Colossians – Chapter 2

Verse 1 – For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh,

Laodicea was located a few miles northwest of Colosse. Like the church at Colosse, the Laodicea church was probably founded by one of Paul’s converts while Paul was staying in Ephesus. In the book of Revelation, Christ would criticize the believers of this church for being lukewarm.

Verse 2 – that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ,

Verse 3 – in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Believers need solid, firm, relationships with other Christians. Sometimes that’s hard to find, because even within the church, we find people living any way they want and some of us do not want any part of that. In and through Christ, all wisdom and knowledge is found. In reference to this wisdom and knowledge, a great treasure is housed.

Verse 4 – Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words.

Verse 5 – For though I am absent int he flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.

The problem that Paul was combating in the Colossian church was similar to Gnosticism. This heresy undermined Christianity. It’s contrary to Bible doctrine. (1) It insisted that important secret knowledge was hidden from most believers. (2) It taught that the body was evil. (3) It contended that Christ seemed to be human, but was not. Paul taught that Christ was fully human and fully God.

People can be easily persuaded by false doctrine when they don’t know the truth. The only way to know heresy when yo hear it, is to know true Biblical doctrine.

Freedom From Vain Philosophy

Verse 8 – Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

Christian’s obtain their doctrine from Scripture. The world has a way of sliding their traditions into the worship of Christ and into the modern church. This is a strong warning to all believers. When man-made laws, rules, and rituals become part of your religion, then that is heresy. We must know God’s word to avoid anything that is not associated with faith in Christ. (And yes, there are principles and standards we live by.)

Verse 9 – For in Him dwells all the fullness of the godhead bodily;

Every system that denies this is in denial of the doctrine which Paul had taught. Almost all heresy began by some form of denial of the great central truth of the incarnation of the Son of God.

“In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,” means that all of God was in Christ’s human body. When we have Christ we have everything we need for salvation and right living.

Verse 10 – and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

There is a completion in each believer, filling us up with: wisdom to guide us; the atonement to be made for sin; the merit by which a sinner can be justified, and the grace which is needed to sustain us in trials, and to aid us int he duties of life.

Freedom From Judgment of Men

Verse 11 – In Him you were also circumcised with circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,

Verse 12 – buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

The circumcision of the Messiah was spiritual and associated with circumcision of the heart. Baptism relates to Christ’s death and burial. Believer’s baptism symbolizes union with Christ in death and complete separation from the former way of life. Believers are raised with Him through faith, according to God’s power.

Verse 13 – And you , being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,

Before believing in Jesus, our nature was evil. We did not love God with our whole heart, soul, and mind. The resurrection of Christ was the means of imparting to us spiritual life. Now, the Christian has a new nature. That old rebellious nature is replaced with a loving nature. The penalty of sin died with Christ on the cross. God has declared us not guilty, and we need no longer live under sin’s power.

Verse 14 – having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

The written requirements that was wiped out were the legal demands of the Old Testament Laws. The law demanded payment for sin with a blood sacrifice. That blood sacrifice was paid in full on Calvary by Jesus Christ. Our sins were forgiven and forgotten by God, washed away, but only if you believe.

Verse 15 – Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

By Christ’s death, He subdued and defeated Satan and his fallen angels, and recaptured those who had been held in bondage by sin.

Verse 16 – Therefore let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths,

Verse 17 – which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.

Paul told the Colossian Christians not to worry about others criticizing them for not observing Jewish diets and religious ceremonies. This goes for today’s Christian also.

As Christians, we don’t live up to other people’s standards. We follow the Bible and our focus stays on Christ!

Freedom From Improper Worship

Verse 18 – Let no one defraud you of a reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, introducing into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

Verse 19 – and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body is nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase which is from God.

The false teachers were full of pride for their humility. They brought attention and praises to themselves, not God. They were puffed up! People do this today when they talk negatively about themselves, so others will think them more spiritual. False humility is self-centered.

Freedom From Doctrine of Men

Verse 20 – Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations –

Verse 21 – “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,”

Verse 22 – which all concern things which perish with the using – according to the commandments and doctrines of men?

Verse 23 – These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

Simply put – Our salvation does not depend on our own discipline and rule-keeping, but on the power of Christ’s death and resurrection.

Here’s some of the ways we can know we are following man-made laws: Ask yourself these questions: (1) Am I doing a man-made taboo rather than God’s grace? (2) Does what I am doing make me have a critical spirit towards others that don’t follow certain rules? (3) Do I stress more importance on visions and dreams, more than the word of God? (4) Do I elevate self-righteousness more than honoring Christ? (5) Do I think discipline of the body means spiritual growth?

Keep in mind: Following religious rules and laws that are man-made cannot change your heart. You may look super moral to others, but only the Holy Spirit can change the heart!

 

 

Colossians – Chapter 1

Introduction: Paul’s purpose in Colossians is to show that Christ is preeminent – first and foremost in everything – and the Christians’s life should reflect that priority. Because believers are rooted in Him, alive in Him, hidden in Him, and complete in Him, it is utterly inconsistent for them to live life without Him.

Colosse was a minor city about one hundred miles east of Ephesus in the region of the seven Asian churches of Revelation 1-3.

Chapter 1

Paul’s Greeting to the Colossians

Verse 1 – Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

Verse 2 – to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Verse 3 – We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,

Verse 4 – since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints;

Verse 5 – because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel,

This hope was the result of having heard and received the message of truth or more specifically, the gospel. Eternal happiness was reserved in heaven for them.

Verse 6 – which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth;

The gospel was made available to the world through preaching. God’s word and is not just for our information, it is for transformation! Becoming a Christian means beginning a whole new relationship with God, not just turning over a new leaf, or determining to do right. New believers have a changed purpose, direction, attitude, and behavior. They no longer seek to serve themselves.

Paul stresses here, that since they had heard the gospel, it was producing the appropriate fruit.

Verse 7 – as you also learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf,

Verse 8 – who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.

True Christian love comes from the Holy Spirit. There will be a love for one another that will reach far above just our neighborhoods. This kind of love is not just an emotion. This kind of love is a by-product of the new life in Christ.

Verse 9 – For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

Paul’s prayer for them was that they fully comprehend the full will of God, with all understanding and wisdom, understanding why and making the right decisions in wisdom. God’s intention for us is to fully understand what He intends to be accomplished through us.

Verse 10 – that you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

Verse 11 – strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy,

Christian behavior that pleases the Lord involves the action of good deeds, continuous spiritual growth, dependence on His power, resulting in endurance patience, and joy, and expressing gratitude for all things because God enables believers to share in the saint’s inheritance.

Verse 12 – giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.

Verse 13 – He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,

Verse 14 – in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

This passage here proves that we obtain forgiveness of sins through the precious blood of Christ! However that is not all that we obtain when we become a believer.

Christ Is Preeminent in Creation

Verse 15 – He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

Verse 16 – For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for him.

Jesus is the exact representation of God because He is God. The title “Firstborn” does not mean that Jesus was created, but means priority and all authority over all and everything created. Christ came from heaven, not dust of the earth and He is Lord of all. Christ is also supreme over the spirit world. As the Creator, He is over the creation.

Verse 17 – And He is before all thins, and in Him all things consist.

Christ was before all things existence, because He had existence before anything was created. He’s eternal. All things are kept “consist” – kept in present state, their existence, order, and continued by His power. If unsupported by Him, they would fall into disorder, or sink back to nothing.

Verse 18 – And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

Jesus was raised from the dead, and His resurrection proves His lordship over the material world. All who trust in Christ will also defeat death and rise again to live eternally with Him.

Christ Is Preeminent in Redemption

Verse 19 – For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell,

Verse 20 – and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

God was pleased that His fullness, the entirety of God’s being, would dwell in the Son. Thus, Jesus was fully divine as well as fully human. Through Christ, God would reconcile (a right relationship) all things to Himself on the cross.

Verse 21 – And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled

Verse 22 – in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and irreproachable in His sight –

No means ever used to produce reconciliation between two alienated parties has had so much tenderness and power as those which God has adopted in the plan of salvation.

Verse 23 – if indeed you continue in faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under haven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

The key word in this verse is “if.” The only way a believer will be presented holy, faultless, and blameless, is if they do not abandon their faith in Christ as presented in the gospel. Faith refers to the content of the gospel with Jesus as the object.

Christ  Is Preeminent in the Church

Verse 24 – I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church,

Verse 25 – of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God,

Verse 26 – the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.

God’s plan of redemption was a mystery hidden until Christ came. Through Christ it was made open to all. God’s secret plan is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Verse 27 – To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Verse 28 – Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.

Verse 29 – To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.

The word perfect means mature or complete, not flawless. Paul wanted to see each believer mature spiritually. We have the Spirit of God working in us.

An effective presentation of the gospel includes admonishing (warning) and teaching. The warning is that without Christ, people are doomed to eternal separation from God. The teaching is that salvation is available through faith in Christ. Everyone needs to hear that  message.

 

 

 

Philippians – Chapter 4

Verse 1 – Therefore, my beloved and longed – for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.

We stand fast in the Lord by keeping our focus on Christ, to remember that this world is not our home, and the fact that Christ is in control.

Verse 2 – I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.

Verse 3 – And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are int he Book of Life.

Evidently there had been some disagreement among these two women.

Verse 4 – Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

Verse 5 – Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

Verse 6 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication; with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

We are to trust in our God so much that it frees us from all anxiety. We should learn to have such a dependence on Him that we stay calm. “But in everything,” supplies for our wants and needs; concerning our welfare and families; trials, conflicts, and hardships. There is no reason why we can’t spread it all before the Lord in prayer.

“With thanksgiving,” Psalm 100:4 – Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. Start your prayers with being thankful in everything! Lets always be thankful for what He’s already done.

“Let your request be made known.” Jesus said the biggest reason that “You have not, is because you ask not!” He also said, “If it be the Father’s will, I will do it!”

Verse 7 – and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

(1) Be anxious for nothing; (2) with thanksgiving; (3) let your request be made known to God; (4) and the peace that comes from God, will guard your heart and mind through Jesus Christ. When your done praying, know that He heard you and know that it is done! That’s why we end our prayers with “Amen,” “So be it!”

Verse 8 – Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.

Do you want to never go through another day of depression in your life? Think on these things that Paul just listed. Fill your mind and heart up with the good things of God and it will lift you up out of any anxiety you might have.

Verse 9 – The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Verse 10 – But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity.

Verse 11 – Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:

If Paul could learn to be content in whatever state he was in, then we can too. Paul went through a lot more hardships than we ever will.

Verse 12 – I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

But yet he says he is still content.

Verse 13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

The power that we receive with Christ working in us, is sufficient to do His will and to face any challenge that may arise!

Verse 14 – Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress.

Verse 15 – Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only.

Verse 16 – for even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities.

Verse 17 – Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.

Verse 18 – Indeed I have all and abound, I am full having received from Epaphroditusthe things which were sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.

Verse 19 – And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Everybody knows that verse, don’t they? Paul was in need at a time when no one but the Philippians helped. God will and does send help through others. That’s why we are to be generous, because you just might be the answer to someone’s prayer!

Verse 20 – Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Verse 21 – Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you.

Verse 22 – All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar’s household.

While awaiting trial, Paul was making many converts in Rome.

Verse 23 – The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Philippians – Chapter 3

Warning Against Confidence in the Flesh

Verse 1 – Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.

As a safeguard, Paul revives the basics with these believers. The Bible is the Christians’s standard, and when we read it, it alerts us to corrections we need to make in our thoughts, attitude, and actions.

Verse 2 – Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation!

Dogs were held as unclean, and to call a person a dog was a much a stronger expression of contempt. The Jews called the pagans dogs, and the Muslims call Jews and Christians by the same name.

Then Paul tells them to beware of evil workers. This no doubt is the Jewish teachers whose doctrines influence those to do evil.

The mutilation, refers to the cutting of the flesh on the Gentiles to make them Jews, rather than relying on God’s grace to become Christians.

Verse 3 – For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh,

Verse 4 – though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so:

Verse 5 – circumcised the eight-day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; concerning the law a Pharisee;

Paul was saying that he had every right to place confidence in the flesh as these others were doing, because of his qualifications of being circumcised. However, it was only heredity, as these Jews thought they were entitled, to be privileged to God.

Verse 6 – concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

Verse 7 – But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.

When Paul speaks of gain, he was referring to his credentials as a Jew. After showing he could beat the Judaizers at their own game (being proud of who they were and what they had done), Paul showed that it was the wrong game.

We should be very careful of considering past achievements so important that they get in the way of our relationship with Christ. It will make you highly judgmental of other Christians.

Verse 8 – But indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ,

After Paul considered every accomplishment in his life, he said that it was all rubbish, loss, when compared to the greatness of knowing Christ.

There is not one possession on this earth that we have gained compared to our relationship we have with Christ! To know Christ would be every Christian’s goal.

Verse 9 – and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith,

The only way that righteousness comes to the believer is through faith in Jesus Christ!

Verse 10 – that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,

Verse 11 – if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from he dead.

That I may know Him – that I may fully be acquainted with His nature, character, His work, and with the salvation He has worked out in us.

And the power of His resurrection – to understand the hope of immortality, in sustaining the spirit and soul in death. By Christ raising from the dead, it makes certain our future state.

That same resurrection power lives in each believer.

Verse 12 – Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.

Paul did not regard himself as a perfect man and he had not reached the state where he was free from sin. However, we as Paul did, press on. We don’t stop being a Christian just because of failure at times.

Verse 13 – Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which were behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,

Verse 14 – I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Paul had good reason to forget what was behind, as we all do. Because our hope is in Christ, we let go of the guilt from our past and look forward to what God will help us become. This includes letting go of past hurts that have been done to us also.

Verse 15 – Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.

For those who have been truly converted, God by His Holy Spirit will correct, guide, and teach, until we have an understanding of divine things.

Verse 16 – Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule; let us be of the same mind.

Christian maturity is acting on the guidance we have already received. The instructions for us is to live up to what we already know and live out what we have already learned.

Verse 17 – Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.

Paul knew he wasn’t perfect, but for him to tell people to follow his example, was a great testimony to his character. Can we do the same? What kind of follower would a new Christian become if he or she imitated you or me?

Verse 18 – For many walk, of whom I have told you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:

Verse 19 – whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame – who set their mind on earthly things.

These false teachers were inflated with their own spiritual abilities, rather than trusting Christ. Then Paul describes them: First, their eternal judgment. Second, their belly which reflects the Jewish dietary laws. Third, their glory is in their shame meaning, focusing inappropriately on circumcision. Fourth, they were unable to see beyond the present.

Verse 20 – For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Verse 21 – who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

The bodies that Christians will have when raised form the dead will be like Christ’s resurrected body. No pain, no physical limitations, or disabilities.

 

 

 

Philippians – Chapter 2

Verse 1 – Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,

Verse 2 – fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

Many people, even Christians, live only to make a good impression on others or to please themselves. But selfish ambition or vain conceit brings discord. Therefore, Paul stressed spiritual unity, asking the Philippians to love one another and to be one in spirit and purpose.

Verse 3 – Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowness of mind let each one esteem others better than himself.

Humility is an antidote for wrong attitudes, resulting in considering others as more important.

Now, let’s be honest with ourselves; do we honestly put others interests and welfare above our own? I can’t think of one person who does. Maybe this is why we have such a hard time getting someone to come to church or even listen to us about Christ. They see our selfishness and “all about me” attitudes and want nothing to do with that. We have to change, including me.

Humility is seen as a virtue and centers on low “self-preoccupation,” or willingness to put one’s self first. We live in a self-centered world where everything is about me and what makes me happy because I deserve it. Paul tells us how to correct that attitude.

Verse 4 – Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interest of others.

Showing genuine interest in others is a positive step toward maintaining unity among others.

Christ’s Example of Humility

Verse 5 – Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,

Verse 6 – who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,

Verse 7 – but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men.

Jesus did not give up His deity to become human, but He set His glory and power aside for you and me. He had limited Himself to places and time at the Father’s will. What made Him unique was His freedom from sin. In His humanity Jesus showed us everything about God’s character that could be conveyed in human terms.

Imagine this: someone having all wisdom, all power, all riches, that would become servant, be punished, and put to death for all mankind.

Verse 8 – and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Verse 9 – Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,

Verse 10 – that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,

People can except to acknowledge this while living and breathing or be forced to acknowledge His deity when He returns. We can only make that choice while living because after death, it’s too late. Believe what you will, but one day every knee will bow before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Verse 11 – and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

What a terrifying day that will be for some. They will realize that all this “Christianity stuff” was true, while they ignored a loving God who would have loved them throughout their time on earth.

Verse 12 – Therefore, my beloved, as you 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;

Meaning: There is no command more frequently repeated in the Scripture, than for the command to make to ourselves a new heart, to strive to enter the narrow or straight gate, to break off from sin, and to repent!

Verse 13 – for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

As Christians, we need to train ourselves to think like Christ. We need the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling in us to change our desires to His. True obedience comes from reverence, not fear.

Verse 14 – Do all things without murmuring and disputing,

Do everything in a quiet gentle manner, avoiding strife and arguments. Wouldn’t that be nice if people behaved like that? What’s good advise for the church, should be followed by the individual Christian also.

Verse 15 – that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

Verse 16 – holding fast the word of life, so that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

Live your life in such a way that no one can accuse you of any wrong in the view of others. Christians should never forget that they represent Christ, and are a witness to the lost.

Paul’s Example of Humility

Verse 17 – Yes, and I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.

Verse 18 – For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.

Drink offering refers to the Old Testament sacrifice system. Paul was the sacrifice for these believers.

Verse 19 – But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state.

Verse 20 – For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state.

Verse 21 – For all seek their own, not the things which are Christ Jesus,

Verse 22 – but you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel.

Paul had noticed that most of the believers were concerned with their own needs more than others. and just as a father brings up his son, Paul had trained Timothy in preparing him to carry on his ministry in his absence.

Verse 23 – Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me.

Paul was telling the Philippians that when he learned of the courts decision, he would send Timothy to them with news and that he was ready to accept whatever came. (Paul was in prison.)

Verse 24 – But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.

Verse 25 – Yet I consider it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need;

Verse 26 – since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick.

Verse 27 – for indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.

Verse 28 – Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when yo see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful.

Verse 29 – Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem;

Verse 30  – because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.

Not much is known about Epaphroditus except here in Philippians. He had come from Philippi to bring Paul money while Paul was in Rome. While he was with Paul, he had become very ill, but recovered. Paul sent this thank you letter with him upon his return to the Philippians.

This chapter was about the Christian’s humility, about being humble. We don’t think more highly of ourselves or exalt ourselves, let God do that . Pride makes us and those around us miserable, and is the grand thing that stands in the way of the influence of the gospel on our hearts. No one likes a prideful arrogant preacher.

 

 

Philippians – Chapter 1

Introduction: Paul writes a thank-you letter to the believers at Philippi for their help in his hour of need, and he uses the occasion to send along some instructions on Christian unity. After difficulties in the city of Philippi (Acts 16:12), Paul built a strong bond with the converts there.

Chapter 1

Verse 1 – Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

Verse 2 – grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Verse 3 – I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,

Verse 4 – always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy,

Verse 5 – for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now,

Verse 6 – being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

The Philippians first heard the gospel about ten years earlier when Paul and his companions visited and founded the church. The God who began a good work in them and us, would continue throughout our life-time. His work in us began when we first believed.

Verse 7 – just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace.

Verse 8 – For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.

Verse 9 – And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment,

As a Christian grows and matures, their heart and mind will grow together in love for Christ and the love of others. We are to be united in love and that love will grow for others.

Verse 10 – that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ,

As Christians, we are to test that which is true and genuine. We are to know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. Yes we are to judge all things according to truth and don’t let the gospel ever offend you.

True sincerity implies: truly converted; motives are pure; conduct is not deceitful or manipulative; blameless in offending others.

Verse 11 – being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

The “Fruits of righteousness,” includes all of the character traits that follow from a right relationship with Jesus Christ.

Verse 12 – But I want you to know brethren, that the things which happen to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel,

(Paul’s difficulties had opened new opportunities to spread the gospel.)

Verse 13 – so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to the rest, that my chains are in Christ;

Paul was in prison because he preached Christ, not because of any crime. Paul was in a house but still confined to a guard, who was a witness to all he did and said.

Verse 14 – and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

People watch us and listen to what we say when we go through difficult times. They will either see true faith that will encourage them, or they will hear complaining that they want no part of. The choice is ours, how react to hardships.

Verse 15 – Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from good will:

Verse 16 – The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains;

Paul was talking about the teachers or preachers who had come in after he left, found out he was in prison, and were trying to build a reputation for themselves. It seems there were some who were jealous of Paul and this was a good opportunity to diminish what Paul had taught beforehand. The had no real regard for the welfare of the church.

Verse 17 – but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel.

Verse 18 – What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

Paul accepted the message from both groups. Trusting God’s sovereignty, he refused to condemn improper motivations as long as  the end result was Christ proclaimed.

Verse 19 – For I know that this will turn out for my salvation through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

Verse 20 – according to my earnest expecting and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.

Verse 21 – For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

This was not Paul’s final imprisonment in Rome, but he didn’t know that . His prayer was that when he stood trial, that he would speak courageously for Christ and not be ashamed. Whether he lived or died, he wanted to exalt Christ.

Paul looked at life through an eternal perspective. Paul’s whole purpose in life was to speak out boldly for Christ and to become more like Him. When we are ready to face where we are going to spend eternity, then we can live our life to what really counts.

Verse 22 – But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell.

Paul wasn’t going to just sit in prison and wait to die. Whether he remained alive or whether they executed him, his labor of spreading the gospel would bring forth fruit.

Verse 23 – For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.

Verse 24 – Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.

Very few people desire to die. But Paul had such a desire to be with Christ, it overwhelmed him. And yet he had a strong desire also to spread the gospel.

Verse 25 – And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith,

Verse 26 – that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ  by my coming to you again.

Paul’s confidence came from knowing God still had work for him to do, so he would remain alive.

Verse 27 – Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,

Verse 28 – and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation and that from God.

Our conduct and speech is to reflect Christ. We are to stand firm in the beliefs of the gospel and don’t be too concerned of what is happening outside the church. Stay in unity with other believers and fight the good fight of faith.

Verse 29 – For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,

Verse 30 – having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.

Paul is talking about the conflict of his conflict of living and continuing preaching or dying and being with Christ. (He is not talking about committing suicide. His death might come through execution from the Romans, not by his own hand.) If you are truly born-again, you will suffer persecution, maybe not unto death, but you will face trials and situations that will make you wonder why. The Christian life is not easy to live. You may feel like you are always on display, people watching to see how you react to certain situations. But know this, Christ said He would never abandon us, and the stronger stand you take in your beliefs and faith , the more times you will be victorious over every situation!

 

 

The Second Coming of Jesus Christ

When Jesus ascended up to heaven, the disciples stood steadfast looking up. Two angels stood there and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go to heaven.” (Acts 1:11).

The most epic and awesome event that will happen in human history, is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The event that sets the scene for this occurrence is The Battle of Armageddon. Jesus doesn’t come at the rapture, that event is to pick up the saints in the air. Then there will be seven years of tribulation, known as the seventh week of Daniel (Daniel 9:24-27). This will begin with an agreement or some sort of treaty. The Anti-Christ will make a covenant with Israel and will appear to bring about the answer to the middle east crises. He will show up as a peace maker to begin the seven-year tribulation.

This Anti-Christ will come out of Europe, because it says in Daniel 4 and Daniel 7, he will be over the ten toes, that is the Roman Empire, split up which is Europe. Today we have the European union. He will rise up and have the answer to the middle east crises and seize power.

So now you have a man that seems to be a peace-maker. The king of the North sees that this man is really after the entire world, and he doesn’t except that. The king of the North is Russia. They will come against the Anti-Christ, so we should not be surprised that Russia has entered Syria. Russia is a dominate world force in the middle east.

The Bible says the king of the North will join the king of the South. The south is Egypt and all the Islamic nations. They don’t want the Anti-Christ to rule over them either (Daniel 11).

Meanwhile, the Anti-Christ is going to come over to the “Beautiful Land,” which is Israel. He is going to center himself in the center of all this, as the North and the South come against him. He is going to defeat both kings of the North and the South.

The king of the East, the orient, China, will invade the Anti-Christ also. There will be, according to Scripture, 22 million men, that will descend on Israel to defeat the Anti-Christ. All these armies, North, South, and East, coming against the Anti-Christ. So now what happens? (Keep in mind, Israel is int he center of all this because Israel is set up there.)

Revelation 16:13 – And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. (Verse 14) For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to battle of that great day of God Almighty. (Verse 15)”Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.” (Verse 16) And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.

However, something else is going on at this time: Zechariah 14:2 says, For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; the city shall be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. (Verse 3) Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle.

So you’ve got Satan being as evil as he can be, bringing all these nations together because of what he is doing, but really doing what was already written by God, His will.

Keep in mind; even when the devil is wrecking havoc in your life, “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world!”

Revelation 12:13, (Satan’s strategies of destroying Israel.) (Verse 13) Now when the dragon (Satan) saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman (Israel) who gave birth to the male Child (Jesus Christ). (Verse 15) So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman (Israel), that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. (That’s why all these nations have come against Israel, to nullify the promises of God.)

In Daniel 27, in the middle of the tribulation, three and one half years, the Anti-Christ will break covenant with Israel, the abomination of desolation. He will set himself up in the temple in Jerusalem.

Israel will build their third temple on the mount where the Muslims now have their Mosque. (That mosque will not be there when they begin to build their temple. I don’t know when that will be destroyed.) The Anti-Christ will claim to be God. He will be doing great miracles and signs in order to trick and deceive the people. Now he will have world denomination.

Now, when that happens, and the whole world is focused on the middle east, it’s “Show Time” for the True God.

Matthew 24:29 – “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (Verse 30) Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Verse 31) And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Revelation 1:7 – Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, and they also who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.

Revelation 19:11 – Then I saw heaven open, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. (Jesus riding on a white horse is a declaration of victory!) (Verse 12) His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. (Verse 13) He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

There are two ways that people will relate to Jesus, either through the cross for salvation or they relate to Him as the Judge. Advice: take the cross! Those that follow and relate to Him through the cross, they get to: (Verse 14) And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.

Review: Rapture of the church; during the tribulation on earth, you and I are at the Judgment Seat of Christ, where God hands out rewards; then Christ comes at the second Coming, which is not the rapture, it’s seven years after the rapture of the church. Christi comes to the earth with the armies of the saints, who have now been dressed in fine linen, new bodies, to rule with Him, which is His millennial Reign. We come with Him with our assignments.

This fight between Jesus and the nations that came against Israel is short,. This is like a “knock-out” in the first fifteen seconds of the first round! He will slay them with the word (sword) of His mouth (Rev. 19:15) And everyone that has the mark of the beast, world-wide, will be slain by the word of His mouth and be dinner for the fouls of the air. Why? Because they refused to repent!

Believe it or not. Did Jesus rise from the dead? Yes, so why would anyone doubt the rest of the story. Is it not true also?

And according to Zechariah chapters three and four, Jesus will descend to the Mount of Olives, which was the place He left from. And the Bible says that when He steps on the Mount of Olives, the mountain will split down the middle, all the way to the Dead Sea and Jesus will set Himself up as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The One and Only Righteous Ruler! He will rule with a rod of iron.

Revelation 19:20 – Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. (Verse 21) And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.

Even with all this, here’s what you need to know: Time is short. Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and you won’t end up in “The Day of the Lord” on the wrong side!

 

 

Ephesians – Chapter 6

Verse 1 – Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

When children obey their parents, it helps to keep order int he family. As early as they can understand to obey, they won’t have a problem with obeying laws if they are taught when young. They also need to know that there will be consequences if they don’t . When parents are obedient to God, the child will see and they will also see the results.

Verse 2 – “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise;

Verse 3 – “that it may be well with  you and you may live long on earth.”

Obedience is to recognize authority and honor means to respect and love. Not all parents are Christians and don’t bring their children up in the Lord, but this is a very profound statement Paul makes as to why to honor them – that you may live long on earth.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if each child that is born, would grow up in a loving household?

Verse 4 – And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

In the last chapter, we studied the responsibilities of the husband and wife to each other, get that right first! Then when you bring your children up in the ways of the Lord, they will respect and honor you and also learn to love the Lord. Discipline is not to be arbitrary or something done out of anger, it will cause the child to hate you if it is.

Verse 5 – Servants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ;

Verse 6 – not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,

Verse 7 – with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men,

Verse 8 – knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.

We are not always rewarded in this life when being obedient to God. However, no matter the circumstance, do the right things and you will be laying treasures up in heaven.

Do you work for an unreasonable boss? Still do what is right in God’s eyes. He may have placed you in that position to be an example of Him!

Verse 9 – And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality – with Him.

Do you have authority over people? Make sure you treat them right because you have to  answer to God and He sees what you do.

Verse 10 – Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

We can’t fight Satan and his attacks on our own. We are to be dependent on the Lord and His strength.

Verse 11 – Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

The armor of God is that which God provides to the Christian in order to fight the good fight of faith – His Word.

Verse 12 – For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

There is an entire atmosphere that we can’t see, but does exist. It has demons that are controlled by Satan. They are real! Their goal is to defeat Christ’s church. When we believe, these beings become our enemy, and they use every device to try to turn us away from Him and back to a sin filled life. We need supernatural power to fight with and God has provided this power to us through the Holy Spirit.

Verse 13 – Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Let me tell you what’s not going to happen: Suppose the biggest attack comes that you have ever faced. You need a victory in a big way. But you never read your Bible and you have just been going through the motions of being a Christian. You will never have victory if you have never prepared for that battle through prayer! However, if you have prayed, stayed in His Word, surrounded yourself with other God-fearing Christians who believe God is able, you will be victorious!

Verse 14 – Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

Verse 15 – and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

What’s the biggest most important part of your body that needs protection when confronting an enemy in battle? The head and the heart. If you know the truth, which is God’s word, and then you have the Holy Spirit in your heart, the battle is half-way won, because you know what God is capable of on your behalf!

Sod your feet with a firm foundation which is the gospel!

Verse 16 – above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

As a soldier holds his shield to defend himself, it provides protection over every part of his body, as it can be turned in every direction. That’s what faith is to the Christian. No matter what direction the darts come from, your faith is built to withstand anything the enemy can throw at you.

Verse 17 – and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,

Do you remember how Jesus fought Satan in the desert? With the Word of God. Some people have battles to fight every day of their life. Why in the world would they go empty-handed?

Verse 18 – praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints –

No matter how complete the armor, no matter how skilled we are, no matter how courageous we may be, we can be certain that without prayer we will be defeated. God alone can give the victory. Praying with all kinds of prayer, for ourselves and for others.

When the Spirit and the heart are joined there is only victory in sight. With all perseverance, never becoming discouraged or disheartened.

Verse 19 – and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel,

Verse 20 – for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Did you notice that Paul didn’t ask for them to pray that his chains be removed? Instead, Paul asked that they pray for him to continue to speak the gospel fearlessly.

When we pray for our circumstances to change, we should also be praying for God to accomplish His will. Sometimes situations will last for years, but don’t lose heart, keep praying and keep believing. God truly does want the best for our lives. I know this personally from my own experience!

Conclusion

Verse 21 – But that you also may know my affairs and how I am doing, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make all things known to you;’

Verse 22 – whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you may know our affairs, and that he may comfort your hearts.

Verse 23 – Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Verse 24 – Grace e with all those who love our Lord Jesus Chris in sincerity. Amen.

Paul had a lot to say in this letter about the unity of the church; how a husband should treat his wife; how the wife submits to the husband; and how the children should honor their parents. Now, ask yourself this question: Do I follow these principles as a follower of Jesus Christ? Christ has to be “front and center” in every relationship we have, period.

 

 

Ephesians – Chapter 5

Verse 1 – Therefore be followers of God as dear children.

What a simple rule. Contention and strife could be avoided if we just treated others as  God treats us, especially your spouse.

Verse 2 – And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

As Christians we are to show the same love for others as Christ showed us. The offering and sacrifice that Christ gave to us, was like a grateful pleasant smell of incense to God, it was acceptable to Him.

Verse 3 – But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is not fitting for saints;

Verse 4 – neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

Obscene or indecent conversation is not talk that should come out of a Christian’s mouth.

Verse 5 – For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

In any given church, there are two people, sitting there,  who live together, not legally married, and yet still believe that it’s fine with God, because they love each other. This is called “fornication,” sex outside of marriage. What makes people think that God has to adapt to our life-style? Paul is very clear about who will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Verse 6 – Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

Don’t let anyone tell you that because “times have changed,” that God accepts these life-styles. God has not changed!

Verse 7 – Therefore do not be partakers with them.

Don’t stand in agreement with those who are disobedient. As children of light, our actions and behavior should reflect our faith. Our lives should reflect God’s goodness.

verse 8 – For you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light

Verse 9 – (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),

Verse 10 – proving what is acceptable to the Lord.

Verse 11 – and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

Verse 12 – For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.

When a person listens to the things that are of darkness and evil, the imagination starts to roll. You get images of what’s being said. Paul says, these things are not to even be spoken of in order to save us from thinking about them.

Walk As Children of Light

Verse 13 – But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.

When truth and light is shown on an object or subject or practice, it is exposed for what it truly is. God needs Christians who will take a stand against evil and what is right.

Verse 14 – Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

Verse 15 – See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,

Verse 16 – redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

These words provide a solemn warning that Christians should be wise and careful in all things, including our use of time. Make sure your time is spent doing good, not evil.

Verse 17 – Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

So what is the will for a Christians life? His will is for us all to have an abundant life in Him. All through Scripture, God’s will is exposed. The more you read His Word and pray, the closer you come to Him: the closer you are to Christ the more revelation you will receive for your life; the more revelation you have the more answers you will have to your prayers. If you try something and it doesn’t work out, submit your actions in the direction the Spirit leads.

Be Filled With the Spirit

Verse 18 – And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,

Getting drunk is associated with the old way of life. Since there is always a danger of becoming intoxicated by drinking wine, beer, or any other alcohol, Paul says don’t do it. Some Christians want to argue about this, but all intoxication in Scripture is prohibited, no matter what means it is produced. It is a temporary high that can cause depression or tension or much worse. Is any Christian made a better Christian by drinking alcohol? NO! Be ye filled with the Spirit!

Verse 19 – speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,

Verse 20 – giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Verse 21 – submitting to one another in the fear of God.

Christians are supposed to be joyful and thankful to God in everything. Submitting to one another does not mean you become a doormat for someone. It means we submit to the will of the Father and we follow Christ’s example in conduct and how we treat others. Your behavior will be the opposite of rudeness and having to always be in control.

Wives Submit to Your Husbands

Verse 22 – Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to he Lord.

Here again, this does not mean the wife becomes a doormat for her husband’s abuse. This simply means, God has placed the man as the head of the household that regulates the family. However, if the husband is truly following Christ, then husband and wife will complement each other. But the husband is to have authority over the wife. And I might add, this does not include what is contrary to God’s law.

Verse 23 – For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.

“He is Savior of the body,” the church. Christ gave Himself to save His body, the church, as He practiced self-denial and made it and object of intense solicitude to preserve the church, so ought  not the husband  manifest a similar solicitude to make his wife happy, and to save her from want, affliction, and pain? The husband ought to regard himself as protector, provide for her needs and comfort her in trials, even as Christ does the church.

Verse 24 – Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

Husbands: Love Your Wives

verse 25 – Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it,

Husbands are to make the love which Christ had for the church the model to follow.

Verse 26 – that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

Verse 27 – that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such things, but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Verse 28 – So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.

A husband is not going to know how to love his wife unless he reads his Bible and finds out how much Christ loves the church, His body, His bride! This needs to be taught more in the churches today, and maybe we wont’ have so many divorces among the Christians!

Verse 29 – For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.

Verse 30 – For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.

Keep in mind, Paul is still talking about how a husband is to cherish his wife, and then explains how Christ nourishes and cherishes the church as an example.

Verse 31 – “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

Nowhere did I read that the “mother-in-law” rules the husband’s household.

Verse 32 – This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Paul appealed to Genesis 2:24, which is God’s initial statement in the Scriptures regarding marriage. The marriage commitment takes precedence over every other human relationship. And in case there is anyone confused, it is between a man and woman!

Verse 33 – 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.

It is the duty of every man to love his wife as he does himself. The question every man should ask himself before he marries is, “Will I love my wife as Christ loves the church?” If they can’t, then they shouldn’t get married.

And the wife should show her husband respect as the head of the family. The problem usually comes when the one or both of these golden rules are not applied!

 

 

 

Ephesians – Chapter 4

Verse 1 – I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to have a walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,

Verse 2 – with all lowliness and gentleness with longsuffering bearing with one another in love,

A Christian’s life, walk, should be of the characteristics of humbleness, gentleness, and love. These are not behaviors that we do sometimes,  these are to be a part of who we are.

Verse 3 – endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Verse 4 – There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;

There is one body of believers – one church on earth, so there ought to be unity. There is one Spirit, the Holy Spirit – He is in each believer: which awakens all; convicted all; and converted all. Christians all have one hope; look forward to the same heaven; they hope for the same life beyond the grace.

Verse 5 – one Lord, one faith, one baptism;

The theme here is the same – Christians have one Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ; the one faith in Christ brings unity. One baptism – this does not affirm that there is one mode of baptism but refers to “the thing itself.” They are all baptized in the name of the same Father, and Savior and Holy Spirit. They have all in this manner been consecrated unto God, and devoted to His service.

Verse 6 – one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

People who worship many gods, cannot hope to unite. However, Christians have one supreme God and our attachment through Jesus brings unity.

Verse 7 – But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

God has bestowed on each sincere believer means of living as they ought to, and has in His gospel made ample provision that they might walk worthy of their vocation. Grace is bestowed on each Christian, and all have enough to enable them to live a life of holiness.

Verse 8 – Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.” (Psalm 68:18)

As Victor over sin and death, Christ gives gifts to His new devoted followers.

Verse 9 – (Now this, “He ascended”  – what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?

Verse 10 – He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)

The Redeemer came down from God and returned to Him, fulfilling all things by His influence and direct wisdom and power.

Verse 11 – And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,

The description here is more about gifted people than about spiritual gifts. Apostles and prophets are foundational for the churches work. The apostle primarily refers to people sent with a divine mission or task, bringing new revelation and understanding to the church.

Prophets revealed God’s will to believers for the present and predicted future events. All apostles were prophets, but not all prophets were apostles.

Evangelists were gifted to spread the gospel and plant churches. Evangelists proclaimed the good news in word and deed and instructed others in evangelism.

Pastors and teachers shared similar responsibilities. Pastors provided oversight, comfort, and guidance as the church’s shepherds. Teachers instructed and helped apply God’s revelation to the life of the church.

Purpose of the Gifts

Verse 12 – for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,

Verse 13 – till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

Ministry is intended to move believers toward accomplishing three goals: (1) unity of faith and full knowledge of God’s Son, (2) maturity, and (3) the fullness of Christ. Maturity and unity are measured in of the relationship of the body to the Head, Jess Christ.

Verse 14 – that we should no longer be children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in to deceive,

Verse 15 – but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ –

Verse 16 – from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes  growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

All Christians should speak the truth to avoid error. This may be uncomfortable for some to hear, but we do it in love. This truth should never be in a harsh manner. When someone is in error of Scripture, first show the person you care, then its easier for them to take what you say to heart. That’s how we grow as a body.

Verse 17 – This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind,

Verse 18 – having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart;

Don’t be surprised when people can’t grasp the gospel. Your faith and the gospel will seem foolish to those who rely on their own understanding. People’s understanding becomes darkened because of their indulgence in sin.

Verse 19 – who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to licentiousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

This is the description of the heart of the lost. They are past the point of any emotion or feeling of guilt for their sin, hard as a rock. They do this voluntarily. They do what they want, when they want and everything is for themselves.

Verse 20 – But you have not so learned Christ,

Verse 21 – if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:

But a true Christian has been taught a different way to life, the truth. You listened to the gospel and believed in Jesus Christ. then the Holy Spirit, Jesus, continues to teach you.

Verse 22 – that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,

As a new believer in Christ, we are not to be driven by past desires and impulses. Our conduct has to change! We have a new direction in life and have a new way of thinking and responding. If a new born-again believer does not do these things, it won’t be long before there will be no sign of Christianity in their life.

Put On the New Man

Verse 23 – and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,

(and how are you going to renew your mind if you don’t get in God’s Word everyday?)

Verse 24 – and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness.

This change is so great that a person, a “new creature,” with new principles and new desires, new practices in everything that pertains to their moral character.

Verse 25 – Therefore, putting away lying, each one speaks truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.

Lying to another causes distrust and conflicts. It definitely will destroy relationships in a church and outside.

Verse 26 – “Be angry, and do not sin,” do not let the sun go down on your wrath,

If anger is not dealt with properly, it will lead to sin or revenge, which is sin.

Verse 27 – nor give place to the devil.

If you don’t deal with that anger, it will give the devil a foot-hold and a person will end up doing or saying something that they will later regret! If you don’t handle that anger, you soon will build up resentment and that my friend, will turn into bitterness.

Verse 28 – Let him who stole, steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.

People steal because they want something another has and they don’t want to work for it themselves!

Verse 29 – Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

This is more than just “bad language.” This also implies what may corrupt another.

Grieve Not the Holy Spirit

Verse 30 – And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

This is addressed to “all” Christians. Do not act in a way that would cause sorrow or pain to the Holy Spirit, Jesus, who loves you. As a course of ingratitude and sin this would cause pain in the heart of an earthly friend, and cause them to leave you. Here are some things that will grieve the Holy Spirit: (1)open and gross sins (2)anger (3) licentious thoughts and desires (4) ingratitude (5) neglect (6) resistance.

Verse 31 – Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.

Verse 32 – And be kind to one another, just as God in Christ also forgives you.

The Christians’ conduct will be the result of love, good-will, and a desire of the happiness of others, and this will prompt to the kind of conduct that will render their conversation with others agreeable and profitable!