Our Blessed Hope
Often Christians will talk about the rapture and only quote a few verses, but to my amazement there are a great number of verses that describe our blessed hope. Most of the verses that speak of the return of Jesus Christ are referring to the second advent. This is an event that happens at the end of the 7 year tribulation when Jesus Christ rescues Israel in all of His Power and Glory. The rapture is an event that takes place about 7 years before the second coming of Jesus Christ.
My purpose for this article is to list all of the verses referring to the rapture from the book of Acts all the way through the book of Revelation, so readers will understand how to watch for our blessed hope with more clarity.
I did not include Matthew through John for two reasons. There is too much conjecture in the gospels because some experts will say the verse is the rapture, and others will say it is the second advent (second coming). The other reason is there are 69 verses from Acts through Revelation. Wow!
The more verses we know, the more earnest our watch will be for Jesus Christ. For true Christians, this is not an event to be feared but anticipated with joy. This is why the Bible tells us to be watching for the rapture at all times. It is not a dreadful event. This is our blessed hope. The fear is on the other side when people will be left behind.
"This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven." Acts 1:11. Immediately after Jesus was taken up into heaven through a cloud, two Angels told the people watching that He would come again in like manner.This verse is referring to the rapture.
" For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God."Romans 8:19. This verse promises that our body will be redeemed in heaven after the rapture.
"Waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." Romans 8:23. This verse promises that our body will be redeemed in heaven after the rapture.
"For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ." Romans 14:10. After the rapture all Christians will have to give an account of their life.
"Waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1st Cor.1:7. The Apostle Paul was urging fellow Christians to be faithful to Jesus Christ as they watched for the rapture. In fact he even went as far to say that watching for the rapture is a motive for faithfulness.
"Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1st Cor. 1:8. At the rapture true Christians will be blameless before God through Jesus Christ.
"If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward." 1st Cor.3:14. Only our works that abide in Jesus Christ will be rewarded and last for eternity. This judgment will begin sometime after the rapture in heaven.
"Until the Lord come, who shall bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts." 1st Cor.4:5. Jesus will reveal and judge His children after the rapture.
"Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible." 1st Cor.9:25. We can either strive for some reward on earth or lay our treasures in heaven. After the rapture, the faithful in Jesus Christ that are living for Him will receive an incorruptible crown.
"Ye do show the Lord's death till he come." 1st Cor.11:26. One of the truths we are respecting when we take communion is the rapture, because this verse says..."Till He come."
"But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."1st Cor.13:10. Don't get too excited about this world because we are only in part. When Christians are raptured, we are going to be with our perfect Savior and Lord. We are also going to a perfect place called heaven in full, not in part.
"Christ the firstfruits,afterward they that are Christ's at His coming."1st Cor.15:23. Jesus Christ rose as the Firstfruits, so His children will also rise in the rapture to get their resurrected body.
"So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption. It is raised in incorruption."1st Cor.15:42. Right now our physical body is in a state of corruption. When we get raptured our resurrected body will be incorruptible.
"It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power."1st Cor.15:43. When we get raptured our resurrected body will be glorious.
"It is sowed a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body." 1st Cor.15:44. Our resurrection body will be immaterial.
"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.1st Cor. 15:51. There will be a generation of Christians that will never die in a physical way.They will be raptured.
" In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump... the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."1st Cor. 15:52.The Christians that passed on to be with the Lord will get their resurrection bodies first, then we who are alive will get our resurrection bodies after we are raptured.
"For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."1st Cor.15:53. When we get our resurrected bodies at the rapture they will be incorruptible and immortal.
"Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, death is swallowed up in victory." 1st Cor.15:54.The resurrection will defeat death.
" If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha."1st Cor.16:22. When Christians would pray Maranatha, that was a prayer for the rapture. In this verse watching for the coming of the Lord is connected with loving Jesus Christ.
"Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you." 2nd Cor.4:14. There will be resurrection at the coming of Jesus Christ.
" For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ."2nd Cor.5:10. Our motives and works will be judged by Jesus Christ Himself.
"Our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." Phil.3:20. This verse describes our real home being in heaven, not on earth. Just like the verse says, Christians are to be looking for the rapture.
"Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body." Phil.3:21. We will be changed from vile to glorious. That sounds great to me.
"Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand." Phil.4:5. Godly temperance is urged with patience as we look for the return of the Lord.
"When Christ who is our life, shall appear,then shall ye also appear with Him in glory." Col.3:4. Jesus Christ should mean everything to us. True Christians will be glorified with their Savior at the rapture.
"And to wait for His Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus." 1st Thess.1:10. This verse has us waiting for Jesus Christ. Of course with a patient spirit.
"For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?"1st Thess.2:19.There seems to be a special crown for Christians that win souls for Jesus Christ.
" For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep." Those that die before the rapture will get their resurrected bodies before those that are alive and caught up in the rapture.
"For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first." 1st Thess.4:16.Jesus Christ will physically descend from heaven. The trumpet will sound and those that died in Christ will rise first.
"Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." 1st Thess.4:17.True Christians will be caught up together, not separate. At this point we will be with Jesus permanently.
"But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief." 1st Thess.5:4. True Christians will not be overtaken by the darkness to come in the 7 year tribulation because they are in the Light, who is Jesus Christ.
" For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." 1st Thess.5:9. Christians will be physically delivered from wrath through the rapture.
"I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1st Thess.5:23. Anybody who is sanctified in Jesus Christ will be preserved as blameless and have their part in the rapture of the Church.
"By the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him." 2nd Thess.2:1. True Christians will be gathered together after the rapture in heaven.
"Only He who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way."2nd Thess.2:7. The restraining Power of the Holy Spirit will be removed first and then the rapture will take place.
"In the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." 1st Tim.4:1. This is a sign that the rapture is at hand.
"Until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew." 1 Tim. 6:14. Jesus will return in His time.
" The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day." 2nd Tim.1:18. When true Christians give an account of their life after the rapture, it will be according to the mercy of God. It is not an account for condemnation. It is the faithful deeds that we did with the right motive that will be rewarded.
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come." 2nd Tim. 3:1. The world will be in a form of insanity right before the rapture.
"God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom." 2nd Tim.4:1. Jesus is going to judge all Christians.
"There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day.And not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing." 2nd Tim.4:8.The Apostle Paul was expecting a crown of righteousness after the rapture. This crown will be given to Christians who look for and love His appearing.
"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ." Titus 2 :13. This verse was written to motivate fellow Christians to pure Christian living.
"Unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation." Hebrews 9:28. Our salvation will be complete at the rapture.
"For yet a little while, and He shall come will come, and will not tarry." Hebrews 10:37. Some Christians say that the rapture is long overdue but this verse says Jesus will rapture His children at the proper and exact time.
"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him."James 1:12. This crown is promised to all those that allow the love of God to be manifested in their hearts. This person endures suffering and temptation with a pure heart because he or she loves God.
" Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord." James 5:7. James urges Christians to have a patient spirit as they watch for the rapture. There are no biblical principles in the Bible that involve our spirit being passive. Even turning the other cheek involves application. This includes a patient spirit.
"For the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." James 5:8. James may have been referring to the imminent return but at the very least he was saying that each and every day draws closer to the rapture.
"To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you." 1st Peter 1:4. When we get raptured our inheritance will be incorruptible and will never die.
"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." 1st Peter 1:7. Our suffering for Jesus Christ will be the most precious experiences we can give to Jesus Christ at The Judgment Seat for Believers after the rapture.
"Be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." 1st Peter 1:13. Being sober is thinking sound in a biblical way. We are supposed to have faith and hope in Jesus Christ until the rapture takes place. This special grace that Peter is talking about is revealed at the rapture of the Church. After the rapture we will not need faith or hope in heaven.
" And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."1st Peter 5:4. In this verse The Chief Shepherd who is Jesus Christ seems to be giving a special crown to those who were faithful as they taught the Bible in a sound way to fellow Christians. They looked after those that were under them and made sure they were feed through the Word of God.
"There shall be false teachers among you, who prively shall bring in damnable heresies." 2nd Peter 2:1. This is a sign that the rapture is at hand.
"Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts." 2nd Peter 3:3. This is a sign that the rapture is at hand.
"And saying, where is the promise of His coming?" 2nd Peter 3:4. There will be many mockers right before the rapture that don't believe this event will happen.
"The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night." 2nd Peter 3:10. Jesus will come unexpectedly.
"Seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless." 2nd Peter 3:14. The rapture of the Church should be motivation for pure living. The other point is that the peace of God should be resting in our spirit. We should give it our best to keep peace with people in our surroundings.
"When He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming." 1st John 2:28. The rapture of the Church should be motivation for pure living. John also seems to be saying that at the rapture we do not want to be doing something foolish.
"When He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." 1st John 3:2. True Christians will be like Jesus Christ but I must say we will all have different faces. Some people believe we are all going to have the same face in heaven.
"And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure."1st John 3:3. The return of Jesus is a motive for purity.
"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment."1st John 4:17. If the love of God is made perfect in us or manifested in our spirit then we will truly have confidence at the judgment seat after the rapture.
"That we lose not these things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward." 2nd John 1:8. It is the desire of God that we receive a full reward, not a partial reward.
"Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." Jude 1:21. It is hard to keep ourselves in the love of God. It is where we should be in Jesus Christ. We look for mercy because this is how we became saved. It was not through our merit. Jude says we are to be living this way as we look for the rapture unto eternal life.
"Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy." Jude 1:24. As Christians live their life, Jesus Christ should be their true strength. After the rapture, we as the glorious Bride will be presented holy and blameless before God.
"That ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." Rev.2:10. A crown seems to be promised to Christians for their fidelity and conflict through their faithfulness. Martyrs seem to get a special crown after the rapture.
"But that which ye have already hold fast till I come."Rev.2:25. Christians are urged to endue in holy living until the rapture.
"If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee."Rev.3:3.Jesus seems to imply that He will catch some Christians unprepared because they are not watching for the rapture.Of course there are different interpretations regarding this verse.It is interesting when I hear Christians say in one way or another, that to watch for the rapture is foolish. If you know somebody like this, show them this verse. Jesus wants us watching.
" I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world." Rev.3:10. This verse clearly says that the rapture will take place before the tribulation.
"Behold, I come quickly." Rev.3:11. The rapture will take place fast and sudden. This is the event that I am looking for. I am expecting our blessed hope to take place at any moment. I am very excited!
Saturday, April 27, 2019
Sunday, April 21, 2019
Assigned roles for the glory of God
The Apostle Paul starts out by complimenting a very dear friend by the name of Tychicus. He referred to him as a beloved brother, faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. Notice the order --- first Paul calls him a beloved brother. If we see our brothers and sisters in Christ as co - laborers in the Lord "First" then we have missed the point. The Apostle goes straight to Godly affection first and then acknowledges their work for Jesus Christ. I believe God matured Paul because he got really angry with Mark. When Paul and Mark were doing missionary work together the Apostle got very upset with him. There is no evidence that either one spoke to each other again on earth. It just goes to show you that even the very best servants of God disagree and lose their cool. Little by little the Holy Spirit shows us love and how to express Godly affection effectively in a righteous way.
Paul was obviously the leader because he was the one that sent this man (Tychicus) to the Colossians to understand their circumstances and comfort their hearts. Very few Christians will be able to empathize with our plight in life and then comfort our spirit. More than likely we will be able to count them on one hand. If the average believer in Jesus Christ does not make a connection with your life and walk with the Lord do not get upset because this role is only designed for a few in your journey down here. I have explained things to some of my brothers and sisters and they responded way out in left field. I often said to myself, "That is not at all what I said or was even trying to portray." Do not get angry because for the most part they probably mean well and like I originally said this role for your peace was only meant for a select number of Christians in our life. If we expect all of our brothers and sisters to understand us we will walk around angry / disillusioned or both most of the time. Very few will see and feel our pain. Then the brother or sister has to give you Godly advise because allowing your spirit closure in Jesus Christ is necessary because we do not want to walk around anxious or fearful. Do you think every Christian in our path even has the ability to accomplish this task for Jesus Christ on our behalf? Good luck on that pursuit.
The Apostle then talks about Onesimus and once again refers to him as a beloved brother but this time the leader is spoken of as one of you. This gets closer to home because this man knew their customs and ways. He was also to play the role of being a messenger of what Paul desired to tell them. Remember this culture did not have technology.
He wrote about Aristarchus who was a fellow prisoner. There is something special about two people that have to go through a persecution together because this is an understanding that can not be put into words. This brotherly fellowship is close in a Godly / friendship way not to even mention that the gospel usually expands in times of persecution. Epaphras felt lead by the Holy Spirit to fervently pray for many people and groups. He may have had a prayer ministry.
Paul talks about Marcus who played the role in reviewing the law of God to Christians. Did you ever notice we live in a world where people play their roles? Of course but that is also the way the kingdom of God is because redeemed saints and angels have a job to do for Jesus Christ. Justus was a servant of the Lord and in this context came alongside of Paul and was used by God to give the Apostle comfort. Epaphras was assigned by God to fervently pray for the Colossian church that they would stand perfect and complete in the will of God. This man had a zeal for the Colossians, Laodicea and the Christians in Hierapolis. If we have a zeal for a certain group of Christians and pray for them there is no telling what God will do because of our prayers. If we know someone who does not know the Lord once again there is no telling how God will work in his or her life. This man had a "Zeal" for who he was praying for and I believe his intercession moved mountains for Jesus Christ.
Luke and Demas played the role in greeting the Colossians. Nymphas offered his home to the people in the church so they could get together and fellowship in the name of Jesus Christ.
Paul had a passion to serve the Lord so of course he desired the letter of Colossians to be read in Laodicean not because "He" did the work but because he wanted as many Christians to be edified in the Person of Jesus Christ. Little did he know that centuries of Christians would be reading his Epistles. If he had his way he would have walked out of prison and traveled to other areas of the world to proclaim the gospel. If God let him do that where would we be as Christians today? We do not see our life, only God sees our path and the whole scope of time.
Paul also had some dealings with Archippus and just had a longing for this man to engage in the ministry that he was called to by God and desired him to understand that he (Paul) was with him in spirit. I can always tell when someone has this heart for me. It is rare but comforting.
In the last verse of Colossians the Apostle says goodbye. He asked if they would remember him in bonds (prison). It is good to remember and pray for the bars to be removed from our brothers and sisters life. You would be surprised at all the different types of prisons that a person is going through even as we converse at this very moment. Let me quote the original text so you can read the passage and perhaps make reference to it in this particular Bible study.
(7) "All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord: (8) Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts; (9) With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here. (10) Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye receive commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;) (11) And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me. (12) Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. (13) For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis. (14) Luke, the beloved physican, and Demas, greet you. (15) Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. (16) And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. (17) And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it. (18) The salulation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen." Colossians 4: 7 - 18.
Tychicus was a messenger and because of him the Colossians received this epistle. This may have been a small job but it was big in the eyes of God. Of course the church wanted to know how Paul was doing because they took him away to prison. When we are faithful to God we become available for something else Jesus may have in mind for us in His kingdom.
If love is in the center of our hearts beauty and strength are added to our ministry for God. This fellowship was comforting because they really desired to hear from one another. We all do things out of duty sometimes / oftentimes but after a while we become short of heart. This is not good because it does not properly represent Jesus Christ.
Onesimus was converted at Rome probably when running away from his master's service. He might have been a poor and bad servant but after Paul converted him Jesus Christ changed his life from the inside to the out (conduct and behavior). Paul at that point called him a faithful and beloved brother. I know many Christians that had difficult circumstances and were very wicked before they got saved but now are a new creation in Jesus Christ. Hard times will still come in our path but we now have the indwelling power and presence of the Holy Spirit.
Aristarchus was a fellow prisoner with Paul because they were serving Jesus Christ so both shared in the sufferings of our Lord and obviously had a very special bond with one another. If you see someone that went through a similar persecution that you went through you will recognize their spirit and be able to relate to them as people. This is an opportunity for a bond in Jesus Christ to be cultivated in the absorbing presence of the Holy Spirit.
Marcus sister son to Barnabas (Paul had a quarrel with him) so this may have been Paul's way of saying I have forgotten and forgave Barnabas and Mark in his heart. If we feel someone has offended us we should find it in our spirit to forgive because in this case I do not believe they ever saw each other again on earth. Do not walk around with a grudge.
Justus was a fellow servant and the Apostle had a very high appreciation for this labor and bond in the Person of Jesus Christ.
Epaphras was the one that picked up on a biblical truth that praying for your friends helps us stand perfect and complete in the will of God. This result will be for ourselves and others but for that to be a spiritual reality in our lives we must first have a zeal for them. This man prayed for many people.
Luke was a physician, a companion in service with Paul and he wrote the book of Luke and Acts. His writing style was very detailed and was very dedicated to Jesus Christ. He was martyred for his faith probably because he was very effective in getting out the gospel and helping his fellow Christians. He said after he spoke of Luke and Demas greet you but unfortunately this man did probably apostatize from the faith. "For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed" ... 2 Timothy 4:10. The general trend that I am seeing in the church right now is apostasy. This is because we are living in the final moments before the return of Jesus Christ.
Paul desired the Laodiceans to also read this epistle because he wanted them to grow in Jesus Christ. I feel the same way because I want as many people to get saved through Jesus Christ and be strengthened in the Lord.
Nymphas had a house church and I am seeing many more of these in the world. I think this trend will grow much bigger.
Paul said say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry. Any assignment we have received from the Lord is an honor because we should accept this in the Person of Jesus Christ because it is by His appointment. If we know someone who has been called by God to do something encourage this person because he or she is going to get many downers in life. Individuals that are just negative and want to discourage the human being out of doing the work of the Lord. I know because a number of people tried to do this to me.
In verse eighteen which is the last verse in the book of Colossians Paul desires them to remember that he is in prison. It is always hard to be punished for the good that we do especially if it is for Jesus Christ. In the salutation of Paul he says grace be with you. There is nothing bad about the favor of God because it is all good. The grace of God through His Son Jesus Christ is with us and we have all received a portion of His love but the measurement is up to God on how much of the presence (grace / love) the Holy Spirit will bestow in our hearts. This is what I desire for anyone who has not accepted the Lord into their life. This grace is not available to you because Jesus Christ does not live inside your heart.
Now may be a good time to accept Jesus Christ into your heart as your very own personal Savior and Lord by repenting all your sins and inviting the Son of God into your life. I hope and pray you just made that eternal decision. If you made that decision walk with Jesus Christ all the time and listen to God on what He desires you to do for the kingdom of God. Engage in your role for the right reasons of glorifying God and helping other people come to know the Lamb of God who died for our sins.What is equally important is to encourage Christians to keep abiding in Jesus Christ. I shared with you the example of Demas falling into the trap of loving this present world as a Christian. As a result he was no longer abiding in Jesus Christ and not serving the Lord. Perhaps he came back into fellowship with God but my point is encourage your brothers and sisters in the Lord to keep strong faith in Jesus Christ.
God Bless you,
Monday, April 15, 2019
Let our speech be with grace and seasoned with salt
The Apostle Paul just briefly touches on the subject of employees and employers but more specifically the boss is to pay their worker/workers what he - she - they deserve because the earthly head/boss has a master in heaven and His name is Jesus Christ. Of course this does not apply if you are an unbeliever in Jesus Christ because the Son of God is not your master. You will still be blessed if you follow this biblical principal but I would encourage you to read the rest of the article.
We are commanded to continue in prayer which by the way is a discipline with the spirit of thanksgiving. Notice Paul keeps writing about thanksgiving. I think he is trying to tell us something about our hearts and God. He also desired the Colossians to pray for his ministry team so that God would open up a door of utterance for the purpose of speaking the mystery of Christ because we can never forget that Paul was in chains. He always wanted to make manifest the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Apostle says to walk in wisdom toward them that do not have this gift from God probably to be a good witness for our Savior. We desire people to step forward and come to know the Lord because of our conduct. If we truly have wisdom from God our speech and behavior will be righteous and in essence we will be pointing to the Person of Jesus Christ. This is not the only reason we are on the earth but it is the primary call especially in light of the fact that time is short. In fact they are the last three words in verse five which says redeeming the time. God only gives us so much of this precious commodity so we should be diligent with our time,talents and treasures because the midnight hour is fast approaching when we will not be able to work in this dispensation of time. Once the rapture of the church takes place we will no longer be able to labor for the Lord in this age of grace on earth. We will be giving assignments in heaven but that is a whole different subject.
Then the last verse talks about our speech being with grace which tells me that our conversation should always be gracious which really does fit in with the Apostle always going back to this point that we are to have a grateful spirit to God. Paul goes deeper by saying that our speech is always to be seasoned with salt but the purpose is that we may know how to answer every man. Let me just quote the original text so you can read the passage and perhaps make reference to it in this particular study of the Bible.
(1) "Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven. (2) Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; (3) Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: (4) That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. (5) Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. (6) Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." Colossians 4:1 - 6.
To sum these verses up Paul continues his account on the duty of masters/employers. He encourages us to pray but insists that this is our duty as Christians. Maybe we should give ourselves an honest evaluation every night on several realities in our life but one of them should be our prayer life.
The Apostle proceeds with the responsibility of masters/employers to their servants/employees. They are supposed to be fair and in no way cheat their servants out of anything; therefore, the implication is to go the extra mile for a good servant/employee. I am trying to write this in our modern day language because the word "Servant" is almost never used but that is who we are in relation to God and our employer.
If you are an employer justice, equity and kindness would be three good words to remember because your master in heaven who is Jesus Christ gives you the same treatment. The first thing you need to do is have control over yourself and remember that responsibility and accountability to God is always a reality in your life whether you realize this truth or not --- especially in the judgment seat of Jesus Christ. We are all going to have to give an account of our life as Christians at the Bema Seat. There is another judgment for unbelievers but that is a whole different subject.
One way we could look at this is deal with your employees as we would desire God to deal with us as His children. We are all servants of Jesus Christ and are equally accountable to Him. When I say "All" I mean those who accepted Jesus Christ into their hearts as Savior and Lord.
Paul writes about continuing in prayer and we all proactively look for opportunities when it comes to intercession at the right time frames during the course of the day but always with the spirit of thanksgiving. Most Bible teachers do not impart this biblical principle but anything we intercede for should be done with the heart of thanking God.
It is interesting that Paul says praying also for us which means it is a good thing to intercede for your minister. This should be from our hearts and always be done before the throne of grace. I should make a point in that we are allowed to pray for ourselves but not with pride. Paul specifically desired them to pray for him to have an opportunity/opportunities to preach the gospel with ability and courage in the power of Jesus Christ. Remember he was in prison so all things are possible through Jesus Christ. I also believe Paul wanted prayer so he would not fall into discouragement because the Apostle was going through a period of suffering in his life.
Then Paul says that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. He prayed this for them and Paul desired this in return. In simple terms the Apostle wanted the right words to come out of his mouth. Paul already knew how to do this very well and yet by his own confession he still asked for prayer.
Paul wanted them precisely to conduct themselves in the proper manner with unbelievers that did not put their faith in Jesus Christ. He gets more specific in verses five and six on how to do this in practice. The tone of what the Apostle was trying to portray is do not hurt anyone and be careful that you do not fall into offense through their responses. If we injure an unbeliever this increases their prejudices against them putting their faith in Jesus Christ.
Paul also talks about redeeming the time of looking for opportunities to do something good for them or walking in your faith for Jesus Christ. If we live wrong then they have an excuse to say our faith in the Son of God is false. I have seen this much in my life and feel quite helpless when I listen to the words of people that did not accept Jesus Christ into their hearts.
When the Apostle Paul says let your speech always be with grace a savory conversation that is seasonable. This ultimately points to the Person of Jesus Christ. This is also a spiritually constructive reality that God would desire to observe from heaven a little/lot more often if you know what I mean.
We should also as Christians season our words with salt. Grace is the salt which seasons our conversation and it causes our words to be rich in Jesus Christ; therefore, very little chance of corrupting speech to be coming out of our months. We need to know how to answer every man so it is imperative to have the proper foundation of wisdom and grace to give correct answers to every person. It does not matter whether we open up the subject about Jesus Christ or vice versa because first we have to settle our whole life on the solid foundation of the rock (Jesus Christ) instead of sinking sand. There will be adversaries to our faith in Jesus Christ but we must respond in a kind way giving reasons for our faith in the Son of God.
With that being said and I sure hope I presented this subject in the most positive way for you to be uplifted whoever you are out there in internet land. I would like to extend an invitation to you in that now may be a good time to accept Jesus Christ into your heart as your very own personal Savior and Lord by repenting of all your sins and inviting the Son of the Living God into your life. I hope and pray you just made that all important eternal decision. If you did then have sincere fellowship with Jesus Christ by abiding in Him every day. If you sin/sins confess them before the Lamb of God that died for your transgressions and listen for the direction of God in your life.
Sunday, April 07, 2019
Obeying and serving God will be rewardedI went over so much biblical content in my last article because the Apostle Paul said so much in a few verses. I quoted Colossians 3: 18 - 19 (the last two verses in the previous writing) but not much was said in the last writing about wives submitting to husbands. One truth I found out is if the Triune Godhead set up an order follow through the basics of the setup because no other way will work. Husbands are called to be more aggressive in a nice way and love their wives. Paul warns the men not to be bitter against their spouse. To look at this scenario in the most basic way it is impossible to love and hold bitterness in our hearts.Paul urges children to obey their parents because it is well pleasing to the Lord. Another truth I found out the hard way is it is good to please God. To be in symmetry with the plan of Jesus Christ takes the burden off us and gives our hearts peace of mind and heart.The Apostle writes about fathers not provoking their children to anger because they will just get discouraged. Nothing good can come out of provoking or discouragement. People have provoked me to anger in my past and I have to say negative emotions rise up and it is very difficult to get back in the yoke of Jesus Christ.Paul talks about servants doing their work not with eyeservice as manpleasers but in singleness of heart with the spirit of fearing God. Most individuals do try and impress people through their job but this passage says we are to do it for Jesus Christ. Actually we are to do everything for God not just our work. Our heart belongs to the Lamb of God who died for our sins but we serve people with the right attitude. That is not always easy to do in this world when people can be just downright mean. Paul clears up this issue in verse twenty three when he says whatsoever we do engage in it heartily as to the Lord and not unto men.The Apostle talks about the reward of the inheritance because we serve Jesus Christ. We were built to serve somebody so it might as well be the Son of the Living God.Paul reviews the sowing and reaping principle in a way that is not usually explained because he says a person that does wrong is going to face Jesus Christ someday who has no respect of persons. We live in a world where this is the norm but that will never happen under the one true God. Let me quote the original text so you can read this passage and perhaps make reference to it in this particular Bible study.(18) "Wives, submit yourselves unto your husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. (19) Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. (20) Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. (21) Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. (22) Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: (23) And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; (24) Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Christ. (25) But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons." Colossians 3:18 - 25.Some of these subjects are hard to talk about because in this day and age to say the Bible says wives submit to your husbands --- well you can surmise what I am trying to say. I will be very balanced in what this passage says because every member of the family has a role in obeying God in the family context. I grew up in a home where you just did not cross most of the women because they were tough. With so many governments against the family structure it is becoming virtually impossible to live for God and have every member of your family give their homage to Jesus Christ and love one another.Paul starts with wives. This is a compliment because wives and mothers are the matriarch of the family. It is usually the ladies that are able to set get together fellowships up and do it with ease. God obviously made men and women very different. Neither is more important or less important than the other but God does set up a governmental system so it would stand to reason that both wives and husbands must play their role the way God designed it because no other way will work.The reason why the Holy Spirit starts out with wives submitting to their husbands is because it is the order of this particular setting and the reason of their partnership but most important the appointment and will of God. It was often said that wives that do this as well as raising good children may be the highest in heaven.Husbands must love their wives with tender affection but it has to be consistent. Just as Christ loved the church in like matter husbands must love their wives. I am not exactly sure why the Apostle Paul said not to be bitter against their wives but it is obvious that a genuine kind spirit is something very special to a lady.Verse twenty talks about children obeying their parents. I know some of the quotas that parents give are not always attainable but this is more of an attitude and trust me you will be blessed for this if you apply this biblical principle to your life. Most parents are more fit to direct their kids to rules than the actually child/children. Ideally parents should be tender and children should be obedient. Fathers are not supposed to provoke their children to anger because they will just walk around discouraged. Authority should not be exercised with severity but with gentleness. If you rule with rigor then you will produce fierceness in your child. Then it becomes a battle of the wills.This passage also says servants obey your masters which in our day could mean employees obey your bosses unless they are telling you to do something illegal. You never know in this day and age. When Paul uses the term in all things he was saying not just when they are looking at you but most first world countries have such big brother systems in place that this is usually not a problem at this prophetic point in history. More than likely we are being watched at all times. In the first century that was not the case.The Apostle talks about singleness of heart, fearing God because this produces goodness in relations with other people. Paul also says whatever we do engage in it heartily because diligence in everything works as long as it is from God. The other way is slothful and that never works. I have to throw a disclaimer in because our society is very big on OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder).We can do something with diligence and not have OCD.Everything we do should be sanctified by the Lord. For example this is why Christians pray before a meal because they desire God to sanctify the food in this case so a grateful spirit will be present. As Christians labor also needs to be sanctified in Jesus Christ because we could be doing the work with the wrong motive. In simple terms do it for God, not for people. We are being the profitable servants before God when we are faithful in our duty to men. The more of a servant we are the closer we are to heaven. If we are Christians and serving people we are serving Jesus Christ and He will give us payment.When Paul says he who does wrong will receive for the wrong which he has done I believe the Apostle in context was talking about good verses evil. God does punish the unjust but He also rewards His faithful servants. If masters wrong their servants they are in trouble with Jesus Christ because there is no respect of persons with Him. Our righteous judge will be impartial and give the perfect judgment to masters and servants. I can tell you that if we all played our roles correctly with the right spirit more people would come to know Jesus Christ in a personal way. If you are one that does not have the Lord in your heart I hate to be the one to break the bad news to you but everything you do including labor will be done in vain. In simple terms it is not being done for God.Now may be a good time to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord by repenting of all your sins and inviting the Son of God into your life. I hope and pray that you just made that eternal decision.God Bless,Bob D.