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Showing posts from June, 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 thing…

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 a…

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 w…

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…

Day and Night- 2 Timothy 3:1-5

“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 that lovers of God¬––having a form of godliness but denying its power.”

Put a mark by each word that describes you. Count the marks. Put that number here: _______.

There is a possibility that you are not a Christian. Read Assurances of Salvation. If you are a Christian then keep this list in your Bible until all of your check marks are gone.

Day and Night

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

This is very clear teaching. Even with its clarity it is easy to disobey it by changing verse 16 to read: Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise you for your good deeds. The following is a comment on that practice,

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do …

Accusing the Brethren

When you accuse others, you are speaking for the devil, not for Jesus. Of course, you think that what you say is true. It probably isn’t true, but even if it were, you may not say it.

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)

“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.” (Colossians 3:8)

“Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices.” (Colossians 3:8)