Taking the Epistle

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Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ – Romans 5:1-11

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Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ – Romans 5:1-11 – 05/01/2016

Romans 5:1 (ESV) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

This is a series in the book of Romans, for the home page in our study and to see other studies then please click here or our main epistle page is here. My aim is to go through the Book of Romans as the LORD wills.

Let’s start in verse one of chapter five…

V1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul has spent chapters 1-4 showing us the reasons that we are justified by faith now we have established that we see that Paul moves on to teaching more theology but at the same time explaining what he means by his past statements and showing correct teaching. He states that we are “justified by faith” harks back to Romans 1-3 where we were shown to be guilty before God and Paul showed the need for a savior. That is important because if you do not recognize your need for salvation then you may have issues accepting Jesus as your messiah. Even although we are guilty, God never meant for that to always be the case and we are “justified by faith” in Christa and what he has done for us on the cross.

This is why Paul states we “have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” to quote the hymn writer “Jesus paid it all” on the cross. Paul evaluates this claim and shows how great that sacrifice was. Can you imagine that God would want communion with you so much that he would send to you the most precious in his eyes to die in your place in order that justice be served on your sins and that you can have peace with God?

“Peace with God” is a wonderful phrase showing that we are no longer against God or at odds with him due to sin. This is not a “catch all state” and we are still required to have faith and we are required to actually want salvation as God will not force himself upon those who do not wish to serve him. Like most peace treaties there is a negotiation and winners and losers, in this battle however both man and God win because God gets his beloved creation back and man has a way to be reconciled to God.

V2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Paul shows us that we have this position with God not through our own will, our own merits, skills or attributes; we have it entirely through God’s grace. None of us are favored by God and we are all there through grace, it is by grace that we are saved and we see that in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians…

Ephesians 2:4 (ESV) 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

That explains it way better than I ever could, we were dead in our sins before we were redeemed and our redemption is secured by our faith, talk about finding a precious jewel in a dollar store! That is reason alone to hope in the glory of God. We have an all access pass to the maker of heaven and earth, what a joy!

V3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Paul mirrors what is said in the book of James when he talks of “rejoicing on ones trials” let’s be honest, who does that?

Paul uses a great word for “sufferings” and he states that we can rejoice in them, I am sure that in your life you have had times that you would rather not talk about and trials that have flamed you to within an inch of your spiritual life and you have been tested. Perhaps you would rather just close that door to that part of your life and forget about it. What if God had a plan for that suffering in your life? What if you were to be used in the same way that this test became a testimony and you were able to ‘save someone else’s life” just because you have been through those things. Paul states that testing does the following…

  • suffering produces endurance
  • endurance produces character
  • character produces hope
  • hope does not put us to shame

James 1:2 (ESV) Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

So instead of begging God and saying “why me?” instead say “why not?” and I know that this is easy to put down in paper and when you are in the trenches it is a whole different story. I know that I would much rather not go through what God has me go through and just have the character and hope but that is not God’s way and Paul states why below.

Isn’t that the way with God? I cannot count the amount of times I have asked in faith in prayer for more money and rather than God just dropping me a check in the mail (that has happened too) he will often times give me the opportunity to earn money through overtime or a second job will come through.

Paul writes that “and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Paul rounds that reasoning by stating that hope will not disappoint us and put us to shame because of God’s love. God when he created the heavens and earth created everything “good” and has intention to make it good again. Paul states this with great clarity but not having a cold theological feel to it. Paul realized this was life changing but also people lived their lives through this and by this.

God will pour out his love, it is not rationed and Paul desires us to have experience of this part of God. God desires us to know the Holy Spirit in its fullness. We have the Holy Spirit in our lives, but we have to ask ourselves if we are living in the fullness of the Holy Spirit and walk day by day dependent on the Holy Spirit?

V6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God came and rescued us while we were weak, not strong! This is very God, that he would come to the most undeserving, to the weakest, to the ungodly and the wicked. Basically us! The very ones that Jesus was drawn to because he and the father are on the same mission. To heal the sick and to redeem those who wish redeemed. That is why Christ died for the ungodly and he did so at the right time. God knew what he was doing and his timing is always better than ours. (This is also reconfirmed in Galatians 4:4)

Think about it, God waited for an Empire to come along that would have an open border system all through their Empire, for a stable economy, for the right time for prophecies to be fulfilled. History may say that the gospel was hampered by the Roman Empire through persecution, but the ability to have it spread to three continents was enabled by the easy passage throughout the Empire.

If you had any doubt that God loved you then verses seven and eight will really open your eyes. God loved us so much that even although we were still against God, God showed that amazing love to send Jesus to the cross to be our substitute and give us that opportunity to be with him in heaven. God loves us much more than human love because even personally, there are not many I would gladly lay my life down for even although I am assured of heaven once I pass from this earth and I know that I am quite literally justified by the blood of Jesus.

V9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

We are saved from the judgment of God for our sins; we are saved from the penalty of what our error had condemned us to. We are saved by the love of God against the wrath of God, if the wrath of God was great how much greater will the love of God be? God literally reached out to his enemy, offered his own son, the firstborn without spot, blemish or sin and not only reconciled but adopted us into his family. What love and what saving grace being saved through the life of Jesus!

V11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Jesus is the key to Salvation, this much is true, there is no longer a need to cling to a holy law that you could never keep in the first place because our reconciliation with God was through Jesus. Jesus states this more clearly than I ever could in the tenth chapter of the Gospel of John…

John 10:7 (ESV) So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Lord willing, in our next article in Romans we will look at verses twelve through twenty one in chapter five when we look at the second part of Paul’s explanation where he looks at the death of Adams sin and the new life in Jesus Christ. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
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Abraham’s offspring’s hereditary privilege came from the righteousness of faith – Romans 4:13-25

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Abraham’s offspring’s hereditary privilege came from the righteousness of faith – Romans 4:13-25 – 04/03/2016

Romans 4:13 (ESV) For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. 16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

This is a series in the book of Romans, for the home page in our study and to see other studies then please click here or our main epistle page is here. My aim is to go through the Book of Romans as the LORD wills.

Let’s start in verse thirteen of chapter four…

V13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.

Paul states a great point that makes the arguments of the day mute when he states that the promise between God and Abraham did not come through the law but the righteousness of faith. The law came later than the Abrahamic covenant and was dependent on a faithful God as opposed to an unfaithful line of family who could never hold up to the terms that God requested. Abraham’s hereditary honor of being the father of faith would come from exactly that, his simple faith in God.

V14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void.

And if we take this point to its logical conclusion then the ones who are “law only” if they were to be heirs then that would render faith a futile exercise. You have to ask the question “Can you keep all of the law?” (And remember there are 613 laws in the Mosaic law) Look at what James states about the “law keepers”…

James 2:8 (ESV) If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

“For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it” (v10) those words send shivers down my spine! We cannot be declared righteous by following a creed or code of conduct otherwise there was no point in Jesus dying on the cross for our sins.

V15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.

As stated above in the James scripture the “law brings wrath” because we are unable to keep the law and that would be seen as a way for God to nuke us with his wrath. This is what makes Christianity so different in that we are not constantly trying to appease an angry deity or god. But our God has grace upon us and does not justify us based on a set of unachievable rules.

If we use the law as the ruler then we see our guilt before God. That is not that we absolve our sins through ignorance of Gods requests. Transgression means that we overstepped a boundary that was set by God, a clear defined command that God made, Paul makes the hypothesis that if there is no law there is no transgression and that keeping the law is not the be all and end all of a relationship with God.

We are in a relationship with God and like any other relationship that you have it is based on trust and in the original sin between Adam and God that trust was broken and created a division between man and God. God planned redemption for his creation and the center of that loving and trusting relationship is not the keeping of the law. So that we do not take this out of context I would urge that you read on to get Paul’s point…

V16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

So rather than the law it depends on faith, when we believe we have that promise of grace. We are not saved by faith rather we are saved by God’s unmerited favor and that is what grace is. It is God giving us a benefit that we do not deserve and saving us based upon his own benevolence and will that none should perish.

Does that mean that we all get a “free pass” to heaven? No that is not the case! Paul states quite eloquently that salvation is based on faith. To unlock that free gift of grace we must also have some input and our input in that relationship is faith, not works, lest any man should boast!

This is why the promise rests on grace and is guaranteed to all of his offspring. God has a heart of acceptance and forgiveness and desires that no one should be without the opportunity of salvation. God is sure and is a God of truth, there is no deceit in him and that is why salvation is based on the grace of God (promises of God) rather than the fallible sinful promises of man (in keeping the law). Let’s look at the promise between God and Abraham…

Genesis 17:1 (ESV) Genesis When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, 2 that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” 3 Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, 4 “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.

We see that through Abraham in Gods promise to him that he would be the father of many nations see that he was the father of faith in the Jewish religion and though his offspring came a Messiah who would sacrifice his life so that he world could be saved through faith.

V18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb.

Abraham believed in hope and he went from being called “father of many” (Abram) to being called “father of many nations” (Abraham) and despite being advanced in years God opened the womb of Sarah and fulfilled that “everlasting covenant” that he promised to Abraham and is still faithful to that covenant. God’s favor extends through Abraham both as a physical offspring and spiritual.

Paul makes note of the age of Abraham and gave glory to God for what would be attributed to God as a miracle. Think about it, when was the last time that you read about a 100 year old father in the news? Abraham had faith that God would provide but he was not perfect in his actions, he had a child under his wife’s instructions to the Egyptian handmaiden Hagar. God redeemed him despite his mistake; he granted an inheritance to the child that was outside of God’s plan called Ishmael.

Abraham gives us a good example of how we should be in our faith. Yes, Abraham was promised an offspring and despite his circumstances he did believe and he also would have continued to have relations with his wife and allow God to open the womb in his time. The promise of God did not mean that he stopped doing what he had to do and often times that is a lesson that we could learn in today’s Christianity. If you are called to something and know that it is a definite calling from God do you sit back, relax and just assume that God will do everything for you? Or do you prepare yourself; do you take the steps that you need to take in faith in order to be ready when God opens that door for you? Sometimes it takes greater faith to be diligent in the small things and leave the results up to God. That is obedience also and Abraham is also a good example of someone who is obedient in their faith as he took the necessary steps in order to be ready when God opened that door.

V20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”

Abraham’s faith was strengthened and boy could we learn from that example. Abraham did not waver in faith and gave glory to God and Abraham really had two options and that was to trust God or not but based on what we read in the book of Genesis and here in Romans we see quite clearly that his faith was counted to him as righteousness because he remained and grew strong in the belief that God was going to keep his promises. You can apply the same principle to your own lives when you look at what you trust God with and what you don’t! That is a good measurement of how strong your faith actually is. Often times our faith is tested because we don’t understand God’s timing is perfect and He actually knows what he is doing.

V23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

And Paul explains that further that Abraham is an example to us all, that we all can be deemed as righteous through faith, that we be seen as though we have never sinned. Verse 24 states that “for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord” and that shows belief in his saving work on the cross and also that he died on the cross for our sins as the wholly acceptable sacrifice for our sins. He states that Jesus was “delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” and it is important that you remember that the journey of Jesus life does not end at the cross but death could not hold him and he was raised up and even today is in heaven. This is what Paul states here rather eloquently is a fulfillment of the Old Testament scripture and Abraham is a great example of why we are justified by faith rather than works. Paul also reiterates this point in his epistle to the Ephesian church…

Ephesians 2:8 (ESV) For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Lord willing, in our next article in Romans we will look at verses one through eleven in chapter five when we look at having peace with God through faith, it is a great piece of scripture full of wonderful doctrine. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
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You will also share in our comfort – 2nd Corinthians 1:1-7

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You will also share in our comfort – 2nd Corinthians 1:1-7 – 03/24/2016

2nd Corinthians 1:1 (ESV) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

Thank you for clicking on our page for the Pauline epistle which is called 2nd Corinthians, the letter is authored by the apostle Paul to the church in Corinth. This is a great letter of exhortation and gives many doctrines that we still use in both church structure today. For other bible studies in 2nd Corinthians please click here and for other epistles please see our main epistle page.

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse one of the first chapter of Second Corinthians.

V1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul starts with the fairly standard Pauline greeting introducing himself as an “apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God” and for me there are a few points that are worth going more in depth…

  • Paul – The name needs no introduction, the man who was introduced to us as Rabbi Saul of Tarsus who was famous throughout the Romans Empire for his desire to quash this new religion of people of “The Way”. Who had a life changing experience on the road to Damascus and was now the “apostle to the nations/Gentiles”
  • An apostle – From the Greek word “apostolos” which meant messenger as well as apostle, being an apostle in those days was dangerous work and many died for their faith. It was not so much a title as a calling because often times it was a one way ticket to becoming posthumous.
  • Of Christ Jesus – Paul is clear to tell the church in Corinth that the message that he has is the same message that Jesus preached and his words are words of correction from God. Paul is keen to advise that he is doing the will of Jesus Christ.
  • By the will of God – And by doing the will of Christ he is also doing the will of God that sent Christ to be the sacrifice for our sins. Paul is writing in the will of God also because Paul was not an apostle by man’s direction or will but Gods. It was not as if Paul chose this life of sacrifice and service. There is a good lesson in there for us that even the ones who are not held in high regard in our churches may still be used mightily by God.

Historically we learn that Paul was not revered in Corinth the way that we do today. However in heaven he was highly regarded as a man who was willing to sacrifice for the sake of furthering the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul also states that he is with Timothy, who he later writes two epistles to and Paul addresses the letter not just to the church at Corinth but the “saints who are in the whole of Achaia”

The word “saint” has gathered some controversy over the years because certain denominations like to canonize dead believers of great worth and call them “saints”, but this is not to what Paul was referring to here, he simply means those who have been set apart in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Paul meant this letter to be widely read for doctrine and reproof.

Paul uses the words “grace” and “peace” and you have to wonder how they went over if he was not seen favorably in the area. For me that showed Paul never held grudges or was unfavorable to those who did not greet him well, he served them all in the love of Christ and he genuinely wished the grace of God and peace in their fellowship. Do we do likewise? How about your relationship with other fellowships in your city? Do you have warmth towards them despite minor theological differences?

The grace and peace did not just come from the pen of Paul but it came from “God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” and that reminds us that in the church we are a family of families in unified fellowship to praise God and to be followers of Jesus Christ, we are all at that same starting point. A question for you readers would be do we treat our extended church family in the same favor as we do our actual blood family? Are our feelings ones of “grace” and “peace”?

V3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

And now we have done with the niceties of the greeting we get to the meat and bones of why was caused to write in the first place. From the first word “blessed” we see that Paul had the right attitude towards God. God is described as a father and it is important to recognize that God is a loving father. One that desires communion with his kids! Yes, he is holy but he is also loving above all else and Paul goes on to call him the father of all mercies and God of all comfort and I have to ask you as a reader how often do you think of God in these terms?

Paul uses the Greek word paraklesis which is more of a soothing sympathy, a comfort that is not just providing comfort but of sustaining, strengthening of a comfort that is designed to strengthen and help you into restoration. What a benevolent God we serve! When was the last time you allowed yourself to be comforted by God?

Paul also wished to make that comfort known so that the believers could begin to share the blessings and comfort others too. Imagine a church that was like a hospital? That the ones who were wounded by the world could be comforted by the living God and be served by those who wished to serve him, a place where love radiated throughout the building, a place where you could come as you were and not be judged, but loved and helped. That’s the type of church that Paul wanted and that is the type of church I would love to be involved in, one that comforts one another, sustains one another, builds up one another and mentors one another where the victory of the downtrodden is everyone’s victory and where a victory for another church in the city is a victory for the body of Christ (that’s a sore one huh?)

V5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

And that is why we are talking in such terms, take it from a guy who was familiar with suffering (Paul not me) Let’s have a look at some of the ways he suffered for Christ…

2nd Corinthians 11:23 (ESV) Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? 30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 At Damascus, the governor under King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus in order to seize me, 33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands.

So do you think this guy knows what it means to suffer for the faith? But yet Paul does not call anything he has endured “his sufferings” he calls it “Christ’s sufferings” because he saw himself subject to whatever punishment he was to face as a part of his faith. Would we have as many dynamic Christians today if we were being persecuted for our faith? I certainly believe that we would find out who the real ones were.

But in the sufferings of Christ that Paul was going through, JESUS WAS THERE! This is a constant message of Jesus ministry, let us look at two accounts from the Gospels where Jesus had compassion on those whom society had forgotten or cast aside…

  1.  The woman at the well – John 4:1 (ESV) Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. 4 And he had to pass through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” 27 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him. 31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” 39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
  2. The woman with the issue of blood – Mark 5:24 (ESV) And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

What I love about the ministry of Jesus and also what Paul is telling us is that Jesus see’s your afflictions, he sees the downtrodden, he sees the poor in spirit, there is no-one who was too gross to be helped and delivered from their sins, there was no-one who had sunk too far, the woman who had had five husbands was a social pariah but Jesus desired to help her despite cultural limitations. Likewise the woman with the issue of blood was also a social outcast for twelve years and had such faith that if she could just touch the hem of his garment she knew that she could be healed. But after she was healed she realized there was no way to explain it after Jesus asked “who touched me” and she rightly fell at Jesus feet and Jesus treated her with compassion and comfort. (See a pattern yet?)

V6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.

Paul goes on to say that the afflictions endured would be for your comfort and salvation. Paul was all about getting people saved into a relationship with their messiah. We are looking at two people who suffered more than we will ever suffer (Jesus and Paul) and I find it mind blowing that Paul, with a death sentence hanging over him every single day would spend his time telling people about Jesus and comforting those who had a dim view of him.

One of the things I know about suffering is that it helps me to rely on God more, my darkest times I can now use as fuel to help others and Paul did likewise. Paul also advised that this is a double edged sword that if he suffers then it will happen also that they will suffer and that they should patiently endure and comfort one another as he was them.

V7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

And Paul sums it up by stating that their hope for them was unshaken, that even although suffering was going to happen that they would also have the same comfort that Paul had in Christ and also the same closeness to God that Paul had in his trials and sufferings. I will close with this text in James.

James 1:2 (ESV) Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

And that is the truth! Trials produce what is underneath the surface and exposes the true person. Questions to ask from this lesson would be

In trials do we cling to God or rely on ourselves?
Do our trials produce patience?
Where is the comfort of God in our lives?

Lord willing, in our next article in Second Corinthians we will look at verses eight through eleven where Paul explains the peril that he was under and describes the desperate trouble he was in for the faith. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
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Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord nor of me his prisoner – 2nd Timothy 1:8-14

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Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord nor of me his prisoner – 2nd Timothy 1:8-14 – 03/18/2016

Thank you for clicking on our page for the Pauline epistle which is called 2nd Timothy, the letter is authored by the apostle Paul to Timothy who was in the Ephesian church. This is called a Pastoral Epistle and gives many doctrines that we still use in both church structure and also for choosing leaders in the church. For other bible studies on other epistles please see our main epistle page or for others in 2nd Timothy please click on this link.

2nd Timothy 1:8 (ESV) Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. 13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse eight of the first chapter of Second Timothy.

V8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,

Paul had just finished (in the last article) describing a spirit of power, love and sound mind and now Paul moves on to courage and encourages Timothy not to be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord. We have it easy these days in following Jesus as Christianity is an established religion of nearly 2000 years but back then he was following someone who the critics stated was crucified.

It is quite a common emotion to be ashamed of the gospel as the Christian message does not always follow the patterns of this world and often times it is very contrary to the standards of this world. It is not a popular message but a lifesaving one. It was a message so important that Paul was willing to have his liberty stripped from him in order to save souls.

When we become Christians we should not expect our lives to be easy, often times we will be tried and James tells us that we should count it all joy…

James 1:2 (ESV) Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

We have to get away from our “Western Christianity” that promotes the message that if life is hard then you are not doing your faith correctly. We have lost our edge and become as comfortable in the world as Lot was when he pitched his tent near Sodom. Let’s be honest here and ask “who does rejoice when they have stresses and trials? Yes we can sometimes cause our own issues and trials but we should not expect life to be easy.

Paul sees his imprisonment in a way that shows his heart, he is not the prisoner of Rome, of the ruling authorities but of “his prisoner” and this is the mark of a man who has his life immersed in his mission. If he is jailed he is jailed for the Lord, if he is free he is free for the Lord and if that wasn’t enough he invites Timothy to take a share in that ministry. Who would apply for that ministry post? With the knowledge that your mentor is in jail and you are invited to follow the same path and that would be a good application question – Would you do it?

V9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,

And this is why you do it…Paul was sitting there incarcerated due to a “holy calling” and he submitted to the purpose of God and was submissive to the grace of God also. So with God on his side should he be in such difficulty? Well he was! Just because someone is working in the will of God does not mean there will not be difficulties, sometimes God’s grace is what sees us through the difficulties.

I love this because here was Paul, and if you were not looking at his situation through “theological glasses” you would see him as a political prisoner, he was a prisoner of Rome, the largest empire of man at that time. If he was talking of power and might then people would automatically think of those who held the earthly power, however God allows people power for a season and as we know the Sun has set on the Roman Empire, let’s look at what the bible says about earthly power…

Romans 13:1 (ESV) Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

We all have our opinions regarding Governments, Parliaments and ruling people such as Prime Ministers and Presidents and to air them here would only cause discord, however we are called to be subject to the governing authorities as God is the one who gives authority. Whilst I may not agree with policy decisions I trust God who knows how it will pan out. Paul also sees this by stating that this power is fleeting compared to the power of Jesus Christ who has been there since the beginning.

V10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

We all have a common savior in Jesus Christ, we have responded to a call in our hearts. Jesus came to manifest light unto the world and Jesus told us this would be the case…

John 8:12 (ESV) Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 13 So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” 19 They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

Jesus abolished death! He came to reconcile man to God and be that spotless lamb without blemish that would replace the Passover lamb. Death is not death anymore, there is hope through Christ Jesus that we can be saved and rejoined in communion with a loving Father God I don’t see death as the sting I once did but merely a matriculation to glory. Yes I certainly will miss the ones who have touched my heart down here but apart from a mission to have as many souls as the Lord will allow me to join me, this world holds very little for me now.

Paul goes on to say this is why he was appointed a preacher, to tell that good news, that gospel! He considers it a privilege and not a course for shame; he is honored to suffer for the sake of the gospel. I just wish that I had that resolve because in all honesty I am keen to be through trials as quickly as possible and I do wonder in hindsight what valuable lessons I could have learned if I had just been patient. He calls himself three titles which he is more than worthy…

  • Preacher – Think of the sermons he has taught, the lessons he has shown people face to face and the advocate he has been for Jesus Christ.
  • Apostle – The churches he has been a messenger to (apostolos in Greek also means messenger) and has planted.
  • Teacher – Paul was given the task, despite his Jewish pedigree of being the “Teacher to the Nations/Gentiles” and we are reading fruit of that in his epistles to strengthen others.

This is why Paul was content to suffer, because he understood the majesty and honor due to the person he served. We have to realize who it is we are serving but we have to also be as committed as Paul who was committed to serving him with everything he had until the day that he would see him. (Paul calls it that Day) and this may be a question you can ask yourself… Are you all in? Do you serve the Lord with all that you have? Or Are you going through the motions? If the answer is less favorable than you would like then it is not a situation that cannot be remedied, I would suggest discussing with your Pastor or leaders how you could use your gifts more. I don’t teach at the church I attend so I use my gift for teaching on this blog, there may be more than one way to be of use to the Lord.

V13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

Just as it is important to know WHO we are serving it is just as vitally important to know your doctrine (know the sound words) as we are all called to be faithful to the truth. We are to follow that pattern, to hold fast in the midst of friction, it will require inner strength as well as a firm footing in the doctrinal truths that you already know, to give you an example in Paul’s epistle to the Ephesian church…

Ephesians 4:11 (ESV) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

I see this in the church today where sketchy doctrines become popular that has precious little biblical basis but they are accepted because people who are trusted endorse them. I worry and wish to keep myself and my family (and those the Lord has allowed be to be Spiritual mentors to) free from being tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine.

Paul states that Timothy must follow his example in sound teaching and Paul is not being proud when he states this but merely giving a tangible example of someone he can relate to, we all have folks that we trust for doctrine and Paul advises Timothy to remain faithful and guard that good deposit within us by the Holy Spirit and God has supplied that helper and he desires from us more than we can do on our own and is it good to be obedient and rely on the help that we are given.

Lord willing, in our next article in Second Timothy we will look at how Paul gives a good example of what he is teaching Timothy by giving examples of faithful and unfaithful men in the faith. It truly is a challenging study from an introspective point of view. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
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Then what becomes of our boasting? – Romans 3:27-31

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Then what becomes of our boasting? – Romans 3:27-31 – 03/06/2016

Romans 3:27 (ESV) Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

This is a series in the book of Romans, for the home page in our study and to see other studies then please click here or our main epistle page is here. My aim is to go through the Book of Romans as the LORD wills.

Let’s start in verse twenty seven of chapter three…

V27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.

Paul makes a great point here that boasting is not required and goes as far as to say that it is excluded because we are saved and justified by the grace of God, we could not earn it or be worthy of it, we have been gifted it in the same manner that we are given a birthday or Christmas gift. Paul goes at this point like a criminal prosecutor and would have made a terrific inductive bible study student, he asks the question “By what kind of law?” and whilst on the first glance it would appear the questioning may change the direction of the passage, that is not the case because Paul reaffirms his argument by the very asking of the question.

Pride is excluded (in the words of Paul) by the law of faith and it is completely foreign to the free gift of grace that we have been speaking about earlier in this article. Our grace that we have freely received is not something we can or should boast of because it was not of our doing or we were not regarded as special or pre-elected by God for this based on our merits and this is a stumbling block for many who desire a more difficult path to God, that it can’t be that simple.

It truly is that simple, we have been justified freely by his grace, and our righteous merits are described as “filthy rags” to the Holy God that we serve. This flies in the face of the pride that we want to have based on whatever righteousness we think that we have. None of it is ours and would not be possible without the love of a graceful God. Trust me folks! If I could figure it out anyone could!

V28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

Think of it like a court case if you will, we are in the court of God who never has jurisdiction issues and who sees everything including our inner monologue (scared yet?) He sees our hearts, our intentions and what we did, when we did it and why we did it in a perfect system of justice. There is no legal counsel in the land that can get you off the sin that you have committed. You are as the Brits say “bang to rights” and “guilty as charged”.

That is not the end of the story however, you do have a defense and that is your redeemer Jesus Christ and should you put your faith in him and repent fully of your sins and turn your life around this defense will grant you an acquittal of the charges you face. Not because of what you have done because you are guilty (Romans 3:23 told you that already) but because of the free gift of salvation at the cross of Calvary. Luther called it “Sola Fide” (Latin – Faith alone)

Paul deals with an issue that we have seen in modern day Christianity that has led to the question “Are we justified by faith or works?” and I would conclude that we are justified by faith, however the works of the law will come as fruit of what you believe. You will be known by your works to show that you are the real deal and not a hypocrite. Paul asks how far reaching this salvation is, we see below…

V29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also,

God’s righteousness goes over all boundaries, regardless of your heritage, regardless of your nationality, regardless of your sex, regardless of what tone your skin is God id the God of the whole world, of both the Jews and the Gentiles, I write this as a Gentile who has recognized his need for a redeemer and savior. I am no different to the man who is caught up in his sins and reading this other than I have humbled myself in the sight of the Lord and he has lifted me up and I am redeemed by that free gift of grace I so freely talk about.

V30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.

In the same way that we ARE saved, we also RECEIVE it in the same way; the Jews have no other way to Heaven that the gentiles have no access to. Classic throwback to John 14:6 where Jesus told us that he was “THE WAY”. Whether we have completed the ritual of circumcision or not we are all justified by faith. Some Christians stop reading here but the last verse is vital to give the passage the balance that it requires.

V31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

It is a legitimate question; “if the law is not going to save us can we just get rid of it?” Or the question “Paul are you seriously going against the Law of God?” and I believe that Paul does not do that, he probably was accused of that but that is not what he was doing. Midway through this question he says the words “By no means” and he is by no means trying to contradict the law or make void the law, he is stating that the law was a means to know righteousness and no longer pointing to heaven as the messiah had come and paid that debt.

Lord willing, in our next article in Romans we look forward to verses one through twelve where Paul explains further the full gravity of what he is talking about and that this was God’s plan all along and the law anticipated the coming of the messiah. This showing as Paul states at the end a desire to “uphold the law”. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
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Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, – Jude 1:24-25

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Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy – Jude 1:24-25 – 02/19/2016

Thank you for reading this Bible study on the book of Jude. This bible study is part of a series on the book of Jude, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of Jude for other studies in this book.

Jude 1:24 (ESV) Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Lord willing it is my desire to go through the epistle of Jude on a verse by verse basis and we have reached verse twenty so far, please join me in looking at the text beginning in verse twenty four…

V24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Jude culminates this letter in contending for the faith with a familiar type of greeting that I am sure that if you have read the book of Jude more than once you will have looked at it and probably skipped over it or if you have read it word for word I can guess that you may not have pondered the meaning why the letter finishes in the manner but the greeting itself is worthy of an article because it is filled with lessons that can easily be applied to us today.

This is called the closing or closing doxology and let’s break it up and examine it inductively in order to get the most out of the text.

• Now to him – Even in his closing Jude is intentional in the dedication of the letter to the one who is most important, Jude reminds us in the following sentence of the heart of God and how he is, as the song says “a good, good father”.
• Who is able to keep you from stumbling – Jude is very doom and gloomy in his letter, but here he reminds us of what a big God we serve, he is the one who is able to keep us because let’s face it we are not able to keep ourselves. If you think that you are, have a wee think about who you are if you are left to your own devices, not the “polished Christian” that you display outwardly.

We read in the last article (link here) the idea that we were to avoid men who were dangerous to our faith, avoid the scoffers and keep ourselves in the love of God. This is all gearing up to the next thought and we are kept from stumbling so we could be presented.
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, We are sinners and we deserve judgment, however the grace of God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ allows us to claim a state of blamelessness that we do not deserve or cannot earn on our own. That is what grace is! That we benefit through Jesus suffering and resurrection and we are presented as if we never sinned! What a God we serve that he would go the whole distance to allow us a way to heaven.

God will present us blameless but I do want to challenge you in asking how is God moving in you? You can usually see the ones that he is moving in because they are usually the diligent ones in doing the work of the kingdom down here on earth. In the words of Janet Jackson “what have you done for Him lately?” Are you following the callings that God has on your lives with your full passion and effort?
• Before the presence of his glory – And here is the destination of our grace! We will be in the presence of God should we truly be a child of God. I am excited to be in the presence of God for all eternity. Personally I laugh when I hear people saying things like “won’t it be great to hang out with (insert hero of the faith)” and I think to myself, actually no, I will be too busy worshipping God and being in his presence. All I do in his name it to try and get the folks that God places in my way alongside me. If you are reading this and unsure of your salvation, I want you to be next to me in paradise.
• With great joy – Because of God’s grace we can be joyful in his presence and that we don’t need to sneak in like the guilty child that knows they shouldn’t get a treat due to past misdemeanors. God has assured us a place in heaven regardless of our sin if we really are a true Christian. We are presented, as if we were a dignitary at a party and received with great joy. How mind-blowing is that?
• To the only God – Jude refutes the polytheistic notion that there are many gods and dedicates his letter to “the one God” the only God, the one who saves, who is he?
• Our Savior – Jude introduces him as “our Savior” and the last 500 words of this article give some basic information of why his is the savior. If he is the savior that tells us that we need to be saved, how can we be saved?
• Through Jesus Christ our Lord – And this is basic John 14:6, there is one way to heaven and that is through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is the basis for the Christian faith.
• Glory – And now Jude gives the attributes of God, I categorize these separately because they deserve individual attention, there is not enough words in the English language to adequately discuss about the many ways that God alone deserves glory, we were created for his glory and all of the things that we distract ourselves with and give adulation to, ask yourself if they are taking away the glory that should be reserved for God.

Look at a football stadium, several thousand people all dressed in the same colors, some even paint their faces as if they belong to a tribe. They chant, they cheer, they sing songs of praise to their team, they cheer when they do well and they wail and boo when they don’t. I know what I am like when I am watching football and I lament that I am not the same way on a Sunday when I am worshipping God.
• Majesty – God is sovereign, he should be treated as you would treat the finest king, the most powerful president or the most powerful person that you can think of pales in significance to the power of this King of King and Lord of Lords. He alone is the one that deserves all the pomp and circumstance because of his dominion.
• Dominion – Do not forget that God is in charge, he could call time on the world as we know it in the blink of an eye. Do not think we are transferring power to God if we declare it, we are simply recognizing who he is and the power that he has. I serve a big God, how about you?
• Authority – And God has all authority, he is absolute! Literally the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Much like his glory, his majesty and his dominion, there is no beginning and there is no end to it. We can’t fall into the lie that God has limits because NOTHING is impossible to God.
• Before all time and now and forever. Amen – We see all those attributes and now we see what timescale God has, he is before all time and he is now and forevermore. He is not held by time and is limitless in such a way that it is almost impossible for us to comprehend. Each time I think of my God in a larger sense, he shows me that he is even larger than I thought he was.

Just as God is forever, our glory in God and time in his presence will be the same. We should know this already because we have rich hymns such as Amazing Grace that states the following…

“When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise,
Than when we first begun”

And that is the reality that Jude is conveying here, that regardless what limits you think you can put on God, God is bigger than those limits, whether your limiter is time, glory, dominion or whatever, our victory and triumph is forever in God. Jude shows us what unshakable faith he has in God by that last sentence, regardless of what he comes against he is going to approach it with absolute and supreme confidence and faith in God. And he knows that that is past, present and future, God does not change and his mercy is longsuffering and enduring.

Do you have that faith that Jude has? Would you like to strengthen that faith? Would you like to start your journey of faith, please contact me if this is you? It is my desire to either start you on your journey or strengthen you if you have limited or weaker faith.

I am really grateful to have been able to relook at the book of Jude in these articles and I am also glad to be able to complete the book in this article, I am still praying about what epistle to look at next but I feel that Lord willing it will probably be Paul’s second epistle to Timothy, I have been reading that and it is so rich in lessons that could easily be applied to our lives as Christians today. Please keep me in prayer as I make this decision, each book and study is covered in prayer and the decisions to do these books and the order they are done in is not taken flippantly or lightly. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Psalms Saturday #4 – Psalms 134 – Come, Bless the LORD

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Psalms Saturday #4 – Psalms 134 – Come, Bless the LORD – 12/19/2015

A Song of Ascents.

Psalms 134:1 (ESV) Come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, who stand by night in the house of the LORD! 2 Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the LORD! 3 May the LORD bless you from Zion, he who made heaven and earth!

This is a song of Ascents, of David known as the man after God’s own heart and I love this Psalm due to its simplicity and humble let’s look it all three verses on a verse by verse basis.

V1 Come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, who stand by night in the house of the LORD!

The instruction is simple – “Come bless the LORD” and this should be a “mission statement” (pun intended) for us all as Christians to live in a way that blesses the LORD. This Psalm reminds me of a song that I used to sing in the Scripture Union group at my High School when I was a kid. The lyrics were as follows…

“Come bless the Lord, (Come bless the Lord,)
All ye servants of the Lord, (All ye servants of the Lord,)
Who stand by night, (Who stand by night,)
In the house of the Lord. (In the house of the Lord.)
Lift up your hands, (Lift up your hands,)
In the Holy Place, (In the Holy Place,)
And bless the Lord. (And bless the Lord.)
And bless the Lord. (And bless the Lord.)”

Now I have all the worship leaders’ attention huh? I will be honest and state that when I have been reading the bible in the past I have kind of skimmed over this Psalm because I have looked at it and thought, “I get this – bless the LORD – Next page ” and although it is a simple message we don’t focus in on it because we don’t see any deep theology in there or any “life changing doctrine” so please indulge me for a few minutes and I hope that in the next 1300 odd words I can show you the value I see in this scripture. Paul states the following about scripture in his second epistle to Timothy…

2nd Timothy 3:16 (ESV) All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Not MOST scripture, but ALL scripture and for my earlier confession I do make a public confession because I know as much as anyone that when we review scripture we try to get the most out of our time and we do have a different mindset to if we were doing say a leisure pursuit and we will be more likely to stick to our time that we set aside for God. Whilst this is good for accountability purposes and if we are flaky or undisciplined then that is good, however if we are doing it to limit our time with God and it is having a negative impact with our relationship with God then we need to evaluate out heart.

In Verse 1 we are told the following:

•       Come bless the LORD – A loving father wants to spend time with his kids! I know that when I walk through the door my daughter wants “daddy time” as she has missed me being at work with me all day, she may just want to watch a movie with me or have me play a game with her but it truly is a blessing to spend time with the father. We need to have that heart of a child in our mindset to spending time with our heavenly father.
•       All you servants of the LORD – The Psalmist states who should be spending time, all those who serve the LORD, and those who are not believers are not held to this standard as they will not see the need to keep it.
•       Who stand by night in the house of the LORD – and this states a special type of believer, the plugged in one, the one who is a watchman – who is one who will do the hard tasks, the night shift of the Christian watch. I am blessed in that on a Wednesday morning I have coffee with watchmen like this ones who edify, exhort and sometimes kick up the butt when necessary and if you don’t have those who are that “iron who sharpens iron” I would urge you to pray about who God would send you as it truly is a blessing.

V2 Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the LORD!

This is more than just being a little Pentecostal in the service on a Sunday; by all means lift your hands up if your heart leads you to worship in an expressive manner. I would however caution you not to use that external method to show how “holy” you are! I love services that turn off the lights during worship to discourage spiritual showboating and encourage a place where those who are seeking the heart of God can do so as expressively or as not and not be a distraction.

It is all about the heart and although it states the holy place, I would go further and ask are you lifting up your hands on a daily basis when life’s road is muddy and your wheels are not progressing as you would like. When life is frustrating and you are questioning God’s perfect plan in your life. We have to take the attitude of the coach in the Sherwood Pictures movie “Facing the Giants” when he said “Praise Him when we win and Praise Him when we lose!” and some of my closest times with God have been when I have lost big!

V3 May the LORD bless you from Zion, he who made heaven and earth!

When you get your heart right you will start to recognize blessings from the LORD. If we are down and heading away from God we start to become entitled and do not praise God for what he has provided thus far and think we have to do it on our own stead and strength and we do not look at the LORDs blessings.

We are reminded also that the one who blesses us is “he who made heaven and earth” so how easy do you think it would be for the one who created all of what is around us to bless little old us? We serve a BIG GOD! We need to have an injection of faith in our prayers, regardless of what we are praying for whether it be finances, health, healing, open doors in ministry or whatever is the number one issue in your life, we have to ask it of God in faith with nothing wavering. In James we are given how we should ask for wisdom, let’s look at the verse so we can see exactly what it says.

James 1:5 (ESV) If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

In short I say – Have a little faith in the one you are requesting help from. God is not like your buddy down the street where he will let you down or be flaky. God is ALWAYS there and he wants to bless you but he also wants us to ask in faith.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

 

Columbus, was he a just a biblical scholar, an explorer or just a man of great faith?

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Columbus, was he a just a biblical scholar, an explorer or just a man of great faith?

Isaiah 40:21 (NKJV) Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. 

Today in the US is Columbus Day and they celebrate the man who was looking for the Indies and came across the Americas. There has been a lot written about the Portuguese mercenary sailor who petitioned the King of Spain to sponsor and fund his journey to the Indies with tales that he could bring back a bounty of riches from the Indies.

This was not a popular opinion in that day with some Catholic theologians who still preached that the earth was flat and you could sail off the end if you went far enough, hence why Columbus had issues finding someone to fund his expedition. He was right in the idea but where he fell short was the measurement of the world, seasoned sailors were of belief that the earth was not flat a belief that Pythagoras popularized before the days of Christ. The bible as stated above does state long before telescopes or exploratory sailings that the earth is a circle, it is spherical and that it was created by the one who knows it best, God!

Which is why I laugh when I hear atheists call Christians “Flat earth society” or decriers of science because in many ways the scientific community is catching up to what the bible has been stating for many years.

I do wonder where Columbus got his unshakeable faith that the world was round despite what the people who were controlling the money of the Crowns of Europe were telling him, I have never met the chap and have very little literature to tell me if this is the case or not but it may just be possible that he had heard this prophet in Isaiah, written a good length of time prior to the birth of Christ, it is a good question and may be the case, however I wish we as Christians had such unshakeable faith at times.

Jesus said all we need is a mustard seed faith, a mustard seed one of the smallest seeds that grows into the tallest of plants! Let’s look at two examples of faith from two disciples Phillip and Andrew…

Mark 6:30 (NKJV) Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. 31 And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. 32 So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves. 33 But the multitudes saw them departing, and many knew Him and ran there on foot from all the cities. They arrived before them and came together to Him. 34 And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things. 35 When the day was now far spent, His disciples came to Him and said, “This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late. 36 Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat.” 37 But He answered and said to them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to Him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?” 38 But He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they found out they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then He commanded them to make them all sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in ranks, in hundreds and in fifties. 41 And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fish He divided among them all. 42 So they all ate and were filled. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish. 44 Now those who had eaten the loaves were about five thousand men.

They werein a pickle huh? They had real need that 5,000 men required fed, and Jesus knows the hearts of the guys he is working with and knows who still needs work and his disciples first reaction was to move the problem away and send them away once the preaching was over, and as Christians we will often times choose the path of least resistance but will that bring glory to God? Jesus had other plans to show the power of the father.

We have two responses and if you do additional reading in the Gospel of John 6 verses 4-9…

John 6:4 (NKJV) Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. 5 Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” 6 But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do. 7 Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.” 8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, 9 “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?”

Answer one is Phillip who saw it from the world’s perspective and was calculating what they DID NOT HAVE and how this could not be done, for me this was an astounding lack of faith in Jesus based on what they had seen at this point. Contrast this to Andrew who had that mustard seed of faith and stated what they DID HAVE  and despite not fully understanding how it could be achieved, he presented the loaves and fish to Jesus saying “from my perspective this isn’t much LORD but I submit these into your hands”.

How much more abundant would our lives be if we were like Andrew? If we had “faith like Columbus” that God could achieve heights in our lives that everyone had told us could not be achieved then many more modern day miracles would be achieved and God would be given much more glory! I am reminded of a story that involves the legendary preacher Charles Spurgeon…

Spurgeon was mentoring a young pastor who said to him, “I have been preaching for a few months now and no-one has got saved,” to which Spurgeon replied “Do you expect them to be saved?” and the young pastor replied “no” and Spurgeon replied “that is your first problem”.

We have to be real in our faith, be all in and allow God to work within us and achieve such heights that it is obvious that God did it, sometimes I believe that is why God uses us because he knows that despite our talents he will get the glory.

My exhortation to you is to have faith like Columbus, sail to the edge of your boundaries and allow God to work and do that work in your life.
SDG
TGBTG
TTE

A 1% compass error is still wrong

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April 10, 2015

This bible study is part of a series on the book of 1st Timothy, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of 1st Timothy for other studies in this book.

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse one of the fourth chapter of First Timothy.

Some Will Depart from the Faith

1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, 3 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

Even although Paul wrote this to Timothy nearly 2000 years ago, this letter is as relevant today as it was when the ink was still wet. I can’t switch on a computer (A lot of the news groups I subscribe to on Facebook and Twitter are Christian) without seeing some of what Paul mentions here, today!

Paul advises that “in later times some will depart from the faith,” much like we did in chapter three, lets break this down as Paul states in the verses…

1) Devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons – The people who are leaving will be deceived, much like Eve was in the Garden of Eden. They will follow their own way rather than God’s way.

Demons are very powerful and as we mentioned Eve was tripped up by someone who knew exactly what God said and knew that that person did not have their theology straight. The deceit will start with a very small percentage of a lie with a large portion of the truth (could be 99% true and 1% twisted) and that small dilution of what is pure will be enough to steer someone’s faith off course.

An example of this would be a tracker who is not using GPS and is reliant on basic navigational tools such as a compass. If he was set to go on a journey at 0 degrees North and misreads the compass and sets off at 1 degree North, when he travels 5 miles he will be far away from where he is seeking to go. That is how important that 1% is.

They will give themselves away from the faith of Jesus Christ and follow the teaching of demons. They will go from a backsliding state into a full rebellion of God. They will follow those who have already rebelled against God on that oft trodden path to an eternity without God. How tragic.

We have to be alert to not fall into the snare of false teaching. Doctrines that do not recognize Jesus as the messiah, doctrines that state that Jesus is not the messiah or that there are many ways to heaven. False religions, cults, and anything else that is a lie from the pit of hell, we cannot be involved in it!

Please take it from me, one who has left the faith and I am in the low percentage. I am one who came back after sampling the world! Once they leave the church and decide that the church has nothing for them and they decide not to believe the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ then they will continue to follow their own path. (I know I did for about a decade – for more information check out my “testimony” page)

2) Through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared – Paul tells it how it is, once they leave they will use the insincerity of their own lies to justify their new lifestyle. As the standards slip and they take a slow fade (some slower than others) into sin, they will embrace all manner of contortions in order to justify their actions.

In my case I tried to lead a double life, I lived the church life on a Sunday and even hung out with folks in the fellowship as occasion demanded. But my real self was living a party life and I reconciled that by keeping in with God on a Sunday. I tried to do a weird balancing act which simply was not doing anyone any favors.

Eventually I stopped reading the bible, threw out the theology and went my own way. As Paul states here when he speaks of the conscience, there would have been a time when I would have had a theological check that I was doing something in error, I had seared my conscience to a point that I had justified “my version of the truth” and was dead to feeling what the living word had to say to me.

Paul knew all about this, I bet that before Damascus he had justified in his own heart that what he was doing to the Christians was correct, the persecution, torture and death of these people that once his eyes had been opened, he realized how much he had grieved the LORD. He was also grateful for God’s mercy that he was counted able to be used.

3) Who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth – You will remember in a previous article I spoke on those who would try to convert the Gentiles into Jews by have them follow the Law in addition to their Christian faith, Paul touches on this as an example to Timothy here.

Paul always will maintain the truth, which it is the grace of God and not the rules we keep that will make us righteous with God. What the legalists forget is that their Savior when he was on this earth had most to say about the ones who thought they were holier than God. Here is the deal! We need God more than he needs us.

God will never owe us anything and we can’t work our way to “out holy” God. We will never be like the LDS church claims and be Gods. That lie is the very reason why Lucifer is no longer leading worship in the heavenly choir, he knew he was beautiful and wanted to be God.

V3b) that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth

The fact that they will depart does not mean that they will leave that assembly and go elsewhere. Paul is stating that they will depart and not return to any assembly, that they will depart from the faith and slide into apostasy. Many will meet on their own, some will not meet at all and it will be a rainbow of unbelief and false religion all stemming from that 1% lie. (See how dangerous this is?)

Unfriendly fire from the outside

Even although these people will not wish to be part of the assembly, this will not stop them commenting about things that still go on in the assembly that they wished not to be a part of. They will be the legalists, they will be the mockers. I know it sounds like I am talking about both groups in the same way, but I am mentioning two opposite ends of a spectrum based on people who leave. They will either leave to their own sins, or leave to pursue their own doctrine and their own version of religious extremism.

V4) For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

Paul flips the last point made (Point # 3) around by giving the truth, that what we eat is not what makes us holy. It is the heart behind how we receive them. In modern day Christianity we say grace before every meal, but I challenge you, how grateful are you for that meal that was put down in front of you? Are you grateful for the clothes you wear, the roof over your head, the vehicle you drive and even the device you are reading this article on.

Robotic prayers

Please be careful that it does not get ritualistic a kind of “Dear Jesus, thanks for this food, please let it bless our bodies” (Let me cover all the holy bases before I say Amen) Jesus warns about this in Matthew 6, especially in verse 5 and 7…

Matthew 6:5 (ESV) “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Basically search your heart, talk to God, and tell him what’s on your heart and what you are grateful for. (Might get a bit awkward if you have guests over!)  Paul states that the food is holy due to the word of God and prayer, so let’s bless the food. Don’t make a show and go too far the other way, but be grateful to God for all he has provided for us.

We have liberty in what we eat

We are told that nothing is to be rejected on the grounds of religious curtail, we are not limited by diet, God will see us no more righteous if we eat fish on a Friday or Steak pie! This is in line with Acts 10 which reads….

Acts 10:9 (ESV) The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. 10 And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance 11 and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” 15 And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” 16 This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.

That is not to say that if we eat fast food 24/7 and drink soda instead of water that we won’t have health issues. God has given us license to make our own decisions regarding our food and drink but we also have a responsibility to ourselves to eat in a balanced fashion.

Thank you again for finding this article and I pray these bible studies are a blessing. Please feel free to comment, like or share as the LORD leads you to.
TGBTG
TTE

Qualifications for Deacons

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This bible study is part of a series on the book of 1st Timothy, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of 1st Timothy for other studies in this book. 

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse eight of the third chapter of First Timothy.

Qualifications for Deacons

8 Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9 They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

In our last article we looked at the qualifications for overseers (or bishops) but that is only kevel of leadership that Paul tells Timothy to look out for. He tells him to look for “Deacons” and then explains the qualities that they must have. Similar to the “overseers” article I plan to go through the qualifications one by one.

Where do we get the name deacons?

Deacons are introduced in a way in Acts 6:1-6 when they made members in charge of fulfilling the needs of others in order to allow the overseers the ability to do their job. Let’s look at Acts 6…

1 Now in these days when the disciples we increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. 2 And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. 6 These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.

People throughout the ages have seen one as “more prestigious” than another, like many things in Gods church it is a calling rather than a job. Being a deacon is a tough job and it is a timely reminder that they need to be prayed for as much as your pastors are.

The qualifications for a deacon are as follows…

1) Be dignified – Like the overseers, the person has to be respectful, reverent and has an appropriate level of respect for God and be well thought of by men.

2) Not double-tongued – Not a deceiver, an honest man who can be trusted with no guile or intent to lie or mislead in any way.

3) Not addicted to much wine – Again goes hand in hand with being dignified, if he is addicted to any other spirit than the spirit of God, what use is he going to be in God’s church. The deacon should be one who is looked at as an example.

4) Not greedy for dishonest gain – Like the overseers, you have to ask what the heart is for service. Is it for profit? Likewise in their daily lives are they conducting their business affairs on the level? Are they charging a fair price for their trade? There is nothing more grievous than brothers ripping other brothers off! Also, would you want that kind of man leading in your assembly?

5) They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience – Someone who can hold on to having their doctrine straight and have convictions about the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Someone with a firm faith.

6) And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless.  – Let them be recognized by their conduct rather than seek volunteers for a vacant post. I am always impressed when a Pastor appoints his own deacons based on prior unrecognized service. (Usually done with little recognition given or sought!)

7) Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, sober-minded, faithful in all things – Paul goes on to say that in addition to the men being dignified and being above reproach, they also must marry well. Does she fulfil these qualities as well? Does she respect the husband as the head of the home? Is she faithful in all things?Husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well – Like the overseers the deacon is expected to show good management in the home prior to being invited to be a head in Gods church!

It’s a service not a position

Verse 13 is the only verse that doesn’t deal with the qualities required when discussing deacons, we read in verse 13…

V13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

Which reiterates that when you come on board as a deacon it is a service and not a position, you are coming on board to be a chief of servants, an example to the lay community in how to serve. No task, regardless how small or unrewarded it is should be below the deacon to do, really they are expected to serve with little regard or gratification apart from a job well done. It is not really a job for the “look at me” brigade.

The good standing that Paul speaks of is usually not in this life, the effective deacon serves to serve, knowing that he is storing up treasures in heaven. It is a noble calling but certainly is a calling and is not for everyone. My hope is that if you sought to be a deacon that this article may help you in your choice. My hope is to help people grow in their walk with Christ and not discourage them.

Thank you again for finding this article and I pray these bible studies are a blessing. Please feel free to comment, like or share as the LORD leads you to.
TGBTG
TTE