues for Titus; and warns him of several thins such as “Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth” (1:14).

“But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: that the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.  The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.  Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.”  Titus 2:1-6 (KJV)

Sound doctrine is of much importance for the pastor of a Christian congregation.  Yet, in 2012 there are some who are more in favor of staying away from Biblical and Christian doctrine.  For fear of offense or offending others and driving them away from the “faith”.  People need Christ.  If we present not the cross of Christ and the correct doctrine of the cross no one will be saved, but will temporarily feel better, maybe.

Christian conduct in this world is given by Paul in chapter three; and he stresses the grace and mercy of God,

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:5-7

Philemon, a small letter written by Paul while he is imprisoned for the faith of Christ; is written to this man for Onesimus who was a slave of Philemon.  He had evidently left Philemon without consent, maybe even taking some thing or things that did not belong to himself.  Onesimus became a believer and follower of Jesus Christ.  Onesimus has desire to make things right with Philemon, but fears for his life.  Philemon is a brother in Christ, now Onesimus is a brother in Christ, and the apostle exhorts Philemon to receive him as a brother.  I believe Philemon received Onesimus as a brother, and probably freed him.  I can see him grabbing Onesimus when he reads this letter and hugging his neck; forgiveness flowing from the heart of his brother.

“For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever; not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?  If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.”  Philemon 15-17 (KJV)

The letter addressed to the Hebrew Christians is one dealing with the Deity and Priesthood of Christ Jesus.  The Hebrews were familiar with the issue of angels, Moses, and Melchizedek (Genesis 14:17-20; Psalm 110).  The writer of Hebrews points out that Jesus is greater than angels, Moses and is a priest after the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 6:20)

Because of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross we have the power and authority to approach the very throne of God.  Hear the Word of God,

“Seeing then that we have a Great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  Hebrews 4:14-16 (KJV)

Jesus is the Christ, Son of the Living God; crucified, buried, and bodily raised from the grave; ascended into Heaven, seated at the Father’s right hand, and is coming again to set things right forever.

Blessed be the name of the LORD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 82 – Spiritual Blessings

It could be said probably, that, everybody likes a blessing.  Those who do not believe in God, however, may not call it “Blessing”.  What would you have to be thankful for?  Who would you thank?  I do not have the answer.  My reading this morning was reading through Ephesians and Philippians.  Two Epistles [Letters] written by the apostle Paul with words of encouragement to the church of Ephesus and the church of Philippi.

To Ephesus Paul writes,

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ…” Ephesians 1:3 (KJV)

It is one thing to bless God with words, such as the apostle does above; but how are we at blessing Him with our lives too.  Both are a part of the faithful Christian’s life.  We are to bless God by remembering His blessings to and upon us.

While Paul is addressing “Spiritual blessings” which involve the things that are in the following verses; “He has chosen us in Him”,  “Predestinated us unto the adoption of children…”,  “…We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins…”.  He goes on and includes “…an inheritance”, and that “Ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise…”.  The spiritual blessings go on and on.

Those spiritual blessing work themselves out into living in this world and life.  If we do not live with these spiritual blessings; having thankfulness for them, then, we will most likely be a negative, bitter, envious, carnal individual; probably not a true Christian.  Do you realize your spiritual blessings?  Are you thankful for them?  Particularly for the grace given to us by the Father, putting His own Son to death on the cross, and raising Him again bodily from the grave?

In Ephesians we are told about grace.  It is by grace we are saved; plus nothing, minus nothing.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:8-10

In chapter five we are admonished to “…Be filled with the Spirit”, not spirits; how husbands and wives are to respect and love one another, especially how the husband is love his wife as Christ loves the church, and gave Himself for her.  Children are to obey their parents, parents are not to “Provoke” their children (chapter 6).  Servants, even employees, are to serve their bosses as though they are serving Christ.

In Philippians we see that Jesus Christ was a man of humility; humbling Himself even to the death of the cross;

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”  Philippians 2:5-8 (KJV)

It is one of the greatest spiritual blessings to know the God/Man who came to be with us and without sin, offer His life as an atonement for our sin, that we might be like Him.  Because of Him we have great cause for rejoicing, which the apostle addresses in the letter (4:4).

Let me end with just a note concerning the passing of a man of God.  Charles Colson who was the founder of Prison Fellowship and aided in many prison reforms; and many men and women coming to faith in Christ who were in prison; has gone home to be with Jesus.  Reading his book “Born Again” was a blessing to me.  I have also read several of his other books.   Thank God for men such as Charles Colson who devote their lives to the name and cause of Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Fearful Salvation

“…But others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.” Jude 23 (NKJV).

There are many still being led astray by apostate teachers and their heretical teachings. We are to preach the gospel, pure and simple, that they may possibly hear, believe, and come out of the bondage of heresy.

Those who warn them, teaching them the truth of the gospel, and whole counsel of the word of God, must also do so with “fear”. We must guard our own hearts. Those who warn others of these teachings, are also hearing the lies, deceitful words, and acts; and if we don’t stand on the truth of the Word of God could be enticed by such easy hearing words.

Many of these apostate teachers and preachers are very charismatic, and possess a dynamic preaching and teaching style. They are easy to listen to. They would also be very easy to follow. That is why we as Christians must guard against what comes easy to us. Let me give an example or two. 1. It is easier to lie than to tell the truth; 2. It is easier to stay at home on Sunday than to be faithful in your attendance of worshipping the Lord; 3. It is easier to keep your money than to tithe, or put an offering in the plate as it passes in front of you; there are three. Let me give you another one; for a husband, it is easier to attend that football game, or baseball game with the guys, than to stay at home and help your wife with cleaning the house.

I only share those things to remind you that we are all prone to do the easy things, and listen to the easy; going along to get along message, which makes us feel good about ourselves, and others. Preachers, who are called of God to preach were not called to please men or women, but to preach the Word of God, and to preach it in the power of His glory and His cross; no matter who it offends. It is better to please God and displease men, than it is to please men, and displease God. There is more to this life than comfort, and ease.

“Save with fear…” is words of wisdom coming from Jude, and it is the wisdom of the Spirit of God. It is by the study, reading, prayer, and the living of the Word of God in personal life that we can stand against the flashy, easy, dynamic, charismatic, and false teaching of the apostate teachers. This is not just for the preacher, pastor, or teacher. It is for all Christians to hear, and take heed to yourselves.

The message of the Bible is the message of Jesus. It is about His death on the cross – and the shedding of His blood; His burial and carrying our sins away, our sin debt paid to the Father in full; and His resurrection proving and assuring us that everything Jesus said of Himself, and the Father is true; and by His resurrection we have the assurance that when He said, “I will come again”, that He will indeed come again.

Snatch them from the burning fire of lying deceptions, and apostate teachers; and guard yourselves with “fear”, ie., considering yourself (Galations 6:1).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Evidences Of The Filling Of The Spirit

PURPOSE: To show that  by the Christian’s yielding control of life to the Holy Spirit that Christian is filled with the Spirit, making life more heavenly on earth.

OUTLINE OF EPHESIANS 5:18 THROUGH CHAPTER 6: 9:

I.  BE CONTROLLED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD (vv. 18-20).

II.  SPIRIT CONTROLLED LIVING IS A LIFE OF SUBMISSION (vv. 21-24).

III.  SPIRIT CONTROLLED HUSBANDS LOVE THEIR WIVES SACRIFICIALLY (vv. 25-33).

IV.  SPIRIT CONTROLLED CHILDREN OBEY THEIR PARENTS (vv. 6:1-4).

V.  SPIRIT CONTROLLED CHRISTIANS PRACTICE THEIR GOD GIVE VOCATION (6:5-9).

BE CONTROLLED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD (vv. 18-20).  From the beginning we must understand that every born again individual is indwelt by the Spirit of God.  He inhabits your body along with your spirit that has been born anew in Christ Jesus.

Most of us have witnessed the activities of a drunk who was mad drunk by drinking by alcoholic beverage or some other drug legal or illegal.  The man or woman now drunk has become boisterous, knows no fear, will do things they would not normally do when they were sober.  The individual made drunk by this foreign substance, is controlled by another substance which has robbed him of self control.

Paul knew what the excess of wine did to people.  I know what the excess of wine does to people, as I am sure you do as well.  Most drunks believe they can drive, maybe even fly, or do anything.  Paul uses the likeness here in a somewhat analogous way.  Drunks (for the most part) become drunk willingly and by drinking what they know will inebriate them.  The Holy Spirit filled believer becomes Spirit filled willingly.  The drunk knows no fear.  The Spirit filled believer is not fearful.  The drunk does things he/she would not normally do, if sober.  The Spirit filled Christian does things he/she would not normally do, such as one on one witnessing, preaching, serving others, teaching, giving, loving, and living with the fruits of the Spirit (Galations 5:22-23) more practical things.

Now here is wheree this analogy breaks down.  The drunk has no self control, while the power of the Holy Spirit, in the Spirit filled Christian, gives each Christian self control.

In verses 19-20 (Colossians 3:15-17) we begin seeing what the life of the Spirit filled person is like.  He/She is in an attitude of worship.  He is at peace with God in his heart, always praising God.  Always a song in the heart and on the lips.  The Spirit filled/controlled Christian will have their lives filled with song and singing.  Always thankful, for all things, and identified in the Lord Jesus.

SPIRIT CONTROLLED LIVING IS A LIFE OF SUBMISSION (vv. 21-24).  Further evidence of Spirit controlled living is submission to one another.  Submission in this event is recognizing God ordained positions and being subject to those who are in those positions as God has designed and led.  For the man; a woman is far superior to the man at being a woman, and all that God has designed for her to be and do.  For the woman; the man is far superior to the woman at being a man, and all that God has designed for him to be and do.  Therefore, there is cause for us to submit to one another.

As members of the Body of Christ [the Church] our Lord and Savior, we are to be first submissive to Him, and if we are genuinely submitted to Hom we will also be to one another.  We will be accountable to each other in our walk with Christ.  When a brother or sister in Christ submits to another Christian it is motivation for Christian living unseen any other way.  We submit one to one, all to one, and one to all.  Husband to wife, wife to husband, and children to parents and parents to children; of course remembering that God has placed some in positions of authority.

Wives are to submit to their husbands [in the Lord] because God ordained it so in the order of creation (1 Timothy 2:11-13).  It was from Adam’s side which God created woman to be his helper.  Believe me ladies; we men need a lot of help. 8)  She is to submit to her husband as to the Lord and for His sake.

The husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church…  The head is what keeps the rest functioning properly.  Without direction, vision and leadership from the head the collective body will fail.

In every organization, business, military endeavor, church and home there must be a head who will lead the way.  If all try to lead you have chaos.  Now, we understand as human beings, leadership that is dictatorial is not responsible leadership.  The head, in human affairs, will listen to advice and counsel from others, and make decisions accordingly.

Wives and their husbands should be able to sit down together and make plans and talk things through.  Generals who listen to good advice from privates would be wise Generals indeed.  In many cases it may be that listening to Privates, is part of the reason they made the promotion of General.

The husband is a wise husband, and wise head who will listen to his wife.  The husband as head of the wife and analogous to Christ should also see the picture of sacrifice.  Christ gave Himself for the Church.  If the husband is willing to sacrifice his life for his wife she will have no problem being submissive to him.

SPIRIT CONTROLLED HUSBANDS LOVE THEIR WIVES SACRIFICIALLY (vv. 25-33).  Holy Spirit filled husbands love their wives sacrificially.

As Jesus gave Himself for the Church in order to have a glorious bride the Spirit filled husband voluntarily gives himself to and for his wife.  She is a special and precious treasure.  He will see her as an extension of himself, a partner, a friend, a helper for life.  He cares for her well being; physically, financially and spiritually.  He loves her as he loves himself.  A man will give up almost anything to do what he wants to do – what he REALLY wants to do.  If the husband really loves his wife he will give up anything to show her that love.  Jesus gave up the glory of heaven for a time to show He loves His bride.

No longer under the care of his parents he loves his wife and becomes one with her for the rest  of their lives.  There is no one else by her that he sacrifices for, not even himself.  If husbands want reverence from their wives we must first love them sacrificially, and do so at the expense of our own comfort, pride, and well being.

Here is some other sacrifices husbands can make for their wife’s benefit:

  1. That favorite football team that’s playing the same time your wife wants you to go shopping with her; what will you do?
  2. Her favorite TV show is on the same time as yours; what will you do?
  3. Your home from work for the day, there are things you could be doing that you enjoy, the wife is working, and there are dirty clothes to be washed, and dishes in the kitchen sink; do you wait for her to come home and do them? or will you do them? instead of what you want to do?

The above mentioned things are not giving your life, but merely giving up your wants for what would be good for her.

SPIRIT CONTROLLED CHILDREN OBEY THEIR PARENTS (vv. 6:1-4).  Obedient children are a blessing to any home.  Children who love our Lord, and are Spirit filled are obedient and hold their parents in honor and respect.

The Christian home should reflect the likeness of Jesus.  Even though He is the Creator of the world He subjected Himself to Joseph and Mary in honor and obedience.  Children who are born again and are controlled by God’s Spirit are an excellent testimony of God’s power to change lives.  Children who live solely for self are not subject to anyone, not even God.  It is a sure sign, that if a child is disobedient and disrespectful to their parents, they are in the same condition with God.

The same can be said of the father who is abusive to his children, and neglects to hear their cries and hurts.  If the father provokes his children, or does not sacrificially love their mother, he is not Spirit filled or controlled.  The Spirit filled – controlled – father teaches, encourages, without downgrading his children.

The care and encouragement in the Lord is what our children need.

Living as Spirit filled Christians is about as close to heaven as we will come in this world; at least until Jesus Comes and makes all things right.  Our God has equipped us, and given us His Spirit to help us in the endeavor of living holy lives.  It is only possible as we yield our selfishness to the control and influence of His Spirit.  Yielding will bring harmony to the church, marriages, parents, and children, and in all realms of living.

The only way to Spirit filled/controlled living is through faith in Jesus Christ and His death, burial and resurrection.

SPIRIT CONTROLLED CHRISTIANS PRACTICE THEIR GOD GIVE VOCATION (6:5-9).  Remember the Submission part; about submitting yourselves to one another in the fear of God… (v. 21).  It is for the place where we are employed as well; or the place where we employ employees – as owners or boss.  When we see ourselves as the servants of Jesus Christ it will not matter what our job, but in the power of God’s Spirit will do our job “as unto the Lord.“

The word servant used here is a reference to “slaves”.  Slavery was a dominant institution during the time of Paul’s writing.  According to some the word is used in referring to involuntary or voluntary slavery.  If this means “slave”, then how can it apply to Twenty first century America?  It applies in the factories, grocery stores, farms, churches, families, government offices, Law offices, Court buildings, Police headquarters, Fire stations, Ambulance services, Hospitals, Highway/Road departments, etc., thus, everyone is an employee somewhere.  An employee must appear at work at a set time, leaves at a set time, is paid on a set day, and must work according to the employers policies; or be fired.  When you are working for someone other than yourself, you are serving someone.  In what is called service oriented businesses; even if you are “working for yourself” you are still serving others.  You may not like the term, but you are a servant to that employment – a slave.

You can talk to just about any one who works for someone else and they will often begin telling you all, or at least some of the problems of their employer.  There are a lot of people who are dissatisfied with their place of employment.  It seems to be human nature to complain, however, it is not God’s nature.

Be obedient… unto Christ (v. 5), could form the entire sentence.  Even when the boss seems to be messing up, if we are to be faithful, Spirit filled Christians we comply with his directions – as long as his directions are not immoral, or physically harmful, and/or violate your conscience.

Spirit filled Christians are different in their labor than are the rest of the laborers.  Where others complain and slack off in their work the Spirit controlled believer is thankful, and works his/her best.  Her single purpose being to glorify Jesus Christ.

The very fact that more is said in these verse cold show who the majority of Christians were in this church.  These words to encourage them in their labor.  It is Jesus for whom we labor.  The Scriptures say nothing of a division of secular and sacred.  For the Spirit filled Christian all things are done, as unto Christ.

The Spirit filled Christian employee will not serve with eyeservice; seeking the approval of the boss only when he is watching.  This term eyeservice implies only doing the work; and maybe even with a little more effort; when being watched.  Many people who are of the world work one way when no one is watching and a completely other way when they know they are being watched.  To please the boss (while he is watching) could mean a promotion, they think.

It is the will of God that Christians do their work heartily as the servants of Christ .  The work of the Christian is not to please men, but to glorify their Lord.  Those Christians who do their work unto the Lord will recrive eternal rewards from Christ (Colossians 3:24).  This is not unto salvation but rewards which glorify our Lord.

Doing a job cheerfully can be contagious.  Others see you working, and enjoying the work of your Lord, and it begins to rub off on others.  What kind of witness is it to be sour and complaining about low pay, no benefits, poor work environment, and whatever other complaints there are?  I heard Elisabeth Elliot say, “If you aren’t doing the work you like, then, like the work you do.”  We  can only learn to like it by seeing that  our true Master is our lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Verse 8 is the link to what has just been said.  If  there is anyone who has doubt that this idea of servanthood is not relevant for our day, Paul includes, “Whether he be bond or free”.  In other wards the principles given are for all Christians, and for all ages.

When we go to a place for employment we are subjecting ourselves to their rule of practice and operation.  We voluntarily become a bond-slave to our employer with the understanding we are being  paid for what we do, and at an agreed upon wage.  However, if we expect to be paid, the employer expects good work.

The good work that Christian employee does, along with a joyful and giving attitude, is a witness to everyone around, including the boss.  God promises reward to those who serve the Lord in this way.

When it is said and done we are all bond-slaves to someone or something.  There are some who are slaves to sin and obey its every craving and desire.  The Christian, however, is free from sin, and is a bond-slave to Christ, because he was redeemed with the purchase price of the shed blood of Jesus (Romans 6:14-18).

The Christianity part does not lay on the employee alone; that is the responsibility of every Christian employee and employer.  We look now at the duties of the Christian employer, Business owner, Supervisor, Boss; let’s also keep in mind 5:21, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”  We are all subjects of Christ.

The “master”  is to do service to the servant, “as unto the Lord”.  Paying a wage that enables the servant to have a life supporting his family and providing for their health needs.  This is speaking of the Christian employer.

For the “master” he is to do it as a servant of Christ.  Not beating, nor threatening, but encouraging.  The “master” realizing that he too has a Master “in heaven”.

The Master in heaven has no “respect of persons”, but every one of His children are equal in His sight; receiving from Him according to their need.  The master/employer should  treat his employees equally according to their needs and abilities.

When Christians are filled with the Spirit they will be the best employees an employer can find, for they see that they are servants.  Servants not of their employer, but of Christ, who is Master over all.

The Christian [Spirit controlled] employer will give the best of care to his employees, because he realizes he has a Master, and when the employees are respected and blessed by their employer they will give more of themselves without complaining.

Wouldn’t it be great if employers were always on the look out for Christian employees because every Christian  who cam to work for them was a hard and joyous worker?

Wouldn’t it be great if the Christian employer was gracious and took care of his employees, and his employees loved him and because of his generosity worked their best for him?

We give evidences of the filling of the Spirit of God by these things which the apostle has written.  Husbands and wives submitting to one another, respecting one another’s place filled by God;  Children loving and respecting their parents, obeying them and parents filled with the Spirit correcting their children with love;  Servants/Employees be submitted to their bosses; Christian employers/bosses/business owners submitted to the servant.  As Christians we must remember we are to be submitted one to another.  See the other as better than ourselves and seek others well being.  This is a practicing, active, living Christianity.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Being a Servant

Being a Servant

“Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.” Genesis 18:4-8 (KJV)

Abraham’s desire for the LORD to stay gives him opportunity to be a servant, and he got his whole house involved in the service. He took care of getting it all together himself. There are some things in the service of the Lord we must do ourselves. He fetched the calf himself, yet had a young man dress it for him. He went to Sarah and asked her to prepare the grain for the bread. There is an important application needed here and that is that no one can serve the Lord for us. We must serve Him ourselves.

Another thing we learn from this episode of Scripture is that husbands must lead their wives in serving the Lord. It is important that the whole household worship the Lord God. The home is friendlier, and much more blessed by such a family atmosphere. There is praise and appreciation of each member, and especially that of the presence of the Lord Himself.

There is a quote from the Matthew Henry Commentary which says, “Hearty friendship will stoop to any thing but sin. Christ Himself has taught us to wash one another’s feet, in humble love.”

These angels and the LORD accepted the servanthood and fellowship of Abraham. There is a scene presented here which one day all believers gathered around the throne of God will be able to sit at the Lord’s feet, wash His feet, kiss His feet, and worship Him to our heart’s content. The Lord was well pleased with Abraham’s worship and service. They received the meat and the bread and they did eat. God accepts the humble service of those who look for His presence.

Reading of this event should remind us of Hebrews 13:2, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Have you ever saw an individual in your church, your business, or at work who just seemed to always move toward helping others. It didn’t matter if they were strangers or the person with what some would call the “Least important,” or “Less noticed position” there was; they would move to help that person. That is because in most cases the one who does that has the gift of serving. These people serve without requiring anything or expecting anything in return. In most cases they would just as soon not even be recognized for doing it. In a lot of cases they will do good things when no one is watching, so as not to be noticed and recognized. That was the heart of our Savior, and that was the heart of Abraham.

Let’s look at every stranger, and those we know as being the presence of God. When we do that we will begin to treat one another differently. Am I faithful to practice servanthood all times? NO!!! But I do know that God is still working on me. I know that all of us do not have the gift of service, so we need to work at it a little bit harder. I am learning. Not having the gift is no excuse for not serving others. Some have entertained/served angels without being aware of it.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Children and Your Marriage

There are many Christian couples who were married and expected to have children and found out after a few years or so that they were unable to have children.  The children are often seen as a blessing to the marriage and children making a house a home.  To those married couples who have longed to have children, but cannot, I can only say one thing, and that is the blessing of children is from the Lord, and He must have something different in mind for you.  I do not mean that to be a cold or harsh statement, but He may have a different blessing for you, so that you can bless children who need help or parents.

My intention is not to deal with having children in marriage, but that in most marriages children do come along as God’s blessing on us.  Most people who have children will realize this some time as the child or children grow, and that is this; these children will put your marriage to the test.  It is for that purpose I write this, and to encourage every young couple to be sure to devote time to their marriage.

Some young couples with children will probably be angered by what I am about to tell you, but it needs to be said.  When that boy or girl gets to two years or so they will start testing your marriage.  Couples need to nourish that marriage at every opportunity they have.  Your marriage made strong through your commitment to one another, your devotion to one another, your love for one another is the greatest thing, other than Jesus and the gospel, that you can give that child. 

By the time a child is five years or so, they will begin to realize that they can cause Mom and Dad a little trouble by dividing them, in matters of discipline, or guidance.  That is why before you have children you need to be sure that you agree on the matters of discipline and direction for your child.  If you have not, and that child sees Mom disagreeing with Dad in a matter of discipline, then that child will know how to get his/her way.  Do not disagree over disciplinary issues in the presence of your children.

In one of the churches God gave me the joy of serving as pastor, there was a woman who told of an event in their home where their daughter tried to divide her Mom and Dad over an issue of discipline.  The daughter did not like the way Dad had disciplined her, and went to her Mom, and said, “Aren’t you going to take my side on this?”, to which Mom said, “I have know him longer than I have you”.  That made an excellent point. 

The home is built around a strong, solid, Biblical marriage with Jesus Christ at its center.  If the marriage is not built according to Biblical principles and on the couples love for Christ Jesus and one another, that is a home that will not stand.  Our children will grow up and leave home.  That is how it should be.  That is how it is supposed to be.  If you do not have a strong marriage while the children are at home, then you are going to have problems after they are gone.

The best thing you as a man can give your children is letting them see you love their mother, and that nothing they say or do is going to divide you. 

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her…”  Ephesians 5:25.

“Nevertheless let each one of you in  particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”  Ephesians 5:33 (NKJV)

Husbands and wives must both work at nourishing that marriage, even in the midst of a housefull of children.  If your home is built around the children, that marriage is most certainly doomed for failure.