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Some Challenges from Colossians! (Part 5)

Let’s work our way slowly through the first chapter of Colossians.

After his initial greeting, Paul shows us his commitment to prayer. He writes:

3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel 6 that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. 7 You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, 8 and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2018 in Colossians 1

 

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Some Challenges from Colossians! (Part 4)

What a joy to slowly go through God’s Word! We are thinking our way through Paul’s epistle to the Colossians. This morning we have the high and holy privilege to read through chapter four together.

Here are several observations on this last chapter of Paul’s letter:

The chapter begins with some instructions to those who are masters of slaves (v. 1). Interesting that verse 1 should have been included as part of chapter three (chapter and verse divisions in the Bible are not inspired by God).

Prayer is a primary subject of chapter four. The believer is to devote himself to prayer (v. 2) and to pray that God would give others opportunities to proclaim the gospel clearly (vv. 3-4).

We are to be wise in how we act toward outsiders, being marked by grace-filled words (vv. 5-6).

How important are fellow workers to the Apostle Paul? Very! He lists — and gives thanks for — Tychicus, Onesimus, Aristarchus, Mark, Jesus (Justus), Epaphras, Luke, Demas, Nympha, and Archippus.

Could you — could I — list ten other Christian workers for whom we are thankful?

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2018 in Colossians 4

 

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Ten Habits That Are Helping Me in My Christian Life! (Habit #2)

Pursuing this thing called the Christian life isn’t a piece of cake. It challenges us to the very core of our being. Our priorities, our schedules, our habits get reorganized and recallibrated.

My first holy habit is spending time in God’s Word. Just reading it. Pondering it. Taking a few notes on what I’m seeing in the Bible.

A second holy habit will not surprise anyone. Prayer. Yes, prayer. I’m not good at praying. My problem is that I often look at prayer as a passive activity, a last resort, a failsafe when everything else (all my efforts) have failed.

What a pathetic view of talking to the Lord! We are to pray without ceasing. In the KJV that expression is used four times: We read in Acts 12:5 that the early church responded to Peter’s being put in jail by praying without ceasing for him. The Apostle Paul showed his love for the Roman believers when he says in Romans 1:9, “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers . . .” Paul commands in I Thessalonians 5:17 that believers ought to “pray without ceasing.” And in 2 Timothy 1:3 Paul writes, “I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day . . .”

My wife Linda thought as a little child that the verse read, “Pray without sea-sicking.” I do become a bit nauseous when I look at my poor prayer life. How about you? (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2018 in holy habits

 

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Friends Don’t Let Friends . . . Die! (A Study of John 11) Part 20

Willing to risk the stench of a decaying human body, Jesus tells those in charge of Lazarus’ tomb to “take away the stone.” Let’s continue thinking through this chapter and read our next section of John 11 …

38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

How critical is prayer? Well, for the Lord Jesus, prayer served a variety of purposes (see our previous series of posts on John 17 entitled “What Did Jesus Pray About?”).

Here, just as the stone is removed from Lazarus’ tomb, Jesus prays. He says, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” (vv. 41-42).

Perhaps you’ve heard the story of the young seminarian who was asked to open the church service in prayer. He prayed a long, complicated, deep prayer and then said, “Amen.” The pastor, who was not always the most gracious, whispered to him, “I have never heard a better and more eloquent prayer — prayed to people!”

Jesus must have prayed this prayer out loud, for it was for the people. Not to impress them. But to challenge them to believe. Where else in our study of this chapter does Jesus emphasize belief? (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2017 in prayer

 

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What Did Jesus Pray About? (Part 9)

Jesus uses the word “world” 17 times in His so-called high priestly prayer.  Let’s continue asking what He means by that word in our next occurrence of it.  We read in John 17 —

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Jesus Prays for All Believers

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2017 in prayer

 

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What Did Jesus Pray About? (Part 7)

What in the world is the Christian?  In this amazing prayer by the Lord Jesus we find Him focusing on His disciples and praying for them.  Today let’s look at the whole prayer and notice specifically what He says about His follower in the world:

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Jesus Prays for All Believers

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2017 in the world

 

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What Did Jesus Pray About? (Part 6)

The Lord Jesus was a man of prayer.  The Son of God, the Second Member of the Trinity, needed to pray!  He became fully human and humans need to pray!  Some of His prayers were for the benefit of others.  Just before He raised His friend Lazarus from the dead, we read, 41 “So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” (Jn. 11).  Allowing others to eavesdrop on His pray was important to the Lord Jesus — it was so “they may believe that you sent me.”

Here in John 17, Jesus is alone with His Father.  And His prayer is rich and personal.  But His requests are for His disciples.  Let’s notice this section one more time —

6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

What does He pray for concerning His disciples?  First of all, He gives thanks that His followers have obeyed God’s Word and have accepted the words Jesus gave them (vv. 6-7).  Second, they believed that the Father sent the Son (v. 8).  Third, Jesus states that “glory has come to me through them” (v. 10).  Wow.  Embarrassment, certainly.  But glory?  Fourth, He prays for His disciples who will remain in the world and continue His work (v. 11).  We will look a bit at the believer in the world in our next post.  Today?  Bring glory to the Lord Jesus!  (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2017 in prayer

 

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