The Steward of God’s Stuff

The Stewardship Of Worship

Malachi 1:1-14

PURPOSE – Learning to avoid boredom in the worship of our Lord.

Some time back a “Baptist” paper ran an article asking the question of boring churches. Something along the line of, “Are your church services boring?” If we look at the condition of the people of God – called Israel – at the time of Malachi we can find conditions of their heart which we can learn, that we do not want, nor need in our hearts or churches.

INTRODUCTORY OUTLINE –

I. GOD CHOSE JACOB, RATHER THAN ESAU, TO BE IN THE LINEAGE OF JESUS CHRIST (vv. 1-5).

They Had Questioned God’s Love.

II. THE PEOPLE OF GOD ARE CHOSEN AND CALLED UPON TO GIVE GOD THE BEST IN OFFERING AND SACRIFICE (vv. 6-11).

They Had Questioned God’s Character and Word.

III. DISRESPECT, BOREDOM, CONTEMPT IS NOT BECOMING FOR THE CHILD OF GOD (vv. 12-14).

They Had Questioned The Value of Worship.

I. REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE; THAT YOU WERE CHOSEN BY GOD (vv. 1-4).

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” 1 Peter 2:9.

A. There are many who are troubled by this phrase, “I loved Jacob and hated Esau”.

1. “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” Luke 14:26.
2. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.  For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” Romans 9:13-16.

B. We should not be so amazed that He ‘hated’ Esau, but that He loved Jacob.

1. Jacob was chosen by God and Esau rejected before either one was born; “And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.  And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.  And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger” Gen. 25:21-23.

“ And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;  (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)   It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.  As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” Rom. 9:10-13.
2. This in itself is a picture of grace – God’s unmerited favor.

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit…” Titus 3:5ff.

II. SINCE WE HAVE BEEN CHOSEN BY HIM AND PURCHASED WITH HIS OWN BLOOD, WE CANNOT AFFORD TO GIVE ANYTHING, EXCEPT THE BEST (vv. 6-11).

A. If we are to avoid boredom in worship then we must give Him our full attention in our worship – personal and corporate.
B. If God is our Father we ought to honor Him as Father.

1. If Jesus is our Master we are His servant.
2. You fear and obey your father, and master, or you are disciplined. “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons” Heb. 12:7-8.

C. When we cease to give our best, that is when we begin losing the fire [excitement, enthusiasm] of worship for God.

1. Worship begins to be ‘Contemptible’ to us.

a. It starts becoming something of lesser importance – other things become more important.

2. We begin looking for places to place blame for ‘Dull and boring’ worship services.
3. We attend ‘Worship services’ more out of habit or duty, rather than desire and love for Jesus.
4. If the spiritual leader(s) shows contempt toward these things; it will trickle down into the congregation.

a. These were calling the ‘Table of the Lord contemptible’ – basically referring to the total ministry.
b. These were also offering blemished, unholy offerings compromising the Word of God.
c. The spiritual leaders are to commit sound teachings to ‘Faithful men’ – that includes right worship.

“ And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy 2:2.

D. God will not, does not accept half-hearted worship (v. 10); “Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.”
E. God’s name will one day be great among the nations of the world.

III. BOREDOM IS THE POISON OF THE CHRISTIAN SOUL (vv. 12-14a).

A. To overcome ‘Boredom’ in your worship you must come giving yourself first of all.

1. If you come to worship corporately with brothers and sisters in Christ and offer nothing, then you will be bored and receive nothing.
2. No one ought to ever come to worship without giving, and expecting God’s presence, power and glory.
3. When you see the cross of Jesus, His death, burial, and resurrection you can give yourself and all you possess.

B. One of the biggest parts of worshipping our Lord is loving the Lord Jesus.

1. When you love Him nothing you commit to Him will be a waste of time nor will it be boring.
2. There is nothing more exciting than serving and worshipping our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

C. Overcoming boredom will come when we treat the Name of God and His Word with great awe and respect.

IV. REMEMBERING THE GREATNESS OF OUR GOD, HIS NAME, AND HIS WORD WILL KEEP US FROM BOREDOM (v. 14b).

A. We will learn to show the utmost awe and respect for God and His Word by daily hearing it and applying it, by the power of the Spirit of God to our lives.
B. By God, His Word, and His creation we are constantly reminded of His greatness.
C. By calling on His name daily for fellowship, and directions for the day we can avoid becoming stale and bored.
D. If you experience boredom; get into God’s Word, get involved in someone else’s life for their good; develop an active sense of mission.
E. Be sure Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior.

SUMMARY –

I. REMEMBER YOU WERE CHOSEN BY GOD.
II. ALWAYS GIVE GOD THE VERY BEST OF YOU.
III. AVOID BOREDOM BY CARING, AND BEING INVOLVED IN GOD’S WORK – OTHER PEOPLE’S LIVES FOR THEIR GOOD.
IV. REMEMBER THE GREATNESS OF GOD, HIS NAME, AND HIS WORD.
V. IF YOU HAVE BACKSLIDEN; COME BACK TO THE PLACE WHERE YOU LEFT GOD: IF LOST – BE SAVED TODAY.

THE CURE FOR BOREDOM: 1.) Know the Lord Jesus Christ; 2) Study His Word and pray; 3) Have an active sense of mission; 4) Read regularly from Christian materials that are in keeping with Scripture, and glorifies Jesus, and builds your faith; 5) Be a part of other’s lives.

-Tim A. Blankenship

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The Prophecy of Our Lord’s Birth

THE BIRTH FORETOLD

Isaiah 7:1-14

OUTLINE –

I. JUDAH/JERUSALEM WAS UNDER SEIGE, AND GREAT THREAT FROM THE SYRIANS WITH SUPPORT FROM EPHRAIM/ISRAEL (vv. 1-2)

II. GOD SENT ISAIAH TO AHAZ, THE GRANDSON OF UZZIAH TO COMFORT AND ENCOURAGE HIM CONCERNING THE TERRORISM AT THEIR GATES (vv. 3-7).

III. GOD’S WORDS CONCERNING THOSE WHO RISE UP AGAINST THE RIGHTEOUS REMNANT (vv. 8-9).

IV. GOD GIVES A SIGN, DESPITE THE ARROGANCE AND UNWILLINGNESS TO OBEY FROM AHAZ; OF THE GOD-MAN WHO WOULD COME BY WAY OF A VIRGIN (vv. 10-16),

INTRODUCTION –

I. Living In An Affluent Society As We Do; We Often Do Not Realize The Fears and Battles Which Others In the World Are Going Through; Yet, There Are Many In Our Own Country Which Suffer Due To Hideous Things, Threats, Sickness, and Other Things.

II. Some People Are Asking “Why Doesn’t God Intervene?”, and The Answer To That Is; He Has and Presently Is.

III. The Word Of God Gives Us The Way Of Life and the Way Of Faith, Comfort, Encouragement, and We All Need It In Our Lives.

IV. God Came Down and Dwelt Among Us, and He Is Still With Us.

Even though this is the Christmas season; the season, the time of the year when we remember our Lord’s birth. Those who are not suffering from delusion will readily admit that these are not pleasant times, but let’s not be disheartened, discouraged or downheartedd. Remember, Jesus, the one whose birth we celebrate is Lord over all.

Christmas is about God. It is about God sending His Son, born of a virgin, born to die for the sins of the world.

I. THESE MAY BE DAYS OF SEIGE FROM THE ENEMY AND DARK FORCES FROM EVERY SIDE, AND THESE CAN CAUSE GREAT FEAR (vv. 1-2).

A. Ahaz was surrounded by the trouble of his Sister Nation, and the Syrians, so we may be as well, surrounded by an enemy who is set to destroy us and our testimony for Christ.

B. When we are not right with God we will be fearful; if we are right with God, having our sins confessed and obeying His call and direction for our lives, then, we need not fear, nor will we be fearful.

Someone once said, “If we fear God; we need fear nothing else”.

II. GOD HAS SENT HIS MESSENGER TO GIVE US COMFORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT FOR FACING THE ENEMY WHICH TRIES SO HARD TO DETRACT US AND GET US AWAY FROM GOD AND HIS PLAN FOR OUR LIVES (vv. 3-7).

A. Every time we are afraid God sends a messenger by way of the Holy Spirit; the message is found in God’s Word.

B. God’s messenger will speak a relevant message for the time and place.

1. Notice, that God sent ‘Shearjashub’ with Isaiah as a message of comfort – his name means, “A remnant shall return”.

2. The land of Judah would not be forgotten by God – that promise is true of all those who are in the faith of the Lord Jesus.

C. The greatest messenger of all is God’s Son Jesus Christ.

The Psalmist has written, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.” (Ps. 56:3). And, in verse eleven he wrote, “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.”

D. Be assured; the enemy of our peace shall not prevail – Jesus Christ won the victory.

1. These “Smoking firebrands” may be hot, but they are going to burn out and burn up, and be nothing but ash.

III. GOD’S WORD IS HERE FOR OUR INSTRUCTION, REBUKE, CORRECTION, INSPIRATION, AND SPIRITUAL GROWTH TO MATURITY IN JESUS CHRIST (vv. 8-9).

A. God is in control of the matters of our lives; so let’s not let our troubles detract us from the will of God.

B. God’s Word is the means by which we can resist the lies, snares, pits, and deceit of the enemy.

1. The Word of God, with the Spirit of God gets us to the place God wants us when we hear and obey.

2. By the Word of God we know the afflictions are often, if not always, for our benefit.

“Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept Thy Word” (Ps. 119:67).

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy statutes” (Ps. 119:71).

C. Those who will not take heed to God and His Word will certainly be without help (v. 9b).

IV. FOR US GOD HAS GIVEN US THE SIGN OF THE GOD-MAN WHO WAS BORN OF A VIRGIN IN THE STABLE OF BETHLEHEM (vv. 10 – 16).

A. Like Ahaz, some do not want a sign from God, because it would humble them, and cause them to realize their weaknesses, and God’s strength.

B. Despite the unwillingness of some to request a sign, God has given us one anyway.

1. That sign is the birth of the God-man Jesus Christ to the virgin mother who was willing to risk her reputation, and future marriage, and possibly her own life, to bring the Son of God to earth to pay the price for the sins of mankind, and redeem us unto God.

2. That sign, even now, causes controversy in the hearts of many who profess Christ as their Savior.

C. The unwillingness does not negate the fact, though, it strengthens it.

1. He was born of the woman – a virgin – who had no seed.

2. He could not have had a human father, the sinful seed comes from the man.

3. He was born of the seed of God, thus, having no sin, and fully qualified to die for mankind’s sin and bring reconciliation between God and mankind.

D. This prophecy was fulfilled in the following verses,

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS” Matthew 1:18-25

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:1-7.

SUMMARY –

I. LOOK TO THE MESSENGER OF GOD’S WORD – AS JEREMIAH SAID, ‘THERE IS A WORD FROM THE LORD”.

II. LOOK TO THE SIGN WHICH HAS BEEN GIVEN US – THE SIGN OF HIS VIRGIN BIRTH AND THE SIGN OF HIS CROSS.

III. TRUST GOD’S WORD WITH THE SPIRIT OF GOD TO GUIDE YOU, SECURE YOU, GIVE YOU PEACE IN THE MIDST OF ATTACKS AND AFFLICTION.

IV. THERE ARE ACTUALLY THREE SIGNS GOD HAS GIVEN US FOR ASSURANCE AND PEACE – 1) THE VIRGIN BIRTH OF CHRIST; 2) CHRIST’S DEATH ON THE CROSS; 3) AND THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD.

V. CAN YOU TRUST SUCH A ONE AS THIS JESUS? DEFFINITELY.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Resurrection/Easter Sunday Sermon

THE CALL OF THE RESURRECTION
Matthew 28:10

I do not know if anyone has ever thought of the resurrection of Jesus Christ as a call or not, but I definitely see a call here following the resurrection of Jesus. The angels have simply said, “He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” (v. 6). The angel had said, “Go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead; and, behold, He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him: lo, I have told you” (v. 7).

As the women were going to tell the disciples what the angels had said they met Jesus Himself. They probably would have about forgotten what the angel had said when they see Jesus. They bow at His feet and even held on to His feet, and worshipped Him (v. 9).

“Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me” Matthew 28:10

There are about four things I want us to notice from this verse of Scripture;

I. THERE IS A CALL TO HAVE ‘NO FEAR’;

II. THERE IS A CALL TO GO AND TELL THE FOLLOWERS OF JESUS THAT HE IS RISEN;

III. THERE IS A CALL TO TELL THEM WHERE HE CAN BE SEEN – AS HE HAS SAID;

IV. THERE IS A CALL TO TELL THEM THAT HE IS TO BE SEEN.

THERE IS A CALL TO HAVE ‘NO FEAR’.

Many times as Jesus walked on the earth He spoke the words, “Be not afraid”, “Fear not”, etc. As the women see Him this is His opening statement to them. It just seems that the intent of Jesus is for those who know and love Him to walk with Him and be free of all fear.

There are many things in this world we could and do fear. Jesus tells us before He is crucified to “Be not afraid”, and He tells us following the crucifixion, all of this after He has faced the greatest challenge of His human existence. The darkness of the crucifixion was that time when the Father had turned His back on His Son, and judged Him with every pound, every sword of judgment He could meet out. He faced it without fear and with full confidence that the Father’s will was being done and the Father and Himself would be glorified forever.

THERE IS A CALL TO GO AND TELL THE FOLLOWERS OF JESUS THAT HE IS RISEN.

The disciples were cringing in fear after the crucifixion of Jesus. They were most likely trembling, and wondering what are we going to do next. Whar are we going to do now? The hope of Jerusalem and of Israel is now dead. We thought Him to be the deliverer of Israel and Jerusalem, but He is dead. They had forgotten His promise to meet them in Galilee –

“Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee” Matthew 26:31-32 (KJV).

Jesus spelled it out clearly. “After I am risen again” please note that, “I will go before you into Galilee”. Did they not pay attention? Did they just not hear? Maybe not according to Jesus’s words He uses to the churches of the Revelation – “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith…” Their minds were full of expectation for the deliverance of the kingdom of Israel from Rome, and the setting up of His earthly kingdom.

This part of the call is to all who will follow Jesus. If there is to be trust, obedience, and true following of Jesus there must also be an abiding trust and faith that Jesus not only died for our sins, but that He rose again; bodily from the grave. The grace where they laid Jesus is empty, like the angel gave invitation to “Come, see the place where the Lord lay,” That means He had lain there previously to this, but was GONE. His body not stolen. It never fell into a crack in the ground at the earthquake. He rose up from that place where His body lay; laid the burial cloths in a place by themselves, and came OUT; just as He said He would.

If we are going to proclaim the resurrection Gospel of Jesus Christ we better believe it ourselves. Believe it ourselves before we go trying to tell the lost world about it.

THERE IS A CALL TO TELL THEM WHERE HE CAN BE SEEN – JUST AS HE SAID.

One disciple [Thomas] had said,

“Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe” John 20:25 (KJV).

Thomas has a nick name that has been given him because of his doubting, and it is “Doubting Thomas”. We know that Jesus was seen by the disciples before they ever went to Galilee. At Galilee was where the most significant number of people witnessed Him alive some days later, and by “Over five hundred brethren at once”.

Jesus had told them that He would go before them unto Galilee. There was the place where they disciples would and could receive their public authenticity. It was not only proof of the resurrection of Jesus, but it would be the public endorsement by Jesus of the disciples/apostles.

The place Jesus can be seen today is by revelation of God’s Spirit through the Holy Word of God. Thomas would not believe except he saw for himself the resurrected Christ, and it was at the point when Thomas saw Him that Jesus said, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” John 20:29. It took the physical appearance of Jesus to Thomas for him to believe Jesus was alive. You and I do not have that privilege. We have God’s written Word and the Gospels. They tell us Jesus is alive. Paul the apostle tells us Jesus is alive. Peter, James, and John tell us that Jesus is alive. The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is alive. Luke the physician tells us that Jesus is alive. The Holy Spirit of God reveals to you and I today that Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God is alive TODAY.

THE PLACE TO FIND THE LIVING CHRIST IS IN THE WORD AND REVELATION BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD.

THERE IS A CALL TO TELL THEM THAT JESUS IS TO BE SEEN.

When we start talking about seeing Jesus maybe the news of Oral Roberts vision or dream of a 600 foot tall Jesus comes to our mind. I want to tell you He was not nearly that tall; so that is not who Roberts seen.

John saw Jesus as He was penning down the Revelation of Jesus Christ. He saw Him on the isle of Patmos as he was a prisoner there for preaching the resurrected Christ, even though he was told to be silent. Paul saw Jesus as he travelled on the road to Damascus to capture Christian men, women, boys and girls to drag them back to Jerusalem for trial and prison and/or death. Paul was knocked out of his saddle by the presence of the Lord Jesus.

It is the call from God that gives us the right and privilege to see our resurrected Jesus. Have you seen Jesus?

We must see Him as having lived a life without sin; being perfect and without spot or blemish. We must see Him as the healer as He healed the lame, raised the dead, made the blind to see, and gave the leper back their right to be among others. We must see Jesus as He is lifted up between heaven and hell upon the earth, while hanging on the cross as our sin. We must see Him as sin being judged by the righteous Father. We must see Him as finishing the tasl; the work; that the Father gave Him to do. That work being finished; we must see Him as coming forth out of that grave showing the victory He gained by His death on the cross.

Sin could not hold Him, cannot hold Him, and never will hold Him. The victory is won, and the resurrection is the evidentiary proof of that victory on the cross. He is alive.

Christ the Lord is risen today. INDEED, HE IS RISEN.

-Tim A. Blankenship

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

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