Verse of the Day

Daily Devotion 

By:  Bro. Bob Maynard
 

30 October 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 2:6 NASB  Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

Some verses in the Bible speak to our needs in every situation.  They are the gemstones in the scriptures that can lighten our loads, put a spring in our steps and point us to joy and truth.  And such we have in today’s VOTD.  First, let me encourage you to memorize this verse.  Because I believe it will do for you what it has done for me on countless occasions.  It keeps me from not only stumbling over self-doubt but it makes me look up and place my faith in the hands of the only One who can help in times of need, my Lord Jesus Christ.

As you well know, we have to look back at the scriptures when we see the word therefore.  We want to understand why the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write it.  I believe there are several thoughts that it refers to: that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself,  (Colossians 2:2 NASB).  Because of all these things that I have underlined, Paul wants you to know and understand what Christ is doing in your life.  He wants to give you all of these qualities so that you can know that God loves you with an everlasting love.  Then in the very next verse, Paul tells us that in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3 NASB).  Paul wants us to know the truth so he says to us: I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument (Colossians 2:4 NASB).  And finally, Paul tells us through the Holy Scriptures that: For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ (Colossians 2:5 NASB).  For all of these reasons, Paul starts of our VOTD with therefore.  Remember you can always say, Because of these things, or since these things are true, therefore…

Now, the Holy Scripture says to us: as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord.  My question to you is: How did you receive Christ Jesus the Lord?  Give me just one word to describe it.  I don’t want to know the circumstances, the place or even who it was that shared the good news with you.  I want to know HOW you receive Christ Jesus the Lord.  The HOW is bound up in one word.  And that one word is: FAITH.  You receive Christ Jesus the Lord by FAITH and by FAITH alone.  It was not the words you said.  It was not the place you were at.  It was not due to the circumstances that you were in.  All of these things could contribute to your FAITH but they were not the reason you receive Christ Jesus the Lord.  It was your FAITH and your FAITH alone that was the vehicle that led you to receive Christ Jesus the Lord.  When you bowed your head and prayed your prayer and asked Christ Jesus to forgive you and to save you, He and He alone came into your life because of one reason: You placed your FAITH in Him as your own personal Savior and Lord.  He was not motivated to save you for any other reason than your simple childlike faith in Him.  Jesus says to us: and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3 NASB).  He is not saying that we become like children in our actions but in our FAITH in Him.  A child does not question.  It simply trust the parent.  And that is all our VOTD is saying to us, that we walk in simple childlike faith in Him as He leads us through the valley of the shadow of death: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me (Psalms 23:4 NASB).

The result, the conclusion of our FAITH in Christ Jesus the Lord is that we so walk in Him.  I want you to notice what the phrase so walk in Him does NOT say.  It does not say: Stand still.  Although, I will admit to you that there are times in our lives that God the Holy Spirit will want us to stand still and consider the things He is doing and has done and will do, just as He said to Job: Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God (Job 37:14 KJV). 

Also, this phrase so walk in Him does NOT say crawl.  Although there are times in our lives after our great SIN we come crawling back to Him and seeking His forgiveness and mercy.  And this phrase so walk in Him does NOT say run.  For when we run, we have a tendency to run ahead of Him and do things that He has does not want us to do.  No, no.  This phrase says so walk in Him.  Question is: Why?  Why does He want us to walk?  Just walk?  Why?

I believe there are several reasons: First, so that we have time to think.  God wants us to use our brains that He gave us.  Second, He wants to have time to remember.  Remember His goodness and His mercy to us in the past.  And finally, He wants us to understand His ways and know His heart and His reasons.  The more we get to know Him and understand Him, the more we will fall in love with Him, His words, His works and His ways.  Here is some scriptures to help you as you seek to walk in Him:

 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father (Colossians 3:17 NASB).

Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the LORD (Isaiah 2:5 NASB).

Many nations will come and say, “Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD And to the house of the God of Jacob, That He may teach us about His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For from Zion will go forth the law, Even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem (Micah 4:2 NASB).

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called (Ephesians 4:1 NASB).

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma (Ephesians 5:1-2 NASB).

Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more (1 Thessalonians 4:1 NASB).

for we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7 NASB).

Lord, please help me to turn away from sin and walk by faith in you and your love for me.  Lord, I know that you died for me so that I might have a new life in you.  Lord, I place my trust, my faith and my hope in you that you will lead me in the path of righteousness.  Lord, I want to please you in all that I say and do.  Lord, please mold me, direct me and use me this day for your good will and pleasure.  Lord, I want to walk by faith in you and your love for me.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


29 October 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 2:5 NASB  For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.

I want us to focus on one word in this VOTD.  Can you guess which word?  And why would I want us to focus on just one word?  Well, for me the whole verse is about the one word and its meaning and concepts.  It is like a rock that is thrown into the middle of the still pond.  All the ripples come from that one rock.   You can’t see the rock when it’s in the water but you know all the effects you see are because of the rock entering the water.  And so it is with this VOTD.  The rock is the word discipline and the effects are the stability of your faith in Christ.

First, we want to define our rock: discipline.  Webster’s has lots, and lots of definitions, in fact, it has 12 different definitions.  But of those 12 only a few are applicable to us in this verse.  We want to choose those that give this verse substance:
DISCIPLINE, n.
1. Education; instruction; cultivation and improvement, comprehending instruction in arts, sciences, correct sentiments, morals and manners, and due subordination to authority.
3. Rule of government; method of regulating principles and practice; as the discipline prescribed for the church.
4. Subjection to laws, rules, order, precepts or regulations; as, the troops are under excellent discipline; the passions should be kept under strict discipline.
DISCIPLINE, v.t.
1. To instruct or educate; to inform the mind; to prepare by instructing in correct principles and habits; as, to discipline youth for a profession, or for future usefulness.
2. To instruct and govern; to teach rules and practice, and accustom to order and subordination; as, to discipline troops or an army.

So we can say that when we come under Godly discipline we are to instruct or educate our minds, hearts and wills to prepare for following the correct principles and habits that the Lord wants us to follow so that we can be pleasing or doing what is right in His sight.  And I might add that this is not a one-time event but a lifelong process.  It is like learning a new complicated skill that you will be doing for the rest of your life.  We are learning the new skill of godliness.  But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness (1 Timothy 4:7 NASB).

I don’t know if you have ever thought about your life in Christ this way, but it is a whole new life.  Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come (2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB).  Christ in you, the hope of glory, is wanting to produce in you a whole different way of thinking and living.  Just as you were submissive to your parents as you were growing up, now that you are adults, Christ wants you to become submissive to Him in your thinking, and in your walk and your ways that are in Christ.  The best ways we can see this is from the Holy Scriptures themselves.  Here are some scriptures that deal with discipline:

but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:27 NASB).

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4 NASB).

For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you (2 Thessalonians 3:7 NASB).

for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come (1 Timothy 4:8 NASB).

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline (2 Timothy 1:7 NASB).

All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.  (Hebrews 12:11 NASB)

I believe that we can all see that your new life in Christ is no cake walk.  It is not easy to be a Christian.  It takes hard work and discipline just like an athlete needs discipline to train his/her body for the games.  But you and I know that we are not training for a game.  We are training and disciplining our bodies, minds, hearts and very souls for our Lord.   We who are in training want to experience the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

So the question comes: How do we discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness?  Or: How do we come under the Lord’s discipline to become Holy in His sight?  There is only one way to come under the Lord’s discipline and that is to become submissive to His Spirit and His Holy Word as His Spirit applies the principles of the Holy Bible to your life, your situations and your walk.  We need to see Him, who is unseen, just like the rock in the water, that He might have a rippling affect in all of our actions, will and ways.  He can only “rock our boats” if He is in the water of our lives doing His will and His works. 

What is the outcome of Him being in our lives?  It is just like our VOTD says: We know that we have come under His discipline when we see the stability of our faith in Christ.  Stability means that there is no storm of life that can capsize our boats.  We are stable because we have our faith grounded upon the rock. “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock (Matthew 7:24 NASB).

“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it (Matthew 16:18 NASB).

Question is: Is your faith built upon the rock of Jesus Christ and are you disciplining yourself for the purpose of godliness?  

Lord, please help me.  Lord, I believe you are the Savior of the world and I believe that no man comes to the Father but through you.  And Lord, I believe that you are the way, the truth and the life.  But Lord, I see another law in the members of my body.  The law that makes me the man that I don’t want to be.  So Lord, I want you to discipline me for the purpose of godliness.  Lord, mold me into the man I should be.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


28 October 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 2:4 NASB  I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument.

Have you ever been “sold” something that you didn’t need or want but you bought it anyway?  I know I have and probably you have to.  So, as you think back about that experience, ask yourself: Why did I do that?  Why did I buy that?  What was my motivation?  And almost in all cases, it was the “seller” that convinced you to “buy” what they were selling.  Well, my friend, the principle of “selling” doesn’t necessarily have to apply to just things you buy with money.  The principle of “selling” can also apply to spiritual matters also.

The principle of “selling” is found in the New Testament many times over and also in the Old Testament.  We just don’t call it “selling.”  We call it persuading.  In fact, that is what our VOTD is all about.  There were false teachers out there in Paul’s day with persuasive arguments trying to delude the Christians about false doctrines and lead them astray.  And I must say that there are those who would do the same thing today.  But thanks be to God for the Bible.  Without error from cover to cover, it tells us the truth about not only the Good News of how to be saved by faith in Jesus Christ, it also tells us how to walk in Jesus so that we may please the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ in all that we say and do.  It teaches us how to look on the motives of our hearts so that we may please our Lord and Master.

In the very first chapter of Galatians, Paul addresses the issue of false teachers trying to delude them with persuasive arguments: I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! (Galatians 1:6-9 NASB).  But this is not the only time that we find controversy surrounding the gospel.  No, no.  Paul faced this issue many, many times.  In fact, it got so serious, that they had to convene a special Christian council to address the issue of false doctrine coming from men with persuasive arguments trying to delude the Christians.

Here is one of the “great debates” that Paul and Barnabas had with the teachers of false doctrine coming from men with persuasive arguments trying to delude the Christians.  Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue (Acts 15:1-2 NASB).  Now you can read all of the “facts” of this “great debate” in Acts 15, but let me give you the bottom line.  Not only was it not necessary to be circumcised to be saved but the whole Jewish legal system was set aside because we are saved by FAITH in our Lord Jesus and not by works of the law.  In fact, the only requirements that whole Christian council said this to the early Christians was: “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell.” (Acts 15:28-29 NASB).

Now my friend, let’s bring Christianity up-to-date: What does the Lord “require” of you to be saved TODAY?  Better yet: What does the Lord require of you to KEEP your salvation and to WALK in a manner that is pleasing unto Him?  What does He expect of you?  What do you have to do in order to make Him smile and look on your life with pleasure and joy?  Go ahead and say it… Let me hear the words you are thinking…  Say it out loud with me now: FAITH.  God’s Holy and Perfect Word says it this way: 

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” (Romans 1:17 NASB).

Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”  (Galatians 3:11 NASB).

BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM.  (Hebrews 10:38 NASB)

That is the way Paul lived his life and in fact it is the way that he recommended that every Christian live their life: Live by faith:

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Galatians 2:20 NASB).

Now here is the point of the VOTD:  There are those today that want to delude you with persuasive arguments.  They will tell you all kinds of strange and weird things and will be very, very persuasive.  Their arguments will seem reasonable and plausible.  For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses (2 Timothy 3:6 NASB).  But realize this: There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death (Proverbs 14:12 NASB).  God wants, no, better yet: GOD REQUIRES you to live your life by FAITH in Him and anything more or less than this is BLASPHEMY because you are putting your will ahead of God’s will.  The Bible says that MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM.  So let us NOT be the ones who shrinks back but let us be the ones who press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14 NASB).

Lord, please forgive me for those times that I have not walked by faith and I have done those things that are displeasing to you.  Lord, you tell me over and over again and again to walk by faith.  Lord, please help my mind and heart to trust you more.  Please give me that simple childlike faith to believe in all that your Spirit says to me to say and do.  Lord, I want to please you in all things.  And I know that without faith it is impossible to please you.  So Lord, all I can say is here am I.  Use me, mold me and make me into the man you want me to be.  Lord, I love you.


Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


27 October 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 2:3 NASB  in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

In order to get the complete meaning of this verse, we need to pick up the last few words of the previous verse, which are Colossians 2:2 NASB  … that is, Christ Himself, Colossians 2:3 NASB  in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  So we can say with confidence that it is in Christ Himself in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 

I want you to see the picture clearly.  I want you to understand what the meaning is so that each one of us can comprehend the full impact of what we have just read.  For without it, I am afraid that we will just gloss over the deep truth that lies just beyond our reach.  No man can see or know or understand the deep things of God unless He chooses to reveal them to us.  Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:45 NASB).  But for those who are willing to spend time with Him and seek Him and try to understand, God will reveal all the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 

First, we have to ask ourselves: Where are all the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge?  And the answer is: ?  Come on now… The answer is: ?  You know it, say it: ?  That’s right: All the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Christ HimselfSo let’s think about this phrase just a little bit.  When we say: in Christ Himself what does that mean?  It means that the Lord Jesus Christ is exclusive.  He and He alone possess life, wisdom and knowledge.  If we are going to have life and have it abundantly, then we need to come to Him.  … I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10 NASB).  If we are going to have wisdom, then we are going to have to come to Him.  For I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute (Luke 21:15 NASB).  If we are going to have knowledge, then we are going to have to come to Him. I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge (1 Corinthians 1:4-5 NASB).  

Now if we want these things, life, wisdom and knowledge, then we are going to have to go to Him, for only He has these qualities that we need, want and desire.  It is much like wanting to have some gold.  Where do you find gold?  Where is the best place to fine gold?  In a supermarket?  No.  In a shoe store?  No.  Maybe in restaurant?  No.  Where then?  How about the best place is in a gold mine.  But realize something… You have to go into the gold mine, you have to dig, and you have to put some sweat, labor and maybe even some tears.  You have to stick with it.  You have to strive day in and day out.  You can’t give up.  And then one day… EUREKA!!! You found it.  The mother-load.  The joy, the thrill the victory….  But where did it all start?  It all started because you had a desire and went into the gold mine.

It is the same for us who have that burning desire to have the life that is only found in Christ Himself.  It is only for those who have a hunger for the wisdom that can be found in Christ Himself.  It is only for those who long for and desire to have the knowledge that is found in Christ Himself.  Each Christian that hungers and thirsts for life and wisdom and knowledge must go to Christ Himself.  For we will never find these precious qualities outside of Christ Himself because they are only in Christ Himself. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied (Matthew 5:6 NASB).

So the very first thing that we need to know is that we have to go into Christ Himself.  How do we do that?  By being born again in Him:  Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3 NASB).  Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:5 NASB).

Next, we need to do what the gold miner does.  We need to dig, labor and strive and seek the precious qualities that can only be found in Christ Himself.  For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers (1 Timothy 4:10 NASB).  My fear is that far, far too many Christians want to be hand fed instead of feeding themselves.  They are feeding on milk instead of solid food.  Just as Paul said to the Corinthians: I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? (1 Corinthians 3:2-3 NASB).

But let us that seek the qualities of life, wisdom and knowledge that are found in Christ Himself do what Paul did when he said: I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14 NASB).  Paul was putting effort into seeking to know His Lord.  He was exercising his heart muscles as well as his mind.  He was endeavoring to know the will of God in his life.  He wanted to please his Lord and Master.  How was Paul doing these things?  The same way he urged others to do what he himself was doing: Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith (Romans 12:1-3 NASB).

Ask yourself one last and final question: How often did Paul present his body a living and holy sacrifice acceptable to God?  Once a week on Sunday mornings at 11:00 AM?  No, not just then.  Maybe twice a week on Sundays and Wednesdays?  No, not just then.  Well, then how often?  How about continually, constantly, and consistently in each and every situation in life.  “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Galatians 2:20 NASB).  I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily (1 Corinthians 15:31 NASB).  Is it acceptable for us to do any less? NO!!!

Lord, what can I say except for Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”  (Isaiah 6:5 NASB).  Lord, I have a desire for you to live your life in me.  I want to know you and the power of your resurrection and the fellowship of your sufferings, being conformed to your death. And I know that the only way that will ever happen is if I die to my own will and let your will direct me, drive me and motivate me.  So Lord, I ask you and beseech you that you might put me to death so that your Spirit can reign supreme in my life.  Lord, do you good will and pleasure in me this very day.  Use me to do whatever you want to get done.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


26 October 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 2:2 NASB  that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself,

Here in this VOTD is what Paul was struggling with in prayer for all the Christians in Colossae and Laodicea and for all those who have not personally seen Paul’s face.  These things are his desires, wants and wishes.  These are the things that he wants them to know and understand.  How do we know this?  It is because it comes from the previous verse which says: Colossians 2:1-2 NASB  For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face,  (2)  that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself.

First Paul’s desire is that their hearts may be encouraged.  In other words, Paul wants to inspire them, to give them confidence of spirit and motivate them to serve the Lord in all that they say and do.  It was almost as if Paul was a cheerleader on the sidelines of their faith, encouraging them to fight the good fight of faith just as he did for Timothy: Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses (1 Timothy 6:12 NASB).  Why would Paul need to encourage them?  Because we become discouraged when we see the victories that Satan wins.  We need to remember, the ruler of this world, Satan is still in operation.  He is still working and tempting Christians and discouraging them: “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out (John 12:31 NASB).  But we can be encouraged because Jesus tells us the ruler has been judged and he will be cast out: and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged (John 16:11 NASB). 

Here is Paul’s encouragement to us: For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. “O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O  DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:53-58 NASB).

Next, Paul wants their hearts to be knit together in love.  When something is knit together it is bound together, it is connected just like a network.  It is inseparable from that which it is bound to: love.  Remember what the Bible tells us:  Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8 NASB).  And: Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity (Colossians 3:14 NASB).

Next, he wants them to always be attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding.  Paul wants the Christians at Colossae and Laodicea to have understanding.  He wants them to understand the wealth of knowledge that the Lord gives to His children who are in submission to Him.  That understanding and full assurance that only comes as we submit to His will and His leadership.  And without it we feel lost and hopeless, defeated and alone.  Paul was in a struggle of prayer just as he was for the Galatian Christians to whom he wrote: My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you— (Galatians 4:19 NASB). 

But the final result is: resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself.  Just as Paul had said a few verses back: to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27 NASB).  Jesus is the Victory.  Jesus is goal.  Jesus is the one we want to please. 

How about you my friend.  Are you discouraged?  Then our VOTD is for you.  It is meant to give you encouragement.  It is meant to lift you up.  God wants you to have your hearts encouraged.  He wants you to be knit together in love.  He wants you to have all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding.  And He wants you to have a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself in you.  He wants you to see that Christ is in you and He is your hope of glory.  My friend, will you submit to Him?  Will you follow His leadership?  Will you allow Him to guide you and direct you and to love you as only He can? 

Lord, I want to pause to ask you and even beseech you to fill me, mold me and make me the man I should be.  Lord, it seems like so many, many times I am so far, far away and yet you are always there.  Lord, please lead me and guide me.  Help me to understand your ways and walk in a manner that is pleasing unto you.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


25 October 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 2:1 NASB  For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face,

As I have indicated in the past, I say now again that Paul may have never visited the small town of Colossae.  And one of the proof text is in this verse when he says: and for all those who have not personally seen my face.  I will let you decide on that debate.  Let us press on toward the upward call that is found in Christ Jesus and see what the Lord has in store for us in this verse.

Paul tells us that he has had a great a struggle.  So what was Paul in a struggle with?  Well, when we think about it and take it in the context of the last two verses of the previous chapter (you remember what context is all about), then we get a picture of what Paul’s struggle is all about.  In the last two verses, which say:
Colossians 1:28-29 NASB
(28)  We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.
(29)  For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.
Paul is talking about proclaiming Jesus, admonishing, teaching and laboring along with striving.  He could do this in the presence of the believers.  He could see them face to face.  He could see their expressions, read their body language and understand their acceptance or rejection of what he was saying.

But now, Paul is writing to all those who have not personally seen his face.  He is writing to those in Colossae and also for those who are at Laodicea.  People he has never seen.  People who he has never met.  He doesn’t know their names or what their faces look like.  He doesn’t know their background.  He doesn’t even know their receptivity to his message about Jesus.  You talk about the unknown… this is it.  Paul did not know them in any way except what he had heard about them from Epaphras.  For it was Epaphras that had shared the Gospel with them and shared his experience with Paul: just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf (Colossians 1:7 NASB).

So here is Paul, in a prison in Rome and Epaphras shares what he has done in Colossae and in Laodicea and Paul is stuck in Rome.  Does Paul want to go there?  Does he want to preach there?  Does he have a longing and desire to strengthen the brethren there?  Of course he does.  But he can’t.  So what does that create in Paul?  A great struggle.  He has a desire to be with them and yet he can’t.  He has a desire to strengthen them but he can’t.  He has a need, a desire and a longing that he can’t fulfill.  So he has a great struggle.

If you stop and think about it, you have a great struggle in your life from time to time.  Those times that you had a desire but didn’t have the opportunity to do what you had a desire to do.  Whether it was a physical barrier like Paul had or a mental barrier, it makes no difference.  You have a great struggle.  And what you do about your great struggle makes all the difference in the world.

In Paul’s case, what did he do?  Did he grip and complain?  No.  Did he rant and rave?  No.  So what did he do?  You know and I know what he did.  He PRAYED.  … The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much (James 5:16 NASB).  I personally believe that Paul struggled in prayer much for both the Christians in Colossae and Laodicea.  He knew the schemes of the Devil.  He knew the attacks of Satan.  He knew the problems that they would face.  And he could not be there to encourage them, to lift them up and speak the word of God to them.  Oh, it is so very true that Paul had a great struggle for all of the saints in Colossae and Laodicea. 

But Paul knew that the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ was not bound.  He knew the One who can convict of Sin, Righteousness and Judgement can and will work in the lives of the believers in both Colossae and Laodicea.  So Paul struggled in prayer for them.

Which brings us up to date…. What are you struggling with?  What is on your heart and mind?  Maybe the better question is: What are you doing about your struggle?   Are you doing what the world does?  Are you ranting and raving and telling everyone how miserable you are… so they can feel your misery?  Are you griping and complaining so that others can pity you?  Or are you doing what Paul does?  Going to the Lord in prayer and struggling with the problems before His throne of grace.   We know that there is NOTHING IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD but for some reason we don’t take the impossible situations to His throne of grace. 

Let me challenge you: The next time or even the present time, when you are struggling with a problem, take it to the throne of grace.  Let the Lord handle the problem.  Let Him tell you what to do about it.  Follow Him and honor Him by doing what the Spirit of the Lord tells you.  He is glorified when we are obedient to Him.  And when we do what the Holy Spirit says, we will take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ: We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB).

Lord, please forgive me for those times I have been worldly and done what the world does by griping and complaining about a situation.  Lord, please help me to always remember the take every thought captive to your obedience.  Lord, I want to be pleasing in your sight.  I want to do what is right before your throne of grace.  So, Lord, please help me to always remember to pray about everything.  Help me to remember to not complain but to pray.  Help me to get you involved but allowing you to influence my mind and heart through prayer.  Lord, help me to always remember the ways of man and the ways of the world are not the ways of God.  Lord, I want to live for you in all that I say and do.  Please enable me to be yours.  I love you, Lord.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


24 October 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 1:29 NASB  For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.

This verse, like a lot of the verses that we look at, immediately bring up questions to our mind.  Why?  Because when we look at them in isolation, by themselves, without any background or context, we have to ask ourselves, what does it mean when Paul starts off with a statement like: For this purpose also I labor.  So, we ask ourselves: What is Paul laboring for?  What is he striving for?  That is why “context” is so important in scripture.  You simply MUST apply the subject that he is talking about so that you can understand the question at hand.

When we talk about “context” we look at the previous verses to understand the subject matter at hand so that we can draw a proper conclusion as to what any one phrase or even a verb like labor or striving means.  Here are the previous verses along with our current VOTD: Colossians 1:24-29 NASB
(24)  Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.
(25)  Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God,
(26)  that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints,
(27)  to whom God willed to 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)  We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.
(29)  For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.

Now that we see the previous verses, we can better understand what Paul is meaning when he says: For this purpose also I labor.  Which brings another question to mind:  For what purpose are you laboring?  When we talk about laboring, we automatically think about “effort” “goals” and “desires.”  I wonder how much effort each Christian is putting into their Christian walk.  How much effort and energy am I putting into my “striving” to be like Christ Jesus my Lord?  And then I have to go the next step and ask myself: To whom is Paul directing his labor, towards himself or towards others.  And then when I look at the “context” I understand that Paul’s labor was not towards himself but towards others.  So, I have to re-evaluate my question: How much labor am I putting into seeing that I am proclaiming Him to my neighbor?  Am I laboring at all?  Am I proclaiming Him to anyone?  Personally, I believe each of us need to ask ourselves these VITAL questions so that we can please our Lord.

Let’s face the facts: Paul’s new life in Christ was all about pleasing his Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ.  What did the Lord want him to do to please Him?  In order to answer that question, we have to go back to Paul’s conversion experience, on that road to Damascus.  Paul asked Our Lord Jesus a question: And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.” (Acts 9:5-6 NASB).  A few verses later on we find that the Lord spoke these words to Ananias as the Lord directed him to go lay his hands on Paul so that he could regain his sight and also reveal to us what Paul’s calling and mission was: But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel (Acts 9:15 NASB). 

So we learn that Paul’s mission and calling was not about serving himself and worrying about his relationship to the Lord, but his calling and mission was all about telling others about the Lord Jesus Christ.  Paul’s calling and duty in this life was to share the Good News with others.  So Paul can say truthfully in our VOTD that: For this purpose also I labor.  I believe there is a lesson to be learned in this for all of us and that is: Stop worrying so much about ourselves and start worrying about others and their relationship to the Lord Jesus.  We need to help them see and understand that without Jesus there is NO HOPE.  There is NO LIFE.  And that there is no TRUE JOY without Jesus in their lives.

Next, in our VOTD, Paul says that he is striving according to His power.  Have you ever heard the saying: Give credit where credit is due?  Of course you have.  And what does it mean?  It means exactly what it says.  When there is a victory, when there is a praise, when there is a goal met, then give the credit to the One who enabled you to reach your goal or victory.  Paul always gave our Lord Jesus the credit and we should also.  Paul recognized that all that he accomplished, all that he did, all the victories that he saw in his life was due to one reason and one reason alone: His power.  In fact, Paul goes on in our VOTD to say: which mightily works within me.  Paul wanted to give all of the credit to any victories that he accomplished to the One who accomplished them.  And that was the Lord Jesus Christ.  Paul was filled with His power on many, many occasions and he accomplished many miracles.  And one of the reasons I believe that the Lord continually and consistently enabled Paul is because Paul ALWAYS gave the Lord the credit for any good that was done in his life by making such statements as: striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.

Paul is not the only one to give the Lord the credit for the miracles that happened in his life.  Peter did the same thing when people start looking at him and John for curing the lame man so that he could walk again: But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk? “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. “But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses. “And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all (Acts 3:12-16 NASB).

So, the bottom line for us to learn from this VOTD is twofold: 1. We need to labor and strive so that others might know the truth about Jesus: He is the ONLY Way, the ONLY Truth and His the ONLY Life, a life that is worth living.  And 2.  We are to give the Lord Jesus Christ the credit for ALL of the Victories that we enjoy in our lives.

Lord, please forgive me for those times that I have been self-centered and worried too much about my relationship with you and not enough about my neighbor’s relationship with you.  Lord, please help me to always remember that I am to seek the best for my neighbor and always help him/her to see that Jesus is the BEST thing that can happen to a person in this life.  Lord, help me to always remember to give you all the credit for the good that happens to me in this life.  Lord, I want to be yours, always striving to do what you want me to do.  Please use me this day.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


23 October 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 1:28 NASB  We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.

Your new life in the Lord Jesus Christ… It is all about Him…!!!  This verse say it all… We proclaim Him.  What does that mean?  What does it mean to proclaim?  Some of the terms that Webster’s uses are: To promulgate; to announce; to publish; To declare with honor; as, to proclaim the name of the Lord, that is, to declare his perfections. To utter openly; to make public.

Here is what the word proclaim meant to the early church: And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ (Acts 5:42 NASB).  Every day they talked about Jesus.  Every day and everywhere they went, whether it was in the temple or from house to house they talked about Jesus.  What did they say about Jesus?  They declared that Jesus is the Christ.  Do you know what that means? … Jesus is the Christ.  He is Lord of all.  He is Savior of all.  He is the Master of all.  He is the one and only Savior and Lord of all mankind. 

When I think about the early church teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ in the temple and from house to house I have to wonder about us.  Do we do the same?  Do we talk about Jesus everywhere we go and with everyone we meet?  Are we open and honest about our faith in Him?  When you go to get coffee in the morning at your favorite coffee shop, do they know you love Jesus?  Have you ever bragged on Him?  Have you ever talked to a stranger next to you while you are getting your coffee about your Lord and Master?  Have you ever mentioned the name of Jesus just as casually as you would mention the name of one of your kids or your wife’s name?  You don’t have to be rude and obnoxious to talk about Jesus… No, no.  Just honest and open.  If you were excited about something in your life, you wouldn’t be afraid to say something to a stranger like: “I get to go on vacation next week.”  Or: “I am flying to New York on Friday.”  So, why do we find it so hard to say something like: I love the Lord Jesus?  Or: I am looking forward to meeting Jesus.  Or even quoting a verse of scripture when they say “At least I am up and on the right side of the dirt this morning”:  And then we could say something like: “I like the options.  I much … prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8 NASB).

Paul was all about talking about Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of all.  He was, as our VOTD says admonishing every man.  Again, what does admonishing mean?  Webster’s tells us it means to: Reproving; warning; counseling; directing.  So, now the question becomes, have we ever done that?  Have we ever “told someone that “the Bible says?”  Or warned someone about what they are doing is wrong?  If you hear someone cursing, have you ever said to that person: “You shouldn’t use the Lord’s name in vain.”  Paul tells us that: I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children (1 Corinthians 4:14 NASB).  I believe that God wants to encourage us to be bold in our speech and strong in our witness for Him.  Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father (Colossians 3:17 NASB).

Next, our VOTD says teaching every man with all wisdom.  I can hear your voice now.  Your words are ringing in my ears… “But I am NOT a teacher…”  Oh, but you are.  You are my friend, whether you believe it or not.  Do you have children?  You are teaching them by your example.  You may not ever say a word, but they are learning from what you say and do.  They know your motives and the true character of your heart.  Children are very observant.  They see and know a lot more than you think they do.  The come to conclusions more about what you do than about what you say.  When you say “I love the Lord Jesus” and then stay home to watch your football game, they know that football is more important to you than the Lord.  Children can be brutally honest.  They can say things that are the truth right to our face or to others.  That is why Jesus says: … And Jesus *said to them, “Yes; have you never read, ‘OUT OF THE MOUTH OF INFANTS AND NURSING BABIES YOU HAVE PREPARED PRAISE FOR YOURSELF’?”  (Matthew 21:16 NASB).  So, the word to you and me is that we need to pray for wisdom that our words might match our actions, so that there would be no discrepancies between what we say and what we do. 

And then we come to the final phrase of our VOTD that says: so that we may present every man complete in Christ.  What do you do when you finish a project?  Normally, you step back and look at it.  You asses it to see if it is complete.  You look at it with a critical eye and examine it to see if it has defects or flaws.  We do this all the time.  If we are working in the yard, after we are done we evaluate our work.  If we see something that is not quite right, then we go back and fix it.  But the truth of the matter is this: The finished job is only as good as the effort that went into the job.  If you only put in a half-hearted effort to get something done, that is what it will look like when it is finished.  If you are mowing your yard and don’t pay attention and you miss some spots because you are doing a “half-hearted” job… then it will look just like that… a sloppy, “half-hearted” mowing job.

The same is true for our “life in Christ.”  If you are giving the Lord a “half-hearted” effort then your life looks sloppy, just like the lawn.  If you aren’t striving to enter by the narrow gate every day, then you are giving the Lord a “half-hearted” effort.  Why?  Because it is NOT complete in Christ.  Our efforts, our righteousness is as the Bible says are “filthy rags” in His sight.  … and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; …  (Isaiah 64:6 KJV).  The only way that we may present every man complete in Christ is to allow the Lord Jesus Christ to be just that… Lord of ALL.  “The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)–  (Acts 10:36 NASB).  Then and only then will the job be complete; the life surrendered to Him will be complete in Christ.

Lord, I want to be the man that I should be; the man that you want me to be.  I want to speak as I should speak.  I want to live to honor you.  Lord, I don’t want to give you a “half-hearted” effort.  Lord, I want to be strong and the only way I know to be strong is to surrender my life to you.  So, Lord, I am giving you my heart, mind and very soul to do with as you please.  I want to die to my will and let your will reign supreme in my life this day.  Lord, use me.  Mold me. And make me into the man that pleases you in every thought and action.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


22 October 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 1:27 NASB  to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Yesterday we talked about the mystery and today we get to reveal and talk about what that mystery is: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  But first I want you to notice what God did in this mystery.  God willed to make known… In other words, it is God’s will to make known the mystery which is Christ in you the hope of glory.  This verse is so very precious to me and I pray that it is to you also.  It brings to mind the following verses: Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:33-36 NASB).

Now I want you to see what Christ in you is all about.  For unless you know the reason and understand the purpose of why Christ in you, you will miss the point of what God wants to accomplish in your life.  In other words, we as Christians need to know WHY Christ is in us…!!!

In order to understand the “why” Christ is in us, we need to look at our Lord Jesus Christ and understand what purpose God the Father had in Christ the Son.  God does all things for a reason and a purpose.  And He never does anything without a reason and a purpose behind it. God had a plan and a purpose for His only begotten Son, before the foundation of the world.  And just as you were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world, so He has a plan for you in Christ Jesus:   just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love (Ephesians 1:4 NASB).

First, we need to see that God the Father was in Christ Jesus the Son, so that we can start to understand that the Christ is in us just the same way.  Here are some scriptures that state the fact that God the Father was in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ:

but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” (John 10:38 NASB).

“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works (John 14:10 NASB).

Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves (John 14:11 NASB).

These verses make it abundantly clear that God the Father was in Christ the Son and not only that but that God the Father was doing the works in and through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Now, you could not see the Father in the Son.  You had to accept it by FAITH that what Jesus said about the Father doing His works in and through the Son was true: Father abiding in Me does His works.  So the point I want to make is this: The Lord Jesus Christ is in you for a purpose.  He has a plan.  He has a will.  And His will is the same as the Father had in Christ…. To do His works.  He abides in you to do His works. 

We can see that God the Father was doing His works when we see, know and understand what Jesus meant when He said such things as: “And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”  (John 8:29 NASB).  In other words, the Lord Jesus was always yielded and obedient to His Father in all that He said and did.  There was never, ever a time in Jesus’ life that He was not in complete submission to the Father’s Holy Will. 

Which brings us to the point of today’s VOTD: Why is Christ in you?  You say to me: He is our hope of glory.  And I say to you:  Quite right, Christ is in you and He is your hope of glory but why do you get that glory?  Is it because YOU are doing the good works?  Is it because YOU are causing miracles to happen in your life and the lives of those around you?  Is it because YOU have all power in heaven and earth?  Of course NOT.  It is Christ in you that is doing all of the work.  He is the one who is motivating you to do the good works.  He is the one who is working miracles.  He is the one who has all the power to do what needs to be done.  You are simply His vessel.  You are simply the clay pot that holds the power.  And He even made you… the clay pot.

Now here is the strange part.  Christ in you does the good work, but you get the hope of glory.  Why?  Because you know if you yield your life to Him, He will glorify Himself through you.  He will use you.  He will enable you.  He will train you.  And all you have to do when people thank you for your good deeds, is point your finger at the heavens above and give credit where credit is due.  It is all due to what Christ in you, the hope of glory has done in and through you.  He has done it all.  Give Him the Glory.  Give Him the Praise.  For Only He is worthy of our Praise and Glory.

I will close with one last thought: Does Christ work in and through your life IF you are NOT yielded to Him.  If you are stubborn and rebellious like Jonah, does Christ work in your life?  Or does He first have to get you in submission like putting you into a situation like being swallowed by a great BIG fish.  Jonah had to experience disaster in his life before he yielded his life to be used by God.  Don’t make the same mistake.  Yield to Christ and His will before disaster strikes so that you can know that Christ is in you for the hope of glory… to glorify Him.  

Lord, please forgive me for those times that I have been stubborn and refused to do your holy and perfect will.  Lord, I believe you are in me for a purpose and a reason.  And that is to do your holy and perfect will.  Lord, I want to be yielded every second and every moment of every day to that will.  Lord, if you see any rebellious spirit in me or anything that is offensive, please do whatever you need to so that you can remove it from my life.  Lord, I want to be used by you this day.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


21 October 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 1:26 NASB  that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints,

To be sure, this verse is has one central theme in it.  It has one thought.  One idea that we need to examine.  And that one thought is bound up in the word: mystery.  Tomorrow’s verse will reveal what this mystery is in full detail but for today it is sufficient that we understand that the gospel has an aspect of a mystery in it. 

Now for us to understand what this mystery is, we need to first understand what the word means.  Paul alludes to the meaning when he says:  which has been hidden from the past ages and generations.  So a mystery is something that has been hidden and we can’t know it.  Webster’s says that a mystery is: A profound secret; something wholly unknown or something kept cautiously concealed, and therefore exciting curiosity or wonder.  That which is beyond human comprehension until explained. In this sense, mystery often conveys the idea of something awfully sublime or important; something that excites wonder.  Mystery is an important part of our lives.  We even have books that we classify as mystery novels.

What does God’s word have to say about this word mystery?  What can we learn from other scriptures about this mystery?
Romans 16:25-26 NASB
(25)  Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past,
(26)  but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith;

Well, according to these verses, the mystery has been reveled because it is now manifested.  In fact, the mystery has been made known to all the nations.  What is this mystery?  Whatever the mystery is, we know that it leads to obedience of faith.  And we know that it is faith in Christ that saves us.  So whatever the mystery is, it involves our Lord Jesus Christ and it leads to obedience of faith. 

Are there any other scriptures that talk about the mystery?  I am glad you asked because in fact there are.  Here is one: but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory (1 Corinthians 2:7-8 NASB).  God’s wisdom is surrounded by a mystery.  In fact the Holy Scriptures goes on to tell us that: but just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.” (1 Corinthians 2:9 NASB).  Yes it is true, God’s wisdom is bound up in mystery.

Let’s look at one last scripture.  Paul tells us that: that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; (Ephesians 3:3-5 NASB).  If we are ever going to know the answer to what the mystery is, then it must be revealed by the Spirit of the living God.  He is the only one who can reveal the mystery to us. 

So are you ready to know what the mystery is?  Here it is as Paul states it in Ephesians: to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel (Ephesians 3:6 NASB).  My friend, those of us who are Gentiles and believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are now fellow heirs and fellow members of the body of Christ.  That is the answer to what the mystery is.  Nowhere in the Old Testament does God reveal this secret, this mystery that we as Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body.  It is only in the New Testament that we become fellow heirs and fellow members of the body of Christ.  What you could not be a part of before Christ, but now you have become fellow members by faith in Him

But we need to realize something.  Now there is another mystery that involves the Jews.  And the mystery is that a partial hardening that has happened to the Jews: For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery–so that you will not be wise in your own estimation–that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; (Romans 11:25 NASB).  So what do we do?  We love them and pray for them till these scriptures become true:  and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.” “THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.” (Romans 11:26-27 NASB).

But the Good News is, by faith and by faith in Him alone, the mystery is revealed.  You can have a new life.  And that new life leads to obedience of faith.  I want to encourage you to believe in Him.  Trust in Him.  Pray to Him.  Live for Him.  Obey Him.  Do all that you do for Him.  He is our only hope.  He is our only prayer.  He and He alone possesses salvation.  He and He alone is the deliverer.  He and He alone is the one who is able to lead, guide and direct our lives so that they will be pleasing to God the Father.  Will you bow your heart to Him?  Will you yield your will to Him?  Will you call on the Name that is above every name and ask Him to fill you with His will, His power and His way this very day.  Will you???  Then do it now with me my friend….

Lord, without you I am nothing.  Lord, you are so good, so holy, so perfect and I need you so very, very much.  Lord, I want to say that you are the best thing, the best person,  the best of the best that has ever happened to me.  I love you Lord and I want you to be glorified in my body, mind, soul and spirit this day.  Lord live in me and do you good will and pleasure in me.  Lead me, guide me and mold me into the man you want to be this very day.  Lord, I love you with my whole heart, mind, body and soul.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 



Leave a Reply