Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

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 www.ccmbooks.org.

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.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

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.

Friday, June 13, 2014

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 not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:1-4)

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

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)