Tag Archives: Apostle Paul

What I’ve Learned From the Book of Philippians #3

Last time, I told you I’d be writing about “Joy” in this post, but little did I realize how much there is to write about this uniquely Christian word.  I call it a Christian word, right or wrong, because it’s a word that I don’t find addressed much in any real way in the secular world, not by atheists, cultural elites, or all those people who seem to think it’s okay to tell me how to live and what to say, but can’t stand it when I have the nerve to smile at them, and simply say, “NO.”

To be honest, I don’t know a whole lot of people who live with a sense of joy, and, sad to say, this includes many people who call themselves Christians.  I can see and hear the protests right now, but don’t try to tell me that every Christian you know lives with joy because we all know at least one whose face would break into shards of glass were they to smile.  You know it’s true and so do I.  🙂

To me, there’s nothing sadder or more depressing than to be around someone who says they love Christ Jesus, and that He’s living in their heart, and yet, all you hear from the minute they start talking is all about their latest illness, ache, and pain.  Their discontent and unhappiness about this or that person, place, event, or idea.  Complaint about any and everything seems to be all they can talk about . . . even in church.

As an aside, I’ll tell you the easiest way to dissuade these people from trying to ruin your worship and the awesome experience of honoring and glorifying Jesus Christ is to wear them out, gently, by responding positively to every negative thing they say.  For example:

(I’ll call this woman, Gertrude, or if it’s a man, I’ll call him, Herman.  These are examples, folks, so please don’t take offense at my using a set of names that just came to me as I’m writing this.)

Gertrude: “I’ve been so sick this last week I just knew I was going to die (or something to that effect).”

You: “Praise the Lord He pulled you through.  Isn’t it wonderful how God can pull us through the worst of times, and look at how nice you look.  It truly is a time to be thankful to God, isn’t it?”

And so it goes . . .  The point being people who want to complain want someone who’s going to listen to their complaint, not someone who’s going to force them into thinking about how grateful they should be.   I’m not talking about the person who genuinely just needs to talk, but to those who are the habitual offenders.  The ones who constantly and consistently complain no matter what.  Call me mean, nasty, deceitful or a thousand other names, but when I go to church I want to worship God.  I want to honor and glorify Him, and isn’t that the reason why we’re going?

Now what has this to do with “Joy” you might be asking, and the answer is that “Joy” should be the expression of your heart to God for all that He is, and for all that He does in bestowing His many, many blessings upon us.  “Joy” is a far different thing than being happy because “Joy” is “in spite of” (Don’t ask me where I got that because I can’t remember, but I freely admit it’s not an original thought of mine.  I’ve read it somewhere before.)  It means that you choose “in spite of” rather than, “because of” and that’s a much greater thing, and I believe reveals something to the world and those around you that needs to be seen.

“Joy” is what the world needs to see, and what it should see when looking at the Christian life, and why shouldn’t they?  We have the most wonderful reason to be joyful, and to rejoice.  We have Jesus Christ.  We have the power of God living inside us, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the promise of eternal life.  If that’s not enough to give us “Joy” on a daily basis, and the desire to share that “Joy” with everyone we meet, then I have to wonder what it is that’s going on in your life that you don’t feel and live with that sense of “Joy” in living your life in Christ.

Even in the midst of much sorrow, suffering, and tribulation, Paul never failed to live with “Joy” because he had what the Holy Spirit has given to each of us, but which we seldom acknowledge and seek to live out.  The inner-knowledge, and hope that springs eternally in being able to see beyond the moment we’re living in, and see and experience the glory we’ll share in living our lives forever with Him.

“The German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, once scornfully said of Christians of his day, “I would believe in their salvation if they looked a little more like people who have been saved.  (The Speaker’s Quote Book by Roy B. Zuck, P. 215.)”  There’s a lot of truth in that, I believe, and sad, as I am to say it, I think the reason there aren’t more Christians is simply because of Christians who don’t live out their lives in a tangible and experiential way.  I believe another quote by Philip Brooks addresses this when he says, “The religion that makes a man look sick certainly won’t cure the world. (The Speaker’s Quote Book by Roy B. Zuck, P. 216.)”  Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not knocking Christianity, but rather our display of it, and our living it in front of other people.  Too many Christians are exhibiting the symptoms of hopelessness and despair and this brings me back to the issue of “Joy.”

Do you have “Joy?”  Are you experiencing the healing that comes from living joyfully?  Are you finding the strength, feeling the peace, that comes from knowing that the Holy Spirit gives knowing that your life is in Christ?

Well, I’ve said enough for the time being, but I’ll leave you with this last quote, and it’s one I’d like you to give some thought to.

“Joy is not a luxury or mere accessory in the Christian life.  It is the sign that we are really living in God’s wonderful love, and that love satisfies us ((The Speaker’s Quote Book by Roy B. Zuck, P. 216.)”

My question to you is does it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From “Light and Truth: Bible Thoughts and Themes” by Horatius Bonar

The Christians Continuance In The Law.

“Whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”- Jam_1:25.

It is of ‘blessedness’ that the apostle is speaking here; the blessedness of doing, not of believing, or rather, of doing as the result of believing. Paul dwells on the latter, James on the former. Both are to be kept in view. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven (Psa_32:1); and blessed is he ‘that believeth’ (Luk_1:45; Joh_20:29). But blessed also are ‘they that do His commandments’ (Rev_22:14); blessed are ‘they that keep His testimonies’ (Psa_69:2); blessed is the man ‘that delighteth greatly in His commandments’ (Psa_62:1). Let us see the apostle’s statement here.

I. The law-This is the Hebrew torah, the Greek nomos, the Latin lex, and the English law; all of them expressive of two great ideas,-a superior that instructs and enjoins, an inferior that learns and obeys. It touches our minds as instruction; and our wills as precept. Through these two it touches or operates upon our life. In some parts it touches more the former, as in the psalms, in others our wills, as in the ten commandments, though sometimes it is mixed, as in Proverbs and the prophets. We do not take up the question whether ‘law,’ as used by James, refers exclusively to the Sinaitic code. We affirm, however, that it includes these, as is evident from Jam_2:8; Jam_2:12; Jam_4:2, where two of the ten are specified, and the summary of the law is given, ‘the royal law.’ Plainly, then, the apostle refers to the moral law in his epistle. If any one say that James was writing to Jews, we answer, (1) Paul, writing to Gentiles, uses law in reference to the ten commandments (Rom_13:8-10). (2) This makes no difference, for they were believing Jews, members of the body of Christ.

II. The perfect law.-By this we understand the same as in Rom_7:12 : ‘The law is holy (as a whole), and the commandment (each of its commandments) holy, and just, and good.’ It is altogether ‘perfect,’ complete in all its parts; not reduced, or narrowed, or modified; fully unfolded; more fully now than ever; established (Rom_3:31); not destroyed; fulfilled by Christ, and to be fulfilled by us as His disciples. The law is now expanded to the uttermost, and exhibited in all its parts; held forth in all its fullness. Never was its excellence and righteousness seen so gloriously. Some of the excellent names applied to it are,-(1) spiritual, Rom_7:14; (2) holy, Rev_7:16; (3) just, ib.; (4) good, ib.; (5) fiery, Deu_33:2; (6) perfect, Psa_19:7. The 119th Psalm is full of expressions denoting in manifold ways its excellence and glory; its entire and divine perfection.

III. The law of liberty.-It is only bondage to the unforgiven. To those in reference to whom its penalty has ceased, it is a law of liberty. Obedience to it is true liberty. The greater the obedience, the greater the liberty. Disobedience is bondage. ‘I will walk at liberty, for I seek Thy precepts’ (Psa_119:45). Twice over in James it is called the law of liberty; for the law, fulfilled in Christ, and presented to us in the gospel, though unchanged and unmodified, is a law of liberty. In obeying it we are enjoying and exercising true freedom.

IV. We are to look into it.-This means stooping down so as to gaze closely into, as in 1Pe_1:12. We are to study the law, the whole law. It will unfold its riches to us. There is no terror in it now to make us shrink back. It smiles on us. Let us hide it in our hearts. Thus David speaks: ‘I will meditate in Thy precepts’ (Psa_119:15); ‘In His law doth he meditate day and night’ (Psa_1:2). ‘Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things’ (Psa_119:18). ‘Thy servant did meditate in Thy statutes’ (Psa_119:23). Psa_119:30; Psa_119:40; Psa_119:48; Psa_119:71; Psa_119:78; Psa_119:93-95; Psa_119:97; Psa_119:99; Psa_119:131; Psa_119:148. In the cross we see the law magnified and made honourable; let us then study it as thus illustrated and interpreted by the cross. The cross is a magnifying glass for revealing the breadth and purity of the law, yet with all that could terrify us taken away.

V. We are to continue in it-Looking and study is not enough. We are to abide in it, be molded thereby. ‘I do not forget Thy law’ (Psa_119:153). ‘I will have respect unto Thy statutes continually’ (Psa_119:117; Psa_119:112; Psa_119:102; Psa_119:93; Psa_119:83). It is not a look, nor even a compliance, nor many compliances; it is a continuing in the law that is enjoined on us. Steep yourself in its spirit; abide in it (Pro_28:4). ‘Thy law is within my heart’ (Psa_90:8).

VI. The blessedness of so doing-That man shall be blessed in the doing; not merely after the deed, but in the doing. In keeping Thy commandment there is great reward. ‘Great peace have they that love Thy law’ (Psa_119:165); that delight in the law (Psa_119:24; Psa_119:77). The apostle delighted in the law, found blessedness in keeping it. Obedience is blessedness. Each act of obedience is so. Fill the whole life with such acts, and you fill it with blessedness. Love is the fulfilling of the law, and each act is a flowing out of love to God and man. All acts of love are blessedness.

We are delivered from the law’s condemnation. We are ‘not under the law, but under grace.’ But shall we obey it the less? No, the more; for to this end we are delivered, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us. The condemnation of the law is cancelled, that the righteousness of the law might be free to exhibit itself in us, who are still ‘under the law to Christ;’ for the law is still good, if a man use it lawfully.

 

 

From “Faith’s Checkbook” by C.H. Spurgeon

      Sometimes we forget what we have, and think we don’t have enough.  Let us remember that we have untold riches in Christ.

“Limitless Riches ”

Phi_4:19

Paul’s God is our God and will supply all our need. Paul felt sure of this in reference to the Philippians, and we feel sure of it as to ourselves. God will do it, for it is like Him: He loves us, He delights to bless us, and it will glorify Him to do so. His pity, His power, His love, His faithfulness, all work together that we be not famished.

What a measure doth the LORD go by: “According to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” The riches of His grace are large, but what shall we say of the riches of His glory? His “riches of glory by Christ Jesus”-who shall form an estimate of this? According to this immeasurable measure will God fill up the immense abyss of our necessities. He makes the LORD Jesus the receptacle and the channel of His fullness, and then He imparts to us His wealth of love in its highest form. Hallelujah!

The writer knows what it is to be tried in the work of the LORD. Fidelity has been recompensed with anger, and liberal givers have stopped their subscriptions; but he whom they sought to oppress has not been one penny the ~ nay, rather he has been the richer; for this promise has been true, “My God shall supply all your need.” God’s supplies are surer than any bank.