RSS

Tag Archives: peace

The Reason We Speak

“Paul, an apostle fo Christ Jesus by the will of God,…” -Eph 1:1a

For those who read and do not know I am as student pastor in Pensacola, Fl.  I will be continuously writing on this blog and using it as a staging ground for my sermons on Wednesday Nights and Sunday Mornings.  As the summer is beginning I and my leadership team are embarking on a journey through the book of Ephesians, and attempting to teach its precepts to our student body of between 25 and 45 students.

This blog is the first in a series and was taught to my students last night as a intro and an encouragement in how Paul opens every one of his letters….The Reason We Speak.

When you write or speak to a group of people it is important to establish three basic things.  The greek  writers and speakers gave these basic points as follows:

Ethos – The establishment of who you are and why we should listen to you.

Logos – The logical argument that you are wanting to make.

Pathos – The state of mind in which you want your listener.

Paul would have grown up knowing these three traits.  Because of this each letter he wrote begins in almost identical fashion. Without over spiritualizing we should look into how he opens up his letters so that we can know the reason he is writing.

1.  Why Paul Wrote

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,…”

Every letter Paul wrote started with this simple phrase.  Yet in this simple phrase is a vast depth of meaning when it is spoken with intent.  Paul calls himself an apostle…in some translations a servant of Christ Jesus.  He starts out immediately putting himself not as a figure head, but as a lower class a “bondslave” of the one who sent him.

Paul goes on to say not only is he not the master, but also that he is speaking only by the will of God.  He says this not to prop himself up, but to make clear that he is nothing but a slave with a message from his master.  He is here only to do the will of the one who sent him.

When we live our Christian lives we should likewise understand that we are “bondslaves” to our God.  Anything we do and anything we speak should be only according to the will of our master.  When we speak it is with the authority and reputation of God…let us not tarnish that reputation.

2.  To Whom Paul Writes

“To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus…” -Eph 1:1b

The first part is clear. Paul is writing to the people of Ephesus that are relying on Jesus and are faithful to his word.  It is this second part that I want to focus on because it allows this message to be reaching out to all of us who are “faithful in Christ Jesus”.  This message in the book of Ephesians is a letter written not just to a time and place but actually meant to reach out past time and hit the hearts of the faithful here and now.  The Word of God in the New Testament is written to encourage and equip the saints to do battle on behalf of God.  

3.  The State Paul Wants Readers

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” – Eph 1:2

The Bible states that God has heaped on us every blessing we could want or need.  Anything that we desire the Bible says God has already provided for us and it is ours to claim.  All we have to do is ask!

Paul is doing this with each and every letter he begins.  He is calling out and asking for the blessing of peace and grace that has already been given and now sits waiting on our request.  Paul wants each of the people reading this letter, us included, to have the peace of God so that we may accept what he is saying.

How often do we as Christians call out for our blessings?  How often do we toil in frustration all because we are too proud to ask for help?

There is an old preachers story about a boy in a sandbox trying to build a city.  He spends hours on getting it just right but as he gets to the middle there is a large rock he has to move.  He pushes and he pulls, but the rock won’t budge.  Defeated he sits down and begins to cry.  At this point the boy’s father comes out and asks him what is wrong.  As the boy explains the problem he cry out to the father that there is nothing that can be done because he has already tried everything.  With a smile and a sympathetic tone the father simply says “You haven’t asked me”.

This is what Paul does when he calls down this blessing.  He knows that on our own power we will never understand what God is saying in this letter.  So he cry out to an understanding and giving father to ask for grace and peace as we hear His word.

Paul speaks with the authority of God, to all who are faithful, with the blessings of God raining down.

When we speak and teach we should do likewise.

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 31, 2018 in ephesians, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Absolute Truth and the Armor of God

“Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth… Mph 6:14a

Why do we need the Armor of God?

Its an interesting question because it is one of those times that the “churchy” answer seems like the correct answer. We need the Armor of God because the Bible tells us that it is important.  We need the Armor of God because we are in a fight for our souls. How many of us, however, actually on a daily basis fight for our Christianity?

Most of us I would venture to say could live our current lives without the Armor of God because we don’t ever find ourselves in a war with this world.  If the world or the spiritual powers that Christ calls us to stand firm against attack we are all to happy to just move on down the line thinking “I’ll fight the next one.” After all the world might be correct on this issue.

That is the bottom line.  Most christians today, whether they would admit it or not, do not believe in the absolute truth of the Bible.  If the bible is in contradiction with what the world tells us we are quick to align ourselves with the world.  We don’t investigate, we don’t struggle, and we don’t pray over these issues because there truth may be just as valid as ours.

The absolute truth of the Gospel is the only reason we have to fight.  Take away that truth and we may as well hang up all the other pieces of the armor because no one fights for something they know is not true.  Without the Absolute Truth of the gospel every part of our armor is weekend to the point of being harmful to us.

The Belt of Truth

Truth in life as with the Armor of God is the single thing on which we hold up ever part of our lives.  If you have ever had a belt that you thought would hold give out on you then you know the danger you can be in if a truth that you held give way.  No mater if it is serious or silly when something you know to be true is proven false it can reck your beliefs.

This is why Paul set up the truth of the gospel as the belt for our spiritual Armor.  If for any reason the bible is not true than ever thing that we hang on that belief becomes useless in the fight.

The Breastplate of Righteousness

Righteousness is the defense of the major part of our body.  The largest thing that can be attacked is our actions and attitudes.  This is why it is good that we are not clothed in our righteousness but in the righteousness of God.  However, if the truth of the gospel is not absolute  than we are counting on our own righteousness to save us and that would be worse than useless in the spiritual battles we fight.

The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace

We can have peace in God because we are comforted by his grace.  The protection we have in Him gives us “a peace of God that surpasses all understanding”.  We walk in that peace daily and take comfort in the fact that we can live worry free because God is in control.  If truth is not absolute, however, than we will live in worry over our salvation and our lives needing to control everything or risk loosing it all.

The Shield of Faith

We use our faith in the gospel as a shield to fight off the “flaming darts of the evil one” that when we are attacked by worry, guilt, or shame we can defend ourselves with the knowledge and faith in the Armor of God.  If truth is not absolute, we are not defended by a shield, but instead hobbled by a crutch that slows us from taking actual control of our lives or as Paul puts it.

“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. 1Cor 15:19

The Helmet of Salvation

It is the knowledge of salvation that protects and transforms our mind.  We are ultimately not afraid of the things of this world because we know that we have be saved for a future place.  If truth of the gospel is not absolute then we have only a wisp of protection and are in danger of grievous harm because of the snares of this world.

Why do we put on the Armor of God?

Because the Truth of the Gospel is our reason to fight, our reason to go to war, and in war we must be protected from the evil one.

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 22, 2017 in Through the Bible, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Time and Place

“For everything there is a  season, and a time for every matter under heaven:” Ecc 3:1

It is amazing that God ordained all things to happen inside his timing and will.  He set up the rules and order of this world and set all things in there place.  God has, as Ecclesiastes 3 says, given everything a season and a time.

What does this mean for our lives though?

Has God so controlled our lives and actions that we have no freedom?

No!  Rather God has placed markers and “signs” and given us his word that we might understand that every action, desire, and outcome has a place.  No thing that happens to us is ever out of Gods control, and we need not fear finding ourselves in a situation that He has not planned.

Solomon uses quite a few “this/that” statements to show the control and placement of things in this world.  These few verses are easy to both over and under spiritualize, however they are powerful statements of Gods control and plan for our world and lives.

Born and Die (V.2)

Solomon starts out slow and easy by just letting us know that God has ordained a time for our birth and our death.  No accidents occur in Gods world.  No one has been born or ever will be born that God did not know about first.  Just as know one has been born a surprise to God no one has died as a surprise to God.  We enter and exit this world as a planned creation of God, and he watches out for us throughout it all. (Matt 10:29)

Break Down and Build Up (V.3)

Christ is referred to as the potter (Isa 64:8) and we the clay.  If you ever watch a potter throw a clay pot it is fascinating to watch.  Sometimes after working on a pot and building it up for hours a flaw might be found in the construction.  If there is a fault found a potter doesn’t try to fix that hole or just put clay over it, instead he breaks down the work he has done back into a pile so that he can start fresh.

As the clay, solomon points to the fact that there are God ordained times of building where we might rise as leaders and teachers, however because of our own flawed nature when we get out of sync with God or prideful there is also a God ordained time of breaking down.

Silence and Speech (V.7)

It is ordained through the discernment of the Holy Spirit, and through the reading of the Bible the knowledge of when to speak.  There are times that we are called as Christians to speak up and say what God has taught us. (David and Goliath being a good Old Testament Example) However, there are also times that God has given us the wisdom to stay silent.

Most of us, unfortunately, have a case of the opposites.  When someone is running down our God or God is calling us to share we stay silent.  When someone is asking us about gossip or we have opinions we speak.  God has called us to seek out the times when he has called us to speech and silence.  Pray only that He gives us the wisdom to know the difference.

War and Peace (V.8)

Similare to speech and silence it can be hard to discern which of these God has ordained in a specific situation.  As humans we tend to go to war over little things and keep the peace when barbarians are at the gate.

Understand,  God has given us the call to war as a tool to be used.  There is nothing wrong with standing your ground and holding a position you believe.  We are called however to make sure to only use that tool when it is appropriate.

Romans says it best like this “in as much as it is up to you, live at peace with all men” (Rm 12:18)  This is a call to use discernment.  A call to say that if its not a must issue than choose peace.  However, if it is against the Bible or Gods authority ….prepare for war.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 31, 2016 in Ecclesiastes, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,