BIBLE STUDY: PART 10
V.1- Romans 6:1-14, "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him (Jesus), that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace."
Because we are dead in Christ, we are also raised with Christ. Raised means to move to a higher position, lift up, set upright, to cause to stand up. Our death in Christ means that we can now stand in the likeness of the resurrection of Christ by God's glory. What is it that being in Christ raises us above? Sinful flesh! Although the law has the appearance of wisdom, it cannot overcome the flesh. It's only by the death of the flesh that we can be lifted higher onto holy ground.
As resurrected children of the King, we must focus on developing every aspect of our lives to reflect who He is, not what we were. Every word and action must demonstrate Christ in us, the hope of glory. We need to work on our private actions consistently, for who we are in private will emerge in public (Luke 12:2,3). We should practice our love walk with our family and friends so that we can develop the attributes of Christ that will draw others to him, including family and friends.
V. 2- When we focus our minds to the things above, the things of the earth cannot overcome us. A good example of that is alcoholics who are now recovering. These men and women have transferred their attention from the alcoholic drink to the spiritual drink, if they attend AA. They now know that a higher authority is able to assist them in their endeavor to stay sober. By giving themselves over to the spiritual, they overcome the fleshly desire to drink. that's how we overcome sin in our lives. Jesus cleanses us and the Spirit of God empowers us to overcome, praise God.
We must set our hearts and minds on things above. When we do, we have the power in us to accomplish great things for God. Our flesh wants to be selfish with our gifts, talents, treasure, and time. Our spirit man will open up and use each of these to bless God and man. This simply means that if we focus our attention on holy things, we will be able to enjoy everything God has created because we will begin to use everything in ways that are pleasing to God.
Remember though, that as we turn our hearts to God and seek the better things above, we must still remain useful to God on earth. We are not to be so involved in our personal study that we don't teach others. Our job is to "study to show ourselves approved" so that we can draw others to Jesus.
V. 3- The death this verse refers to is not physical death. We are still in our flesh-tents (body), but we are dead to the law and the the eternal damnation of sin. Our lives are hidden, invisible, safe, secure, in Jesus the Messiah, the Anointed One. When we are truly saved, we are firmly, in Christ, justified, and glorified (Romans 8:30) and nothing can separate us, or disconnect us, from the love of God. Romans 8:38,39, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." In this we have something the Gnostics can never have, that is, assurance of eternal life with Christ Jesus (I Thessalonians 4:16-18).
V. 4a- Jesus will return to this earth at the appointed time. He will raise the dead in Christ first, then will call us to join Him in the air. I John 3:1 says that we will then be like Jesus and see we'll see Him as He really is. We will no longer see dimly as in a mirror (I Corinthians 13:2) - but clearly as face-to-face. We will then know Jesus as well as He knows us. We will see, know, and understand the "mystery which is Christ in us" (Colossians 1:27).
The revelation of this information should lead us to seek the things above and to set our minds on them - but not only for now - but toward the future. This, our life, that is hidden in Christ Jesus will be our eternity.
V. 4b- Christ will "appear" be manifest, made visible. He will reveal all that has been hidden. There will no longer be any secrets left unopened. We will then appear with Jesus in glory. The glory of Jesus will shine on us and we will be transformed in the twinkling of an eye.
Please read I Corinthians 15:50-58 now.
While we have our minds on things above (Colossians 3:2), as we study to show ourselves approved of God (II Timothy 2:15), and as we move forward, pressing toward the goal for the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14), we must be out there working for God. As we prepare ourselves in private for the work of God we must do out in the world, we should know and believe "our work is not in vain in the Lord" (I Corinthians 15:58).
Remember this: Who you are behind closed doors is who you will be in public. You may be able to cover your tracks for a while, but all things hidden in the dark will be revealed by the light (Luke 12:1-3).
BIBLE STUDY: PART 11
V. 5- "Mortify (kill) therefore your members which are upon the earth..." What members? This means the members of your "self" club. It's the club we all belonged to in some degree before we asked Jesus into our hearts. Paul gave us a concise list here that, when studied, we find covers much of the fleshly sins, fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness. We could add gossip, unforgiveness, hate, and jealousy to the list. These are diametrically opposed to the things of the Holy Spirit's club which are joy, peace, patience, kindness, long-suffering, and self-control.
Have you ever noticed how frequently these same bad and good characteristics are mentioned in studies? When anything is dealt with several times in the Bible, we can believe they are very important concepts and principles to learn. They are things that either promote the cause of Christianity or stifle it.
This brings me to Matthew 6:24. Here Matthew makes it abundantly clear that we cannot serve two masters. We have a choice of whether to serve satan or Jesus. "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (riches)." Our choice becomes, will we serve God as we walk in the gifts of the Spirit, or will we choose satan as we live in the lusts and desires of the flesh. We must give one authority over our lives. Our best option is, kill the carnal flesh and give the Spirit of God preeminence in our lives.
In making this choice, we set ourselves up to hear one of two things from Jesus. We will hear either Matthew 7:24, "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock..." or we'll hear Matthew 7:23, "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
V. 6 - In this verse we see that the wrath of god will fall on the unsaved. The "sons of disobedience" are the ones serving satan in their sinful flesh. Watch this now, this doesn't only mean those who have never accepted Jesus as Savior. Some will have said a prayer of repentance, bowed their hearts before the Lord, and still face the wrath of God. How? They were never truly saved in their spirits and souls. Their hearts have never turned from the evil ways of the world. We turn to Matthew once again to see this truth. Please take time now to read Matthew 13:1-23 paying close attention to verse 22. This might cause you to ask if I believe we can lose our salvation. No, I don't believe that, but I do belie that if we are truly saved at all there will be a heart change and a lifestyle change to prove it. We will begin to develop fruit. We will begin to care more for the things of God than our own desires. Denounce satan and let Love (God) rule in your hearts, and you will never face the wrath to come.
V. 7 - The Collosians, and all humans since Adam have walked in these sins. If not every one of them, then we have walked in several of them. Bless God, there is a way out of the coming wrath, that is, salvation through Jesus the Christ. When we accept Jesus into our hearts, we can claim I Corinthians 6:11, "And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. " and Titus, 3:5-7,"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 Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."
V. 8 - In verse 8, Paul is warning the Collosian congregation to once-for- all remove sin from their lives as they would take off a suit or a dress. Paul now gives us another list of sins we need to repent of if we want to be saved in Jesus. They are anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, and filthy language. Now, some Christians have said to me that as long as we don't use God's name as a cuss word, we can use any other words we know. satan, the liar and the father of lies (John 8:44), is obviously behind that statement. Filthy language is anything that is not moral decent, and upright. If you won't say it to God's face, don't say it to your wife, your children or anyone else.
Please read Ephesians 4:17-24 before going on with this study. Actually, it would be good for each of you to do a personal study in Ephesians 4 using different translations to help clarify things. Take time to make notes of what the Spirit is revealing to you. Remember, nothing is stupid or small when confirmed in the Word by the Holy Spirit.
V. 9 - When we have taken off sin as a suit or dress, we should let lying go with it. Lying is from hell and is never edifying to Jesus or to the body. James 3:6-8, And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." The only way to master the tongue is to allow the Holy Spirit to sanctify it. Ask Him to teach you and train you to use this member of your body for the edification of the saints. New creatures in Christ should set lying far from our lips. While you're at it, pray to be delivered from the spirit of offense so that when people do tell you the truth, you won't become offended and sin.
V. 10 - "...put on the new man..." Those who have accepted Jesus as Savior are new creations. Ephesians 4:21-24, "If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."
We are new creatures, the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (II Corinthians 5:21). We are to model Jesus before man. Getting caught in lies and deceit can only hurt our witness that is supposed to point others to the cross. To be caught in a lie causes others to lose trust in us. Our credibility is damaged, sometimes beyond repair. If you keep lying and keep getting caught, your witness is dead. Others may never come to Jesus for eternal life because of our behavior. Rest assured, those who cause another to taste hell will indeed face Jesus on judgment day.
V. 11 - We who are in Christ are now no longer separated by nation, religion, culture, gender, or position. We have become new creations, equal in God's sight. We should strive to make sure nothing comes between God and us, or between us and His children, or between us and the world. Our gifts and talents do not make us superior or inferior to others. They are given to us to edify and build up the body of believers and to draw others from the world into the body. When we finally understand that not one person is better than any other one, we become humble. We will close this study with the reading of Philippians 2:1-8, "If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." .
BIBLE STUDY: PART 12
V. 12 - "...the elect of God, holy and beloved..." Let's read I Peter 1:2,
"...elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied." When man was created, he was in the image and likeness of God the Father, Son, and Spirit (Genesis 1:26, 27). Many theologians express the idea that the Trinity isn't really taught in the Bible. This verse in I Peter reveals to us that this isn't true. All three personalities of the Godhead are mentioned in this one verse.
We are God's elect by His foreknowledge (God knew us before we were formed in our mothers' wombs.) God's plan for mankind was settled in the Trinity before they began the work of creation. We were not an afterthought. God planned to create humankind to have dominion over all the earth and its fullness before He spoke the words, "Let there be light" (The actual Hebrew translation says, "Light be" Genesis 1:3). God doesn't begin working out a plan of action until every detail is right and He can call it good. He called us "very good" (Genesis 1:31).
The sanctification of the Holy Spirit is His work to the world. It is the Spirit who calls us to salvation, works with us to become new creatures, and reveals truths to us from God's Word. By His sanctification we become mature Christians whom God can bless and use to accomplish His purpose on earth. One of the ministers I heard recently said this of God and us. "The heart of God is the Father, the Face of God is Jesus, the Voice of God is the Holy Spirit, and the hands of God are the church." Without the work of the Spirit in us, we would never become more than babies in Christ, or be much good to the lost of this world.
The blood of Jesus is for the washing of sinners for their redemption. Revelations 1:5, "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."
In verse 5 Paul told us what our filthy rags were (fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry). Now he tells us in verse 12 that we are to replace those rags in our lives with a new fabric of tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness and longsuffering. When we clothe ourselves in these attributes, we can live and demonstrate the love of God to the lost and dying world of sinners. We then will no longer be as the selfish people in I John 3:17, "But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion (love) from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?" Love is a verb, not a noun.
V. 13 - "...bearing with one another and forgiving one another..." does not mean "putting up with" each other. Rather, it's a godly love that takes over and allows us to love the unlovely, or the ones who persecute us, and be able to forgive them for hurting us. Some hurts go deeper than others and we might think that we just can't forgive this one. Before I knew Jesus, I thought to forgive others was to open myself up for more hurts from them. Now I know that to "bear with them" and to "forgive" them is setting myself free from them. I don't take time to relive or rehash the wrongs done to me. I give them to God and am blessed with His peace. Believe me, being a woman preacher sets me up for much painful persecution. I could definitely wallow in self-pity, but that's not Love.
If Jesus could forgive us for killing Him (although we were not there to perform the hanging, we are accessories because of our sin), how much easier should it be for us to forgive the comparatively small hurts we suffer?
The word forgive comes from the same root as "charis" or "grace." When we forgive, we are displaying the kind of grace toward others that Jesus showed to us.
V. 14 - We are admonished by Jesus to first before anything, love the Lord our God and our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:37, 39).
I Corinthians 13:13, "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity (charity is love). Proverbs 10:12, "Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins." By this we know that no matter what another does against us, we can be cover the offense with the forgiveness born of love.
V. 15 - Sometimes the best way to interpret Scripture is with other Scripture. Verse 15 is like that. Let's look at several portions of Scripture that explain what this means.
John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." When the peace of God rules in your heart, you don't need to fear anyone or anything.
Ephesians 4:1-6 "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." Living in harmony and peace with each other isn't always easy, but it's always required of Christians. We are of the body of Jesus. Not one of us is any better or more important or more loved than the other. God loves us as He does Jesus (John 17:26). "Lowliness and meekness" mean humility, not weakness. Jesus was meek in His dealings with those He ministered to, but He never showed weakness. He spoke in love with authority and that's how we need to be.
Philippians 4:7 "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." When we live according to the Word and all it tells us, we will enjoy a peace in our spirits and souls like none before. For some sitting beside a babbling brook creates a sense of peace. Others find the crashing ocean waves peaceful. Still others find this peace in the quite majesty of mountains. That is serenity of the natural kind and is refreshing. The peace of God is spiritual and restorative to spirit and soul.
If we are truly all of the same body, members of the One Unit, clothed in love and peace, how can we despise our brothers and sister? We can't! The more we come to love Jesus, the more we will love those around us and will be willing to forgive them. I praise God we have each other. What a dull life it would be if we were alone.
V. 16 - When we don our new spiritual clothing, the Word of God has to be one of the articles we wear. It had to "dwell" in us richly. The Word of God is something we put on from the outside of ourselves by study and meditation of the word. As we study the Word, it then changes and becomes our rich robe on the inside of our being as it penetrates our minds. As we begin to believe it, it moves into our spirits. When we are filled with the word of God we cannot help but speak it out to others. It comes out in prayer, in tongues, in prophecies and in music. We begin to quote Scripture to encourage ourselves. We use this stored Word to uplift, encourage, enlighten, admonish, or correct others. But - no matter how we use to Word, it must be used in love.
V. 17 - "And whatever you do in word of deed..." encompasses about everything in life. When we speak, we must speak in love. when we walk, we must walk in love. It doesn't matter what situation you find yourself in, whether it be with another Christian or someone unsaved,God require that we display His grace at all times. Whatever we do, as Walvoord and Zuck say it in their commentary, "By lip or by life,"it all should be done in the name of Jesus.
Along with love and peace, gratitude is important to Christians too. Paul mentioned it three times in this short portion of Scripture: VV 15, 16, 17.
Ephesians 6:18 "In all things, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God."
BIBLE STUDY: PART 13
V18- Be submissive? Ouch! Let's look at Ephesians 5:22, "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord." and I Peter 3:1, "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives..." Submission must be pretty important to women if it’s written in several books. The reference in I Peter is made to wives if unsaved husbands. So, yes, as long as your husband isn't leading you into sin, you must obey the Word and submit to his authority.
Now let’s look at I Peter 3:5,6 "For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement." Our most beautiful attribute is submission to our husbands. Sarah called Abraham Lord. Strong’s says that the “lord” referred to there was actually “master,” or the hiding. So our husbands are our covering, our hiding place. When we are confident in them, we are protected by their covering. It's my opinion that the human spiritual covering for women whose husbands are yet unsaved is their pastor.
Mr. Webster says that to submit is to “give over or yield to the power and authority of another,” and “to defer to another’s judgment, opinion, or decision. We women are told outright that we are to allow the man God chose as our mate to make the final decisions in all things. He is the head of this corporation, the president. Does that mean we become meek and mild? Mild would be good. It means to be amiably gentle or temperate in feeling, behavior and manner. Meek. would be a good thing also, if we use the first definition of it which says, ”Humbly patient or docile, under the provocation of others.” This does not mean allowing him to break your will. Even God won’t do that. It means giving up your will in certain situations. We are not to be floor mats, but gentle in spirit. We are his vice- president.
One thing we need to remember is, the submission is as unto the Lord. You are covered by Christ. So, if you are married to someone, saved or not, that asks you to participate in sinful actions, refuse. What are some things we can refuse to submit to?
We are to be gentle and humble; listening to the wisdom given our husbands to lead us. I have no problem, well, not too much anyway, letting Larry lead. But I refuse to become the other “meek” that means I would have to be overly submissive, compliant, spiritless, tame, and mild. I don’t think it’s God’s plan for woman to cower under the authority of man. I think that when the structure of humankind was built, God knew someone had to be in authority, so he chose His first creation, man, for the job. I assure you there have been many times I have not envied Larry’s position. He’s made so many difficult decisions for us and our family.
V19- “Husbands, love your wives,” Paul says. The kind of love he is referring to is Christian love. It is an ethical love. Unger says, “It is affection, tender and passionate attachment, a sentiment of our nature excited by qualities in a person or thing that command our affection.” Love of each other is the second greatest commandment only after loving God (Matthew 22:36-40).That’s how you need to love your wife. Look at Ephesians 5:25-28 "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. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself." Christ loved the church with His life. This means that, although you are the leader in your home, you must love gently and kindly. You are to lead us with love and with respect. You were not given authority from God to misuse His daughters. You were given a position of trust. You must be willing to risk your life for her. When men treat women with tenderness and gentleness, they are less apt to balk at their role of submissive wife. To be treated with respect makes us respect you.
Let’s look at I Peter 3:7, "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." Women are the weaker vessel. This does not in any way speak of mental ability, but it refers to the build of men verses women. Men are stronger, less emotional, able to reach decision based on fact, where women often allow their hearts to rule. None of this in any way diminishes women. This is our God given nature.
To be bitter toward women means to cause them pain. If you speak harshly, you are being bitter. If you strike a woman, you are being bitter. Showing any kind of disrespect toward women is being bitter and it shows your lack of self-confidence and love.
You are to love the woman God gave you by choice. God does not listen to statements like, “Well, I fell out of love with her.” Love is not something you fall into and out of. It is something you give each other. It is something you build and nurture. When we are first attracted to someone, it is a chemical attraction. When the ooey gooey, smear me with honey kind of love is over, it’s then time to get to the business of really loving each other. Just as you choose not to sit here and slice your finger with a knife, you can choose to love someone.
There was a time in our lives when Larry dictated to me on every level. I have always been a submissive wife, even before conversion, so it was uncalled for behavior on his part. However, the past experiences he’d had beginning with his mother on down, taught Larry not to respect women and certainly never to open his heart to one. We are both learning our place in God’s hierarchy. He tells me what to do, and I do it! Just kidding! But for many years I had to choose to overlook the fact that I was being treated this way because of what someone else did and love him in spite of it. I’m glad now that I did too. It took a long time, but we now have a much more balanced relationship, much more loving too.
So it all comes down to this: If the husband treats his wife with respect, appreciating her for who she is, being tenderhearted and kind toward her, she should willingly submit herself to his authority. Choose to love each other, you’ll never regret it.
BIBLE STUDY: PART 14
“Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged” (Colossians 3:20, 21). This admonition to children is for all children. Both genders, no matter what their age, are to obey their parents. Disobedience to parents is considered by God as rebellion against Him. How do we know obedience is important? We have the best teacher of this truth, Jesus, Himself, who obeyed Joseph, His step-father, and Mary His mother. During the wedding feast at Cana, when Jesus wasn’t ready to start His ministry, He obeyed Mary and made the best wine for the people.
If Jesus, who is God, listened to His earthly parents, how much more should we? God set up the hierarchy of the family. He placed the father as the head and then the mother. This was done for the purpose of giving the children the benefit of the love and knowledge of both genders. Children from one parent homes often fail in school and in life.
Ephesians 6:1-3 tells us the benefits of obeying our parents. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
Fathers (and mothers) should not “provoke” (irritate) their children with continuous demands made on them. They should complement them more often than they are critical of them. Yes, children misbehave, test their boundaries (that’s why God made this commandment) and need discipline, however, not everything they do wrong is willful or in need of harsh treatment. Parents are the guides God gave children on earth. It’s their job to “train up” their child according to the Word so that when they are older and on their own, they won’t “depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) It is the parents’ responsibility to teach the child about the Lord and how to live according to His Word.
“Spare the rod, spoil the child” has been proven out in this society for sure. Those children who are never punished or spanked are rebellious, disobedient, and rude to their parents, families, friends, and the general public. They are disrespectful of all authority. A child who is treated with respect and receives both correction and approval will grow up balanced and like himself. When a child grows up secure in the love his parents has for him, he will have the capacity for deep faith in God.
Recently Larry and I went out for a fish dinner. The waiter we had was a young black man, probably late teens. His demeanor was so loving, so generous to us that we fell right in love with him. He knows Jesus and it was all over him. His smile melted my heart. His light humor captivated my husband’s attention. His manners were impeccable and he served us with obvious joy. Not just us, though, everyone fortunate enough to have him the night were blessed with his grace. He had to have great, loving parents to come up so kind and warm.
This is how all children should be. Fathers, learn from this. Blessing your children makes them a blessing. Critical, harsh treatment of children embitters them. It causes their hearts to harden and their very spirit to hide behind their anger. “Warren Wiersbe once said that “children don’t create problems they reveal them.”
Dr.Charles Stanley tells us that our goal when raising out children is “to produce responsible adults who are able to function independently of parent’s authority, yet wholly submitted to God’s.”
Parents, treat your children fairly. Be quick to forgive and never make them feel you don’t love them, or that their sin was so great they have lost their position in the family. Restoration is a great part of the Christian walk. When your child errs, restore him through prayer for him and through loving him with forgiveness.
Grandparents take note. In Scripture we see the concept of children belonging to their “grand” parents. The word “grand” assumes the elders have more wisdom and knowledge for teaching and correcting than even do the parents. But it also comes with the idea of more patient understanding and unconditional love.
It’s not too late. If you have a child and his relationship with God and you isn’t what it should be, you still have time to help him figure it out. Love him, forgive him, welcome him warmly back into your heart. Teach him love by loving him. Teach him grace and mercy by displaying it to him.
I used the pronoun “him” for ease of flow and for no other reason. Girls need to be treated as with love and respect, trained up, and taught how to love God and man every bit as much as boys do.
BIBLE STUDY: PART 15
Now that we know how to behave in families, lets look outside the home.
A bondservant is a slave, or someone who is bound to service without pay. It is a person held in bondage. The difference between the slavery in the US and that of Israel is that God gave statutes for the proper treatment of slaves in Israel. They were fed well, and treated well for the most part. Even their beatings were restricted by code. And they could not be overburdened in any way. Man should have used the guidelines for slavery here too, but they were not into God as much as they were money.
These people are commanded to obey their masters by doing their work everyday with more than eye service. (This concept is said in Ephesians 6:5-9 too.) They are to serve him with respect and a sincere heart (I Timothy 6: 1,2). But they are to serve him in body only. Our conscience must be directed by the Lord. That also means we are to serve our master just as well while he’s away as when he is there to watch us. We know that even when he’s not there to see us, God is. So many people who are given certain responsibilities are wonderful workers when they are among the leadership. But when their superiors leave the premises, they slack off. They work hard to get recognition, and make points with the boss, but when he’s out they are the first to lay back and let everyone else do the work. We hear a lot preached about stealing pens, paper and paper clips. But what about stealing time? If we slack off, the time we are spending on other things is costing the master something. It’s just another way of taking money out of his pocket like with the clips and such. We need to always be diligent in our labors, doing them as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23). We need to be conscientious and honorable.
Our masters “according to the flesh” are our earthly masters. They have no control over us spiritually. But we need to serve them with diligence. Our spiritual obedience belongs to God and no one else. We are given people to lead us, but ultimately, God is the Master of our souls. When we serve our earthly masters as we would serve God, it brings honor and glory to God. We become good examples of what Christianity should be (I Timothy 6: 1,2; I Peter 2:18-21).
What is an example of diligent service we can perform today? We women, although we may feel like what we do is a form of slavery, can serve our families well with love and patience. If the time comes that we have to support our family, we should perform whatever job we take heartily. Whether men or woman, most workers wish they were in charge because they know they would do things differently and so much better. Know what? It wouldn’t matter. Those of us who are the workers are discontent with our boss; the boss is discontent with the workers, and the boss is discontent with the people above him or her. There is no such thing as a perfect job. Now watch this. That’s why we are to learn to be content in all situations. Philippians 4: 10-13 says it this way, "But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
Remember one thing. No matter who you work for, or how much money you make, your ultimate reward is in God’s hands. He is the Rewarder of them who diligently seek Him. And those who seek the Lord, also serve Him (II Corinthians 5: 9-11).
As always, God gave us a “but” in there. Sure, if we serve the boss well, we’ll get a good pay, maybe even a raise here and there. And God will be pleased with us. If we don’t do our jobs well, God will reward us for that too. We can have a good, joy-filled reward, or a painful reward of knowing we have insulted our God. You know the saying, “You reap what you sew?” It’s a Biblical concept (Galatians 6:6-10). God does not show partiality. He’s an equal opportunity Rewarder. If you work hard and please God, you are blessed. If not, you are repaid in kind.