Tag Archives: devotion

Pray for Our Leaders

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1 Timothy 2:1-6)

This is a great passage but one that has often been misunderstood. This verse is a command to pray for our leaders. Why should we pray for them?

The answer is so very important. Let’s look at the passage. The verse says to pray and intercede for all men. The verse also says and this is noteworthy, to give thanks for them as well.

This of course means all kinds of men as we see that in the context because it highlights a certain group of people. He mentions all men then says for kings and all who are in authority. So we are to pray and intercede for all kinds of men including kings and those in authority.

So we are to pray, intercede, and yes, give thanks for our leaders including President Biden. That’s right, we are commanded to give thanks for President Biden because it’s ultimately God who appointed him as our leader. So we are commanded to pray for all kinds of men and the emphasis is placed on national leaders such as kings (or in our case Presidents) and all in authority.

The verse goes on to say that praying for our leaders is good and acceptable in the eyes of God. Why is it good and acceptable? The answer is because He will have all men, that is all kinds of men to be saved including secular authorities. I’m not making a statement that God doesn’t want all people to be saved I’m simply pointing out the context of the passage. The “all men” in this passage clearly means all kinds of men by the context.

So back to why we pray for them. The answer is because God would have even unsaved secular leaders to be saved. Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and men so we go to Him to ask for their salvation.

There are too many churches and church leaders who don’t want to pray for the other political party. They want to criticize and malign. I fear deep down many don’t really want them to get saved.

We can’t let ourselves fall into this trap. If we are to be interested in the things God is interested in then we need to pray for our leaders to be saved. Whether a leader is Republican or Democrat our desire should be for them to know Christ.

The command is clear to pray for our leaders. God wants them to be saved as well and since there is no mediator but Christ we must go to Him with intercession on their behalf. So here is the question: have you prayed for the President’s salvation today?

Do you pray daily for God to give him wisdom and discernment? Before you malign the President, pray for him, I’ll bet when you do you’ll find it hard to malign him because your heart will grow soft and tender towards him.

It’s not wrong to disagree with our President but it’s wrong not to pray for him. 

Give Thanks Even for Bad Years.

As 2020 closes we look bad on what was for many the worst year of their lives. Covid, lockdowns, death in the family, mask mandates, and lost employment have taken their toll. How is a Christian to respond to such trials?

There could be several answers but I want to focus on the words of the Apostle Paul.

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Paul says we are to give thanks for everything. Not somethings, not even just good things. We are to give thanks for Covid, the death of loved ones, lost jobs, and even government overreach. It doesn’t mean we don’t speak out against injustice but we give thanks for even the trials because those work for our benefit.

“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:7)

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” (James 1 :2-3)

This year let’s practice 1 Thessalonians 5:18. The world will take notice and Christ will be exalted.

Free in Christ, Be on Guard

McKee Road Baptist – May 17, 2020 Wednesday Evening – Coronavirus Emailed

Colossians 2:18-23 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and
worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed
up by his fleshly mind. (19) And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints
and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the
increase of God. (20) Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the
world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (21) (Touch not;
taste not; handle not; (22) Which all are to perish with the using;) after the
commandments and doctrines of men? (23) Which things have indeed a shew of
wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to
the satisfying of the flesh.

Note: Some strange laws that can be found in several of our states and churches.
Arizona – It is illegal for donkeys to sleep in bathtubs.
Arkansas – It is illegal to mispronounce Arkansas.
California – It is illegal to bowl on the sidewalk.
Nevada – It is illegal to drive a camel on the highway.
Wyoming – You may not take a picture of a rabbit from January to April without an
official permit.
Alabama – It is illegal to wear a fake mustache that causes laughter in church.
Rehoboth, Delaware – It is illegal to whisper in church.
Boston, Massachusetts – It is illegal to eat peanuts while in church.
In some churches it is illegal to Bring glitter to church.

Members cannot have assigned pews. No one can bring a colored drink to church, especially red Kool-Aid. How is it that believers get so tied down in rules and regulations? Why is it that believers in Christ insist upon living by some set of man-made rules and regulations and then imposing those rules on other people? The non-Christian community does not care if someone is eating peanuts in church. Regulations make many people “feel spiritual.”

Legalism is always a threat to the church, Paul says to the Colossians, “Let no one man
therefore judge you” Colossians 2:16. We are to ignore their judgment. But remember,
the only way to truly ignore those who are condemning us is to know that they are
wrong. It is knowing the truth that sets us free from judgement.

Now Paul moves from legalism 16-17 to mysticism in verses 18-19 and then to
asceticism in verses 20-23.

Colossians 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and
worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed
up by his fleshly mind.

There were those in Colosse teaching a certain kind of mysticism. Mysticism may be
defined as the pursuit of a “deeper” or “higher” religious experience. That spiritual reality
is perceived apart from the human intellect and natural senses. It looks for truth
internally, weighing heavily on feelings.

Paul opens this section by saying, “Let no one man beguile you of your reward.”
Commenting on this verse, one man writes, “Paul says man-made rules and regulations
will disqualify you from the prize. The prize that Paul is referring to here is clearly
heaven. Paul is saying that human rules and regulations will disqualify you from heaven.
Following merely human rules and regulations will keep us out of heaven.” Paul is not
talking about losing your salvation.

The Greek words translated here as “beguile you of your reward” literally means: “to act
as a judge or umpire;” to decide against one, or to declare him unworthy of the prize.
The attitude of the false teachers would involve their sitting in judgment as to the future
reward of those who refused their doctrine. Paul speaks from the standpoint of their
claim. The false teacher judges as a referee that the Colossians were not worthy to
receive a prize. They disqualified, condemned and judged them as not worthy of a
reward.

Paul tells the Colossians, “Let no man beguile you of your reward.” So the idea is not
“Do not let them rob you of your prize or reward,” but “Do not let anyone tell you that
you are disqualified from obtaining the prize of spirituality because you haven’t reached
the level of self-humility, or understood the worship of angels, or haven’t had the right
visions.” The words, “Let no man” means: “not even one (man, woman or anything.)

We are not to allow even one person to sit as an umpire in our life telling us that we are
disqualified of spirituality, because we do not live up to their standard. How do we keep people from acting as an umpire in our lives? The same way we keep them from acting
as a judge. We know the truth, and we ignore their false judgement.
Paul now gives us several traits of these false teachers. He says they are,
“Voluntary humility”

We could render this “delighting in humility.” There is nothing in the word “humility” to
indicate that it is false. The context indicates that it is a false humility.

True humility is dependence upon God. Man lives in dependence upon God, and
understanding this is humility. Pride is self-sufficient. True humility focuses upon God
and his grace (provisions) to us. False humility draws attention to self. By the context
we see that the Paul was describing those that were not humble. They were not
dependent upon God but were quite proud.

This false humility was manifest in “and worship of the angels.” They viewed the worship of angels as a display of modesty or humility. It was a humility of their own making, not a humility commanded from God. These notions were purely the inventions of men and not from the Bible. Therefore, this whole thing was phony.

Religious pride makes man presume (suppose that something is the case on the basis
of probability) upon the Word of God. Their worship of the angels denied the truth that there is “…one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus:” 1 Timothy 2:5. When John tried to worship an angel, he was rebuked for doing so:

Revelation 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou
do it not: I am they fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus:
worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Angels are created beings:

Psalms 148:5 Let them praise the name of the Lord: for he commanded, and they were
created.

This means no one should worship them. We do not worship created things; we only
worship the Creator Jesus Christ.

Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in
earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or
powers: all things were created by him, and for him.

The next thing Paul says about these false-teachers is that they are: “Intruding into those things which he hath not seen” The words “intruding” means primarily: “to step in, or on”. This is the only occurrence in the New Testament. It means: “to frequent, dwell in”. This word could mean: “to invade, to enter on.”

Like many heretics and cultists down through the ages, they claimed support for their
aberrant (departing from an accepted standard) teachings in visions they had
supposedly seen. Today this brand of mysticism is often seen in the charismatic
movement, where Scripture is a distant second in importance to visions and revelations.
There is no need for extrabiblical revelation through visions.

2 Peter 1:18-21 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with
him in the holy mount. (19) We have a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do
well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn,
and the day star arise in your hearts: (20) Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the
scripture is of any private interpretation. (21) For the prophecy came not in old time by
the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Believers, we don’t need visions – we have the Word of God. When someone comes along with a notion, however spiritual it may sound; a vision, however authentic it may seem, if it contradicts the plain teaching of the word of God, mark it down, they are incorrect. You have to always judge the experience by the word of God.

Paul says the false teacher is: “vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind” “puffed up” has the
idea of “a pair of bellows”. We see this same word used in: 1 Corinthians 8:1

Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have
knowledge. Knowledge puffed up, but charity edifieth.

“By his fleshly mind” literally, by the mind of his flesh. They were the intellectuals, the
teachers that boasted they were guided by the higher reason. Paul describes their
higher reason as carnal.

Colossians 2:19 And not holding the Head, rom which all the body by joints and bands
having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.

“And not holding the Head, this is the heart of the error! The headship of Christ is the
keynote of this Epistle to the Colossians and the heart of Paul’s Christology. Speaking
of Jesus Christ, he said:

Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the
firstborn from the dead: that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Our relationship to Christ is a living union, He is the Head, we are members of the body.
A body functions through nourishment. Who can say to his stomach, “Start digesting!
Stop hurting!” That’s foolish! Yet people think the Christian life personally, and the
church collectively, can be made spiritual by fleshly regulations and disciplines.
Spirituality does not come through the law of man but by the law of God.

Spiritual growth comes from union with Christ. All errors of believers relate to this as
well. If the believer does not have a healthy relationship to the head, the life that flows
from the head will be sickly. Fruit depends upon a healthy fellowship with the head:

John 15:4-5 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it
abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. (5) I am the vine, ye are the
branches; He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for
without me ye can do nothing.

We, like the Colossians, must not be intimidated by those who would make something
other than knowing Christ through His Word a requirement for spiritual maturity.
“From which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit
together.” “knit” means: “to cause to join or knit together, to bring together, to unite, to
combine”. It means to bring a number of ideas together to come to a conclusion.
“Increase of God” means: “to supply fully, abundantly, to provide something besides
what already exists to make available whatever is necessary to help or supply the
needs of someone.

God is the benefactor here. He provides everything we need to live the Christian life. He defrays any expenses we may face to live before him: If you have been born again, you have all that you need. The reason why so many Believers are not living in victory is because they do not know what they have in Christ.

They do not step out by faith on their spiritual account because they really believe that
there is nothing there. They do not realize that God has made the deposit already, and
we’re overflowing with riches. You just need to learn to step out and walk in what you
have.

Now in verses 20-23 he deals with asceticism. An ascetic is one who lives a life of
rigorous self-denial. In addition to practicing legalism and mysticism, some of the
Colossians were attempting to gain righteousness through self-denial:

Colossians 2:20-21 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the
world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (21) Touch not:
taste not; handle not:

Asceticism is the twisting of a good principle. Asceticism focuses on self-denial. When
this self-denial is then elevated into a Christian virtue that becomes mandatory, this is
where you begin to have problems.

The good principle is that as Believers, we should be disciplined. If we are going to be
disciples, we need to be disciplined. And that’s the good principle. A disciple is a
disciplined follower of Christ. We need to focus on the basics, and there are a lot of
Believers who are not disciples, because they refuse to be disciplined. They refuse to
focus on the basics. They refuse to set up devotional time with God where they read
and study the Scriptures and pray. They refuse to minister. They refuse to order their
lives in a disciplined fashion to follow Christ.

But when you take it to the extreme and then put that extreme on everyone as the only
true path to holiness, you’re walking down a path that becomes oppressive. That’s what
Paul is saying here. You can force people to walk like you believe is correct.

After all we are all walking in lock-step showing unity. But if it does not deal with our heart, you can discipline yourself, you can fast. But if your heart can remain unchanged that does not make you a more-holy believer.

In fact, it can generate a sinful pride in you because of how disciplined you are. Discipline is good if it focuses on Christ and enables you to follow Christ. But taking it to the extreme doesn’t make you a more holy person, because it doesn’t deal with your heart. Only God can deal with your heart. We have been set free from all of these laws not so we can come back under them when we become Christians, but so we can pursue a living relationship with Christ.

“If ye be dead with Christ.” All the sins were poured out upon Christ. At the moment we believe, God finally and forever forgives our sins by Christ’s death, our position before God is perfect forever. The death Christ died he died to sin, Romans 6:10; you died with Christ; therefore, you died to sin as well. Sin has no more power over you than it has over Christ!!

Why on earth would you need the old regulations, especially the ones made up by men?When we look at the cross, we see Christ dying there. When God looks at the cross, He
sees both Christ and the believer dying there. God sees every person who would ever
believe dying there with Christ.

Colossians 2:21 “Touch not; taste not; handle not;” These “regulations” which Paul rejects, “touch not; taste not, handle not,” are often exactly what modern Christians think about when we think about the Christian life. We think that Christians are people who don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t watch “R” rated movies, don’t gamble, don’t swear, etc. Now I’m not advocating that you all get up and go do all these things, but Paul is saying, “That is not the point!”

Those things are external. You can avoid every single one of them, and still be a pagan
Paul tells us that we do not belong to the world anymore. We don’t get to heaven by
following a list of do’s and don’ts. And, we don’t live the Christian life that way either. We
cannot earn God’s favor. All we can do is receive it. Charles Spurgeon puts it this way:
“I have found, in my own spiritual life, that the more rules I lay down for myself, the more
sins I commit.”

Colossians 2:22 Which all are to perish with the using) after the commandments and
doctrines of men?

“Which all are to perish with the using,” literally, are for corruption; destined for
corruption, in the physical sense of decomposition.

Colossians 2:23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and
humility, and neglecting of the body; not in honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

“Shew of wisdom in will worship,” is simply a mode of worship which a man chooses for
himself, independently of the revelation which God has given. It is arbitrarily invented
worship, devised by man’s own will, not God’s. So jealous is God of self-made religion,
that He struck Nadab and Abihu dead for burning strange incense Leviticus 10:1-3.
Uzziah was stricken with leprosy for usurping the office of priest 2 Chronicles 26:16-21.
Compare the self-made worship of Saul 1 Samuel 13:8-14 for which he was doomed to
lose his throne.

Asceticism might make a person appear spiritual, because of its emphasis on humility
and poverty, but it serves only to gratify the flesh. It is a vain attempt to appear more
holy than others. Jesus warned His disciples against it:

Matthew 6:16-18 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad
countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto me to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. (17) But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine
head, and wash thy face; (18) That thou appear not unto me to fast, but unto thy Father
which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

When we strive for “spiritual perfection” or “spiritual fullness” by means of formulas,
disciplines, or rituals, we go backward instead of forward. We must also beware of
“deeper life” teachers who offer a system for victory and fullness that bypasses devotion
to Jesus Christ. In all things, He must have the preeminence!

We need to come to understand, to believe, and to live by the principle that God loves
us perfectly. Nothing more is required on your part. Often, we think that we have to do
something so we can deserve this grace.

That is the point of grace. You will never deserve grace. There’s not a certain thing good enough for you to do. You can do it a thousand times and it’s still not good enough. You do not deserve grace. But God gives the grace anyway. There’s nothing you need to add. God cannot love you anymore than He already loves you.

Whenever that gets hold of you, it will change your whole perspective. Now you can relax. We live for Christ, not out of obligation, but because we delight in serving Jesus. When you operate out of a sense of obligation, it becomes a chore. When you operate out of a sense of delight in serving God, it becomes an offering of worship. And that is what your life is to be. That’s the good news.

So, believer, guard your freedom, don’t let anyone acts as your judge or an umpire on
your life. We are complete in Christ and we don’t need legalism, mysticism or asceticism
to make us more spiritual. We are already as righteous as Christ, because we share His
righteousness.

Pastor Don Thomason

Circumcised and Baptized

McKee Road Baptist – May 3, 2020 AM Worship – Coronavirus Emailed

Colossians 2:11-12 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made
without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of
Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the
faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

Today we are going to discuss circumcision and baptism and how they relate to the
child of God. Pay close attention as we allow God’s Words to clarify our understanding.

Colossians 2:9-10 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye
are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

In these two verses the Apostle Paul explained to the church of Colosse that they are
complete in Christ! They have, in Christ, already received all that God is, and nothing
can be added, Paul now rehearses how this happened to them.

Colossians 2:11-12 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made
without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of
Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the
faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

The Judaizers were a group of people who went around in the first century promoting
Judaism. They were saying that in order to be a Christian, you must first come through
the door of Judaism. You must be circumcised and keep the law:

Acts 15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, [and
said], Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.

This is an attack on the gospel. This is faith plus circumcision. We first read about circumcision in Genesis 17. In chapter 15, we have the inauguration of the Abrahamic covenant. God promises to make of Abraham a great nation. God meets with Abraham and promises him that he would be a blessing.

In this Abrahamic covenant is the promise of a Redeemer. That Redeemer is Christ. That is how Abraham is going to be a blessing to all nations, through Christ. The book of Galatians makes it clear that this promise was in reference to the coming Redeemer, Christ. Then in
chapter 17, God gives Abraham a symbol of the covenant so he will not forget the
promise that was made:

Genesis 17:10-14 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and
thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. 11 And ye shall
circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me
and you. 12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man
child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any
stranger, which [is] not of thy seed. 13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your
flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of
his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken
my covenant.

Today we wear wedding rings as tokens of the covenant that we made with our spouse.
This is God’s token of the covenant, circumcision. The English word “circumcision”
comes from a Latin word, which means: “to cut around” it describes the original biblical
reference to a surgery that was performed on males.

It was God who instituted circumcision as a sign or token of the covenant that He had
made with Abraham. All Israel and those associated with them had to be circumcised.
To the Jews, this was their badge that they were the children of God.

Man is a sinner at the root of his existence, whatever comes from the loins of man is
wicked. When man procreates, he produces a sinner, so the nature of sin is passed on
to the next generation. Remember, Jesus Christ had no human father, was sinless.

When God demanded that the male be circumcised, He was giving them a symbol that
the outward part of man was cleansed to remind them that man needed to be cleansed
of sin at the deepest root of his being. Man needed a spiritual surgery to cleanse him.
Every time they circumcised a person, they were reminding themselves of the fact that
man was a wicked sinner and in need of a cleansing. Even the blood shed that occurred
in circumcision symbolized the need for sacrifice to accomplish that cleansing. So, there
was even a picture of the pain and sacrifice needed to cleanse the sinner in
circumcision.

God intended it to be a physical symbol of a spiritual reality. Circumcision was to be
much more than just an outward sign. It was to be the outward sign of an inward reality,
but they lost the true meaning and kept only the outward sign:

Deuteronomy 10:16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more
stiffnecked.

Jeremiah 4:4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your
heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire,
and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.

Circumcision was a spiritual thing. They were keeping the outward symbol, but were not
realizing the spiritual significance of it. The symbol means nothing without the reality.

The Jews were circumcised on the outside but not the inside. Circumcision is the
external symbol depicting the need for a total cleansing from sin. However, many Jews
felt as long as they were circumcised, they had God’s blessing.

Now the Apostle Paul comes along preaching grace to the Gentiles. Paul is teaching
that salvation is by faith alone. The Jews are getting very upset, and were causing
trouble in the new churches with their Old Testament ceremony. In Acts 15, we have the
first church council to deal with the issue of circumcision:

Acts 15:5-8 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed,
saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law
of Moses. 6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. 7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and
brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the
Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 8 And God,
which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he
did unto us;

Peter is saying that the Gentiles received the Holy Spirit just like the Jews had, and they
were not circumcised. The council declared that circumcision was not necessary for
salvation. Note: This process is known as doctrinal development. Every generation experiences this process.

Galatians 5:2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit
you nothing.

Paul is saying, Christ plus circumcision equals nothing. You cannot add anything to
faith. If you do, you destroy faith. If you think in order to be saved you have got to be
circumcised, then Christ will not do you any good, because you are believing in
salvation by works.

Colossians 2:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without
hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

God circumcised us at the point of our salvation. At that moment we entered into union
with Christ. We did not earn or deserve that privilege; it is an act of God’s grace.

Paul says we have been given a circumcision, not of the flesh by the hands of men, but
with the circumcision done by Christ. By this spiritual circumcision, the old sinful nature
(flesh) has been cut away or put off. We have been delivered from the old sinful nature.

In other words, Christ has set us free from the bondage to sin. The power of sin has
been broken, and we are no longer slaves to it. “Putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ”

Romans 5:12-21 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by
sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin
was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death
reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of
Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15 But not as the
offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much
more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath
abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the
judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto
justification. 17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they
which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by
one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men
to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men
unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners,
so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law
entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more
abound: 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Paul introduces the theme of our union with Christ. We were joined to Adam; his sin was imputed to us. Now by faith, we are joined to Jesus Christ; and His righteousness has been imputed to us. Because we are in Christ, all that belongs to Jesus Christ becomes ours. Your salvation and mine depends only, entirely, and exclusively upon the obedience of Jesus Christ.

Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly,
his faith is counted for righteousness.

There are no works involved in salvation, it is a free gift of God’s grace to all who
believe.

Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

Here then is a question, “If everything depends on what God has done, then what does
it matter, how we live?” There are those that say, “Once saved, always saved leads to lawlessness. You preachers of salvation by grace through faith alone weaken our sense of moral responsibility. You only encourage sinful behavior with that kind of teaching.”
Notice what the Apostle Paul said.

Romans 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

He shouts out, “God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer there in?”
He says that we “died” to sin. He is describing something that happened to us as a fact.
We died to sin. This is what Paul is saying in Colossians when he says, “Putting off the
body of the sins of the flesh.” In what sense have believers put off the body of the flesh
or died to sin? The answer is found in:

Romans 5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through
righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

We have died to the rule and reign of sin. Sin’s reign came in Adam and was broken by
the last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ.

How can Paul say we are dead to sin? We still sin, we still feel the power of temptation.
How can Paul say this? We must differentiate between what is true of our position as a
fact and our experience. Paul is talking here about our position before God.

Positionally, we have died to the reign of sin under Adam. We died to sin’s reign, and we no longer have to live in sin. We have been set free. So why do we still sin then? We still sin because there is a great difference between being given a position and realizing that you are in that position.

By way of illustration, at the end of the Civil war, slavery was abolished in the United
States. But what actually happened was that many of the slaves who had endured long
years of servitude found it very difficult to understand their new status. When they saw
their old master coming, they would respond as a slave. They were free, but for some, it
took them a long time to realize it.

The sixth chapter of Romans was written to make believers understand that we have
died to sin. How did we die to sin? Paul’s answer in verses 3-11 is the doctrine of our
union with Jesus Christ:

Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were
baptized into his death?

The best way to understand the doctrine of our union with Jesus Christ is to be clear as
to the meaning of the phrase, "baptized into Jesus Christ." To understand this phrase, we need to understand the word, "baptized." Its primary meaning is: to plunge, to dip, to immerse. In days of old, it could speak of a smith who dips a piece of hot iron in water, tempering it.

There is more than one meaning for the original word, baptize. In any language, there
may be literal and metaphorical (a comparison between two things that are unrelated)
meanings of a word. For example: If I said to you, “I am the black sheep of my family. I
am not saying that I am black nor am I saying that I am a sheep. I am using those words
to describe a condition of myself. It has nothing to do with a color or an animal. It is a
metaphorical saying.

In exactly the same manner, the word baptize has a meaning far removed from
anything to do with water. Thinking of water in connection with this passage of the Bible
leads to error as it does with many passages dealing with baptism.

The word baptize used metaphorically means: a change of identity or to identify.

1 Corinthians 10:1-2 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how
that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all
baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

Baptism here means initiation into a new relationship, or identification with Moses. It
does not mean immersion; the Israelites were never in the sea at all; they passed over
on dry land (Exodus 14:21-22). It was Pharaoh’s soldiers who got wet. They were all
united and identified with Moses. Moses was God’s appointed leader of Israel. The
basic Christian significance for baptism is identification with Christ. We are united to
Christ, the Son of God, our leader.

Note: Ritual baptism is immersing someone in water. Real baptism is the act of the Holy
Spirit placing the believer in the body of Christ, this is identification. The very moment
we believed on Christ as our Savior, we were baptized by the Holy Spirit, placed into the
Body of Christ. By being members of the Body of Christ, everything that is true of the
Head is true of each member of His Body:

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be
Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one
Spirit.

When we believed the gospel, the Holy Spirit put us into the body of Christ, united. This
is not physical but a spiritual identification.

Our salvation is guaranteed because everything that happened to Christ happened to
us. As we were united to Adam, so we are now united to Christ, and it is the Spirit who
unites us to Christ. I am in Christ and Christ is in me, union.

Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were
baptized into his death?

We were baptized (identified) into Christ’s death. When Jesus Christ died, we died with
Him. We are one with Him, and His death is ours.

The late L.E. Maxwell, an educator and minister from Canada, told this story. I think it
will help us in seeing our identification with Christ:

“During the Civil War a man by the name of George Wyatt was drawn by lot to go to the
front. He had a wife and six children. A young man named Richard Pratt offered to go in
his stead. He was accepted and joined the ranks, bearing the name and number of
George Wyatt. Before long Pratt was killed in action. The authorities later sought again
to draft George Wyatt into service. He protested, entering the plea that he had died in
the person of Pratt. He insisted that the authorities consult their own records as to the
fact of his having died in identification with Pratt, his substitute. Wyatt was thereby
exempted as beyond the claims of law and further service. He had died in the person of
his representative. There we have the truth of identification in a nutshell. God’s way of
deliverance is through death – through the identification with our Substitute in His death
and resurrection.” Taken from Maxwell’s book, “Born Crucified” chapter one “The
Believer’s Identification.”

Wyatt was dead to the Confederacy just as you are dead to sin. The Confederacy had
no authority over a dead man. Likewise, Christ went to the cross in your place, signed
your name and died as your substitute. It is written in the document of the Heavenly
Court that you died on a cross in the service of God to satisfy the draft of the law of sin
and death.

Just as George Wyatt was freed from the Confederacy draft, the cross of Christ has
freed us from the law of sin and death.

Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ
was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in
newness of life.

Paul is saying that as that is true of Christ, "even so" it is true of us. "Even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Christ walks in newness of life as the result of the resurrection, and so do we. The newness of life here does not refer to a new quality
of experience or conduct, but to a new quality of life imparted to the individual. Verses
1-11 of Romans 6 do not deal with the Christian’s experience or behavior but with his
position before God. Newness of life is the newness which consists of life.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things
are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

This is not dealing with my walk, but with my position before God. We died with Christ
and were buried with Him, but it doesn’t stop there.

Romans 6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall
be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

What has happened to Christ, literally and physically, has happened to us spiritually.
Physically, we did not die when Christ died, but judicially in the reckoning of God we did.
This is identification.

Verse 5 is the key verse in this section, teaching our union with Christ. Verses 6 &7 are
a description of the first half of verse 5, For if we have been planted together in the
likeness of His death…

Romans 6:6-7 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin
might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is
freed from sin.

Knowing this We only know this because Scripture teaches it. The old man is the
man that I used to be in Adam. The word crucified means: was crucified with Christ.
That man that was joined to Adam was crucified together with Christ.

Because of our union with Christ in his crucifixion, we are dead to sin; we have been set
free from its power. We are no longer slaves of sin. Verses 8-10 explain the last half of verse 5, “we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection.”

Romans 6:8-10 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with
him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no
more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he
liveth, he liveth unto God.

Christ temporally came under the power of sin, and it killed him. By rising from the dead,
He broke its power, and when he came out of the grave, we came out with him.

Remember, what is true of Christ is true of us. All that Jesus Christ is and has, we are
and have; we are one with him. The Lord God has put believers in Christ. Our destiny is bound up with His. What He has gone through, we have gone through. Where He is, we are.

Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive
unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The believer is to look upon himself in the light of this truth. He is to remind himself that
he is freed from the penalty and dominion of sin. He is also to count upon the fact that
he receives his spiritual life from Christ daily.

The word reckon means: to calculate, to take into account, to figure, to count on,
consider the fact. Let your mind focus on these truths. Meditate upon them, keep
saying them to yourselves, remind yourself of who you are in Christ.

Be constantly counting upon the fact that you are dead to sin, and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Someone said, “The secret to holy living is in a mind centered on our position in Christ”. You may not feel dead to sin but remember, feelings do not have anything to do with it. It is a judicial fact, set in place by the high court of heaven. It is a faith fact.
Now we circle back to Colossians.

Colossians 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with [him]
through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

Paul is not writing of water baptism. He is showing the Colossians that in Christ is
everything that is sufficient for their need This verse has NOTHING to do with water baptism, it speaks of identification. This is the exact same thing we saw in Romans 6.
One commentator wrote, The evidence of this spiritual circumcision is baptism. When
the believer stands before the congregation and is baptized, he is telling them that he
has left behind his old ways and is living as a follower of Jesus Christ. He bears witness
to the saving power of God that lives in him.

Paul is not speaking of water baptism in 2:12 just as he is not speaking of physical
circumcision in 2:11. Both verses speak of spiritual realities. The words buried with mean: to bury together, join in burying or to be buried with. The word with indicates a co-relationship with Jesus Christ. This is a co-burial. It is saying, When Jesus was buried, we were buried. God buried us along with Jesus Christ! This obviously does not mean that God put us into the same tomb as Jesus and we laid down beside him! This is our union with Christ.

When Jesus died, we died together with Him. When Christ rose from the dead, we rose
with Him. When Christ ascended to heaven, we ascended with Him and are now seated
with Him in the heavenlies. Our identification with Christ includes the crucifixion with
Him, burial with Him; and our resurrection, ascension and glorification with Christ. Our
identification with Christ is so complete that God reckons us as having experienced co-
crucifixion, co-burial, co-resurrection, co-ascension, and co-glorification. This is the way
God sees us. Should not we see ourselves in the same manner?

Proper biblical hermeneutics (proper interpretation of Scripture) is of utmost importance.
Many of the “Christian Faith” take words or phrases from the Word of God and promote
their “own” truth. These “truths” generated from a false premise (improper assumption)
and built upon a false interpretation of Scripture, results in an incorrect conclusion. Such
teachings have eternal consequences. That is why we study Scripture.

Beware!

McKee Road Baptist – April 26, 2020 AM Worship

Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit,
after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Introduction:

Daily, for the past three to four months we have been alerted to the
dangers of the Coronavirus by the news media. There has not been a dearth of
information regarding this pandemic. The coverage has been non-stop with each news
agency interviewing a different “expert’ every day. The warning is to stay alert. We must
stay alert, because, as we have been informed this disease is highly contagious and in
some will cause death.

We have been asked to keep ourselves separated from others. When we must go out,
we have been asked to keep at least six feet of distance between each other. The
experts have told us that we should also wear masks. This is to keep any air-borne
droplets from being transmitted to others. These droplets are too heavy to hang in the
air. If not transmitted, by someone as close as three feet, they can be transmitted from
other sources such as floors or surfaces. A person can become infected by touching a
surface that has the virus and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing
your hands.

Like many other churches we have determined it best to practice safe habits during the
COVID-19 pandemic and have chosen to not gather together for a time. Meanwhile
many of us have been blessed by countless “live-feed,” Facebook messages we have
watched on our media devices. I am reminded of the story of Joseph, when he told his
brothers in Genesis 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it
unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. God is using the
bad things to promote His gospel. But we must be alert as we watch so many that
speak as an authority to the possibility, we might have consumed false teaching

We must be alert spiritually, because there are dangers to our faith. We must keep our
eyes and ears open and be aware of what is happening around us. There are those
who would pervert the truth of Christianity. This perversion manifests itself in subtle
ways. Without a doubt you have already encountered dangerous teachings. Our text
today gives us a stern warning against any teaching that would detract from Christ.
When Paul wrote this letter there was a subtle and powerful false teaching that was
threatening to infiltrate the Colossian church. We know that it contained elements of
false philosophy. Throughout the letter, Paul switches back and forth between his
seeming attack of Jewish elements of this false teaching, and his attack on the Greek
elements of this false teaching. This false teaching, this heresy, was a blend of these
two philosophies.

Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit,
after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

“Beware” means: “to look at,” but it is also used of mental functions like: “direct one’s
attention to something, watch, beware, be on guard.” It is a command for a constant
circumspect watchfulness, because of the dangers lurking at every corner.
The idea is “look out”. The idea is: “guard yourself from this”. The idea is: “beware of
this”. That is how it is used in Philippians chapter 3 when Paul talks about the Judaizers
(Those that teach it is necessary to adopt Jewish customs and practices to be saved.)

Philippians 3:2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.

The Colossian Christians were to: “Beware lest anyone spoil you…” It is a compound
word which means: “booty”, as in booty that you would capture, and “ago”, which
means: “to lead or carry”. It is to carry away a prize won in battle. It’s to be taken
captive.

The brethren at the church in Colosse were in danger of being kidnapped by error. Paul
was warning the brethren that they can be taken captive by wrong philosophy, wrong
teaching, false doctrine. Such teaching only works to deprive believers of their liberty in
Christ. These teachings can hold them hostage for years, if not for the rest of their lives.
Note: contrary to what the world believes, nobody is freer than a Christian. Nobody.

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free,
and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

There is always the danger of being caught up in false teaching in one way or another.
That is why it is most important to guard yourself. It is so important to the life and the
health of the church and to the members that make up the church.

Some of us are old enough to remember the People’s Temple Christian Church. Jim
Jones was leader of the People’s Temple Christian Church. On November 18, 1978, in
Guyana, Jim Jones murdered 909 people, mostly his followers and then committed
suicide. One of the most frightening discoveries about the People’s Temple Christian
Church was that a large majority of its members came from Christian homes of one sort
or another. Most people that joined the church did so because they believed it offered a
higher experience of Christian living. Paul’s warning is very pertinent to the church
today. Beware!

Note: every false teacher may not be a Jim Jones but every false teacher is dangerous.
Paul knew the danger. That is why he struggled so hard in the ministry. That’s why he
wrote, back in chapter 2, verse 1: “For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for
you…”.

Paul goes on to say, “Beware lest anyone spoil you through philosophy…”
What’s philosophy? Very simply define it as: “the love of wisdom”. “Philos” is the
Greek word for love. “Sophos” is the Greek word for wisdom.

The love of wisdom is a good thing in many cases. There are good and bad
philosophies, but what the apostle has in mind here, of course, is the danger the
Colossians are facing of being seduced by bad philosophy.

In the first-century Jewish historian, Josephus, wrote in one of his books, “There are
three philosophical sects among the Jews. The followers of the first of whom are the Pharisees, of the second the Sadducees, and the third sect called the Essenes”. That
said every age has battled against expounders of false philosophy.

Paul is talking about something very specific here. But there is application here for us
today. We fight against any philosophy that detracts from the sufficiency of Jesus Christ
and the purity of His Word is to be rejected.

One theologian said, “There are too many ‘ball-park’ interpreters and expositors today.
The theological atmosphere of evangelicalism is saturated with a dense fog of
uncertainty and misplaced emphasis in handling the Word of God. Many churches are
on the rocks because of careless hermeneutics (The study of the principles of
interpretation concerning the Bible.), ignorance of Biblical languages, and unsystematic
theology (Systematic theology formulates an orderly, rational and coherent account of
the doctrines of the Christian faith. So, unsystematic theology would be everything that
systematic theology is not.) Rough estimates as to what this or that passage means will
not do. We need qualified expositors who will take the time and make the necessary
sacrifices to do their homework well and bring clarity to the minds of God’s people as
they read and study God’s holy Word.”

Today we live in an age where the philosophy of many is this; do not offend me, do not
bore me, do not preach long, do not preach doctrine but make me feel good about
myself. Do this they say and your church will grow. I site the following paragraph as one
example of proof.

Many remember the Crystal Cathedral of Garden Grove, California. It was a massive
structure constructed with reflective glass and at one time was touted as “the largest
glass building in the world.” Its founder, Robert Schuller once said: “For the church to
address the unchurched with a theocentric (that means a God-centered) attitude is to
invite failure in mission. The non-churched who have no vital belief in a relationship with
God will spurn, reject, or simply ignore the theologian, church spokesperson, preacher,
or missionary who approaches with Bible in hand, theology on the brain and the lips,
and expects nonreligious persons to suspend their doubts and swallow the theocentric
assertions as fact”.

You see, Schuller’s premise was built around the assertion that those that are
unregenerate (the lost) are transformed through human ingenuity and not through a
sovereign act of God’s grace through faith in the Word of the Living God. By the way the
former denomination of this church was listed as Reformed Church in America it is now
listed as Roman Catholic.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God
unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Paul says that it is the Gospel that is the power of God. Our responsibility is to proclaim
the Gospel. God will take care of how the heart responds to that.

There are many philosophies in our day that are deceiving young people, as well as
many adults. We hear this philosophy much of the time. It is called, “Tolerance”, which
says, “No one can say what is right and what is wrong”.

Some will say that adultery, abortion or homosexuality is wrong for them, but who are
you to decide for everyone else. A recent Gallup Poll, declared that 82% of college students say they believe in no absolute truths. It comes down to this: anything goes out
there. Morality of man is every man for himself. Right and wrong is no longer based on
absolutes, but on individual opinion.

It should be said that this is nothing new. We have just found a way to place a
percentage of those that believe this way. I am reminded that there has always been an
element that believed this. Isaiah said, Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil;
that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put biter for sweet, and sweet for
bitter. Isaiah 5:20. Judges 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel, but every
man did that which was right in his own eyes.

Without a moral compass, people cannot make rational decisions about what is right
and wrong for themselves or for society. We are told that you cannot decide if an
unborn baby is a human being or a blob of tissue, because we have listened to the
rhetoric of the “politically correct” instead of checking out the medical facts that life
begins at conception, an absolute supported completely by the Bible.

Believers, we are engaged today in a battle between worldviews. We must understand
and defend a Biblical worldview in all of life. We must make it our goal to impart this
Biblical worldview to the youth who will lead the next generation. Make it your legacy.

Vain Deceit

Paul goes on to describe this philosophy as “and vain deceit”. “Vain deceit” describes
“philosophy”. The idea is that the particular philosophy Paul had been warning his
readers about was vain deception. These are not two separate dangers.

“Vain deceit” describes the nature of human philosophy. “Vain” means “empty.” It is (a)
“without content, without any basis, without truth, without power,” or (b) of the effects,
“without result, without profit, without effect, without reaching its goal”.

The word “deceit”, was used of the seductive deception that comes from wealth (Mark
4:19), and “the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13). It is vain (empty) deceit. But what
does it mean to be deceived? “Deceit” means: “to cheat, deceive, beguile. It is that
which gives a false impression whether by appearance, statement or influence”. This
empty philosophy connives and misleads, it deceives or lies to people about what is
true.

Human philosophy simply said are the human traditions and principles of the world. It is
not according to the person and work of Christ.

After the tradition of men

This is the origin of false teaching. It is from the devices of men and not the voice of
God. “Tradition” means: “a handing down or a handing over”.

2 Thessalonians 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye
have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

There are good traditions. But they are the traditions of God. In our text in Colossians,
what is being condemned are the “tradition of men ” it is of men.
We must “beware” that our traditions do not contradict the Word of God. Because if they
do, they are error. If it goes against the Bible, it is not of God.

Paul tell us that these “vain” (empty), deceptive philosophies depend on human
tradition. They arise out of the thinking of men and then are passed along from
generation to generation so as to appear popular and widely supported. Hardly anyone
dares question them, because everybody believes them. An obvious example today is
the theory of evolution. Evolution is now being widely challenged on a scientific level.
Many evolutionists are beginning to question Darwin’s view. But it wasn’t all that long
ago that the theory of evolution was almost universally accepted.

Remember, with “philosophy”, there are biblical or divine traditions that have their
source in God’s special revelation, and human traditions; those that come from man’s
own ideas and theories.

Many people do not evaluate what they believe for themselves. They believe it simply
because their family believed it, “My mom told me so”. How you do know it is true? “I
never question it”. A person without healthy skepticism is vulnerable to seduction.
The test question should be: “Can it be substantiated by the Bible?”

Remember, human philosophy is: drawn from human traditions, and it is inspired by
basic principles of the world.

After the rudiments of the world

What are “the rudiments of the world”? Rudiment means anything in a row or series. It
was used of the letters of the alphabet (alpha, beta, gamma, delta; or in our vernacular,
a, b, c, d). It was used of numbers in a series (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). It was used of soldiers in
rank and file down a line. It had to do with was anything in a series. It came to be
understood in the sense of elementary things (like the ABC’s of life).

The “rudiments of the world” was a reference to the religious practices the false
teachers were promoting in Paul’s day.

Colossians 2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world,
why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,

Here Paul is talking about Jewish laws.

Colossians 2:16-17 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of
an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of
things to come; but the body is of Christ.

It you look at its use in Galatians, you again see its Jewish usage.

Galatians 4:3-5 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the
elements of the world: 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his
Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the
law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

These “rudiments of the world” was part of Jewish legalism. They were the rudiments as
taught them by the law, as their schoolmaster. They were subject to a lifetime of
bondage to these rudiments of Jewish law.

So, this human philosophy is described as: being drawn from human traditions, being
inspired by basic principles of Judaism, and it is not according to the person and work
of Christ, “…and not after Christ.”

Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit,
after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

This verse can be summarized as the contrast between that which is according to Christ and everything else. Whatever we think of “philosophy”, “vain deceit”, “tradition of men”, or “after the rudiments of the world”, the bottom line is that these can be seen to be totally
against Jesus Christ.

That is the key. It is not according to Christ. Just as grace plus anything else equals
zero. If you add anything to grace, you negate grace. In the same way, Christ plus
anything else equals zero. You cannot make any additions to Jesus Christ, or you
subtract from His all-sufficiency. Everything we do, everything we are as believers in
Jesus Christ must be according to Jesus Christ.

Remember if you are a child of God, He was sufficient to save you. That is what the
gospel is all about. But is He sufficient for you in every area of your life, for every need
of your life, in your relationships, in your marriage, at your job, for your every spiritual
and material need? Is He sufficient? To say, “No” is to deny His sufficiency. He is
sufficient. We need to teach and proclaim that truth and uphold it. We need to
encourage one another to live in His truth. We need to warn each other against
anything, any philosophy, any tradition that is not according to Christ.

Conclusion:

We must open our spiritual eyes. If you are spiritually aware you will be
able to testify that God is at work. Many see this time as one of inconvenience to their
daily routine. Many proclaim that it is just an added exercise that is totally unnecessary.
One day we will be able to better judge these days in our lives and whether all steps
taken were necessary but until that day happens, step back and get God’s perspective.
Watch and see what He is doing. Position yourself to be right in the middle of His will
and further the cause of His kingdom.

McKee Road Baptist Members, “…Grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Colossians 1:2

Pastor Don Thomason

Grounded in Love

Ephesians 3:17-21 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted
and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth,
and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth
knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20 Now unto him that is
able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power
that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all
ages, world without end. Amen.

Introduction:

Please consider what the Word of God is saying. Do not assume that you do not need help in this area of your life. It is especially in times when we think we do not need it at all, that we need it the most. Consider all the times Scripture says something like, I bring you to remembrance or remember. Paul is making the point that we are to be grounded in the love of God. This is a love we do not come by naturally but by God.

Paul is praying that the Ephesians would be strengthened with the power of the Spirit in
their thinking. He is praying that their thinking would fall in line with the Word of God. He
is teaching that the Jew and Gentile are equal before God as the one new man. There
was to be no more Jew, no more Gentile, just children of God. This is critical because if
their thinking does not line up with this, they could fraction into a Jewish Church and a
Gentile Church. Paul was teaching it was most important for them to think correctly.
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith”

This goes hand-in-hand with what Paul said in verse 16, “To be strengthened with might
by his Spirit in the inner man.” This is one action. “That Christ may dwell in your hearts
by faith” is an explanation of how it is that God will strengthen you in the inner man!
When Paul says “inner man” here he is talking about the mind, the thinking process.
Paul’s phrase, “the inner man,” (Ephesians 3:16) is synonymous with the heart
(Ephesians 3:17). And the heart is another reference to the thinking. Paul is praying
that the Ephesians would be strengthened with the power of the Spirit in their thinking.
“That ye, being rooted and grounded in love”

Paul prays that they would “be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner
man” so the result would be that “Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith” in order for
that to transpire you must be rooted and grounded His love.

Ephesians 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and
grounded in love,

Illustration: Try holding your breath. You can only hold it for a certain length of time.
Eventually you take a breath or pass out and then take a breath. That is just natural.
Fight as much as you will, this will be the outcome of your effort. When you became a
child of God the most natural thing in the world was this, the love of God is shed abroad in your heart, it should permeate you, it should exude from you, it should touch
everybody around you. It should be a way of life, but some people seem to be holding
their breath.

I used breathing as an illustration but know this, loving others is not as easy for us as
breathing. If loving others is so natural and easy, why are there so many exhortations in
Scripture to love one another? If it is like breathing, we should not need to be told to do
it at all. It should just be automatic for believers.

“Rooted” means: “to cause to take root, to become firmly rooted or fixed.” It suggests
the thought of something that took place in the past, but whose effects persist in the
present, because of their relationship with Jesus.

“Grounded” means: “to lay a basis for, to build upon a foundation, to build, to be
founded, to be grounded.” He will be your foundation, and the foundation of your life will
be His love. Like buildings, our lives are to be built deep into the foundation of God’s
love.

To be rooted in something means that you’re getting your nourishment from it, your life;
from the water, and from the nutrients and minerals in the ground. You are absorbing all
the life of the love of God. That is what is making you live! That is what is making you
alive, you are drawing upon the love that is in Christ Jesus. Rooted pictures a sturdy,
growing tree that sinks down roots that enable it to withstand drought and the fierce
storms of life. To be grounded in love pictures a solid building with a foundation that
goes down to the bedrock. It can withstand a flood or an earthquake, because it is built
on the rock.

We cannot handle life unless we have a solid foundation, unless we are rooted and
grounded in love. Many times, we question God’s love for us due to our situation. Our
emotions cause us to feel like God has forsaken us. But Scripture teaches that God’s
love is just as real in times of adversity as it is in times of blessings. God’s love to us is
unchangeable.

Consider Calvary as evidence of God’s love for us:

1 John 4:9-10 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent
his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love,
not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for
our sins.

The living God showed His love by meeting our greatest need and redeemed from us
from an eternal separation from Him.

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet
sinners, Christ died for us.

Please notice our condition when God demonstrated His love for us, “while we were yet
sinners.” God loved us when we hated Him. He reached out in love and met our
greatest need while we were His enemies.

Ephesians 2:1-6 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the
prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh,
fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of
wrath, even as others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he
loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ,
(by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in
heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

This was our condition; we were dead in sin. We had an appointment with God’s wrath.
We have all sinned against a holy, righteous God. We have rebelled against His
commands and defied His moral law. Because of this, we all deserve His wrath. We do
not deserve God’s love or mercy.

Any time that we are tempted to question God’s love for us, we need to look to Calvary.
If God loved us enough to send His Son to die for us when we were His enemies,
surely, He loves us enough to care for us now that we are His children. In the midst of
the worst adversity, I can be assured of God’s love for me because of Calvary.

Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be
against us?

“God is for us” This is a concise summary of the Gospel. God is on our side. Think
about it! Meditate upon it! The immutable God, has loved us from eternity past has
made provision for your salvation.

Romans 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall
he not with him also freely give us all things?

“But delivered him up for us all” The word “delivered” means: “to turn over to
judgement.” Who delivered up God to die? Not Judas, for money; not Pilate, for fear; not
the Jews, for envy; but the Father, for LOVE.

Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us
accepted in the beloved.

God’s unfailing love for us is a fact affirmed over and over in the Scriptures. It is true
whether we believe it or not. Our doubts do not destroy God’s love, nor does our
faith create it. But the experience of that love, and the comfort it is intended to bring, is
dependent upon our believing the truth about God’s love as it is revealed to us in the
Scriptures. Doubts about God’s love will deprive us of the comfort of His love.

Ephesians 3:18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and
length, and depth, and height;

“May be able to comprehend” Unless they were “rooted and grounded in love,”
“because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts,” (Romans 5:5.) it would be
impossible for them to comprehend the exceeding riches of the love of Christ.

“May be able,” It means “to seize, or to grasp for your own.” Paul is praying that we may
have the power to lay hold of, or comprehend Christ’s love for us. This is not something
we can accomplish apart from God’s divine power.

Every child of God knows the love of Christ in some way, but we do not all know it to the
same extent. Some are babes in Christ, who, like all babies, are quite self-centered. They assume that Christ loves them because they are so loveable! But as you grow in
Christ, you begin to see how wretchedly sinful your heart was and, apart from God’s
preserving grace, still is. And yet, wonder of wonders, He still loves you! You grow
deeper in Christ’s love as you realize that He loves you in spite of all your failures and
sins. Comprehending Christ’s love requires God’s supernatural power, because it is not
naturally discerned.

“With all saints,” This is a reference to all believers. It references all those who are set
apart from the world unto God. Paul wants all believers to understand the love of God.
“What is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height” We are presented with four
dimensions: “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height.”

These are the dimensions of God’s love for us. Verse 17 ends with love and verse 19
starts with love, and these four dimensions are talking about God’s love for His people.
What is the breadth of His love?

Chapter 2 verses 11 and following tell us that His love is broad enough to take the
Gentiles, who were called uncircumcision, and to bring them together with those who
were far off (verse 13) and make them near by the blood of Christ. To take Jew and
Gentile and make them one (verse 14) and break down the middle wall of partition and
abolish the enmity.

What is the length of His love?

Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the
world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Now look at chapter 2:

Ephesians 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his
grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

The length is from eternity in the past till eternity. Christ’s love extends from eternity to
eternity. It is an eternal love that will not let us go! 1 Corinthians 13:8 says, “Charity
never faileth”; that’s its length, it’s eternal. God tells us, “I have loved thee with an
everlasting love,” Jeremiah 31:3.

What is the depth of God’s love?

How deep is His love? The depth of His love caused Him to leave the glory of heaven
and His exalted position there and come to this earth to be born as a baby. It moved
Him to go to the extreme suffering of the cross, where “For he hath made him to be sin
for us, who knew no sin:” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

His love is deep enough to reach us when we were dead in trespasses and sin. As
Charles Wesley wrote, “Amazing love, how can it be, that Thou, my God, shouldst die
for me?” His love is truly amazing!

What is the height of God’s love?

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath
blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

His love lifts us up to our exalted position of being seated with Him in the heavenly
places:

Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly
places in Christ Jesus:

You cannot know the love of Christ or grasp these four dimensions without having first
been strengthened by the Holy Spirit in the inner man and having Christ dwell in your
heart through faith:

Ephesians 3:19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye
might be filled with all the fulness of God.

“And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.” This is Christ’s love to us.
The word “know” in this verse expresses experiential knowledge. Paul was praying that
they would experience the love of God that surpasses knowledge.

How can we know a love that surpasses knowledge? There is so much more to know
about the infinite love of Christ. However, this does not mean that we cannot know
anything about it, or that we can know only a little about it. In fact, we are to grab hold of
the breadth and length and depth and height of the love of Christ. We can understand it.
“That ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” Paul asks that we would “be filled.”
We cannot fill ourselves with the fullness of God. It only comes from Him. Note, it comes
from Him as we are filled with His Word.

The word “filled” has the idea of being “controlled.” For example, in the Gospels it says,
he was filled with anger, he was filled with rage, he was filled with wrath, filled with
malice. It means that one attitude dominated or controlled them. Muse on this thought.
Paul says later in this Epistle that believers are to, “Be filled with the Spirit,” meaning
that we are to be controlled by Him. So, the question is how are we controlled by the
Spirit? We appropriate the controlling grace of the Spirit through the means of letting the
Word of Christ richly dwell within us. I think the same is true with the fulness of God.
When we are controlled by the Word, we are controlled by the Spirit, and thereby
controlled by the fulness of God.

McKee Road Baptist, we need more than a casual acquaintance with the Bible. God’s
Word is to dwell in us abundantly. It is to saturate us. It must become part of our very
being. It must transform the way we think and act. This can only happen as we read it,
memorize it, and meditate on it to the point that it controls us.

Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that
we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
“Now to Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think.”
Paul again alludes to God’s power. To be able one must have power.
In other words, we can have confidence that God will grant this request to grasp and to
know all the dimensions of His love; in fact, He will do more than what we can ask or
imagine.

Jeremiah 32:17 Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy
great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:
Consider this: This all-powerful Creator loves us:

“Exceeding Abundantly.” Simply said it is “above or beyond, above or beyond what we
can ask or think.” God is unlimited in power.

“According to the power that worketh in us.” (Consider, Ephesians 1:19-20.) In other
words, there is an extraordinary power available to believers, a power that can
accomplish far more than we ordinarily think or imagine. It comes by the Spirit. It is
provided by the riches of God’s glory.

Paul put it this way in Philippians:

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Can we do all things through Christ? Consider the Scripture verses that precede verse
13.

Philippians 4:11-12 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in
whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 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.

What Paul is saying here is that whatever circumstance he finds himself in, he can
handle it through God’s enabling power. This spiritual truth applies to all who live in
dependence upon Christ:

Ephesians 3:21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages,
world without end. Amen.

“Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus.” It is fitting to say that glory be to God
in the church and in Christ Jesus, because it is through them that men and angels will
see God and will glorify Him.

God saves people who were formerly dead in their sins (Ephesians 2:1-3), seats them
with Christ in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6), and builds them into His Holy
Temple (Ephesians 2:21), He is glorified.

“Throughout all ages, world without end.” This is a mixture of time and eternity. The idea
is that God is to be glorified forever and ever, beginning in this age and continuing into
eternity.

“Amen.” Here, we all are invited to ascribe glory to God by saying along with Paul, “Amen!”

Conclusion:

Oh, how we fail to realize Christ’s love for us. This is one reason why it is
so important to mediate upon his love for us. We need to muse upon it. The times we
think that God has forgotten us, the times that we do not believe that he loves us,
should be a reminder that we are not thinking on his love for us.

Consider His love for you tonight!

Walk Ye In Him

Introduction: Alice and I discuss the Word of God often. Many times, she will share
what she has read and how it touched her soul. Many times, I will share with her things
that I have read and how it convicted me. Our text today operates from the premise that,
the reader has received Christ. With that in mind let us search the Scripture today and
learn what He expects from us.

Please open to each passage referenced in today’s message. You may want to make
some notes in your Bible.

Colossians 2:6-7 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in
him: 7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught,
abounding therein with thanksgiving.

The Colossians were coming under the attack of false teachers. The false teachers
were not giving the person and work of Christ proper interpretation or emphasis. Paul
emphasizes that the full assurance of understanding cannot be had apart from Christ.

Colossians 2:6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:

Since you received Christ by faith; now, continue your Christian life by a constant trust
in Him. Life begins and proceeds upon the principle of faith. We are saved by faith and
we are to live by faith.

2 Corinthians 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to
God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

There is no way our relationship to God can be pleasing to Him unless we trust Him.
God wants us to trust Him. Apart from faith, we cannot please God. So, apart from faith,
it does not much matter what we do.

A very basic and simple fact of life is this: All of our valuable relationships in life are built
on trust. When a husband and wife stop trusting each other, they may continue to be
married, but they can no longer have a happy marriage. When two friends stop trusting
each other, they may continue to see each other, but they no longer have a true
friendship. If that is true in our human relationships, how much more true is it in our
relationship to God?

The Christian life starts with an act of faith. We believe that Christ will save us if we trust
in Him alone for our redemption.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

It is a promise that when I believe in Christ, I am given everlasting life. When I come to
the living God as a guilty sinner, who deserves hell, trusting in Jesus Christ and Him alone for my redemption, I am engaging in an act of faith. I have never seen God. I have
never seen this place called heaven, or this place called hell.

I have never seen Jesus Christ. But by faith, those things which I cannot see become realities to me. I gain assurance and conviction about things that my eyes cannot see. That is what faith is all about. But trusting God for my eternal salvation is only the beginning. It is the start of a journey that cannot be traveled successfully in any other way but by a growing faith. We must distinguish between saving faith and walking by faith. Many believers have trusted Christ for their salvation, but are not living in faith. They are not trusting God in each and every area of their lives.

How do we grow in faith? There are two main factors which determine the strength of
our faith.

First, is our knowledge of God.

Many of the troubles and difficulties the children of God experience in their lives is due
to a lack of knowledge about Him. That is how to develop strong faith. The more you
know God, the more you will trust Him:

Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

We need to study the Word that we may know Him. It is hard to trust someone you don’t know. Sadly, many children of God tend to base their personal relationship with God on
their performance, instead of on His grace. We need to understand that the life of the
child of God is a matter of grace.

We are brought into God’s eternal kingdom by grace, we are sanctified by grace, we are motivated to obedience by grace, we receive strength to live the Christian life by grace, and we receive both things of this world and spiritual blessings by grace. The entire Christian life is lived by grace. Living by grace means that you are free from the “performance treadmill.” It means that you do not have to try to earn God’s approval.

Know this, nothing you ever do will cause Him to love you any more or any less. You
are loved and accepted through the merit of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ rendered perfect
obedience to God, and you have received His righteousness by grace through faith.

In Romans 5:12-21, the key idea in these verses is our identification with Adam and
with Christ. Paul saw two men, Adam and Christ, each of them reigning over a kingdom.
In short, this section is a contrast of Adam and Christ. Adam was given dominion over
the old creation, he sinned, and he lost his kingdom. Because of Adam’s sin, all
mankind is under condemnation and death:

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;
and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

That was the position of every one of us, but now all of us who put our trust in Jesus
Christ, by grace through faith, are joined to Jesus Christ. He is our head and His
righteousness is imputed to us:

Romans 5:15-16 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the
offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which
is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift
is of many offences unto justification.

Because we are in Christ, all that belongs to Jesus Christ belongs to us:

Romans 5:17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which
receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one,
Jesus Christ.)

Do you see the emphasis of grace in these verses? Christ came as the King over a new
creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). By His obedience on the cross, He brought in
righteousness and justification. Christ not only undid all the damage that Adam’s sin
affected, but He accomplished much more by making us the very sons of God. Note
the phrase is repeated in verses, 9, 10, 15, 17 and 20. This means that
in Jesus Christ we have gained much more than we ever lost in Adam!

Romans 5:18-19 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to
condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men
unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners,
so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Your salvation and mine depends only, entirely, upon the obedience of Jesus Christ and
our faith in Him. The first factor which determines the strength of our faith is our knowledge of God.

The second factor which determines the strength of our faith is the application of
what we know.

A knowledge that never ventures out upon what it knows will never be a strong faith.

Luke 8:22-25 Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his
disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And
they launched forth. 23 But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm
of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. 24 And they
came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and
rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.
25 And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying
one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and
water, and they obey him.

The disciples in the boat during the storm were failing to apply their faith, and that is
why our Lord put His question to them in that particular form. He said, Where is your
faith? They had faith, but where was it? Why weren’t they applying it to the situation
that they were in? Their problem was they did not use the faith they had.

They were looking at the waves and the water coming in the boat. They were bailing it
out, but still more was coming in, and they cried out to Jesus, We perish. He said to
them, Where is your faith? They had seen Jesus do the miraculous. They should have
trusted Him.

In Colossians 2:6, received serves to stress the fact and decisiveness of their
reception of the gospel message about the person and work of Christ. The Colossians
had received the gospel centering on the Person of Christ.

Galatians 1:11-12 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me
is not after man. 12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the
revelation of Jesus Christ.

The Gospel which Paul preached came as a result of revelation. That is why he could
announce to the Thessalonians that:

1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because,
when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word
of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that
believe.

The Thessalonians received the truth verbally. In Colossians 2:6, Paul is encouraging his readers to continue following Christ in harmony with the sound teaching that had resulted in their conversion. The expression in verse seven, as ye have been taught adds further support to this idea that they had received doctrine taught them.

When we became a child of God, we welcomed the doctrine of Christ. The doctrine
concerning Christ is sufficient to meet any problem in the Christian life.

Paul is claiming that his teaching is the only place where we can find the truth about the
mystery of Christ. All these false teachers should be easy to spot, because they will
teach something other than what Paul had already proclaimed.
So, they had received Christ through the preaching of the Gospel. It was through the
reception of the truth of the Gospel message that they came to Christ:

Colossians 2:6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:

The point of this verse revolves around two little words, as and so. The as refers to
the point when they received the gospel of Christ. The so refers to continued abiding
in the truth that they had received.

Walk as you have received Christ as your Savior walk in Him. Do it now, continue to
walk in the Lord. It is literally saying, in Him be continually walking.

The position of  in Him stresses the fact of how we are to walk, in Him. It literally
means: to walk, and conduct one’s life. The term walk portrays the steady
progress of one’s life taken one step at a time. (I can remember my Dad telling me,
“just keep putting one foot in front of the other.) I am told that in Jewish thought, it was
and is the standard term for ethical conduct.

According to Scripture, our walk, our ethical conduct is to be like Christ’s:

1 John 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he
walked.

When faced with the dilemmas that confront the child of God in their daily lives, the
guideline should be, What would Jesus do?

So, in verse 6, Paul is telling the Colossians that they had received Christ by accepting
the truth of the Gospel, and they were to walk in that same truth.

Colossians 2:7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been
taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

Rooted: Rooted means, to cause to take root, to become firmly rooted or fixed. It suggests
the thought of something which took place in the past, but whose effects persist in the
present, and is therefore the first cause of their relationship with Jesus Christ (the received of the previous verse) which is the place from which their experience springs.

Built Up: Built up means, to build up, to build further or build on something. This describes
an ongoing process, a steady growth of the spiritual structure of the believer’s life. Since
the child of God is the recipient of God’s work in his or her life, we then depend upon the
Lord for growth and spiritual change.

The child of God is in the construction business. The image here is that of a building.
We must grow up by building on the foundation, which is Jesus Christ. Jude says that
we build strength into our lives by what we believe.

Jude 1:20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in
the Holy Ghost,

Stablished: The word stablished means: to make firm or make secure, to cause something to be known as certain, to confirm. It describes the continuous establishment or
strengthening that God gives when there is a Christ centered walk. God is the cause of
our certainty.

This stablishing comes as you have been taught. Teaching is the foundation for
stability. As we said earlier, we are strengthened in our faith through knowledge, and
this comes through teaching. Notice that the establishing is in the faith. Keep in mind that the context warns against false teaching and stresses their previous teaching; as you were taught. This refers to the faith, the body of revealed truth or the gospel message. This is a call not to merely hold the faith, but to grow in the knowledge of the faith as it reveals the person and work of Christ.

This is a call for continuous growth in the grace and knowledge of the Savior. The Apostle Paul talking about what we believe, not that we believe but what we believe. He is talking about knowing what we believe.

There is always a danger of false teaching. There was in that day, and there still is
today. It is vital for everyone who knows Jesus Christ to also know what they believe
about Him. You need to know what the Bible teaches about the Christian faith.

Thanksgiving:

Six times in this short epistle Paul focuses our thoughts on the fullness of Christ and our
completeness in Him. Paul emphasizes thankfulness six times, (1:3, 12; 2:7, 3:15, 16;
4:2). Thankfulness takes our thoughts away from our accomplishments and ourselves
as we grow and experience Christ. Thankfulness directs our thoughts to God and what
He has done and is doing for us in and through the Savior.

But we are not to just be thankful. We are to be abounding, constantly overflowing.
Abounding, stresses our responsibility to actively engage in thankful hearts. Overflowing
means, to be over and above, to abound, to be present in abundance. Believers who
are firmly rooted in Christ, being built up in Him, and established in their faith, will
overflow with gratitude to God:

Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually,
that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

Here we see that praise to God is defined as spiritual sacrifices. Do you spend time
sacrificing to God, how often do you thank him for all his blessings?

Psalms 47:6-7 Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing
praises. 7 For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.

Psalms 50:23 Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth [his]
conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.

Psalms 107:8 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his
wonderful works to the children of men!

We live in the midst of an unthankful people. (Many of them fill our church pew.) Many
people are miserable, and they show it. Some people are even proud of it. But if you’re
a child of God, one of the characteristics of your life ought to be that your heart is
overflowing with thankfulness. When people come in contact with you, instead of seeing
someone complaining, moaning and groaning, they should see someone who says, I
just want to thank God for all of His blessings in my life. He has blessed me beyond
anything I deserve. When people see people who are thankful, they wonder what it is
about that person that makes them that way. It’s Christ! If we know Jesus Christ, we
have so much to be grateful for.

One day someone robbed the great Bible commentator, Dr. Matthew Henry, as he
walked along a highway. Afterwards he told his friends there were four things for which
he gave thanks. First, he was grateful that he had never been robbed before. After
many years of life this was the first time he had been robbed, and for that he was
grateful. Second, he said, Though they took all my money, I am glad they did not get
very much. That was something for which to be thankful. Third, he said, Though they
took my money, they did not take my life, and I am grateful for that. Finally, he
suggested, I am thankful that it was I who was robbed, and not I who robbed. There
was a man who learned how to overflow with thankfulness! Gratefulness is a
distinguishing mark of the mature believer.

Conclusion: I opened today talking about Alice and I sharing God’s Word with each
other. It is important to us to allow His Word to be our basis for faith and practice.
How is your walk in the Lord? Are you rooted in Him? Are you building up in Him? Are
you stablished in the faith? We have His Word that teaches us, are you studying it? If
you are doing these things, it will be evidenced by your overflowing thanks for what He
has done for you. You will not be the victim of your circumstances.

The day is soon coming that our life on earth will be through. In God’s appointed time
He will call his children home. You may think, I still have a long time to live. Do not fool
yourself. The graveyard is full of people younger than you. Live for God. Read His
Word. Become stablished in the faith, as we have been taught. (There it is again,
Romans 15:4 ready begin…quote it.) Let us allow our faith to overflow in abundance.
Let us be thankful that others might see something in us that they need. Time is short.
Live for God.

Peace – Things to Remember and to Consider

Be certain to pray as a family, sing praises to God and read all the scripture noted in this attachment. Discuss the scripture. Grow in Christ together.

1 Peter 5:14 “Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are
in Christ Jesus. Amen.”

Introduction:  We live in a troubled world. Consider the turmoil that we are experiencing
with the Coronavirus Pandemic. This pandemic is virtually at the heart of almost every
conversation you hear or are a part of today. If the child of God is not aware, before too
long they will find their heart to be troubled as well, but God has promised peace to His
children.

There are some things we should remember.

First, remember God promised to give us peace. 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.” God provided us His Holy Spirit, the Comforter. He has
made provision of peace for us in this troubled world.

Second, remember to surround yourself with other children of God. Isaiah 48:22 “There
is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.” When we have conversations with those
that do not know God as their Savior, we sometimes allow the premise of their thoughts
to fashion our thoughts.

Third, remember we are at peace with God because of the blood of Jesus. Colossians
1:20 “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all
things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”
As hard as we may try, we can not produce lasting peace in our life. Only Jesus can do
that.

Fourth, remember the peace of God depends upon you. Colossians 3:15 “And let the
peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye
thankful.” Make note of that little word “let”. We have an all-powerful God that has
provided peace to us if we just access it. But many times, we are guilty of carrying a
burden or trouble that God intends to carry for us. Let the peace of God rule in your
heart.

Consider: Could it be we do not experience peace because we do not believe God? –

Romans 15:13 “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye
may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

As you discuss this virus with others, the underlying theme is a hope that it will soon be over. But this hope is based in a hope of mankind. Child of God, either we believe Him or we do not. He has promised to fill us with all joy and peace, in believing. This believing will cause us to be full of His hope. Not the hope of the world.

We are quick to believe His hope of salvation. Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call
upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” It was a wonderful thing to learn that God
would save us. Many were quick to grab hold of this truth. It takes others longer to
receive Him but most hope against hope that it was true.

Consider: We will have the peace of God once we realize that He is in control.

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the
world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

As humans we naturally are aware of the troubles of this world. The storms of this life, if you will. But remember, the same God that calmed the sea wants to calm your soul. He is in control. This virus did not catch God by surprise.

Consider: The peace of God comes through keeping our mind stayed upon Him.

Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he
trusteth in thee.”  

(Stayed – to lean upon or to rest in – not in self; not in circumstances.)
What do you think about all day long? How much time do you spend thinking of Him and
meditating on His Word?

Consider: That the peace Of God comes through spiritual mindedness – 

Romans 8:6 “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

And this is what you should have your mind set on, Philippians 4:8  “Finally, brethren,
whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good
report; if there be any virtue, and if[there be any praise, think on these things.”

Consider: That the peace of God comes through making peace –

2 Corinthians 13:11 “Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.”

How are things with your brothers and sisters in Christ? Is there any division between you? That ought not be for the Child of God. Make peace with one another.

Consider: That the peace Of God comes through prayer –

Philippians 4:6-7 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  (7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

How much time do you spend in prayer? Every thought and every concern, all of our requests should be made known unto God. How is this done? It is done by prayer. The result is we shall possess the peace of God that goes beyond all human comprehension.

Finally, consider: That the peace of God comes through obedience to Scripture –

Philippians 4:9 “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and
seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Romans 15:4, ready begin…quote it. How in the world do we expect to experience the peace of God that He promises us if we do not read and hide His Word in our hearts?

Conclusion:

Isaiah 32:17 “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect
of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.”

Have peace! Be at peace in God!

He is the Silent Conqueror

Read the crucifixion story: John 19:1- 20:18

Isaiah 53:7-9 “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth:
he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb,
so he openeth not his mouth. (8) He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who
shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the
transgression of my people was he stricken. (9) And he made his grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit
in his mouth.”

Introduction:

Today we celebrate Easter. For many in business this is a time to
merchandise and make gain. For others it is a day that eggs are boiled, colored and
hidden for our children to find. Still others would look to have family gather for fellowship
and food. To the child of God Easter means something totally different. It is the day we
celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This morning I want us
to consider Jesus as He suffered the cross. Together we will ruminate about Jesus as
he was on the cross.

Have you ever been accused of something you did not do? If you grew up in a home
with at least one sibling you definitely know what I am talking about. My parents were
very good at getting to the truth but oh how I dreaded that time from possible accusation
to the time that justice was properly served. I can remember how stressful it was as I
would plead my case that I was innocent.

Sometimes, we will read or hear about someone that was wrongly convicted. Much of
the time those wrongly convicted will spend years and even decades in prison. How
does this happen. In America today, there are at least six ways to be wrongfully
convicted. The first is to be misidentified by an eyewitness. This is the leading cause of
conviction. The other are; unvalidated forensic science, false confessions, jailhouse
informant testimony, police and prosecutorial misconduct, a poor defense lawyer and
bias.

That is what happened to Jesus some 2,000 years ago. He had not done anything
wrong. He had not committed any crimes. He had not hurt anyone. But those that were
in authority had decided he had to die. In order to do this, they had to make him guilty
so they falsely charged him and moved him from hearing to another. In the end they
were successful. Jesus was crucified on a cross between two thieves. But He did not
deserve to be there.

There is a common proclamation of those that have been wrongly accused. It goes
something like this, “I did not do it. I am not guilty. You have got the wrong person. They
are lying.” This is our normal human response. I can be very quiet at times but if this
were to happen to me, I would be talking to anyone and everyone that listen, explaining to them that I had been wrongly accused. But there was something different about
Jesus, the Bible tells us that…

1. He was silent.

“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as
a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not
his mouth.” Verse 7.

Someone said, “sometimes you are known by what you do not say.” Consider that
hundreds of years later this prophesy of Isaiah was fulfilled by Jesus as he was being
accused. We find these fulfillments of prophecy in the gospels. “But Jesus held his
peace…” Matthew 26:63. “And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he
answered nothing.” Matthew 27:12. “But he held his peace, and answered nothing.”
Mark 14:61. “But Jesus yet answered nothing; so that Pilate marvelled.” Mark 15:5.
“Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing.” Luke 23:9.
“And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But
Jesus gave him no answer.” John 19:9.

Jesus was standing before Pilate and Caiaphas as they accused Him and yet He did
not present a defense for Himself. It is interesting to note that Caiaphas had already
made up his mind about Jesus but Pilate had not.

Peter used Jesus as an example of how we are to respond when someone attacks our
faith when he wrote in 1 Peter 2:21-23, “For even hereunto were ye called: because
Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: (22)
Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: (23) Who, when he was reviled,
reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him
that judgeth righteously:”

When we are insulted our natural inclination is to return insult for insult. But Jesus never
said a word. He was scourged, had a crown of thorns pushed into His head, had nails
driven into His hands and His feet, was spat on and cursed at, yet He never said a
word.

If you ever want to know who you really are, just let someone mistreat you or mistreat
someone that you love. I am reminded of the saying, “love me, love my dog.” How many
times have you witnessed a normally calm person rise up in anger when someone has
misspoken or said something mean to or about their children? Many times, the real test
of our faith is what we do not do. Sometimes as a child of God, instead of saying
something, you should say nothing at all.

Jesus was silent and never responded to his accusers. Consider this is the same Jesus
that said, “…All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Matthew 28:19. He
could have called 10,000 legions of angels to Himself and yet He was silent. As Martin
Luther King Jr. once said, “We must say to our enemies, I love you. I would rather die
than hate you.” That is why Jesus was silent as He suffered the cross. He was doing it for all of mankind because He loves us. Not only was He silent as He suffered the cross
but…

2. He Was Unjustly Sentenced.

“He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation?
For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was
he stricken.” Verse 8.

The Jewish leaders were determined to kill Jesus. They paid Judas 30 pieces of silver
and arrested Jesus by cover of night. Where were the protestors that Jesus was
innocent? Who came to His defense? The answer is no one. Romans put him to death.
Isaiah said about Jesus that, “…he was cut off out of the land of the living:” Simply put,
Isaiah was saying that Jesus was a young man when he died. Jesus had only been on
the earth, in human form, for a little more than thirty years.

If we were discussing someone that had died in their early thirties, we would probably
say something like, “they died before their time.” “They had so much potential.” “They
were destined for greatness.” That was not the case with Jesus Christ.
There has been only one person in the history of the world that never left behind any
unfinished business, the Man Christ Jesus. Remember when Jesus died, He said, “…It
is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” John 19:30. He
successfully completed the work that He came to do. Jesus paid the full price for our
sins. The work of salvation had been completed. That is the “finished work” of Jesus
Christ. There was nothing more that Jesus could do. There is nothing we can do. He
has died and now…

3. He Made His Grave with the Wicked.

“And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had
done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.” Verse 9.

This begs the question, “How can Jesus be buried with the wicked and yet be rich in His
death?” Sometimes you wonder as the men of God penned the words provided them by
the Holy Spirit if they considered their meaning. It is easy to understand that a wicked
person would be buried in obscurity but the rich are buried and given headstones or
large monuments.

How then, could Jesus be counted with both the wicked and the rich in His burial? R. T.
Kendall, a Baptist preacher said that Jesus fulfilled this prophecy three ways: First,
when Barabbas, a genuine criminal, was set free, and Jesus quite literally died in his
place. Second, when He died alongside of the two criminals who were also crucified
that day at Calvary. Third, when He died for sinners everywhere by taking their iniquity
upon Himself. “…and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6. “But
God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8. “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the
ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Romans 4:5.

Jesus lived a sinless life but upon His death was to be buried with the wicked but he
was actually buried in the tomb of a rich man, Joseph of Arimathea, Matthew 27:57-60.
Again, you have the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy in Jesus Christ.
So, how was Jesus to die?

4. He Was Bruised

Isaiah 53:10-12 “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when
thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his
days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. (11) He shall see of the
travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant
justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. (12) Therefore will I divide him a portion
with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out
his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin
of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

These three verses answer the question, “Why did Jesus die?” Each verse gives us one
part of the answer. We already listed the first part of the answer, He was bruised.
According to the Bible God takes responsibility for the death of Jesus Christ. “Yet it
pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief:” Is there one parent among us
that would take pleasure in putting their son to death? Yet is was the will of God that He
bruise His own Son. It was the will of God that His Son should be put to grief.
Revelation 1:18 reminds us, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive
for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”
We must understand that the death of Jesus is not the end of the story. In fact, it is just
getting started.

5. He Shall Be Satisfied.

“He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my
righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” Verse 11

After He has suffered, He shall see and shall be satisfied. Not only was there physical
suffering of our Lord, He experienced emotional suffering as well. Consider Matthew
26:39, “And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my
Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou
wilt.” Jesus was fully aware of the physical pain, torment and death He would ultimately
suffer. This caused Him emotional suffering knowing beforehand what was about to
happen to Him.

The key to verse 11 is, “He shall see the travail of his soul…” Just as a mother travails
in giving birth, going through death’s gate, Christ knew the travail of His soul would cause many to be justified. Romans 3:28 says, “Therefore we conclude that a man is
justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”

In an interview Michael Bloomberg said, “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to
heaven I am not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my
place in heaven. It is not even close.”

Whether you are a billionaire or the poorest of sinners going to heaven has nothing to
do with our goodness. The only way to heaven is to admit that you do not deserve to go
there. You must confess your sin to God and call upon His mercy by faith to save you.
6. He will be Given a Portion of the Spoil

“Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the
strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the
transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the
transgressors.”

Because of His suffering, the servant shall be exalted. In military terms God says that
Jesus will divide the spoils of victory. Like a soldier returning triumphantly from the
battle. What does He mean when He says, “…and he shall divide the spoil with the
strong…” The strong are those that have been justified.

By way of illustration, recall the story of David and Goliath. David fought for the
Israelites and Goliath fought for the Philistines. David won and when he did the whole
army of Israel won with him. David won the battle and the Israelites shared the spoils of
victory. It is the same with Jesus and us. It has been said, “The devil could not stop
Him. The cross could not defeat Him and the grave could not hold Him.

Philippians 2:8 tells us, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and
became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” It is because of that truth
that God has exalted His Son to the very highest level. So that one day every knee shall
bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Read Philippians 2:9-11.
As we draw near to the end of this message the reader must consider what Easter truly
means to them. Jesus was the only righteous man to have ever lived upon the face of
this earth. In all my years I have been witness to many persons with different degrees of
moral integrity but I have never seen a perfect man outside of the Word of God. His
reward for living a perfect life was the Cross of Calvary. But He did it on purpose as
stated in Romans 5:8. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were
yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Make note of the word “yet” as Christ died for us while
we were sinners. You know why He did? Because that is the only way sinners can be
saved.

So, Easter, what does that mean to me? How does it benefit me to know that the
celebration of Easter truly means that we are remembering the death of someone who
died 2,000 years ago?

If I have not made it clear, let me do so now. Easter is not just about remembering the
death of Jesus Christ, but rejoicing in His power over death, hell and the grave and
rejoicing in His resurrection. You see Christ is risen; He is risen indeed. He is the
conqueror over death, hell and the grave. He is the giver of New Life, He provides
Living Water, He is the Justifier.
I have heard it said by preachers that, the door to heaven is marked, “For Sinners Only.”
If you are a sinner, you can come in. Christ died for sinners like you and me. “Come
now, let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be
as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18.
God promises that, “…the blood of Jesus Christ his Son Cleanseth us from all sin.” 1
John 1:7.

Rejoice today in the Risen Savior. Remember what it cost Him.

Do What I Can-Pray

Be certain to pray as a family, sing praises to God and read all the scripture noted
in this attachment. Discuss the scripture. Grow in Christ together.

Coronavirus Numbers Update
Last week’s numbers are in red. This week’s numbers are in blue. At the time of my
writing this to you last week more than 400,000 (932,760) (1,495,051 today’s total)
people worldwide have been infected with the Coronavirus. At least 18,000 (46,840)
87,469 today’s total) people have died. The death rate per persons infected varies from
3.5% to 4.5%, depending upon your source. Italy has the highest number of deaths at
6,077 (13,155) (17,669). In the United States there have been 43,214 (212,980)
(425,107) reported cases with 533 (4,759) (14,262) deaths. This means that 1.23%
(2.23%) (3.35%) of all those infected in our country die.

Above is the updated Coronavirus update as of today. Please forgive me as I am one of
those number people. Like many of you I am constantly running calculations in my mind.
Now, I have only listed this information to keep you informed. Do not allow them to
frighten you. Remember, whether you what to know what the numbers are or not, they
are what they are. I just happen to be one of those people that thinks in numbers.

“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” (Luke 18:1)

Introduction:

From the beginning of time, men have prayed,

“And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.” (Genesis 4:26)

In all types of places, at all times and in every conceivable situation, men have prayed. All people,
saved and lost have spent massive amounts of time in the pursuit of prayer. However,
only a small percentage of people have made prayer their priority. It is easy to recognize
that have as they stand out as bright lights in a dark world.
Many have chosen to pray when it was convenient, or when they were undergoing a time
of great stress and trial. Yet, it is clear from this verse that Jesus wants prayer to hold a
preeminent place in our lives. God expects us to be in constant contact with Him.

What is prayer?

1. Prayer Is an Invitation to God – Not coercion, not coaxing, but simply inviting God to
take over. It is me admitting my weakness and His power. Read about Jairus, Mark 5:
22-23.

And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet, And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.”

2. Prayer is Work – True prayer may require you to get up early, or stay up late, 1
Thessalonians 5:17.

“Pray without ceasing.”

3. Prayer Is A Battle – Satan does not fear nor withstand our prayerlessness, but he will
bitterly oppose our prayer efforts. Prayer is our greatest weapon in the battle between
good and evil, Ephesians 6:12.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

4. Prayer Is Power – Consider as examples, Moses, Daniel, The Three Hebrew Children,
Elijah, Paul and Silas. Prayer is the greatest power we have upon this earth.

I. PRAYER MUST BE A PRIORITY

A. This theme is repeated throughout the Bible, Luke 18:1 and Romans 12:12. We are to
remain in a constant spirit of prayer.

B. There are many examples of those that made prayer a priority.
1. Job – Job 1:5; 42:10.
2. Abraham – Genesis 12:7-8; 13:4-18; 22:9
3. Moses – Psalm 90:1-17
4. David – The Psalms are filled with many references to David’s prayer life. One
example is Psalm 86:1-17. Consider how David spoke to God.
5. Elijah – 1 Kings 17:1; 18:36-38
6. Daniel – Daniel 6:10
7. Jesus – Matthew 26:36-39; Mark 1:35; Luke 6:12, 9:18, 29. Jesus relied on prayer.

Consider, if the Son of God had need to pray, how much more do we?

C. Jesus takes it for granted that His people are going to pray – Matthew 6:5

D. Is prayer a priority in your life? It should be, for it is your lifeline to the Father.
Matthew 11:25-26.

II. PRAYER MUST BE A PREREQUISITE

A. We should do nothing in any area of life without first taking the time to saturate the
matter in prayer.

B. Even Jesus preceded His activity with prayer.

1. Before feeding the 5,000 – John 6:11
2. Before raising Lazarus from the dead – John 11:41
3. Before His trial and crucifixion – Luke 22:41-45
4. Before becoming sin on the cross for us – Luke 23:34

III. PRAYER MUST BE PRACTICED

A. To make prayer truly effective, we must practice prayer. We must get ourselves busy
in the business of prayer! There are too may needs and too little time!

B. Pray at every decision. The time will come when you will find yourself in desperation
and must hear from God.

C. Remember, weak praying begets weak living! We must be diligent in our praying if we
want to be effective for the Lord.

Romans 15:4 (Quote it.) Tonight, I wanted to remind you all that our greatest power
source is through prayer. Do not allow the comforts we experience living in this great
country dull you to the fact that God provides our very heart beat.

As we continue this strange walk and strive to do what we can to keep our selves and
our loved ones safe, remember do not be afraid, 2 Timothy 1:7. Remember, He has
given us power, love and a sound mind.

Do what you can, pray!