The Image of the Invisible God – Part 4

Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature

With these facts it is clear in what sense Jesus is “the firstborn of every creature” or of all creation (1:15), and “the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:29). All creation came into existence by creative acts, not by a begetting as in the case of Jesus. Even the “many brethren” are not begotten in the sense Jesus was by the Holy Spirit. They were begotten by people, not by God, and were thus brought into the human family, not the family of God. The only way one gets into God’s family is by adoption (Rom. 8:14-16; Gal. 4:5-6; Eph. 1:5). Jesus is the only begotten Son … the first of all creatures to be begotten of God, the only one of all beings begotten of God, the first and only one of the family of adopted and “created” brethren begotten of God (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10), the first begotten of or from the dead, and the firstfruit of the resurrection of all men (1:18; 1Cor. 15:23-33; Rev. 1:5). The body of Christ (consisting of all Christian congregations) is the called-out people of the one who is the firstborn (Heb. 12:23). Adam and angels were by creation, not by begetting (Luke 3:38; Gen. 6:1-4; Job 1:6; 38:4-7).

This refers to the incarnation when the second person of the Divine Trinity took a human body to redeem (Php. 2:5-11; Isa. 7:14; 9:6). It was when God had a Son through Mary (Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:35; John 1:14). This happened on a certain day: “This day have I begotten thee” (Heb. 1:5-7). Therefore, we cannot say that God had a Son before this time. This proves that sonship in connection with God had to refer to humanity and not to deity.

To be continued…

Pray for You

Colossians 1:9-13 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son

‘Pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.’ Twelve things prayed for the Colossians: To be filled with the knowledge of His will (1:9). To be filled with all wisdom. To have spiritual understanding. To walk worthy of the Lord (1:10). To walk pleasing to the Lord. To be fruitful in all good works. To increase in the knowledge of God. To be strengthened with all might (1:11). To have His glorious power. To have all patience. To have all longsuffering. To have joy.

Ten conditions of answered prayer: Have the faith of God (Rom. 4:17; Heb. 11:3; Gal. 5:22-23). Pray: say in no uncertain terms what you want (Mark 11:23-24; Matt. 17:20; 21:21-22; John 15:7). Have unlimited faith without qualifying and limiting God’s will or what you want (Mark 11:23-24; Matt. 17:20; 21:21-22; Mark 9:23; John 15:7, 16). Refuse to doubt in the heart (Mark 11:23; Matt. 17:20; Jas. 1:5-8). Believe that whatever is asked will be given (Mark 11:23-24; Matt. 7:7-11; 17:20; 21:21-22; Heb. 11:6). Believe that whatever is asked is already granted (Mark 11:24; Matt. 17:20; 1Jn. 5:14-15). Be authoritative and command to come to pass what is asked (Mark 9:23; 11:23-24; Matt. 17:20). Believe that what you want is God’s will (Mark 11:24; John 15:7; Matt. 17:20; 21:21-22; Heb. 11:6; Jas. 1:5-8). Never say “if it be Thy will” concerning anything you ask that is definitely promised of God in His word (Mark 11:23; Ps. 84:11; 2Cor. 1:20; 2Pet. 1:3-4). Have a clean heart and life with God and man (Mark 11:25; John 15:7; 1Jn. 3:22-23).

‘Made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.’ Qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints. This refers to every promise and provision of the gospel for believers who are delivered from the power of satan and are translated into the kingdom of God (1:12-13; Acts 26:18; 2Cor. 1:20; John 14:12-15).

‘Translated’ [Greek: methistemi] to transfer, exchange, remove. Here it means to deliver from satan and his power and kingdom of sin, sickness, and depravity to be placed under the government of the Son of God’s love. This transfer is made possible by redemption through the blood of Christ (1:14).

Sweet Smell

Philippians 4:18-23 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you. All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. 

‘But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you.’ You have sent me so much by Epaphroditus that I have all I need. Your gift is a sweet aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, and well-pleasing to God. Paul claimed to have all that he needed and more, he was thankful in everything and his life was a great savour for Christ’s testimony!

‘Sweet smell’ [Greek: Euodia] sweet perfume. An aroma of a sweet smell to God. That is, God was well pleased with the offering and sacrifice of Christ because it made possible the redemption of His fallen creation (Rom. 8:18-24).

‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ A promise that is still true to those who are in Christ and who are faithful to God as the Philippians were (4:14-18).

‘Caesar’s household’ – Nero was emperor of Rome at this time. A more cruel and worthless man never ruled the empire, yet among his household, there were several true Christians. Who they were is not known. Josephus says that the empress Poppaea was a worshiper of the true God (Antiquities, 20:8:11).

‘The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.’ No greater greeting and blessing can be found in life! By God’s grace we are saved (Acts 14:22; Eph. 2:5, 8), healed (Ps. 30:2-7; 103:3, 8; Acts 4:12; 14:3; 1Pet. 2:24) and are we conquerors (Rom. 8:31-39).

Prayer and Supplication Part 3

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 

Scriptures are full of ‘secrets for answered prayers’ which does not mean that it is hidden or hard to understand. A study on any topic must be done by prayerfully reading and meditating on God’s Word while using all Scripture on the specific subject to explain the Scripture (Deut. 19:15; Matt. 18:16; 2Cor. 13:1), not coming up with one’s own interpretation (2Pet. 1:20-21).

Hebrews 11:6 explain that when we come to God we must believe that He is [in all things God as described in Scripture: true, holy, righteous, etc.) and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him – here we have four secrets of answered prayer: To please God (1Jn. 3:21-22; 5:14-15). To come to God with the right attitude and with the right motives (Matt. 6:5-15; 7:7-11; Php. 4:5-6). To believe that He is (John 16:23). To believe that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. If one can believe this as much as he believes in the existence of God, prayer will be granted. If one believes firmly in His existence and doubts His word, he makes Him a liar and God is under no obligation to answer prayer (Jas. 1:4-8). The Greek for diligently is ekzeteo, translated diligently seek (Heb. 11:6); seek after (Acts 15:17; Rom. 3:11); seek carefully (Heb. 12:17); require (Luke 11:50-51), and enquire (1Pet. 1:10).

James 1:5 states that if we lack wisdom we must ask it of God who will give it to us liberally, without reprimand and it shall be given to us.  Here we have six secrets of answered prayer: Lack of consciousness of needs (Jas. 1:5). Let him ask of God (4:6; Jas. 1:5). That gives to all men liberally (Jas. 1:5; Matt. 7:7-11; 21:22; Mark 11:22-24). It shall be given him (Jas. 1:5; Matt. 7:7-11; 17:20; 21:22; John 14:12-15; 15:7, 16; 16:23-26; 1Jn. 3:21-22; 5:13-14). But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering (Jas. 1:6; Heb. 11:6).

To be continued…

Stand Fast in the Lord – Part 1

Philippians 4:1-3 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow-labourers, whose names are in the book of life. 

‘My joy and crown’ – we see the same reference of love and gratitude made to the congregations of Thessalonica in 1Thessalonians 2:19-20.

‘Stand fast’ – from 1Thessalonians 3:8 Paul reminds the Christians to stand fast in the Lord, for we live only if we stand fast in Him (Heb. 3:6, 12-14).

‘Euodias … Syntyche’ – Two women, who were the leaders of the congregation at Philippi, differed on some unknown point (4:3).

‘Yokefellow’ [Greek: suzugos] comrade; friend. Refers perhaps to Epaphroditus, the apostle to Philippi (2:25).

‘Women which laboured with me in the gospel’ – perhaps Euodia and Syntyche of Philippians 4:2.

‘Laboured’ [Greek: sunathleo] wrestling together, not in contention with, or against one another to build up human establishments which oppose each other in the gospel, but in union against the enemies of the gospel.

‘Clement’ was taught to be the same one who was afterwards a bishop in Rome and who wrote an epistle to the Corinthians, which still exists.

To be continued…

The Lord Jesus Christ – Part 1

Philippians 3:20-21 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. 

‘Conversation’ [Greek: politeuma] citizenship; city; civil rights; state; society; or government.

‘We look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.’ What to look for [Greek: apekdechomai] It is scriptural to look for the rapture or coming of the Lord in the air for the saints, to take place any time (3:20; Tit. 2:13), but not the second coming. The rapture and second coming are two events separated by at least seven years. They are not two phases or two stages of one coming, but two distinct comings – one a coming in the air (not to the earth) before the tribulation, and the other a coming to the earth immediately after the tribulation (1Thess. 4:16 with Matt. 24:29). One is the coming for the saints (3:21; John 14:1-3; Luke 21:36; 1Cor. 15:23, 51-54; 1Thess. 4:13-17; 2Thess. 2:1, 7; Col. 3:4) and the other is the coming to earth with the saints to set up the kingdom (Zech. 14:5; Jude 1:14; Rev. 19:11-21).

‘Who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.’ This is the 4th and last New Testament prophecy in Philippians (3:21). The Greek word metaschematizo means to transform; change the fashion; refashion. Translated “transform” (2Cor. 11:13-15); “transfer in a figure” (1Cor. 4:6); and “change” (3:21).

To be continued…

The Exceeding Greatness of His Power

Ephesians 1:19-20 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places

‘To us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.’ Again, and again the apostle emphasizes the doctrine of power for believers, not unbelievers (3:16-21; 6:10-18; 1Cor. 1:7; 4:18-20; 12:1-11).

‘Wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.’ Six things that God did for Christ: He raised Him from the dead (1:20; John 21:14; 1Cor. 15:1-23). He exalted Him at His own right hand (1:20; Ps. 110:1, 5; Matt. 26:64; Mark 16:19; Acts 2:33-34; 7:55-56; Rom. 8:34; Php. 2:9-11; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3, 13; 10:12; 12:2; 1Pet. 3:22). He gave Him authority over all powers, good and evil, under Himself (1:21; 3:10; 6:12; Rom. 8:38; Php. 2:9-11; Col. 1:15-18; 2:10-17; 1Pet. 3:22; Rev. 1:1, 7, 18; 11:15; 19:11 – 20:10). He gave Him a name above every name except God the Father (1:21; 1Cor. 11:3; Php. 2:9-11; Heb. 1:4). He put all things under His feet (1:22; Col. 1:16-18; 2:10-17; Heb. 2:5-18; 1Cor. 15:24-28). He gave Him headship of the Christian congregations (1:22; Col. 1:18, 24; 2Cor. 11:3).

Revelations of the Lord

2Corinthians 12:1-5 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. 

‘It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory.’ Paul admits that it was not profitable for him to boast, but since it is necessary to answer his enemies at Corinth, he will continue his boasting about visions and revelations.

‘Revelations’ [Greek: apokalupsis] unveiling of things not known before and which God alone could make known.

‘Fourteen years ago’ – this takes us back to about 46 A.D., some 14 years after Christ died. Just where he saw the vision is not known.

‘In the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell.’ It could have been in the body, as in the case of Enoch, Elijah, and John (Gen. 5:24; 2Kin. 2:1-25; Rev. 4:1). The fact he did not know proves the possibility of a natural body going to heaven. It also proves that he believed in the consciousness of souls after leaving the body (5:8; Php. 1:21-24; Heb. 12:23).

‘Caught up to the third heaven’ – caught up, like in 1Thessalonians 4:16-17. Paul was not doubtful about being caught up to the third heaven. He was certain about that (12:2, 4). It was whether in the body or out of it that he was doubtful (12:2-3).

‘Third heaven’ – there are three heavens: the clouds or atmospheric heavens (Gen. 1:8; Ps. 77:17-18; 104:2-3); paradise (12:4; Luke 23:43; Rev. 2:7); and God’s heaven (Gen. 1:1; Isa. 14:12-14; 66:1; Rev. 21:2, 10).

‘Unspeakable words’ – this simply means that human lips and tongues could not express them. They were too sacred to repeat.

‘It is not lawful for a man to utter’ Paul may have been forbidden to utter these words like John was commanded to seal up and write not what the seven thunders uttered (Rev. 10:4).

‘Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory’ – again he repeats that he will not glory in himself and his attainments, but in his infirmities and other experiences suffered for Christ (12:1, 5; 11:30).

Paul’s Sufferings Part 1

2Corinthians 11:21  I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also. 

‘I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak.’ Paul refers to these Judaizers reproaching them because they were uncircumcised, and as if they were weak or inferior to them.

‘Bold’ Fifty-five things that Paul could boast of: He was just as bold as they were (11:21); he was a Hebrew as they were (11:22); he was an Israelite as they were (11:22); he was of Abraham as they were (11:22); he was more a minister of Christ than they were (11:23); in more abundant labours (11:23); stripes above measure (11:23); in prisons often for Christ (11:23); often at the point of death (11:23); five times scourged (11:24); three times beaten with rods (11:25); once stoned to death (11:25; Acts 14:19); three times shipwrecked (11:25); twenty-four hours in the sea (11:25); in journeyings often (11:26); in perils of water (11:26); in perils of robbers (11:26); in perils by the Jews (11:26); in perils by the heathen (11:26); in perils in the city (11:26); in perils in the wilderness (11:26); in perils in the sea (11:26); in perils by false brethren (11:26); in weariness and pain (11:27); in watching often (11:27); in hunger and thirst (11:27); in fastings often (11:27); in cold and nakedness (11:27); daily care of all congregations (11:28); strength in God (11:29; 12:10); zeal for the congregations (11:29); many infirmities (11:30; 12:5, 9); absolute truthfulness (11:31; 12:6); miraculous deliverances (11:32-33); boasting was of necessity (12:1); visions and revelations (12:1); translation to heaven (12:2-4); experiences beyond knowledge (12:2-3); hearing unspeakable words (12:5); unlawful knowledge (12:4); freedom from self-glory (12:5); true quitting sense (12:6); genuineness equal to glory (12:6); special persecutions (12:7); answers from God (12:9); resignation to God’s will (12:9); power of Christ upon him (12:9); pleasure in sufferings (12:10); endurance for Christ (12:10); no boasting unless compelled (12:11); equal with chief apostles (12:11); humility in greatness (12:11); signs of apostleship (12:12); unselfishness (12:13-16); his judgment power (12:21; 13:10).

False Apostles

2Corinthians 11:12-15 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. 

‘For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.’ Sixteen marks of false ministers in 2 Corinthians: They hold secret things of shame (4:2). They walk in craftiness (4:2). They handle Word deceitfully (4:2). They walk and war after the flesh (10:3). They look on outward appearance (10:7; cp. 1Sam. 16:7; Matt. 23:27-28). They commend selves (10:12). They compare selves to others (10:12). They prey on the works of others (10:15-16). They are greedy of income (11:7-12). They are false; they seek the highest offices (11:13). They are deceitful workers (11:13). They try to counterfeit apostleship (11:13). They pose as righteous ministers (11:15). They seek occasion to glory (11:12). They are boastful and self-exalting (11:18). They are destitute of apostolic signs (12:12).

Thirty-four other marks of false ministers: They lead people away from God (Deut. 13:1-5). They speak presumptuously (Deut. 18:20). They propagate errors (Pro. 19:27; Isa. 3:12; Jer. 23:32). They have no sense of righteousness (Isa. 5:20; Jer. 11:1-23; 14:1-22; 32:1-44). They are destitute of light (Isa. 8:19-20). They teach lies (Isa. 9:14-16). They live like sinners (Isa. 28:7). They are ignorant of spiritual things (Isa. 29:10-11; 56:10-12; Jer. 2:8; Hos. 4:6). They compromise truth (Isa. 30:10). They are greedy and lazy (Isa. 56:10-12). They deal falsely (Jer. 6:13; Ezek. 22:27). They do not pray (Jer. 10:21). They destroy and scatter (Jer. 12:10; 23:1). They preach lies (Jer. 14:13-16). They commit adultery (Jer. 23:14). They encourage sin (Jer. 23:14; Ezek. 13:22). They are deceitful (Jer. 48:10; Ezek. 13:10; Rom. 16:18; Eph. 4:14; Col. 2:4-8; 2Tim. 3:6-13). They are sinful (Ezek. 22:25-28). They are liars (Jer. 23:14; Ezek. 13:19-22). They are selfish (Ezek. 34:2-3). They are unfaithful (Ezek. 34:4-10). They are covetous (Mic. 3:11). They teach doctrines of man (Matt. 15:9). They work iniquity (Matt. 7:15-23). They are blind (Matt. 15:14). They cause divisions (Rom. 16:17; 1Cor. 11:18; Php. 1:15-16). They corrupt truth (2Cor. 2:17). They teach doctrines of devils (1Tim. 4:1-16). They have a seared conscience (1Tim. 4:2). They are proud and perverse (1Tim. 6:3-21; 2Tim. 2:14-18; Tit. 1:10-14). They teach damnable heresies (2Pet. 2:1; 2Jn. 1:7-11). They deny Christ (2Pet. 2:1; 1Jn. 4:1-6). They are consecrated to destroy the Christian faith (2Pet. 2:1-19; Jude 1:4-11). They are hypocrites (Matt. 7:15; 23:1-33; Luke 11:35).

‘For satan himself is transformed’ – satan inspires his ministers to imitate Christianity and even to do miracles (Matt. 24:24; 2Thess. 2:8-12; Rev. 13:1-18; 16:13-16; 19:20). Where are his ministers who are transformed as ministers of righteousness? Wouldn’t they be amongst Christians?

‘An angel of light’ ten symbols of satan: A serpent (11:3; Gen. 3:15; Luke 10:19; Rev. 12:9, 15; 20:3); a crocodile (Job 41:1-34; Isa. 27:1); great red dragon (Rev. 12:1-17; 13:4; 16:13; 20:2); an angel of light (2Cor. 11:14); a roaring lion (1Pet. 5:8; Ps. 91:13); fowls (Matt. 13:4, 19); scorpions (Luke 10:19); wolf (John 10:12); fowler (Ps. 91:3); adder (Ps. 91:13).