Someone once told me that when it comes to our children, more things are caught than taught, meaning that we can teach all the right things, read our Bibles, pray with our children, and take them to church, but in the end the way we live our lives in front of our children will have a much more profound impact on them than all the words we speak or the lessons we teach.
As we used to testify in our little West Virginia dirt-road church, “I’ve come too far to turn back now.” I’m not going back; I’m pressing forward and upward. It’s the dog that returns to the vomit and a hog that returns to the wallow (2Pe 2:22), and I’m not a dog or a hog. I’m not going back. I’ve put my hand to the plow and now it’s full steam ahead till Jesus comes.
The Apostle Paul was dealing with people who were saying they believed in Jesus as Messiah, and saying they believed He died for their sins, yet they insisted that certain elements of the Law of Moses should be retained as necessary for salvation. These people were called Judaizers, and they included both Jewish people and Gentiles that had converted to Judaism. For the Judaizers, Christ alone was just not enough.
EPAPHRODITUS: THE SELFLESS SERVANT Mark E. Hardgrove, PhD Philippians 2:25-30 25 Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; 26 since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was...
In verse 28, “God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” Sin changed the dynamic between males and females, but the subjugation of women to men was not God’s original design. He made us as two halves of one whole, which was designed to glorify Him.
In our text, Paul reminds us that we cannot be part-time believers. We can’t just do right when we think the pastor is watching, or another church member is watching us. We need to know that through the grace of God working in us, we can and should be full-time believers.
As believers, our love for one another should be able to transcend any perceived slight or offense. Our love should reach across the aisle to apologize if we have hurt someone’s feelings, or unintentionally wounded them in any way. Without love at the core of a church like ours—a diverse church with people of all races, many nations and cultures, and yes, even various political perspectives—without love, we will never survive. Like Paul, my prayer is that our love will grow more and more.
We might think it is demeaning to refer to oneself as a slave or a servant, but in the first century, the slave of a high-ranking official often had more influence and authority than the average free Roman citizen. A servant sent in the name of his master came with conferred authority; therefore, to rebuff the servant was to rebuff the one who sent him. As the servants of Jesus Christ, we have been sent in His name, and there is power in the name of Jesus.
If we pay attention to what God is doing in our lives, I believe we will discover that God prepares us for what is coming before are even aware it is coming. Often, it is only when we look back that we see and understand that God is always two steps ahead of any problem or challenge that the enemy tried to put in our path.
Studying this passage, the first step I see in the path to purpose is “be prepared.” The Prophet Isaiah said the Messiah would be born to a virgin (Is 7:14), and Mary had maintained her purity. If she had compromised her purity for a moment of pleasure, she would have forfeited the honor that was to be hers. Once we embrace the idea that we have a God-given purpose, we need to prepare.