Walk in the Light

Eph 5:8-14

For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

There was a time that I walked inn darkness.  I did not know Jesus even though I had been raised in the church.  I knew about Jesus, but I did not know Him.  I did not know about His power to save.  I did not know that He died for me.  I did not know He took the sins poof the world on His back.  I did not know His wounds healed me.  There was so much I did not know.

But light was shed on my path.  Once the light dispelled the darkness, I could see Jesus for who He really was.  And once I knew that, I had a choice to make.  Choose darkness, or choose light.  To me, that was an easy choice.  I chose light.  So now I must walk in the light.  I must allow the truth of the gospel to show me the way to live.  I am a child of that  light, and I must listen as  a child listens to their parents.  The light will guide me to better things in God, and that is what I desire.  The Spirit will lead  me as I  walk in the light, and will guide me to  what is good, and right, and true.  That is the only way I can prove what is acceptable to the Lord.  And I have a call to prove that, so the world will know  what is acceptable to the Lord.

11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

Fellowship means friendly association.  I have no right to associate with the works of darkness any longer.  And I should have no desire for those things.  Remember, darkness cannot exist where light is.  Reprove means to reprimand or to correct a fault.  When I find these things in my life, I must take action to rid myself of them.  The works of darkness need to be eradicated from my life.  Unfortunately, I still have a level of pride within me that  says I can have those things, God won;t care.  I need to guard against that attitude on a continual basis, and make sure if my pride gets the better of me, that I now only put that down, but also put down any other area of darkness that might creep in.  This is a continual vigil.

We must keep our mind and thoughts clear of these  things.  That is why Paul tells us not to even speak of such things.  He knows what we speak has power and can infiltrate our minds very easily.  The darkness that is in this world seems to get darker all the time.  More eyes are blinded to the light by our enemy.  They cannot even see the light dimly in the distance, they are so encased in the darkness.  Those who can’t even get a dim view of God need our prayers.

13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

When we correct those things in our life that don’t belong, the light will shine on them for what they truly are.  We will see the error of our ways, and realize that once again, by His mercy, He has spared us.  Many times it may take a trial or a test to make us aware there is  something in our lives that is displeasing to Him.  He is so gracious that He will allow us to see it in the midst of the storm, and then He will calm the storm around us.  He s patient with us, and allows us time to work through those things from the darkness we were once in that may still influence our lives.  What a loving God we serve.

Lastly, Paul tells us to awake from sleep, and arise from the dead, and He Jesus will give us light.  When we come to realize what is holding us back from fully  committing to Him, we wake up.  We start to allow Him greater access to our life – we open the doors in our life and allow Him to shine His light in.  Once His light shines in that room, there is no turning back.  We must deal with that area of our life that He is asking us to give Him.  We need to be in the Light!  This is an old one, but a good one!

 

 

 

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Four Steps

Ephesians 1:13-16

13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Paul uses an interesting sequence here.   First they trusted, then they heard the gospel, then they believed and then they were sealed with the Holy Spirit. What a beautiful way to say how it actually happens in our lives.

The first thing that comes about is we have to trust the messenger. We probably have all been to different venues where we say I don’t really trust the messenger.  He does not sound sincere.  He’s arrogant, or he’s not preaching very well.   We don’t know who that person is, we don’t know their background and their preaching something that we haven’t heard before. So we don’t necessarily trust them. Paul says first they trusted. This is important. We must win the trust of those that people before we witness to them.  They have to believe that were authentic and that we are speaking out of love.

Second Step – they heard the truth = the gospel. We must be preaching the gospel wherever we go. I see so many churches they don’t preach the gospel anymore. They don’t talk about the blood. They don’t talk about the need for personal commitment to Christ. If we will preach the word of Truth then we will see people saved.
Third step – then they believed. Of course this is an all-important step. We always pray that when we present the gospel that some will believe. Typically if we go into a church preaching, we figure most of the people there are already saved. But we never know which ones are and which ones aren’t.  It’s important that we share the Gospel wherever we go. I’ll always remember the day a regular churchgoer who was 77 years old went to the altar in our Assembly of God Church and received Christ. I had always assumed that he was saved. Never make that assumption
So they trusted in the word and then they believed.  Then they’re sealed by the Holy Spirit, who brings the promise of God. The promise is heaven and if we have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior we are bound for heaven.  I happened to be one that believes you can lose that. There are too many scriptures that tell us we can lose our place in heaven.  Even Jesus said there will be some who call him Lord that won;t go to heaven.  We must continue in His word to attain that.
So remember these steps.  First you have to gain their trust.  Then you have to preach the word – the gospel.  Then they have to believe.  Then the Holy Spirit seals them. This is how it works and this is what we need to see happening in our world today.

14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

The word earnest here can throw us off/  what it means is a large part of a payment given in advance as a security so that the whole will be paid afterwards (Strong’s Concordance). The earnest of our inheritance is the holy spirit of promise. It makes the payment into our lives that eventually we will reach heaven, even though right now we are still on this earth for a time. That payment has been made into heaven to secure a place.
In the day of the Lord, Christ will come back and will take us home to heaven. That’s what Paul talks about the Redemption of the purchased possession. That will be the day that the payment is paid in full for a home in heaven.  We will be completely redeemed and not just redeemed on this earth but redeemed in heavenly places as well, because we have been bought with a price.  We are the purchased possession. And all of this will be done to bring him glory and praise

15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love

unto all the saints,

16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

Paul was pleased with the Ephesians and the love that they had for the Saints. He continually gave thanks for them because they are displaying what Jesus called for -love of their fellow man. Jesus said they will know we are Christians by our love to one another (John 13:35). How important it is that the church learn this today. We must love each other and not get into these silly squabbles between denominations. The church is so broken.  It’s no wonder that the culture is leaving us behind. We must find a way to get together and love one another.
Paul’s way of giving thanks for them is to pray for them. This should be our calling card as well. Praying for those who are doing what God is asking them to do. Pray for our pastors. Pray for our missionaries. Pray for evangelist. Pray for the worship leaders. Pray for those who are in a uthority in our denomination. These are all people that have made it possible for us to have a place to worship. We must lift them up in prayer

The Mystery of His Will

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

A lot of what Paul says in Ephesians is everyday Christian knowledge. It is good to review the basics once in awhile. In Christ we have redemption through the blood of Jesus. He forgave us of our sins. We did nothing to deserve it. It was by the riches of his grace. And he has abounded that Grace to us in all wisdom.

 I am so glad for the grace of God.  When I try to define Grace I usually use the acronym God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. He bore a terrible death so that I could have God’s riches. He willingly went to the cross. He could have called ten thousand angels when they tried to take him in the garden but He did not.  He knew the future He faced and He did not back away from it. When He was praying in the garden,  He knew what He was going to have to face and He did not back away from it.

Still today, He abounds His grace toward us. He uses His wisdom and His prudence to shower us with grace every single day in the areas where we need it. God is not obliged to give us anything. It’s all by grace that He provides for our daily needs. We can go all the way back to Noah and realize that God can destroy this earth anytime He wants to. But He loves people so much that He won’t do that.  He said He never will flood the Earth again, and I’m glad

Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

Paul says God has made known to us the mystery of his will. Do you know the mystery of his will? I know a lot of Christians that say “I need to find God’s will for my life”. Well I’m here to tell you today that His will is sitting right in front of you.  You’re reading out of it every single day hopefully. What is the mystery? The mystery is that we can miss it so easily!  What did Jesus come to do? He saved the lost, he healed the sick, opened blinded eyes, made the lame to walk, set the captive free and proclaimed the good news. And He told that the things we have seen him do,  we should do, and that we will do greater things. That’s His will. Then He told us to go into all the world and preach the gospel.  That’s His will.

Eventually Jesus will return and ,Paul says, in the fullness of time  He wants to gather us all together. But,, until that time we have work to do.  We need to see that people find Christ. That’s His will for our lives. To go out and find souls that are lost and bring them into the kingdom.  We need to ask God to heal, deliver them, and sanctify them, just like He has done for us.  Then we give thanks to God.  Start right where you are, and if God has more for you to do, He will let you know.  His will is right in front of you!    It’s really pretty simple. Why do we make it so complex.

11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

WI discussed predestination last lesson, so I will not go back into that.  Paul adds here that we have obtained an inheritance. How did we obtain an inheritance? How many of you know that a will does not go into force until the one who left the will has died? I bet all of you answered yes to that one. Well the word of God is God’s will. And the Word was made flesh and came and dwelt among us (John 1:14). His name is Jesus. And Jesus went to the cross and died.  When Jesus died, God’s will then came into force. It became our inheritance. That’s another reason why it is our duty  to carry out His will.  But along with that, we inherited all the blessings of the word.  The fruit of the spirit (Gal 5:22-23), the gifts of the spirit (I Cor 12:8-10), the blessings of obedience (Deut 28:1-13).  I could go on and on.  I have  a few friends who are talking about reading through the bible this year, and this is one reason that is a good idea – you will get to read all the blessings that are ours because of this inheritance.

Now we are not to carry out this will to glorify ourselves and bring praise to our lives! We do all these things in order to bring glory to Jesus Christ and God the Father. He deserves all the praise and all the glory because He’s the one that makes it possible. Never forget that

The End of Our Journey

Philippians 4:20-23

20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

21 Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you.

22 All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household.

23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Paul ends his letter to the Philippians with some greetings. First, he gives glory to God. Once again, I have to mention that Paul is in prison in Rome when he writes this letter. And he says unto God be the glory forever and ever. I guess I figure if Paul can give glory to God from a prison cell I sure can give glory to God wherever I am and whatever situation I might be in. It saddens me when I meet people who can’t praise God because something’s going on in their lives. What happens to us and what situations we are in does not make any difference to the fact that God deserves Our Praise. He is always Worthy.

Paul asks the Philippians to greet all the saints. I think typically these letters went to the leaders of the church and they read them out loud to the congregation. I’m not sure if the letters were passed around or not. They were considered precious coming from Paul. Paul also sends greetings from those that are with him. The interesting thing here is that Paul says the Saints salute them, especially those that are of Caesar’s household. From this I have to assume that Paul has converted some of the soldiers, and members of Caesar’s own house, to Christianity. How amazing is that. Even in his confinement Paul is preaching the gospel. I hope that when I get into tough situations I will never cease to preach the gospel.

Paul ends the letter with the same words that he started it with in chapter 1 verse 2. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. We need his grace every single day. Not a moment goes by then we could possibly live without his grace abiding over our lives. Paul knew that grace was the key element of the Gospel. I’ve heard it said that most of the major religions on this Earth have a lot of the same attributes and the same laws. The one thing that sets Christianity apart is the message of Grace. No other religion has that defining characteristic of sacrifice. Let’s be glad for the grace of God.

This ends our study in Philippians. I hope that you have gotten as much out of it as I have. I have learned a lot studying through this book. I’m not sure what I’m going to do next. Probably concentrate on my other blogs for now. I’m going to put this blog in one of my other websites. Maybe sometime in the future I will start another book of the Bible study. I’m glad you came along with me as we traveled through Philpppians. God bless you all

God Will Do What?

Philippians 4:19

19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

 

Paul is a master at using the right words.  Here, I love the fact that he says “My God”.  He does not say our God, or your God or just God.  You might say why is that a big deal?   Here’s how I see it.

The Philippians knew that Paul’s God had delivered him from Prison right there in Philippi.  They knew that his God knocked him off a horse and blinded him on the road to Damascus in an amazing conversion experience.  They knew that Paul had been beaten and stoned and shipwrecked, and his God had kept him in every situation.  They knew that Paul trusted his God without question.  Paul was always taken care of by his God.

Now they had heard Paul talk about his God, and those in the church had accepted his God as their own.  But they had no personal experience with this God, not like Paul had. Oh, some may have experienced healing, or answered prayer, but not like Paul.  So Paul lets them know that his God, the one that had been faithful to him, would supply all their needs.  If Paul had said your God, they might not have had as much faith to believe, but they know what Paul’s God had done.

It makes me wonder if I shouldn’t use that term with people who have little faith.  Right now, I might say God will hear your prayers.  But if they have little faith, will they believe God can do that?  Whereas if I share what God has done for me, and tell them My God can do it for you, will that strengthen their faith?  Something to ponder!

The second things about this verse is that God will supply our needs, not our wants.  I see a lot of Christians use this verse to claim God’s provision on things that clearly are not needs.  To me, this is very presumptive.  Isn’t God graceful enough without presuming He is just some magic machine that will give us whatever we want?  People use Psalm 37:4 the same way “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give the desires of our heart”.  I believe this verse means He will give you His desires in your heart, not that he will give you whatever your heart desires.  Matt 6:33 tells us that is we seek first the kingdom of God and Hs righteousness, all these things (he necessities of life) will be added to us.  Nothing about wants – just needs.

Can we learn to be content with our needs met?  Or must we have a God who meets our wants as well?  For me, I prefer to be happy when He supplies my needs – that is gracious enough.  I don’t really deserve anything from God!

All of this is according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  It is Christ who made it possible.  Jesus Christ paid the price at Calvary when He willingly laid down His life to redeem me from my sin.  if I want this verse to apply to my life, I need to accept that sacrifice as a substitute for me and my sin, and allow Jesus to be Lord of my life.  Th promise of this verse is BY Christ Jesus, meaning that Christ is an integral part of the promise.  By Christ Jesus means that He is the vehicle through which these needs will be supplied.  I need to have Him active in my life to claim this promise.  What an awesome God we serve, that He would take time to meet my needs!

Look For the Fruit

Philippians 4:17-18

17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.

18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus

 the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell,

a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.

 

 

 

Have you ever been in a position where you go to a church and an evangelist was just asking for money to fill their own pockets? We have seen a little bit of that in the church in this modern day haven’t we? We have to be careful about giving to ministries that we are not real familiar with. It might even cause us to question the missionaries that our church supports. Maybe we have an evangelist and we’re a little leery about giving the evangelist any of our hard-earned money.

They did not have to worry about that with Paul. He wasn’t asking for their support because he needed the money. He was asking for their support so that they could be fruitful. Paul new the concept of sowing and reaping. He knew that if they gave more would be given to them. And he wanted the church to be blessed.  This was always his top priority.

We all work hard for our money. So, we want to be real careful where we give it. The best gauge of how a ministry is doing is the fruit that they bring in.  Our church supports a missionary in Mexico who is doing unbelievable work for the ministry. He’s raising up pastors and he has an orphanage where he has children learning Christian ways.  He even receives mercy and grace from the drug cartels because of the wonderful work he’s doing in the area. He’s definitely worth putting my money behind. It’s important that we give to ministries that are producing fruit.

Paul said he had plenty.  Epaphroditus brought the offering that the Philippians sent and it really blessed Paul.  He said it was an acceptable sacrifice and well pleasing to God. Wouldn’t you like to hear that about your offering? I would admonish you to look at the ministries that  you’re supporting right now. If they’re producing fruit that’s great – stick with them.  If they’re not, perhaps you should look for a different ministry to support. I know that’s a hard thing to say but we want to be like the people of Philippi and give an acceptable offering that’s well pleasing to God.

Jesus, Use Me

Philippians 4:14-16

14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.  15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.  16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.

 

Paul was a man of faith. He said that when he departed from Macedonia there was no guarantee of any financial help for his trip except for the Philippians. They had communicated with him about offerings they had taken to help him in his ministry. Paul was very appreciative of this and told them that that they did well.

Do we communicate to our pastor or board of directors in our church about the various gifts and abilities that we have? I know that many churches are dying for people to step forward and do the work that needs to be done. I’ve heard it said that 80% of the people do 20% of the work and 20% of the people do 80% of the work. Sometimes I think in churches it’s more like 10% and 90%. What talents do you have that are not being used by the church right now? Can you sing? Are you in the choir? Do you let the pastor know you had a special music? Can you teach? Are you teaching a class in the church? Are you good with organization? Could you help with special services or special occasion planning? Are you gifted in doing the work of a mechanic of some sort?   Have you volunteered your services to the church or the parishioners when they need it? This list could go on and on and on but I think you get the idea. We need to be doing all we can to help our churches out. We need to communicate with the pastor and let him know that we’re willing. I guess that’s the next question. Are you willing to share your talents with the church and with its parishioners? I know some Churches have auto mechanics who will fix cars for people if they break down and not charge them. I know others that the men will get together and paint houses. Somebody has to organize that.  What are you doing with your gifts? Do you recognize that God gave them to you so that you can be a blessing to others? Are you just happy to be able to use them yourself?

Listen to the spirit.  God will reveal to you if you’re supposed to be using your talents in a certain area. Sometimes I we can’t hear what God is saying in the chaos of everyday life. Take time to be still and listen to God and then act upon whatever he tells you. He will speak to you.  If you come to him with a broken Spirit and say “Lord, I want you to use my gift to bless others”. God will do just that1 I have no doubt my mind!