May 2017 Issue of Christian Worker (Noble Character of Philippians)

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics you will find:

  • Philippians: An Introduction (Bill Burk)
  • The Progress of the Gospel (Cody Westbrook)
  • Joy in Philippians (Bruce Ligon)
  • Unity in Philippians (Todd Clippard)
  • Peace in Philippians (Kevin Cauley)
  • Spiritual Maturity in Philippians (Trent Kennedy)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions.

Copyright © 2017 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#character, #christian-peace, #christian-unity, #christian-worker, #joy, #pauls-epistles, #philippians, #spiritual-maturity

Short introduction to Colossians

“The theme of Ephesians is ‘The church of the Christ, while the theme of Colossians is ‘The Christ of the church'” (credit: Terry Jones).

While Ephesians has in mind the supremacy of the Lord’s church in the eternal plan of God (Eph. 3:10-11), Colossians has in mind the supremacy of Christ over all things (Col. 1:15-20).

It is the pleasure of the Godhead that every Divine purpose be fulfilled in the One called “Jesus” (v.19; cf. 2:9). It is through His supreme, sacrificial offering alone that humanity may be reconciled to the Creator (v.20). It is through Him that the riches of God’s grace are manifest (1:25-28). He holds the key to all spiritual wisdom and knowledge (2:2-3).

Only Christ can “cut off” our sin, raising us from the dead through faith and baptism in His name (2:11-13). Only Christ can overthrow empty, insufficient world views, and bring us into the realm of true worship (2:18-23).

He is now at the right hand of God, but He will return in glory, ushering an eternal, bodily resurrection for those who have put their trust in Him (3:1- 4).

His faithful ones live exemplary lives — honest, unbiased, holy, merciful, kind, humble, meek, patient, and charitable (3:8-14). They have peace, because they seek to please Him (3:17). Christ permeates every realm of the Christian’s life (3:18-4:1).

An interesting side note: the Colossian letter gives us insight into how the early church received and circulated inspired letters, “And when this epistle is read amongst you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea” (4:16).

Rick Kelley, Prestonsburg (KY) Informer

#colossians, #nt-introduction, #pauls-epistles

Bible reading: 2 Thessalonians 3

In the final section of the letter, Paul moves from doctrine to conduct, dealing with the undisciplined among them, after requesting prayer and expressing his confidence in their obedience.

3:1-5. Request for Prayer. As in the first letter, Paul asks the Thessalonians to pray for them, that the Lord’s message may spread quickly. Paul was ever concerned that the gospel reach more and more people (2 Corinthians 4:15; 10:15-16). All his efforts were devoted to the Great Commission as an extension of the Lord’s work in the world. Even though he is an apostle, the reciprocal nature of the faith applies equally. Prayer is the great leveler and feeds the solidarity among God’s family. Likely Paul uses athletic language here, of running, and winning the applause of the bleachers. For the message to be honored would mean received by the hearers and finding a place in the heart for the truth (see 2:10), as it was among the Thessalonians. Those who have honored the gospel can pray for it to be honored by others. The second part of Paul’s prayer request reflects that the gospel advances in the midst of opposition: that we may be delivered from perverse and evil people (v. 2). He asks not for the removal of persecutors, but that their efforts may have no effect on the progress of the gospel (see Philippians 1:12ff). Continue reading

#2-thessalonians, #bible-commentary, #daily-bible-reading, #pauls-epistles

Bible reading: 2 Thessalonians 2

2:1-2. Don’t Be Disturbed. In 1 Corinthians, when in various moments Paul writes, “Now regarding,” it is taken as a reply to questions contained in a letter from Corinth, from the cue in 7:1. With no such cue here, no conclusion can be reached from his use of it in 2:1, although it seems to indicate his main concern in writing this second letter. Evidently Paul has received information since his first letter that motivates him to write and address the false message which taught that the day of the Lord is already here (see 3:11). Paul has already taught in his first letter about the arrival of our Lord Jesus Christ and how that all saints will be gathered to be with him. He pleads that they not be easily shaken from their composure, or state of “mind,” which would render them incapable to judge, or disturbed by what they have heard. All spirits or teachings must be examined. Just because someone says so does not make it so. Satan passes himself off as angel of light, his servants as workers of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). So it is no wonder that some spirit or message or letter allegedly from Paul might be a satanic forgery. Continue reading

#2-thessalonians, #bible-commentary, #daily-bible-reading, #eschatology, #man-of-sin, #pauls-epistles

Bible reading: 1 Thessalonians 5

1:1-11. The Sudden Coming of the Lord. Again, Paul tells them something that they have no need for anything to be written, because they already know quite well what he is about to write. But his writing serves as a source of encouragement (v. 11). Basic truths often need repeating. Paul continues the topic of Jesus’ coming, but focuses now on the times and seasons of his arrival, specifically, that the day of the Lord will come in the same way as a thief in the night, that is, suddenly, unexpectedly, without warning. Some disparage his coming, by saying that nothing will happen: There is peace and security. Don’t worry! Be happy! But they will soon discover that sudden destruction comes on them. Its suddenness is compared to the labor pains that begin, often at an inconvenient moment, for a pregnant woman. Their unpreparedness means that they will surely not escape. They deliberately ignore what the Thessalonians know quite well and could be known by any who so desired. But the new converts are not like them, choosing to remain in the darkness. They all are sons of the light and sons of the day. That Paul continues in verses 4-7 to speak of those whom the day would overtake and who belong to the night and who are of the darkness, highlights the great divide between those in Christ and the outsiders, between the faithful and the forgetful. Paul does not reveal who they are to whom he refers, who counsel relaxation when what is needed is the greatest vigilance. They might be Jewish opponents who still attempt to derail the Christians’ faith. They might even be Christians lulled into a false sense of security by being in Christ. Continue reading

#1-thessalonians, #daily-bible-reading, #eschatology, #pauls-epistles

Bible reading: 1 Thessalonians 4

1:1-8. The Will of God Is Holiness. The Thessalonians had already received instruction from the evangelists after their conversion, just as Jesus had taught to do, “teaching them to observe all things” (Matthew 28:19-20). The content of the instruction dealt with how to live and please God. The way we live determines whether or not we will please God. Pleasing God is basic to one’s salvation. Thus, this manner of life is a must. Salvation is by grace, but by no means bereft of obligation. To live is the way we “walk” (2:12), a metaphor used of the disciple’s relationship to God and his manner of life in the Kingdom. It’s origin likely goes back to Adam and Eve’s literal walk with God in the garden of Eden. Paul acknowledges that they were in fact living properly, but desires to ask and urge them to do so more and more, that is, abound more, excel more. Growth is expected in God’s kingdom. What does not grow is dead. Hence, the need to abound is both the subject of instruction, as here, the topic of prayer (3:12; Philippians 1:9), and a reason for teaching and exhortation (1 Corinthians 15:58). The For of verse 2 connects it to the previous verse. This life is an obligation, because teaching comes in the form of commands. God’s command is eternal life (John 12:50). Those that Paul gave to his converts was through the Lord Jesus. The commands came from Jesus and had his authority as Lord behind them. If Jesus is Lord, he must be obeyed.Continue reading

#1-thessalonians, #daily-bible-reading, #eschatology, #pauls-epistles

Bible reading: 1 Thessalonians 3

3:1-5. Timothy Sent to Thessalonica. The forced separation from the Thessalonians became unbearable for Paul, anxious as he was to know how they fared under the duress. In Athens, he decided to send Timothy to strengthen them in their faith.

As he will later remind Timothy himself (2 Timothy 3:12), Paul makes it clear that Christians are destined for suffering. It was not something “strange” that was happening to them, as Peter would later tell his readers (1 Peter 4:12). Suffering for the gospel is integral to life in Christ, so much so that Paul rejoiced in his suffering in behalf of the body of Christ, considering them a filling up or completing in his physical body of the sufferings of Christ (Colossians 1:24). Just as redemption came by suffering, so its proclamation is accomplished through suffering as well. This is the destiny of God’s people, by him determined and willed that it should be so. To shrink from suffering for the gospel is to draw back from following him. So Paul had forewarned the Thessalonians to expect it, as it indeed happened.

But the knowledge and expectation of such affliction did not assuage his anxiety about them, so he sent to find out about their faith. He must know how they are faring, for fear that the tempter somehow had tempted them. If Satan had been able to thwart Paul’s plans to visit the new converts (2:18), the apostle knows he will be working on their end to entice them to avoid the suffering by compromising or abandoning their faith. He had tempted Jesus to avoid the cross by promising him an easy way out to acquire the kingdom. He would undoubtedly offer the Thessalonians some similar false promise, which, if they did not recognize it for what it was, would prove Paul’s toil useless. Continue reading

#1-thessalonians, #bible-commentary, #daily-bible-reading, #emotions, #pauls-epistles

Bible reading: 1 Thessalonians

As one of Paul’s earliest letters, if not the earliest, written around A.D. 51, 1 Thessalonians unveils the vibrant faith and severe struggles of Jesus’ followers who readily embraced the message and made it their own (Acts 17:1-9). In a short time, at most, a matter of months, these Macedonians learned from Paul the good news of Christ. Luke’s comment about the Bereans (Acts 17:11) should not be taken as a slight against the Thessalonians, but as a comment about the resistance of the gospel among the Jews, who forced Paul to flee the city. His concern for those who remained occasioned his writing, and his letter was likely sent, by the hands of Timothy (3:1-5), not long after his departure.

1:1. Greeting. Never the attention hog, Paul joins Silvanus, the Greek form of Silas, and Timothy to himself in the greeting. These two accompanied him to Thessalonica when he first preached the gospel there. Though he is the true author of the letter, he is quick to include others in his labors and recognize their contributions. He writes to the church of the Thessalonians, the modifying phrase indicating those who composed the Christian community there. Church is used in the local sense of the disciples in that location; it is used again in the letter only in 2:14, in the same sense, but in the plural. The term denotes those people whose conversion to Christ has united them together in perpetual assembly around their Lord, whether or not in actual meeting. Their most important location, however, is not Thessalonica, but in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Here is where their true identity and loyalty lie, as well as their sphere of life and operation. With a change of a few letters, the Greek “greeting” becomes Paul’s grace, which he considers the proper salutation, since it captures the essence of his faith, joined to the standard Jewish greeting, peace, now to be seen as that restoration of relationship with God in Christ. Continue reading

#1-thessalonians, #bible-commentary, #daily-bible-reading, #pauls-epistles