Peace and Harmony

 

These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you. Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone. Titus 2:15-3:2

Paul ends the section that he began in v. 1:5 with these words. It seems clear at this point that his purpose was that Titus lead the people in a way that resulted in peace with everyone, in love and in congeniality. Yes, that means that there may need to be rebukes from time-to-time, but these were to be made so that everyone might participate in the fullness of Christ and never to be unkind or harsh. Of course, people being the way we are, Titus would need to ensure that nobody took advantage of other people or behaved in a hurtful manner.

Finish at: https://lifeprojectblog.com/2021/07/01/peace-and-harmony/

A Day Of Praise

I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever.

Psalm 145:1-2

Have you ever just sat back and considered everything God has done in your life? For most of us, we don’t take the time to do this often enough; I know I don’t.  It may be hard to get started, as thoughts about the here and now rush though our minds, as the distractions and demands of everyday life make so much noise that it’s hard to think. Yet as we continue to ponder, as we begin to relax, God’s doings begin to enter our thoughts, and before too long, they push the distractions away.

We might even move on to ponder and reflect upon what God has done in His Creation; the wonder of all of it, its grandeur so magnificent.

When we invest a little time and attention in this way, it isn’t easy to remain silent, is it?

Read more: https://lifeprojectblog.com/2021/06/28/a-day-of-praise-2/

Pure Encouragement

 

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Philippians 2:12-13

“Fear and trembling”?

Thank you for asking!

Over the centuries, there have been some preachers and some commentators who have a field day with these verses. What they often do is to quote them something like this: “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, lest…”

Do you see a problem? When you read the verses and compare them with the “quote” is something missing? Was something added? By the way, don’t forget you must deal with the “therefore” that is the first word in verse 12.  What does it refer to?  It refers to 2:1-11; are these verses about going to hell?  No way! They are about humility, godliness and the example of Christ which results in salvation… but don’t forget that section also begins with “therefore” so we need to go all the way back to chapter 1, where Paul set the context, which is rejoicing in suffering because God’s purpose is being advanced. Dear reader, these verses are not a threat that God is waiting for an excuse to smite somebody and ship them off to hell, they are about His purpose.  As you will see shortly, this view is confirmed in the verses that follow, so fear not.

Let’s start over: verse 12…

Finish at: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2021/05/26/pure-encouragement/

Amazing Insight

by Don Merritt

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with […]

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The Nature of Christ

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Philippians 2:5-9

Paul continues to describe what it is like for us to be humble and “worthy of the Gospel” using in this instance the very example of Jesus Himself.

Jesus was by His nature God.  Imagine what it could be like for Him to set aside the glory of heaven to be born in a stable; what earthly prince would so lower himself?  He took on the very nature of a servant when He became a man. Now many of us might not be used to thinking of ourselves that way, but in God’s sight, that’s what we are: His servants and all of the riches on earth cannot change that simple fact. So, Jesus took on our form, that of a servant, was born in the humblest of circumstances, into a working man’s family. No privileges, no fancy title, no big name, just a working class guy.

Continue: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2021/05/24/the-nature-of-christ/

Romans 12.17-21

Don Merrit

Romans 12:17-21

In 12:1-16 Paul has discussed our response to grace with a series of short statements that stem from the theme of sincere love, but in 17 ff. he seems to focus on one particular subject: Revenge. While the previous section can be said to deal mostly with our relationships within the Body of Christ, this section would seem more (hopefully) to deal with those outside of the Body of Christ. Paul set up his new theme in verse 17:  Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. Our natural human inclination, when we have been harmed or insulted, is to strike back, to get even, but that is not the reaction of sincere love, and it has been rendered obsolete by grace.

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone (12:18). We are not to stir up trouble or carry on in a provocative manner with other people, we should not be tossing insults and unkindness around, nor should we be looking for disputes, for our response to grace makes that kind of living hypocritical. God has forgiven us; He has shown love and mercy to us- do we honor Him by stirring up trouble with other people?

The rest: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2021/05/30/lesson-3-concerning-revenge-4/

Put Love into Action

Romans 12:9-16

Paul continues in these verses with his discussion of our response to grace. Here, he sets the tone with verse 9: Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Our response to God’s grace must be one of love, both love for God and love for others, and this love must be sincere. It is interesting that Paul should modify this sincere love statement with the concept of hating what is evil and clinging to what is good; it would appear that in our sincere love, we are to maintain the highest of ethical standards, not allowing ourselves to misuse our new freedom.

Read more at: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2021/05/23/sunday-sermon-notes-may-23-2021/

The Value of Others

Don Merrit

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same […]

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Paul misses his friends.

by Don Merrit

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and […]

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Christian Relationships

In this section, Paul gives insight to how Christians should behave in the major personal relationships of daily life.  In 3:18-19, he speaks of husbands and wives, in 3:20-21 he speaks of parents and children, and from 3:22-4:1, masters and slaves, or today we would say employers and employees.  If you think about it, we spend most of our waking lives in one of these relationships, at least most of us do.

We can easily sum up all of these relationships by saying that in each, we are to put others ahead of ourselves. This is certainly true in Paul’s instructions to husbands and wives, even though he uses language in verse 18 that isn’t modern.  That wives should put their husbands first may not sound contemporary, but husbands are also to put their wives first.  This might be a little clearer in the parallel passage in Ephesians 5:22-33.

The same thing is true of the relationship between parents and children.  Both are to put the other first, giving honor where honor is due and giving love and nurture where they are due.  In the case of master and slave, or employer and employees, we have again the idea that both are to consider the other, with workers doing their very best always “as working for the Lord” and the boss is told to always do what is fair and right “because you know that you have a Master in heaven.”

Read on: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2021/05/05/christian-relationships-4/