Category: Pauline epistles–BibleTrekToday

Actively share your faith!

Scripture reading for October 12th:  Philemon

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Philemon 3-7  “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints.  I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.  Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.”

Paul wrote this short letter to a friend, Philemon, who had a run-away slave that was now a believer and a helper of Paul as he was imprisoned.  Paul wrote to appeal to Philemon to do what was right by this new convert whom Paul considered a “son”.  Paul commended Philemon and his friends for their faith and love for all the saints.  It gave Paul joy to know that his friend was refreshing the hearts of fellow-believers.  Paul especially encouraged Philemon and prayed that he would be active in sharing his faith.  This would bring a fuller understanding to his own life of God’s great gift and His heart of love for all men.

Observations for over-comers:  Faith and love are key ingredients in the lives of over-comers.  Faith and love energize evangelism and evangelism grows our faith and love!  “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”  (Proverbs 11:25)

 

 

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Thank God for His Mercy!

Scripture reading for October 11th:  Titus 3

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Titus 3:4-7  “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.  We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.  But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”

We all have pasts that we are not proud of.  They are marked by sin and disobedience along with the broken relationships that that brings with it.  But God, who is rich in mercy, showed His kindness and love to us through revealing His Son, Jesus Christ!  Jesus saved us by washing our souls with His own blood and giving us the gift of eternal life!  We are now new creations in Christ and heirs of the promises of God our Father!  We have gone from the rags of sin’s clothing to the riches of God’s mercy!

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers live in a state of constant thankfulness for God’s mercy.  Out of this thankfulness, we can live productive lives of obedience and bring glory to God.  “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His Name alone is exalted; His splendor is above the earth and heavens.  He has raised up for His people a horn, the praise of all His saints, of Israel, the people close to His heart.”  (Psalm 148:13-14)

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The Glorious Appearing!

Scripture reading for October 10th:  Titus 2

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Titus 2: 11-14  “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.”  

God’s great grace, extended to all who will repent and believe, has appeared to all men.  This grace is the forgiveness of all sin and guilt and a gift of eternal life with an immediate down payment through the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit. This grace teaches us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions.  We now choose to live life in the newness of God’s Spirit and are ever conscious of the immanent return of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Our “blessed hope” motivates us to be found pure and holy and doing what He has commanded!

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers live in expectation of the immanent appearing of our glorious God and Savior, Jesus Christ! “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was One like a Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven.  He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into His presence.  He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”  (Daniel 7:13-14)

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Elders are entrusted with God’s work!

Scripture reading for October 7th:  Titus 1

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Titus 1:6-9  “An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.  Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless–not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.  Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.  He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.”

Every organization needs sound leadership.  The Church of Jesus Christ is no different and Paul instructed Titus about choosing sound leaders that could be entrusted with God’s word and work.  First, the elder-leader must be above reproach in the community and family that he leads.  He must be the husband of ‘one’ wife!   He should have taught his children to believe and instilled God’s word in their lives.  His personal habits and character will be known by those living near him and he must have a good reputation–not doing things that are destructive and doing good to his family and others.  He must have a good grasp of God’s word and sound doctrine.

Observations for over-comers:  Information and application of God’s word go hand-in-hand with an over-coming life.  Believers should strive for a blameless reputation.  “I will be careful to lead a blameless life–when will You come to me?  I will walk in my house with blameless heart.  I will set before my eyes no vile thing.”  (Psalm 101:2-3)

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Preach the Word!

Scripture reading for October 6th:  2nd Timothy 4

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  2nd Timothy 4:1-5  “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge:  Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction.  For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.  Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.  But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”

Paul’s final instructions to Timothy were plain and to the point!  As a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Timothy must preach the Word and fulfill the calling that God had placed on his life.  Paul reminded Timothy that Jesus would judge all men and would appear suddenly to manifest His kingdom.  He warned Timothy that preaching would be more difficult in the last days.  He must not scratch ‘itching ears’ but give them the truth with great patience.

Observations for over-comers:  The last days will be difficult for believers who are preaching and living the truth.  Press on to fulfill your calling because the reward will be worth it when Christ appears!  “Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High.  His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom and all rulers will worship and obey Him.”  (Daniel 7:27)

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Pay attention to the Holy Scriptures!

Scripture reading for October 5th:  2nd Timothy 3

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  2nd Timothy 3: 12-17 “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.  But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have know the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Paul did not pamper Timothy with smooth words or flattery.  He told him straight out that persecution would follow all who lived a godly life in Christ.  The world would not get progressively better, but would get worse!  This would require a strong commitment to live by faith in the word of God that had been taught by godly believers in Timothy’s life.  The Holy Scriptures provide the sound foundation of faith in Christ Jesus needed to over-come the terrible times of the last day!  They equip the disciple of Jesus to do the good work prepared for them by the Holy Spirit.

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers esteem God’s word and those godly teachers who instructed them.  “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.  The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.  The precepts of the Lord are right giving joy to the heart.  The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.” (Psalm 19:7-8)

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Pass it on!

Scripture reading for October 4th:  2nd Timothy 2

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  2nd Timothy 2:1-3  “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.  Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.”  

Paul urged Timothy, in this last letter before his being martyred, to stand strong in the grace that is in Jesus.  It is not our works, serving, or gifts that will take us through to the ultimate victory.  Grace is found in resting in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.  As for Timothy’s pastoral ministry, Paul encouraged Timothy to find other reliable men (and women) who would be qualified and entrusted with the gospel message of grace to in turn teach others.  Successful ministry is all about multiplication of disciples who will in turn take the gospel to others and find others to take it to their circle of influence!  The Church of Christ Jesus is propelled forward by multiplication!

Observations for over-comers:  Mature disciples of Jesus Christ are working to raise up others who will reliably and with determination multiply and make other disciples.  “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.  He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.”  (Psalm 126:5-6)

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Fan your Gift into Flame!

Scripture reading for October 3rd:  2nd Timothy 1

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  2nd Timothy 1:6-10  “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.  So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me His prisoner.  But join with me in suffering for the Gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace.  This grace was given us in Christ Jesus  before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.”

 Paul encouraged Timothy and us to fan our gift into full flame!  The Holy Spirit is not timid but bold, loving, and disciplined to accomplish God’s will by using us and the gifts of the Spirit given us by God’s grace.  We may face suffering and even death, but Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought immortality to light for us who know Him and have believed!

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers purposefully develop the gifts God has given them for His glory and purpose and boldly live and preach the Gospel of God’s grace in Jesus Christ.  “I will bow down toward Your holy temple and will praise Your Name for your love and Your faithfulness, for You have exalted above all things Your Name and Your Word.  When I called, You answered me; You made me bold and stouthearted.”  (Psalm 138:2-3)

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The Good ‘Fight’!

Scripture reading for September 30th:  1st Timothy 6

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  1st Timothy 6:6-12  “But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.  People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.  Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.  But you, man of God, flee from all this and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of the faith.”  

Paul knew that there were false teachers in the church at Ephesus where Timothy was pastor.  These false teachers stirred up strife through controversies and quarrels and brought friction into the church.  They were preaching false doctrine with an underlying love of money and desire to get rich off God’s people!  They brought the spirit of Satan and the world into Christ’s church and drew away disciples with their sensual teaching.  Paul warned Timothy to flee from this worldly and demonic spirit and pursue righteousness and godliness.  He was to fight a good fight of faith!

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers flee the traps of Satan and the flesh and pursue God with vibrant faith!  The best defense is a great offense!  “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.  He alone is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Fortress, I will never be shaken.”  (Psalm 62:1-2)

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Treat widows with respect!

Scripture reading for September 29th:  1st Timothy 5

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  1st Timothy 5:3-5, 7-8  “Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need.  But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.  The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help.  . . .Give the people these instructions, too, so that no one may be open to blame.  If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

God cares for hurting people and widows are mentioned often in God’s word as those who deserve attention from God’s people.  Widows who have family should be cared for by family members–children and grandchildren.  This pleases God and is His will and plan.  In fact, if you don’t care for widows (and orphans) in your own family, God considers you worse than an unbeliever!  But widows who have no one but the brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus are to receive aid from them.  God’s hands are found in the members of His body, the Church!  How the Church needs this instruction!

Observations for over-comers:  True religion is caring for widows and orphans!  Over-comers know and apply God’s instructions to their own family and God’s family!  “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.  Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor.  In your hearts do not think evil of each other.'”  (Zechariah 7:9-10)

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