A Rude Interruption

Acts 4:1-22 The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. (4:1)

Already the Jewish religious leaders were becoming uncomfortable with the message they were hearing about what was going around, that the old disciples of Jesus were spreading… and here they were again addressing a big crowd right out there in the temple courts; they must do something. It’s interesting that the Sadducees are mentioned here, but there’s no mention of Pharisees, but then Peter and the others were talking about Jesus, saying that He had risen from the tomb, and that was clearly an affront to the Sadducees who taught that there was no resurrection from the dead.

They had the Apostles arrested and thrown into jail for the night.

More at: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2018/01/18/a-rude-interruption-2/

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Peter’s First Address (2)

Acts 2:22-41

We left off earlier after Peter’s citation of the prophecy of Joel 2:28-32 (cf. Acts 2:17-21). Our text picks up in verse 22 as Peter moves forward to drive his point home. I would certainly recommend that you read the text at this point, if you haven’t already. He mentions the name Jesus of Nazareth in that verse, reminding them that He performed miracles and wonders in the midst of the people which were intended by God to confirm His identity and authority, and that his hearers knew all about these things. Then Peter goes right to the nitty-gritty:

This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. (2:23)

Read on: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2018/01/15/peters-first-address-2-2/

Christian Relationships

Colossians 3:18-4:1

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.

There is more at: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2018/01/10/christian-relationships-2/

Unity in Christ

Colossians 3: 5-14

Since this is a longer section, I won’t reproduce it here, and I hope you’ll read it on your own…

In the last section, we saw Paul tell us how to live our new lives, by setting our hearts and minds on the things that are above, and not on the things of this world.  In this section, he expands on this theme by listing items which are of the old life, and certain items that are of the new life in Christ.  In verses 5-10a we get a pretty good idea of the kinds of things we are to “put to death” in our lives; these are all from our “old selves” and they include… sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed which is idolatry. He says we must rid ourselves of things like anger, rage, malice, slander, lies and filthy language. I’m quite sure that there is no need for me to elaborate on these things, other than to say that when our attention is drawn to any of them, it’s time to set our minds on higher things.

Verses 10 and 11 move in transition to the next part by pointing out that we are to move away from those old practices into a new way of living where there is no Jew, no Greek, nor circumcised or uncircumcised… and no other social or ethnic distinctions: only Christ. Verse 12 provides a summing up and conclusion in an interesting way:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Continue at: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2018/01/09/unity-in-christ-2/

Triumph!

When you were dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Colossians 2:13-15

As we pick up from the last passage, we see right away the connection we discovered. Notice the link between “dead in your sins” and “uncircumcision.”  Here they are used interchangeably, and since they are used this way, we can be certain, as we were last time, that circumcision here is not the literal procedure done in physical terms.  While we were in our sins then, God made us alive in Christ and forgave our sins.   So far, this is easy to understand, and wonderful to behold, full as it is with the love and mercy of a loving Father in heaven.  It gets even better…

Continue Don’s blog: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2018/01/05/triumph-2/

Fullness in Christ

 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

Colossians 2:9-12

Continuing on from last time, we come to a paragraph that is both full and rich in meaning, and yet often cluttered up with unnecessary doctrines.  Consider the opening sentence, Paul points out that in the Person of Jesus lives all the fullness of God:  Jesus is all God and Jesus is all man: God lived in His physical body.  Jesus has also brought you and me to fullness, but fullness of what kind? Here it is in simple terms:  All of the fullness of God resided in Jesus Christ, and in Christ the fullness of the Holy Spirit resides in you and me. Neither you nor I are the Messiah, nor are we divine, but we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and He is divine.  Kind of makes you wonder why we don’t follow His lead more often, doesn’t it?

Paul continues to state that Jesus is the head of every power; He is at the right hand of God running the universe… and we are in Him.

Not a bad place to hang out!

There is more: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2018/01/04/fullness-in-christ-3/

The Son IS!

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

Colossians 1:15-18

How can you read these few verses and not just fall into one of those “Wow!” moments?  Even if you only read the first sentence: Wow!

It is ‘content rich’ to say the least.  Consider the first sentence, The Son of God, Jesus the Christ, is the image of the invisible God; let that sink in…  People sometimes ask how they can know God, and the answer is to look at Jesus Christ; He was here, on this earth as a man.  He is a historical figure, who left behind a written record of what He thought, said and did.  He was a Teacher, so His teachings are there for all to see.  He was the image of God, and He spoke directly to us, so if we want to know what God is like, learn what Jesus was like… and you will have it! Jesus, the Son, is also the firstborn of all creation− don’t skip that phrase!  You and I are part of the Creation of which Jesus is the firstborn… yes, that means you and I are meant to have a relationship with Him, after all that is why He came to the earth in the first place.  Oh, my, reflect on that for a while…

This is exciting!

Read more: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2018/01/02/the-son-is-2/