Thursday, July 31, 2014

Imitation 2

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church.” ( Ephesians 5:25-29)

We are to imitate Jesus in our relationships with our wives and for the same reason: to present her to ourselves in glory, “without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she would be holy and blameless.”

You may say, “I cannot do that.” No, but we are still told to do it 'just like Jesus.'

We should spend the rest of our lives studying how Christ loved the church and then do it. I will not go into detail but I started this study in 1956. We had been married four years. Start your study and do not stop.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Imitation #1

You probably know that example is the best means of teaching and imitation is the best way of learning.

Did you know that we have been told to imitate God, several times?

1. Loving our enemies
2. Loving our wives
3. Humility
4. In everything.
5. In love
6. Loving the brothers
7. Wining an unbelieving husband.

Let's look at them.

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:44-48)

Jesus tells us to love our enemies then he teaches us how: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (verse 48).

We are to imitate the Father in Heaven in His perfection.

You may say that you do not know how. That is not a good answer. Study the perfection of the Father in Heaven and then imitate. I don't know the meaning of the word 'perfect.' Whatever it means, it is just like the Father in Heaven.

We see the same teaching in Luke 6:27-36,

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

The command to imitate is in verse 36, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

Study the MERCY of God and then imitate.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Mouth

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)

All of the words are great words but I want to emphasize the word mouth. The mouth says what the heart believes.

“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45)

Out of the heart the mouth speaks.

There is many “a Christian” who believes the gospel in his heart but is afraid to say it with his mouth. Jesus calls it being “ashamed of me and my word” (Luke 9:26).

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)

“Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, ‘I believed, and so I spoke,’ we also believe, and so we also speak.” (2 Corinthians 4:13)

Do you speak what you believe?

In the Lord Jesus Christ,

Jim Wilson

Monday, July 14, 2014

"Be" Commands

Here are a lot of “be” commands. These “be” commands always precede the “do” commands. These commands determine what you are.

“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45)

Be joyful – 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Be kind – Ephesians 4:32
Be prayerful – Matthew 5:48
Be self-controlled – 1 Peter 1:13
Be holy in all you do – 1 Peter 1:15
Be holy because I am holy – 1 Peter 1:16
Be transformed – Romans 12:2
Be joyful in hope – Romans 12:12
Do not be proud – Romans 12:16
Be willing to associate – 12:16
Do no be conceited – 12:16
Be careful to do what is right – 12:17
Be devoted to one another – 12:10
Never be lacking in zeal – 12:11
Be adopted – Ephesians 1:5
Be to the praise of the glory of His grace – Ephesians 1:6
Be to the praise of His glory – Ephesians 12
Do not let yourself be burdened – Galatians 5:1
Be reconciled to God – 2 Corinthians 5:21
Believe we died to sin – Romans 6:2
Believe the old self was crucified – Romans 6:6
Believe we have been freed from sin – Romans 6:7
Believe we have died with Christ – Romans 6:8
Believe He died to sin – Romans 6:10
Count yourself dead to sin – Romans 6:11
Become slaves to righteousness – Romans 6:18

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Giving Offense

Again, these next few posts are written because I am finding many Christians to whom they apply. If they apply to you, fix it. That is, confess the sins and then obey.

You know that taking offense is sin. You do not seem to know that giving offense is the greater sin.

“Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:32-11:1)

“And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.” (1 Corinthians 8:11-12)

“If my conscience is clean that does not make me innocent.” (1 Corinthians 4:4)

Our conscience is not absolute on right and wrong.

In my short acquaintance with you it seems that what you think, you also say – and you think that what you are saying is right. The content of what you say is normally not biblical, and even it were, the manner in which you say it is not loving or kind.

You may think you cannot change because you were born this way, but that is not true because you were born again and received a new nature. “Old things have passed away, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

If you are born again and do not change, it is because you will not, not because you cannot. If you will not, it is because you are deliberately disobeying and sinning. If you really cannot change, you have not been born again. Jesus does a better job of saving than what you evidence in your life. I do not know which it is, but I am ready to help you in a positive way.

You say that you love people and are not angry. If that were true, the people would recognize that they are loved.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Commands vs. Orders

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)

The key words in verse 31 are “Get rid of all”. This is a command, an imperative. It is not an order. What is the difference? A command is something to be obeyed right now in the right way. “About Face.” “Forward March!” “Halt!” There is nothing “iffy” about a command. If it is not obeyed right now it is disobedience. An order still has to be obeyed, but it might take some time and may be done in different ways. “Invade and occupy Europe.”
“Get rid of all” is a command. If it is obeyed there will be no bitterness, rage, anger, brawling and slander, or malice by tomorrow. If any of these attributes are still here tomorrow, “Get rid of all” was not obeyed.
We see this command again in Colossians 3:8.
“But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.”
We are not allowed to adjust the command to fit our perceived ability to obey it. God gives the ability to fit the command.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Day and Night: Fighting

One time, many years ago, I was on the telephone. I got off the phone to tell the kids to hold down the noise. When I finally got off the phone a neighbor kid said to me, “Mr. Wilson, you think this was a fight? Come over to our house.”
Ever since then I have found that it was considered normal for siblings to fight and husbands and wives to fight. I encounter it almost daily. This is in Christian families. I grew up in a family of six sons. I can remember two squabbles; one was recorded with a switching on our bare legs and the other with a razor strap. (The other function of a razor strap was to keep a straight razor sharp.) I never heard my parents fight or talk with raised voices. This does not mean it did not happen but it was not apparent to the kids. Here in Moscow I have three sons with their wives, their children and their children’s children. I have not heard, or heard of, a fight in parents, children, or grandchildren, or cousins. I am not saying that they are sinless. I am saying that it is not considered normal to fight. It is considered sin and taken care of as sin. Most fighting has a basis in anger or wrath. Here is what the Bible says about it.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Ephesians 4:31

“But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” Colossians 3:8

Both texts say, “get rid of”. This does mean confess it or apologize. It means fire it so they do not happen. These statements are based on a truth in Ephesians 4:22-24.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” Colossians 3:1

“When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:4

“Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” Colossians 3:9,10

These statements are saying that the old self has been put away.
Anger and wrath are normal for the unbeliever. They are the works of the flesh.

“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21

If these are normal to you then you are not a Christian. If you are a Christian, “Get rid of them.” If you need help, write to me.

Day and Night: Colossians 3:1-10

Over my years of ministry across several denominations, states, and nations, I have encountered Christians with sound doctrine but not a sound Christian life. “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:16)
Some of these encounters have taken place after a tragedy has happened, in which case everyone know about the unsound, sinful life. In many cases, few other people know about the inconsistency between the person’s life and doctrine. The local church might not know. In every case the person with the sin does not get easily fixed. Some Christians seem to watch their doctrine more closely than they watch their lives. They have adjusted to their own lives.
Here is a little open-book quiz. It is self-graded, or better yet, God-graded. Use a 3 x 5 index card. Please copy the descriptive phrases or words from the following quotation on the card. There are nineteen of them.

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God–– having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

These are people with the form of godliness. Please read through the list several times. Ask God if any of these words or phrases describe you. Put a check mark by each such phrase. Count the check marks and record the number on the card.

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in the knowledge in the image of its Creator." (Colossians 3:1-10)

These are the people who
1. have been raised with Christ
2. whose life is now hidden with Christ in God
3. who have taken off their old self with its practices

Write on the reverse of your index card those sins you have not put to death (verse 5) and the sins you have not put off (verse 8-10). Keep the index card in your Bible. Cross out the checked-off sins on the front and those written on the back as you get the victory over them. You may not say, “I am only human.” Remember that we are dead to sin and our life is hidden with Christ in God. If you want to get rid of these sins, the process will be short. Then you may throw the card away.
If you need more help, please contact your pastor or elders. If you would like to know more you can check out our website at

In the Lord Jesus Christ,
Jim Wilson

Obedience and Love

We have seen that obedience and faith are very closely connected. Therefore obedience is a good word. Now we will see that love and obedience are closely connected.

Here is the greatest command, “Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37

Jesus gives further expressions of the same truth.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

"And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister." 1 John 4:21

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12

“This is my command: Love each other.” John 15:17

The commands in all six verses are to love.
Now we will see how we express love. It is not by saying that we love, it is by obeying.

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” 1 John 4:20
How is it?
“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.
Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” John 14:21-24
“If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.”
John 15:10

John’s love for Jesus is expressed by obeying Him.
So we see not only in love a command but all obedience is done in love fore the one who gave the command.