Thursday, November 17, 2022

Faithfulness - Col. 1:7

 You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ...

Faithfulness is often an undervalued virtue.  Sometimes Christians have their own priorities and sometimes secret agendas that interfere with their commitment to the Kingdom of God and its representatives.  They may seem like 'superstars,' but they are gone as soon as something crosses their own will or desires.

A person must be found faithful, like Epaphras, to move ahead in the things of God.  Faithfulness is not an option.  As an employer, I would rather have an employee who is faithful and slower at work than a fantastic worker who is undependable.  Faithfulness is proven under pressure and conflicting desires.  Will we hold true to our commitments or betray those who trust us?  Ultimately, how we treat God's servants is how we treat Him.


Friday, November 11, 2022

Teamwork - Col. 1:7

 You learned it first from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant...  Col. 1:7a

Paul was probably the greatest of the apostles.  He wrote the majority of the New Testament.  He had special revelation.  He needed a messenger from satan to keep him humble.  Yet we don't find him operating alone.  In the first verse, he acknowledges Timothy; here, he gives credit to Epaphras.  Paul worked with a team.  The Lone Ranger strategy is not Biblical, and it is dangerous.

No matter who we are, we need to be part of a team.  We need to be willing to give credit where credit is due, prefer others over ourselves, and value their ministry and contributions.  We need to have people who can speak into our lives.  Even Paul submitted what he was teaching to the other apostles to ensure he was on the right track.  It is so easy to be led astray if we don't have - or won't listen to - a team around us.  Everyone has something to give.  Let us appreciate and be thankful for the people God has put in our lives.

Thursday, November 3, 2022

God's Grace - Col. 1:6

 ...just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God's grace.  Col. 1:6, NIV

The Gospel grew and bore fruit because of two things.  

First, they heard about it.  The seed was planted.  How can someone respond to the Gospel without being told about it?  We have to hear about it.  Evangelism is not the only thing in the Christian life, but it is a vital part of it.  We need to share the good news with those around us.  The good news is that we can have a relationship with God as we were created to.

Second, they understood God's Grace.  God's Grace is His choosing us, working with us and enabling us for His own good pleasure based on no work or attribute of our own.  When we begin to realize that we are loved by God because of Who He is, not because of Who we are, we can let any tension in our relationship with God seep away.  We can be at peace.  We can work with confidence.  We can be who we were created to be.  The joy of the Lord can be our strength.  

Friday, October 28, 2022

Growth - Col. 1:6

 In the same way, the Gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world... Col. 1:6

Sometimes in Western society, we have a dismal view of the growth of the Gospel.  Much of our culture has rejected Christianity and is increasingly openly hostile to it.  Our 'Christian' nations no longer even pretend to be Christian.

Looking back at the beginning of Christianity, immediately after the resurrection of Jesus, only one nation in the entire world had any Light in it.  Even in that nation, only about 120 people had embraced the Truth.  From that small beginning - which was violently opposed by both the Jews and the Roman Empire - it has grown to be a 'religion' that is in every country in the world and has more adherents than any other religion.  It is estimated that about 80,000 people are saved every day.

Even though Christianity appears to be shrinking in the West, it is rapidly expanding in other parts of the world.  Iran is reputed to be where Christianity is growing the fastest.  I do not believe that persecution is the will of God, but He uses it for His purposes [See our course on Persecution on www.joshua-institute.com.]. Certainly, it cannot stop the growth of Christianity.

Even in the United States, things have improved in many ways.  In the 1800s, one-fifth of all pregnancies were aborted; in many states, sexual consent was 9 or 10 years old, murder was common in the 'Old West,' women had virtually no rights, etc.


Thursday, October 13, 2022

Col. 1:5

 ...about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you.

There are many false gospels - false ways of salvation - in the world.  There is only one true way to God and salvation.  Christianity presents the only true message.  The world thinks that such exclusiveness is pride and prejudice.  It would be if it wasn't true.  But when something is true, it is not pride to say so, although it can be displayed in a prideful way.  For example, to state that using bubble gum instead of nails or screws to hold studs together in a wooden frame is foolish is not a prideful statement, just an acknowledgment of facts.

In line with that, as Christians, we support the right of people to believe what they want.  We do not force people to believe what we do.  We present the truth, the choice to accept or reject it is theirs, and we honour their choice.  But respecting the choices of others does not mean we are saying they are correct, only that they have the right to believe what they want.


Saturday, October 1, 2022

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Confident Expectation - Col. 1:5

 ...the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven...

The word "hope" in Scripture is the confident expectation of something that is going to happen.  It is not a wish or something you simply want to happen.  You know it will happen; it just hasn't happened yet.

The confident expectation of being with Jesus and experiencing all that He has promised in the future is a motivation for our faith and love in this present world.  Because we know this world is not all there is, we can make sacrifices joyfully now as in investment in what is coming.  

Sometimes we feel guilty about thinking of rewards in heaven, but it didn't bother Jesus.  He spoke of rewards and treasures.  So did Paul.  Having confidence in the future gives us strength in the present.  If we have no faith in a rewarded future, we will be much more susceptible to temptation now.  Why do many parents get their children involved in sports?  Because they know if their children have goals and dreams, they will be less likely to give into peer pressure, drugs etc.  The same s true of us.

Faithfulness - Col. 1:7

 You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ... Faithfulness is often an undervalued virtue....