Tag Archives: apostle paul

Meaningless Speculations

In 1 Timothy, we read a warning against false teaching. Part of this warning is against false doctrines. It also mentions myths and endless genealogies. We are warned against the things as they take us away from the “stewardship of God’s work, which is by faith” (NIV). Paul makes it clear that the aim, the purpose is “love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a genuine faith” (NLT).

Too often, we get caught up in endless discussions about things that pull us away from a true relationship with Jesus. The devil loves when we get ourselves distracted. While we are distracted, we are handicapped. While we are focused on things that aren’t really that important, we find ourselves missing the most important One.

Today, remember Who you are meant to fix your eyes upon. Do not let the endless discussions distract you from God’s purpose for your life. Do not let these meaningless things keep you from living a life of faith in God. You were made for more!

“Don’t let them waste their time in endless discussion of myths and spiritual pedigrees. These things only lead to meaningless speculations, which don’t help people live a life of faith in God.” – 1 Timothy 1:4 [NLT]

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Godly Grief

The word grief is not one that brings joy to us. Grief is a word we use when we are mourning a loss. But Paul notes in 2 Corinthians 7, that there are different types of grief —godly grief and worldly grief. In verse 10, it says that “godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.”

Everyone grieves at some point in life. In this chapter, Paul writes about how he caused the people sorrow from a previous letter (see verse 8). He was not sorry for causing the sorrow though because he understood the importance of sorrow. The sorrow resulted in repentance, repentance resulted in salvation. This is godly grief, otherwise known as godly regret. This is when we come to know the truth – when our sin is revealed to us. We have the option to grieve the godly way, with repentance that leads to salvation through faith, or to grieve in the worldly way.

Paul is clear about the worldly grief. The worldly grief is filled with despair and remorse. The worldly grief produces death. This is when you are faced with the truth and you have a sorrow that does not lead to repentance. This is when something you do wrong (sin) backfires and the sorrow you feel is only because you have faced consequences or did not get the result you desired. You are not sorrowful because you went against God. You do not repent. You only are upset, you only feel grief, because you didn’t get away with your sin.

I pray when you are faced with the revelation of sin in your life, that you suffer from godly grief—a grief that produces repentance that results in salvation. This is a grief that brings joy! Joy in the salvation of the Lord!

“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” – 2 Corinthians 7:10 [ESV]

Balancing Truth and Grace

Some people have brought it to my attention that I have a problem balancing truth and grace, hence the reason the Spirit led me to speak often about truth and grace. Often we are not only preaching for others to hear, but God leads us to preach to ourselves as well. Jesus is grace and truth (John 1:17). Life is all about balance, and this is true when it comes to truth and grace. If we have too much truth and lack grace, we have judgment and condemnation. If we have too much grace and lack truth, we have tolerance of the ungodly.

At the start of Galatians, the Apostle Paul is astonished that the people were deserting the Gospel. People were “turning to a different gospel.” We notice in the New Testament that as the Early Church was spreading, there were people who wanted to introduce something else into the Gospel of Christ. People were teaching Christ, but adding to the Gospel. In doing so, it was as if Jesus wasn’t enough. In teaching something added to Jesus or something other than Jesus, it was taking away from the grace and the truth.

As Paul notes here, there is only one Gospel. There is the Good News of Jesus Christ. As John writes, Jesus is grace and truth. As we share this Good News to others and as we live this out in our own lives, we must always have grace and truth. If we live with a lot of truth, trying to uphold the Law, we will die to the law. We are not perfect. We all fall short (Romans 3:23). It won’t work. We will beat ourselves up, and for no good reason. If we pour this out to others, we will be the judgmental, finger pointer who turns everyone away. If we live with a lot of grace, we will never be confronted with the Truth. We cannot be molded into who God created us to be if we turn away from the conviction. We will find ourselves tolerating anything and everything that comes our way. Not only will we live a life tolerating sin in our own life, but we will live like that toward those around us. We will pour out the love, but we will love everyone to hell. This truth hurts. But it is truth that must be spoken. We need truth. We need grace. We need Jesus.

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.” – Galatians 1:6-7 [ESV]

Ephesians Study: Love of Christ

 

[Ephesians 3:14-19]

“And I ask Him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God” 17-19 [MSG]

 

17 –          Rooted deep in love… founded securely on love

18-19 –    Strength to comprehend…

BREADTH – extends to all

John 3:16 – For God so LOVED THE WORLD

LENGTH – everlasting duration

Romans 8:37-39 – Nothing can separate you from LOVE of GOD

DEPTH – Christ’s humility saves those from pit of sin

Ephesians 2:4-5 – When dead in trespasses made alive

Romans 5:8 – While still sinners, Christ died for us

HEIGHT – raises to glory

Ephesians 2:6 – Raised & seated with God because united with Jesus

2 Corinthians 4:14 – Raises us with Jesus and brings us into His presence

Know the Love of Christ that…

Surpasses Knowledge

Fills you with all the fullness of God

 

“We should be astonished at the goodness of God, stunned that He should bother to call us by name, our mouths wide open at His love, bewildered that at this very moment we are standing on holy ground.” – Brennan Manning

Bible Study Questions:

  1. We usually gauge the depth of someone’s love for us by the cost of that love. Many times we look at the sacrifices, the money, the time we give as a way to measure the love. How can we measure Christ’s love by what it cost Him?

 

  1. We can gauge the depth of someone’s love for us by how much we actually deserve the love. If we are not so nice to someone and they love us compared to someone who loves us when we treat them well, there is a difference. It’s more difficult to love some people. How can we measure Christ’s love by how much we deserve it?

 

  1. We can gauge the depth of someone’s love for us by the greatness of the benefits we receive from being loved. What are the benefits we receive from Christ’s love?

 

  1. We can gauge the depth of someone’s love by the freedom with which they love us, meaning that the person isn’t doing something because they are made to do so, but because they choose, they so desire. How free is the love of Christ?

 

  1. What gets in the way from you accepting the love of Christ? What gets in the way from you showing the love of Christ to the body of Christ (the Church)?

 

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Ephesians. The 12 weeks include:

1- Sons and Daughters

2- Immeasurable Greatness

3- God’s Workmanship

4- Our Cornerstone

5- Least of the Saints

6- Love of Christ

7- Abundantly More

8- Unity of the Body

9- Anger Management

10- Exposed by the Light

11- Submission

12- Prepared for Battle

Philemon Study: True Forgiveness

[Philemon]

  • Paul wrote letter to Philemon while he was in jail.
  • Philemon’s house may be where the Colossian church met (v. 2).
  • Philemon had a slave Onesimus (v. 16).
  • Onesimus means “useful” or “beneficial.”
  • Onesimus was useless to Philemon – slave who stole money and ran away.
  • Paul converted Onesimus.
  • Onesimus is now useful to Philemon and Paul. (v. 11).
  • Though Onesimus was helping Paul while he was imprisoned, Paul sent Onesimus back to Philemon with this letter to appeal for forgiveness for Onesimus. Roman law required this to happen.
  • Philemon owes Paul his life – his very soul— salvation in Christ (v. 19)
  • Paul asks Philemon to charge all that is owed by Onesimus to his (Paul’s) account (v. 18). He offered to pay for Onesimus’ sins against Philemon.

Friendship – Forgiveness – Reconciliation

Ephesians 4:32 – Forgive as you have been forgiven

Forgiveness comes through Jesus. Through Christ alone we have forgiveness and reconciliation to God. Reconciliation means “coexist in harmony” or “restore friendly relations.” We only have the ability to forgive others because of the Holy Spirit.

Forgiveness has a cost. Paul offered to pay the cost. Onesimus could have been punished – even with death. Our cost for forgiveness was paid by Jesus Christ.

Forgiveness is always necessary. Paul asks Philemon to do the right thing. He could have punished Onesimus or he could forgive him and receive him as a partner. The word used means “fellowship.”

Forgiveness from God lasts forever. When we are transformed, becoming a “new creature” in Christ, the Spirit changes us from the inside out – just like Onesimus. This is forgiveness and transformation that lasts forever. The board is wiped clean.

Bible Study Questions:

1) Paul mentions in verse 14 that he preferred to do nothing without consent in order that Philemon’s (fih-LEE-muhn) goodness be of his “own accord.” What does this mean?

2) Paul wrote in verse 21 that he was confident of Philemon’s obedience. How could he be so confident that Philemon would forgive and do even more than asked?

3) Forgiveness, Paul notes, will take Onesimus (o-NEH-sih-muhs) from position of bondservant to beloved brother. Was he asking for Philemon to free his slave Onesimus or does this beloved brother mean something else?

4) Read Colossians 4:7-9. Onesimus was sent along with Tychicus (TIH-kih-kuhs).

How was he described?

Why do you think Paul had Onesimus go along with Tychicus to deliver the Letter to the Colossians as well as the      Letter to Philemon?

 

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Colossians. The 12 weeks include:

Gospel Truth
Will of God
Lord of All
Ministry to Maturity
Foolish Philosophies
Men of Rules
Realities of Heaven
Taking Responsibility
Godly Living
Worship Work
Good Words
True Forgiveness

Colossians Study: Realities of Heaven

[Colossians 3:1-4]

He is your life

So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective. Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ. [MSG]

  • Christ Raised (v. 1) – Raised along with Christ, raised to life with Christ
  • Christ Ruled (v. 1) – Christ rules at God’s right side
  • Christ Focused (v. 1-2) – Think about what is up there, not about what is here on earth]
    • Set your heart on what is in heaven – Seek the things above
    • Think – phroneó – Direct your mind to, seek for, observe, care for
  • Christ Hidden (v. 3) – You died, your life is hidden with Christ
    • You died – apothnéskó – dying off (separation / away from)
    • Life – both physical & spiritual (present & future)
    • Hidden kruptó – concealed, secret, hidden
  • Christ Glory (v. 4) – Christ gives meaning to your life, and when he appears, you will also appear with him in glory. Glory (doxa– “dox’-ah”) – praise, honor, glory, high renown, splendor

Bible Study Questions:

Seek the things that are above (v. 1) and set your minds on things that are above (v. 2)

These things make the subject of CAREFUL REFLECTION

Think on these things – Give them weight in your decision. Allow them to shape you.

1) In Philippians 4:8, Paul wrote, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (NLT).

This is to be our FOCUS. This is part of seeking and setting your mind. What do these words mean? How does the world derail us from focusing on these things?

TRUE
HONORABLE / HONEST / NOBLE / WORTHY OF REVERENCE
RIGHT / JUST
PURE / AUTHENTIC
LOVELY / ACCEPTABLE / LOVABLE
ADMIRABLE / GOOD REPORT / KIND AND GRACIOUS
EXCELLENCE / VIRTUE / VIRTUOUS
WORTHY OF PRAISE / PRAISEWORTHY

2) What can we do to follow Proverbs 4:23 command to “watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life”?

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Colossians. The 12 weeks include:

Gospel Truth
Will of God
Lord of All
Ministry to Maturity
Foolish Philosophies
Men of Rules
Realities of Heaven
Taking Responsibility
Godly Living
Worship Work
Good Words
True Forgiveness

Colossians Study: The Will of God

[Colossians 1:9-14]

Prayed for:

  • “Wise minds and spirits attuned to His will” [MSG]
  • “All the wisdom & understanding that His Spirit gives” [CEV]
  • “God to give you complete knowledge of His will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding” [NLT]

Prayed for:

  • Practical Obedience (1:10) – Knowledge & obedience go together

True spiritual wisdom must affect daily life

Wisdom / Walk / Work – Cannot work for God unless we walk with Him, cannot walk with Him if ignorant to His will

General will = clearly in Bible                Specific will = always agrees with Bible

Knowing general will makes it easier to know specific will for daily life

God wants us to:

  • Know His Will (Acts 22:14)
  • Understand His Will (Ephesians 5:17)

Paul prayed for ALL wisdom & understanding, COMPLETE knowledge…

Complete = Filled full                    Filled = Controlled by

  • Filled with _______ (ex: anger, jealously)
  • Filled with Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)

Controlled by full knowledge of God’s will

How? By all wisdom & spiritual insights. Understand will of God through Word of God. Holy Spirit teaches us to submit to Him (John 14:26, John 16:31)

THEN…

  • You will live a life that honors the Lord
  • You will always please Him by doing good deeds
  • You will come to know God even better
  • You will be patient & strong to endure everything because of His power
  • You will be truly happy

Bible Study Questions:

1) Paul prayed for the Colossians to have ALL wisdom and understanding. He grasped that God wants us to know and understand His will – and to do this would bring us closer to Him. With our reading, the words patient and strong and happy appear. What does this mean for us?

2) What is the hardest thing about following God’s will?

 

3) When we have this completeness (fullness), we will be controlled by it. We will then be able to determine what God wants. How do we determine God’s Will—how do we determine what He wants?

 

4) Let us dig deeper into God’s Word.

Read each of these verses and decide what each verse says about God’s will for us.

  • Read 2 Peter 3:9
  • Read Ephesians 5:18
  • Read 1 Thessalonians 4:3
  • Read 1 Peter 2:15
  • Read 1 Peter 5:10
  • Read Psalm 37:4

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Colossians. The 12 weeks include:

Gospel Truth
Will of God
Lord of All
Ministry to Maturity
Foolish Philosophies
Men of Rules
Realities of Heaven
Taking Responsibility
Godly Living
Worship Work
Good Words
True Forgiveness

Colossians Study: The Gospel Truth

[Colossians 1:1-8]

The Gospel is…

  • Good News of God (v. 5)
  • The Word of Truth (v. 6)
  • The Message of God’s Grace (v. 6)
  • Centered in a person – Jesus (v. 4)
  • Universal – It is for the whole world (v. 6)
  • Humanly transmitted (v. 7)
  • Productive – Multiplies (v. 6)

People believed. People were discipled. People were faithful in Christ.

FAITH in Jesus and LOVE for God’s people that spring from HOPE stored up in heaven (v. 4-5)

HOPE…

God’s way = the best way

How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, Who walks in His ways. (Psalm 128:1 NASB)

God’s way = the only real peace

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7 ESV)

God’s way = the only real joy

I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! (John 15:11 NLT)

God’s way = the only true and lasting reward

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. (Hebrews 10:35 NIV)

Bible Study Questions:

1) How does Paul introduce himself to the Colossians? How does he address the Colossians?

2) Paul wrote that he was thankful for the Colossians. What specifically made Paul thankful and excited for this church in Colossae? (see v. 3-8)

3) Paul never met the people in Colossae. Who shared the Gospel with these people? How is he described?

4) What is the Gospel? Read Acts 2:22-24, Acts 16:30-31, and 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.

5) One of the unmistakable characteristics of the Gospel is God’s grace in all its truth. John 1:14, 17 says: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth… For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (ESV).

How do you define grace?

How do you define truth?

How can you share God’s grace?

How can you share God’s truth?

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Colossians. The 12 weeks include:

Gospel Truth
Will of God
Lord of All
Ministry to Maturity
Foolish Philosophies
Men of Rules
Realities of Heaven
Taking Responsibility
Godly Living
Worship Work
Good Words
True Forgiveness

Let Peace Rule

The word rule means absolute power or control over something. In this world, we can allow many things to rule over us. No matter what is said, something rules you. I know some people ruled by anger while others are ruled by pleasure. Some are ruled by anxiety and worry. Others are ruled by doubt or emotions. The list goes on and on. Whatever rules you controls your actions and your attitude.

I have seen many people being depressed, get fired from jobs, or have a huge fight with their spouse because they were ruled by something like fear or anger. Paul speaks of being content in all circumstances. That is not possible when we allow the world to have power over us. The Bible tells us to let the peace from Christ rule. Wow! The peace of Christ. How differently is life when the peace of Christ rules!?!

When the peace of Christ rules, it doesn’t matter our circumstances, we are content. When the peace of Christ rules, doubt is replaced with confidence. When the peace of Christ rules, security and trust reign over past fears and struggles. When the peace of Christ rules, you surely can have the peace beyond understanding. It’s a real thing. It’s a possible thing. It can be yours. The key word in this passage is “let.” Let the peace from Christ rule. How? Surrender. Be intentional. Allow it. Speak it. Breathe it. Own it.

“And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].” – Colossians 3:15 [AMP]

Renewed and Remolded

Clothes can make a person they say. I think that can be somewhat true. I know when I put on my sweatpants, I feel comfy and ready to relax and enjoy a quiet night with my Bible and whatever book I’m currently reading. When I put on dressier clothing, I am ready to get to work. When I put on my sneakers, I become the dog walker extraordinaire.

Colossians 3 says we are clothed with a new spiritual self. Paul wrote that during our walk with Christ we are renewed and remolded. Renewed and remolded. Being renewed is being refreshed to start again. Being remolded means we change or are refashioned. Our appearance is different. It’s more of an outward thing. Renewed is an inner thing.

As we grow in Christ, we are renewed (inner) and remolded (outer). It’s an awesome thing. People will take notice. They will catch a glimpse of this change. They will experience the light, the light of Christ shining through you. You may even take notice in time that God has be doing a great work in and through you. He has a great plan for you my friend. Keep pressing forward.

“And have clothed yourselves with the new [spiritual self], which is [ever in the process of being] renewed and remolded into [fuller and more perfect knowledge upon] knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him Who created it.” – Colossians 3:10 [AMP]