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He Is Ransom

From the writing of Psalm 55

He ransoms me and keeps me safe

    from the battle waged against me,

    though many still oppose me.

19 

God, who has ruled forever,

    will hear me and humble them. Interlude

For my enemies refuse to change their ways;

    they do not fear God.

He which is enemies who dwell over me from the battle which is waged against the inner and outer being of who I am in spirit and in physical bodies through men and God still have oppositions against the Father and the good of men which includes in me

God, who has ruled authorities over nations and worldwide forever,

    will hear me in his works he has shown many and performed though his servants and humble them. Interlude

For my enemies refuse to change their ways;

    they do not fear God. The draw pleasure in the wrongs they do in being servants of the world and unruly sin not in a faith walk with God living a godly rule

What Does Psalm 55:6 Mean? ►

I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.

Psalm 55:6(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

David is the author of Psalm 55, and he bemoans the shocking fact that his own familiar friend, whom he loved and trusted, betrayed him. A trusted companion, with whom David had enjoyed hours of sweet fellowship turned on him and was unimaginably disloyal. David and his bosom companion had spent much time together, in one another’s company. They had communed together, fellowshiped together, and walked together in the house of God. No wonder David’s heart was in such anguish.

It was not simply a difference of opinion that cause these two friends to go their separate ways. It was not life’s circumstances that had caused them to be detached from the close bond that had anchored them together in spirit. This was not a parting of the ways, due to the ebb and flow of life, that so often happens when circumstances dictate that two kindred spirits are separated from one another. 

This was a deliberate, premeditated betrayal of a trusted friend, that caused David to cry out, “My heart is in anguish within me. The terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling has come upon me. Horror has overwhelmed me.” It is no surprise that David cried out in great dismay and deep distress, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.”

This man of God longed that he could escape the terrible situation and distressing betrayal of his beloved friend. So shocking was this soul-mate’s disloyalty that David would have fled to the desert to find solace. I wonder if David’s thoughts travelled back to the wilderness wanderings of the children of Israel, when God provided the comfort and strength his forefathers needed, as they trudged around the desert for 40 years.

I wonder if his thoughts travelled back to the ark of Noah, after the grueling experience of the flood, when a little dove was released through the window of the ark and was the only bird that brought comfort and hope back to Noah and his family, as they waited for the waters of judgement to subside. Perhaps David’s mind retreated to the sacrificial offering of two turtledoves that Israel was commanded to perform, on certain high days and holy days. 

I wonder if David considered the dove as a symbol of peace, as he reflected on the Spirit of God, Who brooded over the dark waters, in the beginning, and brought order out of chaos… as God spoke the world into being and sustained His creation by the might of His power. I wonder if David had an understanding that the dove would become the most familiar symbol of God’s sustaining power, grace, and comfort in the body of Christ.. or if at that moment he simply saw a little dove, fluttering into his courtyard.

I wonder if David knew that the Psalm that he was writing was Messianic. I wonder if he knew it was a signpost that points us to Jesus, and His familiar friend and beloved disciple – Judas Iscariot, who would betray the Lord of Glory for thirty pieces of silver. I wonder if David knew that the Psalm he was writing in his deep distress would be a peculiar pointer to great David’s greater Son – God’s Anointed Saviour, Who would be despised and rejected of men – a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief – so that the fallen race of man could be redeemed by faith.

David wanted to run away from the dire circumstances that caused such deep despair. He wanted to flee far from the person who had caused him such anguish of heart. He wanted the horrors of life that surrounded him, at that time, to be removed far away… but David had to learn that you can’t run away from the circumstances of life, you can’t escape from those that would do you harm, you can’t live in this world and be free from trials and tribulations, you can’t fly away to a deserted place and be at rest, for we live in a fallen world, we inhabit a fallen body and we live among a fallen race of fallen creatures.

No! The only place to run is into the arms of Jesus. The only escape is to be positioned in Christ, by faith, and empowered by His Holy Spirit. The only way to be at rest is to abide in Christ and to have Him abiding in us, every moment of the day – as we walk in spirit and truth, as we trust in the Lord with all our heart, as we keep self nailed to the cross, and as we die to self and live for Him.

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/psalm-55-6

For turning to the deform world to the vision of God is like turning to a pastor and saying do you know God? Knowing that a Pastor needs a specific calling and guide and guidance. To be trained with the knowledge to speak brave in the word of God you can not just claim to be a pastor or healer it needs proof of the assessment and assignment that was given

Then once you have provided your case and showed your proof against you to state your case your claim and your theory without any of that you have no validation of theory, and case or even your own story you’re trying to share with other in point run to the father and claim his gift of love In who he is in all he does and in his walk in faith beside God in honor of God and respect of love he showed by sending us his son to that of the cross

Building Bridges to the Kingdom

Go Forth In Faith

Matthew 25:31-34

Scripture refers to “the kingdom of God” frequently, but many people are unclear as to its meaning. Let’s look at the past, present, and future reality of this concept.

The first thing we must realize is that the heavenly kingdom refers to everything under Christ’s control. At the moment of salvation, we are transferred from the reign of darkness to the bright authority of Jesus. And we are eternally secure in Him.

As today’s verses explain, Jesus’ kingdom and reign have been planned since the foundation of the world. From the beginning, God has been preparing mankind for what is to come. One way was by using prophets to foretell how He would redeem humanity and sovereignly rule over heaven and earth.

Once Jesus came and gave His life, He established the “present” kingdom. This isn’t a geographical locale; it’s a term describing the heart, where God’s Holy…

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Accept One Another

VERSE OF THE DAY

Romans 15:7 (New Living Translation)

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Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.

Therefore accept one another as who you are each of you as Jesus Christ has accepted you as his so honor will be God’s Glory

How do you accept one another?

Here are five strategies for learning to accept others:

1. Don’t try to control the feelings of others. …

2. Allow others to be different. …

3. Give thoughtful advice. …

4. Don’t be quick to judge. …

5. Try not to compare.

Oct 21, 2016

https://www.conovercompany.com › …

Empathy – Accept Others For Who They Are – The Conover Company

Yet Jesus also said, “I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another” (John 13:34).Sep 26, 2020

https://romesentinel.com › stories › j…

‘Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another’ | Daily …

What does it mean to accept one another in the Bible?

In our churches and our relationships, we’ve got to make sure that people experience acceptance. We show this by including them and accepting them as they are. Accepting includes making others feel they belong. Those who confess “I belong to Jesus” know that they have been accepted by Christ.Nov 18, 2017

https://todaydevotional.com › accept…

Accepting One Another – Today Daily Devotional

What does it mean to accept someone?

1 : able or willing to accept something or someone : inclined to regard something or someone with acceptance rather than with hostility or fear —often + of I had become more accepting of death as an inevitable and natural part of life …— Nigel Farndalem.

https://www.merriam-webster.com › …

Accepting Definition & Meaning – Merriam-Webster

A Passage To Ponder: Romans 15:7

This week I’m preaching in a meeting at Wellandport, Ontario, Canada. Last night a lady walked out of the building, shook my hand and wistfully commented, “I wish more people could have been here to have heard that sermon.”

The building was almost full. But I believe she was commenting more on the importance of the message preached than the messenger who delivered it. Or the number who attended.

Our theme this week has been “Building Better Relationships.” Last night we discussed our relationship in the church family and talked about “Accepting One Another.”

In a section where Paul discusses various relationships in the Christian’s life he exhorts, “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” (Rom 15:7).

The word “accept” in this text means “to receive.” “To take as one’s companion; to take by the hand and lead.” “To grant access to one’s heart; to take into friendship.”

To accept our brother and sister in Christ is not just to begrudgingly put up with them. It is not just to belong to the same church, but having nothing to do with them. It is to welcome them; to extend to them the right hand of fellowship; to extend to them the same prerogatives and privileges you would to others in the same relationship.

While we should accept everyone that belongs to God’s Family, let’s consider some that we might tend to exclude.

(1) Accept the Weak in the Faith (Rom. 14:1).

We are all in a different place in our spiritual journey. For various reasons, some are weaker than others. Paul speaks of those who believed it was wrong to eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols. While it was neither right or wrong, they were entrusted to be accepting of brethren whose scruples would not permit it.

Today there are a host of issues that brethren may feel differently about. Those stronger in the faith should not disparage the weak. Or be insensitive to their feelings. Or do anything to wound their conscience. Accept them.

(2) Accept Others who are different from us. (Gal. 3:26-29)

We are all one in Christ. The church is composed of people from varying racial, ethnic and social groups. There is no place for racism in the Body of Christ. Or exclusion. Or elitism.

(3) Accept Restored Christians (Gal 6:1-2)

Those who have fallen away should be restored with the attitude of meekness. And restored in the same way in the immoral of Corinth was to be received when he repented (2 Cor 2:3-8). Kindness, compassion, and comfort. Accept them

(4) Accept New Christians.

Those who have recently obeyed the gospel are just beginning their journey of faith. They have a lot to learn. Changes to make. And growing spiritually that will take time. Rejoice in their obedience. Be charitable with their mistakes. And be patient with their growth.

(5) Accept Transfers.

We live in a very mobile society. People move from one part of the country to another. Or to another country. Customs vary. Accents are different. Traditions are diverse. The specifics and order of scriptural worship are not the same everywhere. Let’s learn to accept one another regardless of the differences. And remember that we are more alike than we are different.

The text reminds us that we accept one another because Christ has accepted us. We have been welcomed into a relationship with Him. Forgiven of our sins. And made an heir of salvation. Thus, we need to accept one another.

Accepting one another is the mark of a healthy spiritual family. We all share a common faith, are joined by a common love, and sustained by a common hope. This understanding greatly aids in fostering unity in the Body of Christ.

Sometimes accepting one another is difficult and demanding, but it can be accomplished when we follow the dictates of Scripture in Romans 14 and 15.

Avoid passing judgment on a weaker brother.
Commit yourself to live for Christ.
Control your attitudes and emotions with love.
Edify everyone you can.
Privately hold to your personal convictions.
Treasure people like Jesus did.

Dissension, discord, and disunity do not glorify God. Accept one another.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

What does Romans 15:7 mean?

Paul has prayed for the unity and harmony of the church in Rome. Now he instructs them one more time to welcome each other as Christ has welcomed them. This is not merely a nice-sounding phrase to tack on the wall. Paul is commanding believers to fully accept and include other Christians in community with themselves, including those who disagree strongly about what is and is not permitted (Romans 14:1–2; 14:20–21). He is commanding them to set their Christ-won freedoms aside, if necessary, to build up the church (Romans 14:13).

Why would they do this? In the end, it is all to add to God’s glory. Put negatively, a refusal to welcome Christians who disagree with my convictions will keep me from participating in bringing glory to God. It will keep me from achieving the very purpose of my life. Acting as if my own convictions are beyond doubt—as if I were infallible or beyond reproach—makes it difficult for me to appreciate God’s holiness and majesty, let alone my own role in the body of Christ.

Context Summary

Romans 15:1–7 concludes Paul’s teaching on how Christians with strong faith, those who understand their freedom from the law, should live with those of weaker faith. All Christians must please each other and not themselves. After all, Christ didn’t come to please Himself. With God’s help and encouragement, everyone in the church can live together in harmony and glorify God with one, unified voice, as they serve each other ahead of themselves. They must welcome each other as Christ has welcomed them.

Chapter Summary

Romans 15 begins with Paul’s encouragement to those strong in faith: to please other Christians before themselves so the church can be unified. Christ came to fulfill God’s promises to Israel and about the Gentiles. Paul is satisfied with the faith and practice of the Roman Christians. His work of taking the gospel to unreached regions of Gentiles in his part of the world is completed, and he longs to come see them. First, he must deliver financial aid to Jerusalem, a trip about which he asks them to pray along with him.

Journey The Grace Of The Lord Jesus Christ

VERSE OF THE DAY

2 Corinthians 13:14 (New Living Translation)

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

May the elegance, charm and good manners of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the teachings of the Holy Spirit remain and be with you always, one and all.

What does 2 Corinthians 13:13 mean?

Paul is closing out his long letter to the Corinthians in his usual style. With an affectionate tone, he is delivering a series of quick commands, reminders, and now greetings. He says simply, “All the saints greet you.” 

The New Testament applies the word “saints” to all Christians, not just the especially holy ones. Any person who has been saved by grace through faith is a “saint” according to the New Testament. The believers Paul has in mind here are those in the region of Macedonia, where he is staying at the time of this writing. This would include the churches in the towns of Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea.Context Summary
Second Corinthians 13:11–14 contains Paul’s closing farewell to the Corinthians. He urges them to rejoice, to strive for restoration, and to comfort and encourage each other in like-minded unity. He assures them that the God of love and peace will be with them, reminds them to greet each other with a holy kiss, and offers greetings from believers in other churches. Finally, Paul offers a prayer of specific blessing for them from each of the three members of the Trinity.Chapter Summary
The final chapter of Paul’s letter begins with a harsh warning. Nobody living in unrepentant sin when Paul arrives will be spared Paul’s discipline. All will learn that Christ speaks through Paul—because Christ will deal powerfully with their sinfulness despite Paul’s own weakness. Paul urges them to examine themselves and verify that Christ is in them and, by extension, that he is a true apostle. He prays for their restoration and hopes they will repent of all sin before he arrives so that he will not have to be severe in the use of his authority.

What Does 2 Corinthians 13:14 Mean? ►

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.

2 Corinthians 13:14(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

As Paul draws his second, lengthy epistle to the Corinthian Christians to a close, he reiterates his earlier exhortations to seek after unity within the Body of Christ, to be of good comfort to one another, and to remain encouraged in the truth of the glorious gospel of God.

As Paul prepares to bid these beloved believers at Corinth farewell for the last time, he entreats them towards godly conduct… beseeching them to live together in brotherly peace and to maintain godly harmony.

Paul instructs them to remain united together with one mind… before committing them into the Lord’s safe-keeping with a beautiful benediction that has become beloved by generations of believers: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of God, the Holy Spirit, be with you all.”

It was Aaron who sought God’s favour and protection over the people of Israel with the well-loved benediction “The LORD bless you, and keep you. The LORD make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you. The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” while it was Paul who bestowed an equally beloved blessing on the Church, by commending them into the safe-keeping of the triune Godhead – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Paul’s blessing to the Christian Church has become beloved by generations of godly saints. Indeed, it is often prayed as a parting benediction before brothers and sisters in Christ depart from a time of Christian fellowship and it is often prayed as a beautiful blessing over those for whom we care deeply: “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with YOU.”

The hallmark of the Triune Godhead is seen within this gracious petition. It is the love of the Father-heart of God that sent His only begotten Son into the world to be the sacrifice for the sin of humanity – so that whosoever believes on HIM would not perish, but have everlasting life. It was the love that streamed from the Father-heart of God for a fallen race of sinners, that caused Him to give His only begotten Son of His love to be wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, and to die for our sin so that we might live and be clothed in His righteousness.

It is the permanently indwelling Holy Spirit Who has been sent by the Father to commune with us as our Comforter and Guide – our Shield and Defender. He guards us from the evil one and guides us into all truth. He prompts us in our worship and empowers us in our witness. He enables us to carry out the good works that God has prepared for us to do, and He graciously bestows on us spiritual gifts which are used for God’s glory. It is the Holy Spirit Who counsels and comforts us and is always there for us, no matter what difficulties or dangers we may have to face – and it is the Holy Spirit that points us to Christ, our God and Saviour.

And it is by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ that we have been saved… for He set aside His glorious majesty to become one of us and to take upon His sinless body the punishment that we deserve for the sin we have committed. It is by grace that sinners, deserving of death and hell, have become blood-bought children of God and received an eternal citizenship in heaven.

It is by grace that Christ, Who although He was rich, became poor on our account so that we, through His poverty, we might become richly blessed. It is by the marvellous grace of our great and loving Kinsman-Redeemer that our sins are forever forgiven. And it is by His grace that we have passed from death to life.

It is by the grace of Christ, the eternal Lamb of God, that we have been purged, cleansed, forgiven, redeemed, and reconciled with the Father. It is by grace – through our faith in Jesus that we have been given eternal life and an everlasting inheritance that is kept for us in heaven.

And may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you ALL – Hallelujah – what a Saviour.

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/2-corinthians-13-14

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/2-corinthians-13-14

God’s Holy Fire: ‘Intimate Friendship’

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you.

2 Corinthians 13:14 MESSAGE

Key Thought

While most translations of this verse say “fellowship of the Holy Spirit,” I find the phrase “the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit” to be powerful and exciting. We are brought into close fellowship with God and each other through “the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit.” Think about the implications of this concept. Our fellowship with one another and our connections to each other are based on our being drawn together through our shared friendship of the Spirit. As we are drawn into the intimate friendship of the Spirit of God, we find ourselves drawn nearer and closer to each other.

Today’s Prayer

Almighty God, I want to be drawn near to you. I thank you for the extravagant grace of my being able even to say such a thing. You are holy and majestic, yet you want me to come close to you. Thank you for inviting me into such an intimate friendship through the Holy Spirit as I commit to being in a close relationship with other believers who yearn to be drawn near to you. In Jesus’ name, I thank you for this grace. Amen.

This morning we reach those dramatic two words, “The End.” We have come to the last of our studies in Second Corinthians and this concludes our series on the Corinthian Epistles. I am scheduled to speak next Sunday, but I am going to speak on another subject. I am going to address the subject, “Are We In The Last Days?” Many people are asking that question, so bring your survival kit with you and we will head for the hills right after the meeting is ended!

This has been a rich time of study together. We have seen that the conditions at Corinth were so like conditions in California today. In fact, if Peninsula Bible Church had all the troubles that Corinth had, I would have given up on it a long time ago. But Paul has not given up on Corinth. How patiently he has worked with this church. His letters, and the visits he made, and those of his associates, span a period of from one to three years. All that time he labored to try to correct the things that were wrong, to bring that church to an effective, impacting ministry there in that great commercial city.

But now as we come to the close of this Corinthian letter, Paul has said about all that he can say. Most of the church has repented and changed its attitude toward him, and he has rejoiced over that. But there is a handful of people there who are still following the false teachers who had come in, and there are still some who are living in licentiousness and open immorality. The apostle has already told them that there is nothing left except public exposure when he comes, and when he comes, he says, he is going to do this with them. Now, before he does come, he faces them with one final question which he hopes will change their attitude and make them clear up their difficulties. This question is found in Chapter 13, Verse 5.

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are holding to your faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (2 Corinthians 13:5-6 RSV)

Is Jesus Christ in you? Paul exhorts every individual in the church to ask himself that question. This, of course, is because all wrong behavior leads at last to that question. Somewhere, somehow, when we are out-of-line with Christian standards we have to ask ourselves, “Am I a true Christian or am I a counterfeit? Have I been born again or am I only putting up a front?” Those of us who are Christians ought to ask ourselves that occasionally. It is a good idea to examine yourself, that is what the apostle says, especially if there is any kind of wrong behavior involved.

Some of you read a couple of weeks or so ago an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about Eldridge Cleaver, in which he made some statements and referred to some attitudes and behavior on his part that are inconsistent with the Christian profession. Now many people are asking: “Is Eldridge Cleaver really a Christian.” That immediately becomes moot when there is behavior that is not in line with the Christian position. Others ask it, and as the apostle makes clear here, it is a good thing to ask it of yourself. My prayer for Eldridge is that he is asking this question about himself right now: “Am I a Christian? Have I really been changed? Is Jesus Christ living in me?”

Now the very fact that the apostle could ask a question like that indicates that is what marks true Christianity. A Christian, of course, is not simply one who joins a Christian church. Many people feel that is the criterion, but it is not. There are millions of church members in this country today who are not Christians. Nor does adhering to a certain moral standard in your life, or the fact that you consistently read the Bible make you a Christian. The thing that really marks it is if Jesus Christ is living in you. A true Christian is someone in whom Christ dwells. And the person in whom Christ dwells will have certain inescapable evidence of that fact given to him or her. That is what Paul is suggesting we ask ourselves. Do we have the evidence that Jesus Christ lives in us? Has a fundamental change occurred at the very depths of our being? It is actually the question, of course, “Are you really born again?” That is a term that has fallen into wrong use these days. Many people who merely change their actions for a little while are said to be “born again.” People are using that term about everything today. But this is the question that Paul is asking, “Are you truly and permanently different because Jesus Christ has come to live within you?”

You may be asking, “How can I know that?” Well, the answer is found in several places in Scripture. For instance, Scripture speaks of an “inner” witness. In Romans Paul says, “God’s Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God,” (Romans 8:16). That is one way you know. There is an inner testimony, a feeling, a sense within produced by the Spirit of God who dwells within that you are part of the great family of God. If we are really born again this will be a mark that we have occasionally borne to our hearts, the “witness of the Spirit that we are the children of God.” Scripture suggests that this will sometimes take the form of a sense of identity with God as a Father. Our spirits will occasionally want to cry out, “Abba, Father.” That is an intimate term for father. We no longer see God as our judge waiting to condemn us, we see him as a loving Father who is concerned for us, whose arms are around us and who loves us deeply.

I had the joy of pointing my barber to Christ a year or so ago. This past week, while I was having my hair cut, he was telling me about the changes that have occurred in his life because he has become a Christian. (One of the great changes is that he gives me free haircuts! That is an almost infallible mark that he has been born again, especially when haircuts are running $7.00 or $8.00 today!) He told me how confident he feels within, and that many of his friends have been noticing this. They have been telling him, “You are so confident. Where do you get that feeling?” (Some of them have actually been accusing him of conceit because of his sense of confidence.) He told me, “They don’t understand what I feel within, but I’m confident because,” (and this is the way he put it), “I have a deep sense that Daddy is with me all the time.” That is the witness of the Spirit. So one of the chief marks that we are Christians is that Christ is in us.

Scripture also speaks of a sense of “inner peace.” In Romans 5 the apostle says, “Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Romans 5:1). The sense of conflict with God is ended; the war is over, we are conscious that the problem of our evil, our sin no longer troubles God. The work of Christ has satisfied his justice, therefore we have a sense of peace. We have a sense of destiny. We are going to go to heaven when we die. That is settled and sure not because of anything we have done, but because of what Christ has done. Now that peace is a mark of the witness of the Spirit that Jesus Christ is in us.

Scripture speaks also of new desires that are born in the heart of a new Christian. First Peter 2:2 says, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” One of the marks of born again believers is that they have a deep and sudden thirst for the Word of God, a hunger to be fed, to know the truth of God. This ought to continue all our lives.

The Bible is a fascinating book. It speaks with tremendous interest to the things that are essential to our knowledge. There should be a hunger to know it. This week I saw a video tape of a woman Bible teacher telling the story of her conversion. Though she had been a church member all her life, and had read the Bible from time to time, it really was not a very interesting book to her. But the moment she was born again she had a tremendous hunger to know the Word of God. She haunted church services everywhere, she went to every meeting she could because she could not get enough of Bible study. That is one of the marks that Christ is in you. Even as a much older Christian I find that there are times in my experience when I am under pressure, feeling bored, or whatever, that the only thing that will speak to me is to read one of the Psalms. How that ministers to my heart. Now the Spirit of God creates that hunger, and, if Christ is in you, this will be one of the marks of it. Because you understand that what Christ did, he did for you, a fundamental change has already occurred in your life. The Spirit of God has entered and released to you the life of Jesus so that it is literally true that Jesus Christ lives in you. That is what Paul says he wants these Corinthians to ask themselves, “Does Christ live in you? Have you been transferred from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of God by faith in Jesus Christ?”

Now this inner change will also produce an outward change, which is not all subjective. We can answer the question, “Is Jesus Christ in you?” by observing our conduct, because the inner change will produce a different attitude toward our behavior. One of the striking things about new Christians is that they invariably begin to manifest a totally different attitude toward things they once thought OK. Some of them had been living in sexual immorality, perhaps, indulging in regular or frequent acts of fornication or involved with sexual perversion of some sort, and had accepted these things, as they are widely accepted today, as being OK. But when they were born again, they suddenly saw these things as injurious and hateful. They no longer wanted to have a part in them. They may have struggled in that, but their desire was now different. In some of the more open and blatant forms of evil, such as attitudes about lying or drunkenness or stealing, you find immediately that your attitude is changed. That is because Christ lives in you, and light can have no part with darkness. Christ cannot have part with Belial. Even your attitude toward your own selfishness changes. You see how selfish you have been. It looks ugly and distasteful in your eyes and you want to be free from it.

It is right here that problems arise in the Christian life. There are many people who truly have been born again who, in the initial years of their Christian experience, did change, but later on, as Christianity became more old hat to them, as it lost its newness and its freshness, they began to drift back into old patterns that are wrong. Under the pressure of their peers or their circumstances, they allowed themselves to get involved again in things that they once had forsaken as Christians. When that happens, it raises the question we have been asking, “Are you really a Christian? Were you born again? Has the change occurred?” Because it is also true that many people who think, for one reason or another, they have become Christians, who feel that because they went through a certain experience or had a certain feeling at a given time, who have never really surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus and seen him as rightful Lord of their lives, they too can get back into things they once left; they too can give way. There is no difference in their behavior from somebody who is genuine Christian but has slid back into this. So the question, “Are you really a Christian?” is raised at that point.

This is what Paul is doing. “Examine yourself,” he says. “Others who are watching you cannot answer that question. They do not know whether something you have been doing is only temporary or if it is real with you. They cannot tell, but you can.”

Here is the issue: The question you have to ask at that point is, “How do you feel about this behavior?” Are you glad to get back to it? Do you see it as something that represented a kind of religious kick you were on, but you are glad to get back where you can be “normal” and live like everybody else, or do you hate yourself for doing it? That will tell the story. How do you feel about it? Do you justify it? Do you want to go on with it, or do you inwardly hate yourself, and wish you were free from it? Are you sorry you went back to it and long to be freed again by the power of Jesus Christ? That is the question Paul is asking the Corinthians.

I hope every one of us will occasionally ask ourselves the same question. Are we holding to our faith? Our behavior tells the story. If we really believe what we are told to believe, we are going to be different. What you think about yourself tells the story of what you are going to do; that governs how you act. We all know that instinctively. Have you ever said to yourself or to somebody else, “Who do you think you are anyhow, doing this sort of thing?” That is a revelation that you instinctively know that it is what people think themselves to be that will govern and control their behavior. So this question here is the most important one you can ask yourself: “Are you really Christian? Who do you think you are? Have you been changed? Who are you — really?”

The answer to that question, Paul says, will also answer the question that these Corinthians were asking about him, for they were asking, “Is Paul really an apostle? Has he failed us as an apostle of Christ? Are these other men who came in and taught us different things right? Is Paul the phony apostle?” Now Paul says, “When you answer the question about yourself, you will have the answer to the one about me. If you find that you are real Christians then you will also know that I am a real apostle.” Listen to the way he puts it. Verse 6:

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are holding to your faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed. But we pray God that you may not do wrong — not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. What we pray for is your improvement. (2 Corinthians 13:6-9 RSV)

Paul explains that he is not looking for an opportunity to come and demonstrate his authority as an apostle by judging them; he takes no delight in flexing his apostolic muscle. He would be quite happy if they would judge themselves and stop their evil behavior, leaving nothing for him to do when he comes but to rejoice with them. In fact, he says, “I would be quite willing to let you go on thinking that we are kind of weak as an apostle, that we do not really amount to very much, that we are only a paper tiger, as long as your behavior changes in line with who you really are.” What he wants is their moral improvement, not an opportunity to personally exhibit what a true apostle he is. Verse 10 he says something which is very important:

I write this while I am away from you, in order that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority which the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down. (2 Corinthians 13:10 RSV)

That is a principle that is often forgotten today. The apostle makes clear that true authority in the church, even beginning with the apostles, is not intended to destroy people or tear them down; it is to build them up. In other words, apostolic power is not to boss people with. It is not given so that somebody can lord it over the brothers. Everywhere in the Word of God we are warned against that idea of leadership.

Yet as I travel around I find many churches where one man is ensconced as the pastor. His concept of that role is that he is in authority in the church. He alone can pronounce on doctrine; he alone has the right to determine who is going to exercise spiritual gifts in the congregation; he alone is the final, authoritative teacher. But Scripture warns against that. It warns against “lording” it over the brethren, bossing them and regulating the intimate details of their lives. Paul makes clear that that is not the kind of authority even he, as an apostle, has. It is not a totalitarian control over all the details of someone’s life.

Just this week I heard an account of a church where certain elders hold this idea of having command authority over others. These elders were concerned about a certain couple who lived in the same apartment building with them. They felt that the wife was not submissive to her husband, so they told her that in order to demonstrate a proper attitude of submission, she had to get written permission from them for a whole year to even leave the building. She said that once her mother got very sick but she could not leave the house until she had gotten written permission from these elders. They did not happen to be home so it created a very serious emergency.

Now that is the kind of authority that is everywhere condemned in the Word of God. Even the apostle said his authority is given to build people up, to encourage them, to support them, to restore them and renew them. If discipline is called for, it is a last resort. Note how reluctant he is to bring this about, how long he gives them to correct conditions. When he does move, he says, it will be in line with what the Lord has said in Matthew 18. He will move step-by-step, looking to God, not to the congregation, to bring pressure on the individual, and that the discipline will cease immediately upon repentance of the person involved. So we have a clear word here from Paul about what the church ought to be like. Especially it depends, he says, on the answer to that all-important question, “Does Jesus Christ live in you or not?” Paul’s last word is an appeal for mutual support among the brethren. Verse 11:

Finally, brethren. farewell. Mend your ways, heed my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:11-14 RSV)

It is wonderful that this last word is a word of peace. The apostle sees beyond all the fragmentation in Corinth to the basic unity of the church. God created that unity. It is there even though there is divisiveness, quarreling, jealousy and division in the assembly. Christians belong to each other. They are part of the family of God and they ought to act that way, he says. Beyond the rebellion he sees the grace and the power of God which is able to heal these breaches and restore people even to the point where they are able to give a holy kiss to one another. That was the standard greeting of that day. (We have lost that today, although when I was in Poland I noticed that they still retain that. Today we have substituted a handshake, but I am happy to see hugs coming back in again. Hugs are a much warmer and more accurate expression of Christian love and acceptance, one with another.)

The apostle is urging this upon these Christians: “Change your ways. If Jesus Christ is in you, you can do it.” That is his point. You cannot go on living like everybody else if Jesus Christ lives in you. This is the fundamental reason why there must be a difference in Christians.

I was driving down the freeway the other day and a car cut in front of me, almost driving me off the road, then it cut in ahead of the car ahead of me. I noticed a bumper sticker on it that said, “The difference in me is Jesus.” Well, I was not much impressed, and neither is the world impressed when they look at us and see us behaving just like everyone else. We are not to behave that way in our personal lives because Christ is in us. We are not to behave in our corporate life that way because Christ is among us. We are to be friendly, loving, open, forgiving, not condemnatory, narrow and bitter. We are different because Christ is among us. Notice how the apostle closes. What a beautiful greeting this is. It is the clearest reference to the Trinity that there is in the New Testament:

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship [or commonality] of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14 RSV)

What a gracious word from this great apostle as he closes this letter to the church at Corinth. History does not tell us what happened in the church there, whether it was able to recover and obey this word or not. But Paul has done his best. He has left with us a tremendous testimony as to what constitutes Christianity at work in a pagan world. We are called to live in Corinthian conditions today, here in California especially. I hope and pray that these letters to the Corinthian church will mean much to us, that we too will obey the word of the apostle and recognize that, when Jesus Christ is among us, we cannot be the same kind of people. This is the issue. May God grant that we will understand this more thoroughly in days to come.

Prayer

Thank you, Lord, that you are among us. You have sent us out into this world. As you yourself said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature and make disciples of the nations. Lo, I am with you even unto the end of the age.” We may not have reached the end of the age yet, Lord Jesus, but we thank you that you are among us and that you constitute us, therefore, the Body of Christ. Your presence makes that true. We pray that we may behave as men and women, boys and girls in whom Jesus Christ lives. For we pray in your name, Amen.

Who am I — Really?

JUNE 01, 1980

AUTHOR: RAY C. STEDMAN

Message transcript and recording © 1980 by Ray Stedman Ministries, owner of sole copyright by assignment from the author. For permission to use this content, please review RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permissions policy, all rights reserved.

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What does 2 Corinthians 13:14 mean?

Here concludes a long letter to the church at Corinth with Paul’s blessing. This is the only one of his benedictions to specifically reference all three members of the Trinity. He describes each member of the Godhead as the source of one aspect of his prayer of blessing for them.

First, Paul prays for the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ to be with them. The grace of God is possible only through faith in Christ and because of Christ’s substitution for us in His death for our sin on the cross. Paul identifies Christ as the Lord.

Next, he prays for the love of God for the Corinthians. God’s love for the world is what motivated Him to send Christ to earth to make His grace and forgiveness for sin possible (John 3:16).

Finally, Paul prays for the fellowship of the Spirit to be with them. Every person who comes to faith in Christ receives God’s Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:21–22). The Spirit makes it possible for Christians to communicate with the Father and to be in relationship with Him while we wait to be with Him physically in the glory of eternity (Romans 8:23–27).

Paul prays for this for “you all,” meaning every Christian in Corinth who reads—or hears as others read—this letter. His prayer and hope is they will set aside divisions, repent of sin, and be united together as one family in Christ.

Context Summary

Second Corinthians 13:11–14 contains Paul’s closing farewell to the Corinthians. He urges them to rejoice, to strive for restoration, and to comfort and encourage each other in like-minded unity. He assures them that the God of love and peace will be with them, reminds them to greet each other with a holy kiss, and offers greetings from believers in other churches. Finally, Paul offers a prayer of specific blessing for them from each of the three members of the Trinity.

Chapter Summary

The final chapter of Paul’s letter begins with a harsh warning. Nobody living in unrepentant sin when Paul arrives will be spared Paul’s discipline. All will learn that Christ speaks through Paul—because Christ will deal powerfully with their sinfulness despite Paul’s own weakness. Paul urges them to examine themselves and verify that Christ is in them and, by extension, that he is a true apostle. He prays for their restoration and hopes they will repent of all sin before he arrives so that he will not have to be severe in the use of his authority

God Judges His Own

Romans 14:4

Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord’s help, they will stand and receive his approval.

you cannot judge the servants of someone else there on madter decides if thet are doinf right or weong and the lords servants will be right cause the lord is able to make them right for the only judge is God himself he shall judge his own

Romans Chapter 4

Romans 4 – Abraham and David Demonstrate Righteousness Apart from Works

A. Abraham is declared righteous through faith.

1. (1-3) Abraham was not justified by works, but declared righteous through faith.

What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

a. What then shall we say: In building on the thought begun in Romans 3:31 Paul asks the question, “Does the idea of justification through faith, apart from the works of the law, make what God did in the Old Testament irrelevant?”

b. What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found: In answering that question, Paul looks at Abraham, who was the most esteemed man among the Jewish people of his day – even greater than the “George Washington” of the American people.

c. For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about: If anyone could be justified by works, they would have something to boast about. Nevertheless such boasting is nothing before God (but not before God).

i. This boasting is nothing before God because even if works could justify a man, he would in some way still fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

ii. This boasting is nothing because before God, every pretense is stripped away and it is evident that no one can really be justified by works.

d. For what does the Scripture say? The Old Testament does not say Abraham was declared righteous because of his works. Instead, Genesis 15:6 says that Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

i. Paul makes it clear: Abraham’s righteousness did not come from performing good works, but from belief in God. It was a righteousness obtained through faith.

ii. Generally, the Jewish teachers of Paul’s day believed that Abraham was justified by his works, by keeping the law. Ancient passages from the rabbis say: “We find that Abraham our father had performed the whole Law before it was given” and “Abraham was perfect in all his deeds with the Lord.” The rabbis argued that Abraham kept the law perfectly before it was given, keeping it by intuition or anticipation.

iii. The Apostle Paul does not say that Abraham was made righteous in all of his doings, but God accounted Abraham as righteous. Our justification is not God making us perfectly righteous, but counting us as perfectly righteous. After we are counted righteous, then God begins making us truly righteous, culminating at our resurrection.

iv. “Counted is logizomai. It was used in early secular documents; ‘put down to one’s account, let my revenues be placed on deposit at the storehouse; I now give orders generally with regard to all payments actually made or credited to the government.’ Thus, God put to Abraham’s account, placed on deposit for him, credited to him, righteousness… Abraham possessed righteousness in the same manner as a person would possess a sum of money placed in his account in a bank.” (Wuest)

v. Genesis 15:6 does not tell us how other men accounted Abraham. Instead, it tells us how God accounted him. “Moses [in Genesis] does not, indeed, tell us what men thought of him [Abraham], but how he was accounted before the tribunal of God.” (Calvin)

vi. Remember that righteousness is also more than the absence of evil and guilt. It is a positive good, meaning that God does not only declare us innocent, but righteous.

2. (4-5) A distinction made between grace and works.

Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,

a. Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace: The idea of grace stands opposite to the principle of works; grace has to do with receiving the freely given gift of God, works has to do with earning our merit before God.

i. Wuest on charis, the ancient Greek word translated grace: “Signified in classical authors a favor done out of the spontaneous generosity of the heart without any expectation or return. Of course, this favor was always done to one’s friend, never to an enemy… But when charis comes into the New Testament, it takes an infinite leap forward, for the favor God did at Calvary was for those who hated Him.”

b. Not counted as grace but as debt: A system of works seeks to put God in debt to us, making God owe us His favor because of our good behavior. In works-thinking, God owes us salvation or blessing because of our good works.

i. God isn’t praising laziness here. “The antithesis is not simply between the worker and the non-worker but between the worker and person who does not work but believes.” (Murray)

c. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness: Righteousness can never be accounted to the one who approaches God on the principle of works. Instead it is given to the one who believes on Him who justifies the ungodly.

d. Him who justifies the ungodly: This is who God justifies – the ungodly. We might expect God would only justify a godly man but because of what Jesus did on the cross, God can justify the ungodly.

i. It isn’t as if God is happy with our ungodly condition. We are not justified because of our ungodliness, but despite our ungodliness.

ii. Morris quoting Denney: “The paradoxical phrase, Him that justifieth the ungodly, does not suggest that justification is a fiction, whether legal or of any other sort, but that it is a miracle.”

e. Faith is accounted for righteousness: Just as Abraham, so our faith is accounted for righteousness. This was not some special arrangement for Abraham alone. We can enter into this relationship with God also.

i. By this we understand that there are not two ways of salvation – saved by works through law-keeping in the Old Testament and saved by grace through faith in the New Testament. Everyone who has ever been saved – Old or New Testament – is saved by grace through faith, through their relationship of a trusting love with God. Because of the New Covenant we have benefits of salvation that Old Testament saints did not have but we do not have a different manner of salvation.

3. (6-8) David and the blessedness of justification through faith.

Just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:

“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
And whose sins are covered;
Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin.”

a. Just as David also describes: King David of the Old Testament knew what it was like to be a guilty sinner. He knew the seriousness of sin and how good it is to be truly forgiven. He knew the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works. If David were judged on works alone, the righteous God must condemn him; nevertheless he knew by experience that blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven.

i. “No sinner, and try he ever so hard, can possibly carry his own sins away and come back cleansed of guilt. No amount of money, no science, no inventive skill, no armies of millions, nor any other earthly power can carry away from the sinner one little sin and its guilt. Once it is committed, every sin and its guilt cling to the sinner as close as does his own shadow, cling to all eternity unless God carries them away.” (Lenski)

b. To whom God imputes righteousness apart from works… blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin: David agrees with Abraham regarding the idea of an imputed righteousness, a goodness that is given, not earned.

i. “Our adversaries the papists oppose the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us; they cavil at the very word… and yet the apostle useth the word ten times in this chapter.” (Poole)

c. Blessed is the man: In the Psalm quoted (Psalm 32:1-2), David speaks of the blessedness, not of the one who is justified through works, but of the one who is cleansed through imputation. This is centered on what God places upon us (the righteousness of Jesus), not on what we do for God.

4. (9-12) Abraham was counted righteous before he was circumcised; therefore he was not counted righteous because he was circumcised.

Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.

a. Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? If we are counted righteous by God because of faith, not because of circumcision (or any other ritual), then the blessedness mentioned in Romans 4:7 can be given to the uncircumcised Gentiles by faith.

b. How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Abraham was counted as righteous in Genesis 15:6. He did not receive the covenant of circumcision until Genesis 17, which was at least 14 years later. Therefore his righteousness wasn’t based on circumcision, but on faith.

c. The faith which he had while still uncircumcised: In fact, Abraham, the father of all those who believe, was declared righteous while he was still uncircumcised! Therefore, how could anyone then say (as some did in Paul’s day) that Gentiles must be circumcised before God would declare them righteous?

i. For the Jewish people of Paul’s day, the significance of circumcision was more than social. It was the entry point for a life lived under the Law of Moses: And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law (Galatians 5:3).

d. That he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised… who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised: The Jews of Paul’s day thought circumcision meant they were the true descendants of Abraham. Paul insists that to have Abraham as your father, you must walk in the steps of the faith that Abraham walked in.

i. “Our father Abraham” is an important phrase, one that the ancient Jews jealously guarded. They did not allow a circumcised Gentile convert to Judaism refer to Abraham as “our father” in the synagogue. A Gentile convert had to call Abraham “your father” and only natural born Jews could call Abraham “our father.” Paul throws out that distinction, and says that through faith, all can say, “our father Abraham.”

ii. It must have been a shock for the Jewish readers of this letter to see that Paul called Abraham the father of uncircumcised people! Faith, not circumcision, is the vital link to Abraham. It is far more important to have Abraham’s faith (and the righteousness imputed to him because of it) than it is to have Abraham’s circumcision.

iii. William Barclay explains that the Jewish teachers of Paul’s day had a saying: “What is written of Abraham is also written of his children,” meaning that promises given to Abraham extend to his descendants. Paul heartily agreed with this principle, and extended the principle of being justified by faith to all Abraham’s spiritual descendants, those who believe, who also walk in the steps of the faith of Abraham.

5. (13-15) God’s promise to Abraham was based on the principle of faith, not law or works.

For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.

a. For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law: Since all God’s dealings with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob happened before the giving of the Mosaic Law, we can’t say they were based on the law. Instead, they are based on God’s declaration of Abraham’s righteousness through faith.

i. “Faith is the ground of God’s blessing. Abraham was a blessed man, indeed, but he became heir of the world on another principle entirely – simple faith.” (Newell)

b. For the promise… through the righteousness of faith: The law cannot bring us into the blessings of God’s promises. This is not because the law is bad, but because we are unable to keep it.

c. Because the law brings about wrath: Our inability to keep the law (our transgression) means that it becomes essentially a vehicle of God’s wrath towards us, especially if we regard it as the principle by which we are justified and relate to God.

d. Where there is no law there is no transgression: How can Paul say this? Because “Transgression is the right word for overstepping a line, and this for breaking a clearly defined commandment” (Morris). Where there is no line, there is no actual transgression.

i. There is sin that is not the “crossing the line” of the Law of Moses. The root of sin isn’t in breaking the law, but in breaking trust with God; with denying His loving, caring purpose in every command He gives. Before Adam sinned he broke trust with God – therefore God’s plan of redemption is centered on a relationship of trusting love – faith – instead of law-keeping. When we center our relationship with God on law-keeping instead of trusting love, we go against His whole plan.

B. Following Abraham’s example.

1. (16) Justification according to grace, through faith.

Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all

a. It is of faith that it might be according to grace: Faith is related to grace in the same way works is related to law. Grace and law are principles, and faith and works are the means by which we pursue those principles for our relationship with God.

i. To speak technically, we are not saved by faith. We are saved by God’s grace, and grace is appropriated by faith.

b. It is of faith: Salvation is of faith and nothing else. We can only receive salvation by the principle of grace through faith. Grace can’t be gained through works, whether they be past works, present works, or promised works. This is because by definition grace is given without regard to anything in the one who receives it.

i. “Grace and faith are congruous, and will draw together in the same chariot, but grace and merit are contrary the one to the other and pull opposite ways, and therefore God has not chosen to yoke them together.” (Spurgeon)

c. So that the promise might be sure to all the seed: The promise can only be sure if it is according to grace. If law is the basis of our salvation, then our salvation depends on our performance in keeping the law – and no one can keep the law good enough to be saved by it. A law-promise of salvation can never be sure.

i. If the promise “were of the law, it would be unsure and uncertain, because of man’s weakness, who is not able to perform it.” (Poole)

d. But also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all: If our relationship with God is according to grace (not circumcision or law-keeping), then that relationship is for those who are of the faith of Abraham, even if they are not of his lineage.

i. A Gentile could say, “I am not a Jew, I am not of the law; but I am of the faith of Abraham,” and he would be just as saved as a Jewish believer in Jesus would be.

e. The father of us all: The fulfillment of the promise in Genesis 17:4-5 is found not only in Abraham’s descendants through Isaac, but especially in his role as being the father of us all who believe – and those believers come from every nation under heaven.

2. (17-18) The life-giving power of the God Abraham believed in.

(As it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed; God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.”

a. So that he became the father of many nations: Even as it took a supernatural life-giving work to make Abraham the physical father of many nations, it also took a supernatural life-giving work to make him the spiritual father of many nations.

b. Who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as if they did: These works of God demonstrate His ability to count things that are not (such as our righteousness) as if they were (as in counting us righteous).

i. If God could call the dead womb of Sarah to life, he can call those who are dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1) to new life in Jesus.

ii. “I’m greatly comforted when God speaks about me as righteous, justified, glorified, holy, pure, and saintly. God can talk about such things before they exist, because He knows they will exist.” (Smith)

c. Contrary to hope, in hope believed: This life-giving power was accomplished in Abraham as he believed. The power was evident naturally and spiritually.

i. Abraham’s example also helps us to understand the nature of faith. The conception of Abraham’s son Isaac was a miracle, but it was not an immaculate conception. Abraham’s faith did not mean that he did nothing and just waited for God to create a child in Sarah’s womb. Abraham and Sarah had marital relations and trusted God for a miraculous result. This shows us that faith does not mean doing nothing, but doing everything with trust and reliance on God.

ii. “All true believers, like Abraham, obey. Obedience is faith in action. You are to walk in the steps of the faith of father Abraham. His faith did not sit still, it took steps; and you must take these steps also by obeying God because you believe him. That faith which has no works with it is a dead faith, and will justify no one.” (Spurgeon)

iii. “Sense corrects imagination, reason corrects sense, but faith corrects both. It will not be, saith sense; it cannot be, saith reason; it both can and will be, saith faith, for I have a promise for it.” (Trapp)

3. (19-22) The character of Abraham’s faith.

And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

a. Not being weak in faith: Abraham’s faith was strong but it was also strengthened. He was strengthened in faith.

i. The idea seems to be that Abraham was strengthened in his faith; but Paul could also mean that Abraham was strengthened by his faith – certainly both were true.

ii. How we need to be strengthened in faith! “Dear brother, little faith will save thee if it be true faith, but there are many reasons why you should seek an increase of it.” (Spurgeon)

iii. Spurgeon knew that ministers and preachers especially needed to be strengthened in faith. He sometimes shared his own struggles in this area from the pulpit, but wanted to make it clear that his struggles in faith should never be indulged: “Whenever, dear hearers, you catch any of us who are teachers doubting and fearing, do not pity us, but scold us. We have no right to be in Doubting Castle. Pray do not visit us there. Follow us as far as we follow Christ, but if we get into the horrible Slough of Despond, come and pull us out by the hair of our heads if necessary, but do not fall into it yourselves.” (Spurgeon)

iv. “I do not think we shall have many conversions unless we expect God to bless the word, and feel certain that he will do so. We must not wonder and be astonished if we hear of a dozen or two conversions, but let the astonishment be that thousands are not converted when they hear such divine truth, and when we ask the Holy Spirit to attend it with divine energy. God will bless us in proportion to our faith. It is the rule of his kingdom – ‘According to your faith so be it unto you.’ O God, give thy ministers more faith! Let us believe thee firmly!” (Spurgeon)

b. He did not consider his own body, already dead: Abraham, in faith, did not look to circumstances (his own body and the deadness of Sarah’s womb) but he looked at the promise of God.

i. In Romans 4:19, there is textual uncertainty as to if we should read he considered his body as good as dead or if we should read he did not consider his own body. Either is possible, though the second seems to be a better choice.

c. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief: His faith did not waver; and it gave glory to God. Though it was a huge challenge, Abraham remained steadfast in faith.

i. “When there is no contest, it is true, no one, as I have said, denies that God can do all things; but as soon as anything comes in the way to impede the course of God’s promise, we cast down God’s power from its eminence.” (Calvin)

d. Being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform: Abraham’s faith came because he had been fully convinced of God’s ability to perform what He has promised.

i. Is your God too small? The God of Abraham was able to perform what He had promised, and Abraham was fully convinced of this.

ii. Some people don’t come to Jesus or don’t go further with Him because they are not fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. They think, “It is fine for them but it won’t work for me.” This thinking is a devilish attack on faith, and must be rejected.

e. Able to perform: This kind of faith sees the work of God done. It sees the work of God done in the immediate (Isaac was born in fulfillment of the promise) and in the eternal (accounted to him for righteousness).

4. (23-25) Abraham’s justification and our own.

Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.

a. It was not written for his sake alone: It wasn’t only for Abraham’s benefit that God declared him righteous through faith; he is an example that we are invited to follow – it is also for us. Paul’s confidence is glorious: It shall be imputed to us who believe; this wasn’t just for Abraham, but for us also.

b. Who believe in Him who raised up Jesus: When we talk about faith and saving faith in Jesus, it is important to emphasize that we mean believing that His work on the cross (delivered up because of our offenses) and triumph over sin and death (raised because of our justification) is what saves us. There are many false-faiths that can never save, and only faith in what Jesus accomplished on the cross and through the empty tomb can save us.

· Faith in the historical events of the life of Jesus will not save.

· Faith in the beauty of Jesus’ life will not save.

· Faith in the accuracy or goodness of Jesus’ teaching will not save.

· Faith in the deity of Jesus and in His Lordship will not save.

· Only faith in what the real Jesus did for us on the cross will save.

c. Raised because of our justification: The resurrection has an essential place in our redemption because it demonstrates God the Father’s perfect satisfaction with the Son’s work on the cross. It proves that what Jesus did on the cross was in fact a perfect sacrifice made by One who remained perfect, even though bearing the sin of the world.

i. Delivered up because of our offenses: The ancient Greek word translated delivered (paradidomi) was used of casting people into prison or delivering them to justice. “Here it speaks of the judicial act of God the Father delivering God the Son to the justice that required the payment of the penalty for human sin.” (Wuest)

ii. “Jesus’ resurrection always includes his sacrificial death but it brings out the all-sufficiency of his death. If death had held him, he would have failed; since he was raised from death, his sacrifice sufficed, God set his seal upon it by raising him up.” (Lenski)

iii. “Christ did meritoriously work our justification and salvation by his death and passion, but the efficacy and perfection thereof with respect to us depend on his resurrection… This one verse is an abridgement of the whole gospel.” (Poole)

iv. In this chapter, Paul clearly demonstrated that in no way does the Old Testament contradict the gospel of salvation by grace through faith. Instead the gospel is the fulfillment of the Old Testament, and Abraham – justified through faith – is our pattern.

©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission

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What does Romans 4:14 mean? [ See verse text ]

Paul is discussing God’s promises to Abraham and his offspring, the Jewish people. These were given by God in Genesis 12:1–3. Those promises, Paul has written, amount to Israel being heirs of the world. Now Paul shows that this inheritance will not come by following the law. First and foremost, those promises were given centuries before the law existed. Paul writes that if the inheritance is to be given to those who follow the law, then faith does not matter. Worse, the promises of God don’t matter—because not all of Abraham’s descendants had the law!

In other words, Paul has already shown that nobody can keep the law. All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:10; 3:23). So if God’s promises to Israel are only for those able to follow the law, those promises will not be given. When law is a requirement for salvation, faith serves no purpose.

Context Summary

Romans 4:13–25 continues to focus on the faith of Abraham. God made promises to Abraham and his descendants, promises which Abraham believed. Those promises can’t be received by keeping the law, but only by faith. God promised Abraham a son with Sarah, and Abraham continued to believe that promise would be kept even as it became less and less likely in human terms. We, too, can be counted as righteous by faith in Jesus’ death for our sins and God’s resurrection of Him for our justification.

Chapter Summary

Romans 4 is all about the faith of Abraham. God declared Abraham righteous because of his faith, not because of his works. A declaration of righteousness was God’s gift, not a payment. This righteousness is available to everyone, circumcised or not. God declared Abraham righteous many years before he was circumcised, making him the spiritual father of all who believe, whether circumcised or not, whether Jew or Gentile. God’s promises to Abraham and his offspring can’t be received by keeping the law, only by faith. Abraham’s faith in God’s promise of a son with Sarah did not waver even as he grew older. God will declare us righteous, as well, if by faith we believe in the God who delivered Jesus to die for our sins and raised Him back to life for our justification

Rejoice In The Lord Always

VERSE OF THE DAY

Philippians 4:4 (New Living Translation)

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Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!

Always be glad in the Lord he rejoices in you’ve glad and rejoice in him for again I say rejoice

Everything was created because God gets enjoyment out of it. He wanted to love it. God loves every rock, every plant, every animal, every star, and every human being. 

As Psalm 149:4 says, “The Lord takes pleasure in his people”.

God takes pleasure in you all the time. Why? He created you. He’s your heavenly Father. 

What Does Philippians 4:4 Mean? ►

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!

Philippians 4:4(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

We are called to rejoice in the Lord, to pray without ceasing, and in everything to give thanks to the Lord our God, for the joy of the Lord is our health and strength, and His mercy endures forevermore. We are exhorted to rejoice in the Lord and to take refuge in Him, for He has done wonderful things for all who have trusted in the name of His dearly beloved Son.

In the knowledge of what God has done for us, through the life, death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ – shouldn’t we be joyful, with exceeding great joy? Should we not lift up our voices in an everlasting song of praise? We who once were dead in trespasses and sins have been justified and are being transformed into the very image and likeness of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

In Christ there is sanctification, glorification, and a joint heir-ship with the Son of the most High God. By His goodness and grace we have been seated in heavenly places in Christ – to His praise and glory, forever and ever.

True joy and genuine happiness is a gift of grace from our heavenly Father, for genuine joy and true happiness is a heavenly grace we receive from the Spirit of God, as we walk in spirit and truth and live in newness of life. Joy is a fruit that the Lord produces within our heart, but it is something that the world can know nothing about.

The Joy of the Lord is a precious fruit and a spiritual grace that is given to us from above. The joy of the Lord is our strength in times of weakness and protection in times of danger. However, unsaved men and women know nothing of true, heavenly joy, which is a characteristic of the Christian Church, that is ours by grace. Those who are dead in their sins do not have access to God’s spiritual graces, for joy is both a gift of God to the justified and a fruit of the Spirit in the sanctified man.

Such heavenly joy can be maintained in the midst of all afflictions and distresses, for the joy of the Lord is our everlasting hope and strength. Such divine rejoicing should not be hindered or quenched by the scheming strategies of the wicked one. Satan delights to use adversity to hatch-out doubts and fears in the imagination of our hearts, and these can become barriers that make us question God’s faithfulness, distort His character, and cause our faith to falter. But joy in the Lord is a great spiritual weapon that can help to dispel Satan’s devious lies and cause his wicked accusations to evaporate like the morning mist. The length, breadth, depth, and height, of this continual rejoicing in the Lord, should resound to the farthest extremity of His promises and plans – His governance and character. The surpassing intimate fellowship into which we have been warmly invited, as children of the Father and joint-heirs with Christ, should rejoice our heart always and gladden our soul through time and into eternity.

Let us rejoice in the Lord always – and again I will say, LET US REJOICE – for He is a great and awesome God, and a great King above all gods!

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/philippians-4-4

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/philippians-4-4

On December 7, 2015, 7:53 am

Philippians Chapter 4

Philippians 4 – Peace and Joy in All Circumstances

A. Instructions to specific saints.

1. (1) A general exhortation: in light of your destiny in Christ, stand fast.

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

a. Therefore: This links together what Paul wrote here with what he wrote before. Because of the promise of resurrection (Philippians 3:21), the Philippians had all the more reason to stand fast in the Lord.

b. My joy and crown: Paul used the ancient Greek word for crown that described the crown given to an athlete who had won the race. It was a crown of achievement (a stephanos); not the crown that was given to a king (a diadema). The Philippians, as they stand fast in the Lord, were Paul’s trophy.

c. So stand fast in the Lord, beloved: We can only stand fast when we are in the Lord; any other place is not a secure place to stand.

2. (2) Instructions to Euodia and Syntyche.

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

a. Euodia and… Syntyche: Apparently these two women were the source of some sort of quarrel in the church. Instead of taking sides or trying to solve their problem, Paul simply told them to be of the same mind in the Lord.

b. To be of the same mind in the Lord: Whatever the dispute was about, Euodia and Syntyche had forgotten that they have a greater common ground in Jesus Christ. They forgot that everything else was less important than that common ground.

3. (3) Instructions to the true companion.

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

a. I urge you also, true companion: Whoever this was, Paul instructed them to help these women who labored with me in the gospel. The true companion was supposed to help these women to reconcile and come to one mind in the Lord.

i. These women who labored with me in the gospel is a telling phrase. These two women, Euodia and Syntyche, were faithful workers with Paul in the work of the gospel. Yet, they had a falling out with each other. Paul knew that this unfortunate dispute needed to be cleared up.

b. With Clement also: There was a notable Clement in the early church who was the leader of the church in Rome and wrote two preserved letters to the church in Corinth. Yet we don’t know if this is the same Clement. It was a common name in the Roman world.

i. We can contrast the brief mention of Euodia and Syntyche with the brief mention of Clement. If you had to have your whole life summed up in one sentence, would you like it to be summed up like Clement or like Euodia and Syntyche?

c. And the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life: There were others in Philippi who also helped Paul. They had the greatest honor in the world: to have their names in the Book of Life (Revelation 20:15).

B. More instruction on walking the walk.

1. (4) Paul repeats a major theme of the letter.

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

a. Rejoice: Despite the circumstance from which it was written, joy is all over the letter to the Philippians. Examples of this are in Philippians 1:4, 1:18, 1:25, 2:2, 2:16, 2:17, 2:18, 2:28, 3:1, 3:3, and 4:1.

i. “I am glad that we do not know what the quarrel was about; I am usually thankful for ignorance on such subjects; – but as a cure for disagreements, the apostle says, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always.’ People who are very happy, especially those who are very happy in the Lord, are not apt either to give offense or to take offense. Their minds are so sweetly occupied with higher things, that they are not easily distracted by the little troubles which naturally arise among such imperfect creatures as we are. Joy in the Lord is the cure for all discord.” (Spurgeon)

b. Rejoice in the Lord always: Again, Paul’s joy wasn’t based in a sunny optimism or positive mental attitude as much as it was the confidence that God was in control. It really was a joy in the Lord.

i. “What a gracious God we serve, who makes delight to be a duty, and who commands us to rejoice! Should we not at once be obedient to such a command as this? It is intended that we should be happy.” (Spurgeon)

2. (5) Show a gentle disposition to all men.

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

a. Let your gentleness be known: Paul used an interesting ancient Greek word (epieikeia) that is translated gentleness here. Other translations of the Bible translate epieikeia as patience, softness, the patient mind, modesty, forbearance, the forbearing spirit, or magnanimity.

i. “The word epieikes is of very extensive signification; it means the same as epieikeia, mildness, patience, yieldingness, gentleness, clemency, moderation, unwillingness to litigate or contend; but moderation is expressive enough as a general term.” (Clarke)

ii. A good example of this quality is when Jesus showed gentleness with the woman who was taken in adultery in a set-up and brought to Jesus. He knew how to show a holy gentleness to her.

iii. This word describes the heart of a person who will let the Lord fight his battles. He knows that vengeance is Mine, says the Lord (Romans 12:19). It describes a person who is really free to let go of His anxieties and all the things that cause him stress, because he knows that the Lord will take up his cause.

b. Be known to all men: The sphere is broad. We show this gentleness to all men, not just to whom we please.

c. The Lord is at hand: When we live with the awareness of Jesus’ soon return, it makes it all the more easy to rejoice in the Lord and to show gentleness to all men. We know that Jesus will settle every wrong at His return, and we can trust Him to make things right in our falling-apart world.

3. (6) A living prayer life.

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

a. Be anxious for nothing: This is a command, not an option. Undue care is an intrusion into an arena that belongs to God alone. It makes us the father of the household instead of being a child.

b. But in everything by prayer and supplication: Paul wrote that everything is the proper subject of prayer. There are not some areas of our lives that are of no concern to God.

c. Prayer and supplication: These two aspects of prayer are similar, but distinct. Prayer is a broader word that can mean all of our communication with God, but supplication directly asks God to do something.

i. Many of our prayers go unanswered because we do not ask God for anything. Here God invites us simply to let your requests be made known. He wants to know.

d. Be made known: God already knows our requests before we pray them; yet He will often wait for our participation through prayer before granting that which we request.

e. With thanksgiving: This guards against a whining, complaining spirit before God when we let our requests be made known. We really can be anxious for nothing, pray about everything, and be thankful for anything.

4. (7) The promise of peace.

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

a. And the peace of God: The Bible describes three great aspects of peace that relate to God.

· Peace from God: Paul continually used this as an introduction to his letters; it reminds us that our peace comes to us as a gift from God.

· Peace with God: This describes a relationship that we enter into with God through the finished work of Jesus Christ.

· The peace of God: This is the peace spoken of in Philippians 4:7. It is beyond “all mind”; that is, beyond our power of thinking.

i. “What is God’s peace? The unruffled serenity of the infinitely-happy God, the eternal composure of the absolutely well-contented God.” (Spurgeon)

b. Which surpasses all understanding: It isn’t that it is senseless and therefore impossible to understand, but that it is beyond our ability to understand and to explain – therefore it must be experienced.

i. This peace doesn’t just surpass the understanding of the worldly man; it surpasses all understanding. Even the godly man can not comprehend this peace.

c. Guard your hearts and minds: The word guard speaks of a military action. This is something that the peace of God does for us; it is a peace that is on guard over our heart and mind.

i. “Shall keep them as in a strong place or a castle.” (Clarke)

ii. When people seem to “lose” their heart or mind, it often is connected to an absence of the peace of God in their life. The peace of God then does not act as a guard for their hearts and minds.

5. (8) The right place to put our minds.

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

a. Whatever things are true: Paul’s list of things on which we should meditate translates well from the Greek to the English; there is no great need for elaboration upon each item.

b. Noble… just… pure… lovely… good report… virtue… praiseworthy: These, Paul would say, are the fruit and the food of the mind that is guarded by the peace of God. When we put these good things into our mind, they stay in our mind and then come forth from us.

c. Meditate on these things: Much of the Christian life comes down to the mind. Romans 12:2 speaks of the essential place of being transformed by the renewing of your mind and 2 Corinthians 10:5 speaks of the importance of casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. What we choose to meditate on matters.

i. What Paul describes here is a practical way to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

6. (9) A return to the idea of following Paul’s example.

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

a. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do: Paul had the integrity to present himself as an example of all these things to the Philippians. He really could say, “Follow me as I follow Jesus.”

b. And the God of peace will be with you: If the Philippians did as Paul had instructed, not only would they have had the peace of God, but the God of peace would have also been with them.

C. Paul comments on the giving of the Philippians.

1. (10-14) Paul’s perspective on the gift from the Philippians.

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress.

a. Your care for me has flourished again: This refers to the financial support brought by Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25). Paul didn’t want to imply that the Philippians didn’t care before, only that before they lacked opportunity. When they had the opportunity, then their care for Paul flourished again.

b. Not that I speak in regard to need: Paul reminded the Philippians that his thankfulness for the Philippians’ giving wasn’t because he was needy (though he was in fact in need), but because it was good for them to be givers.

c. I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: This was how Paul could say that his thankfulness was not based upon his own need. Even though Paul was in need, he was content where he was at – even in his Roman imprisonment.

i. I have learned: Paul had to learn contentment; it isn’t natural to mankind.

ii. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound: Paul reminds us that his contentment was not only theoretical. He actually lived this. Paul had been financially well-off; he had been financially in need.

iii. Paul knew how to be abased. “See here the state to which God permitted his chief apostle to be reduced! And see how powerfully the grace of Christ supported him under the whole! How few of those who are called Christian ministers or Christian men have learned this important lesson! When want or affliction comes, their complaints are loud and frequent; and they are soon at the end of their patience.” (Clarke)

iv. Paul also knew how to abound. “There are a great many men that know a little how to be abased, that do not know at all how to abound. When they are put down into the pit with Joseph, they look up and see the starry promise, and they hope for an escape. But when they are put on the top of a pinnacle, their heads grow dizzy, and they are ready to fall.” (Spurgeon)

d. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me: This refers to Paul’s ability to be content in all things. To achieve this contentment, he needed the strength of Jesus Christ.

i. Unfortunately, many people take this verse out of context and use it to reinforce a “triumphalist” or “super-Christian” mentality, instead of seeing that the strength of Jesus in Paul’s life was evident in his ability to be content when he did suffer need.

ii. We must always also put this precious statement of faith in connection with John 15:5: for without Me you can do nothing. With Jesus we can do all things, without Him we can’t do anything.

e. Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress: In speaking about his ability to be content, Paul did not want to give the impression that the Philippians had somehow done something wrong in supporting Paul. But there was a real sense in which the giving of the Philippians was better for them than it was for Paul (you have done well). Godly giving actually does more good for the giver than for the one who receives.

2. (15-18) Thanks for the past and present giving of the Philippians.

Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.

a. The beginning of the gospel: This refers to Paul’s pioneering missionary efforts in Europe, recorded in Acts 16 and following.

b. No church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only: The Philippians were the only ones to support Paul during this particular period. Paul especially remembered how they supported him when he was in Thessalonica.

i. “Probably the gift does not come to very much, if estimated in Roman coin; but he makes a great deal of it, and sits down to write a letter of thanks abounding in rich expressions like these.” (Spurgeon)

ii. “While labouring to plant the church there, he was supported partly by working with his hands, 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9; and partly by the contributions sent him from Philippi. Even the Thessalonians had contributed little to his maintenance: this is not spoken to their credit.” (Clarke)

c. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account: Paul wasn’t so much interested in the gift on his own behalf, but in the fruit that abounds to your account. Their giving increased the fruit in their account before God.

i. “It is not the actual gift put into Paul’s hands which has brought him joy, but the giving and the meaning of that giving. It is the truest index to the abiding reality of his work.” (Kennedy)

ii. This reflects one of the most important principles regarding giving in the Scriptures: that we are never the poorer for having given. God will never be our debtor, and we can never out-give God.

d. A sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God: Paul described the gift of the Philippians in terms that remind us of sacrifices in the Old Testament (Genesis 8:21, Exodus 29:18, 29:25, and 29:41). Our giving to God’s work is similar to Old Testament sacrifices, which also cost the person bringing the sacrifice a lot. Bulls and rams did not come cheaply in that day.

i. Ephesians 5:2 uses the same terminology in reference to Jesus’ sacrifice for us; our sacrifices are likewise pleasing to God as a sweet-smelling aroma.

ii. In 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, Paul boasted about the Philippians as an example of the right kind of giving. He describes how they gave willingly, out of their own need, and they gave after first having given themselves to the Lord.

3. (19) Paul declares a promise to the Philippians regarding their own financial needs.

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

a. My God shall supply all your need: We shouldn’t think that the Philippians were wealthy benefactors of Paul who could easily spare the money. As Paul described them in 2 Corinthians 8, it is plain that their giving was sacrificial. This promise meant something to them!

i. “He says to them, ‘You have helped me; but my God shall supply you. You have helped me in one of my needs-my need of clothing and of food: I have other needs in which you could not help me; but my God shall supply all your need. You have helped me, some of you, out of your deep poverty, taking from your scanty store; but my God shall supply all your need out of his riches in glory.’” (Spurgeon)

b. Shall supply all your need: The promise is to supply all your need; but it is all your need (not a promise to go beyond needs) In this, the promise is both broad and yet restricted.

c. According to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus: This is a staggering measure of giving. Since there is no lack in God’s riches in glory, we should anticipate that there would be no lack in God’s supply.

i. “The rewarding will not be merely from His wealth, but also in a manner that befits His wealth – on a scale worthy of His wealth.” (Martin)

ii. Spurgeon thought that this verse was a great illustration of that wonderful miracle in 2 Kings 4:1-7, where Elisha told the widow to gather empty vessels, set them out, and pour forth the oil from the one small vessel of oil she had into the empty vessels. She filled and filled and miraculously filled until every empty vessel was full.

· All our need is like the empty vessels.

· God is the one who fills the empty vessels.

· According to His riches in glory describes the style in which God fills the empty vessels – the oil keeps flowing until every available vessel is filled.

· By Christ Jesus describes the how God meets our needs – our empty vessels are filled by Jesus in all His glory.

d. All your need: We also notice that this promise was made to the Philippians – those who had surrendered their finances and material possessions to God’s service, and who knew how to give with the right kind of heart.

i. This promise simply expresses what Jesus said in Luke 6:38: Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.

D. Conclusion to the letter.

1. (20) A brief doxology.

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

a. Be glory forever and ever: It is wrong to think of this as an unthinking comment made by Paul in the way that we throw off comments like “glory to God” or “praise the Lord” in our Christian culture. Paul genuinely wanted God to be glorified and was willing to be used in whatever way God saw fit to glorify Himself (Philippians 1:20).

b. Amen: This was a word borrowed from Hebrew meaning, “So be it.” It is an expression of confident and joyful affirmation.

2. (21-22) Mutual greetings expressed.

Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar’s household.

a. Greet every saint: Paul did not here give specific greetings to individuals as he did in other letters. Rather, he greeted every saint in Christ Jesus. This also is another example of the fact that the title saint applies to all Christians, not just to an elite few.

b. All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar’s household: This special greeting is evidence that Paul was still used by God during his Roman imprisonment, when the gospel extended even into the household of Caesar.

i. Those who are of Caesar’s household: “By this he designates the functionaries and servants and slaves of the Emperor’s household, with whom Paul, as a prisoner for several years, undoubtedly came in contact on several occasions.” (Muller)

ii. “Nero was at this time emperor of Rome: a more worthless, cruel, and diabolic wretch never disgraced the name or form of man; yet in his family there were Christians: but whether this relates to the members of the imperial family, or to guards, or courtiers, or to servants, we cannot tell.” (Clarke)

3. (23) Final words.

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

a. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all: Paul did not say this to simply fill up space at the end of his letter. To him, the Christian life begins and ends with the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, so it was appropriate that his letters began and ended with grace also.

b. Amen: This was a fitting word of affirmation. Paul knew that what he wrote to the Philippians was worthy to be agreed with, so he added the final word of agreement – Amen.

©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission

Categories: New Testament Paul’s Letters

Enduring Word

What does Philippians 4:4 mean?

Paul returns again to the theme of joy in this verse. This time, he strongly emphasizes that such an attitude should be constant, not temporary. This echoes the words of Philippians 3:1, to “rejoice in the Lord,” a phrase Paul also uses in Philippians 4:10 regarding his own actions. Believers find their joy and hope in God. Joy is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23) and is important for every believer.

Paul seems especially focused on the idea that rejoicing is to take place at all times. We often forget that Paul wrote these words while a prisoner in Rome. He had been wrongfully arrested for some time, shipwrecked on the way there, bitten by a snake, and left under house arrest for two years (Acts 27:39–8:16). He had every reason to complain, yet focused on rejoicing. Both his teaching and example provide an amazing model. Every believer should seek to rejoice in the Lord despite difficult situations, just as Paul did.

Context Summary

Philippians 4:2–9 is Paul’s appeal to the Philippian Christians regarding how they handle disagreements within the church. Paul is particularly concerned with an argument between two women, Euodia and Syntyche. Paul’s advice is to focus on our ability to rejoice in our fellowship with Christ. The result of that emphasis ought to be an attitude of ”reasonableness,” seen by all people. With a proper focus on positive things, we can experience peace through the power of God.

Chapter Summary

Paul specifically asks two Christian women, Euodia and Syntyche, to settle their personal dispute. Other Christians are encouraged to act as reasonable, Christ-filled people. Paul notes that his experiences have taught him to be content with whatever material blessings he has. This reliance on the power of Christ not only allows believers to be content, it produces peace in our relationships to other Christians. This also requires a deliberate choice to set our attention on positive things. Paul extends sincere thanks to the Philippians for their generous support

Teach Me In Your Way

VERSE OF THE DAY

Psalm 143:10 (New Living Translation)

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Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.

Teach me in your honor to walk in your will, for you are my God the high priest of all people. May your gracious Spirit lead me ahead on a righteous path.

What Does Psalm 143:10 Mean? ►

Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

Psalm 143:10(NASB)

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Verse Thoughts

In Psalm 143, David laments his circumstances and feels that every step he takes is under attack from his enemies, who are persecuting his soul. He feels that his life is being pounded and pulverised into the ground. He complains that he is being forced to be entombed in dark places, like those that are already in the grave, and he cries out for the Lord to hear his supplication and to answer him, because God is faithful and righteous.

David pleads his own wretchedness and implores God’s goodness to direct and govern his ways. “My spirit is overwhelmed within me,” he cries, “My heart is appalled within me. But I remember the days of old. I meditate on all Your doings. I muse on the work of Your hands. I stretch out my hands to You – my soul longs for You, as a parched land longs for water.”

As with so many of David’s prayers and petitions, these verses feed the hungry soul, restore the fainting spirit, minister to those that feel overwhelmed by life’s circumstances, and encourage a believer’ heart. In his distress, David entreats the listening ear of his faithful Saviour, and we need to do the same. He cried out for mercy, as the enemy sought to crush his soul in death’s deep darkness – and we should similarly cry to the Lord in our distresses.

David’s spirit is faint, his heart dismayed. His soul is as dry as a thirsty desert where there is no water, and yet he starts to recall the days of old. He meditates on the past goodness of God and remembers the wonders of His handiwork, which encourages his fainting heart. David is a man of faith who knows that God is mindful of man and Who has promised to care for His people. However, like us, David often found himself crying out in desperation to the Lord, in times of deep distress and danger. 

David always found that his dark nights of distress and discouragement were displaced by mornings of joyous praises, which enlivened his heart to seek God’s perfect will, and so David acknowledges his dependence upon God, and petitions the Lord for direction – entreating the Spirit of enlightenment to guide him onto level ground, where he may walk without fear or danger. “Teach me to do Your will,” he prays, “for You are my God. Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”

The distress that David is going through often translates into the deep darkness that floods into our heart, as the Accuser of our soul seeks to destroy our testimony, shipwreck our lives, drown us in sorrow, and batter us with bitter whirlwinds that whip up the tides of discontent.

But those that confess knowledge of God’s will and are obedient to His Word, have the sufficient grace to weather the most raging storm and to water the most arid of dusty deserts. God’s grace is sufficient and He is faithful. He has promised that He will not allow us to be tested more than we are able, but in the power of His Holy Spirit, will always hear our prayers and give us a way to overcome in all things.

Like David, we all need guidance from the Lord and we all need His Spirit to teach us His ways and guide us into all truth. We also need to stand on His faithful promises and be comforted that He is the righteous Judge of all. Like David, we should foster a teachable spirit and be ready to call out to Him in times of trouble, as well as rejoice in times of blessing. And as we read in Psalm 143 we should confess our faith in Him and ask for the Holy Spirit to lead us, “on a level land.”

Like the Psalmist, we should call out to God for deliverance from our enemies, rely on His restoration when attacked, and depend on His sufficient grace to help in time of need. We should be ready and willing to admit our weaknesses and combine humility of heart with a soul that trusts in the Lord with our whole being, and does not rely on our own understanding. May we acknowledge Him in ALL things, knowing that He will teach us His will and lead us in His paths of perfect peace.

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/psalm-143-10

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/psalm-143-10

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

Psalm 143:10

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

We want the Spirit to be at work in us to make us like Jesus. For this to happen, we must open our hearts to the will of God. There are no greater words God wants to hear than “teach me to do your will.” That is what it means for him to be God, to have control over our lives and our wills. This is a key part of loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. As we open ourselves to the Father in this way, the Holy Spirit puts us on God’s level ground!

My Prayer…

Almighty God, I want you to truly be God in my life. I renounce any attempt on my part to try to manipulate or use your grace and kindness for my benefit. I submit my will to yours. But Holy Father, I confess that I struggle at times with my own selfish and evil desires that lead me astray. Please forgive me when my heart is cold and my ears are deaf to your will. Please, take control of my life today and may the Spirit lead me on your level ground. Through Jesus my Lord, and in his name, I ask you to assert your will as God in my life. Amen.

The Thoughts and Prayer on Today’s Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@verseoftheday.com.

David Guzik

On December 21, 2015, 11:19 pm

Psalm 143

Psalm 143 – Hope for the Persecuted Soul

Video for Psalm 143:


Psalm 143 – Hope for the Persecuted Soul

The title of this psalm is simply A Psalm of David. It is another cry to God from a time of crisis and affliction because of David’s many enemies. It is numbered among the seven Penitential Psalms – songs of confession and humility before God. Psalm 143 does not seem to belong to this group as much as the others do (Psalm 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, and 130), but Psalm 143:2 is a strong and clear statement about the unrighteousness of mankind.

It was a custom in the early church to sing these psalms on Ash Wednesday, the Wednesday six weeks before Easter.

A. Pleading for God’s help in a time of crisis.

1. (1-2) Pleading for God to hear.

Hear my prayer, O LORD,
Give ear to my supplications!
In Your faithfulness answer me,
And in Your righteousness.
Do not enter into judgment with Your servant,
For in Your sight no one living is righteous.

a. Hear my prayer, O LORD: This psalm describes David in another crisis. Because his life was filled with so much activity and danger, it is impossible to link this psalm to any one particular point of crisis. It could be from the time before David was recognized as king, living as a fugitive from King Saul, or it could be from David’s time as king, particularly when his son Absalom led a rebellion against him.

i. In this crisis, David knew that he must cry out to God and that God must hear him, or he would be lost. For David, prayer was not merely a self-improvement exercise that was good for him whether God heard him or not; prayer was a real plea made to a real God who could be appealed unto to hear, to answer, and to help.

b. Give ear to my supplications: This is the same idea as hear my prayer in the previous line. David used the familiar Hebrew poetic form of parallelism, repeating the same idea in different words for the purpose of emphasis.

c. In Your faithfulness answer me, and in Your righteousness: David appealed to the faithfulness and righteousness of God in his request. He asked God to act consistently with those attributes and to answer David.

i. David knew something of the character and nature of God, and this shaped his prayer life. He could never ask God to be unfaithful or unrighteous. Yet he could ask God to act according to His character, and David did boldly make his request on that basis.

ii. In Your righteousness: “Even the sterner attributes of God are upon the side of the man who humbly trusts, and turns his trust into prayer.” (Spurgeon)

d. Do not enter into judgment with Your servant, for in Your sight no one living is righteous: David understood that if God were to deal with him only on the basis of His righteousness, it could mean judgment and ruin for David. So he asked God to deal with him on the basis of mercy (do not enter into judgment) and understood that he appealed to God because the LORD is righteous, not because David was righteous.

i. We may consider David’s thoughts as such: “LORD, I know that You are righteous and I am not. Yet I come to You as Your servant, asking You to act on my behalf because of Your mercy and Your righteousness, not on my supposed righteousness.”

ii. In saying in Your sight no one living is righteous, David seemed to anticipate the Apostle Paul in Romans 3:10 (quoting Isaiah), There is none righteous, no not one; and Romans 3:23, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. “Luther called this psalm one of the ‘Pauline Psalms’ (see also Psalm 32; Psalm 51; Psalm 130).” (VanGemeren)

iii. When David said this, he wasn’t thinking of others, as in “LORD, they – the whole world – are unrighteous.” Instead he thought about himself, as in “LORD, no one living is righteous, and I am certainly numbered among them.”

iv. “How contrary is this spirit to the confession of innocence in several psalms (Psalm 7:3-5)! Both expressions are valid, depending on the context in which one finds himself. The confession of innocence is appropriate when one is insulted and persecuted for righteousness’s sake, and the confession of guilt is proper when confronted with one’s own frailties.” (VanGemeren)

v. “His peril has forced home the penitent conviction of his sin, and therefore he must first have matters set right between him and God by Divine forgiveness.” (Maclaren)

2. (3-4) The nature of the crisis.

For the enemy has persecuted my soul;
He has crushed my life to the ground;
He has made me dwell in darkness,
Like those who have long been dead.
Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me;
My heart within me is distressed.

a. For the enemy has persecuted my soul: In his wide and amazing life, David knew suffering of many kinds. Here he spoke of the persecution and suffering of his soul. Perhaps there was also a physical or material aspect to his misery, but that is not in view. David ached and cried out to God out of soul-misery.

b. He has crushed my life to the ground: David went on to describe his sense of soul-misery.

· His life felt crushed…to the ground.

· He felt that he lived in darkness as would be true of those long…dead.

· He felt his spirit to be overwhelmed within himself.

· He felt his heart to be distressed.

i. Collectively, this is a powerful picture of the deep misery of a soul. Worse for David, he felt this was pressed upon him by his enemy. This wasn’t because David was of a melancholy or depressive nature; such misery is of its own character. This was something brought upon David by his adversary.

ii. This makes us think of the times when others caused great misery for David, misery that surely extended to the depths of his soul. For many years he lived as a fugitive from King Saul, having to forsake all because a wicked man persecuted him without cause. David also experienced deep misery when his son Absalom rebelled and deposed him as king. David knew what it was like to have great soul-misery inflicted upon him by another person.

iii. Dwell in darkness: “Literally, in dark places. This may be understood of David’s taking refuge in caves and dens of the earth.” (Clarke)

c. Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is distressed: David spoke long before the greater Son of David, but these words could also be in the mouth of Jesus, especially in His Gethsemane agony. In Gethsemane, before His betrayal and crucifixion, Jesus said: My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death (Matthew 26:38).

i. “Such words our Lord Jesus might have used: in this the Head is like the members, and the members are as the Head.” (Spurgeon)

3. (5-6) The workings of the soul.

I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all Your works;
I muse on the work of Your hands.
I spread out my hands to You;
My soul longs for You like a thirsty land. Selah

a. I remember the days of old: In this dark season of his soul, David considered the days of old when things were not so bad. He probably thought of early days of innocence and freshness in his life and his life with God.

i. There were probably mixed emotions within David as he remembered the days of old. If he thought of the joy, the simplicity, and the goodness of how God met him and blessed him as an anonymous (even somewhat despised) shepherd boy, it would bring a warm smile to his face. Yet it would also cause him some pain to consider how far away all that seemed in his present misery of soul.

ii. There are times when it is good for us to remember the days of old. We can remember the sweet and good times of our early life with God, and it blesses us. We can also remember the days of old before our own time, thinking of the great things God has done among His people in days past. Even if remembering the days of old fills us with a measure of sadness to think of how distant those better days may seem, we can use those memories to restore our hope.

iii. “When we see nothing new which can cheer us, let us think upon old things. We once had merry days, days of deliverance, and joy and thanksgiving; why not again?” (Spurgeon)

b. I meditate on all Your works; I muse on the work of Your hands: David’s consideration of the days of old was not only a nostalgic longing for the past. It was a remembrance of God’s great works. David didn’t remember his past as much as he remembered the LORD’s past works.

i. For David, what made the past worth remembering was the work of the LORD. He thought carefully about what God had done; meditate and muse are words that speak of deep thought.

c. I spread out my hands to You: Thinking deeply about what God did with His hands made David respond with his hands, spreading them out before God in prayer and praise. David praised God for what He had done in the days of old, and he prayed that God might draw close to him now.

i. This posture of prayer and praise was genuine hope for David in the midst of his misery of soul. “‘I stretch forth my hands unto thee,’ as if I were in hope thou wouldst take me by the hand and draw me to thee.” (Baker, cited in Spurgeon)

d. My soul longs for You like a thirsty land: Thankfully, the ache in David’s soul did not drive him away from God. It drove David to God in prayer, praise, and deep longing. His persecuted soul (Psalm 143:3) sought after God with the intensity of thirst.

i. “While we recite this verse, let us not be unmindful of Him whose hands were often stretched forth in prayer for his people, and whose soul thirsted after our salvation, even then, when he felt extremity of bodily thirst on the cross.” (Horne)

B. The plea presented again

1. (7) The need for a quick answer.

Answer me speedily, O LORD;
My spirit fails!
Do not hide Your face from me,
Lest I be like those who go down into the pit.

a. Answer me speedily: David felt that his failing spirit could not last long without God’s answer and intervention. Many a saint has felt as David did, feeling an urgency to hear God’s answer.

i. Experience had taught David that God always did things at just the right time, but the present crisis made him cry out, “Answer me speedily, O LORD.”

b. Do not hide Your face from me: David knew what it was like to enjoy the sense of God’s favor and blessing. To feel that God might hide His face drove David into despair, so he pleaded to see the light of God’s countenance.

i. Much later, the Apostle Paul wrote: If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31). When we live with the belief that God is for us, we are confident in the face of any adversary. Yet if we sense that God may hide His face from us, we feel weak before any adversary.

ii. Sadly, David’s words do not connect with the daily experience of many who think of themselves as followers of God. The spiritually insensitive man cares little about God’s favor and blessing. He lives only occasionally aware of a break in communion with God. David was not such a man.

c. Lest I be like those who go down into the pit: David considered this to be the worst imaginable fate: to leave the land of the living and go to the pit of the grave. He felt that he could not go on without a continued sense of the favor and blessing of God.

2. (8) The need for loving guidance.

Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You.

a. Cause me to hear: David needed to hear a good word from God, and asked that he would be caused to hear it. Perhaps David wondered if God was speaking and he somehow failed to hear, so he prayed, “Cause me to hear.” This is a good prayer for all to pray.

i. “He who made the ear will cause us to hear, he who is love itself will have the kindness to bring his lovingkindness before our minds.” (Spurgeon)

b. Your lovingkindness in the morning: David needed to hear something of God’s great mercy, His lovingkindness – His hesed. He needed to hear this early in the day, in the morning, so we would have assurance and know how to walk during the day.

i. The ancient Hebrew word here translated lovingkindness is hesed. For centuries it was translated with words like mercy, kindness, and love. In 1927, a scholar named Nelson Glueck (among others) argued that the real idea behind hesed was “covenant loyalty” and not so much love or mercy. However, many disagreed and there is no good reason for changing the long-held understanding of hesed and taking it as a word that mainly emphasizes covenant loyalty (see R. Laird Harris on hesed in the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament).

ii. Spurgeon on lovingkindness (hesed): “Lovingkindness is one of the sweetest words in our language. Kindness has much in it that is most precious, but lovingkindness is doubly dear; it is the cream of kindness.”

iii. “He is beginning to look ahead and seek direction. The phrase, in the morning, is already a token of this by its admission that the night is not endless.” (Kidner)

c. Cause me to know the way in which I should walk: David confessed that he didn’t know the way, and that he needed God to cause him to know the way. He didn’t only need the love of God – he also needed the guidance of God. Cause me to know the way in which I should walk is a wonderful prayer for all to pray.

d. For in You do I trust…for I lift up my soul to You: David appealed to God on the basis of his trust and surrender to God. It was as if David prayed, “LORD, I am genuinely depending on you. Please don’t let me down; speak to me and guide me.”

i. “If the soul will not rise of itself we must lift it, lift it up unto God.” (Spurgeon)

3. (9) The need for deliverance from wicked men.

Deliver me, O LORD, from my enemies;
In You I take shelter.

a. Deliver me, O LORD, from my enemies: David’s enemies had persecuted his soul (Psalm 143:3). He prayed not only for God’s encouragement, but also for His defense against these enemies.

b. In You I take shelter: This was a beautiful statement of faith. David would not take shelter in sinful pleasures, in the distractions of entertainment, in positive thinking, in self-reliance, in bitterness, or in vengeance. David was determined to take shelter in the LORD.

i. “The blessedness of contrite trust is that it nestles the closer to God, the more it feels its unworthiness. The child hides its face on the mother’s bosom when it has done wrong.” (Maclaren)

4. (10) The need to do God’s good will.

Teach me to do Your will,
For You are my God;
Your Spirit is good.
Lead me in the land of uprightness.

a. Teach me to do Your will: David could say, “Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness” and “Cause me to know the way in which I should walk” (Psalm 143:8). Yet he did not say, “Cause me to do Your will.” In all his reliance upon God, he knew that God would not obey for him. Rather, the loving God would teach David to do His will. He would lead David in the land of uprightness.

i. “The psalmist does not say, ‘Lord, help me to talk about thy will,’ though it is a very proper thing to talk about, and a very profitable thing to hear about. But still doing is better than talking.” (Spurgeon)

ii. Spurgeon also described how the believer should do the will of God: thoughtfully, immediately, cheerfully, constantly, universally, spiritually, and intensely.

iii. The next line, Your Spirit is good, connects this teaching work of God with the presence of His Spirit. “Moreover the Lord has a way of teaching us by his own Spirit. The Holy Spirit speaks in secret whispers to those who are able to hear him. It is not every professing Christian that has the visitations of the Spirit of God in personal monitions, but there are saints who hear a voice behind them saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it.’ God guides us with his eye as well as by his word.” (Spurgeon)

b. For You are my God: It was appropriate for David to expect God to teach him. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will teach the willing servant to do His will, a demonstration of the goodness of God’s Spirit.

i. We should know what David knew – that Your Spirit is good. We should know it even more than David did, in light of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that is part of the New Covenant. A believer has no reason to fail to yield to the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit.

ii. John Trapp noted this from Cyril of Alexandria (A.D. 378-444): “Cyril gathereth from this text, that the good Spirit is God, because none is good but God.”

5. (11-12) The need for revival and rescue.

Revive me, O LORD, for Your name’s sake!
For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.
In Your mercy cut off my enemies,
And destroy all those who afflict my soul;
For I am Your servant.

a. Revive me, O LORD: David prayed for revival, for a renewal of life and vitality. Yet he prayed this not for his own benefit or reputation, but for Your name’s sake – the sake of the LORD’s name and reputation.

i. A genuine concern for the sake of God’s name is a necessary aspect of true revival – and not for the name or the advancement of any man or woman of God. Many prayers for revival are actually self-interested, praying “Lord, let me be known for a great work of revival.”

b. For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble: David knew that his rescue would bring glory to God, so he could pray for deliverance on that basis. He could ask God to destroy all those who afflict my soul, leaving vengeance to God against those who persecuted his soul.

i. Bring my soul out of trouble: “I can bring it in, but thou only canst bring it out.” (Trapp)

c. In Your mercy cut off my enemies…for I am Your servant: David appealed to God on the basis of His name, His righteousness, and His mercy – yet also on the basis of his relationship with God as His servant. David understood that the servant has obligations to the Master; yet, the Master also has obligations to the servant.

i. “For God is pledged to His servant as surely as His servant is pledged to Him.” (Kidner)

ii. David asked God to deal with his enemies; but before that, he asked God to deal with him. He knew that his own low or uninspired or undirected walk with God was a greater danger than any enemy.

(c) 2020 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – ewm@enduringword.com

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Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

Psalm 143:10 NIV

Key Thought

As in this psalm, we cry out to God because we are aware of enemies who are set to attack us and of our personal sins that so easily entangle us in evil. On our own, we have no personal power to stand up under the weight of these two realities. So, our hearts cry out to God asking for him to teach us to do his will and for the Spirit to guide us to the place where we can walk on solid (or level) ground and live the life that pleases God. Rather than giving up in circumstances that seem insurmountable, we cry out to our Father in heaven and trust that the Holy Spirit brings his answer and his power into our lives and brings God’s blessing and God’s deliverance.

Today’s Prayer

O Father, through your good Spirit, please teach me to do your will and to live the life you want me to live in my world — to live to honor the Father just as you did. May your good Spirit lead me on level ground. In the name of the Lord Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Perfect In Relationship To Christ Jesus

VERSE OF THE DAY

Colossians 1:28 (New Living Translation)

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So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ.

So we continue to tell people about Christ. We use all wisdom to counsel every person and teach every person. We are trying to bring everyone before God as people who have grown to be spiritually mature in Christ. Unless we come as one in Christ there is no relationship in Christ Jesus

What Does Colossians 1:28 Mean? ►

We proclaim Him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.

Colossians 1:28(HCSB)

Verse Thoughts

While incarcerated in prison, Paul lifted up his heart in earnest prayer for the Colossian Christians – for spiritual intelligence, practical obedience, moral excellence, and that Christ may be crowned Lord of all in their lives. He prayed that they might become complete in Him and attain spiritual maturity.

He reminds us that Christ is our Saviour Who died to redeem us from the punishment of sin and rose again to live in us, saving us from the power of sin in our lives. He reminds us that Christ is the Creator Who was, and is, and is to come, that all things exist for Him, and that all things are held together by Him.

Paul also reminds us that Christ is the head of the Church, beloved of the Father, and in Whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And he reminds us that we are positioned in Christ and one with Him, and that God’s goal for all his children, is that we become just like Christ.

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Despite being in prison, it was Paul’s delight to preach and proclaim the glorious gospel of grace and the wonderful truth of the Lord Jesus Christ. As God’s chosen apostle to the Gentiles, he wanted to warn us to live godly in Christ Jesus, to admonish us to grow in grace, to encourage us to walk in spirit and truth, and to teach us the unsearchable riches of God.

Paul knew that God’s grace had been bestowed in great measure upon the Church so that we might become spiritually mature, practically obedient, and morally excellent, and his desire was that we walk in humble submission and utter dependence upon our God.

May we take heed to Paul’s words, inspired by the Holy Spirit. May we seek to walk circumspectly and live humbly before our God. May we all come together in the unity in our faith, through a knowledge of God’s Son.

May we all mature in the Lord, with every passing day so that we measure up to the full and complete stature and standard of Christ Jesus, our Saviour, for His praise and glory.

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/colossians-1-28

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/colossians-1-28

Colossians Chapter 1

Colossians 1 – The Greatness of Jesus Christ

A. Greeting and giving of thanks.

1. (1-2) Paul greets the Christians in Colosse.

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

a. Paul: According to the custom of writing letters in that day, the author’s name is given first. Therefore the author was Paul; he wrote the letter while in Roman custody (Colossians 4:3, 4:10, and 4:18), probably from Rome and around A.D. 63.

i. Paul probably wrote the letter because of the visit of Epaphras from Colosse (Colossians 1:7). It is likely that Paul himself had never visited the city (Colossians 2:1).

b. An apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God: Paul was qualified to write this letter of instruction to the Colossians, though he had never met them personally, because he was an apostle.

i. “The literal meaning of apostolos is ‘one sent’; but at its deepest level it denotes an authorized spokesman for God, one commissioned and empowered to act as his representative.” (Vaughan)

ii. And Timothy our brother: Timothy was an honored companion of Paul, but he was not an apostle. “Though Timothy is here joined in the salutation, yet he has never been understood as having any part in composing this epistle. He has been considered as the amanuensis or scribe of the apostle.” (Clarke)

c. To the saints and faithful brethren: When Paul addressed the saints, he did not separate some Christians from others in the Colossian church. Every true Christian is a saint. However, Paul may make a distinction with the phrase faithful brethren. He may refer to those who haven’t embraced the false teaching that concerned Paul so much in this letter.

d. Who are in Colosse: The city of Colosse was probably the smallest and least important city that Paul ever wrote to. It might surprise us that Paul would turn his attention to the Christians in Colosse at a time when he had so many other concerns. Yet he apparently thought the situation in Colosse was important enough for apostolic attention.

i. Paul wrote because there were problems among the Christians in Colosse, but the doctrinal problem – sometimes described as “The Colossian Heresy” – is difficult to precisely describe. It probably was a corruption of Christianity with elements of mystical and legalistic Judaism perhaps combined with early Gnosticism.

ii. The first century religious environment was much like our own. It was a time of religious mixing, with people borrowing a little from this religion and a little from that religion. The only difference was that in the first century, one joined a group who did the borrowing. In our modern culture one does the borrowing one’s self.

iii. Whatever the problem was precisely, Paul dwelt on the solution: a better understanding of Jesus. Knowing the real Jesus helps us to stay away from the counterfeit, no matter how it comes packaged.

e. In Colosse: The city of Colosse is not even mentioned in the Book of Acts. All our Biblical information about the church there comes from this letter and a few allusions in the letter to Philemon.

i. From these sources we learn that Epaphras was responsible for bringing the gospel to the Colossians (Colossians 1:6-7). He was a native of the city (Colossians 4:12), and also got the message out to neighboring towns in the Lycus Valley like Hierapolis and Laodicea (Colossians 4:13).

ii. Perhaps Epaphras heard the gospel himself when Paul was in Ephesus. As Paul taught in the lecture hall of Tyrannus, all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord (Acts 19:10). It would not be surprising if some people from Colosse heard the gospel at that time.

iii. Historically, Colosse was a prosperous city, and famous (along with other cities in its region) for its fabric dyes. Yet by Paul’s time the glory it had as a city was on the decline.

iv. Adam Clarke adds an interesting comment: “That this city perished by an earthquake, a short time after the date of this epistle, we have the testimony of Eusebius.” Tacitus also mentioned this earthquake, which happened around A.D. 60.

f. Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ: Paul’s greeting was familiar but heartfelt. “Grace is God’s unconditioned goodwill toward men and women which is decisively expressed in the saving work of Christ.” (Bruce)

i. This letter – full of love and concern, written to a church Paul had neither planted nor visited – shows the power of Christian love. Paul didn’t need to see or meet or directly know these Christians in order to love them and be concerned for them.

2. (3) Paul’s habit of prayer for the Colossians.

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

a. Praying always for you: Though he had never met most of them, the Christians of Colosse were on Paul’s prayer list. He prayed for them not only often, but always.

b. We give thanks: When Paul did pray for the Colossians, he did it full of gratitude. Perhaps those who pray the most end up having the most reasons to thank God.

3. (4-8) Why Paul was thankful.

Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth; as you also learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.

a. Since we heard: Paul was thankful for their faith in Christ Jesus and their love for all the saints. Genuine faith in Jesus will always have a true love for God’s people as a companion.

b. Because of the hope: Paul was thankful for the hope laid up for them in heaven. He was thankful when he considered the destiny of the Colossian Christians.

i. We notice the familiar triad of faith, hope, and love. These were not merely theological ideas to Paul; they dominated his thinking as a Christian.

c. Which you heard before in the word of the truth: Paul was thankful that their eternal destiny was affected by the truth of the gospel, brought by Epaphras (as you also learned from Epaphras).

i. Epaphras is described as a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf. This doesn’t mean that Epaphras was superior to the other Christians in Colosse. The word minister does not mean “superior”; it means “one who serves.”

d. And is bringing forth fruit: Paul was thankful that the gospel was bringing forth fruit over all the world, even while Paul was in a Roman prison.

i. The phrase “in all the world” was “A legitimate hyperbole, for the gospel was spreading all over the Roman Empire.” (Robertson)

ii. “The doctrine of the Gospel is represented as a traveller, whose object it is to visit the whole habitable earth… So rapid is this traveller in his course, that he had already gone nearly through the whole of the countries under the Roman dominion, and will travel on until he has proclaimed his message to every people, and kindred, and nation, and tongue.” (Clarke)

B. How Paul prayed for the Colossian Christians.

1. (9-11) Paul petitions God on behalf of the Colossians.

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;

a. To ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will: First, Paul prayed that they would have a knowledge of His will, informed by a true spiritual understanding. To know God and what He requires of us is our first responsibility.

i. “If you read this epistle through, you will observe that Paul frequently alludes to knowledge and wisdom. To the point in which he judged the church to be deficient he turned his prayerful attention. He would not have them ignorant. He knew that spiritual ignorance is the constant source of error, instability, and sorrow; and therefore he desired that they might be soundly taught in the things of God.” (Spurgeon)

b. That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him: Second, Paul prayed that they would live according to the same knowledge they received, living out a walk worthy of the Lord.

i. This is a familiar pattern, repeated over and over again in the New Testament. Our walk is based on our knowledge of God and our understanding of His will.

c. Being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. This is how we can be fully pleasing to God and how we can have a worthy walk.

i. This is an echo of Jesus’ thought in John 15:7-8: If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

ii. “‘Fruitful in every good work.’ Here is room and range enough – in ‘every good work.’ Have you the ability to preach the gospel? Preach it! Does a little child need comforting? Comfort it! Can you stand up and vindicate a glorious truth before thousands? Do it! Does a poor saint need a bit of dinner from your table? Send it to her. Let works of obedience, testimony, zeal, charity, piety, and philanthropy all be found in your life. Do not select big things as your special line, but glorify the Lord also in the littles – ‘fruitful in every good work.’” (Spurgeon)

d. Strengthened with all might: As we walk worthy of the Lord, His strength is there to help us meet all of life’s challenges, and to endure and overcome problems with circumstances (patience) and people (longsuffering) with joy.

2. (12-14) Paul’s specific thanks to the Father.

Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

a. Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us: In the divine administration, the Father is mentioned in connection with the broad sweep of His plan of redemption. He is the Person of the Trinity who initiates the plan of the ages.

b. To be partakers of the inheritance of the saints: It is the Father who qualifies us, not our own works. We gain this as an inheritance, instead of earning it as a wage.

c. He has delivered us from the power of darkness: Christians have been delivered from Satan’s domain. The word has the idea of a rescue by a sovereign power.

i. Another place where this same phrase for power of darkness is used is in Luke 22:53, where Jesus spoke of the darkness surrounding His arrest and passion in the same terms. “These words refer to the sinister forces marshaled against him for decisive combat in the spiritual realm.” (Bruce)

ii. The power of darkness may be seen in its effects, and for those who have been delivered… from the power of darkness these effects should be less and less evident in the life.

· The power of darkness lulls us to sleep.

· The power of darkness is skilled at concealment.

· The power of darkness afflicts and depresses man.

· The power of darkness can fascinate us.

· The power of darkness emboldens some men.

iii. “Beloved, we still are tempted by Satan, but we are not under his power; we have to fight with him, but we are not his slaves. He is not our king; he has no rights over us; we do not obey him; we will not listen to his temptations.” (Spurgeon)

d. And conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love: According to Barclay, the word we translate conveyed had a special significance in the ancient world. When one empire conquered another, the custom was to take the population of the defeated empire and transfer it completely to the conqueror’s land. It is in this sense that Paul says we have been conveyed into God’s kingdom. Everything we have and everything we are now belongs to Him.

i. The Son of His love is a Hebraic way of saying “God’s dear Son.”

e. In whom we have redemption through His blood: Redemption has the idea of release by a legal ransom. The price for our release was paid by the blood of Jesus.

i. This is one reason why pleading the blood of Jesus – in the right sense, not in a magical or superstitious sense – has such great significance in spiritual warfare. It shows the “receipt” of our lawful purchase as redeemed people.

ii. One of the great sticky questions of theology is to whom was the price paid? Some say it was to God that the ransom price was paid, but we were prisoners of Satan’s kingdom. Others say it was to Satan that the ransom price was paid, but what does God owe to Satan? This question probably simply extends the metaphor too far.

f. The forgiveness of sins: The word translated forgiveness is the ancient Greek word aphesis, most literally rendered “a sending away.” Our sin and guilt is sent away because of what Jesus did on the cross for us.

i. “It thus speaks of the removal of our sins from us, so that they are no longer barriers that separate us from God.” (Vaughan)

3. (15-20) Paul’s meditation on the person and work of Jesus.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

a. He is: Paul started out thanking the Father for His plan of redemption (Colossians 1:12). He couldn’t do that without also thinking of the Son, who is the great Redeemer.

i. Most scholars think that Colossians 1:15-20 came from a poem or a hymn in the early Church that described what Christians believed about Jesus. This is entirely possible, but can’t be proven one way or another.

b. He is the image of the invisible God: The word translated image (the ancient Greek word eikon) expressed two ideas.

· Likeness, as in the image on a coin or the reflection in a mirror.

· Manifestation, with the sense that God is fully revealed in Jesus.

i. If Paul meant that Jesus was merely similar to the Father, he would have used the ancient Greek word homoioma, which speaks merely of similar appearance. The stronger word used here proves that Paul knew that Jesus is God just as God the Father is God. It means that “Jesus is the very stamp of God the Father.” (Robertson)

ii. “God is invisible, which does not merely mean that He cannot be seen by our bodily eye, but that He is unknowable. In the exalted Christ the unknowable God becomes known.” (Peake)

iii. According to Barclay, the ancient Jewish philosopher Philo equated the eikon of God with the Logos. Paul used this important and meaningful word with great purpose.

c. The firstborn over all creation: Firstborn (the ancient Greek word prototokos) can describe either priority in time or supremacy in rank. As Paul used it here, he probably had both ideas in mind, with Jesus being before all created things and Jesus being of a supremely different order than all created things.

i. Firstborn is also used of Jesus in Colossians 1:18, Romans 8:29, Hebrews 1:6, and Revelation 1:5.

ii. In no way does the title firstborn indicate that Jesus is less than God. In fact, the ancient Rabbis called Yawhew Himself “Firstborn of the World” (Rabbi Bechai, cited in Lightfoot). Ancient rabbis used firstborn as a Messianic title: “God said, As I made Jacob a first-born (Exodus 4:22), so also will I make king Messiah a first-born (Psalm 89:27).” (R. Nathan in Shemoth Rabba, cited in Lightfoot)

iii. “The use of this word does not show what Arius argued: that Paul regarded Christ as a creature like ‘all creation’… It is rather the comparative (superlative) force of protos that is used.” (Robertson)

iv. Bishop Lightfoot, a noted Greek scholar, on the use of both eikon (image) and prototokos (firstborn): “As the Person of Christ was the Divine response alike to the philosophical questionings of the Alexandrian Jew and to the patriotic hopes of the Palestinian, these two currents of thought meet in the term prototokos as applied to our Lord, who is both the true Logos and the true Messiah.” (Lightfoot)

v. “Prototokos in its primary sense expresses temporal priority, and then, on account of the privileges of the firstborn, it gains the further sense of dominion… Whether the word retains anything of its original meaning here is doubtful.” (Peake)

d. For by Him all things were created: There is no doubt that Jesus is the author of all creation. He Himself is not a created being. When we behold the wonder and the glory of the world Jesus created, we worship and honor Him all the more.

i. Comets have vapor trails up to 10,000 miles long. If you could capture all that vapor, and put it in a bottle, the amount of vapor actually present in the bottle would take up less than 1 cubic inch of space.

ii. Saturn’s rings are 500,000 miles in circumference, but only about a foot thick.

iii. If the sun were the size of a beachball and put on top of the Empire State Building, the nearest group of stars would be as far away as Australia is to the Empire State Building.

iv. The earth travels around the sun about eight times the speed of a bullet fired from a gun.

v. There are more insects in one square mile of rural land than there are human beings on the entire earth.

vi. A single human chromosome contains twenty billion bits of information. How much information is that? If written in ordinary books, in ordinary language, it would take about four thousand volumes.

vii. According to Greek scholar A.T. Robertson, all things were created has the idea of “stand created” or “remain created.” Robertson adds: “The permanence of the universe rests, then, on Christ far more than on gravity. It is a Christ-centric universe.”

e. Whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers: As will be demonstrated in the rest of the letter, the Colossian Heresy seemed taken with an elaborate angelology, which effectively placed angels as mediators between God and man. Paul emphasized that whatever ranks of spirit beings there may be, Jesus created them all and they all ultimately answer to Him.

f. He is before all things… who is the beginning: Centuries after Paul, a dangerous (yet popular) teacher named Arius claimed that Jesus was not truly God and that there was a time when He did not exist. Paul rightly understood and insisted that Jesus is before all things and is Himself the beginning.

i. “As all creation necessarily exists in time, and had a commencement, and there was an infinite duration in which it did not exist, whatever was before or prior to that must be no part of creation; and the Being who existed prior to creation, and before all things-all existence of every kind, must be the unoriginated and eternal God: but Paul says, Jesus Christ was before all things; ergo, the apostle conceived Jesus Christ to be truly, and essentially God.” (Clarke)

g. In Him all things consist: The idea that Jesus is both the unifying principle and the personal sustainer of all creation.

i. “Hence, God, as the Preserver, is as necessary to the continuance of all things, as God the Creator was to their original production. But this preserving or continuing power is here ascribed to Christ.” (Clarke)

h. Head of the body, the church: This describes Jesus’ relationship to the church. Here, head probably refers to Jesus’ role as source of the church, even as we refer to the head of a river.

i. That in all things He may have the preeminence: This is a fitting summary of the verses found in Colossians 1:15-18.

i. Adam Clarke on Colossians 1:16-17: “Now, allowing St. Paul to have understood the terms which he used, he must have considered Jesus Christ as being truly and properly God… Unless there be some secret way of understanding the 16th and 17th verses, which God has nowhere revealed, taken in their sober and rational sense and meaning they must forever settle this very important point.”

j. Fullness: This translates the ancient Greek word pleroma, and was really just another way to say that Jesus is truly God.

i. The word fullness was “a recognized technical term in theology, denoting the totality of the Divine powers and attributes.” (Lightfoot, cited in Robertson)

ii. According to Vincent, pleroma was used by the Gnostic teachers in a technical sense, to express the sum-total of divine powers and attributes “Christ may have been ranked with these inferior images of the divine by the Colossian teachers. Hence the significance of the assertion that the totality of the divine dwells in Him.” (Vincent)

iii. “The Gnostics distributed the divine powers among various aeons. Paul gathers them all up in Christ, a full and flat statement of the deity of Christ.” (Robertson)

k. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell: The ancient Greek word for dwell is here used in the sense of a permanent dwelling. There is an entirely different word used for the sense of a temporary dwelling place. Paul wanted to emphasize the idea that Jesus was not temporarily God, but is permanently God.

i. “Two mighty words; ‘fullness’a substantial, comprehensive, expressive word in itself, and ‘all,’ a great little word including everything. When combined in the expression, ‘all fullness,’ we have before us a superlative wealth of meaning.” (Spurgeon)

ii. Once it pleased the Father to bruise Him (Isaiah 53:10); now it pleases the Father that in Him all the fullness of God should dwell.

iii. “Thus the phrase in Him should all the fullness dwell gathers into a grand climax the previous statements – image of God, first-born of all creation, Creator, the eternally preexistent, the Head of the Church, the victor over death, first in all things. On this summit we pause, looking like John, from Christ in His fullness of deity to the exhibition of that divine fullness in redemption consummated in heaven.” (Vincent)

iv. The fullness is in Jesus Christ. Not in a church; not in a priesthood; not in a building; not in a sacrament; not in the saints; not in a method or a program, but in Jesus Christ Himself. It is in Him as a “distribution point” – so that those who wanted more of God and all that He is can find it in Jesus Christ.

l. And by Him to reconcile all things to Himself: Jesus’ atoning work is full and broad. Yet we should not take Colossians 1:20 as an endorsement of universalism.

m. Through the blood of the cross: Again we notice where the peace was made. We don’t make our own peace with God, but Jesus made peace for us through His work on the cross.

i. However, we should not regard the blood of the cross in a superstitious manner. It is not a magical potion, nor is it the literal blood of Jesus, literally applied that saves or cleanses us. If that were so, then His Roman executioners, splattered with His blood, would have been automatically saved, and the actual number of molecules of Jesus’ literal blood would limit the number of people who could be saved. The blood of the cross speaks to us of the real, physical death of Jesus Christ in our place, on our behalf, before God. That literal death in our place, and the literal judgment He bore on our behalf, is what saves us.

4. (21-23) How the greatness of Jesus’ work touches the lives of the Colossians.

And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

a. Who once were alienated: The ancient Greek word translated alienated (apellotriomenous) is literally “transferred to another owner.” This transfer of ownership, from God to Satan and self, affected us in both mind and behavior.

i. Belonging to the race of Adam, we are born alienated from God. Then as individuals, we each choose to accept and embrace that alienation with our wicked works.

ii. Once were alienated: This means that in Jesus we are no longer alienated. The difference between a believer and a non-believer isn’t merely forgiveness; there is a complete change of status.

b. Yet now He has reconciled: God’s answer to the problem of alienation is reconciliation, initiated by His work on the cross (reconciled in the body of His flesh through death). In the work of reconciliation, God didn’t meet us halfway. God meets us all the way and invites us to accept it.

i. One may use two different ways of understanding human need and God’s salvation.

· We can see God as the judge, and we are guilty before Him. Therefore, we need forgiveness and justification.

· We can see God as our friend, and we have damaged our relationship with Him. Therefore, we need reconciliation.

ii. Both of these are true; neither one should be promoted at the expense of the other.

iii. The phrase body of His flesh is redundant. Paul wanted to emphasize that this happened because of something that happened to a real man on a real cross.

c. To present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight: This is the result of God’s work of reconciliation. Taken together, these words show that in Jesus we are pure and can’t even be justly accused of impurity.

i. The idea of presenting us holy and blameless before God may recall the terminology used when priests inspected potential sacrifices. We are presented to God as a living sacrifice.

ii. A desire to be saved means a desire to be made holy, and blameless, and above reproach; not merely a desire to escape the fires of hell on our own terms.

d. If indeed you continue in the faith: Those truly reconciled must truly persevere. Paul’s main focus is continuing in the truth of the gospel (continue in the faith… not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard). It is important for Christians to continue in godly conduct, but we are not saved by our godly conduct. So it is even more important for Christians to continue in the truth of the gospel because we are saved by grace through faith.

i. “If the gospel teaches the final perseverance of the saints, it teaches at the same time that the saints are those who finally persevere – in Christ. Continuance is the test of reality.” (Bruce)

C. What Paul did for the Colossians.

1. (24) Paul suffers for their sake.

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

a. I now rejoice in my sufferings for you: Paul wrote this from a Roman jail. He was able to see that his sufferings worked something good for others, so he could say that his sufferings were for the Colossians and other Christians.

b. And fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ: This word afflictions is never used for the suffering of Jesus on the cross. Most commentators see this as a reference to the affliction Jesus endured in ministry. These afflictions are not yet complete, and in this sense Jesus still “suffers” as He ministers through His people.

i. “Paul attaches no atoning value whatever to his own sufferings for the church.” (Robertson)

ii. “The term ‘afflictions of Christ’ is never associated with the redemptive suffering of Jesus upon the cross. It speaks, rather, of those ministerial sufferings which Paul bears because he represents Jesus Christ.” (Lane)

c. For the sake of His body, which is the church: Paul did not suffer for himself in the way that an ascetic might. Instead he suffered for the sake of the body of Christ.

i. Ascetics focus on their holiness, on their spiritual growth, and on their perfection. Paul followed in the footsteps of Jesus and was an others-centered person. Paul found holiness, spiritual growth, and maturity when he pursued these things for others.

2. (25-26) Paul is a servant of the church, revealing the mystery of God that was once hidden.

Of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.

a. Of which I became a minister: Paul was a minister – that is, a servant of the body of Christ, the church. He did not take this position on his own initiative, but according to the stewardship from God. God put Paul into this position, he did not put himself.

b. The word of God, the mystery which has been hidden: In the Biblical sense, a mystery is not a riddle. It is a truth that can only be known by revelation and not by intuition. Now it can be known, because it now has been revealed to His saints.

i. Hidden from ages and generations: This reminds us that there are aspects to God’s plan that were not clearly revealed in the Old Testament. The specific mystery Paul refers to here deals with many aspects of the work of Jesus in His people, but especially the plan of the church, to make one body out of Jew and Gentile, taken from the “trunk” of Israel, yet not Israel.

ii. “The mystery is this: that God had designed to grant the Gentiles the same privileges with the Jews, and make them his people who were not his people. That this in what Paul means by the mystery, see Eph 3:3, etc.” (Clarke)

3. (27) Part of the mystery: that Jesus would actually indwell believers.

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

a. This mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you: The wonder and glory of the abiding, indwelling Jesus was not clearly revealed in the Old Testament, especially that He would abide in the Gentiles. Therefore, this aspect of the work of Jesus in His people was a mystery that wasn’t revealed until the time of Jesus and the apostles.

i. “This is the crowning wonder to Paul that God had included the Gentiles in his redemptive grace.” (Robertson)

ii. This means that God is revealed to us in Jesus. Classic theologians use the Latin term deus absconditus to refer to the “hidden God,” the God than cannot be clearly seen or known. The Latin theological term deus revelatus refers to the “revealed God.” In Jesus, the deus absconditus has become the deus revelatus.

b. Christ in you, the hope of glory: This is the Christian’s hope of glory. It isn’t our own hard work or devotion to God, or the power of our own spirituality. Instead, it is the abiding presence of Jesus: Christ in you.

4. (28-29) Paul’s motto for apostolic ministry.

Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.

a. Him we preach: This was the focus of Paul’s preaching. He didn’t preach himself, or his opinions, or even lots and lots of entertaining stories. He preached Jesus.

b. Warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom: Paul wanted the whole gospel for the whole world. He wouldn’t hold back in either area – it was for every man, and he presented it in all wisdom.

i. Some translate the word warning as “counseling.” The ancient Greek verb nouthetountes means, “To impart understanding,” “to lay on the mind or the heart.” The stress is on influencing not only the intellect, but also the will and disposition. It describes a basic means of education.

ii. The work of warning – or helping to impart understanding – was a passion for Paul in ministry (Acts 20:31). It is also the job of church leaders (1 Thessalonians 5:12) and of the church body in general (Colossians 3:16), providing that they are able to admonish others (Romans 15:14).

c. That we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: The goal of Paul’s ministry was to bring people to maturity in Christ, and not to dependence upon himself.

i. “Therefore, the aim of this epistle, and, indeed, of all apostolic work is admonishing and teaching every man toward the realization of perfection in Christ, because that issues in the perfecting of the whole Church.” (Morgan)

ii. This work was for every man. In contrast, the false teachers at Colosse “believed the way of salvation to be so involved that it could be understood only by a select few who made up sort of a spiritual aristocracy.” (Vaughan)

d. Striving according to His working which works in me mightily: Paul’s work was empowered by God’s mighty strength. But God’s strength in Paul’s life didn’t mean that he did nothing. He worked hard according to His working.

i. “The word ‘struggling’ [striving], whose root can mean ‘to compete in the games’, carries, as of then in Paul, the idea of athletic contest: Paul does not go about his work half-heartedly, hoping vaguely that grace will fill in the gaps which he is too lazy to work at himself.” (Wright)

©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission

Categories: New Testament Paul’s Letters

What does Colossians 1:28 mean?

In this verse, Paul notes four ways he communicates Christ. First, the idea of proclaiming involved communicating to a large audience, similar to an announcement made to a city or village.

Second, Paul notes he communicated Christ through “warning.” This word in Greek is nouthetountes, which can also be translated “counseling.” This refers to the use of the gospel and biblical teaching to help people with problem areas in life. Third, Paul communicated through teaching or instruction, offering information to help others know the gospel and understand a Christian worldview.

Fourth, Paul was not content with only converting people to Christ; he also desired maturity. Ephesians 4:12–14 notes a goal of church leaders is to “equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 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.”

Context Summary

Colossians 1:24–29 completes this passage with an emphasis on Paul’s work as a minister. According to Paul, his suffering is a service he offers for the sake of Christ, on behalf of the other believers. Paul’s work for the sake for the church is just that: work. He is striving, fighting, and ”toiling” on behalf of his faith. All the same, Paul recognizes that anything he accomplishes is only through the power given through Christ.

Chapter Summary

In chapter 1, Paul introduces himself, along with his co-author Timothy. As he often does, Paul gives thanks for what he hears about the faith of the believers in Colossae. Paul includes a prayer for their growth and spiritual strength. The letter then transitions to praise of Jesus, describing Him as absolutely supreme. All created things were made through, by, and for Him. And, since it was His sacrifice which saved us from sin, we can have confidence in our eternal destiny

Building A Relationship In Christ Jesus

VERSE OF THE DAY

Matthew 28:18-20 (New Living Translation)

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Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

So he came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth is given to me. So go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything that I have told you to do. You can be sure that I will be with you always. I will continue with you until the end of time.” Do everything in my name.

The Call to Make Disciples in Matthew 28: 18-20

November 1, 2014 by Bobby Harrington

Excerpt taken from Evangelism or Discipleship: How Can They Effectively Work Together by Bobby Harrington and Bill Hull

In this chapter, we’re asking three critical questions of this seminal passage. We begin with the two verses before it:

“Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him—but some of them doubted!” (Matt. 28: 16-17, NLT).

1. Why did they show up?

The eleven disciples were afraid. They had failed Him. Yet they were His disciples, not anyone else’s. The resurrection had convinced them to stick with Jesus. They knew what was ahead. Jesus had already told them they would be hated and would die like He did. But they would also be raised like Him. So when He appeared to them once more, they worshiped Him. Still, doubt nagged at them. Was this real, were they imagining this, were they being tricked?

If a skeptic paid attention to this one simple fact about the disciples, it would erase any doubt about the reason for the creation of the church and the existence of the New Testament. The idea that these very ordinary men would have invented such a story and arranged for themselves to be killed is ludicrous. Belief and sacrifice didn’t come naturally for these 11 men; they don’t come easily to any of us.

Every Sunday, millions of disciples sit in services praying, thinking, worshiping, and yes, doubting the whole thing. Asking the same questions as the 11 on that mountain. “Is this real, is God really interested, is He really here, and am I willing to go and do what He is telling me?” The good news is that doubt is integral to faith. It reinforces our faith; without strong doubt, faith cannot be strong. Worshiping while doubting is normal—and even essential.

Jesus knew their inner struggle; it was nothing new to Him. He, being fully human, had known many of the same struggles when He faced crucifixion. As leaders, we should expect people in our churches to have doubts about what we are teaching them, especially when it involves changing their schedules, their use of money and their professional and family lives. To rethink how you are going to live and then take risks that threaten any sense of normal security is daunting. Like the 11 disciples, you must have evidence and a source of authority to answer such a call. If your teaching on the implications of Christ’s call to make disciples doesn’t produce some fear, then you’re not teaching what Jesus taught.

2. What is our authority?

Now, let’s look at the first part of this watershed passage: “Jesus came and told His disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18, NLT).

The authority is for the specific purpose of making disciples. Have you considered that “all authority in heaven and earth” is focused on one thing? If Jesus’ words are to be believed, all authority God has made is certainly resident in one person and will now be channeled in His effort to rescue the world. This is all the authority needed to make disciples, and making disciples is the one thing Jesus has authorized His people to do. When a disciple wonders how much spiritual authority he has, the answer is “all of it.”

When the religious authorities asked Peter and John this question, Peter answered, “Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead” (Acts 4:10, NLT).

These unlettered men with calloused hands and uncultured accents were challenging the elite of Israel. They had seen more conversions in a few hours than the entire religious system of Israel had produced in years. They knew where their authority came from and acted on it boldly and courageously. Peter and John’s fear didn’t disappear, but it was overpowered by courage.

Isn’t this the message needed by the vast majority of North American Church members who sit passively in the pews? The one thing the church has been commanded to do and has been given the authority to do is make disciples. And if we do, that same energy will make evangelism necessary. In a very short time, people realized that Peter’s goal was more than to convince people to believe and be baptized. It was to enroll them into a new community of fellow believers where they would live and learn from one another.

3. What is involved in making disciples?

The final verse of this passage helps us understand the “how” of making disciples.
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19, NLT).

We can all pretty much agree that a disciple of Jesus is one who trusts and follows Him and obeys all of His teachings. I (Bill) like to describe a disciple as “someone whose intention is to follow Jesus and to learn from Him how to live his life as though Jesus were living it.” A disciple has believed in the fullest sense of the first-century use of belief. The primary property of faith is action. No less of an advocate for the necessity and adequacy of faith for salvation, Martin Luther once said of true biblical faith, “While others are debating whether faith produces works, real faith has already ran out into the streets and is at work.” To believe in Jesus is to follow Him, and that is what makes a disciple. An accurate statement—and it also would mark only the beginning of the journey.

The disciple-making process begins long before actual conversion. Looking at the Gospels and how people came to true faith, we see that conversion is a process as often as it is an event. Think about Peter. We sometimes like to ask, “When was Peter truly converted?” Looking at his life with this question in mind helps us to see the process involved in true conversion. Jesus discipled Peter long before Peter really understood the core elements of the gospel and the cross. Consider these questions:

Was Peter converted when he first started following Jesus in Matt. 4:18? Or was it when he was called to be one of the twelve in Luke 6? What about when he denied that Jesus even needed to die on the cross in Mark 8:32? Was it after Peter fell and then repented in Luke 22:32, or when Jesus breathed on him and said, “receive the Holy Spirit” in John 20:22? Was it on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2? These tricky questions help us to realize what is often involved in the crocked, messy journey of discipleship.

We see the same process with Thomas, and James and John. Coming to a belief in Christ can take time. Eventually when the moment comes, we experience a realization, a definitive insight or a prayer that brings together the pieces.

Disciple making begins before we’re converted to Christ, when in a special way we are already under God’s care. Discussions with Christians, the acts of kindness toward us, our observations and even our conflicts play a role in choosing to follow Jesus. Prior to our initial decision to follow Christ (what many call conversion), all of the meaningful contact with those seeking God is part of the disciple-making process.

Going Public

At the dawn of the Christian era, water baptism was the official beginning for those who wanted to declare their faith. The baptismal formula “in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” has largely remained the practice of the church. In the majority of cultures outside of the Western Hemisphere, baptism still marks a clear difference in how others see you, especially in countries dominated by other religions.

My (Bobby) friend, Joe Shulam, is a classic example. As a young Israeli, Joe was warned by his Jewish parents that if he decided to follow Jesus as the Messiah, they would cut him off. Joe wrestled with the decision for some time and then made his decision. As soon as his parents heard of his baptism, they cut him off. He was forced to enter into adulthood and live for many years estranged from his parents (years later, they too decided to follow Jesus as their Messiah). For Joe, like so many, baptism was the dividing line between his old life and the new.

In the United States, believer baptisms are done in churches, swimming pools and the ocean. Most of these ceremonies are relationally benign, rarely raising an eyebrow. And they are cultural artifacts. People in general, and this would be true of most church members, do not expect getting wet to make much of a difference in one’s life.

Matthew 28 asks us to think in terms of what we’re being baptized into. It seems important to say that that baptism places us into a community that finds its genesis in the Triune God: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are given a unity with others in Christ (1 Cor. 12:12-13). It is a community based on truth, trust and grace that aspires to practice in community what their God does. This “belonging” is one of the most inviting parts of what it means to be a follower of Christ, because you join Christ and His community. The human division of the Christ community is flawed, sometimes outright ugly and embarrassing, but its potential for good is better than any other experience on earth. When someone is baptized, it is with the hope that she can live this reality and have a blessed life in Christ because she is in community.

The process we call “making disciples” includes evangelism and is done by disciples to make other disciples. That process includes just about everything we do in relation to people around us. Some elements of the process are planned; some we learn from our training. But as a whole, most are unplanned and are manifested in our character. Disciple making includes what we are like when we react to the unplanned big curriculum of life as it comes at us day and night without warning.

All the Nations

Here comes the part of making disciples that requires grit and patience. The disciple making Jesus calls us to should lead us to reproduce. The goal is not just neighbors, friends and work associates. Most of the people we are to reach, we will never meet. Jesus said that when the gospel was preached to all the nations, then the end would come. We feel obligated to say that the original word for “nations” is where we derive the English word “ethnic.” Jesus is referring to all people groups rather than nations, which of course have changed boundaries, leaders, governments and names in the last two millennia.

The U.S. church has done a good job of foreign missions. Much of the medical and educational infrastructure of the most needy people on earth depends greatly on the efforts and goodwill of the American church. The missional efforts of Americans continue to grow, and some of the funding is now coming from other sources than the church. It’s encouraging to see the major philanthropic efforts from wealth created in the free enterprise system. While many of these efforts are not in the name of Christ, they certainly represent the Spirit of Christ and His care for others. God is using them to answer the prayers of so many, “Give us this day our daily bread.” This is the positive residual of the church in post-Christian America.

The argument against the church is that it has done a good job, but not the one Jesus commanded. By neglecting its core mission of making disciples of its members, the church has only tapped a small part of its potential resources. Instead of an all-hands-on-deck effort to reach the world, the church has labored with a small, stripped-down crew. Given the low percentage of involvement, we commend the church for its impact. But to think of what has been accomplished as a “success” would be like describing standing in ankle- deep water as a flood of God’s blessing.

Why then has the level of involvement been so meager in light of the overall potential?

What Are We Missing?

Discipleship

“Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you” (Matt. 28:20, NLT).
The process of what we call discipleship is to be modeled after Jesus’ example with His own disciples. While this would seem obvious, unfortunately the contemporary church has greatly neglected it. Jesus entered into relationship with His men and trained them on the job. Over the course of His ministry on earth, the disciples observed Him and questioned Him; He shocked them, scandalized them, scared them, explained His teaching to them, and then asked them to try it out for themselves. They were connected to Him through His belief in them, the authority of His call, the power of His life and His clear focus on His mission to seek and save (Luke 19:10).

Because He knew them well, He was able to teach them deeply. That familiarity is easy to miss in the scriptures, but in the first few days Jesus spent with Peter, Nathanial, John, Andrew and Philip, He revealed He knew their hearts and motivations. He even gave them nicknames (John 1:35-51). Jesus gave His disciples what so many ministry leaders today are not willing to give—significant chunks of time. Some theologians estimate that He spent 90 percent of His time with the 12 men. A very private life in a way, but how He discipled had a very public impact. Many effective leaders spend large amounts of time alone or with a few others. Remember Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane; He mentioned His followers more than 40 times. He knew he was entrusting the mission to them. In that prayer, He asked His father to take care of them (John 17:1-26). Because He considered them the key to His mission to redeem and restore the world, He made His most important time investment in His disciples.

We’re not throwing a blanket over all ministry leaders and saying they don’t invest in others. But we will say that the leaders who do are in the minority and that most of the time their intentions are scattered. Jesus told us what the curriculum would be—not just any curriculum, not just any fashionable trend, but something simple, yet difficult. In fact, He said it would be so difficult that many would choose not to follow it. At its core, His curriculum would require every leader to do what He did: to lead, to be an example, to risk failure and to go against the grain of easy, fast success. It would be to “teach them to obey.” It would be personal, relational, slow, discouraging, ordinary and unnoticed by many. This is particularly true in our time. When you drop off the grid to engage in this kind of work, you don’t exist in the public eye.

Accountability

We have much teaching about what is right and wrong. You’ll find no shortage of teaching on moral behavior, and on doing important work around the world. In fact, you can find an avalanche of books, videos, conferences and social media pundits that remind us of what we should and should not do. But precious few committed pastors and leaders are teaching us how to become what is needed to carry out the Great Commission. The great omission in the Great Commission is the absence of accountability. The words of Dallas Willard come to mind:

“Ministers pay far too much attention to people who do not come to services. Those people should generally be given exactly that disregard by the pastor that they give to Christ. The Christian leader has something much more important to do than pursue the godless. The leader’s task is to equip saints until they are like Christ, and history and the God of history waits for him to do this job.

If someone is anxious about the mission to seek and save those in need of Christ, the most important decision to navigate that anxiety comes from the pastor. What are his plans for the people of his congregation? That decision will determine what he does with his gifts, his time and his heart. The first accountability lies with the minister, pastor or leader. In Matt. 28:19-20, Jesus says that if you want Him to bless your effort—and stay with you to the end of it—then your effort must center on teaching people to obey everything He commanded.

In the church, we often talk about accountability more than we practice it because accountability and the commitment it requires can be unpleasant. In our (Bill and Bobby) most candid moments, we admit that the most important relationships in our lives have included some quarreling. No good relationship is conflict-free. This is true in our prayers, and in our discussions with spouses and close associates. Without some degree of frustration and disagreement, we can’t truly know and care about another person. We know that getting close to someone requires the risk of getting hurt and disappointed. Quite naturally, for those seeking to live trouble-free lives, accountability becomes something to be avoided.

When we work accountability into our lives, we begin to cultivate order and effectiveness. That is, until someone breaks rank or doesn’t show up or threatens group morale. Accountability is very comforting to a leader until someone who has agreed to it decides they don’t want to do whatever they have agreed to do. The simple truth is that if someone isn’t following through on a commitment, he is either unwilling or unable. If he is unwilling, it is a spiritual issue; if unable, often it is a time management issue. Both can be painful and messy. That’s why many leaders choose to insulate themselves from the process.

But when it comes to making disciples, to seeking and saving those who need God, accountability is the necessary missing piece. It must be done. And God has promised to stick with us until the job is done.

“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20, NLT).

The promise is for those who are committed to this process. You can’t count on this promise if you’re wandering and meandering through life. In the next chapter, we’ll look at Paul’s understanding of how the church is called to practice Jesus’ commission to discipleship and evangelism.

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Categories: bobby’s blog, theology

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How to Know God Personally

Find God – What does it take to know God? This will explain how you can personally begin a relationship with God, right now.

By EveryStudent.com

What does it take to begin a relationship with God? Wait for a spiritual experience? Devote yourself to unselfish religious deeds? Become a better person so that God will accept you? NONE of these. God has made it very clear in the Bible how we can know Him. This will explain how you can personally begin a relationship with God, right now…

Principle One: God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.

God created you. Not only that, he loves you so much that he wants you to know him now and spend eternity with him. Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”1

Jesus came so that each of us could know and understand God in a personal way. Jesus alone can bring meaning and purpose to life.

What keeps us from knowing God? …

Principle Two: All of us sin and our sin has separated us from God.

We sense that separation, that distance from God because of our sin. The Bible tells us that “All of us like sheep have gone astray; each of us has turned to his own way.”2

Deep down, our attitude may be one of active rebellion or passive indifference toward God and his ways, but it’s all evidence of what the Bible calls sin.

The result of sin in our lives is death — spiritual separation from God.3 Although we may try to get close to God through our own effort, we inevitably fail.

There is a distance, a gap between us and God. The arrows show our efforts to reach God…doing good for others, religious rituals, trying to be a good person, etc. But the problem is that none of these good efforts actually cover up our sin or remove it.

Our sin is known by God and stands as a barrier between us and God. Further, the Bible says that the penalty for sin is death. We would be eternally separated from God.

Except…for what God did for us.

So, how can we have a relationship with God? …

Principle Three: Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sin for us. He now offers us complete forgiveness and a close relationship with him.

Jesus Christ took all of our sins, suffered and paid for them with his life on the cross. Jesus died for us, in our place. He did this out of his tremendous love for us.

“…he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.”4 Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, our sin doesn’t have to separate us from God any longer.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”5

Jesus not only died for our sin, but after this death on the cross, he physically came back to life three days later, just as he said he would.

This was final proof that everything Jesus said about himself was true. To know him was to know God; to love him was to love God. “I and the Father are one.”6

Jesus said he could answer prayer, forgive sin, judge the world, give us eternal life. His countless miracles supported his words.

Jesus was clear, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one can come to the Father except through me.”7

Instead of trying to reach God, he tells us how we can begin a relationship with him right now. Jesus says, “Come to me.” “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink…out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”8

It was Jesus’ love for us that caused him to endure the cross. And he now invites us to come to him, that we might begin a personal relationship with God.

Just knowing what Jesus has done for us and what he is offering us is not enough. To have a relationship with God, we need to welcome him into our life…

Principle Four: We must individually accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

The Bible says, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”9

We accept Jesus by faith. The Bible says, “God saved you by his special favour when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”10

Accepting Jesus means believing that Jesus is the Son of God, then inviting him to guide and direct our lives.11 Jesus said, “I came that you might have life, and have it more abundantly.”12

And here is Jesus’ invitation. He said, “I’m standing at the door and I’m knocking. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in.”13

How will you respond to God’s invitation?

Consider these two circles:


Self-Directed Life

Self is on the throne

Jesus is outside the life

Separated from God, life can often result in discord and frustration


Christ-Directed Life

Jesus is in the life and on the throne

Self has a relationship with God

The person experiences God’s love, guidance and help in life


Which circle best represents your life?

Which circle would you like to have represent your life?

Begin a relationship with Jesus…

You can receive Christ right now. Remember that Jesus says, “I’m standing at the door and I’m knocking. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in.”14 Would you like to respond to his invitation? Here’s how.

The precise words you use to commit yourself to God are not important. He knows the intentions of your heart. If you are unsure of what to pray, this might help you put it into words:

“Jesus, I want to know you. I want you to come into my life. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sin so that I could be fully accepted by you. Only you can give me the power to change and become the person you created me to be. Thank you for forgiving me and giving me eternal life. I give my life to you. Please do with it as you wish. Amen.”

If you sincerely asked Jesus into your life just now, then he has come into your life as he promised. You have begun a personal relationship with God.

I just asked Jesus into my life (some helpful information follows)…

I may want to ask Jesus into my life, but I have a question I would like answered first…

Footnotes: (1) John 3:16 (2) Isaiah 53:6 (3) Romans 6:23 (4) Titus 3:5 (5) John 3:16 (6) John 10:30 (7) John 14:6 (8) John 7:37,38 (9) John 1:12 (10) Ephesians 2:8,9 (11) John 3:1-8 (12) John 10:10 (13) Revelation 3:20 (14) Revelation 3:20

Then Jesus came to [the eleven disciples] and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20 NIV

Key Thought

“All authority”! No one can legitimately contradict, challenge, or cast doubt on the Lord’s claim. Jesus has “all authority”! He speaks with the authority that only God can — ALL authority! What he gives in today’s Scripture are our marching orders as his followers. They also contain his promise to be with us as we follow those marching orders. We call this passage the Great Commission. As we contemplate the work and role of the Holy Spirit, we also hear a clear reminder in the Great Commission that baptism is important to God. It is important because of what God — as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — does in our baptism. Matthew begins and ends his account of the earthly ministry of Jesus with an emphasis on baptism and the involvement of Father, Son, and Spirit (Matthew 3:13-17; Matthew 28:18-20). The emphasis on our spiritual lives being rooted in God — as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — is also picked up and emphasized by Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-19, from which today’s prayer is adapted.

Today’s Prayer

I kneel before you, Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of your glorious riches you may strengthen us with power through your Spirit in our inner being, so that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith. And I pray that we, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all your holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

What does Matthew 28:18 mean?

Jesus is appearing to His remaining disciples, who number eleven now that Judas is gone. They have come together on an unnamed mountain in the region of Galilee in the northern part of Israel, away from Jerusalem (Matthew 28:16–17). Jesus tells them what He has often talked about in their presence before His death and resurrection: absolute authority has been given to Him by God the Father. In other words, the source of all power has given all His authority to His Son Jesus.

Here’s what Jesus said in Matthew 11:27, long before His death and resurrection: “All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

Jesus, the Son, has chosen to reveal the Father to His eleven disciples standing before Him. He will now give them the authority—and the responsibility—to represent Him and His salvation to the world. This verse and the two to follow at the end of Matthew’s gospel are often called together “The Great Commission.”

Context Summary

Matthew 28:16–20 describes Jesus’ commissioning the eleven remaining disciples on a mountain in Galilee. He had given them a message to meet Him there. Now He appears and commands them to make disciples from the people of all nations on the earth. He calls on them to baptize these disciples in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They must also teach these new believers to obey everything Jesus has commanded them to do. Matthew ends his book with Jesus’ promise to always be with those who believe in Him.

Chapter Summary

An angel of the Lord descends from heaven and rolls the stone from Jesus’ tomb. The guards faint. The angel sits on top of the stone and waits. Two women, followers of Jesus, arrive and are told that Jesus is risen from the dead. Jesus then meets them and tells them to give the news to His brothers. The chief priests bribe the guards to say Jesus’ followers stole His body. Jesus meets the disciples on a mountain in Galilee and commissions them to make disciples of people from all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey Jesus’ commands. Jesus promises to be with them always.

I Am The Lord Your God

VERSE OF THE DAY

Isaiah 48:17 (New Living Translation)

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This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow.

The Lord, the Savior, the Holy One of Israel, says,

I am the Lord your God I teach you for your own good. I lead you in the way you should go.the way which is Righteous.

17 Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which aleadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.

Isaiah Chapter 48

Isaiah 48 – Chastening and Mercy for Judah

A. The LORD clearly sees the hard hearts of His people.

1. (1-2) The LORD sees the hypocrisy of Judah.

“Hear this, O house of Jacob,
Who are called by the name of Israel,
And have come forth from the wellsprings of Judah;
Who swear by the name of the LORD,
And make mention of the God of Israel,
But not in truth or in righteousness;
For they call themselves after the holy city,
And lean on the God of Israel;
The LORD of hosts is His name:

a. House of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel: Judah should take notice of this opening statement. God identified His people as the house of Jacob – the name Jacob essentially meaning “deceiver, cheater” – and said they only have the name of Israel, not the character of Israel, which means “governed by God.”

b. And have come forth from the wellsprings of Judah: The second statement of Isaiah 48 isn’t any more complimentary to the southern kingdom of Judah. God reminded them of their tribal ancestor, Judah, who was noted for his cruelty (Genesis 37:26-27) and immorality (Genesis 38). The LORD spoke to His people and said, “You come from your father Judah.” It was not a compliment.

c. Who swear by the name of the LORD…but not in truth or in righteousness: God exposed the sin of His people. They took His name, identified with the holy city, and gave the appearance that they did lean on the God of Israel. Yet it was only image, not reality, and God saw through the image to the reality.

i. Look at all Judah has: “An honoured name, an impeccable pedigree, a true religious allegiance, a privileged citizenship and a mighty God to rely on – but it is all unreal. There is no genuineness (truth) in it, nor does it satisfy the standards of God (righteousness).” (Motyer)

2. (3-5) The LORD sees that Judah has no excuse.

“I have declared the former things from the beginning;
They went forth from My mouth, and I caused them to hear it.
Suddenly I did them, and they came to pass.
Because I knew that you were obstinate,
And your neck was an iron sinew,
And your brow bronze,
Even from the beginning I have declared it to you;
Before it came to pass I proclaimed it to you,
Lest you should say, ‘My idol has done them,
And my carved image and my molded image
Have commanded them.’

a. I have declared the former things from the beginning…. Suddenly I did them, and they came to pass: The LORD has shown Israel His power to declare the future in predictive prophecy. He did this because I knew that you were obstinate, knowing Israel’s love of idolatry, He gave them irrefutable evidence.

b. Lest you should say: This means that Judah was without excuse. They knew the greatness and power of God, yet they still lived with only a religious image, without a spiritual reality.

3. (6-8) The LORD sees how deep the sinfulness of Judah is.

“You have heard;
See all this.
And will you not declare it?
I have made you hear new things from this time,
Even hidden things, and you did not know them.
They are created now and not from the beginning;
And before this day you have not heard them,
Lest you should say, ‘Of course I knew them.’
Surely you did not hear,
Surely you did not know;
Surely from long ago your ear was not opened.
For I knew that you would deal very treacherously,
And were called a transgressor from the womb.

a. You have heard; see all this. And will you not declare it? It was as if the LORD was amazed that His people had seen all of His great power and glory, yet they still stood in stubborn rebellion against Him.

b. For I knew that you would deal very treacherously, and were called a transgressor from the womb: The LORD stated the reason why His people were so deeply sinful. They were sinners from the womb, so their sinfulness was deeply rooted.

i. It is a difficult concept for our individualistic ears, but the Bible teaches that we are sinners from the womb, and that we inherited a sin nature because we descend from Adam and sinned in Adam (Romans 5:12). It isn’t our individual acts of sin that make us sinners; it is our descent from Adam. Our individual acts of sin merely prove that each of us is a transgressor from the womb.

B. The LORD’s mercy to His undeserving people.

1. (9-13) The reason for the LORD’s mercy to His people.

For My name’s sake I will defer My anger,
And for My praise I will restrain it from you,
So that I do not cut you off.
Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it;
For how should My name be profaned?
And I will not give My glory to another.
Listen to Me, O Jacob,
And Israel, My called:
I am He, I am the First,
I am also the Last.
Indeed My hand has laid the foundation of the earth,
And My right hand has stretched out the heavens;
When I call to them,
They stand up together.

a. For My name’s sake I will defer My anger: Knowing how deeply sinful His people are, why would the LORD ever show mercy to His people? He does it for His name’s sake. It isn’t because Israel deserves mercy; indeed, mercy can never be deserved. God gives it to glorify Himself and to further His eternal purpose.

b. I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it: Why had a disobedient Israel felt refining fires from the LORD? Again, it was for the sake and honor and glory of the LORD.

i. Does it bother us to know that God allows trials and His refining fires in our lives for His own sake? We should remember that we are not at the center of the universe, but God is. Everything He does and allows furthers His eternal purpose.

c. I am He, I am the First, I am also the Last…. My right hand has stretched out the heavens: To answer any resentment among His people, God reminded them why He allowed things for His glory and to further His praise. He can do it because of who He is – the only True God, the God of all glory, the God of all eternity, the God of all Creation.

2. (14-19) The unfulfilled potential of God’s disobedient people.

All of you, assemble yourselves, and hear!
Who among them has declared these things?
The LORD loves him;
He shall do His pleasure on Babylon,
And His arm shall be against the Chaldeans.
I, even I, have spoken; yes,
I have called him,
I have brought him, and his way will prosper.
Come near to Me, hear this:
I have not spoken in secret from the beginning;
From the time that it was, I was there.
And now the Lord GOD and His Spirit
Have sent Me.
Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer,
the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the LORD your God,
Who teaches you to profit,
Who leads you by the way you should go.
Oh, that you had heeded My commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
Your descendants also would have been like the sand,
And the offspring of your body like the grains of sand;
His name would not have been cut off
Nor destroyed from before Me.”

a. The LORD loves him: Though the LORD is the God of all glory and power, He is not some kind of narcissist. God is motivated by love for His people.

i. It is the LORD’s love for us that makes Him want us to obey and praise Him. Love desires, quite properly, that things work according to their design and purpose. We were designed and purposed to obey and praise our Creator. God can call us to submit to Him, and honor Him, for our good, not to satisfy some need in God.

ii. So, just as much as it is the love of the LORD for His people that shall do His pleasure on Babylon – punishing this nation that set itself against His people – so it is the love of the LORD that allows the refining fires to touch His people.

b. Come near to Me, hear this…. now the Lord GOD and His Spirit have sent Me: This is the Servant of the LORD, the Messiah Himself speaking. Only He was from the beginning. The Messiah is pleading with His people.

i. “Finally (v. 16) another speaker mysteriously enters the prophecy. This verse has a number of features that have mystified commentators, who have been puzzled particularly by its final couplet. Young, Kidner, and other conservative commentators have argued that the new speaker introduced here (or in the whole verse) is in fact God’s Servant, the Servant of the songs…. Perhaps he is introduced here because Cyrus’ work is in fact simply a harbinger of the much greater deliverance he would bring to God’s people.” (Grogan)

c. Oh, that you had heeded My commandments: In light of His power and love for Israel, God laments their unfulfilled potential, unfulfilled because of their disobedience.

i. If they had only obeyed, then your peace would have been like a river. Peace as flowing, bountiful, and life-giving as a river.

ii. If they had only obeyed, then your righteousness would have been like the waves of the sea. Righteousness as certain, as unending, as reliable as the sea.

iii. If they had only obeyed, then your descendants would have been like the sand. Descendants as numerous and as dense in population as the sand.

iv. It is sobering to think what unfulfilled potential we have, and what disobedience or unbelief keeps us from everything God has for us. “Yes, I am deeply impressed with the simplicity of the road to revival. Just twenty-four hours’ obedience in our lives, and we would be living in such a flood tide of Holy Spirit blessing that there would not be room enough to contain it!” (Redpath)

3. (20-22) Praise for the LORD’s redemption – and a warning.

Go forth from Babylon!
Flee from the Chaldeans!
With a voice of singing,
Declare, proclaim this,
Utter it to the end of the earth;
Say, “The LORD has redeemed
His servant Jacob!”
And they did not thirst
When He led them through the deserts;
He caused the waters to flow from the rock for them;
He also split the rock, and the waters gushed out.
“There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.”

a. Go forth from Babylon! Flee from the Chaldeans! With a voice of singing: Despite Israel’s disobedience and unfulfilled potential, the LORD still loves them and will still free them from their captivity in Babylon. When they leave Babylon, they will go forth with a voice of singing.

b. Declare, proclaim this, utter it to the end of the earth; say, “The LORD has redeemed His servant Jacob”: God tells His people to declare His praises to the end of the earth. The whole world should know how great and merciful God is.

c. “There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked”: Hand in hand with praise for the greatness of the LORD is a contrast – the destined misery for the wicked.

i. Often, it seems that the way of the wicked is peaceful. This was how it seemed to the Psalmist in Psalm 73; yet when he saw the end of the wicked, and gained perspective in the house of the LORD, he knew that ultimately, there is no peace…for the wicked.

ii. “Verse 22 is a refrain that occurs again in 57:21, and both times it comes at the end of a nine-chapter section.” (Wolf)

iii. The broad section of Isaiah 40 through 48 focused on the promise of God’s deliverance of His people from their captivity in Babylon, and the specific prediction of the Gentile king who would deliver them, Cyrus. Through the section, God shows that His desire to deliver His people proves His love, His ability to deliver His people proves His power, and His prophetic knowledge of the deliverer proves His uniqueness among all gods. Starting with Isaiah chapter 49, there is no longer a mention of Cyrus, now the focus is on the ultimate deliverer, the Messiah. Though there is still reference to the deliverance from Babylon’s captivity, the real focus is on the ultimate deliverance the Messiah will bring.

(c) 2021 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – ewm@enduringword.com

Categories: Isaiah Old Testament

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What Does Isaiah 48:17 Mean? ►

Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way you should go.

Isaiah 48:17(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

The Lord, the Holy One of Israel, Who rescued His people from enslavement in Egypt, is the same Almighty God Who graciously redeemed us from the slave-market of sin, when we first believed. “Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, ‘I am the LORD your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way you should go.'”

He is the One Who promised to teach Israel those things that would benefit them, both in this life, and in the world to come. And He is the same Lord Who has promised to guide us into the way of truth, direct us through deep valleys of darkness and uphold us with His righteous right hand, as we climb the hills of difficulty that pepper our earthly path. “Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, ‘I am the LORD your God, Who teaches you to profit. I am the One Who leads you in the way you should go.'”

The same Spirit of God Who led the people of Israel through the desert, rained down manna from heaven and opened the Jordan so they could enter the promised land, is the same Holy Spirit Who teaches and trains us in the way we should go. He guards and guides us during our sojourn on earth.

The Holy Spirit Who guided the children of Israel through the desert is the same Spirit of God Who guides us along the path that is best for each one of us – even if it is sometimes uncomfortable or difficult. “Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, ‘I am the LORD your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way you should go.'”

The Spirit-inspired words of Isaiah were an encouragement to the people of Israel, who were suffering affliction during their Babylonian captivity, and it is the same Holy Spirit that speaks to us and gently leads the body of Christ through the peaks and pitfalls of this worldly system. 

The One Who convicts of sin is the same Holy Spirit Who saves and sanctifies our souls, guiding us along the path of duty, pointing out the road of righteousness, instructing us on the highway of holiness and bearing us up on eagle’s wings through times of exhaustion. He is the One Who protects us in the way of affliction, by pointing us to Christ as He plants our feet on the expressway to heaven.

He guides us into all truth, by speaking to us through the inspired Holy Scriptures, and He is the One that unveils the gracious character of God, teaching us to live a life that’s pleasing to Him, by directing us along the most beneficial way, through His wise and gentle child-training.

He is the One who points us to Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith Who died and rose again so that we might live and be raised into life immortal, and He is the one that bestows on us gifts of the spirit and spiritual graces. 

The believer that has a teachable spirit is the one that the Lord can lead and guide into the way of truth. When God speaks should we not listen to His voice? “Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, ‘I am the LORD your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way you should go.'”

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/isaiah-48-17

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/isaiah-48-17

God Hears When We speak For He Is Always Near

VERSE OF THE DAY

Psalm 116:1-2 (New International Version)

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I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.

I love the Lord for hearing me, for listening to my prayers. The lord is always near.

Yes, he paid attention to me, so I will always call to him whenever I need help. Ps 116:1-2

Devotional Bible Study: The Lord Heard My Cry | Psalm 116:1-2.

Updated: Nov 25, 2021

Welcome to Day 15 for a short powerful devotion from our 30 Psalms For Anxiety, Fear, Worry, And Depression bible plan. This short devotional is from Psalm 116:1-2. Make sure to join me in prayer at the bottom of this post.

Read Psalm 116:1-2. Click on the verse to read it in various translations.

“I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen,

I will pray as long as I have breath!”

Psalm 116 is the perfect Psalm to read when you are overwhelmed with sadness or depression. We read throughout the psalms that David suffered from fear, anxiety, depression, and worry but we also discover throughout the Psalms that David overcame these horrible emotions. He sings frequently about God’s mercy and of how He rescued him from the miry clay and on other occasions.

The Lord heard my cry

Psalm 116:1-2 is known as the I love the Lord psalm. Psalm 116 has become famous because of the truth and comfort found in these verses. They have been used in hymns, songs, and even sung by Whitney Houston in the film, ‘The Preacher’s Wife’.

What did David mean when he sang these words, “I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!”?

We aren’t told about the circumstances that led David to sing this beautiful song of worship to God. David had been in a desperate place and he had cried out to God (Yahweh) and God heard his cry.

Hold on tight to these words in Psalm 116:2, “because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath.”

God hears your cries for His help and mercy. God has a good plan for your life and you have to trust Him that He will keep you on His chosen path for you. He will straighten those crooked paths in front of you as you lean into Him and listen for His words and nudges of direction. You have to trust God to keep you on the narrow path that leads to life, and off the broad path that leads to destruction. (Matthew 7:13)

God loves you enough to bend down and listen to the words that you say to Him.

Did you know that Revelation 8:3-4 says that our prayers really matter to God?

These verses tell us that our prayers are like perfume or sweet-smelling incense that ascends to God. He hears every plea and petition. God saves them as well as our words of praise in a golden bowl!

“Then another angel with a gold incense burner came and stood at the altar. And a great amount of incense was given to him to mix with the prayers of God’s people as an offering on the gold altar before the throne.4 The smoke of the incense, mixed with the prayers of God’s holy people, ascended up to God from the altar where the angel had poured them out.” Revelation 8:3-4 NLT.

God hears you. He wants you to tell Him your needs and fears. He wants to hear of all your hopes and dreams. Don’t forget that if you are spending time in His presence, God will be filling your heart with His perfect dreams and plans for your life already. It is a partnership.

The perfect partnership is you and God prayerfully weaving through life’s journey.

That is what David means in Psalm 116:1-2. He has understood that God wants to partner with him on his life’s journey. He has found the truth that God wants to bend down and listen to him when he prays or cries out to God. And because he has experienced having God’s 100% attention to his needs, he will never stop talking to Him as long as he has breath!

Free printable prayer journal

1. What is God saying to you through Psalm 116:1-2?

2. Have you cried out to God for His help and mercy?

3. Have you ever taken time to think that God actually likes your voice and that He enjoys listening to you?

Use our free printable prayer journal or notebook to answer these questions and pour out your prayers to God. He is bending down listen to what you have to say to Him.

Bible affirmation: Remind yourself often of these biblical truths.

God bends down to listen to my cries for help.

God wants to partner with me in my life’s journey and to make my crooked path straight.

God loves my prayers so much that they are mixed with sweet-smelling incense that rises up before Him.

Scripture prayer:

Join me in praying Psalm 116:1-2.

Thank you Father that You bend down and listen to my prayers. Thank you for partnering with me to make my crooked path straight. I love you, Yahweh. You are all-powerful and You have a good plan and a purpose for my life. Thank you that I am safe in Your presence. Amen.

Other encouraging bible verses:

Psalm 91, Matthew 7:13, Jeremiah 29:11, Revelation 8:3-4.

Related Resources: You will find the 30 Psalms For Anxiety, Fear, Worry, And Depression bible plan HERE It will have the list of 30 Bible verses that we are using for 30 days for our bible challenge.

Connect: Join me on Facebook and Instagram for daily encouragement. If you have enjoyed this devotional, share with Facebook using the button below or pin the graphic above to Pinterest. Help me spread God’s joy to everyone!

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Karen xx.

Psalm 116 is a prayer of thanksgiving.

Like other psalms of this type (see Psalm 30; 32; 34), Psalm 116 begins by saying that God has rescued the psalmist from trouble (verses 1-2). Then the psalm describes the distressing circumstance now past (verse 3), recalls a prayer for help (verse 4) along with the Lord’s saving response (verses 5-11), and then vows to give witness to God’s salvation before the congregation (verses 12-19). Perhaps the most distinctive mark of this type of psalm is the promise of a thanksgiving offering (verse 17). The thanksgiving psalms probably began as part of the liturgy that accompanied this offering (see Jeremiah 33:10-11).  

Although the original use of Psalm 116 is relatively certain, this psalm also clearly took on a distinct liturgical role in Jewish tradition. It came to be and is now read as part of a larger group of psalms, Psalms 113-118, known as the Egyptian Hallel. The word hallel means “praise.” This word is related to the expression hallelu-yah (“Praise the Lord”) that begins and ends many of the psalms in this grouping, including Psalm 116 (verse 19). Since ancient times the Egyptian Hallel has been used in the celebration of Passover.

The theme of deliverance from death makes this quite appropriate (see verses 3, 4, 8, 15). More specifically this psalm is linked to the Passover meal. Thus, the Church reads this psalm on Maundy Thursday, the day during Holy Week when we recall Jesus’ last meal with his disciples in the context of Passover.

The psalm begins in a rather unique way, with the psalmist declaring love for God (verse 1). It is much more common for the psalmist to speak of trusting God, seeking refuge in God, or waiting for God. The word “love” (ʼāhab) does not connote an emotion as much as a commitment of loyalty. Love is a covenant word (see the word in the context of David’s relationship with Saul [1 Samuel 16:21] and Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:3]).

Thus, the psalmist pledges fidelity to God because “he has heard my voice and my supplications” (verse 1). But what the psalmist pledges in loyalty to God is not obedience to cultic or moral legislation. Rather the psalmist simply promises to “call on him as long as I live” (verse 2). Like so many other psalms, therefore, Psalm 116 begins by recognizing reliance on God as the supreme expression of faithfulness.

The final segment of the psalm raises the question of what the psalmist can give back to God in return for God’s goodness and salvation (verses 12-19). Verse 12 recalls verse 7 in which the psalmist called himself or herself to “return, O my soul, to your rest” because of bountiful ways God has responded to the psalmist’s cries. Now the psalmist asks, “What shall I return to the Lord for all his bounty to me?”

The answer comes in verses 13-14 in three statements. First, the psalmist promises to “lift up the cup of salvation” (verse 13a). Originally “cup of salvation” probably referred to a libation offering (see Exodus 29:40). But later tradition associated the cup with the portion of Passover in which four cups of wine are offered. Psalm 116 (along with Psalm 115 and 117-118) is read in connection with the fourth cup.1 For Christians the cup came to refer to the salvation found in Jesus Christ who reinterpreted this element by identifying the cup with his sacrificial death and the new covenant that came from it (Matthew 26:27-28; Mark 14:23-24; Luke 22:20). 

The second answer to what the psalmist can give back to God is simply “to call on the name of the Lord” (verse 13b). This statement recalls the declaration in verse 2. Again, the psalmist pledges to show faithfulness to God by depending on him. The third answer to how the psalmist will respond to God’s goodness is in vows to be paid before the congregation (verses 14, 18). The vow was perhaps made originally when the psalmist prayed for help (see Psalm 65:1). Now, the vow is mentioned again and the psalmist “pays” or fulfills the vow, perhaps with the offering being given in the presence of the congregation.

After focusing on God’s goodness, verse 15 may seem to turn in a completely different direction. The statement that “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones” sounds like death is precious. The word translated “precious” (yāqār), however, means something like “costly.”2 Thus, it states that God takes seriously the death of those who are devoted to him. For that reason the psalmist identifies herself as God’s servant and celebrates the fact that God has liberated her (verse 16).

The final three verses focus specifically on the offering hinted at earlier. The thanksgiving sacrifice is prescribed in Leviticus 7:12 as proper response to God’s gracious acts. The main features of Psalm 116:17-19 is the public nature of the offering. The psalmist will make his offering “in the presence of all his people” (verse 18b) and “in the courts of the house of the Lord” (verse 19a). The “courts” here refer to the precincts of the Jerusalem temple, the central worship site for the people of Judah.

For Christians who read Psalm 116 on Maundy Thursday the psalm’s celebration of deliverance from death takes on a unique character. It is not read as testimony to what God has done in the past so much as it gives hope for deliverance in the future. The psalm’s images of death now apply to the coming suffering of Jesus. The celebration after deliverance draws us into the suffering of Jesus as his offering to God and to us. Jesus himself has become a sacrifice and we now benefit from his faithfulness to God.

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