October 1st 1 Thessalonians, 3

1: Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; 2: And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: 3: That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. 4: For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. 5: For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain. 6: But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you: 7: Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith: 8: For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord. 9: For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God; 10: Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith? 11: Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. 12: And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: 13: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

Paul says, when we could not wait any longer for news about how you were getting along under persecution, we thought it was a good idea for me to stay at Athens alone, while Timothy returned to establish you in your new faith and to strengthen you in the Lord. Paul describes Timothy as our brother and servant of God and our fellow labourer in the Gospel. Brother has the idea of affection and closeness. Servant has the idea of submission and obedience and fellow labourer has the idea of hard work to the point of exhaustion. Paul explains that he wants the Thessalonians to not be frightened by their sufferings, because suffering was part of Gods purpose for their lives. Paul had been careful to tell them that suffering for Christ was going to be their privilege. So, says Paul, when l could not stand the suspense anymore, l sent Timothy to find out how your faith was holding up, just in case you had succumbed to temptation and our work had been pointless. But when Timothy came back, he brought good news of your faithfulness and loving devotion and that you remember us with affection and are very keen to see us again. And so, says Paul, we were comforted in our worries about your faith, because we now live if you stand fast in the Lord. (The Pastors Motto) We are very thankful to God for all the joy you have brought to us. Day and night we pray for you - a very great deal, that we might have the joy of seeing your faces and that we might bring you to a more mature faith in Christ. May God direct our path to see you again. And may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow in love toward each other and to all men - as we do to you. And we pray that God will establish your spiritual lives in holiness before God the Father when Christ appears with his saints.


September 30th

13: For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. 14: For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: 15: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: 16: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. 17: But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. 18: Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. 19: For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? 20: For ye are our glory and joy.

Paul is especially thankful to the Lord because when the Thessalonians received the gospel from Paul and his companions, they received it as it came from the Lord and not from men. It must have been presented in such a way as to indicate that this was not a message from them but from the Lord. Another lesson for evangelists! And says Paul, the Thessalonians became followers of the churches of God in Judea, and they suffered in the same way from the same Jews who murdered the Lord Jesus Christ and their own Jewish prophets and they have persecuted us. This is not pleasing to God and they are set at odds with all men. They forbid us to preach the gospel to the Gentiles so that Gentiles might be saved. And in doing this they pile sins on sins and the judgment of God is going to come on them very soon. Paul says, in contrast to them, we who are separated from you for a little while in presence but not in mind; want to see your face even much more. And l says Paul would have come to you more than once but Satan has hindered me. You will be our hope, joy and crown of rejoicing when we meet the Lord Jesus face to face at his coming. You are all that we glory in and our joy.



What is the Blaspheme of the Holy Spirit?

My take on this passage is that this was a unique sin in the sense that the religious leaders were faced with the undeniable evidence of Jesus Messianic claims. Jesus had just delivered a man that had a dumb demon. (which the Jews believed was only able to be done by the coming Messiah. Jesus has also just performed two other miracles that were also understood by the Jews as being performed only by the Messiah, The restoration of sight to a man born blind and the cleansing of the leper.) The cleansing of the dumb demon was a clear manifestation of Christ’s Messiahship. The Religious leaders however unwilling to accept Jesus as
the Christ said that Jesus cast out the demon by Satan’s power. Now Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit to do these things. So these man were blaspheming the Holy Spirits work in Christ’s ministry. From now on in the ministry of the Lord Jesus a major change takes place. He refuses to give more teaching to those who have rejected him and so he teaches only in parables publicly and explains them in private to his disciples. He does this so that seeing they might not see and hearing they might not understand. When Jesus later stood in front of Caiphas and
Herod he refused to speak. Jesus also insists that those who come to him to be healed have faith first. His ministry is strictly restricted to those who have not gone with the national position of rejection of his Messianic claims. In subsequent passages Jesus refers to 'This generation' many times. This generation was now under the judgment of God and this Jewish nation would finally within 40years do totally destroyed and scattered. All the evil men of previous days would rise up to condemn this generation because they had God manifest in flesh yet they refused him and blasphemed the Holy Spirits work in his ministry. This national sin was unforgiven and Jesus said it would never be forgiven of that generation. Having said all that l think there is more to say about the rejection of preachers of the Gospel. I believe that those that God has called to preach the Gospel have a
solemn responsibility to preach the message without alteration and they should preach the whole counsel of God. I believe too that people who hear the message have a responsibility to respond to the message favorably. In fact Jesus when teaching the disciples said 'If they do not welcome you or listen to you - When you leave shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them' Jesus gives us two points. No 1 the welcome. No 2 the listening to you. (notice he does not say that they believe the message but that they give you a hearing) When the preacher of the Gospel comes to a community he must preach the word faithfully and he is to expect two things. A welcome from the leaders of the community and respectfully listening to his message. They ask no more. The responsibility to respond to the message is firmly with the listeners before God. Now, What is the preacher to do if he is not given a welcome? or if he is shouted down or expelled? The scripture says 'After the first and second admonition reject'. God does not expect the preacher to continue in a 'no progress situation' after two attempts to get a hearing he is to leave. God will take over at this point and hold men responsible for not welcoming
him and for not listening. (Preachers were to witness in pairs because every word was to be confirmed by two witnesses) The shaking off the dust - was saying - It would have been better if the listeners had never heard the message because in rejecting it their standing with God is worse than before they heard the messengers.
In what way could the communities make amends to the preachers? They could come humbly asking for forgiveness and seeking to invite the preachers back to minister Gods word in their community. Without this turn around, no further communication was possible. There have been no unpardonable sins in the past, but the consequences
of sin are sometimes inevitable and irreversible Here are a few examples.
Adam could not re-entire Eden in spite of sacrifice. Esau could not repent though he sought it with tears. Moses could not enter the land in spite of his repentance.
David’s sin was judged in the death of the child in spite of his tears and
repentance. Israel could not turn back the Babylonian hordes in spite of calling on God. The judgment of God for their idolatry was certain. Mat 12:31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. There is no other unpardonable sin mentioned in scripture. Its not surprising as Christ said that ALL other sin and blaspheme shall be forgiven BUT blaspheme against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven. There are churches that say that there are lots of unpardonable sins like - suicide, abortion, murder, denial of the faith. However, Christ says no! ALL sin shall be forgiven apart from blaspheme against the Holy Spirit. Which was a denial of Christ's Miraculous Power while he was in the flesh
presenting himself to Israel. When Peter preached to Israel and they refused his testimony it was never referred to as unpardonable. And the same is true for Paul's testimony. In fact this sin is never mentioned again in the whole of the Bible. That is why l say it was unique to Christ's ministry.


September 29th 1 Thessalonians, 2

1: For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain: 2: But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention. 3: For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: 4: But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. 5: For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: 6: Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. 7: But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: 8: So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. 9: For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. 10: Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe: 11: As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, 12: That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

Paul reminds the Thessalonian believers that when he came to Thessalonica that his visit was not pointless or unfruitful. He says that even after suffering greatly in Philippi and being shamefully treated – being flogged, we were full of courage in God to preach fearlessly in the face of much opposition. And our preaching was not a trick, nor was it a vile sin, nor was it a trap to catch men. But, says Paul, as we were placed in trust of the preaching the gospel and so we spoke. We were not trying to please men but trying to please God. He is the one who knows every secret motive. We didn’t try to butter you up and we had no secret desire for anything from you – we call on God as our witness. Nor did we see admiration from you or anyone else. And we lived in such a way that we were no burden on you as Apostles of Christ. We were tender like a nursing mother to her children. And we were willing not only to preach the Gospel but to lay down our lives for you because you became dear to us. I’m sure you remember brothers our hard work and struggles because we worked day and night so that you were not obliged to support us while we preached the Gospel to you. You will testify to us as God does how that we lived holy, righteously and without any blame and how we behaved ourselves among you. You know, says Paul, how we encouraged, strengthened and gave you a solemn duty as a father does his children that you should live in a manner honourable to the God who has called you unto his kingdom and glory. This is a lesson to us all in how missionary work should be carried out and the motives and thinking of its servants.



September 28th 1 Thessalonians, 1

1: Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2: We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; 3: Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; 4: Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. 5: For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. 6: And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: 7: So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. 8: For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. 9: For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; 10: And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

This letter of Paul to the Thessalonians is one of the earliest, if not the first letter he wrote, that is recorded in scripture. Paul had been in Thessalonica only for a few weeks and they had heard Paul say that the coming kingdom was near. But in the mean while some believers had died and they didn’t know whether they might miss out on the coming kingdom. So they wrote to Paul asking him to clear up their questions. So Paul writes this letter in part to explain what will happen to those who have died as believers.
Paul begins this letter including his co-workers Silas and Timothy and his customary greeting. Then he begins by telling them, that whenever he thinks of the believers at Thessalonica he always thanks God. And he always makes mention of them in his prayers. He says l am constantly reminded of your faithful work for God, your loving service and you patient assurance in Gods future blessing. Paul says, God has chosen you to serve him like this. Then he reminds them that the Gospel that he brought to them was not just words and speeches but it was a wonderful demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit at work. And our preaching was not expressed in any doubt but was full of confidence in God. And you became our disciples in the Lord because you received the gospel in the middle of great troubles but full of joy in the Holy Spirit. Then Paul goes on to say, you became great examples to all the christians of Greece because from you the gospel rang out clear and true in the whole area were your faith to God became known. And because of this we did not need to go and preach there. Your hearers tell us how successful our ministry was and how that you turned away from idolatry to serve the living true God and to wait for his Son from heaven, who he raised from the dead – Jesus. Who delivered us from the wrath to come.



What is the book of James about?

James is an interesting book.

Scofield says this...
..his epistle shows no trace of the larger revelations of the church and the distinctive doctrines of grace make through the apostle Paul, nor even the discussions concerning the relation of gentile converts to the law of Moses, which culminated in the first council (Acts 15) over which James presided. This presumes the very early date of James, which may confidently be set down as 'the first epistle to christians' (Weston)

So this letter is very elementary christian teaching prior to the revelations of Paul concerning the doctrines of the church and the grace of God.

It is set in the context of Christianity within Judaism. The believers in Christ are still attending synagogue 2v1 (The word ‘assembly’ is Synagogue in the original Greek) and are still part of the Jewish courts. In the last chapter God is still disciplining Israel with sickness for backsliding and James says call for the Elders of the Synagoue who will practise the Jewish ordinance of anointing with oil (Mark 6v13). This is still being practised on those who are sick and they are healed on restoration to the Lord. In the Mosaic law the Lord promised health to those who kept the law and sickness to those who fell in sin.

Some say that this letter is a corrective to the teaching of Paul but this is absurd because Paul had not written his letter to the Romans yet.

So the teaching of this letter is Christianity within the Jewish context. Its focus is on righteous living according to the law as an answer to faith in Christ.


September 27th Colossians, 4

1: Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven. 2: Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; 3: Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: 4: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. 5: Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. 6: Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. 7: All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord: 8: Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts; 9: With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here. 10: Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;) 11: And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me. 12: Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. 13: For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis. 14: Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you. 15: Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. 16: And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. 17: And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it. 18: The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.

Having given instruction to wives, husbands, children and servants Paul now brings this portion to an end with instruction for masters. (Verse 1 should really be part of chapter 3) He says, masters are to be fair to their servants because they too have a master in heaven. This instruction applies as much to employers as much as slave masters. The Apostles and the church never undermined slavery in the Roman Empire, except that Paul said if a slave can win his freedom he is recommended to do so. And so therefore the church lived in peace with the politics of Rome on this issue. Paul encourages them to continue in prayer and to be watchful in thanksgiving. And he says pray for us that God would give us opportunities to preach the word – to speak of the mystery of Christ – because it is for this reason that he is in chains. And he asks that they might pray that he will preach this truth as he aught to preach it. Paul says, live wisely in the world using your time to the best advantage. He says let your speech be always with kindness, and tastefully done so that you might know how to answer every people who questions you regarding your faith. Lastly Paul brings a number of personal messages. He says Tychicus will tell you how l am getting along. He is a much loved brother in the Lord, a faithful minister and fellow-servant. Paul says, l sent him to you so that he might find out how you are getting along and to bring comfort to you. He also says that he is sending Onesimus who is a faithful and much loved brother and who is from your church. They will both tell you how things are done here. Aristarchus who is also in prison with me sends you greetings and Marcus the nephew of Barnabas. (This is the Mark that left Paul on his first missionary journey and who was the cause of a great rift between Paul and Barnabas. Paul had sent an apostolic commandment to the Colossians that they must receive Mark when he comes.) Paul includes a man originally called Jesus who is now called Justus who is a Jew. (Many of the people he was working with were Gentiles) Then he says these men at the moment are my fellow workers unto the Kingdom of God and they have been a strength to me. Paul says that Epaphras who is from Colossi and who is a servant of Christ sends you greetings. He works very hard in prayer that you might stand mature and complete in Gods will. He says l bear witness before God that he has a great zeal for you and for the church of Laodicea and Hierapolis. Luke the much loved doctor and Demus send their greetings. Then Paul says will you greet on out behalf the church at Laodicea and brother Nymphas and the that meets in his house. And Paul says when you read this letter out in the church will you cause it to be read at Laodicea too. And will you also read the letter that has been written to Laodicea. Tell Archippus that he pay attention to the he has received from the Lord to bring it to completion. This last part of the letter was written by Pauls own hand. He closes with the touching plea. Remember my chains.



September 26th

18: Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. 19: Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. 20: Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. 21: Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. 22: Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: 23: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24: Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. 25: But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

Paul is bringing his letter to a close and he now applies his teaching to the believers in the various stations in life in which God has placed them. First he says to wives be in submission to you own husbands because this is appropriate as believers. Husbands are to love your own wives (that is to put them first in everything even before themselves) and not to hold any bitterness in their hearts toward them. Children are to obey their parents in everything because this pleases God. Fathers are to be kind to their children and to not cause them to be angry. Slaves are to be obedient in everything in the flesh. Not only working when they are seen so as to suck up to their master but they are to service faithfully in reverence to the Lord. And that are to do everything with a full heart as if they are serving the Lord and not a master. And they are to serve knowing that the Lord will reward them in the kingdom because in serving their master they are serving the Lord. Those servants that are disobedient will receive punishment for their wrong doing from the Lord. God deals with all men completely fairly. Those who lived as Paul instructs them finds that peace reigns in the home.



September 25th Colossians, 3

1: If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2: Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3: For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4: When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. 5: Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. 8: But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9: Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10: And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. 12: Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13: Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14: And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15: And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17: And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Having established the truth that believers are in Christ, raised up to live a new life. therefore Paul says seek those things that are heavenly. Seek the things that are where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your thinking on those things which are above and not on the things of this earth. Because you died (in Christ) and you life is no longer to be lived in the sphere of this earth and the sensual things, but your life is to be centred in the resurrection life of Christ. When Christ reveals himself, you will also appear with him in glory. So put to death your bodily members which you have here on earth which are used in the service of sin. These are seen in fornication, unclean actions, desires that are unlawful, evil lusts, the desire for forbidden things which is spiritual idolatry. It is all these things that are the cause of Gods wrath and Gods wrath will come soon on those who are the unsaved. And Paul says, You did all this stuff when you lived in them but now put off all these things - anger, wrath, malice, blaspheme, foul mouthed abuse. Do not lie to each other because you have put off the Old Man with his deeds. And you have put on the New Man who is being renewed in the knowledge of Christ’s image. In Christ there is no national barrier or religious barrier or social barriers. Christ is everything in everyone. Put on therefore as the chosen servants of God hospitality, kindness, humility of mind, meekness, and patience, bearing with each other and forgiving each other. And if you have any quarrel against anyone you are to forgive in the same way that Christ forgave you. And over all that, put on ‘the overcoat of love’. This overcoat ties all other virtues together. And let the peace which comes from God be the umpire of your minds. You were called, says Paul, to this into one body and be thankful to God. And let the words of Christ fill your whole soul in worship, teaching and encouraging each other in Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual poetry. We are to make music in our hearts to the Lord and whatever else we do, we are to do it in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ giving thanks to God the Father by Christ.



Question - The book of Genesis - is it true?

Yes the Book of Genesis is 100% true. I will call my first witness.

Jesus said in Mark 10v6: But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.

We know that Jesus is God and that he knows everything and he said that God made man male and female. So because he said it, it must be true.

Those who say that the world came about by the big bang followed by evolution are contradicting Christ and nobody can contradict him!


September 24th Colossians, 2

1: For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; 2: That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3: In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4: And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. 5: For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. 6: As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8: Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9: For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. 10: And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13: And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14: Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15: And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. 16: Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. 18: Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19: And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. 20: Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21: (Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22: Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? 23: Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

Paul says l wish you all knew what a great struggle it is that l have on your behalf for you at Colossi and at Laodicea and for others who have never met me in the flesh. My struggle is that their minds might be strengthened and united in love and that they might know all the richness of the full assurance of Christian understanding. So that they might acknowledge the mystery of God – the Father and Christ. Because in Christ is hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Paul is concerned that they might be tricked with enticing words. He says even though l am not with you in the flesh yet l am with you in the Spirit and l am full of joy when l see the order of your assemblies and your determination to trust in Christ. Now says Paul live in the same way in which you began the Christian life. You began trusting in Christ to save you, now continue to trust in Christ to enable you to live this life. Be like a tree rooted in Christ and be like a tower built up on Christ and be established in your faith as you have been taught. Overflow in thanksgiving. Next Paul brings a firm but loving warning. He says, see to it, that nobody captures you and carries you off as booty, through the wisdom of men and empty speculation, which is based on the writings and ancient religious ritualism of men. This is something that has no relation to Christ. In Christ dwells all the completeness of God in his body. And you are, in him, made to be complete and he is the head of all Principalities and Powers. In Christ you are brought into a relation with God like that of those who are circumcised, except that this is not a circumcision made by human hands. The circumcision made by hands removed only a very small part of the flesh, but in Christ believers have a spiritual circumcision in which the whole sinful nature is removed and cast away. By being united to Christ the old nature is cut away and cast off. God sees this as a complete separation from sin already, even though practically we are still in the ingoing process of the actualisation of its implications in sanctification. Paul says that in Christ we are buried with him in baptism and that we are raised up with Christ through faith in the operation of God who raised Christ from the dead. In Christ we are made alive in him and all our sins are forgiven. And all the written Law which was against us and accused us of sin has been (tipex-ed) whitewashed over – blotted out, and the whole document has been removed out of our sight and nailed to the cross. When Christ died says Paul he exposed the demonic hordes and publically displayed their defeat for all to see. So says Paul do not let anyone stand as judge over you in respect of Jewish observance of the Mosaic law in relation to food & drink and religious Feasts and Sabbaths. (Paul exposes the Colossian errors - which were excessive religious ritual, asceticism and worship to angels) All of these things were like what a shadow is to a man. They are just a faint outline but Christ is the reality. Paul is insistent; He says do not let anyone act as judge over you causing you to submit to the charade of being inferior to them and to causing you to bow the knee to angels and playing about with the unseen world. These pretensions are completely pointless but they fill the hearts of men with pride. All these angelic hosts are far inferior to Christ. And he is the head of them all and we are all knitted together into one body and we live in him. So then if in Christ you are dead to the very basics of this worlds religion why pretend as if you are part of this religious world do you subject yourselves to the spiritual bondage of religious ordinances, such as ‘touch not – taste not – handle not’, All of these things will pass away from use. They belong to the commandments and teachings of men. Now these things have an appearance of wisdom in pretend religion and false humility and fasting, but none of these things are honourable because though they seem to be great religious virtues they actually have no real effect in bringing righteousness into the life of the believer.



September 23rd

24: Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church: 25: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; 26: Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

Paul says he rejoices in his sufferings on their behalf and he wants to fill up what was lacking of the sufferings of Christ in his flesh for the sake of the church which is his body. What Paul is saying is that the church takes a certain amount of flak for Christ and he wants to draw as much of it as he can so that others might be alleviated. This is courage and devotion of the highest order. This is the sort of courage that is awarded on the battlefield with a Victoria Cross. Paul draws the fire of the enemy so that others might escape and sacrifices himself in the process. And he does not see this as a hardship but as a great privilege and a joy. What mother would not take a bullet for her child and what shepherd would not suffer on behalf of his flock? Christ said I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down his life for the flock. Paul refers to himself as a minister of God specifically in relation to the stewardship which he has received from God for them. Then he goes on to explain what this message was that he was to bring to the church. It was a mystery which was hidden in God from previous ages and generations but which is now revealed to his church. This mystery is that Christ is in you - the hope of glory. So the presence of Christ in the NT believer is the basis of the hope that the believer has of resurrection and glorification. Paul says, we preach Christ, warning every believer so that we might present every believer complete in Christ Jesus. Paul says it is for this purpose that l work to exhaustion – striving according to the almighty power of God which works mightily in me. Paul’s work which was exhausting was not in his own strength but in the enabling power of the Holy Spirit in his weak body. We all need to learn to work in the empowering of the Holy Spirit. So that we might say with Paul, when l am weak - then l am strong.




What was GOD's plan of salvation before the Cross and the Day of Pentecost and then the plan of salvation after the Apostles met with 120 on the Day of Pentecost?

That’s a very big question.
If we look at the OT which includes the Gospels and the first part of the Acts we see that the concept of salvation is bound up in the promises of God to Abraham in which God promises blessing to Abraham and to his seed (Israel and Christ). This blessing was going to come to them as a nation and through them to the whole world. Salvation was a national thing rather than a individual thing. During this time those who lived righteously because they believed in God were promised resurrection to enter the coming Messianic Kingdom. Even after Christ's resurrection the disciples were still asking, are you at this time going to restore the Kingdom to Israel?
After the day of Pentecost God began to do something completely new. God began to call Gentiles and Jews to personal faith in Christ based upon not what they have done or the righteous lives they have lived, but on the basis of grace to the unworthy. In the present day God is calling all men including Jews to come to him and when they do they become members of the church – the body of Christ. When the church is caught up to heaven God will revert to the previous arrangement in which he will bless men who believe in him and live righteously under the law, When the Kingdom dawns on the world all the righteous of all ages will be raised from the dead and will enter into the blessings of the New Covenant. And so on that day the righteous will catch up as it were to the blessings which the church has enjoyed for 2000 years.


September 22nd Colossians, 1

1: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother, 2: To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3: We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4: Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, 5: For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; 6: Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth: 7: As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ; 8: Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit. 9: For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10: That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11: Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; 12: Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: 15: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18: And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. 19: For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; 20: And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 21: And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22: In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

Paul writes this letter to address the believers at Colosse regarding issues unique to them. They have been influenced by some of the Gnostic heresies and so he writes to address these points. Paul establishes his apostolic authority but includes Timothy in the letter as his co-worker. First he begins with thanksgiving and he specifically mentions their faith and love to all. Whenever we think and pray for others we must begin with thanksgiving. He also thanks God that they have heard and believed the Gospel which has gone out into the entire world. Paul says l have heard everything about you from Epaphras who is a much loved fellow servant and your faithful minister and so he says because l have heard all about you l do not cease to pray for you. What’s interesting is that Paul tells them exactly what his prayers are about. He prays that they might be filled with the knowledge of Gods will in wisdom and spiritual understanding. Often people say what they believe is Gods will yet sometimes we detect a little folly and lack of spiritual understanding. He prays that they might live in a manner that is worthy of the Lord and that all will see the good works that they do. And he prays that in serving God they might be strengthened by Gods glorious power and that they might patiently work on for God in joy. That they might be full of thanksgiving to the Father. Who has brought us into the blessing of God and who has delivered us from the dominion of Satan and transferred us into the kingdom of his dear Son. In Him we have freedom through his blood – forgiveness of sins. He says, Paul is the exact representation of the unseen God. He is the heir of every creature. Because through him everything was created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether they are kings, princes, rulers, everything was created by him and for him. He – Christ is before all things and through him all things continue to exist. And more than that he is the head of the body – the church. He is the source of everything. The firstborn from among the dead so that in everything and in every way he is to be preeminent. In Christ all the fullness of God is. And having made peace through the blood of his cross he has reconciled everything to himself in heaven and in earth. And says Paul, he has reconciled you who were aliens to God and enemies in your minds and by wicked deeds. And in the body of his flesh through death and he will present you to the Father, holy and without accusation and even without reproof in his sight. Now because he will do this - continue in the faith, established and rooted in him and do not allow yourselves to be disturbed from the assurance of God future blessing in the Gospel. Which you heard and which is preached in the entire world of which l Paul am a minister of the Gospel. And so Paul has begun in prayer and moved seamlessly into his message - the glorious Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. What a great prayer. Oh that someone might pray like that for me.



September 21st Philippians, 4

1: Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. 2: I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. 3: And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life. 4: Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. 5: Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6: Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7: And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9: Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. 10: But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. 11: Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12: I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. 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. 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. 19: But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 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 says my brothers who l love and who are the crown of my ministry – Stand firm in the Lord. Here we have another military term. One of the favoured tactics of the legions was to march onto the battle field and stand firm. Their strength was in their ability to be rock solid in battle and not to break or run. As they stood firm, they locked shields. This meant that the enemy was fighting against one huge fighting force which acted as one man. Each man was dependant on the soldier that stood at his right and he fought for the man on his left. This was symbolic of their unity. As long as they stood shoulder to shoulder they were undefeated. There strength was in their unity. Now says Paul stand together in the Lord. Then Paul addresses a possible break in the ranks. The first group are two women who are clearly not getting along at all. They might have had a public disagreement. Maybe they are not speaking to each other anymore. Paul does not address the issue or take sides he just tells them to ‘agree with each other in the Lord’. How do they do that? Well they are to come together in sisterly affection. And together they are to agree with each other in the Lord. That is they are to recognise Christ in each other and put away disagreement. The other group of women are Paul’s formidable warriors in the faith. He says they have contended at my side in the cause of the Gospel. There are some people who say ‘Don’t be contentious’. And they always seek an easy life with not contentious issues ever being raised. This is unrealistic. Some of the most important issues are contentious. If we as Christians never address the difficult issues in which honest believers disagree then the ministry of the word is a very small circle. If we never discuss, Gifts of the Spirit. The Ministry of the Saints, Baptism and the Lords Supper, The Sovereignty of God and Prophecy then Christians are deprived of 90% of the teaching of the Word. So let us have to struggle let us have the contention. And let the truth win out. Some say Paul hated women. How ridiculous! Paul here states his highest regard for the women who he calls ‘my fellow workers’. The key Christian experience is Joy. We are to rejoice in the Lord always. When things go right – we rejoice in the Lord, and when things go wrong – we rejoice in the Lord. Rejoice! Paul next says be gentle to all because the Lord is near. The servant of the Lord is to not strive and to be known for gentleness and meekness. That does not mean that righteous indignation will never be found in his life but the predominate thing is gentleness. Christian men should be gentlemen! Here Paul gives the antidote to worry. What is the antidote for worry? Forget about it? Try to put it out of your mind? NO, Paul says face it straight on but do that by Prayer. God does not want us to be anxious; he wants us to be wise and courageous. He wants us to face the difficult issues by Prayer, Petition and Thanksgiving, We are to present our requests to God. So what this means is that we are to come to God with the issues that concern us and we are to present our requests to Him. WOW that’s new. That’s reality. That’s facing up to our responsibilities and doing something about it. That’s bringing God into our lives and then what? Well the peace of God which cannot be explained, it can only be experienced, will stand guard over our minds in Christ Jesus. Do you know something of the peace of God? You may ask, what is the peace of God? The peace of God is the knowledge that God is in control. It’s the realisation that God is going to look after us. That God is now responsible to act on our behalf because we have placed ourselves in his hand. The peace of God is quiet contentment between presenting our needs and receiving the answer. It is the time when heaven is silent waiting for God to answer prayer. When living and working together and when interacting with each other, Let us focus our hearts and minds on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praise-worthy. Let us not think of things that are untrue, beneath us, incorrect, filthy, gross, degrading, poor value and blameworthy. But let us look on each other as Christ sees us. Let us look for the best in each other. Paul says that the Philippian believers are to imitate him. Now he is not saying this in a prideful sense. He is being practical. We all follow examples, we all copy each other. What Paul was saying is copy my life. What you have learned, heard from me and seen me do, put it in to practice. And the God of peace will be with you. WOW that’s the sort of leadership we need. Paul thanks the Christians at Philippi for the gift of money that he has received. He says l know that you wanted to help me before but you had no way of doing it. Paul says my letter of thanks is not a request for more, because l have learned to be content in whatever condition the Lord has placed me in. Both being in need and being in plenty are both difficult in their own ways. Paul says l have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. So what is Paul’s secret? Verse 13 he says I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. How are you going to face unemployment? How are you going to face poverty? How are you going to face bereavement? How are you going to face the strains of your Job? And how are you going to serve Christ? Are you going to rely on experience, on your natural gifts, or on your courage and stamina? Well you can try. But if you rely on yourself then you will be walking after the flesh. But if you lean heavily on Christ then you will be walking in the Spirit. You can face anything if Christ strengthens you. If he empowers you then you will be more than a conqueror you will be unbeatable. If you consciously trust yourself completely to Christ then you will find that he will empower you to simply live the Christian life. Paul says it was good of you to share in my troubles. That is was good of you to share your goods with me in my troubles. Those who bring us to Christ should have a special place in our giving, not as a repayment or because it is expected it’s just that we can share in their ministry and maybe show kindness in return for the greatest gift they could ever give – The Gospel. Paul says that God will meet all their needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus. God is no mans debtor. Paul closes his letter with a prayer that God might be glorified for ever and ever.



Is the Seventhday Adventists a true church?

May l say that the SDA do not preach the true Gospel.

How can l say that?

Because by adding lawkeeping to the gospel they reduce their teaching down to heresy - a denial of the true Gospel of Christ...

Paul said of exactly the same heresy...
Gal 1v8: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9: As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

The Galatians added aspects of Judaism like Sabbath observance to christianity to end up with a heresy which was accursed.

In Galatians 3 Paul says...
1: O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before w...hose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 2: This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3: Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

He continues...
10: For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

Those who insist on going back to the Law just place themselves back under the curse.

11: But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12: And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.

Paul reminds them that no man is justified before God by keeping the law And he explains that faith and lawkeeping are contradictions.

13: Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

Then he explains that Christ has freed us from the slavery of the law by being made a curse for us.

23: But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24: Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25: But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26: For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27: For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29: And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Before the Gospel of faith came to mankind Israel was kept secure under the law, which was like a guardian of the nursery until the children came to age. When the children became full grown men and entered into the inheritence it would be exceedingly silly to put them back under the nanny !!

He goes on...
4: But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5: To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

When the time came Christ came into the world to set free those who were under the law. Those who believe in Christ are free from the Mosaic law.

He continues...
9: But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, hereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? 10: Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.

Those who are christians are not to go back to observing days, months times and years. This includeds Sabbaths, High days, Feasts such as Passover and Sabatical years and Jubilees.


September 20th

12: Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13: Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14: I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15: Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. 16: Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. 17: Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 18: (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) 20: For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Paul says I have not attained to the realisation of Christ’s power in my life that Christ has called me to, but l press onward to actualise the knowledge of Christ in my life. Because it was for this reason that Christ took hold of me. Oh that we might know Christ and his power and the fellowship of his suffering in our lives too. Let us press on to lay hold of this for which Christ laid hold of us. Paul humbly states l have not achieved this yet! I’m still struggling on I’m still trying to know God in my life. This is my only objective my only goal. It is the one thing l do. (Take notice of those men who have only one thing to do!) What a wonderful image. In those days the runners in the Games ran naked. They forgot their Swiss army knife, They forgot their coat. They ran laying aside every weight. They left everything behind to strain every muscle and sinew to reach the mark so that in the end they might be called to a higher place. (the podium) That they might receive the prize. Paul says Christ has called me to know him is the resurrection power and in the suffering of his name that the reality of his death might be actualised in my life and ministry. That is the goal. Is there another? Paul states categorically that all mature believers should take the same view as himself in this matter. However, he says if you think differently then God will reveal your error to you. He says what ever you do live up to the progress that you have made in your spiritual lives. Is there progress spiritually? Yes of course we are to seek to actualise the standing that he have in Christ in our daily lives. We are to live out more and more the truth of the Gospel. Will there ever come a time when this will be perfectly lived out? No not this side of heaven. But our joy can increase and our service for God can be more blessed. What a great man of God. He says follow me – follow my example. This is the sort of leaders we need. Often people say, ‘Don’t follow me follow Christ’, but that is a cop out. We need leaders whose lives are genuinely able to be copied. Paul says join the club of those who live as l live. And take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. A pattern is something that can be repeated which always comes out exactly the same. When l was young people used to say, ‘Don’t copy so and so’. ‘Don’t preach like him, Don’t think like him or live like him’. But we learn from example and we naturally copy to learn. What a short cut! Paul says ‘live according to how you see me live’. Because l am following Christ. What sort of examples are we? Paul describes these false teachers who he mentioned in verse 2. He mentions four things about them. 1. They live as enemies of the Cross of Christ. - These Jewish teachers cannot comprehend the truth that their Messiah was crucified and thereby cursed by the Mosaic Law. The cross is their great stumbling block. Therefore they deny the very Work that Christ came to do. And by denying his atoning work and blaspheming his messianic signs they continue the rejection of Christ. They are enemies of the Cross of Christ. 2. Their destiny is destruction - The ultimate destination of these religious men is the destruction of the Lake of fire. How sad. No wonder Paul weeps. He says they devote themselves to religion, They try to keep the 313 commandments of the Mitzvah, They have great missionary zeal, but they are found to be like Paul before his conversion an enemy of Christ. Stephen said of these men, ‘You do always resist the Holy Spirit’. There doom is certain if they continue. Yet Paul is an example of how God, resists the proud and brings judgment (blindness) in order to save them. 3. Their god is their stomach - These men are men of the flesh. They are absorbed with the thinks of the flesh and seek in like to gratify the fleshly appetites. They are gross. 4. Their glory is in their shame - The very thing that they glory in is the very thing they should be ashamed of. What did they glory in? A number of things. Circumcision for one. This glorious symbol of the Mosaic Law has become symbolic of a return to Judaism and therefore apostasy. They also glory in their law keeping yet it is the very thing that should bring to them conviction of sin and poverty of spirit. They glory in Sabbath observance without realising that Christ is now the Sabbath of his people and that by keeping this ‘queen of commandments’ they deny Him. They very things that they glory in are the things they should be ashamed of. Paul says this in contrast to the Legalists who were citizens of Jerusalem. He says Us Christians are not primarily citizens of earthly cities but we are already citizens of heaven. Paul’s emphasis on this point is emphasised a number of time. Especially in his letter to the Ephesians. He says that our blessings are in the heavenly places in Christ. That our names are written there (Another expression of citizenship) That we are seated with Christ already in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. That he has gone to prepare a place for us in the Fathers house. And that one day Christ will come to call us to heaven to be with him. So lets not be so bound to this sad old earth. Lets lift up our eyes not to the hills but to the heavens for their our Saviour is coming. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,



September 19th Philippians, 3

1: Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. 2: Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. 3: For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. 4: Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6: Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7: But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8: Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9: And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11: If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

Paul says ‘finally’, even though he still is only half way through! What is the chief exhortation of this book? It is a call to ‘rejoice in the Lord’. Do you rejoice in the Lord? The level of our joy is the barometer of our spiritual life! John says in his first letter, ‘I write these things unto you that your joy might be full’. Is you joy full? You might ask, What is joy? Joy is the deep overpowering enjoyment of Gods blessing and approval on your life. It’s the smile of God that lights up the soul. It’s the happiness of knowing that one is loved by God. Paul says it is no hardship for me to write to you and my writing to you makes you safe in your Christian lives, because l can warn you of ‘dogs’. This word dog is used metaphorically (Rev. 22:15), of those whose moral impurity will exclude them from the New Jerusalem. Paul uses the word to describe those Judaisers who followed him wherever he went teaching christians that they were to keep the Mosaic law and be circumcised. He calls them ‘mutilators of the flesh’. Paul makes a point that we the church are the true spiritual circumcision, because we worship the Lord in the Spirit and we give glory to God not ourselves and we put no confidence in the flesh. I have meet many christians who are legalistic. They are insufferable in their arrogance and full of themselves rather than lacking confidence in the flesh. Why is that? Because law keeping produces too responses in the human heart - poverty of spirit or a haughty spirit. These men were not humbled by the law they were arrogant and their pride in their ability to please God produced self confidence – in buckets! In the flesh Paul had naturally a great deal to be confident about
Paul lists his credentials…
1. Circumcised on the eighth day, - not everyone was circumcised on the eighth day but the very strict Jews did this exactly as commended. He had the right rite.
2. Of the people of Israel – The AV says ‘of the stock of Israel’. In other words it was his breeding! Paul was very proud of his Jewish heritage. He felt he was of the aristocracy.
3. Of the tribe of Benjamin – This was the favoured tribe. It was the tribe of his names sake King Saul.
4. A Hebrew of Hebrews – Paul was proud of his ability to speak Hebrew. Not all Jews spoke Hebrew many spoke Aramaic.
5. In regard to the law, a Pharisee – Paul was of the sect of the Pharisees whose interpretation of the law was the best in Israel.
6. As for zeal, persecuting the church – Paul felt that the persecution to death of christians was in fact in the service of God
7. As for legalistic righteousness, faultless. – The word should be blameless – before men and God in the flesh. There is a great deal of difference between being faultless and blameless. Paul knew he was not without fault but there was nobody in the nation that could accuse him of blame in public life. Paul was a law abiding Jew who lived in all good conscience before God. In the flesh Paul had naturally a great deal to be confident about. Paul though he does not despise his Jewish heritage puts all his breeding and legalistic righteousness on the dung hill! Why? Because in this present age being a Jew holds no standing before God in honour. The Jews are in a state of rejection of their Messiah. In fact Paul says that in order for a Jew to be saved he must come down off the place of privilege and honour to sit in the gutter with the defiled and ignorant Gentiles. Only then can he know the grace of God. The Grace of God today goes out to the outcasts, the unclean, the sinners of the gentiles who are outside of the Covenants and strangers to God. These despised heathens are the people to whom the Gospel calls. Its not a call to the rich or the religious or even the honourable law keepers. It’s a call to the homeless and helpless. It’s a message heard in the streets and lanes of the city. And the message is…’Christ died for you’ and the sinner responds, ‘Christ died for me’. And at that moment the sinner is saved.

The vilest offender who truly believes
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

He says…When Christ comes l want to be found ‘in him’, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. (There was a righteousness of the law. It was an external righteousness based on keeping the law to the best of mans ability. However honourable as this was no man was justified before God on the basis of his law-keeping. He was however designed as a righteous man. In Hebrew the word is Tzaddik meaning a righteous man.) Paul says this is not the righteousness that he rests in but he rather rests in the righteousness of God which comes to the believer in Christ only by virtue of his faith in Christ. Paul now describes his ambition. He says l want to realise Christ in my life in three ways. 1. The Power of his resurrection. This is the almighty power of god demonstrated in raising Christ from the dead. This power of God is available to the Christian to enable them to live the christian life. 2. The fellowship of his suffering. This is the association of Christ in the suffering which he endured. Its not just persecution, its spiritual, physical and social suffering with Christ. 3. Becoming like him in his death. Oh that Paul might be able to actualise the death of Christ over the old nature and sin. This he longs for. The second phrase has been a problem for many. Paul is discussing his personal walk with God and the deepest experiences of God that he longs for. He says, ‘At the resurrection of the dead l would like to have attained to this path of life’.



September 18th Philippians, 2

1: If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2: Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3: Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4: Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5: Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9: Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11: And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 12: Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13: For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. 14: Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16: Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. 17: Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. 18: For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me. 19: But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. 20: For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. 21: For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's. 22: But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel. 23: Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me. 24: But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly. 25: Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. 26: For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. 27: For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28: I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. 29: Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: 30: Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.

Paul says that if the Philippians derive any encouragement from being united to Christ and if they have any comfort from Christ’s love, and if there is any spiritual fellowship, then, please – says Paul make my joy complete by being like-minded having the same love for each other and being united in spirit and mission. Paul is saying if you really are believers then be united together. Unity is the key to this letter and the key to christian relationships. Paul tells the Philippians not to think of themselves and what they want to do but they are to in humility to think that other people are actually better than themselves and that they are to think about other peoples interests rather than think about their own. WOW What a challenge! We should have the attitude of Christ, who although he was in the actual nature of God himself did not consider his equality with God something to held onto with a tight grasp. One of the questions we might ask ourselves is – What do we have a firm grasp of? What are we holding on to? Christ did not even hold on to the fact that he was God! When God met Moses he said to him, ‘What have you got in your hand?’ Moses replied, ‘My staff’. God said, ‘Throw it on the ground’. When he did, it became a snake! God then told him to pick it up by the tail, (the wrong end) When he did it returned to a staff. Only when we throw down before Christ the think that we are holding on to that we find a true perspective.
Christ takes seven steps downward.
1. He did not consider his deity a thing to be grasped
2. Made himself nothing
3. Took the very nature of a servant
4. Was made in human likeness
5. As a man he then humbled himself
6. He became obedient to death
7. Even the death of crucifixion
What Grace is seen in Christ. ‘Though he was rich for our sakes he became poor that we through his poverty might be made rich’.
Now Paul describes the seven steps upward.
1. God exalted him to the highest place
2. Gave him the name that is above every name
3. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow
4. In heaven
5. On earth
6. And under the earth
7. and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord
God has exalted Christ to the highest place. There is no higher court of appeal than Christ himself. Christ occupies the ‘highest place’. Christ has the name which is above every name. The name of ‘Jesus’ is the name to which everyone will bow to Christ - everyone in heaven, everyone on earth and everyone under the earth. And not only will everyone bow to him but everyone will verbalise in agreement that Jesus Christ is Lord. Everyone – that includes you! Paul then tells the Christians at Philippi to work out their salvation with fear and trembling. Now obviously he is not saying that their salvation is based on human effort – Salvation is of the Lord and is received by Grace through faith. Paul is saying that the salvation that you have is to be brought out into your daily living in such a way that men will see you life and praise God for it. He says work it out because it is God who is working in you to will and to do HIS good purpose. So is our Christian life something that we do? No it’s the outworking of Gods work within us. The Christian life is not made up of the things we do. The Christian life is not what we do for God. The Christian life is God at work in us to accomplish HIS good purpose. A Christian is not someone who does things for God. A christian is one for whom God does things. Paul now gives some of the most encouraging and challenging teaching. He says when you are going about your daily life or doing Gods service (which is the same thing) Do it without complaining or arguing. Now he is not saying that there might never be a really heated dispute over the word of God. Jude says that we are to, ‘earnestly contend for the faith’. What he is saying is that in our daily lives don’t moan and bicker. Because if you don’t, then the world who look on will see nothing in you to find fault with. You are to be pure and to show yourselves to be Children of God so that this wicked world will not find fault with you. You will be like bright stars shining on a dark universe while you hold out to men the gospel which brings salvation. And one day l would like to boast (in a good way of course) when Christ returns that the time l devoted to you was not for nothing. Paul describes himself as a sacrifice that is being poured out on the altar of service to the Philippians. But he is not reluctant and he does not draw back in self perseveration No he is willing not only to suffer on their behalf but to give his life if necessary. It will be necessary in the end. How does this make Paul fell? Sad? Apprehensive? No he rejoices that God has granted him the glorious privilege of giving his life because he considers himself such an unworthy sinner (saved by Grace). He says not only do l rejoice but l don’t want you to be sad for me l want you to rejoice with me. Lets all rejoice that Christ is magnified by my suffering for him. Paul like all of us needs encouragement and information for prayer. So he had is going to send Timothy to see them and to find out how they are getting on. Timothy was a very close worker with Paul and he was beginning to get a very mature understanding of Paul’s ministry. Timothy would be able to give a realistic report. Paul then commends Timothy for his faith and his dedication. He says, I have ‘No one else like him’ that will take a genuine interest in your welfare. WOW what a great man Timothy was. Alongside Paul a great Pastor of Gods people. A true Pastor has a genuine interest in your welfare. Paul says that in comparison others look after their own interests. In other words they are truly selfish. They think about their own agenda, their own ministry, their own Church! But not Paul and not Timothy they look out for others they are really interested in what God is doing in the lives of other believers. Then Paul reminds them of the ‘special relationship’ that Paul and Timothy have. They are co-workers. They are linked in ministry. And he says Timothy has proved himself by being like a son with a father he has served with me in the work of the Gospel. What greater calling is this? Paul was hoping to send Timothy and later he was hoping to come and see them for himself. What a lovely phrase, ‘I am confident in the lord’. can you say that? Here was have a small glimpse of the godliness and greatness of Paul and some of him companions in the Missionary work they did. Paul speaks of Epaphroditus. He calls him, ‘my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier’. Here Paul reveals three aspects of his relationship with him. First he says he is my brother. We must never forget that our ministry is one thing but our common sonship is quite another. We may not always be able to work with every believer but we can always recognise Christ in each other and put out the hand of brotherly love to each other. Paul then goes on to describe him as ‘a fellow worker and fellow soldier’. Some times the work of the missionary is just hard work but at other times is a fight a struggle against an enemy. Let us never forget that we are in the middle of a spiritual battle. Not with each other but we wrestle against spiritual power and the rulers of this darkness. What a great man Epaphroditus was. He was their messenger bringing much needed money for Paul’s ministry. It seems that Epaphroditus was a man whose heart longed for the Philippians and was particularly upset. Was he upset because he was ill. NO he was ill but that hadn’t upset him. Was he ill because the Philippians didn’t know he was ill? No they did know. So why was he upset? He was upset because he had heard that the Philippians had heard that he was ill. And he was upset to think that they might be upset about him! Is that not godliness or not? Most of us would be upset if we were ill and upset that some people don’t know we are ill but he is upset that they might be upset. What great tender men these apostolic men were. So Paul wants to send Epaphroditus back so that they will see him in better health and not worry about him anymore. Paul says welcome him and give him the honour he deserves, because for the cause of Christ he risked his life to bring help to Paul in his need.



September 17th

18: What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. 19: For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20: According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. 21: For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22: But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. 23: For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: 24: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. 25: And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; 26: That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again. 27: Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 28: And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. 29: For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; 30: Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

Paul is confident that as a result of their prayers and the help of the Holy Spirit he would be released from prison. (This did in fact happen). Our prayers for other people are heard and God acts on out behalf when we ask him. Paul was expecting and hoped (was assured) that when the time came to testify to Christ he would not be afraid and that the Lord would give him sufficient courage to face either life or death. We may not be required to stand before Kings of Caesars but we have to stand up and be counted for Christ too. Paul says that his life is dedicated to Christ but that if he does die then that is not a disaster in fact it means that it will be the greatest gain that he has ever known. He will be immediately in the presence of God. Paul was torn between to options. He wanted to die to meet Christ. That would be far better. However he was still needed here and while he was still needed here he was glad to stay even though it would mean more suffering. Paul is convinced that for now he will remain and will work with the Believers so that their spiritual lives will progress and that they might have the joy of faith. And he believes that he will at this time be released and meet them again. Note. It is almost certain that he was released and that he visited France, Spain, Greece and Macedonia. There were assemblies in France that maintained that they were never participants in the Roman church and when the reformation broke over Europe they were happy to be associated with them. In this passage we have the only hint at a rule that is applied to christians. Paul says that believers are to conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ. Christians are to have a dignity about them. They are not to be found having off days or acting in a manner unworthy of the name of Christ. It’s interesting that Paul does not give ten rules as an example of what he means. That would be legalism. No he states that we are to walk (Live) worthily. In other words we are to live in a manner that is befitting of the high calling that we are in Christ. Not in a superior attitude but in humility and a godly manner. Of course every christian is different and every conscience is different too. Therefore every believer is to seek to live under the guidance of the Holy Spirit in a way that brings honour to Christ. Paul may have been alluding to the Roman and Greek practise of linking shields together to become an impenetrable wall. The wall is only effective if the soldiers stand shoulder to shoulder and work in harmony. No Soldier is more important than another their strength is in their willingness to work as one whole unit. This means understanding each other, supporting each other and being strong for each other. The Roman legion fought as one huge man. Unity was their strength. That is what we are to be supportive and protective of each other. Confidence in the face of persecution is a sign to the persecutors that the persecuted are saved and of their eternal doom. So let us not be afraid but let us come with confidence before God. Paul is at pains to point out that suffering for Christ is part of the christian life. It’s a part as night is to day. We may be surprised when opposition comes but we must learn that persecution and the suffering that comes in its train is something that comes because of a faithful witness. In fact the word witness means martyr. We are to stand up boldly for Christ and never be afraid. Of course there will be times to face the mob and there are times to be let down in a basket. When we suffer, if it’s for Christ and his testimony, then we stand sure but if it is mindless men who seek an excuse to destroy us for fun! We call the police or run away. We must remember that those who will live godly will suffer persecution. Do you suffer? If not ask yourself, Am l living godly?



Question - What does a Man of God look like biblically?

You can always tell a man of God….
Because he comes from obscurity, he emerges from a wilderness experience with a ruddy face. Comes without the trappings of this life and he has one cloak and a shepherds staff in his hand. He has no purse and nowhere to lay his head. He has taken leave of this world and his eye is fixed on the end of the race. He does not trust himself in the flesh but lives completely dependant on the power of the Holy Spirit to fulfil the ministry that God has called him too. His mind is saturated in the word of God and he not only understands the ways of God but something of the character of God rests upon his soul. He has been near the cross and he has been sore broken in the place of dragons. He has given up making plans of his own. His mind in absorbed in discerning the will of God. He is carrying his cross and daily he looks death in the face knowing that eternity will open bright and blessed. He has only one thing in his life God and he is not turning back.

He looks like Christ Steve

September 16th Philippians, 1

1: Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: 2: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 3: I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4: Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, 5: For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; 6: Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: 7: Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. 8: For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. 9: And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; 10: That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; 11: Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. 12: But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; 13: So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; 14: And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. 15: Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: 16: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: 17: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.

Paul writes this letter with Timothy at his side, as a joint letter to the Christians in the Roman Colony of Philippi. They describe themselves as ‘Servants of Christ Jesus’. The word is ‘bond slave’. Bond slaves were slaves that having been granted freedom come back to serve for love of their master. They are bond slaves of Christ Jesus (Not Jesus Christ - The order of the words indicates that Paul has in mind the glorified Christ who was once a man on earth.) Paul uses the Jewish traditional greeting 'Peace' and adds to it the Christian greeting of 'Grace'. (In the Synagogue the Peace greeting would be first but writing to Christians the Grace greeting is first.) The word Peace for a Jew has the concept of wellbeing. Being in a right relation with God in which the conscience does not disturb fellowship. In other words it is the state of a righteous Jew who finds that God smiles on him because he obedient to the Mosaic covenant. God promised heath, wealth, happiness, fruitfulness, children, a long life and freedom from enemies if they obeyed the 613 commandments of the Covenant. The word Grace for the Christian is the concept that God is kind to the unworthy sinner bringing him into Gods blessing, not because of anything that he has done whatsoever but simply because he loves him. It is the favour of God which is completely unmerited. The sinner cannot be disqualified from Grace because he is - a sinner, or unworthy, or unthankful, or because he cannot love God in return. He comes on the basis of the fact that he really believes that Christ actually died for Him. That is faith and on that basis alone God in Grace saves him. His salvation is never to his credit - he has no credit with God he comes as a unworthy hell deserving sinner and God is kind to him even though he does not deserve it. Paul always thanked God for the believers at Philippi, whenever he thought about them. And because of their faithfulness in helping him with gifts of money he was always filled with joy. What a great privilege it must have been to support Paul in his missionary work. These believers had started supporting him right from the beginning and had never given up. Faithfulness is a great virtue. He also says that he is confident that the work of God begun in their souls God will carry on to completion until the day that Christ returns. The day of Christ Jesus must refer to the calling of the church to heaven. Paul says that the way he feels about them is right and proper and that they are constantly on his mind because in whatever situation he finds himself in the Philippian believers share in Gods grace with him. The bond of personal affection between Paul and his converts was very close indeed. He calls on God to testify of his love for them. He love for them is not human love, wonderful as that might be. Rather he says the love l have for you is the Love of Christ Jesus which he has placed in my heart for you. Paul’s prayer for the Philippians believers is that their love may abound more and more. The word abound means to break over the bounds. Like a flood breaking the banks of the river and flooding the dry areas in land. That is how our love is to break out to bring kindness and blessing. Their love was not to be blind! It is to be in knowledge and depth of insight. Our love is to be intelligent and wise. Only then says Paul will we be able to discern what is the best and remain pure and blameless until the return of Christ. So often believers express their love in inappropriate ways and this can even bring disgrace to Christ’s name. Paul says that when our lives are overflowing with love we will be filled with the fruit of righteousness. This is not a righteousness of our own but that which comes through Jesus Christ and it is therefore not to our praise but to the glory and praise of God. Paul was not apparently phased by the fact that he was in prison. He had come to realise that everything works together for good to them that love God and are called according to his purpose. Paul’s imprisonment meant that he had access to the people of Rome but was in fact protected from murder by his enemies by the guards who imprison him. The whole palace guard had come to understand why Paul was in chains. Not because he was a criminal but because the Jews criminally wanted to murder him. Because of Paul’s imprisonment many Christians had found courage to stand up and be counted. There were some believers who preached in a way that produced trouble among the believers. They might have been preaching legalism or libertarianism. However Paul is not fazed by even this annoying circumstance, rather he says Christ is being preached. Sometimes it is out of good motives and sometimes it is even to add more burdens to Paul’s heart, but Christ is still being preached and however defective - he rejoices in God that the Gospel is being preached in Rome. Of course Paul would not be happy with a completely false gospel being preached. These people were preaching the true Gospel whatever their motives.