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Showing posts from August, 2020

How To Do Ministry The Right Way - 1 Thessalonians 1:1 - 2:12

  Monday, August 31 – We have arrived at the end of August and we begin a new letter, Paul’s first epistle to the Thessalonians.   Today’s reading is in 1 Thessalonians 1:1 – 2:12.   Come back here after you’ve read the passage, if you can, to gain some more insight into the text. Paul first visited Thessalonica on his second missionary journey.   Dr. Luke described the visit in Acts 17, as Paul, Silas, and Timothy moved from the first city, Philippi, south to Thessalonica.   Paul spent three Sabbaths preaching in the local synagogue making the argument from the Old Testament Scriptures that the Messiah had to suffer and die.   He told them about Jesus’ life, ministry, death, and resurrection, and lastly, he put it altogether proclaiming that Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s promised Messiah.   Luke says that some of the Jewish people believed, but so also did “ a large number of God-fearing Greeks ”, as well as, “ a few prominent women ” (Acts 17:4).   Like so many times, oppos

Not a Slave, but a Brother - Philemon 1:1-25

  The Weekend, August 29 – Welcome to the weekend and to a one day study of a new letter – the letter from Paul to Philemon.   This letter is one chapter in its entirety, so read all of Philemon (1:1-25), and then come back and we’ll look at it together. Having just finished the letter of Paul to the Colossians, some of what we need to know has already been given.    Paul wrote this letter to a brother in Christ in the Colossian church by the name of Philemon.   Philemon was, in all likelihood, a well-to-do man who owned an estate large enough to have servants and slaves.   One such slave was Onesimus who had fled from Philemon, taken a ship passage to Rome and ended up in contact with the Apostle Paul, while he was in prison.   It seems that not only did Onesimus run away but also stole something of value from Philemon (1:18).   Onesimus’ freedom would have come at a high price.   Runaway slaves were treated with cruelty if discovered, and thus they stayed on the run living in con

Relationships Matter - Colossians 3:18 - 4:18

  Friday, August 28 – We come to Friday, and finish our reading in the letter to the Colossians, reading Colossians 3:18 – 4:18. You’ll recognize in your reading some similar instructions Paul had written to the Ephesians.   After you finish reading the passage, come back, and we’ll walk through it together.   Looking back at where we’ve come from in chapter 3, you’ll recognize a cluster of three areas of instruction based on relationships.   Like the book of Ephesians, Paul first wrote of the doctrinal, or theological aspects of their faith, and then beginning in chapter 3, started his teaching on practical Christian concerns.   This spills over into today’s readings, and we can get a big picture by noticing the differing sections – starting with some of yesterday’s reading: ·          Christians in relationship with Jesus, 3:1-8 ·          Christians in relationship with other believers (the church), 3:9-17 ·          Christians in their family relationships, 3:18-21 ·

Christ - fully God, fully man - Colossians 2:6 - 3:17

  Thursday, August 27 – We are continuing our reading thru the New Testament with today’s reading from Colossians 2:6 – 3:17. This is a section where Paul begins to lay out the heresy that threatens them, so take your time, and please do come back so we can walk through it together.   And thanks.   Having declared the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ Jesus, Paul begins with a great summary of the life of a faithful Christian – “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,  rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving” (2:6-7). The “therefore” is our hint that, based on all he had just said, this is what naturally follows.   Paul reminds us that “receiving Christ” is not the end but merely the beginning of life.   What we have received is now what we built upon, and the growth and progress that follow will lead to a life of faith and thanksgiving. There are three guiding principles for the dev

The Supremacy of Christ - Colossians 1:1 - 2:5

Wednesday, August 26 – It’s mid-week, and in our reading thru the New Testament, we come to the next of Paul’s letters – Colossians.  Today we read Colossians 1:1 – 2:5. I would urge you to read the text first and then come back so that we might look at it again.   The letter to the Colossians is one of the Prison epistles.  This letter, along with Ephesians, Philippians, and Philemon, all were written while Paul sat chained in a Roman prison.  What’s interesting to note about the letter to the Colossians is that we don’t know for certain if Paul, or one of his team members, was the missionary who established the church in the city of Colossae.  It may be possible that the original believers of the church in Colossae were those who came to listen to Paul teach while he lived in Ephesus for two years – “[Paul] entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God.  But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, s

Contentment in a Prayerful Life - Philippians 4:1 - 23

  Tuesday, August 25 – It’s Tuesday, and we continue our reading thru the New Testament and finish the letter of Paul to the Philippians.   Please read Philippians 4:1 – 23, and when you complete your reading, please come back, and we’ll walk thru this together.   The theme of this letter has been Joy, and it is how Paul ends this short letter to the Philippian church – “ Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved...Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice” (4:1,4).   He had just told them that both he and they had their citizenship in Heaven and that they were awaiting Jesus’ coming.   It’s pretty clear why Paul could say to them, “rejoice.”   He reminds them to stand firm for the faith of the Gospel.   There are a lot of enemies of the cross of Christ (3:18).   The appeal to stand firm is made to them as individuals but as a collective fellowship. Therefore, even a hint of division is not acceptable

Forgetting the Past, Moving Forward by Faith - Philippians 2:19 - 3:21

  Monday, August 24 – Welcome to Monday.   I hope you had a great weekend, and time for worshiping with others.   We are continuing our reading thru the New Testament in a Year, and today our text is in Philippians 2:19 – 3:21.   When you have finished reading the Scripture, please return here for some more reflections.     The letter to the Philippians is a “feel-good” letter.   Paul is effusive in his praise for the Philippians believers.   Paul uses the word “joy” repeatedly – both to describe his own feelings, but also to give praise to God for what he is doing in the church.   Joy is a spiritual grace that fills up our sense of God’s favor and goodness to us.   Paul is filled with Joy because this church not only believed the Gospel but shaped their lives around living the Gospel together.   Amid his praise to God and praise to their faith, he does not skip the difficulties of suffering – both his own (he is in a Roman Prison) and their sufferings also.   It was not easy to