Jesus as the Son of Man

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At Jesus’ trial, the high priest, Caiaphas, asks Jesus if He is the “Messiah/Christ.” Jesus acknowledges that He is but turns the discussion to Him being the “Son of Man” (Mark 14:61-62).

It is interesting that the apostles through the rest of the NT, rarely call Jesus “Son of Man,” even though it was Jesus’ preferred designation for Himself. The phrase is found 84x in the Gospel accounts. From Acts onward, it is found four times – Acts 7:56; Heb. 2:6 (a quotation of Psalm 8), and Revelation 1:13; 14:14.

On the other hand, “Christ” (Messiah) is used by the writers of the NT 477 times [131 times in the phrase “Jesus Christ” or 91 times in “Christ Jesus”] but only 52 times in the Gospels and only twice in contexts where Jesus Himself claims to be the Messiah. Likely, because Jesus was crucified as being a “false Messiah,” the apostles chose that designation to emphasize that, based on the resurrection, yes, He was in fact, the real, authentic Messiah.

Ezekiel is actually the prophet who identifies himself as “son of man” (93 times). “Son of” is a Hebrew idiom that carries the idea of having the qualities or characteristics of something. Therefore, this description identifies Ezekiel, the individual from Daniel 7, and Jesus Himself with humanity (having the quality of mankind). It is striking, then, that Jesus proved Himself to be “God” through His teaching, miracles, attitude, etc. But He verbally identified Himself most frequently as “God in the flesh.”

The theological background to Jesus’ self-description as “Son of Man” is Daniel 7. Daniel 7 gives the portrait to the Messiah of a reigning king, identified with humanity.

    In this dream, Daniel sees four beasts coming up out of the sea of humanity (vs 3). The first beast, like a lion, was humanized before Daniel’s eyes. He was made to stand on two feet and given a human mind (vs 4). Notice the third beast, the leopard, was given “dominion” (vs 6). The fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying, wore ten horns, symbolizing authority and power (vs 7). We notice in verse 12 that all four beasts had their own “dominion,” which means they symbolized kingdoms, rulership, over a given people.

But as Daniel kept looking in his vision, he sees one coming “like a son of man.” This individual came up to the Ancient of Days, from verses 9-10, and to Him was given dominion (vs 14), glory and a kingdom. This dominion would be universal, everlasting, and indestructible.

In verse 17, just as the four beasts represented kings and embodied their own respective kingdoms, so the Son of Man will also have His kingdom and He will embody His own people. What is said in verses 13-14 about the Son of Man is also said about the “saints of the Highest One” in verse 18. Also, in verse 22, the saints of the Highest One will take possession of the kingdom. Again, verse 27 pictures the same thing – the saints of the Highest One are incorporated into the Son of Man person.

Jesus draws together three major persons from Old Testament history and prophecy: Messiah, Son of Man, and the Suffering Servant (primarily of Isaiah 53). Through each designation, Jesus sustains a relationship to His people, His followers. As Messiah (descendant of David), He rules over the people; as Son of Man, He embodies the saints of God who are given the kingdom; as Suffering Servant, He dies on behalf of His people’s sin.

Jesus will promise to begin such a new community

–Paul Holland

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The people of Laodicea were generally wealthy.

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The last of the 7 letters in Revelation 2 & 3 is probably the most well-known of the letters. It is also the only letter that is, at least on the surface, entirely negative.  However, the negativity is disciplinary.  Jesus does not beat around the bush in this letter because He wants the church in Laodicea to change.

The people of Laodicea were generally wealthy.  It was an ideal location for banks. They were also healthy.  There was a large medical center just outside of the city, a medical school in the city, and many medicinal springs in the area.  They were also popular for their Phrygian powder, which was used to make medicines, like eye-salve (mentioned in this letter).  They were also well-dressed.  Black sheep’s wool was rare and, therefore, expensive.  However, the people of Laodicea owned a large amount of black wool, as black sheep were not as rare in Laodicea.  All in all, the people of this city were viewed as being well off.

Though they were doing well from a physical standpoint, Jesus is not happy with them spiritually.  He says, beginning in Rev. 3:15, that they are neither cold nor hot. Because they are lukewarm, Jesus says, “I will spit/vomit you out of my mouth” (v.16). The visual, that Jesus is so disgusted with someone that he would spit them out like bad food or spoiled milk, is a strong, eye-opening one.  Why was he so disgusted with being lukewarm? Think of Pilate, the man who no doubt believed in Jesus, but cared too much about his own power and what other people thought of him to release the innocent Jesus. Jesus clearly has a great disdain for the attitude of being lukewarm.

So, how does Jesus proceed in this letter? Does he write the Christians in Laodicea off as being evil and unreachable? Does he continue to tear into them for all of the self-centeredness? No, he instead contrasts what they think they are, what they are, and what they can be.  Verses 17-18: “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.” The Laodiceans were poor, but Jesus was offering them gold refined by fire. They were naked, but Jesus would clothe them in righteousness. They were blind with their spiritual condition, but Jesus was willing to open their eyes.

Jesus is brutally honest in this letter, but he is harsh so that they might repent. In verse 19, he tells them he disciplines and reproves the ones he loves.  He desires for them to repent and follow Him rather than themselves.  He then tells the people, “Behold I stand at the door knocking…”  Jesus desires for the Laodiceans and he desires for people today to let him in. No one is unreachable by Jesus, but we must open the door.  He’s waiting patiently for all men to come to him. Jesus offers not only what’s mentioned in verse 18, but also to be seated eternally on God’s throne with him (v.21). The state of being lukewarm is deadly, but it can be overcome.  He stands at the door knocking. Will you let him in?

~ Jared McLeod

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God’s Name

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Names are important. They show ownership, authority, and possession. One’s own name also reflects who we are. Our reputation, for example, is tied to our name which, in turn, displays our character.

The Hebrew word for “name” is used 770 times in the singular and 84 times in the plural. Allen Ross, writing in the Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis says: “In the ancient Sem. [Semitic/Jewish, p.h.] world a person’s name often carried more significance than an identification mark; it was considered to be a description of character or conditions. …It is because the name of a person, place, or thing was considered deeply bound up with the character and perhaps the destiny that naming played an important part in the narratives” (V:147).

He brings to our attention the fact that the name was so important and so tied up to the individual that the expression “have the name cut off” is equivalent to ceasing to exist. See, for example: Joshua 7:9; Ruth 4:10; 1 Samuel 24:21; Psalm 109:13; Isaiah 14:22; 48:19; 56:5; Nahum 1:14; Zephaniah 1:4; Zechariah 13:2.

The key passage on the “name” of God is found in Exodus 3:14-15, when God informed Moses to tell Israel that “I am” had sent him: “God said to Moses, “aI AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” God, furthermore, said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.”

God’s name carried God’s authority (Exodus 5:23). God’s name is tied to His authority (Exo. 9:16). His name is associated with His goodness, graciousness, and compassion (33:19). It is no surprise, then, when God forbids anyone to use His name frivolously or irreverently: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain” (Exo. 20:7).

You are likely familiar with the Jewish practice to not say the name of God, “Jehovah.” That’s why our English translations have “LORD” (with all capital letters). Another frequent practice was for the Jews to say, “The Name” when they referred to Jehovah God.

What about where God puts His name? Later in Exodus 20, God tells Israel they were to worship where He puts His name: “You shall make an altar of earth for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen; in every place where I cause My name to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you” (verse 24). It is where He puts His name that God will come and bless.

By the same token, in contrast with Exodus 20:7, God forbids the mentioning of the names of other gods: “Now concerning everything which I have said to you, be on your guard; and do not mention the name of other gods, nor let them be heard from your mouth” (Exo. 23:13). This was true because among the names of God is “Jealous” (Exo. 34:14). The “Angel of the Lord” must be followed and obeyed, “since My name is in him,” declared Jehovah God (Exo. 23:21).

Offering false worship is to profane the name of the Lord (Lev. 18:21). If priests did not follow their regulations, they profaned the name of the Lord (21:6; 22:2).

God does not take profanation of His name lightly. When the son of an Israelite woman blasphemed His name and cursed, the congregation stoned him with stones (24:10-23).

We are interested in the question: “Does it matter what the church calls itself?” To answer that question, we are studying how God views the action of naming…

–Paul Holland

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Lessons I Have Learned From Soccer

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I loved sports as a child. I didn’t matter if it was baseball, football, street hockey, tennis, golf, bowling or whatever other kind of ball could be thrown, hit or caught. However, with soccer, I was “one and done!” I played one year; did not understand it and quit!

If I must admit, when my two oldest first expressed interest in playing soccer, I was not overly impressed! Where had I gone wrong in training my children?

Since then I’ve changed my mind significantly. You see, I understand soccer now. It makes sense to me. It is not just pointless running up and down the field.

I’m not trying to convince you to like soccer (that would be difficult if you are as stubborn as I am!), but consider the following…

Some people don’t like religion because they don’t understand it (that’s why I didn’t like soccer.) Perhaps they had parents who claimed to be religious, but did not live like it. Many simply just don’t know much about true religion. The good news is that when some of these folks are exposed to true religion (they see it lived and hear it taught) they will change their mind and embrace it!

Just like in soccer, persistence pays off in Christianity. It may take twenty possessions in soccer to score a goal, but persistence leads to opportunities and scoring. The same is true with Christian influence and evangelism. We may feel that we are running in vain, but if we keep on, we will be rewarded (see 1 Cor. 15:58). If you think every goal in soccer is important, what about every soul that is won to the Lord!

Soccer appears on the surface to be a “gentle, non-contact” sport. Try telling that to my daughter (Kailey)! The week before I first wrote this article she got kicked in the nose! Some are also deceived believing that Christianity is always smooth and easy.

This can cause problems when they get their first bumps and bruises. Christ warned Christians saying, “Indeed, all who live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12). Christians don’t need to be deceived into thinking that all will be easy because they are seeking to live for Jesus. Opposition will come and sometimes from unexpected places! Just ask Jesus!

If you’d like to, ditch soccer and don’t give it another chance. Don’t even try to understand it. As far as the Christian faith is concerned, though, continue a life-long quest to understand it better and better (and help others to do so) and it will bless your life!

Daren Schroeder

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Psalms 90:10

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Each of us lives for 70 years-or even 80 if we are in good health. But the best of them bring trouble and misery. Indeed they are soon gone and we fly away (Psalms 90:10– CEV)

 What a great description of life. Even when all is going well for us, when all is bright and clear, trouble is just around the corner. Each day I live, I am reminded that life is one great adventure. We awake each morning to go about our daily activities not knowing what the day will bring into our lives. Will it be success or will it be failure? Will it be joy and happiness or will it be pain and heartache? We just don’t know.

There are many things that happen in this life that we may not fully understand why they happen but we can know of a surety that so long as we have an unwavering  trust in God, so long as our commitment to him remains sure and steadfast, so long as we have hope as an anchor for our souls, he will be our salvation, our strength and song (1 Cor. 15:58, 1 Cor. 16:13, Heb. 6:17-19, Isa. 12:2-3). So long as we hold tightly to his unchanging hand we will encounter nothing in this life that will be able to separate us from his love (Rom. 8:35-39) and when this earthly journey comes to an end we will fly away to that house not made with hands where rest will be ours without end (2 Cor. 5:1, John 14:1-4, Rev. 14:13).

Our God sees and knows about the troubles and trials that so often surround us. He knows when we are so burdened that it is difficult for us to find our way. He knows (Heb. 4:13-16)) and because he knows and cares for us he can and will lift us up to a higher plane (1 Pet. 5:6-7). I dearly love the words of that beautiful song that begins, “Days are filled with sorrow and care, Hearts are lonely and drear; Burdens are lifted at Calvary, Jesus is very near” (John M. Moore).

One day all the trouble and misery will be gone so build your hope on things eternal and diligently walk this pathway hand in hand with God.  Heaven will surely be worth it all.

Charles Hicks

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Jesus is the Messiah

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Listen to the multitude identify Jesus while He was hanging on the cross in Mark 15:32: “Let this Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, so that we may see and believe!” Clearly the Jews associated the “Messiah” (the Hebrew word for “Christ”; John 1:41) with the “King of Israel.”
There were two offices, possibly three, that were anointed with oil in the Old Testament age: priests (Exodus 30:22-33), kings (1 Samuel 10:1; 16:1, 13), and at least on one occasion, a prophet (1 Kings 19:16).
But then Isaiah comes along and predicts that the “Servant of the Lord” will be anointed, not with oil, but with the Holy Spirit (61:1ff). When God anointed one, or had him anointed, it showed God’s favor, God’s approval, God’s decision to set that person to a specific task. Thus, we find in Luke 23:35 the Jews associate the “Christ” (“Anointed One”) with God’s “Chosen One.”
Other passages, like Luke 23:2, associate the “Christ” with the “King.”
Ever since the preaching of Isaiah, and then strengthened through the preaching of Ezekiel, Joel, Micah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, the center of attention of Jewish expectation was the blessings of the coming Messianic age.
We see that expectation in the words of the old saint at the presentation of Jesus in the temple. Simeon was “looking for the consolation of Israel” (Luke 2:25). In Simeon’s words, God had allowed him to see “God’s salvation,” and Simeon quotes from and applies to Jesus the words of Isaiah 9:2: “A light of revelation to the Gentiles.”
We see that same expectation also in the same context, in the words of the precious widow, Anna, who, Luke writes was “looking for the redemption of Jerusalem” (2:38). Those are Messianic expectations.
The “giving” of the Holy Spirit was associated with the Messiah’s work (Eze. 36:26-27), consider Mark 1:7-8. Jesus, the One anointed with the Holy Spirit, would in turn, give the Holy Spirit – one of the two blessings associated by the prophets with the Messiah and the Messianic Age.
Secondly, the “forgiving of sins” was associated with the Messiah’s work (Jer. 31:34), so consider Mark 2:1-12. Jesus is claiming to have that very power.
I find it interesting that the apostles through the rest of the NT, rarely call Jesus “Son of Man,” even though it was Jesus’ preferred designation for Himself. The phrase is found 84 times in the Gospel accounts. From Acts, it is only found four times: Acts 7:56; Heb. 2:6 (a quotation of Psalm 8), and Revelation 1:13; 14:14.
On the other hand, “Christ” (Messiah) is used by the writers of the NT 477 times [131 times in the phrase “Jesus Christ” or “Christ Jesus” – 91 times] but only 52 times in the Gospels and only twice in contexts where Jesus Himself claims to be the Messiah.
I suggest it is because Jesus was crucified as being a “false Messiah” and the apostles chose that designation to emphasize that, based on the resurrection, no, He was in fact, the real, authentic Messiah (see Paul’s defense of that very topic in Acts 17:2-4.)

–Paul Holland

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The Lasting Treasure

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I remember when I was small that I prayed to God, “Please don’t send Jesus back to the earth soon. There are too many things I want to do! I don’t want Jesus to come back yet.” I was five or six when I prayed that prayer, and I look back on it and think, “How could I not have wanted Jesus to come back?” It was because at age 5, I just focused on my physical future. I can also remember the first time I prayed, “Jesus, come quickly! I don’t want to deal with temptations any more. I want to be with you.” I finally understood what heaven is worth so I longed to be there, and I understood that my physical future won’t give me eternal joy.

Earthly riches: Proverbs 27:24 reads: “For riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations.” We know this is true: clothes get dirty, houses need repair. Even our own bodies are decaying; some day we will all die. Not only does time destroy riches, but riches can also be taken from us. The rich farmer in Luke 12 gained many crops and had to build bigger barns to store them all in, yet in the end God said to him (verse 20), “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you.” Jesus said, “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” Clearly we can’t trust in things so transient.

Heavenly riches: But we also see that riches in heaven do last. Matthew 6:20: “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Our home is not on this earth, as 2 Corinthians 5:1 tells us: “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

Obtaining heavenly riches: But how can we lay up those heavenly treasures? It is through Jesus’ sacrifice. 2 Corinthians 8:9: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” Christ gave up heaven, where every angel worshiped Him, to experience the humiliation of humanity and to die an agonizing death for us. But His sacrifice is useless if we don’t respond properly to it. Jesus said in John 15:10, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love.”

We need to make sure our lives match the life of Jesus. There are also some practical points we can take from 1 Timothy 6:17-19: “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”

Conclusion: Earthly treasures will not last; they are too perishable. There is only one reward that will last: heaven. If we lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven and obey the commands Jesus Christ lays out for us, we will go to that eternal home. Christ gave up His own riches and His very life so that we could have that opportunity. Will you leave all and follow Him?

J. Holland

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The Origin of Worship – Genesis 4:1-26

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    Worship. We all know what it is, even if we have a hard time defining what it is. “Worship” is something that nearly everyone does. In fact, we might be safe in saying that everyone worships something – God, earth, himself. A lot of people have trouble defining what is worship. In a Gallup Poll, when asked what “is” worship, various answers were given: living that reflects spiritual commitment (9%), having a right attitude toward God (10%), having a personal relationship with God (12%), attending church services (17%), praying (17%), giving thanks to God or expressions of praise (19%).

    It is clear that many people have confused acts of worship with a definition of worship. The English word “worship” is defined as “the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.” That “expression” of reverence and adoration is visible in certain acts or rituals. The word “worship” comes from the Old English that means “ascribing [ship] worth or worthiness.”

    Let’s take a look at the “origin of worship” in the “book of origins,” Genesis. Genesis contains the origins of the universe, the world, the family, marriage, sin, the nation of Israel, and worship – Genesis 4.

    We do not worship because Cain and Abel did. But we see illustrated in their actions principles that are found throughout the entire Bible, principles that can guide us in our worship. 

WORSHIP DEMANDS OUR TIME:

    We observe this phrase in verse 3: “So it came about in the course of time…” The Hebrew literally reads: “at the end of days.” We do not know what this means but it does strongly suggest that there was an appointed time for Cain and Abel to come and offer their gifts. Worship is not something we do all the time as a part of our daily lives.

    But the point to be made here is that we are dedicating certain portions of our time to worship. All of life is not worship. We see this illustrated again in the first passage that uses the word “worship” in the NASV, Genesis 22:5. Abraham was not worshiping where he was and in what he was doing. Worship is specific acts or behavior given at specific times.

WORSHIP DEMANDS GIVING:

    At this appointed time, “Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions.”

    Yes, worship demands giving. We have hinted that it is giving of our time but it is also giving of other acts. Cain was a “tiller of the ground,” a farmer. So, he brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. Why God rejected it, we’ll talk about in just a moment. But, the point to make here is that he gave. Abel also brought and gave. He gave of the “firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions.”

    You might say that our acts of worship in the New Testament are all acts of giving.

WORSHIP DEMANDS GOD’s APPROVAL:

    One of the fundamental distinctions between churches of Christ and other religious groups deals with this issue of how does the Bible authorize worship – or does it authorize worship? A. W. Tozer, who is a Protestant author, said: “Worship acceptable to God is the missing crown jewel in evangelical Christianity” (Whatever Happened to Worship, 1985, 7). The $10,000 question, though, is Who defines what is “acceptable”?

    Yes, we see in the account of Cain and Abel that worship demands approval. “And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard” Why?

    It is obvious God told them what He wanted. With that, the Hebrew writer agrees as he writes in Hebrews 11:4. But faith, in the Bible, is never blind. It is not shallow and empty. Faith, in the Bible, “comes from hearing the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). So, Abel was giving back to God what God had told him and Cain that he wanted. Faith responds to the word of God.

    When it comes to the New Testament, in order to determine what God has approved, we study the context and see: What did God require of all people, for all time, everywhere? That’s not hard to determine.

    Worship demands our time (and attention), giving of ourselves, and divine approval.

–Paul Holland

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Put your Priorities in what you Love

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Ben Franklin once said: “If you would be loved, love and be lovable.” This is much like what Jesus said in Matthew 7:12: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” We love with our hearts, so when Jesus says (Matthew. 6:21): “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” we understand that to mean, put your priorities in what you love. Today we will be looking at three different people who each love different things.

To begin, what does it mean to put your priorities where your heart is? It means, when you have the opportunity to either go to church on Wednesday, or go to the school soccer game, you will go to church. 1 Corinthians 13:5 says: “love does not behave rudely, does not seek its own.” If you love someone, you’re going to put their needs before your own. If you love the Lord, you will give Him your time. Of course, it can be hard. I love watching TV. So I’ll be watching my favorite shows, and my dad says to do my chores. I’ll assure him I will, when I actually forget entirely! My heart tells me to listen to my dad, but I don’t put my priorities there.  That’s not applying what Jesus told us in Matthew 6:21.

First, let’s talk about Job. Job put his treasures in God, so when Satan tempted him and Job lost everything, he put his love in God, and that’s where his priorities were. In Job 1:22 it says: “In all this, Job did not sin, nor charge God with wrong.”

Secondly, the rich young ruler was almost a righteous man. He kept all the commandments since he was young (Matthew 19:20), but he loved his possessions more than God. So when given the opportunity by Jesus Christ, he turns Him down because of his love for things. Jesus has told us not to lay up for ourselves treasures on earth. Clearly, if our priorities and hearts aren’t in God, we are messing up!

Finally, the third person I want to discuss is the person in the mirror. You get to decide if you want to follow God, or not. We all struggle in life, but the difference is whether or not you repent. Maybe you’re not struggling with this, and you already love God so much so that you put your priorities in Him naturally. But if not, here are some tips: 1- Spend time with God (through church) and communicate with Him (through prayer). If you spend every day with God, you will want to put him first. 2- Remove temptations that will distract you from loving God and putting Him first. Start turning your phone off more, or leave it at home, especially on Sundays. And lastly 3- When working on something that has to be done, do it with a happy heart, because as Ephesians 6:7 says: “with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord and not to men.”

In conclusion, Jesus said: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” or in other words, put your priorities in what you love. Remember Job, the rich young ruler, and when you look in the mirror, which one are you imitating? Are your treasures where your heart is? If not, fix that, accept what Jesus says, and follow it. Because then, your treasure will be in God, and that’s the best thing to put as your priority.

A. Holland

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Stand Fast in Loving Service:Galatians 4:19

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    As we pointed out last week when we considered the New Testament missionary mandate, so it is with standing fast in loving service: We don’t serve others because Jesus commands us to, but because we live in the love of God. We have been served, we have been blessed so much by the God of heaven – it is the blessings from God that motivate us to share those blessings with others.

    Let’s look at Galatians in that light. “Standing Fast in Loving Service.” To “stand” means to “be in a specified state or condition” while “fast” in this context means “firmly fixed or attached.” So, this morning, we are being challenged to “remain firmly fixed or attached in the state of being loving servants.”

SERVICE IS MOTIVATED FROM THE LOVE OF CHRIST – Chapter 1:

    Paul begins this letter by setting everything he says in the context of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Notice where he begins in 1:3-4: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.”

    That sacrifice of Jesus for Paul strongly motivated everything else he did. In other words, what Paul did – everything Paul did – he did for Jesus Christ. That’s how Paul viewed it. Notice Paul’s reference in verses 15-24 as he talks about what the sacrifice of Christ compelled Paul to do.

LOVING SERVICE MEANS REMEMBERING THE POOR – Chapter 2:

    If you will notice first in 2:9, Paul refers to the “grace” of Jesus Christ that had been given to him – this is the grace that called him to salvation in Jesus Christ and to be an apostle that Paul had mentioned back in chapter 1. But then Paul goes on to say that these men in the church in Jerusalem, Peter, James, and John, “They only asked us to remember the poor—the very thing I also was eager to do” (2:10). Because Paul had received the grace of Christ, he was compelled to share that grace with others, by providing for their physical needs.

LOVING SERVICE MEANS NURTURING YOUNG CHRISTIANS – Chapter 4:

    Paul writes in Galatians 4:19: “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you—.” Clearly, the text here refers to loving service in teaching the Galatian Christians the Gospel message but especially helping to nurture them in their faith. “Nurturing” young Christians is just as important as teaching them in the first place.

    Take a step back in the text here and see where these young Christians had been – 4:8-11.

LOVING SERVICE IS DONE THROUGH THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT – Chapter 5:

    Loving service is done through the fruit of the Spirit. That fruit is listed in verses 22-23. So, let’s apply this fruit of the Spirit to the idea of “service”:
We serve in love.
We serve with joy.
We serve peacefully.
We serve in kindness.
We serve through goodness.
We serve faithfully.
We serve with gentleness.
We serve under self-control.

LOVING SERVICE HAS ITS REWARDS – Chapter 6:

    Here in 6:6-10, Paul reminds us Christians that we will be blessed for our loving service. Whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. If we sow a life of “loving service” to others, then we will reap the same loving service from others. But not only that, Jesus will meet our needs, if we have been working to fulfill others’ needs

    Helen Steiner Rice, who served as the chairperson of publicity and advertising for her local Red Cross branch, knew something about service. She writes this little poem: “When someone does a kindness, It always seems to me; That’s the way God up in heaven Would like us all to be. For when we bring some pleasure To another human heart, We have followed in His footsteps And we’ve had a little part In serving God who loves us – For I’m very sure it’s true That in serving those around us, We serve and please God, too.”

    Helen Steiner Rice is exactly right. When we serve those around us, we’re serving and pleasing God too.

    Let us stand fast in loving service, being known individually and as a congregation as loving servants.

–Paul Holland

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