Ambassadors for Reconciliation

Ambassadors for Reconciliation

Ephesians 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.  10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Observations) God, out of His love and mercy, rescued transgressors against Him through Jesus Christ.  This rescue from death is undeserved.  It is a gift to those who will believe. We who are “saved, through faith” have “good works” prepared by God “in advance for us to do.” (Interpretation) God’s rescue of transgressors from the death they deserve to eternal life with Him in heaven by faith in His Son Jesus Christ does not transport the new believer immediately to heaven.  I suggest to you that God’s purpose for the new believer includes “good works” that are to be revealed as the believer lives out the rest of his life on earth.  Further, I suggest that these “good works” include the sharing of the good news about Jesus Christ as He presents opportunities “prepared in...
Conviction

Conviction

1 Corinthians 9:19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. 23 I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. (Observation) Paul says He is “free from all men” and follows with a list of people groups, to whose outlook, Paul has subjected himself in order to “win” them to a saving faith in the good news about Jesus. Lastly, Paul adds the motive that he “may become a fellow partaker of it.” (Interpretation) I suggest to you that Paul’s intentional subjection to others is motivated by his desire that everyone whom God brings across his path have a chance to be a “fellow” with him by faith in Jesus. like his Father in heaven, Paul is not willing “that one of these little ones perish.” So, Paul becomes a “fellow” with those not of his own kind in order that he may,...
Defiled

Defiled

Mark 7: 14 After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and understand:  15 there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man.  16 [“If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”]       17 When he had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable.  18 And He said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.) 20 And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man.  21 “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22 deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness.  23 “All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” (Observation) In verses 14-16 Jesus answers the charge of the Pharisees and scribes that the disciples were violating the traditions of the elders by eating without washing.  The explanation of the parable decries the wickedness of those who keep their traditions while sinning against their fellows. (Interpretation) A man is not defiled by what goes into his belly, but by what comes out of his heart.  The words and actions of a man reveal what is in his heart; whether good or evil. (Cross-reference) Matthew 12: 33 “Either...
An Eternal Mindset

An Eternal Mindset

AN ETERNAL MINDSET Colossians 3:1 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4  When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. (Observation) The hope of the believer is in the promise of eternal life with Christ who has risen from the dead and returned to heaven to be “seated at the right hand of God.”  The believer is instructed to set his mind on heaven where he is going, rather than on earth where he is. (Interpretation) “The things that are on earth” can be seen, but are temporary and by their nature cannot provide eternal life. God, who cannot be seen is eternal and has made provision for men to share in eternity with Him through His Son Jesus Christ, if they will believe.  So, by faith, the believer is to set his mind on what he has been promised, but cannot see.  This purposeful setting of ones mind on an eternity which is promised but cannot be seen is faith. Faith is given by God to anyone who will accept it.  Paul’s advice to the believer in possession of this faith is to “set your mind on the things above.” (Cross-reference) Hebrews 11: 1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Ephesians...
The Knot

The Knot

Matthew 19: 3 Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” 4 And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, 5 and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’? 6 “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” 7 They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND her AWAY?” 8 He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. 9 “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” OBSERVATION The “certificate of divorce” that Moses permitted was not intended for the benefit of the man so that he could remarry, but for the benefit of the wife he sent away, so that she could remarry.  Marriage, being created by God is Holy and the man or woman who defiles it by adultery sins.  So, the one who runs off their husband or wife, finding after marriage a dislike for him or her, frees him or her to remarry, but it does not free the one who runs the other off.  Likewise the one who commits adultery frees the other to remarry.  Marriage is a bond from which one may not be released except for adultery or the will...