An Introduction to Philemon

Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here. Colossians 4:7-9

Read blog: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2018/02/26/an-introduction-to-philemon/

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Reason for Concern

Acts 5:17-26

While the followers of Jesus were filled with the Holy Spirit, the priests and teachers of the law were full of something quite different: jealousy. Consequently, they ordered that the apostles be arrested and thrown into jail. At some point during the night, the angel of the Lord came to the apostles and released them from custody, and commanded that they resume their teaching in the temple courts the next morning.

When morning came, they were once again in the temple courts teaching about the “new life”. As the Sanhedrin assembled, none of them had noticed what was going in the courts outside, and they sent for the apostles to be brought in, only to discover that the jail was locked up tight, the guards still posted at the door… and the cells were empty. Suddenly someone comes running in with the shocking news that their prisoners were out in the temple courts teaching another crowd of people!

Continue: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2018/01/22/reason-for-concern-2/

The Curious Affair of Ananias and Sapphira

Acts 5:1-11

Two things are vital to the understanding of this most curious little affair: First, we must recognize that this is a part of the same narrative as 4:32-37. We must not be confused by the chapter break which is entirely arbitrary and added centuries later. Second, we must properly understand what is meant by “kept back” in verse 2.

Luke has just given his readers the example of Barnabas in 4:35-36, an example of sincere giving that recognized both the authority of the apostles and the legitimate needs of some of the community of believers. In this passage, Luke provides an example of something that was not so sincere. It would appear that Ananias and Sapphira were rich enough to own real property and that they have announced their intention to sell it and give the entire proceeds of the sale to the apostles to be used in their ministry of benevolence, but when the sale had been completed and Ananias had delivered the sale proceeds, he did not set all at the apostles’ feet, having “Kept back” some of the money.

Continue reading:  https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2018/01/19/the-curious-affair-of-ananias-and-sapphira-2/

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/

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/