Examples of Christian Living (2)

Examples Of Christian Living (2)

This being part two of this message I thought you might like a link to go to the first part, so here it is.

I do want to point out that these are just study notes.  They are not a manuscript of my sermon.  I do not do manuscript sermons.

These notes are from March of 2007 while I was pastor of Carr Lane Baptist Church.

Colossians 4:11-18
OUTLINE –

I. TYCHICUS WAS A MAN WITH THE HEART OF A SERVANT (vv. 7-8).
II. ONESIMUS, WAS A MAN WITH A PAST THAT WAS SINFUL (v. 9).
III. ARISTARCHUS, WAS MAN WITH A SYMPATHETIC HEART (v. 10a).
IV. MARK WAS A MAN WITH A SURPRISING FUTURE (v. 10b).
V. JESUS JUSTICE WAS A MAN WITH A STRONG COMMITMENT (v. 11).
VI. EPAPHRAS WAS A MAN WITH A SINGLE PASSION (vv. 12-13).
VII. LUKE WAS A MAN WITH A SPECIALIZED TALENT (v. 14a).
VIII. DEMAS WAS A MAN WITH A SAD FUTURE (v. 14b, 2 Timothy 4:10).
IX. THE APOSTLE WHO HAS THE MINISTRY OF GOD’S WORD (vv. 15-18).

On news programs and so called documentaries we have recently heard of a casket being found with the name Jesus on it. Supposedly bones were found that belonged to a man named Jesus. Could it have been this one; Jesus Justice? Or could it have been another Jesus? I do know one thing for absolutely certain, the bones in that casket are not the bones of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.

We have looked at the first four of these men who were EXAMPLES OF CHRISTIAN LIVING. The following three are good examples of Christian living while the last of the eight is very questionable to say the least.

EVERY CHILD OF GOD NEEDS A STRONG COMMITMENT TO THE LORD (v. 11).

Jesus Justice was a man of commitment. We know that because he left his family, friends, and religion to follow Jesus the Christ, and stand alongside Paul for all those years. It is said of the three, ie., Aristarchus, Mark, and Jesus Justice that Paul writes, are of the circumcision [of course meaning they are Jewish].

There are professing Christians living today who have no strong commitment to anything. I say that because if something goes different from how they desire it they are quick to become angry, be offended, offend others, and sometimes even decide to leave the church they are attending.

In the MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY is written these words,

“Nothing is known of Jesus who is called Justus apart from this verse. It is possible that he was one of the Roman Jews who believed Paul’s message (Acts 28:24). Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua, which means ‘savior.’ That certainly was a difficult name to live up to, but his Latin surname, Justus (‘righteous’), indicates that he in some measure did.” pg. 196.

A thing we can learn from Justus; is that commitment means staying power even when there is no recognition, no appreciation, and that it just seems as though no one cares. Commitment will keep you in place even when the storms blow hard.

There must first be a real commitment to Jesus as personal Lord and Savior. When you are saved you need to find a local church where Jesus is loved, worshiped, served and proclaimed.

THERE IS MUCH NEED FOR CHRISTIANS TO HAVE A SINGLE PASSION (vv. 12-13).

What was the “Single passion” of Epaphras? First of all let’s remind ourselves of who Epaprhas is. He is most likely the current pastor of the church of Collosae. He is the one that saw the lurking dangers of heresy threatening the church, and had gone to Paul for support. He was also most likely the founding pastor of the Colossians church.

Epaphras carried this passion with him on the way to Rome, while he was in Rome, on the return to the Colossian people, and while he was among them. Notice his passion – “…always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God” (v. 12). There is a Greek word from which the word “laboring” is taken; that is the word ‘agonizomai’ from which our word ‘agonize’ comes. It is the same word that speaks of our Lord’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. This pastor was a man devoted to prayer, and agonized in prayer, because he knew he could not meet their needs, but God could.

The things for which he prayed are practical for our church today. He prayed that they would be complete in Christ [‘stand perfect’], growing in Christ, and mental and moral character. In the phrase, ‘Complete in all the will of God’ is the meaning of fully knowing the will of God. It is his prayer. It was his passion. It ought to be the passion of every pastor, of every Christian to be praying to that end for our brothers and sisters.

If we should begin praying this way it would certainly have a very positive effect on the church we worship in. There is one thing we must all realize and that is when God is moving seen or unseen, then the devil, the enemy of God and His people, will come in and attempt to divide, and cause harm to the local body of believers. That is where the heart of commitment and this single passion can so mightily work together.

THOSE WITH A SPECIALIZED TALENT SERVING IN THE CHURCH (v. 14a).

Luke was a physician. We know by that that he, like Paul was a very educated man. They both were intelligent men, and probably had very interesting conversations on their travels together. Luke wrote two of the New Testament books. The first was the Gospel of Luke, of course not Luke’s title, but given at a later date; and he wrote the Acts as well. In much of the book of Acts you can tell that Luke was present with Paul during much of these journeys. He probably served Paul as his physician. Bandaging him up after the times he was stoned for his faith, and the beatings he endured; as well as any other health need he may of had

Just as Luke had no theological training; so too are those who have no theology training needed in today’s church. There are medical missionaries who go to other places and minister by offering free health care to those who are without means. There is also need for people who are builders, diggers, witnesses, chainsaw handlers, and just cleanup work. There is a need for people of all kinds and sorts in local churches. There is no one who is not needed or wanted. Each of us have our place. All cannot be pastors, preachers, teachers, but all have a place to serve. Just because you have no college degree, does not mean you have no specialized talent or work that you do.

THERE IS ALSO SOME IN THE CHURCH WHO HAVE A SAD FUTURE (v. 14b)

Paul does not say much about Demas, just that he is sending greeting to the people of Colossae. Demas is the one we do know had a sad future. Demas was a deserter of the faith. Paul writes later to Timothy these sad words,

“Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica…” 2 Timothy 4:9-10 (KJV).

It is sad to note, but it is true that all those who enter the Gospel ministry will not remain in the ministry. Demas was one such man. Jesus had Judas who betrayed Him, and Paul had Demas who deserted him.

Demas had gone to Thessalonica, evidently seeking the worlds goods. He had grown discontent with being with a man who was constantly being beaten, imprisoned, and betrayed. His eyes strayed to the material things. The gold and silver sparkles blinded his eyes, and hardened his heart. Rather than seeking those things which are above he turned to seeking the temporary things of the material world.

What do our hearts long for today? The material things that glitter in the bright sunlight, or for Christ Jesus who is the beaming Son Light.

WITHIN THE CHURCH ARE THOSE, ALSO, WHO WILL PROMOTE THE SPREADING OF THE LETTERS OF GOD’S WORD (vv. 15-18).

The apostle Paul was certainly such a man. The letters Paul is speaking of is, of course, this one, and most likely the one we know as Ephesians. It is pretty commonly accepted that the book of Ephesians was a circular letter, written by Paul, to many different churches. It could be that it received the title Ephesus due to it being the final congregation receiving the letter.

This letter to Colossae, was sent specifically to the Colossian church, but then was to be passed on to the other churches. In a sense you could say that Galations, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians were circular because they were all received, and read by the others. They are, in fact, still being read by other churches.

People are not saved by promotion of circuses, shows, or any type of entertainment. People are saved by the preaching of the Word of God, and the power of the Holy Spirit moving into the hearts and lives of the hearers.

Pass this letter along Paul says. Read the one from Laodicea as well. If you want to know what Paul wrote to the Laodicean church you need to just turn back a few pages to Ephesians. That is the most likely candidate for that letter.

There is concern also for a young man who may have been entering into ministry of the Gospel. His name was Archippus. Paul’s words to him and any other for the ministry is, “Take heed to the ministry… that thou fulfill it”. Do not neglect the ministry of God’s Word. They are the words of life; eternal life.

The apostle signs this letter with his own hand. It is signed; not with a signature, but the closing greeting.

This study in Colossians has been of the Superiority of Christ, His Sufficiency, He being First Place. The letter confronts those who would deny the deity of Jesus, and ascribe to Him as being only spirit; but not flesh and blood. Christ Jesus is the Creator, Sustainer of all that is. He is the One who showed us how to live, and how to die, and how to live again. In the epistle of Colossians we learn how to pray for one another. Let’s be sure we are doing that. People you pray for are really hard to hate or despise.

-Tim A. Blankenship

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Examples of Christian Living (1)

EXAMPLES OF CHRISTIAN LIVING (Part 1)

Colossians 4:7-10

Proposed OUTLINE –

I. TYCHICUS WAS A MAN WITH THE HEART OF A SERVANT (vv. 7-8).

II. ONESIMUS, WAS A MAN WITH A PAST THAT WAS SINFUL (v. 9).

III. ARISTARCHUS, WAS MAN WITH A SYMPATHETIC HEART (v. 10a).

IV. MARK WAS A MAN WITH A SURPRISING FUTURE (v. 10b).

I borrowed the idea for the main points of this outline from  THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY, Colossians & Philemon, pp. 192-199.

Paul has given much instruction on the dangers, and destruction of those who are Gnostics, and their teachings. Remember, they deny, the deity of Jesus Christ; because to their way of thinking Deity, and flesh cannot reside in the same body; as a matter of fact Deity cannot have a body of flesh. They supposedly believed that Jesus existed, but only as a spirit being; His “death” was only faked; thus there was only a ‘spiritual resurrection’. Do you know how silly that sounds?

Paul has encouraged us to pray for one another, and the Church; and shared with us how he was praying for us. He has lifted up the name of Jesus showing that He is Preeminent in all things, that He was the Creator of the Universe, and not only Creator, but He sustained it all.

Paul has warned us about the “Philosophy of men… And going after the ways of the world, and not after Christ”. He shared with us the sufficiency of Jesus Christ, and warned us of the death knell of legalism, and angel worship.

The apostle also encouraged us, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above…” Putting off the things of the flesh. Setting our affections on things of God – things above. Putting to death all sexual sins, and covetousness. Learning to deal with anger, wrath, malice, etc… To “Put on bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness.. Meekness, longsuffering, and forbearing one another, forgiving one another. Putting on God-like love. Having godly family relationships, work relationships.

Last time we looked at having a Christian Walk with the Lord; OUR DEPORTMENT.

In these final two messages we will be looking at examples of Christian deportment. There are seven that are good, and one that does not turn out so well. These are what needs to be exhibited in our church, and in life. We are each gifted by the Holy Spirit differently, so let’s be careful about using our gift effectively, and efficiently.

THERE ARE PEOPLE IN OUR CHURCH WHO HAVE THE HEART OF A SERVANT (vv. 7-8).

“ For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.  For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;  Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;  Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.  Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.  Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another…” Romans 12:3-10 (KJV).

The word ministry in the above Scripture is speaking of “Serving”, being a servant to others. It is the type of work that is needed in the church, and everyone should be serving; first the Lord, of course, then others. There are some who are just clearly gifted with SERVING others. They are usually the first to see a need, and address it, by doing something themselves, or if it is too big a project they call on others to help out.

The one’s with the gift of ministry/serving are also the type of people who do not desire recognition. They will serve even when no one notices. They prefer anonymity in the matter of ministry, without a lot of hooplah. In the our text for the day we see Tychicus, and he was most likely this way, but Paul goes ahead and makes sure the church at Colossae knows who he is anyway.

The gift of service offered was 1) Letting the people know of Paul’s state; 2) To find out the state of the church of Colossae, and return to Paul with that info; and 3) To be an encouragement to them:

1.  A servant will be one who is concerned enough to let others know the needs of those who are preaching elsewhere;
2.  A servant will also be one who informs those who are preaching, of the needs and growth, or lack thereof, of the congregation they are serving;
3.  A servant will be an encouraging part of the congregation.

We all need to have the attitude of the Servant. Not serving to be noticed, but serving because of calling, and desire to glorify the Lord.

EVERYONE IN THE CONGREGATION NEEDS TO REALIZE THAT WE ARE ALL PEOPLE WITH A SINFUL PAST (v.9).

Onesimus was the run away slave of Philemon. It is quite possible that, not only had he ran away, but he had stolen from Philemon. Paul says to Philemon, “If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that to mine account” Philemon 1:18 (KJV). It is sure that he had a sinful past.

A lot of us might ask, “Well what is he doing going back?” He was delivering this letter with Tychicus, to Colossae. He was most likely taking another letter to his master Philemon, from the hand of Paul.

In Onesimus we see a great Christian principle. It was one which Paul taught and Onesimus was going to practice, as a matter of fact he was practicing. That that he was practicing was keeping the matter of the law of slavery. Deuteronomy says, “Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee” (23:15 KJV). The one to whom a slave had fled was to care for this bond-servant, shelter, food, etc., but for them to go back was entirely up to the slave. In the case of Onesimus it was the good and godly thing to do, especially since he had become a Christian, and Philemon was a brother in Christ.

Paul describes Onesimus as, ‘…a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you…’ The testimony of Onesimus was what every Christian testimony is. One of deliverance to new life. Change had taken place in him, and it does in all who come to Christ.

The ministry of service of both Tychicus and Onesimus was to inform the people at the Colossian church of the work, ministry and needs of Paul. Onesimus was almost undoubtedly carrying another letter addressed to Philemon, and to whom he would deliver this letter face to face with the man he had wronged. Philemon was a wealthy leader of the Colossian Church which met in his house.

I have no problem believing that Philemon completely forgave Onesimus and set him free. After reading Paul’s letter himself, and then, reading it to the congregation meeting ‘in his house’ how could he refuse.

THERE ARE PEOPLE IN THE CHURCH WHO HAVE A SYMPATHETIC HEART (v. 10a).

Aristarchus is mentioned in Acts 19:29; 20:4; 27:2. Aristarchus is a voluntary captive with Paul. He is most likely not an actual prisoner, but has chosen to stay with Paul and minister to him. Part of his ministry would have been as an encourager. There would have been days when Paul would have been about as low as a Christian man can get, and would need someone to lift him up. Aristarchus was that man.

Understanding the situation requires sympathy. What is sympathy? According to the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY sympathy is – “a relationship between persons or things wherein whatever affects one similarly affects the others”. Suffering with the one who is suffering. It would also involve being blessed with the one who is blessed. Paul has said, “Weep with those who weep…” Romans 12:15. In that same verse he said, “Rejoice with those who rejoice”. There are those who can and do weep with you when you hurt. They are there for you when you need an encouraging word.

A word of caution. Not everyone has this kind of sympathy that puts them right in the place of suffering or rejoicing. We should all have some elements of sympathy, but not all to the extent that Aristarchus had. It is always a good thing to weep with the weeping, and unless you are jealous of someone else’s success rejoice with them in their rejoicing.

THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE IN THE CHURCH WHO HAVE A SURPRISING FUTURE (v. 10b).

Mark had been a failure on Paul’s first missionary journey. In Acts 13:5 we find “John” who is John Mark ministering with Paul and Barnabus. In the thirteenth verse we have John Mark departing and going back to Jerusalem. There is absolutely no explanation, but due to the conflict that arises between Paul and Barnabus over John Mark going with them on the second missionary journey, we assume that Mark could not take the heat, so he got out while he could.

Paul was probably furious about Mark’s departure, as well as feeling like Mark deserted him. Mark was still, most likely, an immature Christian, and was not use to see persecution because of the faith. Mark had seen a challenge from Satan himself through the sorcerer Elymas, and he had seen the persecution of Paul and Barnabus, and it was all he could take. There was much contention between the two; so much that they went separate ways, and that was something God used to further the kingdom (Acts 15:36-41). One thing we can learn from this is that at all times we must use discernment. That is what Paul was doing, and at this time did not see any fruit in the life of Mark as the defeated, discouraged young man he was when he ran back to Jerusalem. When Paul saw the growth in Mark that was needed he commends him to others.

Notice in this statement by Paul that he says of Mark, “Receive him”. He mentions Mark again in the letter to Philemon, verse 24, “Salute… Mark… my fellow laborers”. Mark had grown and had become a strong believer in the faith. He mentions Mark again in 2 Timothy 4:11, as being a “profitable [useful] to me for the ministry”.

Mark went on and wrote the second Gospel. That is right the Gospel according to Mark. According to some historians and theologians Mark is the oldest of the four Gospels.

One thing by looking at the man Mark is that just because you have failed does not mean that God is finished with you. When your faith is strengthened and renewed God will use you for His glory again. When you fear you have failed just look to the One who has saved you and He will pick you up.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Christians Conduct

Our Deportment

Colossians 4:5-6

The word “Walk” has to do with one’s conduct or deportment (behavior). On grade cards teachers use to grade their students on their “Deportment”. I wonder if that is still there? If it is I wonder how many would get a passing grade? When it comes to Christian deportment how many of us would get a passing grade?

When it comes to Christian conduct Paul likens it to a “Walk”. It has to do with the way we live. All of us have “Deportment”, but of what kind is it? He gives the church of Colossae some guidance and instruction concerning their deportment.

Proposed OUTLINE:

I. WALK IN WISDOM (v.5).
II. REMEMBER OTHERS WHO ARE NOT CHRISTIANS ARE WATCHING YOU (v. 5).
III. MAKING GOOD USE OF THE TIME GOD HAS GIVEN YOU (v. 5).
IV. SPEAK WITH GRACE FROM YOUR HEART (v. 6).
V. LET THERE BE SEASONED SALT IN YOUR WORDS (v. 6).
VI. KNOW HOW TO GIVE AN ANSWER TO EVERY ONE (v. 6).

WALK IN WISDOM (v. 5).

Far too many times those who profess Christ as their Lord and Savior walk as fools and not as those who have godly wisdom. There are several ways we can walk foolishly. One of those ways is by seeking financial gain feverishly, ie., as a main goal for living. Like material/financial gain was all there was to live for, rather than Christ, His glory, and His will. Greed, nor coveting are expressions of faith, but rather of unbelief.

Another way of walking foolishly is by living in legalism. Legalism is trusting in your good deeds, behavior, works as the means of gaining God’s favor, rather than trusting that you have already gained God’s favor. The Christian who is living legalistically also finds fault, very quickly, with those they see sins within. They will be quick to judge someone that is poor as being lazy. They will judge harshly anyone who does not live up to their standard, whether it is based on Biblical law or their own. Legalism requires that you live by this standard, this law, or you are not saved, and you will not make.

Jealousy and selfish ambition comes in when Christians are not walking wisely. Brothers or sisters in Christ are blessed, and jealousy creeps in. The desire to improve one’s job situation at the expense of someone else shows the foolishness as well.

According to John MacArthur’s New Testament Commentary for Colossians there are four sources for wisdom.

“First, worship: ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding’ (Prov. 9:10). Second, prayer: ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him’ (James1:5). Third, Bible study: ‘Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, and with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another’ (Col. 3:16). Fourth, godly instruction: ‘And we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ’ (Col. 1:28). It is only through walking in wisdom that believer’s words will mean anything…” pg. 186. THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY of Colossians and Philemon.

REMEMBER THOSE WHO ARE WATCHING YOU (v. 5).

How we speak and how we live should match up with one another; and not be poles apart. That equals hypocrisy. When we mention the change Jesus Christ makes in one’s life it better show in you and me. Is there anything in your life that does and would cause others to question your testimony of Christ’s change of your life?

The “Walk of wisdom” which we walk better show godly wisdom and not foolishness. We all stumble, and when we are genuinely saved we get back up and go again. Others will see our faith in that as well as the other things we say and do.

MAKE GOOD USE OF THE TIME GOD HAS GIVEN US (v. 5).

One of the Psalms which Moses wrote says, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). We need to live as though today was our last day on earth. Not with fear, anxiety, or grasping for what the unredeemed would claim to be “Living”, but with peace, contentment, joy, love for others, seeking to tell all we can about the love of God in Christ Jesus, and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus – the personification of that love of God.

How many hours do we waste doing television viewing, and waste the opportunities which God has given to witness, and possibly win a lost soul to Christ.

Wasted opportunities where you were sitting on a bench resting from a walk and a man with a very troubled look on his face and in his eyes comes and sits near you. Do you start a conversation with him and tell him of God’s grace, God’s love? Do you just sit there, then, leave in a few minutes without a word of God? I do not think I can remember the opportunities I have walked away from without a word of God to them. There have been some I have been faithful in, never saw a change in that person, but God’s Word will not return to Him void.

SPEAK WITH GRACE SEASONED WITH SALT (v. 6).

One of my favorite topics to talk about is grace – God’s grace to be more specific. There is no other grace that compares to God’s. His grace is amazing. His grace is miraculous. His grace is marvelous. His grace is heavenly. His grace is graceful. His grace is abundant. His grace is overflowing. His grace is powerful. His grace is earth shattering. His grace is glorious. His grace is cleansing. His grace is righteous. His grace is awesome. His grace is beautiful. His grace is for all who believe. His grace is forgiving His grace breaks the bondage of hell.

Speaking with Grace also means being gracious in our speech toward others. Having a good attitude toward them. When we are addressing a condemned person we must speak with love in our hearts. The grace of God is bountiful, and every lost individual must see grace in our speech.

When we season food with salt we are adding flavor to the food. Salt added to an open sore will be painful, and it will sting, but it does a work of cleansing and healing. What is needed in our speech to the unredeemed people we speak to is to show the love of God in the way we speak to them. Not making ourselves better than they are, but helping them see, that we are “Better off” than they are. They must see, first of all, that we really believe what we are speaking to them. If they sense in us that we do not really believe it there is no way they will, unless it is purely a divine act of the Holy Spirit alone. Of course, salvation is by God alone, but He does use redeemed vessels to reach others. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has its own flavoring. It is quite pleasing to the spiritual senses.

Salt is not only a seasoning, but also a cleansing/healing agent, and when put on an open wound will cause great pain. Sometimes pain is needed to get someone to come to God by way of the cross of Jesus. The truth of God’s law will cut to the quick of the unbeliever, and when that is done the Holy Spirit can use that to open the eyes of the lost, and bring them to Jesus.

BE ABLE TO GIVE AN ANSWER TO ALL WHO ASK (v. 6).

In 1 Peter 3:15 Peter wrote by the Spirit of God, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear…”. How you respond when someone asks you, “Why do you believe in Jesus?” is as important as telling them about Jesus. You need an answer for that. How would you answer it?

It needs explained to these individuals that you believe because He is God, who became flesh, and gave His life as payment for our sin. He arose from the grave three days later proving beyond all doubt that He is the risen, glorified, Savior of mankind, and Son of God. That, everything this man Jesus said is true, beyond all doubt, and what has not yet been fulfilled; will be fulfilled in God’s own timing.

We ought always to speak the name of Jesus with awe, respect, and love. Why do I believe in Jesus? I believe because He died for me. He took my sins upon Himself, and was fully judged by God the Father in my place. He died carrying my sins away. He rose from death, and due to that victory I too will live eternally with Him. Why do I believe in Jesus – why do I trust Him completely? He is God, who became flesh, to die for me, and rise again. He is also returning for me, and for all who have trusted in Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Constant Praying

Constant Prayer

Colossians 4:2-4

Paul writes about prayer. He encourages much concerning the matter of prayer. Prayer is an important part of a Christian’s life, growth, and living. The Word of God is our food source, and we need to pray for our understanding and enlightenment, and to know how to apply it to our lives. Prayer is our communication with God, while the study and reading of God’s Word is His communication with us.

Proposed OUTLINE –

I. THE TIME FOR PRAYER IS NEVER SET; IT IS FOR ALL PLACES, ALL TIMES AND FOR ALL CHRISTIANS (v. 2).
II. THERE IS AN URGENT NEED TO BE ATTENTIVE IN PRAYER, AWAKE, WATCHFUL, AND AWARE (v. 2).
III. THE ATTITUDE OF PRAYER SHOULD BE THAT OF THANKFULNESS (v.2).
IV. PRAY FOR THOSE WHO ARE ABOUT THE TASK OF PRESENTING/PREACHING THE GOSPEL AND THE WORD (v. 3).
V. PRAYER FOR THE MINISTRY OF GOD’S WORD (vv. 3-4).

In Arabian folklore we have the story of Aladdin. Within the story is a Genie in a bottle. The one who finds the bottle and releases the Genie gets wishes. It should be a fearful thing for Christians to view the communication of prayer with God as something similar to the Genie in a bottle. We do not go to Him and request whatsoever is according to selfish human desire.

In the writing of this, and preparing to deliver it as a message makes me so aware of a lack of knowledge concerning prayer. I fall so short when it comes to prayer. There are times when in my private time with the Lord, I can hardly utter a word. Many times what I pray seems so trite, and unimportant when compared to God’s Word. Yet, in God’s Word we are told to pray. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thes. 5:17); Pray, “For kings, and for all that are in authority…” (1 Timothy 2:2); Jesus said, “…Men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1); When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane He said, “Pray that ye enter not into temptation” (Luke 22:40), and He also said, “Why sleep ye? Rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation” (Luke 22:46). That is enough to let us know the importance of prayer and praying.

When it comes to praying; it is not about getting what we want, as much as it is about giving glory to the Lord, and knowing His will for our life and living. Jesus did say,

“What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24).

What does the Christian, the follower of Jesus Christ desire? To know God, grow to be more like Jesus, for the glory of the Lord in our life. If you have seen prayer as a means of getting your feeble wishes granted then, you have fallen into the trap of “thorns and thistles”, and they will smother you out.

I. THE TIME FOR PRAYER IS NEVER SET; IT IS FOR ALL PLACES, ALL TIMES AND FOR ALL CHRISTIANS (v. 2).

There is no set time for prayer. You can pray at a planned time or event. You can pray when there is no planned event. You can pray when you feel like it, and when you do not feel like it. It seems that some of the best praying is done when we have fallen to our lowest level. When things seem to have fallen apart, then we get serious about praying. Is that what our Lord had in mind when He said, “Men ought always to pray…”. Is that what Paul meant when he wrote to the people of Thessolonica, “Pray without ceasing”?

II. THERE IS AN URGENT NEED TO BE ATTENTIVE IN PRAYER, AWAKE, WATCHFUL, AND AWARE (v. 2).

As we look around at events and happenings in our world we see an urgent need, a cry of sorts, a pleading to be in earnest prayer. A thought just occurred to me that the word “Earnest” means a ‘down payment’ in the book of Ephesians,

“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” Eph. 1:13-14.

The thought I am seeing is; Prayer that pays the price to see the requested thing accomplished. That simply means a sacrifice in time on the knees seeking God’s face and His will in all circumstances, and situations.

This prayer must be one asked for while fully aware, awake, and watching faithfully to protect, keep that very thing with which we have been blessed. It also means doing those same things for the souls of others. We have an enemy who wants, even desires ravenously to devour us. We are called to vigilant, diligent, earnest prayer. Prayer that sees God’s will is done, and He is gloriously magnified.

III. THE ATTITUDE OF PRAYER SHOULD BE THAT OF THANKFULNESS (v.2).

Christians should be the most happy and joyous people walking on this planet. Yet, far too many times there are hearts, and lips of complaint rather than thanksgiving. When we are praying we should be especially thankful to our Lord for the many blessings he has given us. One of the things we should thank Him for daily is life, because He can take it from us without a moments notice. Have you ever thanked God for each breath of air? What about each step you take?

Let’s look at this “Thanksgiving” thing from another angle. Do you thank Him for the answers to your prayers? And, even before they are answered, as far as you can tell? Can you, and will you thank Him when He gives no answer, at least immediately? Sometimes it is just plain tough to be thankful. What if God gives you the answer of “NO!”? Will you be thankful for a “NO!” answer? You could be if you knew that God had your best interests at the center of His heart, and that what you had requested might cause you irreparable harm, physically, spiritually, mentally, or whatever other way there is.

The apostle Paul wrote,

“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” 1 Thes. 5:18.

IV. PRAY FOR THOSE WHO ARE ABOUT THE TASK OF PRESENTING/PREACHING THE GOSPEL AND THE WORD (v. 3).

Those who proclaim the Word of God and the Gospel are in constant need of the prayers of the people. That is because the adversary the devil is not pleased with the Gospel and the Word going forth as God has commanded. He does not want God’s Word accomplishing what He pleases, ie. what God pleases. God’s Word will not return to God void – without accomplishing God’s purposes. It must be presented though.

The devil can throw a kink into its presentation by questioning in the mind or minds of recipients of the Word. Remember Eve, and the serpents question to her. “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” The serpent is a real liar, deceiver, con-artist, and the father of all such.

Paul request prayer for his ministry of proclaiming the gospel to all who would hear, and as many as would hear. Notice the things for which he asks: 1) for open doors (opportunities) for preaching the Gospel; 2) to be able to proclaim the message of Christ which at one time was a mystery, but has now been revealed; and 3) that he would be able to explain it so as to have it revealed more readily by the power of the Spirit. We do not need to make the Gospel difficult, but make it as clear as possible that the Spirit would work in power without any baggage

V. PRAYER FOR THE MINISTRY OF GOD’S WORD (vv. 3-4).

There is power in the Word of God. When there is enlightenment by the Spirit of God the Word of God changes lives. We must pray for the ministry of the Word to have as much an impact on individual lives as there could possibly be. How big is God? He is bigger than all that is. The Lord asked Abraham, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (Gen. 18:14).

Jesus, in His prayer for His disciples, prayed, “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy Word is truth” John 17:17. When people are praying for the Word of God to go forth in power, there will be power in the pulpit, power in the pew, power in the home, power on the road, power in the homes of the neighbors where the Word is proclaimed, power in the schools, power in government – Local, State, and Federal, and around the world. Of course, that is the ideal situation.

Too many times we pray for a sign miracle, ie. healing, a need met immediately or almost immediately met, or money to fall into our laps. Pray for the ministry of God’s Word. Pray that it will first and foremost have an impact in your own life, then, in the lives of your family members, neighbors, work associates, friends, and such.

Do you have a backsliding or backslidden brother, sister, father, mother, aunt, uncle, cousin, neighbor, or enemy? Pray for their renewing. You know their problem, most likely, mention it when you pray to the Lord. Do you have a lost brother, sister, father, mother, aunt, uncle, cousin, neighbor, or enemy? Pray that God would convict them of sin, make them miserable in their sin, then, ask the Lord to show them Jesus dying for their sins on the cross.

Pray that your pastor, and all those who proclaim the Word of God may do it clearly with understanding, with power of the Spirit, and with boldness.

-Tim A. Blankenship

At Home and At Work

At Home And Work

Colossians 3:18 – 4:1

There is much sorrow in our world. There are wars in other countries of the world. Our own nation is involved in one which has been called World War Three, because other countries of the world are involved in it. There is a war going on in politics in our country; it may not be with guns, bullets and bombs, but war, none the less. There are battles raging in the homes of American citizens. Sibling rivalry; husbands and wives in constant feud with one another, and it is not in non-Christian homes alone; it is in many professing Christian homes too.

The reason these battles rage is due to several different problems. The first one is a lack of morality within much of society. The second is due to a lack of people understanding who they are, and the third is being shut out from others and God. We could look at these in reverse and find the answer for them all. God has called us to Himself – let’s believe Him and trust His Son Jesus. When we have trusted Jesus as our personal Savior we find out and understand who we are. When we are right with God, understanding who we are in Him, then, we will, by His grace grow into the kind of living and morality that will glorify Him.

Here is a possible outline for this study –

OUTLINE –

I. WHEN CHRIST IS FIRST THERE WILL BE A SUBMISSIVE WIFE AT HOME (v. 18).
II. WHEN CHRIST IS FIRST THE HUSBAND WILL LOVE HIS WIFE, AS CHRIST LOVES THE CHURCH AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR HER (v. 19; Eph 5:25).
III. WHEN CHRIST IS FIRST CHILDREN WILL OBEY THERE PARENTS (v. 20).
IV. WHEN CHRIST IS FIRST FATHERS WILL DO RIGHT IN THE DISCIPLINE OF THEIR CHILDREN (v. 21).
V. WHEN CHRIST IS FIRST THE SLAVE/EMPLOYEE WILL OBEY THE MASTER/EMPLOYER (vv. 22-25).
VI. WHEN CHRIST IS FIRST THE MASTER/EMPLOYER WILL OBEY HIS MASTER CONCERNING SLAVES/EMPLOYEES (v. 4:1).

First of all let’s look at the idea of the SUBMISSIVE WIFE (v. 18). Now that term “Submissive” causes a stir among some women. There are many professing Christian women who will say, “Well that was for Paul’s day and the society he lived in. It is not for today”. They might even go on and say, “These words of Paul are not inspired of God, therefore non-binding for women today”. And I suppose you are inspired by God to pick out those spots that are not inspired by God. Thank you, but no thanks.

There are some things that need to be considered. The first thing to consider is that when Jesus came down and became a man, though equal with the Father He was submissive to the Father. His submission made Him no less equal with the Father. The idea of submission does not make one unequal with the one to whom they are submissive. When an individual receives employment from a business he/she becomes submissive to that employer. If not, you are fired. The idea of submitting as the wife is a basic recognition that there is a head/leader within the home. As Sarah was submissive to Abraham so too, are wives of all ages to be submissive.

A word to husbands. This is not a command for you to give. This is not an expectation you are to have of your wife. It is a blessing of the Lord you will receive when you are the husband God has commanded you to be.

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” Eph. 5:25-27 (Also verse 19, of our text.) (KJV).

So says Paul in the previous book. When Christ is first in the life of the husband he will love his wife as Jesus did for the Church, and give his life for his wife. The man who loves the Lord Jesus will sacrificially love the wife God has blessed him with. That even means he will love her when she is not being lovable. That is what Jesus has done for you and I. Jesus Christ loved us even while we were yet His enemies (See Romans 5:8-10). You love her when she will not love you back, and this love is not talking about what is supposed to be the intimate “marital relationship”. It is a simple love that expects nothing in return.

“Do not be bitter toward them” infers the thought of ‘stop being bitter toward them’. We must admit there are times we can become bitter toward or wives, and Peter gives us warning concerning these things; “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” 1 Peter 3:7 (KJV).

Have your prayers been hindered lately? Maybe you have not been treating your wife rightly, and harboring bitterness toward her. God has blessed you with a beautiful vessel of more value than anything you possess. Thank God for her, and love her.

Children are a blessing to a home. There is a commandment given especially to the children, and that is,

“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee” Exodus 20:12 (KJV).

Paul reminds us of this in Ephesians,

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.  Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)  That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth” Eph. 6:1-3 (KJV).

Paul mentions in this verse that this commandment has a promise attached to it. He says it is the ‘First commandment with promise’, and it is the only one with promise. The promise is long life for those children who obey and honor their mother and father. My, how this needs to get into the hearts of children of today. I have heard children say, “I would respect them if they would respect me”, but there is no commandment for parents to respect their children. Parents are the preventative measure to keep the children from danger, and out of trouble.

I do not think some parents realize that sometimes when your child comes asking permission to do something, they are really wanting you to say “No!”, because they know it will not be a good thing for them, or they just simply do not want to participate. When it is a godly church activity always say, “Yes!” Children will honor you when you have their best intent for them. Not what you want for them, but what they need.

When God has blessed a home with children we are so ill equipped for it. We learn how to be parents, then, by the time they are grown we do not need the skills. Is that right? We do need them, because most of the time there will be grandchildren coming.

WHEN CHRIST IS FIRST, FATHERS WILL DO RIGHT IN THE DISCIPLINE OF THEIR CHILDREN.

When raising children it is sometimes frustrating to see them make some of the same mistakes we made. We need to realize that every individual, even our children, must learn from their own mistakes. We make a big mistake when we become so aggravated with them that we begin to belittle them, calling them names, such as, ‘Stupid’, calling a son ‘Sissy’ or ‘Baby’. Our children are very precious, and we must learn to praise them for their achievements and lessen their failures, but encourage them in the failures, of their own worth.

To call them the names mentioned above, and belittle them provokes them to feeling worthless, unappreciated, and unloved. You do not want your children or grandchildren feeling that way. If you want to lose your children just practice name calling, belittling, and leave out encouragement. They will leave your house, and live lives of discouragement, and torment.

I have reached the conclusion that one of the best things a man can give his sons and daughters is for them to see that he loves their mother. Another of the best things a man can give his sons and daughters is for them to be able to see that he loves the Word of God, and the Lord God too – they can see this by the time you spend in the Word, and the time of day in which you spend it. Your children know when you are real and when you are being phony.

Now, let’s go outside the home to the workplace. There are some who disagree with the thought of the slave and master relationship being a teaching for the employee and employer relationship. In our day this is the only thing that relates to it, and it must. A slave of Paul’s day was working for his/her master to meet a debt owed, or to fulfill an obligation of some sort. Maybe the slave was purchased for a price, and was actually owned by the master. There is a picture of the employee and employer present.

When you are employed by a factory to work on their assembly line, haul materials to the others who are assembling, preparing boxes for shipping or whatever you do there has been an agreement between them for payment of services rendered from the employer to the employ, and the employ gives services for payment. In the slave and master deal there is little difference.

Notice the term, “Not with eye service, as men-pleasers…”. This is speaking of only working heartily when the boss/master is looking, but as soon as he leaves going back to the slackard, slothful, loafing mode.

WHEN CHRIST IS FIRST THE SLAVE/EMPLOYEE WILL OBEY THE MASTER/EMPLOYER even when she/he is not watching. The Christian should be the best employ on the floor or in the field; in any situation, and without complaint.

The Christian employee must always keep in mind that he/she is working for the Master. The life you live will either exemplify the Savior as a life changing Savior or will show Him as an excuse for poor work efforts. We work as unto the Lord. Live for His glory.

WHEN CHRIST IS FIRST THE MASTER/EMPLOYER WILL OBEY HIS MASTER CONCERNING SLAVES/EMPLOYEES and treat them with love, respect, fairness, and justness. There will be a fair wage paid in order that the family of the employ may be cared for properly. When the employer treats his/her employees justly, they might just be surprised to find out how hard they will work, and how loyal they will be to the business.

If places such as WalMart would treat their employees with a good wage, insurance, and fairness they would be a much better organization.

The Christian master/employer will treat his people fairly, justly and see that they are paid enough to live.

SUMMARY –

I. WHEN CHRIST IS FIRST IN THE HOME THERE WILL BE A HAPPY MARRIAGE AND RESPECTING CHILDREN.
II. WHEN CHRIST IS FIRST IN THE HOME PARENTS WILL BE ENCOURAGEMENT TO THEIR CHILDREN.
III. WHEN CHRIST IS IN THE HOME THE CHRISTIAN ADULTS WILL BE THE BEST EMPLOY AT THE FACTORY OR IN THE FIELD.
IV. WHEN CHRIST IS IN THE HOME THE CHRISTIAN MASTER/EMPLOYER WILL BE FAIR AND JUST TO HIS SLAVES/EMPLOYEES.

-Tim A. Blankenship