Paulprayedthat the Thessalonian Church would be watching and waiting when Jesus returned to earth with all of His saints. Paul was constantly concerned about that. God wants all Christians, in every period of church history, to live each day expecting Jesus to come again for us. (1 Thess. 3) I believe the purpose of that message was first, to give us a sense of urgency to get the gospel out to as many people as possible. In addition, Paul wanted to give us a sense of priority, because when Christ comes, we are going to leave everything behind. Our priority should be the eternal things of the Spirit. And because Jesus could return at any time, we are motivated to walk in holiness. The hope of Jesus’ imminent return is a purifying hope.
In Every Christian’s heart there is a cross and a throne, and the Christian is on the throne until he puts himself on the cross. If he refuses the cross, he remains on the throne. Maybe this is what is at the bottom of the backsliding and worldliness among many believers today. (1 Thessalonians 2) – People want to be saved but we insist that Christ do all the dying. No cross for us, no giving up our throne, no dying. We remain king within the little kingdom of self, and we wear our tinfoil crown with all the pride of Caesar, but we doom ourselves to shadows and weakness and spiritual sterility.” A.W Tozer 1897 – 1963
Lord Jesus Christ is not His first, middle, and last name. Unfortunately many Christians think “Lord” is Jesus’ name. But His name is “Jesus.” His title is “Lord.” When you say “Lord” you are talking about a relationship. He is Master, you are servant. The name Jesus is the Greek for the Hebrew name “Joshua” or “Yeshua” which means “Yahweh is Salvation.” (I Thess. 1) But Jesus was also the promised Messiah. The word “Messiah” means “Anointed one.” Messiah in the Greek is “Christos” from which we get our word “Christ”. Recall how the anointing oil was poured over Aaron’s head (Lev.8). That oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was anointed by God the Father to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (Rev.19).”
Christians should be so captivated by the wonder of our great God, and Savior that we want to know Him more. We know prayer is the best way of coming into the presence of our Lord, Jesus Christ. But if our everyday life is filled with the barrenness of busyness, and there is no serious determination to pray, we will lose the wonder of being conformed to the image of Christ, and knowing our God more personally. (Colossians 4) Prayer is possible. God is accessible. And the Holy Spirit of God will provide every one of us the wisdom, power, and encouragement to help us draw closer to our wonderful Lord every day. The Spirit of God will take our understanding of prayer to new heights, and He will help us have a deeper life of prayer. All we have to do is ask.
We study the Word of God so that we become richer in our understanding & the knowledge of God. And His Word becomes more at home in our lives. How can you tell if His Word is dwelling in you richly? You will be “teaching & admonishing one another in psalms & hymns & spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord!” (Colossians 3) Rich and various kinds of worship is a sign that the Word of God is dwelling richly in our hearts. It is also a great way to plant His Word in our heart and mind as we sing songs that teach us the Word of God, and help us meditate on His truth. Let it happen in your life every day.
The Gospel without Holy Spirit power makes no fundamental changes in one’s life. Water may change from liquid to vapor, from vapor to ice, back to liquid again, and still be fundamentally the same. The Gospel without the Holy Spirit puts people through religious, outward changes that will leave a person fundamentally the same. So the actions of a Godless person and a person who has heard the gospel, but without power is the same; pride lies at the heart of both lives. The big difference is the religious man has learned to disguise his sins. And he may actually be in more trouble spiritually, because God hates hypocrisy. And a person who has received the Gospel without the power of the Holy Spirit can never bring forth the fruit of the Spirit, and be knit together in God’s Love. – Listen Beloved; We do not gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles. Yet false teachers deceive many Christians to accept the Gospel without power. (Colossians 2)
Scripture says that you will be presented holy and blameless to God, “..if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded & steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel.”(Colossians.1) This presents a real problem for those advocates of a “once saved, always saved” position. It begs the question; “What if you don’t continue, but move away?” – If it is impossible to lose your salvation, and move away, then what is the Bible warning against? I believe that we are eternally secure, IF we continue in the faith, and IF we abide in Jesus. And that is exactly what I am going to do, and so I have that blessed assurance. But I would never teach anything that would contradict the Bible or that would give someone a false sense of security. Pastor Gary
Since the heart is the most important part of a person — for out of the heart are the issues of life—we would expect Satan to make his strongest attacks on a Christian’s heart. And although Satan will tempt us in every way, and though every part of our soul may be battered, yet the Devil levels his deadliest attacks at our heart. Into our heart, the Enemy plants the seeds of every evil thing, and does his best to make it a garden of poisonous plants, and a river of destructive waters. Christians should keep their hearts with all diligence, because Satan makes most of his attacks there. So, with twice the force the exhortation comes: “Keep your heart with all diligence.” And the promise becomes twice as sweet; Don’t Worry – Be Happy—that promise which says; “The peace of God shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus our Lord”. (Philippians.4)
Paul is encouraging his friends in Philippi, who have decided to follow Jesus, to put their past behind them, and reach forward to the goal that Jesus Christ has for them (Phil.3). Now it’s impossible to move forward when you are looking backward. People either look back at their past failures, or rest on their past successes. I want to see what God has for me in the future. I know our best days are ahead of us. Think of how athletes run a race; strong & steady until that final lap when they see the finish line, and only then do they unleash all of their energy. That is how I want to live my life. I am getting older, and the finish line is in sight. So I give it everything I’ve got. I’m leaning into the finishing tape. There’s no way I’m looking back. – Pastor Chuck Smith 1927-2013Paul is
encouraging his friends in Philippi, who have decided to follow Jesus, to put their
past behind them, and reach forward to the goal that Jesus Christ has for them
(Phil.3). Now it’s impossible to move
forward when you are looking backward. People either look back at their past failures,
or rest on their past successes. I want to see what God has for me in the
future. I know our best days are ahead of us. Think of how athletes run a race;
strong & steady until that final lap when they see the finish line, and only
then do they unleash all of their energy. That is how I want to live my life. I
am getting older, and the finish line is in sight. So I give it everything I’ve
got. I’m leaning into the finishing tape.
There’s no way I’m looking back. Pastor Chuck Smith 1927-2013
Sooner or later every knee will bow to Jesus, and every tongue will confess that He is the Christ, the Messiah, and that He is the Lord God. Those are the words of Isaiah the prophet that Paul, the Apostle included in his letter to Philippi (Phil.2 & Isa.45:23). Romans 10:9 says “.. if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Christians choose to make that confession, and bow our knee willingly here and now. That is what saves us. But for those who reject Christ and His salvation now, their day of reckoning will come. They will all confess and bow, but it will be too late to be saved. Pastor Chuck Smith 1927-2013