082314, Jesus Cleanses The Temple,

John 2:12-17 Revised Standard Version (RSV)

12 After this he went down to Caper′na-um, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples; and there they stayed for a few days.

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers at their business. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; you shall not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for thy house will consume me.”
Please allow me to continue my thoughts about the temple of God, and the churches that we attend. And, since we who have been born again are temples of God’s Holy Spirit, the homes where we reside should also be considered as being holy places where God’s Spirit dwells. (Post 082214, A House Of Prayer) (John 14:20;1 Corinthians 6:19-20). If, neither our churches, nor our homes, are holy places, we are in serious spiritual trouble.

John 14:20 New King James Version (NKJV)

20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20New King James Version (NKJV)

19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

The following paragraphs that are marked by * are taken from Post 082214, and are relevant to this post. The dates that are shown for the two temple cleansing events are taken from the Scofield Study Bible.

* Scripture records two instances of Jesus finding a lack of reverence for God’s Temple. John 2:13-21 tells of the first instance, which took place in the year of 30 A.D. In 082214, we discussed the events of 33 A.D., which are shown in Matthew 21:12-13. In Matthew’s account, we see that Jesus went into “temple of God,” immediately after his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, as his final days of life were unwinding. The temples of God are identified as being, Solomon’s Temple, Zerubbabel’s Temple, Herod’s Temple, The Tribulation Temple, and The Millennial Temple. A temple of God is first and foremost a sanctuary and a symbolic dwelling place for God. The temple was established for the honor and glory of God, and for worship, adoration, praise, and prayer.

* When Jesus entered the temple, he passed through a large gate that led to a series of courts. One of the most outermost courts was the court of the Gentiles. It was there, as opposed to the temple itself, that Jesus came upon people who were exchanging currency and were selling animals. (Matthew 21:12-13).

The following 082314 post relates to the first time that Jesus cleansed the Temple in Jerusalem in 30 A.D., and is taken from John 2:12-25.

This event of the cleansing of the temple occurred early in the ministry of Jesus. His first recorded miracle, which took place at the wedding in Cana, where Jesus turned water into wine, had happened only a few days earlier. After leaving Cana, Jesus went to Jerusalem to observe the feast of Passover.

It is easy to understand that when Jesus went to Jerusalem for Passover, that He was very disturbed to the point of His cleansing the temple. He saw merchants selling livestock in the temple, so He drove the livestock out. He saw the money changers, so He turned over their tables. It probably wasn’t very long until the same events of sacrilege appeared again.

In verse 14, we read the words, “in the temple.” If the acts of commerce that were taking place inside of the temple had been taking place outside of the temple, Jesus probably would have done nothing. We need to remember the purpose of God’s House, which are worship, prayer, and things of worship. Things that are not of God or worship, or are disruptive, or make you forget that you are in God’s house … such things have no place in the House of God.

The reason for the livestock and money changers being in Jerusalem were valid. Jews who were traveling from out of town would have had a great deal of difficulty in carrying their livestock with them for the required animal sacrifices. It was easier for them to purchase the animals once they arrived at Jerusalem. There was also a temple tax that the Jews had to pay. The money changers were able to exchange foreign coins for those that would be acceptable for the temple tax.

The booths for the animal sales, and for the coin exchanges, had previously been set up across the Kidron Valley, on the slopes of the Mount of Olives; that was an acceptable distance from the temple. However, for the sake of convenience, the outer court of the temple and the court of the Gentiles, had been changed from a place of worship and prayer into a place of business. When Jesus walked into the temple, the House of God, and saw that it was being used for something other than which it had been spiritually designed, He placed a whip in His hand and began to act appropriately.

The actions that Jesus took of driving the animals out of the temple, as well as kicking over the tables of the merchants and scattering their coins, was a real attention-getter. But, it was not a fit of fury or rage. His actions were a zeal for the activity that the temple was designed to take place, which was the worship of God.

I would like for you to imagine that you had gone to your place of worship on a Sunday morning, or on any other day of the week. And, when you went into the sanctuary to pray you were not able to place your thoughts on God because of the loud and continuous sounds of the bleating of sheep and goats. That was exactly what was going on when Jesus walked into the temple in Jerusalem. Those holy grounds that had been set apart for the worship of God had become a scene of chaos. In an effort to meet the physical needs of the traveling Jews, the ability of the people to effectively worship God, and have an intimate time of prayer, had been greatly impaired.

In any church setting, it is important for people to fellowship. But, as the time of worship nears, it is time for God’s people to prepare their hearts for the time of worship that will follow. We need to understand that when we come together for worship of God, we need to consider the place that we meet to be holy ground. It is a time for prayer. It is a place for worship. Consider this thought. Take your animals, and anything else that is not of worship, across the street. We need to remember that we are in God’s House, and it is a serious thing to get in the way of worshiping God.

With the teaching of Jesus fresh in our minds, we should ask ourselves how we might be found using our places of worship in ways that are like “the bleating of sheep and oxen.” We need to consider the ways that we may be bringing into our sanctuaries things that are not of worship, prayer, and things of God. A lot of territory can be covered as we consider this matter. In order for us to visualize the reality of the teaching, we will have to “get honest” with ourselves. A lack of total honesty will do nothing but mask that which may be an obvious “bleating of sheep and oxen.”

Consider the description of myself that I wrote in the previous post, 082214, A House Of Prayer. Remember the statement that I made about not having an ax to grind; that statement is unchanged. If I were to be the approving official for allowing groups of people to meet in a church sanctuary, I definitely would not permit access to the following groups. I will use the acronyms that the groups use for their own use. Since you have computers, your can check out the groups. So, here it goes. I would not allow LGBT, NARAL, KKK, NAMBLA, NOW, Labor Unions Planned Parenthood, or Democrat Party meetings. I spend a lot of time watching news broadcasts and listening to news reports. In my opinion, each of the above mentioned groups have demonstrated either a history of filth of language, or a violence of speech. Why should we have a group using our sanctuaries to promote same-sex marriage, violence against other people, or the ending of the lives of unborn babies? A well known church allowed a “pro choice” group to meet in its church building. The reason that was given was,”they needed someplace to meet.” No! They don’t need to meet in a building that is called a church. The congressman that represents my town is a Democrat. The two senators who represent my state are Republicans. I have almost daily phone calls to all three of those offices. All of those people know how I feel about the things that are affecting God’s people, such as abortion and same-sex marriage, and other un-Godly things that our government is trying to force upon God’s people. We have good conversations. The people that I speak with are cordial to me, just as I am to them.

Let’s carry this discussion a bit closer to home. A pastor, who was many years my senior, once told me about the times that he would be preparing his congregation for the remembrance of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. During some of those times, there would be women sitting on the front pew of the church who were “showing their glory.” There have been times when I have seen younger women wearing short and tightly fitting shorts that were not appropriate for cutting grass. Consider how we would dress if we were asked to attend a formal dinner. We should ask ourselves if we would dress more nicely for a meeting with a president, governor, or a member of congress, than we would for worship in God’s House. Women need to remember that men are attracted to them. Women who dress in a way that creates a distraction in the eyes of a man should reconsider the way that they dress in church, and out of church. Let’s not stop there. The vulgar music that is heard blaring from car “sound systems” is very disrespectful to those who are forced to listen to that “noise.” Young men who persist in wearing their pants below their underwear are equally disrespectful; they need to grow up!

Much of this post may be confusing to those people who have not been born again. Consider the following scriptures.

1 Corinthians 1:18 New King James Version (NKJV)

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 2:14 New King James Version (NKJV)

14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

These two scriptures tell us that if a person has not been born again, many of the things that I have written are meaningless to that person. If you are such a person, I invite you to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior; He will do the rest.

John 3:16-18 New King James Version (NKJV)

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

For those of us who have been born again, “the field is white unto harvest.”

John 4:35 New King James Version (NKJV)

35 Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!

Consider the following verses that relate to holiness.

1 Peter 1:16 New King James Version (NKJV)

16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

Philippians 4:8 Living Bible (TLB)

8 And now, brothers, as I close this letter, let me say this one more thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.

Consider the aspect of revival in the following video that is presented by Robin Mark. We need revival in our nation, churches, and our homes, or we may not have a nation that allows freedom of worship and other freedoms with which we have become accustomed. Consider Isaiah 60:1

Isaiah 60:1 Living Bible (TLB)

1 Arise, my people! Let your light shine for all the nations to see! For the glory of the Lord is streaming from you.

Revival – Robin Mark
I Hear The Voice Of One Crying

References: St. Andrews’s Expositional Commentary, John, R.C. Sproul – Author; The Reformation Study Bible, R.C. Sproul – General Editor; Scofield Study Bible; Mac Arthur Study Bible; Holman Christian Standard Bible; Ryrie Study Bible; Key Word Hebrew-Greek Study Bible; The Pulpit Commentary, Isaiah; Zola Levitt Video Teachings Of The Temples; Jimmy De Young’s Daily Devotionals, Ezra; Bible Gateway.com

Comments are appreciated, and are great sources of encouragement. In order to protect the privacy of bloggers who comment on my posts, no such comments will be shown on my blog. If you would like to have a private response from me, please put your email address in your comment. That data will not be shown anywhere in my blog. Please let me caution all bloggers to protect their privacy. That is why I have removed my community of bloggers and comments from bloggers from my blog.

082214, A House Of Prayer

A House Of Prayer

Matthew 21:12-13 21st Century King James Version (KJ21)

12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all those who sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who sold doves,
13 and said unto them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called the house of prayer,’ but ye have made it a den of thieves.”

As a child, my family lived in the states of Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana. My father was a merchant seaman and was a member of the Seafarers International Union. All of my family voted for candidates of the Democrat party. If at all possible, my father would not buy a product that was not union made. I remember when he would go to the local union hall and check for job openings. There were times when he would get hired on ships that would be gone for months at a time. I can remember when he walked picket lines in support of his union. He was a representative of his union and would encourage non-union company employees to organize a union. My father was a very honest man. Whenever he said something, it was the truth. As you read the remainder of this post, please understand that I have no ax to grind, other than the ax of truth.

During my growing up years, church was important to me. During times of worship, there was a great deal of reverence and respect for the place that we called “church.” Family funerals were times of remembrance for whomever had left this life. We prayed and cried, and thanked God for the life of the one who had now gone to be with Him. The pastor would tell us about the life of our deceased relative and would also remind us of that person’s life in Christ. A song was selected that would give honor to our Lord Jesus. The pastor would invite anyone who might not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior to make that decision.

Scripture records two instances of Jesus finding a lack of reverence for God’s Temple. John 2:13-21 tells of the first instance, which took place in the year of 30 A.D. We will discuss the events of 33 A.D., which are shown in Matthew 21:12-13. In Matthew’s account, we see that Jesus went into “temple of God,” immediately after his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, as his final days of life were unwinding. The temples of God are identified as being, Solomon’s Temple, Zerubbabel’s Temple, Herod’s Temple, The Tribulation Temple, and The Millennial Temple. A temple of God is first and foremost a sanctuary and a symbolic dwelling place for God. The temple was established for the honor and glory of God, and for worship, adoration, praise, and prayer.

When Jesus entered the temple, he passed through a large gate that led to a series of courts. One of the most outermost courts was the court of the Gentiles. It was there, as opposed to the temple itself, that Jesus came upon people who were exchanging currency and were selling animals.

It was when Jesus had arrived at Jerusalem that the city had just started Passover, which was a week-long celebration. There were many foreigners in Jerusalem for Passover. They needed to exchange their own currency for the authorized coin that would be used for paying the temple tax; the money changers were present to meet that need. There were also those who had gone to Jerusalem to make burnt offerings. Many of them would take their animals for the sacrifice. Those who were poor would sacrifice doves. That is why Jesus found men selling doves in the court of the Gentiles.

The practice of exchanging currencies and providing animals for the religious ceremonies began with a good purpose in view. It was a service for those who were from out of town, especially for those who were poor, so that they could take care of their obligations. But, that procedure became greatly exploited. In order for travelers to exchange their currency for the local currency, there was a six percent exchange rate. If anyone did not have the exact change, they would have to pay another six per cent fee to resolve the problem. Then, they would have to buy the animals. The cost of a dove inside of the temple complex was fifty times more costly than it was on the street. Jesus was clearly displeased about such unfair practices when He said that the temple had been turned into a “den of thieves.”

There was more than one reason that Jesus was not happy about the situation in the temple. He was also upset because the temple’s function as a “house of prayer” was being set aside and being disturbed. In today’s church, we think of the basic, and most significant, function of our church building as being a place where we can meet and hear the Word of God proclaimed. But, remember also that Jesus did not call the temple a “house of preaching,” but a “house of prayer.” God’s people should go to “His house” for worship, teaching, and also for prayer. Our churches are not the only places for us to pray, but such sanctuaries need to be known as “houses of prayer.”

When Jesus saw the unholy practices of the money changers and animal merchants, and when He saw that God’s house of prayer was being used for other practices, He took quick and decisive action. He made a whip out of cords and drove out the merchants. He kicked over the tables of the money changers, while scattering their coins across the temple pavement. He knocked over the seats of those who were selling doves, sending the birds flying everywhere. This was a time of chaos. In the middle of it, while filled with righteous indignation, He was the Son of God; He was God.

Consider what this account of John tells us about Jesus. It tells us that He was not only capable of feeling anger, but also demonstrating anger. But, His anger was His Holy wrath. If ever there was a man who had the right to be angry, it was Jesus. He was witnessing the desecration of God’s house, His Father’s house.

The aspect of holiness in God’s house is something that is greatly forgotten when it comes to funerals of high profile political figures. Senator Paul Wellstone, Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, Michael Brown, and Elizabeth Edwards were aligned to the Democrat Party. When you view the video recordings of their funerals, with the exception of the memorial service for Elizabeth Edwards, it is easy to see that the respective planners of those funerals forgot that they were in God’s House, and instead of giving honor and praise to our Lord and Savior Jesus, they were turned those funerals into pep rallies for the Democrat Party. In the case of Elizabeth Edwards, her memorial service was held at a Methodist church in Raleigh, North Carolina. The service was viewed around the world. Politicians and dignitaries were present. As opposed to the way that the other named memorial services were conducted, the pastor told the story of Elizabeth Edwards, and of her faith in Jesus as her Lord and Savior. He told of the struggles that she had to endure after the death of her son, and how it affected her relationship with God. But, he also told about how she dealt with that that tragedy and regained a close relationship with Jesus. With all that Elizabeth Edwards had to deal with, as it related to her deceased son, and her husband; who was an attorney, former U.S. Senator, Vice Presidential and Presidential hopeful, and who had been unfaithful to her; she finally had her day. That day allowed the whole world to be told the salvation story that is available through Jesus. There were no speeches of anger and hate; there was only a message of the love of God and of forgiveness. That Methodist church in Raleigh, North Carolina was truly a house of prayer.

Let me tell you about another funeral. A friend of mine, who is known as “Pastor Ed,” performed the memorial service for another friend of mine, who was lovingly known as “Sister Mary.” In that memorial service, Pastor Ed told about the life that Sister Mary had lived. He talked about the many benevolent things that she had done during her life; he also told about her relationship with Jesus. Then, he invited anybody who might not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior to make that decision for an eternal life of joy with God, as opposed to having an eternal life of torment with Satan. Pastor Ed made sure that his congregation was in a house of prayer.

It is very sad that pastors of some churches allow such hallowed times as funerals to be turned into political events. Let us, who know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, be voices of reason. Let us not be counted with the crowd of people who take away from the holiness that should be present during the time of memory of those who have departed this life. We, who know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, are given scriptural direction for our life, as it relates to our relationship with God; we can’t straddle the fence.

1 Peter 1:16 New King James Version (NKJV)

16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

Philippians 4:8 Living Bible (TLB)

8 And now, brothers, as I close this letter, let me say this one more thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.

Consider the aspect of holiness of worship in the following video that is presented by Paul Wilbur. Draw close to our Lord Jesus.

For Your Name Is Holy – I Enter The Holy Of Holies

References: St. Andrews’s Expositional Commentaries, Matthew and John, R.C. Sproul – Author; The Reformation Study Bible, R.C. Sproul – General Editor; Scofield Study Bible; Mac Arthur Study Bible; Holman Christian Standard Bible; Ryrie Study Bible; Key Word Hebrew-Greek Study Bible; The Pulpit Commentary, Isaiah; Zola Levitt Video Teachings Of The Temples; Jimmy De Young’s Daily Devotionals, Ezra; Bible Gateway.com

Comments are appreciated, and are great sources of encouragement. In order to protect the privacy of bloggers who comment on my posts, no such comments will be shown on my blog. If you would like to have a private response from me, please put your email address in your comment. That data will not be shown anywhere in my blog. Please let me caution all bloggers to protect their privacy. That is why I have removed my community of bloggers and comments from bloggers from my blog.

082114, Thoughts Of Appreciation

It was just a few days ago that I received my copy of “The Georgia Sheriff,” which tells of events of the Georgia Sheriff’s Association, of which I am a proud Honorary Member. In this post, I would like to share my appreciation for the brave men and women of the various law enforcement agencies who serve our nation.

As a child, my father was a merchant seaman. He was gone for long periods of time, sometimes up to a six months. It was very easy for people to determine that my house was one without a man living there. I can remember a number of times when someone would be prowling around the house, where my mother, and younger brother and sister, and I lived. My mother never hesitated to call the local police department for someone to come and make sure that we were safe. I can remember these things happening from the time that I was eight years old, in Georgia, to when I was fourteen years old, when we were living in Louisiana. I was always glad to see the police officers arriving and walking around our yard, with their large flash lights scanning the dark areas. I can also remember a time when my wife and I were living in a restored house in a down town area. While we were asleep in bed, late one night, someone broke the window that was positioned above our bed. I called the local police department. Very quickly a crew of police officers arrived and made sure that we were safe. As when I was a child, the dark yard was checked by the officers with their large flash lights, scanning the area to ensure that no potential threat remained for us. I will never forget how the police officers always acted so quickly, professionally, and politely, to make sure my family and I were safe.

It was January, 1991. My grandmother had died. She had suffered a stroke and never recovered from it. I can remember the conversation that I had with my brother (now deceased) and my sister, as we were discussing our grandmother’s life. I told them that there was nothing for us to be sad about; after all, “Big Mama” was now with Jesus. The day of the funeral arrived. I can very vividly remember the funeral service at Sipple’s Mortuary in Savannah, Ga. The pastor was very assuring of my grandmother’s new home that was with Jesus and that her new life would be much better than the one that she had just recently left. When the service was over, and all of us began following Big Mama’s coffin as it was being rolled to the hearse, reality began to set into my mind. I began to realize that I would never see my grandmother again, until I would meet her in Heaven. The pain of losing her began to grip me in a way that I had never thought would be possible. As I was walking to the family car, a big and wonderful pastor friend, Brother Dave, saw me. He could tell the pain that I was feeling. He walked up to me and put his big arms around me and held me tightly, and prayed. That meant more to me than anyone could ever have imagined. I can remember the funeral procession leaving the parking lot. There were about thee Savannah police cars that began escorting us through the busy traffic of Abercorn Street, DeRenne Avenue, and Lynes Parkway. When we left the Savannah city limits, police cars of the Chatham County Police Department began escorting us on Interstate 16; we continued our procession to the cemetery where my grandmother would be buried in Statesboro, Ga. As we entered Effingham County, Sheriff’s Deputies of that county began escorting us. When we entered Bryan County, its Sheriff’s deputies took over the escort until we entered Bulloch County and were met by deputies of the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Department. They began escorting us, and continued until we reached the city limits of Statesboro. Then, we began to be escorted by a number of cars of the Statesboro Police Department. All along the way, from where we exited Interstate 16, until the time that we entered into the Eastside Cemetery, oncoming cars would see the blue flashing lights of the police cars and would pull over onto the shoulder of the road. When we began our turn into the cemetery, I noticed that a police officer had blocked traffic from all directions, was standing outside of his car “at attention,” and was holding his hat over his heart, and maintained that posture until after the hearse and family car had passed him. You can not imagine how grateful I felt; and, how thankful I was for all of the police officers and sheriff’s deputies that had made sure that our funeral procession made it safely to the cemetery. It is often that I remember the respect that was shown by that very special Statesboro police officer who had his hat over his heart; I will never forget his kindness.

If you have noticed, I use the titles of “police officer,” and “sheriff’s deputy.” I don’t say “cop.” That word shows a total local lack of respect for the men and women who put their lives on the lines for the safety of their communities every time that they report to work. Because of my work history, I have known many law enforcement officers. They have been male and female, white and black, and Christian and Jew. Some of them have been family members and personal friends. Some have been members of churches that I have attended. When I lived in St. Louis, which borders Ferguson,Mo, I knew police officers in that area, where “law enforcement” has recently come under fire from various political and news reporting agencies. All of the police officers that I have known, or met, have always been examples of what I would expect such people to be. I can remember back in the late 1970s when there was a heat emergency in the city of St. Louis. Its police officers went into high crime areas with people who were providing fans to elderly, poor, and black residents. Not much is said about acts of benevolence, such as those.

It is very sad that Michael Brown is dead. I was not present when he was shot and killed; neither were the looters, liberal news agencies, the governor of Missouri, or the Reverend from New York; all of whom have cast judgement on the police officer who shot Mr. Brown. Judgement of Officer Wilson should be held until the law runs its course.

From August 1 through August 21, there have been 27 murders in Chicago. Our nation’s attention should be placed on the following cities, and not Ferguson, MO, as it relates to murder. That attention should begin with our President. Our Attorney General should have serious conversations with the governors and mayors of the following cities that are known as the:

Six Cities With Worst Murder Rates In United States:
Detroit, Washington D.C., New Orleans, Richmond, Birmingham, Flint (MI).

If anybody would like to have pictures from the Georgia Sheriff Magazine, please post a comment with your email address. Your post will not be shown. Pictures will be sent to your email address. The following paragraph was included in a letter that I sent that had the photographs attached.

Please let me get back to the Georgia Sheriff magazine. I have attempted to show some things about our local law enforcement officers in a way that might be unknown to many people. As you view the pictures, you will see pictures and comments about law enforcement officers who have given their lives in the line of duty. You will also see pictures of activities of the Georgia Sheriff’s Departments in various activities of local community involvement. I hope that we will all remember that it will be a law enforcement officer who will respond whenever we may have the need to call for someone to come and protect us. Please let me provide a disclaimer. The pictures and articles that are provided were made by using a hand-held camera. I greatly apologize for not doing a better job of providing quality photographs.

082014, Where Are You? Where Will You Be?

All of us know where we are now, but do we know where we will spend eternity? That is a very important question for many people to ask, especially those who we have been seeing on local, national, and international news broadcasts.

Rocks and bricks being thrown through the windows of stores. Looters taking merchandise from those stores. Consider the eternal destiny of those people. Will they be in church on Sunday, thinking that they are fine with God? Let’s consider what God’s Word says about the lifestyles of people who think that they are “okay” with God.

God’s Word says that in order for us to have an eternity with God in heaven we must be born again. That is, we must be born “from above,” and have a new spirit that is as pure as the Spirit of Christ. When that happens, we have the Spirit of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit indwelling our Spirit. The truth of such indwelling is shown by an intimate relationship with God. With such an indwelling, the decisions that we make are influenced by God’s Spirit. We may say that we are okay due to the things that we have done, “in God’s Name,” but if we have not been born again, we are told by our Lord Jesus, “depart from me … I never knew you.” In order for us to indwell God’s Spirit, which is said to be “light,” we must have spirits that are also light. Anyone, who has been born again, has their name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. For those who have not been born again, their eternal destiny will be with Satan in the lake of fire, which is a place of eternal torment. Those of us, who have been born again, will have an eternal place of comfort with God, but only if we have been born again.

Let’s get back to those who have lives of lawlessness. Are they “in Christ?” Are they light or “darkness?” A person’s lifestyle indicates the condition of their spirit, whether it has been born again, or not. For the brick throwers and looters, they need to get serious and consider our Lord’s Words, ” unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3); “depart from me, I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:23)

Consider the scriptures that follow. Consider the song that follows the scriptures.

John 3:3 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 14:20 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
20 In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.

John 17:3 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
3 This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

John 16:7-9 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
7 But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8 And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;

2 Corinthians 5:17 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

Colossians 1:27 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

1 John 1:5 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

Matthew 7:21-23 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

Revelation 20:10 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Revelation 20:15 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Revelation 21 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” … 27 no one …shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Doris Akers wrote the song, Sweet, Sweet Spirit. Her message is very simple, and to the point, about the need for us to be born again. This is a serious situation. There needs to be serious efforts aimed at letting the brick throwers and looters know of their need to come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and to be born again.

Sweet, Sweet Spirit

Comments are appreciated, and are great sources of encouragement. In order to protect the privacy of bloggers who comment on my posts, no such comments will be shown on my blog. If you would like to have a private response from me, please put your email address in your comment. That data will not be shown anywhere in my blog. Please let me caution all bloggers to protect their privacy. That is why I have removed my community of bloggers and comments from bloggers from my blog.

081914, Prophecy Updates

Prophecy Today Devotions
August 20, 2014
Jimmy DeYoung
Thank you for reading my Prophetic Daily Devotionals!

Please visit my website to learn more Bible prophecies being fulfilled in these last days.
Ezra 7:10

For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.

For further study – Ezra 7:1-10

Ezra is the author of the book, by his name, and most likely the author of I and II Chronicles. He is a scribe and will not only record the history of Israel but will serve at the Temple in Jerusalem.

In Ezra 1-6, we see the record of the rebuilding of the second temple by almost 50,000 Jews that came back from the Babylonian captivity when the Babylonian Empire fell. Zerubbabel led these Jews back to their homeland and was the “general contractor” in the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem.

With the Temple up and operating God now calls Ezra the Scribe to journey back to Jerusalem and become the Scribe at the Temple to lead the study of the Word of God. Ezra was well studied, “a ready scribe”, Ezra 7, verse 6, in the “law of Moses”, the Torah, which is the first five books of the Old Testament.

God opened the heart of the Persian king to allow Ezra to return to Jerusalem to do his “priestly duties”. Verse 6 tells us that was the case because the “hand of the Lord his God was upon him” (Ezra).

Our key verse lays out for us Ezra’s approach for teaching the Word of God which is also a great pattern for us to follow. Notice that in verse 10, Ezra “prepared his heart” first. Only a “prepared heart” will seek to know the Word of the Lord. Before Ezra would preach and teach the Word, he would “do it”. Ezra knew he could not teach that which he was not willing to live by for his own life.

The final step in the process was the “teaching”. Many times we put the cart ahead of the horse. We want to teach without first preparing our hearts. As we, I, seek to know the Word we must be living our lives by His Word before we venture out to teach it to anyone. What great principles we can appropriate for our own lives and ministries for today from the book of Ezra.

Before we leave our reading for today, I want you to notice a portion of two verses, verses 6 and 9. Ezra, before he returned to Jerusalem to be the scribe in the newly rebuilt Temple, was living in Babylon.

Ezra 7 is a record of events over 80 years after the fall of the Babylonian Empire, Daniel 5, and the city of Babylon is still standing. Babylon the Empire fell in 539BC but Babylon the city did not fall. Babylon was a thriving city some 80 years after the downfall of the Babylonian Empire.

The significance of this information is that the prophecies of Isaiah 13 and 14, Jeremiah 50 and 51, Revelation 16 and 18 about the destruction of Babylon had not been fulfilled 80 years after the fall of the Babylonian Empire.

The destruction of Babylon foretold in Revelation 16:17-21 is a yet future event that will be fulfilled at the end of the Tribulation period. In fact, the destruction of Babylon is the last thing the Lord Jesus Christ does before he comes back to the earth, Zechariah 14:4.

By the way, Biblical Babylon is located in Iraq on the shores of the Euphrates River today. It is the place where Antichrist will rule and reign over a “one world economic, political, governmental system” in the last three and a half years of the Tribulation period. The stage is being set for these Bible prophecies to be fulfilled.

Before these prophecies are fulfilled the Rapture will take place and we will leave this earth to go be with Jesus in the heavens. Current events that are taking place in Iraq, Biblical Babylon, are indeed setting the stage for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled, and I believe in the near future.

PRAYER THOT: As I understand current events in light of Biblical prophecy, help me, Lord, to live in light of Your soon return.

Shofar Communications | PO Box 2510 | Chattanooga | TN | 37409

081814, I Will Serve Thee

Conflict, confusion, and crime are gripping our nation, and the world. Believers in Christ must be voices of reason during these fragile times. If the world would be “about the Father’s business,” lawlessness would not be taking control of our cities. We, as believers in Christ, must be busy serving God. Our witness must be seen by the unbelievers of the world. We are now seeing how a world that does not know Christ as Lord and Savior is creating such great chaos.

Luke 2:49New King James Version (NKJV)

49 And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”

Deuteronomy 4:1-8Living Bible (TLB)

4 “And now, O Israel, listen carefully to these laws I teach you, and obey them if you want to live and enter into and possess the land given you by the Lord God of your ancestors. 2 Do not add other laws or subtract from these; just obey them, for they are from the Lord your God. 3 You have seen what the Lord did to you at Baalpeor, where he destroyed many people for worshiping idols. 4 But all of you who were faithful to the Lord your God are still alive today.
5 “These are the laws for you to obey when you arrive in the land where you will live. They are from the Lord our God. He has given them to me to pass on to you. 6 If you obey them, they will give you a reputation for wisdom and intelligence. When the surrounding nations hear these laws, they will exclaim, ‘What other nation is as wise and prudent as Israel!’ 7 For what other nation, great or small, has God among them, as the Lord our God is here among us whenever we call upon him? 8 And what nation, no matter how great, has laws as fair as these I am giving you today?

Deuteronomy 10:12-13New English Translation (NET Bible)

An Exhortation to Love Both God and People

12 Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you except to revere him, to obey all his commandments, to love him, to serve him with all your mind and being,13 and to keep the Lord’s commandments and statutes that I am giving you today for your own good?

Consider the Presence of God in our lives. Consider the worshipful attitude that can be obtained as we listen to the music of worship and praise that is sung by Glen Payne, George Younce (both of whom are now with the Lord), and the Cathedrals. The group sang this beautiful song in 1987. The words and message of the song are still true today, twenty-seven years later.

I Will Serve Thee

Comments are appreciated, and are great sources of encouragement. In order to protect the privacy of bloggers who comment on my posts, no such comments will be shown on my blog. If you would like to have a private response from me, please put your email address in your comment. That data will not be shown anywhere in my blog. Please let me caution all bloggers to protect their privacy. That is why I have removed my community of bloggers and comments from bloggers from my blog.

Blog Post 081714, Search Me O God

In today’s world there is great conflict and confusion, even within families that call themselves Christians. No other words are needed.

Proverbs 6:16-1921st Century King James Version (KJ21)

16 These six things doth the Lord hate, yea, seven are an abomination unto Him:

17 a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,

18 a heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,

19 a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Consider the Presence of God in our lives. Consider the worshipful attitude that can be obtained as we listen to the music of worship that is sung by Glen Payne and George Younce, both of whom are now with the Lord. They were members of the famous gospel group which was known as The Cathedrals.

Search Me O God
Comments are appreciated, and are great sources of encouragement. In order to protect the privacy of bloggers who comment on my posts, no such comments will be shown on my blog. If you would like to have a private response from me, please put your email address in your comment. That data will not be shown anywhere in my blog. Please let me caution all bloggers to protect their privacy. That is why I have removed my community of bloggers and comments from bloggers from my blog.

Blog Post 081614, Ministry Prayer Discipline

This writing is being addressed to other believers in Christ Jesus who have a desire to serve Him in a very special way. Consider the two scriptures that follow, as they relate to personal prayer times of our Lord. After you have considered those two scripture passages, I would like for you to prayerfully consider the letter that follows. Even though this letter is being disseminated to many people, I would like for each of you to consider that you are the primary recipient.

Luke 6:12
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.

Matthew 14:23
After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.

Your ministries are very important to you, and to me. You have been given awesome responsibilities and opportunities to lead your ministries into directions that may seem to you as being unknown. It is up to you to be ready for the things that may confront you, with the help of God.

A few years ago, I had the blessing of visiting the headquarters of an international ministry. As I walked from building to building, and from room to room, I was taken to a room that was not used by anybody, except for the leader of that ministry. That room was located on the upper level of one of the ministry buildings, and was used only by the ministry leader for personal prayer times. That leader went into that room daily for uninterrupted prayer. No one else was allowed to interrupt that prayer time; neither was anyone allowed to go into that room.

It is my belief that you should consider setting aside a time and place for continuous and uninterrupted prayer. You should make it a discipline that can not, and will not be interrupted. The aspect of the Lord’s Sabbath has been something that I have been sharing in the weekly meetings of the church that I lead. The conversation has continued outside of that special group of believers in Christ. I would like for all of you who receive this writing to take time away from your prayer discipline each Sabbath and allow yourself to be refreshed. Prayer can be exhausting, so it should not be something that will take away from your freshness of intimacy with God. It is my recommendation that you use the aftermath of the Lord’s Sabbath, which we know as the Lord’s Day, as a time of continued soul rest, which will be in preparation for the following five days of disciplined prayer. The type of prayer that I am suggesting can be very fatiguing, and will be exhaustive periods of spiritual warfare. But, I think that you will be able to realize a vast harvest of spiritual fruit. Please consider the following prayer verses, and let me know of your thoughts on this subject. My prayers will stay with you.

Philippians 3:10, “… that I may know Him…”

Prayer Bible Verses
· 1 Chronicles 16:11
Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.

· Psalm 4:1
Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer.

· Psalm 145:18
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

· Proverbs 15:29
The LORD is far from the wicked but he hears the prayer of the righteous.

· Matthew 7:11
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

· Luke 6:12
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.

· Luke 18:1
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.

· Romans 8:26
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

· Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

· Colossians 4:2
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
· 1 Thessalonians 5:17
pray continually;

· 1 Timothy 2:8
I want men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands

· Hebrews 4:14
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.

· James 1:7
That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;

· James 4:3
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

· James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

· 1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Now, let us consider the Holiness of our Lord, as Terry MacAlmon leads in the following song of worship and praise.

Holy Are You Lord

Comments are appreciated, and are great sources of encouragement. In order to protect the privacy of bloggers who comment on my posts, no such comments will be shown on my blog. If you would like to have a private response from me, please put your email address in your comment. That data will not be shown anywhere in my blog. Please let me caution all bloggers to protect their privacy. That is why I have removed my community of bloggers and comments from bloggers from my blog.

081514, Are We Really Serious About The Work That God Has Given Us To Do?

When slavery came to America, the church was largely silent.
When the Nazi’s in Germany began to oppress the Jews, the church was largely silent.
Now, in America and around the world, the church is largely silent again. In which way is the church silent?
The church says very little about the 53,000,000 innocent unborn babies that have been murdered through abortion.
The church says very little about the continual acceptance of same sex marriages that are being forced upon the majority by an ungodly minority.
However, the “church” continues to vote for candidates who support abortion and same sex marriage.
However, many pulpit pastors say very little about the massacres of innocent little unborn babies.
However, many pulpit pastors say very little about the fact that same sex marriage is being forced upon society as being normal.

If we expect to lead a church, a ministry group, or any other group of believers in Christ, we need to be aware of the situation of the world that surrounds and affects us. People in our groups will come to us with questions about the world’s situation. We need to help our groups to be voices of reason. In order for us to be effective leaders we must keep track of news events. We need to follow the news, but we also need to realize that not all news reporting agencies will report all of the news, which may be due to political favoritism. So, it is important for us to be aware of such barriers to the truth.

In the church today, there is great ignorance of God’s Holy Word. If we, as Christians, expect ourselves to teach the Word of God to others, we must be also be taught scriptures that will help us to fulfill the commission that our Lord has placed before us. In the congregation that I lead, we are intentional in our preaching and teaching of key facts of scripture that are neglected in many other churches. We have discovered that there has been a lot of incorrect teaching in our pasts. We our intentional in our teaching of the following subjects: The creation. The fall. The destruction. The repopulation. God’s choice of the descendants of Shem to bring about the Redeemer through the Jews. The Sabbath, the festivals, and their fulfillment through Jesus, the Redeemer. The divinity of Christ. The work of God’s Holy Spirit. The literal indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit within our spirit. The Passover, Lord’s Supper, breaking of bread, and communion. Tithes and offerings. The way of salvation. The security of our salvation through the born again process. The inability to be “unborn again.” Intimacy with God. Intimacy with others. Personal Holiness. Holiness of relationship with God. Holiness of worship. Holiness of daily living. These topics are important if we desire to teach those topics to others, such as our children. These topics are important if we are confronted by cults. If you are not able to explain each of the above mentioned topics, it is important for you to engage in a serious study of each and every one of them. Our church will continue to teach God’s Holy Word, per 2 Timothy 3:16 and Acts 17:11. We meet each Friday at 7 PM. Our meeting times allow believers from other congregations to fellowship with us and become involved in a serious time of worship, praise, teaching, preaching, and sharing of a fellowship meal. During our meal, we remember the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, who is our Lord and Savior.

Let’s touch on the subject of God’s will for us. Let’s consider God’s perfect will and God’s permissive will. We can easily see a need for us to intervene. There are many poor people who may need the emotional, scriptural, financial and other support that we can provide. That is definitely a ministry that can be found within God’s permissive will. But, you may be led by God to a particular group of people that has a very specific need for you to meet. That is an example of God’ perfect will for you. We can wait for God’s will to be revealed to us, but in the mean time we an rely on God’s Word to lead us. Consider the following verses, as they relate to leading lost souls to a belief in Jesus, and taking care of the less fortunate people of our world.

Matthew 28:19-20 New English Translation (NET Bible)

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 25:35-40 New English Translation (NET Bible)

35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or naked and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.’

Consider the Presence of God in our lives. Consider the worshipful attitude that can be obtained as we listen to the music of worship and praise that is led by the singers of the Gaither meetings. This particular recording was made in the early 1990s. A number of the singers have gone on to be with our Lord Jesus. The song tells us of the work of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives. We should keep in the mind the Words of Jesus on the same subject, as is recorded in John 16:7-11.

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

Sweet, Sweet, Spirit

Comments are appreciated, and are great sources of encouragement. In order to protect the privacy of bloggers who comment on my posts, no such comments will be shown on my blog. If you would like to have a private response from me, please put your email address in your comment. That data will not be shown anywhere in my blog. Please let me caution all bloggers to protect their privacy. That is why I have removed my community of bloggers and comments from bloggers from my blog.

080414, Colossians, The Christ Of The Church, Chapter 1

I. Scripture Reading

Colossians 1, New English Translation (NET Bible)

Salutation
1 From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 to the saints, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ, at Colossae. Grace and peace to you from God our Father!
Paul’s Thanksgiving and Prayer for the Church
3 We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard about your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you have for all the saints. 5 Your faith and love have arisen from the hope laid up for you in heaven, which you have heard about in the message of truth, the gospel 6 that has come to you. Just as in the entire world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, so it has also been bearing fruit and growing among you from the first day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth. 7 You learned the gospel from Epaphras, our dear fellow slave—a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf— 8 who also told us of your love in the Spirit.
Paul’s Prayer for the Growth of the Church
9 For this reason we also, from the day we heard about you, have not ceased praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you may live worthily of the Lord and please him in all respects—bearing fruit in every good deed, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might for the display of all patience and steadfastness, joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light. 13 He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The Supremacy of Christ
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation,
16 for all things in heaven and on earth were created in him—all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, whether principalities or powers—all things were created through him and for him.
17 He himself is before all things and all things are held together in him.
18 He is the head of the body, the church, as well as the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he himself may become first in all things.
19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in the Son
20 and through him to reconcile all things to himself by making peace through the blood of his cross—through him, whether things on earth or things in heaven.
Paul’s Goal in Ministry
21 And you were at one time strangers and enemies in your minds as expressed through your evil deeds, 22 but now he has reconciled you by his physical body through death to present you holy, without blemish, and blameless before him— 23 if indeed you remain in the faith, established and firm, without shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard. This gospel has also been preached in all creation under heaven, and I, Paul, have become its servant.
24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I fill up in my physical body—for the sake of his body, the church—what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ. 25 I became a servant of the church according to the stewardship from God—given to me for you—in order to complete the word of God, 26 that is, the mystery that has been kept hidden from ages and generations, but has now been revealed to his saints. 27 God wanted to make known to them the glorious riches of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 We proclaim him by instructing and teaching all people with all wisdom so that we may present every person mature in Christ. 29 Toward this goal I also labor, struggling according to his power that powerfully works in me.

II. Outline. Ref: The Outline Bible, Dr. Harold L. Wilmington

A. Paul begins his letter to the church at Colosse with thanksgiving and prayer.

1. Paul gives praise to the church at Colosse.
a. He told them how they received the gospel (1:1-6).
b. He commended them in regard to three things.
(1) Their faith toward Jesus (1:4a).
(2) Their love toward their fellow Colossians (1:4b).
(3) Their hope toward the future, and are looking forward to the joys of heaven (1:5-6).
c. He explained from whom they received the gospel. Epaphras shared Christ with them and is now ministering with Paul. (1:7-8).
2. Paul prayed for the church as Colosse:
a. That they will grow in the knowledge of God (1:9).
b. That they will please God (1:10a).
c. That they will bear fruit for God (1:10b).
d. That they will be strengthened by God (1:11).
e. That they will be thankful to God:
(1) For what the Father did (1:12-13).
(2) For what the Son did (1:14).
3. Paul’s proclamation to the church at Colosse. He has been chosen, by God, to reveal God’s secret plan to them.
a. The particulars of the plan. Christ lives in you. That is the assurance that you will share in His glory (1:24-27).
b. The purpose of the plan. “We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ (1:28-29).

B. Paul finishes Chapter 1 with a discussion about Christ.

1. Paul explains that Christ is the visible image of the invisible God (1:15).
2. Paul explains that Christ, in relation to creation:
a. He created all things (1:16).
b. He sustains all things (1:17).
c. He will reconcile all things (1:20).
3. Paul explains that Christ, in relation to the church, He has been appointed head of the church (1:18-19; 1:22-23).

III. Selected Commentary. Ref: Reformation Study Bible, DR. R. C. Sproul

A. Verse 4
faith in Christ Jesus. In the face of a teaching circulating in Colossae that questioned whether Christ alone could be sufficient, Paul reminds the readers through his prayer of thanksgiving that what they already have “in Christ” is enough
B. Verse 5
because of the hope. Faith, hope, and love, are central to Paul’s understanding of the Christian life (Rom. 5:2–5; 1 Cor. 13:13; Gal. 5:5, 6; 1 Thess. 1:3; 5:8; cf. Heb. 10:22–24). He treats them as gifts of God rather than as virtues produced by the believers themselves. Paul emphasizes the sovereignty of God in salvation and the believers’ security in their relationship with Christ (Eph. 1:4; 2:8).
C. Verses 12-14
Paul expresses his gratitude for the Colossians’ good beginning (vv. 3–8) and encourages them to recognize that their heavenly Father has decisively rescued them from the powers of darkness. They can therefore be thankful for the redemption they enjoy (2:7; 3:17; 4:2). IV.
D. Verse 12
The false teaching in Colossae resulted in cowardice before the pagan supernatural beings thought to have the power to disqualify even believers from life with God (2:16, 18, 20–23). This accounts for Paul’s use of “qualified” here—no power in the universe can question the credentials of those who are “in Christ” (vv. 2, 4).
E. Verse 13
delivered us. This language recalls God’s rescue of Israel first from slavery in Egypt and then from captivity in Babylon. Paul envisions humanity outside of Christ as being helplessly under the “domain of darkness,” the evil rule of Satan (cf. Eph. 2:1–3; 6:11). Believers are rescued from this world order (Gal. 1:4) and brought under the dominion and protection of God’s Son. The image of light is appropriate here, for elsewhere Paul speaks of the light of the gospel shining in the darkness and penetrating the blindness of those who are perishing (2 Cor. 3:15; 4:4–6; 6:14; Eph. 5:8–14; Phil. 2:15; 1 Thess. 5:5).
his beloved Son. Note the portrayal of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels as God’s beloved son (Matt. 3:17; 17:5; Mark 1:11; 9:7; Luke 3:22), and the rich Old Testament background out of which the designation arises (Deut. 18:15; Ps. 2:7; Is. 42:1).
F. Verse 14
redemption. In Rom. 8:23 Paul speaks of a bodily redemption still to be anticipated. Here redemption is understood as the forgiveness of sins and is something that has already been given (note the “once . . . now” pattern of vv. 21, 22; cf. 2:13, 17, 20; 3:9, 10). Compare Paul’s approach to the Corinthians, who overemphasized the “already” of salvation and neglected what is yet to come (1 Cor. 4:8–13; ch. 15).
the forgiveness of sins. See 2:13 and note.
G. Verses 15-20
Paul breaks into a doxology to the grandeur and glory of Jesus Christ. Many believe Paul is appropriating an early Christian hymn. By pointing to the supremacy of Christ both in creation (vv. 15–17) and in redemption (vv. 18–20), he points out what was missing in the false teaching at Colossae—an adequate view of the person of Christ. By doing this in a kind of hymn, he invites the readers to worship the Son of God.
H. Verse 15
image of the invisible God. For Paul, belief in the deity of Christ (Rom. 9:5; Phil. 2:6; Titus 2:13) is practical. Since He is by nature God, Christ reveals the God who is otherwise invisible (1 Tim. 1:17; 6:16). The thought is also found in John 1:1–18 and Heb. 1:3. Calvin observes that “we must be careful not to look for Him anywhere else, for apart from Christ whatever offers itself to us in the name of God will turn out to be an idol” (Commentary on Col. 1:15).
the firstborn of all creation. Paul is not saying that the Son was the first created being (v. 17 note). In the Old Testament, a firstborn son would be the principal heir of an estate (Deut. 21:17; cf. Ex. 4:22; Ps. 89:27). Used of Christ, the term “firstborn” means that He has such honor and dignity, not that He was the oldest child in a family. Christ is especially loved by His Father (v. 13), and all things were created in Him, by Him, and for Him (vv. 16, 17).
I. Verse 16.
all things were created through him and for him. Because He is both agent and goal of creation, Christ is Lord of all that is, even of the angelic hierarchy which the Colossians think they must placate or revere.
J. Verse 17
A strong restatement of the temporal priority and universal significance of Christ, this verse makes explicit what was implicit in v. 16: Christ existed before all creation. He is Himself not created. Nor can it be said, as followers of Arius (c. a.d. 250–336) later maintained, that “there was a time when he was not.” The thought that Jesus is the moment-by-moment sustainer and unifying power of the universe is echoed in Heb. 1:2, 3.
K. Verse 18
head of the body, the church. Using this theme of the second section of the hymn, Paul explains the image in Eph. 1:21–23, and works out its implications in Eph. 4:15 and 5:23.
the beginning, the firstborn from the dead. Jesus’ resurrection marks the beginning of a new creation (3:10 note; 2 Cor. 5:17). As the first to rise from the dead, Christ inaugurates the new age anticipated by the Old Testament prophets (Acts 2:29–36; 13:32–35) and founds a new humanity in Himself to replace the old humanity in Adam. His own resurrection is an anticipation and a guarantee of the resurrection that all His brothers and sisters will enjoy (Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:20–28; Heb. 1:6; 12:23).
that . . . preeminent. Without detracting from the glory the pre-existent Son already had with the Father, the New Testament teaches that Christ’s resurrection marks out for Him a new and higher standing, and wins for Him an even greater name (Acts 13:33, 34; Rom. 1:4; Eph. 1:20–23; Phil. 2:1–11; Heb. 1:4, 5). By virtue of His resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ is Lord of the universe that was created by Him, that He has always sustained, and which now He has redeemed.
L. Verse 20
The high point of the hymn. Humankind’s fall into sin brought with it the corruption of all creation, seen and unseen (Gen. 3; Rom. 5:12; 8:20; Eph. 2:2; 6:12). Through Christ’s incarnation and atoning death, God’s righteousness is satisfied (Rom. 3:21–26), peace between God and humankind is restored (2 Cor. 5:17–21), the eventual glorification of the created order is assured (Rom. 8:18–21), and the rebellious spirit beings have their powers limited (2:15 note).
M. Verses 21-23
Having considered Christ’s majestic role in creation and in the reconciliation and pacification of the universe, Paul returns to the Colossians themselves. Once God’s enemies and alienated from His life, they have now been given peace with God (Rom. 5:1, 2).
N. Verse 21
alienated . . . evil deeds. The text may be taken as indicating either that mental alienation from God has a behavioral root or that mental alienation is expressed behaviorally. Paul’s point is that mind and will cooperate in their rebellion against God.
O. Verse 22
Christ’s death in the flesh means that the reconciliation God has accomplished is not merely a matter of the universal pacification of the hostile powers; it brings with it the personal renewal and purification of those who grasp and adhere to the gospel (2:13; Rom. 5:6–11; Eph. 2:4–10).
P. Verse 23
continue in the faith . . . not shifting from the hope. Saving faith is persevering and enduring faith (v. 11), anchored in hope (v. 5). But contrary to the opponents’ teaching, true faith and hope are nowhere else than in Christ. This relationship with Christ is confirmed by faith and hope, rather than by rigorous ascetic disciplines.
proclaimed in all creation. Paul can speak of one of the conditions of the consummation of the ages, the worldwide proclamation of the gospel (v. 6; Matt. 24:14; Mark 13:10), as already having been completed. Paul here is using hyperbole (literary exaggeration for emphasis). Still, by aiming his ministry at the urban centers of the Roman Empire, he understood himself to be reaching the civilized world (Acts 19:10; Rom. 15:18–25).
Q. Verses 1:24-2:5
Paul has reminded the Colossians of the cosmic scope of Christ’s lordship (1:15–20) and the way Christ’s redemptive work has come to bear on their lives (1:21, 23). Now he turns to his own role in God’s redemptive plan and the relationship he hopes to establish between himself and the Colossians, most of whom he has not met, in order to woo them from the captivity of the so-called “philosophy” in their midst (2:8).
R. Verse 24
filling up what is lacking. Given the context of this passage, which stresses the total sufficiency of Christ, as well as what he says elsewhere (e.g., Rom. 3:21–26; 2 Cor. 5:17–21), Paul does not mean that Christ’s saving work on the cross is deficient in some respect. Rather, because the church is called to suffer for Christ (2 Cor. 4:7–12; 1 Thess. 3:2–4), there is a divinely appointed requisite of suffering to be endured by Christians. Paul may also have in view here the sufferings which will accompany the endtimes (Matt. 24:21, 22), a period ushered in by the death and resurrection of Christ (Rom. 13:11–14; 1 Cor. 7:29). This also explains the reference to Paul’s suffering for the sake of the church (Eph. 3:13; 2 Tim. 2:10). As a servant of the gospel, Paul rejoices in his opportunity to participate in the sufferings of God’s people. The passage does not mean that the church is a continuing incarnation of Christ whose members by suffering add saving merit beyond what Christ achieved.
S. Verse 26
mystery. In contemporary pagan religion the “mysteries” were secret insights given (usually for a fee) to a select, initiated few. With some irony Paul uses the term for the revelation God has made available freely to the nations (v. 27; 2:2; 4:3; Eph. 1:9; 3:3, 4, 9; 5:32; 6:19). In Paul’s use, “mystery” refers to what once was hidden, but is now being revealed.
hidden. God’s saving purpose for Gentiles was largely hidden from them prior to the coming of Christ. Previous generations were allowed to “walk in their own ways” (Acts 14:16; cf. Rom. 1:24–32; Eph. 2:12). The Old Testament revealed in shadows, signs, and hints that God would personally take up residence in His people (v. 27; Ezek. 36:25–27), and that He would create a new humanity uniting Gentiles and Jews through the Messiah (Gen. 12:3; Zech. 9:9, 10; Eph. 3:5, 6 notes).

IV. Personal Notes.

A. Vs 1. Paul was appointed an Apostle of Jesus by spiritual ordination and gifting of God. See Ephesians 4:11.
B. Vs 5. The hope of believers in Christ is that of salvation which we already enjoy in Christ, and which has a future meaning. It is an expectant hope that is ours here and now, with its fulfillment being in the resurrection age. The Christian hope is that of Jesus, himself, who lives at the right hand of God, and indwells His believers at the same time. This literal indwelling of the Spirit of Jesus in each believer is the believer’s “hope of glory.” 1:27.
C. Vs 10. Believers in Christ should show obedient lives of service to Him. The fair fruit of good works should result in greater abundance from the spiritual seed which has been literally planted within us. We should also have an ever increasing progress in the knowledge of God.
D. Vs 12. It is only by God’s grace that believers have been given the inheritance of eternity with Him. There is nothing that we can do to bring this “sharing in the inheritance of light” about.
E. Vs 13. It is by God’s grace that believers have been saved from an eternity of separation from God, and placed with Christ.
F. Vs 14. It is through Christ, that believers have forgiveness of sin.
G. Vs 15. God the Father, who is invisible, revealed Himself through Christ who was visible.
H. Vs 16. Jesus created everything.
I. Vs 17. Jesus is above all things, and holds all things together.
J. Vs. 18 Jesus is the head of His Church, and above everything.
K. Vs 19. All of God indwells Jesus.
L. Vs 20. Jesus made salvation possible for those who were lost, and experiencing a lifetime of sin and separation from God.
M. Vs 21. All of us were separated from God before Jesus saved us.
N. Vs 22. By Jesus making us holy, our spirits will be as perfect as the Spirit of Christ.
O. Vs 24. “His” body, the church will be related to Matthew 26:26, this is “My body.” Strong’s reference number, “4983.” is used to explain both uses of “the body of Christ.” 4983 = “body” in both verses. See 4983 in the following two verses
1. Mt 26:26: spoken figuratively of the communion bread as representing the body of Christ as crucified for the salvation of man.
2. Co 1:24: spoken figuratively for a body, meaning a whole, aggregate, collective mass, as spoken of the Christian church, the whole body of Christians collectively, of which Christ is the head.
3. 1 Cor 11:26: “this do … in remembrance of Me.”
4. In Mt 26:26, Jesus is not saying that the bread of the Passover meal becomes his actual body.
P. Vs 26. Paul discusses a secret.
Q. Vs 27. The secret was that Gentiles could be saved, and would result in the Spirit of Christ literally indwelling those who are saved.
R. Vs 28. Mature (ESV), and Complete (NASB) are explained by Strong’s reference number “5046,” is “complete, full, lacking nothing.”

IV. Closing Thoughts. Ref: What Does Every Bible Chapter Say? John Hunt.

A. Main Themes.
1. The apostle Paul commended the church at Colosse for their faith, love, and hope in Jesus (1:1-8).
2. The apostle Paul prayed for the fruitfulness of the Colossians in spiritual knowledge (1:9-14).
3. The apostle Paul emphasized the supremacy of Christ (1:15-23).
4. The apostle Paul explained that he is the apostle of the Gentiles (1:24-29).

B. Main Keys.
1. Key Verse. 1:10. “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way.”
2. Key Phrase. 1:18. “He might have the supremacy.”
3. Key Theme. The supremacy of Christ.
4. Key Things To Look Out For. Christ is supreme over everything and everyone because He alone is God.
5. Key Bible Cross-Reference. See Ephesians 1:7. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.”

V. Inspiration of Scripture. Consider parallel versions of 2 Timothy 3:16. At the time of the writing there was no New Testament, so Paul’s reference is made to the Old Testament writings. Still, all scripture, Old or New Testament, is inspired by God. The ESV wording is strong.

New International Version
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
New Living Translation
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
English Standard Version
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
New American Standard Bible
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
King James Bible
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Holman Christian Standard Bible
All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness,
International Standard Version
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
NET Bible
Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

VI. Worship And Praise.

Consider the Presence of God in our lives. Consider the worshipful attitude that can be obtained as we listen to the music of worship and praise that is led by Women Of Faith.

Wonderful Merciful Savior

Comments are appreciated, and are great sources of encouragement. In order to protect the privacy of bloggers who comment on my posts, no such comments will be shown on my blog. If you would like to have a private response from me, please put your email address in your comment. That data will not be shown anywhere in my blog. Please let me caution all bloggers to protect their privacy. That is why I have removed my community of bloggers and comments from bloggers from my blog.

080314, Aborted Quadruplet Babies Die With Their Arms Around Each Other

Aborted Quadruplet Babies Die With Their Arms Around Each Other

As you read the story about the quadruplet babies, I will bet that you can think of the names of politicians, who think that there is nothing wrong with killing little, defenseless, unborn babies. Those politicians may be people who have received your vote in the past. Or, they may be people who you are considering for public office in the near future. My comments are directed toward Christians, people who say that they have been born again, and are believers in Christ. I don’t get it. How can Christians continue to vote for people who continue to support the horrible procedures of abortion? The stories of abortion, that are reported below are sickening. Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have got to get serious. We can’t continue to straddle the fence of indifference. Otherwise, we will become irrelevant, and we will be as uncaring as those who have taken the lives of the more than fifty-three million innocent babies, since the procedure of abortion has been determined legal in the USA. We will become as complicit as the politicians who continue to provide tax dollars for abortion providers. We need to hold to the words of Joshua 24:15, “… as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

LifeNews.com Pro-Life News Report
Thursday, August 7, 2014
For pro-life news updated throughout the day, visit LifeNews.com.

Current Headlines

Top Stories
• Officials Find Missing Couple Who Wanted Surrogate to Abort Twin Baby With Down Syndrome
• Aborted Quadruplet Babies Die With Their Arms Around Each Other
• Friend Says Couple Who Wanted Surrogate to Abort Baby With Down Syndrome Were Told He Would Die
• Planned Parenthood Awards Activist Who Said Women Should Have Sex in Hobby Lobby

More Pro-Life News
• With No Job and One Child Already, She Planned to Have an Abortion; But This Happened
• We Were Praying at an Abortion Clinic When, an Abortion Center Owner Came Out
• Man Who Held 15-Year-Old as Sex Slave Took Her to Planned Parenthood for Secret Abortion
• Abortionist Says Having an Abortion is a “Sacred Decision”
• Florida Man Killed Girlfriend’s Three-Month Baby, Threw Him Out the Car Window Onto the Highway
• Planned Parenthood Gives Cosmo Magazine an “Excellence in Media” Award
• Nations Silent as UN Presents Plan to Push Abortion in War-Torn Countries
• Doctor: Elderly People Should be Left to Die, Their Quality of Life is Too Low
• Pro-Abortion Groups Spend $6 Million to Back Pro-Abortion Kay Hagan
• China’s Brutal Population Control Modified So Parents Who Are Only Children Can Have Two Children
• With an Aging Population, Euthanasia and Rationing are Real Threats
• Why Do So Many Embryonic Stem Cell Research Scientists Commit Fraud?
• Texas School Board Under Fire for Partnership With Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz

Officials Find Missing Couple Who Wanted Surrogate to Abort Twin Baby With Down Syndrome
Australian authorities said Thursday they had finally contacted the father of the twin baby Gammy who he and his wanted a surrogate to abort because he was diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

The story is sending shockwaves throughout the pro-life community as it highlights the problems associated with abortion, surrogacy and the targeting of babies with Down Syndrome, 90% of whom die in abortions, according to some reports. http://www.lifenews.com/2014/08/07/officials-find-missing-couple-who-wanted-surrogate-to-abort-twin-baby-with-down-syndrome/

Aborted Quadruplet Babies Die With Their Arms Around Each Other
Abby Johnson from And Then There Were None shared the following account from a former clinic worker in an email:

“A woman came into our clinic one afternoon, in obvious pain. Another abortion facility down the road had given her a very heavy dose of Misoprostol to abort her quadruplets. She was already into her second trimester. http://www.lifenews.com/2014/08/07/aborted-quadruplet-babies-die-with-their-arms-around-each-other/

Friend Says Couple Who Wanted Surrogate to Abort Baby With Down Syndrome Were Told He Would Die
An unnamed friend of the couple who wanted a surrogate to abort their twin baby who was diagnosed with Down Syndrome has issued a statement to Australian press claiming the couple was told Gammy would die.

The story is sending shockwaves throughout the pro-life community as it highlights the problems associated with abortion, surrogacy and the targeting of babies with Down Syndrome, 90% of whom die in abortions, according to some reports. http://www.lifenews.com/2014/08/07/friend-says-couple-who-wanted-surrogate-to-abort-baby-with-down-syndrome-were-told-he-would-die/

Planned Parenthood Awards Activist Who Said Women Should Have Sex in Hobby Lobby
WARNING: Strong language…. Planned Parenthood is tweeting congrats to Maggie Award Winners: Irin Carmon, Jessica Valenti, Janet Mock, and Zerlina Maxwell, Sara Austin
deputy editor of Cosmopolitan. Also allegedly receiving the award is Maya Rhodan Reporter at TIME.

The Maggie Award is named after Planned Parenthood’s racist founder, Margaret Sanger. Sanger once bragged that she gave a dozen speeches to the Klan. Looks like these recipients are not bothered by the racism aspect of this award, no shock here. http://www.lifenews.com/2014/08/07/planned-parenthood-awards-activist-who-said-women-should-have-sex-in-hobby-lobby/

With No Job and One Child Already, She Planned to Have an Abortion; But This Happened
When “Brandy” discovered she was pregnant, she hesitated to tell her boyfriend “Ryan” the news. Although they’d been in a committed relationship for several years, the last few months had been the most trying.

Brandy had given birth to their first child, “James,” just six months earlier, but both Brandy and Ryan had lost their jobs since then. The demands of a new baby combined with their difficult financial situation had placed an enormous strain on the young couple’s tenuous relationship. And since they were receiving very little support from their family and friends, Brandy and Ryan believed abortion was their only option. http://www.lifenews.com/2014/08/07/with-no-job-and-one-child-already-she-planned-to-have-an-abortion-but-this-happened/

We Were Praying at an Abortion Clinic When, an Abortion Center Owner Came Out
There are points in time when God intentionally collides your life and your prayers with the messy politics and unorganized chaos of the world.

For me, politics is just a thermometer for how our prayers are affecting our nation. I only pull out the thermometer so that I can pray with a target in sight and for exact precision. But then there are the God-collisions that warn His children and say, “Watch! Pray!” http://www.lifenews.com/2014/08/07/we-were-praying-at-the-abortion-clinic-when-the-owner-came-out/

Man Who Held 15-Year-Old as Sex Slave Took Her to Planned Parenthood for Secret Abortion
Life Dynamics, Inc. a national pro-life group located in Denton , Texas has released the second part of their child predator investigation.

The new report details criminal convictions of child pedophiles who raped their victims and when they became pregnant the victim was taken to an abortion clinic or Planned Parenthood for an abortion concealing the crime. http://www.lifenews.com/2014/08/07/man-who-held-15-year-old-as-sex-slave-takes-her-to-planned-parenthood-for-secret-abortion/

Abortionist Says Having an Abortion is a “Sacred Decision”
Last week we took a close look at a long article that appeared in Esquire Magazine titled “The Abortion Ministry of Willie Parker.” http://www.lifenews.com/2014/08/07/abortionist-says-having-an-abortion-is-a-sacred-decision/

Florida Man Killed Girlfriend’s Three-Month Baby, Threw Him Out the Car Window Onto the Highway
On July 31st, Richard McTear of Florida was convicted of first-degree murder, kidnapping, battery, and child abuse after throwing a 3-month-old boy out of a moving car. http://www.lifenews.com/2014/08/07/florida-man-killed-girlfriends-three-month-baby-threw-him-out-the-car-window-onto-the-highway/

Planned Parenthood Gives Cosmo Magazine an “Excellence in Media” Award
Planned Parenthood may not have much to do with planning for parenthood – but the organization sure can plan a media strategy. http://www.lifenews.com/2014/08/07/planned-parenthood-gives-cosmo-magazine-an-excellence-in-media-award/

Nations Silent as UN Presents Plan to Push Abortion in War-Torn Countries
A new UN directive to promote abortion in war-torn areas went unchallenged when it was presented to member states at UN headquarters last week. http://www.lifenews.com/2014/08/07/nations-silent-as-un-presents-plan-to-push-abortion-in-war-torn-countries/

Doctor: Elderly People Should be Left to Die, Their Quality of Life is Too Low
Dr. James Beattie, a cardiologist who works at the East of England NHS Foundation Trust in Birmingham, believes hospitals should let more elderly patients die and “quality of life” should be given more consideration. http://www.lifenews.com/2014/08/07/doctor-elderly-people-should-be-left-to-die-their-quality-of-life-is-too-low/

Pro-Abortion Groups Spend $6 Million to Back Pro-Abortion Kay Hagan
The abortion industry knows there is a key Senate election on the line and Planned Parenthood and company are prepared to spend as much as it takes to ensure Harry Reid controls the Senate. http://www.lifenews.com/2014/08/07/pro-abortion-groups-spend-6-million-to-back-pro-abortion-kay-hagan/
Looking for an inspiring and motivating speaker for your pro-life event in 2014? Don’t have much to spend on a high-priced speaker costing several thousand dollars? Contact LifeNews at news@lifenews.com about having LifeNews Editor Steven Ertelt speak at your event.

China’s Brutal Population Control Modified So Parents Who Are Only Children Can Have Two Children
On July 10, Chinese state media Xinhua announced that 29 of China’s 31 provinces have officially adopted what All Girls Allowed calls the “selective two-child policy”. . http://www.lifenews.com/2014/08/07/chinas-brutal-population-control-modified-so-parents-who-are-only-children-can-have-two-children/

With an Aging Population, Euthanasia and Rationing are Real Threats
The fifth working session of the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing convened this week at the United Nations. http://www.lifenews.com/2014/08/07/with-an-aging-population-euthanasia-and-rationing-are-real-threats/

Why Do So Many Embryonic Stem Cell Research Scientists Commit Fraud?
Writing in Slate, Jane C. Hu uses the high profile stem cell research lies we have seen in recent years to launch into an interesting article entitled, “Why Do Scientists Commit Fraud?” . http://www.lifenews.com/2014/08/07/why-do-so-many-embryonic-stem-cell-research-scientists-commit-fraud/

Texas School Board Under Fire for Partnership With Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz
A Texas school board in a school district near Fort Worth, Texas is coming under fire for having a partnership with the Planned Parenthood abortion business.Parents are outraged by the association a school district would have the abortion giant and they are speaking out. http://www.lifenews.com/2014/08/07/texas-school-board-under-fire-for-partnership-with-planned-parenthood-abortion-biz/

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Comments are appreciated, and are great sources of encouragement. In order to protect the privacy of bloggers who comment on my posts, no such comments will be shown on my blog. If you would like to have a private response from me, please put your email address in your comment. That data will not be shown anywhere in my blog. Please let me caution all bloggers to protect their privacy. That is why I have removed my community of bloggers and comments from bloggers from my blog.

080214, Colossians, Overview

The overview to the Apostle Paul’s Letter to the Colossians is provided by Bible Gatewy Blog. This, and, many other of my writings, use resources that are accessed by BibleGateway.com. As in this overview, and in my posts on the four chapters of Colossians, credable sources of information will be used. Whenever I have an idea that I think should be included, such an idea will be prefaced by “My Note.” As for my favorite verses of this letter, I like 1:27 and 2:14; you might like them too.

Letters to the Church: Colossians

Did you know that most of the books that comprise the New Testament are actually letters? These letters (also known as “epistles”) contain both general Christian teaching and specific instructions for the congregation to which they were addressed. As part of our Letters to the Church series, we’re taking a brief look at each epistle in the New Testament. Our previous entries examined Paul’s letters to the churches in Rome, Corinth, and Philippi.
In the decades following Christ’s ministry, death, and resurrection, Christianity wasn’t the only religion competing for people’s hearts and minds. Pagan cults and philosophies were firmly entrenched throughout the ancient Mediterannean world.
It’s understandable that early Christians—many of whom had followed such religions and philosophies before giving their lives to Christ—faced a continual struggle to keep their newfound faith separate from the spiritual currents of the world around them. The Christian community in the city of Colosse was caught up in that struggle… and they needed help.

Paul’s Letter to the Colossians

Start reading it here: Colossians 1
When and where was it written? It’s widely believed that Paul’s letter to the Colossians was written in 62 A.D., during Paul’s imprisonment in Rome (around the same time he wrote his epistles to the Ephesians and Philippians).
To whom was it written? The house church in Colosse. Colosse had once been a city of considerable significance, but it importance was on the wane when Paul wrote his letter. The inhabitants of the area were mostly Gentiles (non-Jews), though there was a considerable colony of Jews among them as well.
Paul had never visited Colosse, but he had spent a considerable amount of time in Ephesus, located about one hundred miles to the east—so it was very likely that Paul and Epaphras (founder of the Colossian church) had been in contact with one another.
Why was it written? When Epaphras arrived in Rome, he brought with him disturbing news from the Christian community in Colosse: non-Christian teachings were circulating within the Colossian church. The problem was syncretism: Jewish and Gentile beliefs and practices were being combined, creating a sort of hybrid religion that no longer resembled true Christianity.
More specifically, the heresy taking root in Colosse was a form of gnosticism, which taught (among other things) that humans could transcend evil and the corruptions of the world through asceticism and their own strength of will. Gnostics believed that they could essentially ignore the world and follow their own desires and impulses. Paul wrote to the Colossian church to warn them away from error and reiterate the importance of the Christian ethic.
What does it say? This letter challenges the believers in Colosse to look solely to the divinity of Jesus Christ, through whom we are all saved. In it, Paul refutes the gnostic heresy spreading throughout the Colossian church and presents Jesus as God, creator of the universe. He emphasizes the importance of the cross: Jesus is Savior, and only by his blood we are saved.
Noteworthy passages:

Colossians 1:15-18: Paul asserts the supremacy and divinity of Jesus Christ as the head of the church.
Colossians 2:8-9: Paul warns to people of Colosse not to allow themselves to be led astray by false teachings.
Colossians 3:15-17: In this beautiful passage, Paul calls the Christians in Colosse to accept Christ and receive his peace.

Although you might not feel tempted by gnosticism or the specific heresies described here, this letter is remarkably relevant to us today. Its central premise is that humans cannot achieve salvation through their own works, ideas, or accomplishments; we can’t “improve” Christianity by adding to it ideas or philosophies from other sources, no matter how well-intentioned they are. Paul’s letter to the Colossians reminds us that there is absolute truth in Christianity. There’s no need to look elsewhere for salvation.
Consider these questions as you read Colossians today:

How do you keep an eye out for heretical teachings?
Have you ever tried, perhaps unwittingly, to “complicate” the message of salvation? How so—and what helped you recognize your efforts for what they were?
Why do you think it was so easy for churches to fall prey to false teachings in Paul’s day? Do you think it’s still a problem in today’s church?
Imagine that this letter was written to you. How would you respond?

Worship And Praise. Consider the Presence of God in our lives. Consider the worshipful attitude that can be obtained as we listen to the music of worship and praise that is led by Women Of Faith. I think that you will find their song to match many of the Apostle Paul’s points of emphasis in his letter to the Colossians.

There Is None Like You

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080114, Keys To The Bible – Ephesians – Chapter 6

INTRODUCTION: Paul relates the church to being a soldier.

I. Scripture Reading

Ephesians 6, New English Translation (NET Bible)

1. Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment accompanied by a promise, namely, 3 “that it may go well with you and that you will live a long time on the earth.”

4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but raise them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

5 Slaves, obey your human masters with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart as to Christ, 6 not like those who do their work only when someone is watching—as people-pleasers—but as slaves of Christ doing the will of God from the heart. 7 Obey with enthusiasm, as though serving the Lord and not people, 8 because you know that each person, whether slave or free, if he does something good, this will be rewarded by the Lord.

9 Masters, treat your slaves the same way, giving up the use of threats, because you know that both you and they have the same master in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.
Exhortations for Spiritual Warfare

10 Finally, be strengthened in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11 Clothe yourselves with the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. 13 For this reason, take up the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand your ground on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm therefore, by fastening the belt of truth around your waist, by putting on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 by fitting your feet with the preparation that comes from the good news of peace, 16 and in all of this, by taking up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 With every prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit, and to this end be alert, with all perseverance and requests for all the saints. 19 Pray for me also, that I may be given the message when I begin to speak—that I may confidently make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may be able to speak boldly as I ought to speak.
Farewell Comments

21 Tychicus, my dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will make everything known to you, so that you too may know about my circumstances, how I am doing. 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts.

23 Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all of those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.

II. Outline. Ref: The Outline Bible, Dr. Harold L. Wilmington

A. In the first nine verses of this chapter, Paul relates to the family as being in boot training.

1. He lists examples of children and parents in boot training.

a. As soldiers, children are to honor and obey their parents (vs 1-3).
b. As commanders, parents are to discipline and instruct their children (vs 4).

2. He lists examples of servants and masters.

a. Servants are to serve their masters as they would serve Christ (vs 5-8).
b. Masters are to treat their servants as they would treat Christ (vs 9).

My note: It has been estimated that there were some 60,000,000 slaves in the Roman Empire, and that as many as one third of the population of large cities, such as Rome, Corinth, and Ephesus were slaves. (Preaching The Word, Ephesians, The Mystery Of The Body Of Christ, R. Kent Hughes, page 205.) The Apostle Paul was evangelizing a fallen world due to the fall of Adam and Eve. Consider Luke 19:10. “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Slavery was one of many sinful conditions that were present when the Apostle was preaching “salvation by grace through faith, (Eph 2:8).

B. In verses ten through tweny-four, Paul discusses front-line fighting.

1. He issues a four-fold encouragement.

a. Be strong. Find strength in God’s mighty power (vs 10).
b. Be prepared. Put on the full armor of God (vs 11a).
c. Stand firm (vs 13).
d. Pray always (vs 18-20).

(1) For yourself (vs 11b-12).
(2) For others (vs 11b).
(3) For Paul, himself (vs 19-20).

2. Paul discusses the enemy, who is Satan.

a. His craftiness (vs 11b).
b. His cohorts, who are the wicked demons of Satan’s kingdom (vs 12).

3. Paul discusses spiritual warfare equipment.

a. The belt of truth (vs 14a).
b. The body armor of God’s righteousness (vs 14b).
c. The sandals of the Good News (vs 15).
d. The shield of faith (vs 16).
e. The helmet of salvation (vs 17a).
f. The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (vs 17b).

4. Paul discusses the envoy, who is Tychicus. (vs 21-22).

a. He was a faithful helper in the Lord’s work.
b. He was sent to encourage and inform the Ephesians about Paul’s welfare.

My note: (1). Tychicus was chosen by Paul to deliver this letter to those in Ephesus. “Now I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus” (2 Timothy 4:12).
My note: (2) Tychicus. The primary carrier of the letters to the Colossians, Philemon, and the Ephesians (Eph. 6:21, 22). First mentioned as part of Paul’s entourage in Acts 20:4, Tychicus was from the Roman province of Asia (in modern Turkey), and appears to have been one of Paul’s more trusted emissaries toward the end of his ministry (2 Tim. 4:12; Titus 3:12). “Tychicus, a dear brother, faithful minister, and fellow slave in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me” (Colossians 4:7).
My note: (3) Notes1and 2 were taken from the Reformation Study Bible, by Dr. R. C.Sproul, as posted on BibleGateway.com
My note: (4) Tychicus may be considered to be insignificant in the spread of the Gospel. But, we should consider that it was Tychicus who delivered the prison epistles to their intended recipients, who were the spiritual body of Christ, who comprised the true church of Christ.
My note: (5). We should not be too quick to leave the story of Tychicus. Consider the writing in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. The comment is only one of many positive things that are written about Tychicus, who was a faithful companion and assistant to the Apostle Paul. Consider the comment about Philemon. Consider the absolute significance of this saint of God, who has been considered to be much less than significant in the history of the spreading of the Gospel.

Paul had entrusted Tychicus with a very important mission. He was to deliver the Epistle to the Ephesians, that is, “the circular letter” (see LAODICEANS, EPISTLE TO THE) to the churches in proconsular Asia, to which it was sent, giving a copy of it to the church in Laodicea. He was then to proceed to Colosse, with the Epistle to the church there. In Colosse Tychicus would plead the cause of Onesimus, who accompanied him from Rome. “Under his shelter Onesimus would be safer than if he encountered Philemon alone” (Lightfoot, Commentary on Colossians, 314). In Laodicea and Colosse Tychicus would not only deliver the Epistles from Paul, but he would also, as the apostle had written to the churches in those places, Communicate to them all information about his “state,” that is, how things were going with him in regard to his appeal to the emperor, and his hope of being soon set at liberty. Tychicus would make known to them all things.

My note: (6) Tradition has it that Tychicus suffered a martyr’s death.
My note: (7). Tychicus remained insignificant to me until a very special pastor friend related the story of Tychicus to me. I will always be very thankful to that pastor.

5. The benediction. (vs 23-24).

a. Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (vs 23).
b. Grace be with all of those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love (vs 24).

III. Selected Commentary. Ref: Reformation Study Bible, DR. R. C. Sproul

A. Verse 2.
the first commandment with a promise. The law of God has lost its power to condemn those who are in Christ (Col. 2:13, 14), and the observance of the ceremonial law is inappropriate following their fulfillment in Christ (2:15; Col. 2:16, 17). However the “weightier matters of the law” (Matt. 23:23) are revelations of God’s character, and establish permanent ethical principles. One of these is that children must honor their parents.
B. Verse 4.
Fathers. Conversely, to parents Paul stresses the responsibility of those in authority.
bring them up. The Greek suggests the idea of nurturing and helping to flourish (cf. 5:29). Parents are entrusted with the minds, feelings, and bodies of tender bearers of the divine image. Accordingly, children do not exist for parents, but parents for children—to help them come into their own personhood before God.
discipline. The shaping of the will through training.
instruction. The shaping of the mind through teaching.
C. Verses 5-8.
Slaves follow the example of Christ through obedient submission (Phil. 2:1–11). All believers are called to share Christ’s humiliation and sufferings in this age, in order to be exalted and glorified with Him in the next (Rom. 8:17). Paul is not interested in making anyone’s share of suffering greater than it has to be (1 Cor. 7:21). He also does not pretend there is an easy route around it. As slaves serve the exalted Christ, and not merely an earthly master, they do so in the new reality inaugurated by Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). Paul would insist that being owned by Christ makes all other definitions of our personhood irrelevant: “You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men” (1 Cor. 7:23). By rendering ungrudging service to their true heavenly owner, slaves can work not for their value in the marketplace, but for their value to the One who poured out His own life for them.
D. Verse 9.
do the same. If masters can expect their Christian slaves to serve them willingly, slaves can expect from Christian masters to be treated the way Christ treats His own.
E. Verse 10.
be strong . . . the strength of his might. Paul uses similar terms in 1:19 to describe the power that raised Jesus from the dead. We are not encouraged to face the evil hosts of darkness in our own strength, but in the strength that raised Jesus and believers with Him (2:4–6; 3:16–19).
F. Verse 11.
Put on the whole armor of God. The new set of clothes (4:22–24 note) now becomes a warrior’s battle gear.
stand. Repeated three times in vv. 11, 13, 14 (the related term “withstand” in v. 13 has the same meaning). The “walking” image of chs. 4 and 5 (4:1 note) gives way to the picture of a soldier standing firm in battle.
G. Verse 12.
See 1:21; 2:2; 3:10.
rulers . . . spiritual forces. These terms all refer to powerful spiritual beings that make up the “power of the air” (2:2) ruled by Satan.
darkness. See 5:8–14.
H. Verse 13.
the whole armor of God. Paul combines the weapons of a Roman foot soldier with a number of Old Testament images of God, or the Messiah, as a warrior. Strikingly, what is said of God and the Messiah in the Old Testament is applied to believers.
I. Verse 14.
fastened . . . truth. The Roman soldier’s leather belt supported and protected his lower abdomen, gathered his tunic together, and held his sword. Paul seems to have in mind the confidence that comes from certainty about the truthfulness of God’s Word.
breastplate of righteousness. Believers are protected by the righteousness of Christ imputed to them (Rom. 4:6–11; Phil. 3:9), and they can stand up to the accusations of the devil; devil in Greek means “slanderer” (Rom. 8:31–34). Simultaneously, Paul sees believers taking on the righteous character of Christ (4:25; 5:9), while their growing conformity to His image gives them confidence in resisting temptation.
J. Verse 15.
shoes for your feet. Despite a clear allusion to Is. 52:7, Paul does not have in mind the barefooted messenger who takes the gospel to others. The image here is of the Roman soldier’s sturdy sandals, which gave him stability and protection in battle. Ironically, the peace that comes from the gospel readies one for war against evil (2:14, 15, 17).
K. Verse 16.
shield of faith. The Roman shield was large enough to cover the whole body; it was made of wood, covered with hide, and bound with iron at the top and bottom. When dipped in water before a battle, it could extinguish fire arrows that had been dipped in pitch and set ablaze.
L. Verse 17.
helmet of salvation. For Paul, salvation is a present experience (2:8 and note) as well as a future hope (1 Thess. 5:8). The believer’s final ground of confidence is the faithfulness of God to complete the salvation He has begun (Phil. 1:6).
sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. The one offensive weapon in the believer’s arsenal is compared to the Roman sword, short and designed for hand-to-hand combat. See Jesus’ use of Scripture in Matt. 4:1–11; Luke 4:1–13.
M. Verses 18-20.
The battle theme in this passage ends with an urgent call to militant prayer on behalf of all believers and on behalf of Paul’s ministry. See 1:15–23 for Paul’s dependence on prayer.
N. Verses 21-24.
Tychicus. See note Col. 4:7, 8. The absence of personal greetings in this letter may be an indication that it was intended for circulation to more than one church. See Introduction: Date and Occasion.
My Note: The letter was intended for circulation to more than one church location in Ephesus, per Dr. R.C. Sproul’s note on vs 21-24.

IV. Closing Thoughts. Ref: What Does Every Bible Chapter Say? John Hunt.

A. Main Themes.

1. The duties of children and parents (vs 1-4).
2. The duties of servants and masters (vs 5-9).
3. All believers in Christ are to put on spiritual armor against the enemy of their souls (vs 10-18).
4. The Apostle Paul seeks their prayers, and ends with his apostolic blessing (vs 19-24).

B. Main Keys.

1. Verse. Verse 11. Clothe yourselves with the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
2. Phrase. Verse 11. “Put on the full armor of God.”
3. Theme. Fighting the spiritual battle.
4. Thought. Verse 10. The believer in Christ is able to obey, fight, and win because of God’s mighty power.
5. Thing to look out for. Note the power of God’s armor.
6. Cross reference. Verse 17. See Isaiah 59:17.
7. By way of explanation. Verse 12. “…our struggle is not against flesh and blood…”

V. What Is Christology?

A. Explanation and definition. Theology is a very broad term. It refers not only to God, but to all that God has revealed to us in sacred scripture. Included in the discipline of theology is “the study of Christ,” which we call “Christology.”

B. Source. Dr. R.C. Sproul, “Everyone’s A Theologian,” page 4.

VI. Worship And Praise.

Consider the Presence of God in our lives. Consider the worshipful attitude that can be obtained as we listen to the music of worship and praise that is led by Women Of Faith.

Shout To The Lord

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071914, Keys To The Bible – Ephesians – Chapter 5

INTRODUCTION: Paul equates the church to being obedient children, husbands, and wives.

I. Scripture Reading

Ephesians 5, New English Translation (NET Bible)

Live in Love

1 Therefore, be imitators of God as dearly loved children 2 and live in love, just as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. 3 But among you there must not be either sexual immorality, impurity of any kind, or greed, as these are not fitting for the saints. 4 Neither should there be vulgar speech, foolish talk, or coarse jesting—all of which are out of character—but rather thanksgiving. 5 For you can be confident of this one thing: that no person who is immoral, impure, or greedy (such a person is an idolater) has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Live in the Light

6 Let nobody deceive you with empty words, for because of these things God’s wrath comes on the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them, 8 for you were at one time darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light— 9 for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth— 10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For the things they do in secret are shameful even to mention. 13 But all things being exposed by the light are made evident. 14 For everything made evident is light, and for this reason it says:
“Awake, O sleeper!
Rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you!”

Live Wisely

15 Therefore be very careful how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 taking advantage of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 For this reason do not be foolish, but be wise by understanding what the Lord’s will is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, which is debauchery, but be filled by the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music in your hearts to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for each other in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 and submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Exhortations to Households
22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, 23 because the husband is the head of the wife as also Christ is the head of the church—he himself being the savior of the body. 24 But as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her 26 to sanctify her by cleansing her with the washing of the water by the word, 27 so that he may present the church to himself as glorious—not having a stain or wrinkle, or any such blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In the same way husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one has ever hated his own body but he feeds it and takes care of it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 for we are members of his body. 31 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great—but I am actually speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each one of you must also love his own wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

II. Outline. Ref: The Outline Bible, Dr. Harold L. Wilmington

A. In the first twenty-one verses of this chapter, Paul relates the church to being obedient children.

1. He spells out twelve rules for the Father’s household.

2. Rules of the Father’s household are positive and negative.

a. Follow Christ in love (vs 1-2).
b. Avoid all immorality (vs 3).
c. Refrain from obscene language (vs 4-5).
d. Don’t allow for others to deceive you (vs 6-7).
e. Walk in the light (vs 8, 9, 11, 14).
f. Seek God’s will…and…do it (vs 10, 17).
g. Use every opportunity for doing good (vs 15-16).
h. Don’t get drunk on wine (vs 18a).
i. Do…be…filled wit the Spirit (vs18b).
j. Use music…to encourage each other…and…to worship God (vs 19).
k. Be thankful for all things (vs 20).
l. Submit to one another (vs 21).

B. In the remaining twelve verses of this chapter, Paul addresses the roles of husbands and wives to each other.

1. He spells out the things that husbands and wives are “to do,” to follow God’s instructions for marriage.

a. Wives are to submit to their husbands, as the church submits to Christ (vs 22-24).
b. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church.
(1) Christ died for the church (vs 25).
(2) Christ lives to make the church holy and clean (vs 26).
(3) Christ will someday present the church to Himself as a glorious church without stain or wrinkle (vs 27).

2. Husbands are to love their wives as they love their own bodies (vs 28-33).

III. Selected Commentary. Ref: Reformation Study Bible, DR. R. C. Sproul

A. Verses 3-4.
proper . . . out of place. To trivialize the sexual relationship (“crude joking”), or on the other hand to idolize it, is out of step with our identity as “saints.” As those called out of the human race (1:4–6) to bear God’s restored image (4:24), we can accept God’s gifts, including sexuality, with thanksgiving, and restore them to their proper use (Prov. 5:18, 19; 1 Tim. 4:1–5; Heb. 13:4). (My note. Consider how the “saints”of God show a great lack of brotherly and sisterly respect for each other with such inappropriate ways of relating to each other. The church has become a place of “improper familiarity” among the sexes. The “saints” are those who have been born again.)

B. Verse 6.
Although the day of reckoning may be denied with “empty words” (cf. 2 Pet. 3:3, 4), God’s judgment will make a final separation between “the sons of disobedience” (2:2; cf. 5:5) and God’s beloved children (1:4, 5; 5:1). (My note. Consider the words, “inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” A sinful lifestyle may indicate that a person who claims to have been “born again” may not actually have been born again. We can also say that a believer, who is living an unbeliever’s lifestyle, may have the present life judgement of God that will cause such a sinful person to “live in his or her sins” everyday of this life until such a lifestyle has been corrected. However, it is important for us to know that the sins that we commit, even though they can be forgiven, will have affects that have real life consequences, and will affect the lives of others for the rest of their lives. Many people have adopted such a mindset of, “no boundaries, no consequences, no regrets.” May I add the sins of homosexuality, same sex marriage, and abortion to this list of sins that may be forgiven but will have consequences that will affect others in ways that will never go away. Consider the affects that aids has on homosexual men in greatly reducing their normal and expected life spans. Are Christians going to continue to vote for candidates for political offices who support such abominable lifestyles? Let me add this idea. If we elect officials who are faithful to God’s Holy Word, they will also be faithful to the people who elect them to office. The three sins that I addressed are ones that governments of the world are forcing on their nations to not only accept, but also to embrace as being normal to society.)

C. Verse 8.
one time . . . but now. See 2:11, 13. Paul wants believers to do more than abstain from the things that bring God’s wrath. They should live as “children of light” (cf. Col. 1:13 note). A result of the believers’ union with Christ is that He who is “the light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5) has made them also “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14). (My note. Believers were once unbelievers, until they were born again. Once we have been born again, we must life lifestyles that show others that we have been born again.)

D. Verse 9. “for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth.”
My note 1. In 1 John 1:5 we read, “… God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” Darkness, as it relates to people, refers to those who have not been born again”…per John 1:5-8…
My note 2. If we say that we have been born again, and are no longer darkness, and dwell in Christ, then we should have lifestyles that show that we are truly light, and not darkness.

E. Verse 13.
it becomes visible. Paul assumes that certain sins are so shameful that bringing them to light will shame some non-believers into repentance. The Christians’ presence alone may expose sins through contrast or they may openly denounce them. Paul quotes what may be an early Christian hymn reminiscent of a number of Old Testament passages (e.g., Is. 60:1) and calling upon the spiritually dead to rise up and receive the light of Christ (cf. 2:1–10).

F. Verse 18.
1. drunk with wine. This is more than a prohibition of simple drunkenness. Paul probably refers to an orgiastic form of worship such as was practiced by the cult of Dionysus (Bacchus), the god of wine. Worship of Dionysus involved drunken states in which the god was thought to enter the bodies of worshipers, inspiring prophecy and frenzied dancing and music. Such worship is “debauchery.”
2. be filled with the Spirit. While the sealing of the Spirit (1:13, 14; 4:30) is a once-for-all initiation into the Christian life, the filling of the Spirit applies to all the Christian life. This filling is not only repeatable, but is to be sought again and again. In the parallel passage in Colossians, Paul tells Christians to let the “peace of Christ” govern their hearts and to allow the “word of Christ” to dwell in them richly (Col. 3:15, 16). The one who is filled with the Spirit is filled with Christ and His word (John 14:16, 26; 16:12–15; 17:17).

G. Verse 19.
1. one another . . . to the Lord. Worship is offered to God alone. At the same time, in corporate worship there is a human audience as well since people worship together and address each other for their mutual benefit (1 Cor. 14; Heb. 10:24).
2. psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. See “Music in the Church” at Col. 3:16.

H. Verse 22.
submit. A Christian wife is called to grateful acceptance of her husband’s care and leadership. See theological note “The Christian Family” on the next page. as to the Lord. See v. 24.

I. Verse 23.
1. head of the wife . . . head of the church. In other passages on Christ’s headship in this letter, Paul speaks of the way Christ governs the universe and the church (1:22), and serves as the source of the body’s health and growth to maturity (4:14–16).
2. his body. That is, the church as His body—Christ Himself indwells the church (vv. 28–30).
3. Savior. It is especially in His role as Savior that Christ serves as the husband’s model (vv. 25–27 and notes).

J. Verse 24.
as the church . . . so also wives. The church’s subjection to Christ is a revealed and heavenly order, not a natural order. Christ’s disciples were His friends, not just His servants, and He died for them (John 15:12–15; cf. Luke 22:25–27).

K. Verse 25.
1. Husbands, love. The emphasis in the passage is not the husband’s authority to govern, but his responsibility to love.
2. as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Nowhere in the New Testament is Christ’s self-sacrificing love applied more directly to a specific relationship as a pattern to be emulated (cf. v. 2).

L. Verses 26-27.
Paul outlines in these verses the entire process to which Christ has committed Himself in His relationship with the church: He has washed her from sin and is preparing her for a glorious destiny with Himself (see text note, v. 27). Husbands are called in like manner to adapt their lives to their wives’ needs, and to provide for their growth and development.

M. Verses 28-32.
A person’s union with his or her own body is intimate and permanent, and marriage creates a similar union (Gen. 2:24). Christ has joined the church to Himself through the bonds of the covenant He fulfilled, and this intimate union forms an analogy for Christian marriage (see 2:6 and note).

N. Verse 33. “Nevertheless, each one of you must also love his own wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”(My note. Husbands and wives should always remember, and cherish, their wedding vows: “to have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; til death do us part.” Maybe you should repeat them now.)

IV. Closing Thoughts. Ref: What Does Every Bible Chapter Say? John Hunt.

A. Main Themes.

1. Encouragement for mutual love and charity (vs 1,2).
2. Caution against sinful lifestyles, with remedies to protect against such (vs 3-20).
3. Awareness of responsibilities of husbands and wives (vs 17-32).

B. Main Keys.

1. Verse. 11. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
2. Phrase. Verse 14. “wake up.”
3. Theme. Challenging evil; husbands and wives.
4. Thought. We who have been born again are God’s dearly loved children.
5. Thing to look out for. Paul states what it mans to live as children of light.
6. Bible Cross Reference. Verse 2. See Exodus 29:18.
7. By Way Of Explanation. Verse 8. “darkness ….. light.” Paul frequently uses such contrasts in his letters. Believers in Christ are to be full of light because God is light.

V. What Is Systematic Theology?

A. Definition. Systematic theology is an orderly, coherent study of the principal doctrines of the Christian faith.

B. Source. Dr. R.C. Sproul, “Everyone’s A Theologian,” page 4.

VI. Worship And Praise.

Consider the Presence of God in our lives. Consider the worshipful attitude that can be obtained as we listen to the music of worship and praise that is led by Terry Mac Almon.

Even So Come Lord Jesus Come

Comments are appreciated, and are great sources of encouragement. In order to protect the privacy of bloggers who comment on my posts, no such comments will be shown on my blog. If you would like to have a private response from me, please put your email address in your comment. That data will not be shown anywhere in my blog. Please let me caution all bloggers to protect their privacy. That is why I have removed my community of bloggers and comments from bloggers from my blog.