In the first seven verses of Amos 5, the prophet describes Israel as a nation that has fallen/is destined to fall because it sought help from everywhere except from the LORD. Neither political alliances nor misguided Read more…
Christmas is, or at least it should be, a season of joy. But what is the joy of Christmas? Where does it come from? Does it come from the decorations, or the gift giving, or the music, or the traditions, or family gatherings? No. As wonderful as all those things are, they are not truly a source of Christmas joy. The joy of Christmas comes from the good news of Jesus, the news that with the coming of Jesus God has fulfilled his promises to Israel, which are really promises to the whole world mediated through Israel. In Jesus, the Kingdom of God has drawn near, and all those things we love about Christmas are, in fact, the Kingdom of God – righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. (more…)
(15) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation, (16) because in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or lordships or powers or authorities. All things were created through him and for him. (17) And he is before all things, and all things cohere in him. (18) And he is the head of the body, the Church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that in everything he might be the first. (19) For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, (20) and through him to reconcile all things to himself, making peace through the blood of his cross – through him – whether things on earth or in the heavens.
IntroductionTwo weeks ago we looked at the first twelve verses of Colossians with this question in mind: what does it look like for a good church to become a great church? The Colossians are praised by Paul for their love and faith and for bearing fruit. In other words, they were doing well. In view of this, Paul’s prayer for the Colossians is that they would be full with the knowledge of the will of God, and this fullness would lead them to walk worthily of the Lord and with every effort to please God. In short, Paul says that his prayer for a good church is that they would be so single-mindedly obsessed with knowing and pleasing God that there would be room for nothing else. How healthy a church is is directly connected to how focused they are on knowing and pleasing God. Richard Foster, a well known Christian author from the Quaker tradition, says it like this: “The more clearly we understand the nature of God, the more clearly we understand how we are to live” (Freedom of Simplicity: Finding Harmony in a Complex World, rev. ed. (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2005), p. 17.). (more…)
Part 8 of our Galatians lesson series ...
(19) For I, through the Law, died to the Law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ. (20) It is no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the son of God who loved me and gave himself over for me. (21) I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for nothing.In a previous lesson, I suggested that “the things that I destroyed” from verse 18 refers to not to the works of the Law, as is virtually unanimously understood, but to the works of the flesh, i.e., to sin. In this post I want to quickly examine how this understanding of Galatians 2:17-18 affects our reading of the final three verses in the chapter. (more…)