We Are Empowered! But for what? Colossians 1:9-11

We Are Empowered! But for what?

Colossians 1:9-11 A Prayer, It’s Goal, and the Results.

(9) The Prayer: “For this cause I also, since the day I heard about you folks who believed the truth without having seen any signs, do not stop praying for you and requesting in order that you might be filled to the full! And this fullness is nothing other than the recognition of His will, that is to say, a personal and deeper connection with the facts of God’s grace, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding – ie: a God-given understanding in connection with His word.”

1. These Colossians believed without Apostolic signs and wonders. A common man with love for truth, Epaphras, simply shared the message with these people. He didn’t give pulpit sermons, make altar calls, take collections, or hold religious services. Epaphras simply shared truth. That’s true ministry today.

2. Paul knew about the Colossians through hearsay, he never met them.

3. Paul prays that they might be filled. What is this fullness?

4. It’s the recognition of God’s will. The Greek word for “recognition” means “to connect with previously established facts.” These facts concern God’s grace in this dispensation.

5. These facts are connected with revealed truths, not positive thinking or religious imagination. A “spiritual” understanding isn’t some mind paradise where people hear voices in their heads. The understanding is “spiritual” in that it connects with the facts of God’s word. “The words I speak unto you, they are SPIRIT, and they are life.”

(10) It’s Goal: “This God-given wisdom is granted to you so that you can be walking worthy of the Lord with a view to pleasing Him in every way, that means you’re being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the recognition of God.”

1. Truth leads to action. Grace doesn’t make us static, because truth isn’t static. Truth is balanced by the walk. Truth should govern us wherever our feet take us.

2. We are to walk so as to please God in every way. What are these ways?

3. First, being fruitful in every good work? What are these works? We have no blueprint. We are to use our God-given understanding to figure these things out for ourselves. Religion likes to make good works check-lists. While there are some things we are told specifically to do, the rest is left to us to figure out for ourselves. Read Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians to find out what character should be ours in this dispensation.

4. Second, increasing in the recognition of God. There is a constant unfolding of His character. Who is God? What has He done? What is His present purpose? What are His future plans? I believe we will be constantly learning more about God’s wonderful character – for “eternity.” Let’s not wait till resurrection to learn Him. Let’s get to know Him more and more every day through His word.

(11) The Result. “The result of applying the truth in this way means that we are being empowered with all power, according to the might of His esteem, unto all patience and longsuffering (ie: a life where anger and viciousness are put far away from us), with joyfulness.”

1. Walking worthy as a result of a God-given understanding is empowering.

2. This power is in complete harmony with God’s esteem, His established character in this dispensation in which He is dealing graciously with everyone.

3. This empowerment isn’t given to us to perform miracles.

4. This empowerment is to enable us to do two things.

5. First, to display ALL patience. Not some, not from time to time, but ALL. The word patience implies “to remain under.” In other words, wherever we are, in whatever circumstance we are in, we can remain there with God and act in accord with His character in this dispensation of Grace. There will be no “divine” deliverance out of circumstances, but power to live pleasing to God in them. We can live successful Christian lives in sickness or health, in poverty or riches. It’s up to us.

6. Second, to show ALL longsuffering. The word means “to put away all anger or viciousness.” Anger and viciousness are incompatible with grace. There’s no such thing as “righteous anger” for a believer in this dispensation.

7. Joyfulness is the atmosphere in which we live. We are joyful because we know God and His plans and walk accordingly.

8. There are no signs or appearances in this time of God’s silence. There are no audible answers to prayers. As a result, the greatest virtues a believer can display in this time of grace are patience and longsuffering. We are waiting things out, in love, looking for the day when He will establish His government.

Now let’s read these verses straight through with those thoughts in mind.

(9) The Prayer: “For this cause I also, since the day I heard about you folks who believed the truth without having seen any signs, do not stop praying for you and requesting in order that you might be filled to the full! And this fullness is nothing other than the recognition of His will, that is to say, a personal and deeper connection with the facts of God’s grace, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding – ie: a God-given understanding in connection with His word.”

(10) It’s Goal: “This God-given wisdom is granted to you so that you can be walking worthy of the Lord with a view to pleasing Him in every way, that means you’re being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the recognition of God.”

(11) The Result. “The result of applying the truth in this way means that we are being empowered with all power, according to the might of His esteem, unto all patience and longsuffering (ie: a life where anger and viciousness are put far away from us), with joyfulness.”

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What Is The Soul?

What Is The Soul?

One mid-week Bible study night, many years back when I was a “Pastor,” I asked the class the question,

“What is the soul?”

These people spoke so much about saving souls, having a passion for souls, soul-winning, loving lost souls, and having a fear for the destiny of never-dying-souls, that I thought I’d ask them to define this great object of their passion.

But when they tried to define soul after being asked what it is they seemed to be all of a sudden at a loss for words as if attacked by a paralytic stroke. Having finally gathered up words to define this fundamental of the faith, one person said the soul is one of the three parts of man, another said it’s the part of man that survives the death of the body, and still another said it was that part of man which distinguishes him from animals, and others with still different answers – no answers to this fundamental teaching, this basis-of-fellowship doctrine, being identical! And worst of all, nobody went to Scripture to define it!

They were in love with, and had a passion for, something they had no idea what it was. There’s more to this mid-week Bible study story which I tell in the “Context and Flow” series when discussing Genesis 1-2.

We have been discussing the nature of the soul in our “Context and Flow” series AS IT COMES UP IN CONTEXT. Study this word as God uses it in His Scriptures and all confusion will disappear.

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Questions About Death

Questions About Death

Why didn’t Paul ever give a hell-fire message in Acts?

Why didn’t Paul ever mention hell in his letters?

For that matter, why didn’t any of the other Apostles do these?

Paul, in Acts 26, said he had proclaimed the whole counsel of God. If orthodox hell is as basic as modern preachers say it is why isn’t it part of the whole counsel of God?

Was Paul disobedient to God?

Would Paul fail the modern orthodox test?

Why didn’t Paul ever mention the Lake of Fire, the Second Death, Gehenna, or the “weeping and gnashing of teeth?” Could it be that these things have nothing to do with us?

Idolaters, philosophers, spiritists, cultists, religionists, and orthodox Christians teach that man HAS a soul. The Scriptures, however, say man IS a soul (Genesis 2:7). Which one is correct?

Idolaters, philosophers, spiritists, cultists, religionists, and orthodox Christians teach that the soul is immortal. Scripture says souls die (Ezekiel 18:4). Which one is correct?

Idolaters, philosophers, spiritists, cultists, religionists, and orthodox Christians teach that death is “separation from God,” or “life in another place.” Scripture says death is a return (Genesis 3:19). Which one is correct?

Idolaters, philosophers, spiritists, cultists, religionists, and orthodox Christians teach that death is a reward for the righteous. Scripture says it’s the wages of sin. Which one is correct?

Idolaters, philosophers, spiritists, cultists, religionists, and orthodox Christians praise death as a wonderful gateway to a higher plane; as if it were a beautiful thing. Scripture calls death an enemy which will be destroyed; it presents it as something to be hated. Which one is correct?

These are just a few questions that helped me find the truth. Ask these to yourself and seek answers from God’s Word.

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Christ and Paul

Christ and Paul

I believe we will never truly understand Philippians, and other passages, if we reinterpret Paul’s statements about himself to make them about ourselves. Christendom’s “devotional” and “applicational Bible study” methods have contributed to the burial of many truths of God’s word. I will bring out more of this when we cover this wonderful letter in our “Context and Flow” series.

In the meantime, read Philippians 1:18-26, 3:1-14, 20-21, 4:11-13 without trying to “get something out of it for yourself.” Only then will we understand the thrust of these passages and truly benefit from them.

Here’s a chart showing how Paul’s example, Paul’s disposition, NOT OURS, is so important to the narrative of this letter.

2:6 Christ {Pre-Esteem} Paul 3:5-6
2:7 Christ {Emptied Himself – Count Loss} Paul 3:7-8
2:8 Christ {Found} Paul 3:9-11
2:9-11 Christ {Highly Exalted-Prize of High Calling} Paul 3:12-14

Christ had “pre-incarnation” honors He willingly gave up in order that He may gain them back, plus bonus honors, after a life of self-sacrificing service. Paul had pre-dispensation of grace honors he willingly gave up in order that he might gain something even better after a life of self-sacrificing service.

Paul took his chances giving up all that he had as an Israelite to pursue a new position from scratch. Paul could have called upon God to deliver him (1:23) just like Christ could have (Matthew 26:53), but instead, like Christ, he willingly chose to suffer for God’s people for their progress and joy of faith.

You and I have nothing to give up like Christ or Paul did, you and I can’t ask God to give us an Elijah or Enoch-like experience. Once we understand these things we will truly appreciate Paul’s teaching, his humility, his service to others, and then we can truly understand its application to us.

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Genesis 4:6-24 Cain and Lamech

Genesis 4:6-24 in the “Context and Flow.”

 

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Right Division vs. Pretending

Right Division vs. Pretending

The Scriptures are the truth. But there are many truths which aren’t for today. Many, as a result, are confused. In their well meaning desire to feel “connected” with the Apostles, they try to force truths from previous times into the present. But their actual experiences, however, look nothing like what took place in the Gospels and the Acts.

When confronted with this obvious inconsistency, instead of honestly facing the facts and seeking the truth in the light of the rightly divided word, people pretend their experiences are just like the Apostles’ experiences. They pretend they have the same commission, can accomplish the same miracles, and possess the same authority. They accomplish this magic act by altering history. They revise the truths of the Gospels and the Acts to make them conform to their experiences, and then they claim what they are “doing” is what the Apostles were doing! Presto! Paul and Peter have been changed into their image.

Think about this for a moment – People are living a pretended faith. They have such a low opinion of God’s Word and God Himself they feel they need to fake it. Instead of faking it, why not give God credit for knowing what He’s doing and conform to that?

So many are pretending that truths from previous times are in operation today. They are also missing out on great truths which are for today. They are not rightly dividing the word of truth.

It is my goal in these audios to stick with the context and flow, a concept which can only clear up confusion.

Miles Coverdale said,

“It shall greatly help ye to understand Scripture, of thou mark not only what is spoken, or written,

but of whom,

and to whom,

with what words,

at what time,

where,

to what intent,

with what circumstance,

considering what goeth before, and what followeth.”

If Christians would follow this advice, confusion would gradually dispel, they would stop pretending, and find the joy that comes from knowing the God of all Grace and His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

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