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Faith Community Bible Church
The Gospel Saves Us into True Friendships

Faith Community Bible Church

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 25, 2022 30:55


The Gospel Saves Us into True Friendships Colossians 4:7-18 Introduction Good morning, Church! My name is Trent Houck, and I am one of the Pastors here at FCBC. We are closing out our series on the book of Colossians with this 18th sermon on the book. Over the past weeks, we have heard the Gospel preached through: Steve Walker, Ryan Patterson, Billy Mogensen, Dave Gibson, David O'Hara, Javier Sepulveda/Ben Tyson, Josiah Gerbitz, and Benj Foreman. We have been meditating on the truth of God's word that: 1.Jesus is enough (Col. 1:1-8) 2.Jesus is the one we run to in prayer (Col. 1:9-14) 3.Jesus is enough because he is preeminent (Col. 1:15-20) 4.Jesus' sufficiency saves us from our insufficiency (Col. 1:21-23) 5.Jesus' presence in us is the hope of glory! (Col. 1:24-29) 6.Jesus is our treasure of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:1-5) 7.We receive Christ, and walk in him (Col. 2:6-7) 8.Jesus is captivating (Col. 2:8-15) 9.Jesus is the substance and fullness of God (Col. 2:16-19) 10. Man made rules keep us from Christ (Col. 2:20-23) 11.Jesus is a worthy object for our new minds (Col. 3:1-4) 12.Christians slay sin because Jesus is enough (Col. 3:5-11) 13.Christian Community is defined by love (Col. 3:12-17) 14.The Gospel determines family order (Col. 3:18-22) 15.Christ's Kingdom is worth working for (Col. 3:23-4:1) 16. Christians preach the Gospel! (Col. 4:2-5) 17. Christians are saved to preach the Gospel prayerfully, wisely, and graciously (Col. 4:2-6) 18.Finally: The Gospel saves us into true friendships (Col. 4:7-18) All of this is to highlight our central theme: Rooted in Christ 6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. But, what does all this actually look like? It would be so easy for all of us to walk away from Colossians with better theology, more insight, and deeper interest in the person and work of Christ and to miss the connection to real people in real places. The final section of Colossians means to show us that the Gospel saves us into true friendship. That is to say, that when you have been reconciled to God, that necessarily means that you are in right standing with your brothers and sisters in Jesus. In other words, when you come to Christ, when you become a friend of God, you inherit all of Jesus' friends also. Illustration 1: (1st service just imagine) So, I would like to begin this section by illustration. I need 10 volunteers. (Count them out). Once I call you out, come on up and sit in a seat on the stage. Each of you will represent one of the people mentioned in Colossians 4:7-18. Let's hear God's word. Read the Text 7 Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.8 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, (1) 9 and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here. (2) (Ask Tychicus and Onesimus to go sit down) 10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, (3) and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him), (4) (Ask this group to stay) 11 and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. (5) (Stay) 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. (6) (Ask Epaphras to get into a prayer posture) 14 Luke the beloved physician greets you, (7) as does Demas. (8) (Ask to wave and look dignified) 15 Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, (Left Side of the Sanctuary) (Ask congregation to say: "Greetings!") and to Nympha and the church in her house. (9) (Ask the congregation on the left side to say: "Hi Nympha!) 16 And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. (Ask the congregation to say: "You got it, Paul!") 17 And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.” (10) (Ask the Congregation to say: "We'll tell him!") 18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. (Self) (Ask the congregation to celebrate volunteers and the close of the letter). Prayer: Let's pray together. Heavenly Father, we come before your word now in order to allow you to speak to our hearts. We recognize that this too is your word. In your sovereign plan, you chose to use these men and women to advance your Gospel. Help us to catch a vision of what this would look like for our own lives. Jesus, we praise you for your perfect life. The Father sent you, and you went for the joy set before, even enduring the cross. We thank you for your atoning death, for drinking the cup of God's wrath against sin, so that we might have friendship with God and fellowship with one another. Thank you for your resurrection, for the fact that you are now seated at the right hand of the throne in heaven, making intercession for us, even as we gather before you. Holy Spirit, give us a vision for Gospel-friendships and Gospel-partnerships here at FCBC. Give us the boldness, courage, and desire to lay down our lives for others, to trust each other, and to grow in maturity to the stature and fullness of Christ. We pray these things for the glory of God in Jesus' name, amen. Exegetical Introduction The Gospel saves us into true friendship. You don't have to look past the first verse in Colossians to see that Paul was a man who loved friendship. He writes in Colossians 1:1-2, "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother. To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae…" Timothy was one of Paul's closest friends. Paul writes of Timothy in Philippians 2:20, "...I have no one like him[Timothy], who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare" and "...you know Timothy's proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel" (Phil. 2:22). Paul almost never worked alone, and when it came to writing his books, he gave credit to the co-author, Timothy. That's true friendship. Do you have these kinds of friends? Even a best friend? In many ways, the entire letter to the Colossians was an expression of friendship. We rarely write letters today, but the communication between Paul and Collosae was dripping with familial affection and love. Since Paul has come to know Epaphras, he has come to love him. And, a friend of Epaphras (who planted the church in Colossae, and wanted to plant more in the Lycus Valley) is a friend of Paul's. Paul loved to surround himself with friends. One author writes, “In the book of Acts there are more than 100 different Christians associated with Paul. He named sixteen different friends in Romans 16 alone! Here in Colossians he was true to form as he named ten people in closing.”[ Hughes, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon, 362. ] Why do you think that Paul had so many friends? Paul had friends because friendship is intrinsic to the Gospel. It's like pizza with cheese. You can't have pizza without the cheese. (I suppose, some of you can). Paul writes, "He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption the forgiveness of sins" (Colossians 1:14). You can't have the Gospel without the "us". That is, Jesus' decisive saving work in the life of the believer places you in a new kingdom. And, a friend of Jesus is a friend of mine, Paul says. In fact, Paul goes so far as to say that these relationships are brother/sister relationships. Because of Jesus' finished work, we are now family. Now, these new brothers and sisters are not only people who destroy your lego sets, leave their clothes out in your room, and savagely beat you at Monopoly. These are the kinds of brothers and sisters who get you presents at Christmas, help you with the dishes, and are people you'd like to emulate.[ Edit: Every isolated individual sipping Starbucks and reading their Bibles on Sundays thinking that they can have Jesus without the Church are sorely mistaken. Jesus without the Church, is Trent without Lauren. Jesus without the Church, is spirituality without realism. Jesus without the Church is not what Jesus died for. Jesus died for his bride. And, he calls Christians to live for her, to love her, to strengthen her. Because, after all, who hates his own body? ] Main Question/Tension: So, here is the main question for us this morning: are we actively engaging with these kinds of friendships here at FCBC? Are you a good friend? Paul has already detailed for us that sin breaks friendships down in a few ways. He writes, "Here [that is, in the household of God] there is not Greek and Jew [that is, friendship on the basis of racial or ethnic background], circumcised and uncircumcised [that is, friend lines because of religious background], barbarian [that is, friend lines on the basis of social status], Scythian [geography or obscurity], slave [economic status], free [citizenry]; but Christ is all [that is, what matters most] and in all [that is, in all kinds of people]" (Col. 3:11). Paul says, "none of these things need to divide you." However, because we live in a fallen world, left to ourselves we do divide over all kinds of things. We feel alienated by people who are different than us, and we sometimes actively or accidentally alienate those who would otherwise befriend us.This happens within our church even as it happens in our world. People want to form groups around age, gender, married, single, kids, no kids, hobbies, school choice, background, and the like. We naturally drift toward people who are just like us. Raise your hand if you have ever felt lonely. Have you ever wondered why? What's the solution to this sin problem? The answer is the Gospel. The Gospel saves us into true friendships. Here's what this means. The Gospel saves us into at least six kinds of friendships. We need all the types. And, we need to learn to become all of them as well.[ What Paul details here in this list of friends is that the Gospel rescues us into active friendship with a variety of kinds of people. This is good news, because the Gospel is not reductionistic. God knows that we need close friends, weird friends, old friends, new friends, lost friends, found friends, and everywhere in between. ] This is the good news: when we become friends with Jesus through his death, burial and resurrection, we have a friend who will never leave us or forsake us, and Jesus brings you into friendship with his best friends. Outline: The Gospel saves us into: 1.Commissioned Friendships (Colossians 4:7-9). a.These are friends we purposefully give away to others. 2.Comfort Friendships (Colossians 4:10-11). a.These are longtime childhood friends. 3.Commended Friendships (Colossians 4:12-13). a.These are respected friends that we look up. 4.Church Friendships (Colossians 4:15-16). a.These are friends that we'd only make because of the Gospel. 5.Collapsing Friendships (Colossians 4:17). a.These are friends who need support, struggling friends. 6.Current Friendships (Colossians 4:18). a.New Friends.[ Edit: a.What kinds of friends do you need? (Ask God for this) b.What kind of friend am you? (Ask your friends about this) c.What kinds of friends have you had in the past? (Praise God for this!) d.What kind of friend will you be in the future? (Ask God about this) e.What do I appreciate most about God's friendship with me? (Praise God for this!)] Main Point: The Gospel saves us into true friendships. Commissioned Friendships (Colossians 4:7-9) First, the Gospel saves us into commissioned friendships. We read, 7 Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.8 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts,9 and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here. Tychicus and Onesimus are commissioned friends. Tychicus was a loyal friend. He was faithful. He was with Paul when Paul went through really hard times. Paul wrote: "I was shipwrecked, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure" (2 Corinthians 11:25-27). Tychicus was there for all that. Many left Paul behind, but Tychicus stuck by him. As the Colossian letter is being written in Rome, someone had to volunteer to take it back. Paul was probably scratching his chin, wondering: who should I send to take this back to the Colossians? Tychicus had internalized this beautiful passage from Romans, "How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed, Tychicus? And how are they to believe in him in whom they have never heard, Tychicus? And how are they to hear without someone preaching, Tychicus? And how are they to preach unless they are sent, Tychicus? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!'" (Romans 10:14-16). As the final pen strokes of Colossians are being laid, I imagine that Paul is asking: Who will go for us? Tychicus steps forward. "Send me, I'll go." More than likely, tears filled Paul's eyes, realizing what he was asking. "Yes, Tychicus, you will go, but not without Onesimus." Onesimus looked up surprised. "Me?" Onesimus is a runaway slave. Paul says, "Yes you, Onesimus. I have a letter for your master Philemon that you will carry as well."[ Meynell, Colossians For You, 169. ] Tears fill Onesimus's eyes for other reasons. "Remember, Onesimus, 'Here in the body of Christ there is no…' "Slave or Free." Onesimus says. "Okay, Paul. I will go." Onesimus was being commissioned to apply the Gospel to a broken friendship and partnership with Philemon. And, Onesimus was being sent to repair the breach because, "If two believers cannot be reconciled, then either both or one is not in fellowship with God."[ Hughes, 364. ] Tychicus went to deliver the letter. Onesimus went as the embodiment of the message. Gospel proclamation necessarily means this kind of Gospel friendship. These two depart on their 1000 mile journey to the Colossians with their letters in hand, and one more (likely Ephesians). Do you have friends like that? If you know Jesus, you have a friend who was sent to deliver you a message. If you know Jesus, you know someone like Onesimus too: Jesus was the message (John 1). Paul has friends that he is willing to commission so that the Gospel advances in the world. He trusts them. He leans on them. He sends them. Paul sends Tychicus and Onesimus. Paul has commissioned friends. But, doesn't that leave Paul lonely? That leads us to our next point: Comfort Friendships (Colossians 4:10-11) Second, the Gospel saves us into friendships that bring us comfort. When we lose friends, it's really important that we are not left alone. So, God provides other kinds of friends. Paul writes, 10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him), 11 and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me So, Paul has three Jewish friends. These are friends who share heritage, upbringing, native language, and new life in Jesus. If you have been in foreign area for any length of time, you begin to hunger and thirst for your native language, culture, and norms. God graciously provides these three men to: a.Be in prison with him (Aristarchus) b.Be reconciled to him (Mark) c.Be with him (Jesus). Now, Paul highlights these men for a few different reasons: 1.The Colossians care about Paul! They want to know how he is doing. They want to know that he's alive, and how God is providing for him. They desire to pray for him and help him in any way they can. They are not indifferent to him. 2.The Colossians wondered about Mark. If the Colossians are aware of Mark's departure from Paul in Acts 16, they'll need to know that things are good between them now. As you remember, there was a point when Mark bailed on Paul, and it hurt him pretty badly! But, Paul wants them to know that they are in good hands if Mark comes their way. They've reconciled. 3.The Colossians needed to know who was safe. We don't know almost anything about Jesus called Justus. But,I think that Paul mentions him here so that if the Colossians have developed an apprehension to Jewish teachers because of the Colossian heresy, they would know that Jesus called Justus comes recommended by Paul. These are comfort, safe friends. They are people who continually encourage Paul's heart because they get him. These are friends with whom Paul would share inside jokes from his culture. They would know his native language. They would be able to speak in a unique way to the matters of his heart. But, doesn't Paul also need to be challenged? This leads us to our third point: Commended Friendships (Colossians 4:12-14) Third, the Gospel saves us into commended friendships. These are friendships with people that we look up to in the faith, or at least those who are peers with us. Even Paul needed to see examples of faith. He needed to be encouraged by church planters and missionaries. He needed to be reminded of the Gospel. He writes, 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. This is quite a commendation! "Praise from the praiseworthy is above all rewards."[ Attributed to Tolkien. ] To have the hard-working, prayerful Paul say: "That guys is hard-working! That guy is prayerful!" is a deep commendation of Epaphras' spiritual fitness. This was encouraging to Paul. Paul didn't always have good days. There were times that Paul was really lonely, scared, fearful, and depressed, just like we would be if we were in his situation. We read in 2 Corinthians 1:8-9, 8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead (2 Corinthians 1:8-9). There were also times when Paul was anxious: 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? (2 Corinthians 11:28) Epaphras reminded Paul of why he was doing what he was doing. Epaphras was a church-planter, a missionary. Paul's own life was reflected in Epaphras. And, Jesus' life was reflected in both. So, Paul commends three things about Epaphras: 1.His prayer life. Epaphras prays often "...always struggling on your behalf…" He prays specifically "...that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God."[ Edit: We know that Epaphras was also in prison with Paul (Philemon 23). While being chained, Epaphras knew that the most effective work that he could do for the kingdom was through prayer. ] 2.His work ethic. "He has worked hard for you." Epaphras is not in this for self-glory, but for Gospel advancement. He hits his knees, preaches, teaches, and leads for the sake of the Gospel. This impresses Paul. 3.His vision. And if that isn't enough, Epaphras wants to see the Gospel advance. He has a heart "For those in Laodicea and Hierapolis." He's not concerned only for his hometown, but for the surrounding cities. Paul mentions two more friends: 14 Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas. You can read about Luke all throughout the book of Acts. He is the Author of Luke and Acts, and he is a key player in the Gospel advancing. He is the "beloved healer", probably extremely bright, intellectual, and competent. We don't know a ton about Demas. At the moment of the writing of Colossians, he is "a fellow worker with Paul"[ Philemon 1:24. ] Maybe that's all we need to know! Nonetheless, Paul needed commendable friends. Even so, Paul needs friends who will move the Gospel work forward. That leads us to our next point. Church Friendships (Colossians 4:15-16) Fourth, God saves us into Church friendships. These are friendships that develop around the mission of Christ, and that continue in the mission of Christ. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. 16 And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. Paul expected that the Colossians would pass along the things that he had said to the Laodiceans and to the Church in Nympha's house. Further, he expected that his letters would be read all over the Lycus Valley. The "letter from Laodicea" is probably Ephesians.[ Meynell, Colossians for You, 173. ] This means that his communication was intended to be read more broadly.[ Edit: In other words, the very words of Paul were to be taken not only as authoritative, but as the means through which other people would be converted to Christ. There were timeless, truths that have spanned beyond the Roman Empire into our day that were to be understood, applied, and lived out in the Church Age. ] Because the greetings spanned out across the Lycus Valley, we can also say, in a very indirect way, that Paul greets us from the first century through the letter to the Colossians. Pretty cool! Here is the key point: when you have deep, Gospel friendships, the relationships expand much further than just the individual. Illustration: The Gospel brings you into a sort of web of friendships. Whatever you do in one friendship affects all the rest. We can see this very clearly with Paul, but we usually don't consider the ways that we are at center-points of our web of friendships. The Christian is called to have Jesus at the center of all of his or her friendships, and that necessarily connects you to the rest of the body of Christ. That leads to our fifth point. Collapsing Friendships (Colossians 4:17) Fifth, and briefly, Collapsing friends. These are people who are struggling in Christian ministry and are very tempted to give up. We are not to see these people as projects or as lost causes, but to follow Paul's examples in the following way: 17 And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.” Maybe Archippus was just beginning in ministry (Phil. 1:2), or maybe there was a particular issue that was leading him to feel like he couldn't fulfill his ministry. Either way, Paul singled out this man and called the Colossian Church to reaffirm their desire for him to fulfill his ministry. Paul, at the end of his own life says this in 2 Timothy 4: 6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:6-8). Paul knows that it is not how a minister starts his ministry that really matters, but how one finishes. All along the way, there will be people in your life who will struggle to finish well. We are called to encourage them. That leads us to our final point. Current Friendships (Colossians 4:18) Sixth, and finally, Paul affirms his friendships with the Colossians. 18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Paul knows that his personal voice matters to the Colossians. He pulls back the curtain and says something to help the Colossians feel, know and believe that Paul is for them because God is for them. Application: a.What kinds of friends do you need? (Ask God for this) b.What kind of friend are you? (Ask your friends about this) c.What kinds of friends have you had in the past? (Praise God for this!) d.What kind of friend will you be in the future? (Ask God about this) e.What do I appreciate most about God's friendship? (Praise God for this!) Testimony & Baptism So ends the book of Colossians. We are going to transition now into two things. 1.Testimony: We are going to show a short recap of testimonies from people who have been encouraged by the message of Colossians. Then, 2.Baptism: We are going to see a baptism together. Water baptism, intended for true believers who have been saved by the work of Christ, is an act of obedience and a visual demonstration of a person's union with Christ in the likeness of His death and resurrection. It signifies that the power of sin is broken, vividly depicting a believer's newness of life. Key Texts: Mt 28:19- 20; Acts 2:41; 8:34-39; Rom 6:3-11. a. The person being baptized will share their testimony, be baptized and then we will celebrate the end of this series with one final song of worship. Let's join together in celebrating what God has done here at FCBC in the past 3-4 months.

Bowmanville Baptist Church
Colossians 4:7-18

Bowmanville Baptist Church

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 25, 2022 56:51


Pastor David Aszbach As to all my affairs, Tychicus, our beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord, will bring you information. For I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts; and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of your number. They will inform you about the whole situation here. Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you his greetings; and also Barnabas's cousin Mark (about whom you received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him); and also Jesus who is called Justus; these are the only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are from the circumcision, and they have proved to be an encouragement to me. Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. For I testify for him that he has a deep concern for you and for those who are in Laodicea and Hierapolis. Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings, and also Demas. Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea and also Nympha and the church that is in her house. When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea. Say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.” I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my imprisonment. Grace be with you. Colossians 4:7-18

ESV: Daily Office Lectionary
September 24: Psalm 87; Psalm 90; Psalm 136; Hosea 1–2:1; Acts 20:1–16; Luke 4:38–44

ESV: Daily Office Lectionary

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 24, 2022 10:37


Proper 20 First Psalm: Psalm 87; Psalm 90 Psalm 87 (Listen) Glorious Things of You Are Spoken A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. A Song. 87   On the holy mount stands the city he founded;2     the LORD loves the gates of Zion    more than all the dwelling places of Jacob.3   Glorious things of you are spoken,    O city of God. Selah 4   Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon;    behold, Philistia and Tyre, with Cush1—    “This one was born there,” they say.5   And of Zion it shall be said,    “This one and that one were born in her”;    for the Most High himself will establish her.6   The LORD records as he registers the peoples,    “This one was born there.” Selah 7   Singers and dancers alike say,    “All my springs are in you.” Footnotes [1] 87:4 Probably Nubia (ESV) Psalm 90 (Listen) Book Four From Everlasting to Everlasting A Prayer of Moses, the man of God. 90   Lord, you have been our dwelling place1    in all generations.2   Before the mountains were brought forth,    or ever you had formed the earth and the world,    from everlasting to everlasting you are God. 3   You return man to dust    and say, “Return, O children of man!”24   For a thousand years in your sight    are but as yesterday when it is past,    or as a watch in the night. 5   You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream,    like grass that is renewed in the morning:6   in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;    in the evening it fades and withers. 7   For we are brought to an end by your anger;    by your wrath we are dismayed.8   You have set our iniquities before you,    our secret sins in the light of your presence. 9   For all our days pass away under your wrath;    we bring our years to an end like a sigh.10   The years of our life are seventy,    or even by reason of strength eighty;  yet their span3 is but toil and trouble;    they are soon gone, and we fly away.11   Who considers the power of your anger,    and your wrath according to the fear of you? 12   So teach us to number our days    that we may get a heart of wisdom.13   Return, O LORD! How long?    Have pity on your servants!14   Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,    that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.15   Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,    and for as many years as we have seen evil.16   Let your work be shown to your servants,    and your glorious power to their children.17   Let the favor4 of the Lord our God be upon us,    and establish the work of our hands upon us;    yes, establish the work of our hands! Footnotes [1] 90:1 Some Hebrew manuscripts (compare Septuagint) our refuge [2] 90:3 Or of Adam [3] 90:10 Or pride [4] 90:17 Or beauty (ESV) Second Psalm: Psalm 136 Psalm 136 (Listen) His Steadfast Love Endures Forever 136   Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,    for his steadfast love endures forever.2   Give thanks to the God of gods,    for his steadfast love endures forever.3   Give thanks to the Lord of lords,    for his steadfast love endures forever; 4   to him who alone does great wonders,    for his steadfast love endures forever;5   to him who by understanding made the heavens,    for his steadfast love endures forever;6   to him who spread out the earth above the waters,    for his steadfast love endures forever;7   to him who made the great lights,    for his steadfast love endures forever;8   the sun to rule over the day,    for his steadfast love endures forever;9   the moon and stars to rule over the night,    for his steadfast love endures forever; 10   to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,    for his steadfast love endures forever;11   and brought Israel out from among them,    for his steadfast love endures forever;12   with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,    for his steadfast love endures forever;13   to him who divided the Red Sea in two,    for his steadfast love endures forever;14   and made Israel pass through the midst of it,    for his steadfast love endures forever;15   but overthrew1 Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea,    for his steadfast love endures forever;16   to him who led his people through the wilderness,    for his steadfast love endures forever; 17   to him who struck down great kings,    for his steadfast love endures forever;18   and killed mighty kings,    for his steadfast love endures forever;19   Sihon, king of the Amorites,    for his steadfast love endures forever;20   and Og, king of Bashan,    for his steadfast love endures forever;21   and gave their land as a heritage,    for his steadfast love endures forever;22   a heritage to Israel his servant,    for his steadfast love endures forever. 23   It is he who remembered us in our low estate,    for his steadfast love endures forever;24   and rescued us from our foes,    for his steadfast love endures forever;25   he who gives food to all flesh,    for his steadfast love endures forever. 26   Give thanks to the God of heaven,    for his steadfast love endures forever. Footnotes [1] 136:15 Hebrew shook off (ESV) Old Testament: Hosea 1–2:1 Hosea 1–2:1 (Listen) 1 The word of the LORD that came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel. Hosea's Wife and Children 2 When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD.” 3 So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. 4 And the LORD said to him, “Call his name Jezreel, for in just a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. 5 And on that day I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel.” 6 She conceived again and bore a daughter. And the LORD said to him, “Call her name No Mercy,1 for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all. 7 But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the LORD their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen.” 8 When she had weaned No Mercy, she conceived and bore a son. 9 And the LORD said, “Call his name Not My People,2 for you are not my people, and I am not your God.”3 10 4 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children5 of the living God.” 11 And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head. And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel. Israel's Unfaithfulness Punished 2 6 Say to your brothers, “You are my people,”7 and to your sisters, “You have received mercy.”8 Footnotes [1] 1:6 Hebrew Lo-ruhama, which means she has not received mercy [2] 1:9 Hebrew Lo-ammi, which means not my people [3] 1:9 Hebrew I am not yours [4] 1:10 Ch 2:1 in Hebrew [5] 1:10 Or Sons [6] 2:1 Ch 2:3 in Hebrew [7] 2:1 Hebrew ammi, which means my people [8] 2:1 Hebrew ruhama, which means she has received mercy (ESV) New Testament: Acts 20:1–16 Acts 20:1–16 (Listen) Paul in Macedonia and Greece 20 After the uproar ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them, he said farewell and departed for Macedonia. 2 When he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece. 3 There he spent three months, and when a plot was made against him by the Jews1 as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. 4 Sopater the Berean, son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; and the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus. 5 These went on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas, 6 but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days. Eutychus Raised from the Dead 7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. 9 And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. 10 But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” 11 And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed. 12 And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted. 13 But going ahead to the ship, we set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul aboard there, for so he had arranged, intending himself to go by land. 14 And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene. 15 And sailing from there we came the following day opposite Chios; the next day we touched at Samos; and2 the day after that we went to Miletus. 16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia, for he was hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost. Footnotes [1] 20:3 Greek Ioudaioi probably refers here to Jewish religious leaders, and others under their influence, in that time; also verse 19 [2] 20:15 Some manuscripts add after remaining at Trogyllium (ESV) Gospel: Luke 4:38–44 Luke 4:38–44 (Listen) Jesus Heals Many 38 And he arose and left the synagogue and entered Simon's house. Now Simon's mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they appealed to him on her behalf. 39 And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her, and immediately she rose and began to serve them. 40 Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them. 41 And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ. Jesus Preaches in Synagogues 42 And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them, 43 but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” 44 And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.1 Footnotes [1] 4:44 Some manuscripts Galilee (ESV)

ESV: Every Day in the Word
September 20: Proverbs 29–31; Titus 3:12–15; Psalm 75; Proverbs 24:3–4

ESV: Every Day in the Word

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 20, 2022 11:14


Old Testament: Proverbs 29–31 Proverbs 29–31 (Listen) 29   He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck,    will suddenly be broken beyond healing.2   When the righteous increase, the people rejoice,    but when the wicked rule, the people groan.3   He who loves wisdom makes his father glad,    but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.4   By justice a king builds up the land,    but he who exacts gifts1 tears it down.5   A man who flatters his neighbor    spreads a net for his feet.6   An evil man is ensnared in his transgression,    but a righteous man sings and rejoices.7   A righteous man knows the rights of the poor;    a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.8   Scoffers set a city aflame,    but the wise turn away wrath.9   If a wise man has an argument with a fool,    the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.10   Bloodthirsty men hate one who is blameless    and seek the life of the upright.211   A fool gives full vent to his spirit,    but a wise man quietly holds it back.12   If a ruler listens to falsehood,    all his officials will be wicked.13   The poor man and the oppressor meet together;    the LORD gives light to the eyes of both.14   If a king faithfully judges the poor,    his throne will be established forever.15   The rod and reproof give wisdom,    but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.16   When the wicked increase, transgression increases,    but the righteous will look upon their downfall.17   Discipline your son, and he will give you rest;    he will give delight to your heart.18   Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint,3    but blessed is he who keeps the law.19   By mere words a servant is not disciplined,    for though he understands, he will not respond.20   Do you see a man who is hasty in his words?    There is more hope for a fool than for him.21   Whoever pampers his servant from childhood    will in the end find him his heir.422   A man of wrath stirs up strife,    and one given to anger causes much transgression.23   One's pride will bring him low,    but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.24   The partner of a thief hates his own life;    he hears the curse, but discloses nothing.25   The fear of man lays a snare,    but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.26   Many seek the face of a ruler,    but it is from the LORD that a man gets justice.27   An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous,    but one whose way is straight is an abomination to the wicked. The Words of Agur 30 The words of Agur son of Jakeh. The oracle.5   The man declares, I am weary, O God;    I am weary, O God, and worn out.62   Surely I am too stupid to be a man.    I have not the understanding of a man.3   I have not learned wisdom,    nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.4   Who has ascended to heaven and come down?    Who has gathered the wind in his fists?  Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment?    Who has established all the ends of the earth?  What is his name, and what is his son's name?    Surely you know! 5   Every word of God proves true;    he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.6   Do not add to his words,    lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar. 7   Two things I ask of you;    deny them not to me before I die:8   Remove far from me falsehood and lying;    give me neither poverty nor riches;    feed me with the food that is needful for me,9   lest I be full and deny you    and say, “Who is the LORD?”  or lest I be poor and steal    and profane the name of my God. 10   Do not slander a servant to his master,    lest he curse you, and you be held guilty. 11   There are those7 who curse their fathers    and do not bless their mothers.12   There are those who are clean in their own eyes    but are not washed of their filth.13   There are those—how lofty are their eyes,    how high their eyelids lift!14   There are those whose teeth are swords,    whose fangs are knives,  to devour the poor from off the earth,    the needy from among mankind. 15   The leech has two daughters:    Give and Give.8  Three things are never satisfied;    four never say, “Enough”:16   Sheol, the barren womb,    the land never satisfied with water,    and the fire that never says, “Enough.” 17   The eye that mocks a father    and scorns to obey a mother  will be picked out by the ravens of the valley    and eaten by the vultures. 18   Three things are too wonderful for me;    four I do not understand:19   the way of an eagle in the sky,    the way of a serpent on a rock,  the way of a ship on the high seas,    and the way of a man with a virgin. 20   This is the way of an adulteress:    she eats and wipes her mouth    and says, “I have done no wrong.” 21   Under three things the earth trembles;    under four it cannot bear up:22   a slave when he becomes king,    and a fool when he is filled with food;23   an unloved woman when she gets a husband,    and a maidservant when she displaces her mistress. 24   Four things on earth are small,    but they are exceedingly wise:25   the ants are a people not strong,    yet they provide their food in the summer;26   the rock badgers are a people not mighty,    yet they make their homes in the cliffs;27   the locusts have no king,    yet all of them march in rank;28   the lizard you can take in your hands,    yet it is in kings' palaces. 29   Three things are stately in their tread;    four are stately in their stride:30   the lion, which is mightiest among beasts    and does not turn back before any;31   the strutting rooster,9 the he-goat,    and a king whose army is with him.10 32   If you have been foolish, exalting yourself,    or if you have been devising evil,    put your hand on your mouth.33   For pressing milk produces curds,    pressing the nose produces blood,    and pressing anger produces strife. The Words of King Lemuel 31 The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him: 2   What are you doing, my son?11 What are you doing, son of my womb?    What are you doing, son of my vows?3   Do not give your strength to women,    your ways to those who destroy kings.4   It is not for kings, O Lemuel,    it is not for kings to drink wine,    or for rulers to take strong drink,5   lest they drink and forget what has been decreed    and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.6   Give strong drink to the one who is perishing,    and wine to those in bitter distress;127   let them drink and forget their poverty    and remember their misery no more.8   Open your mouth for the mute,    for the rights of all who are destitute.139   Open your mouth, judge righteously,    defend the rights of the poor and needy. The Woman Who Fears the Lord 10   14 An excellent wife who can find?    She is far more precious than jewels.11   The heart of her husband trusts in her,    and he will have no lack of gain.12   She does him good, and not harm,    all the days of her life.13   She seeks wool and flax,    and works with willing hands.14   She is like the ships of the merchant;    she brings her food from afar.15   She rises while it is yet night    and provides food for her household    and portions for her maidens.16   She considers a field and buys it;    with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.17   She dresses herself15 with strength    and makes her arms strong.18   She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.    Her lamp does not go out at night.19   She puts her hands to the distaff,    and her hands hold the spindle.20   She opens her hand to the poor    and reaches out her hands to the needy.21   She is not afraid of snow for her household,    for all her household are clothed in scarlet.1622   She makes bed coverings for herself;    her clothing is fine linen and purple.23   Her husband is known in the gates    when he sits among the elders of the land.24   She makes linen garments and sells them;    she delivers sashes to the merchant.25   Strength and dignity are her clothing,    and she laughs at the time to come.26   She opens her mouth with wisdom,    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.27   She looks well to the ways of her household    and does not eat the bread of idleness.28   Her children rise up and call her blessed;    her husband also, and he praises her:29   “Many women have done excellently,    but you surpass them all.”30   Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,    but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.31   Give her of the fruit of her hands,    and let her works praise her in the gates. Footnotes [1] 29:4 Or who taxes heavily [2] 29:10 Or but the upright seek his soul [3] 29:18 Or the people are discouraged [4] 29:21 The meaning of the Hebrew word rendered his heir is uncertain [5] 30:1 Or Jakeh, the man of Massa [6] 30:1 Revocalization; Hebrew The man declares to Ithiel, to Ithiel and Ucal [7] 30:11 Hebrew There is a generation; also verses 12, 13, 14 [8] 30:15 Or “Give, give,” they cry [9] 30:31 Or the magpie, or the greyhound; Hebrew girt-of-loins [10] 30:31 Or against whom there is no rising up [11] 31:2 Hebrew What, my son? [12] 31:6 Hebrew those bitter in soul [13] 31:8 Hebrew are sons of passing away [14] 31:10 Verses 10–31 are an acrostic poem, each verse beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet [15] 31:17 Hebrew She girds her loins [16] 31:21 Or in double thickness (ESV) New Testament: Titus 3:12–15 Titus 3:12–15 (Listen) Final Instructions and Greetings 12 When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13 Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. 14 And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful. 15 All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. (ESV) Psalm: Psalm 75 Psalm 75 (Listen) God Will Judge with Equity To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Psalm of Asaph. A Song. 75   We give thanks to you, O God;    we give thanks, for your name is near.  We1 recount your wondrous deeds. 2   “At the set time that I appoint    I will judge with equity.&l

Calgary Free Presbyterian Church
The Imminent Ministerial Report

Calgary Free Presbyterian Church

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 13, 2022 32:00


The Apostle Paul, having made a personal request for prayer, continues on a personal note. He has sent Rev. Tychicus to the Ephesian believers that they may be informed of his ministry, of the affairs of the Apostles in general, in order that their hearts may be encouraged and warmed by the continuing work of God through the Gospel--1- The Details for Prayer-2- An Open Report-3- The Comforting of Hearts

The 260 Journey
Only a Name Now

The 260 Journey

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 13, 2022 6:11


Day 182 Today's Reading: Colossians 4 Colossians 4 contains only 406 words. And of those 406 words, one in particular is big. It tells a story all by itself. But in order to grasp its importance, we need to call in two Bible verses. The one word is a name, and it's in verse 14: Demas. Paul was finishing up an Epistle unlike any other he had written. We call it a polemic letter; it's a written debate. Maybe a better way to put it is that he issued fighting words. The church in Colossae was under attack, and Paul had to write a fighting letter, not to them but toward those trying to add anything outside to Christianity. In chapter 1, he challenged them to be grounded in truth, and there is no better truth to be grounded in than the Person of Jesus. In chapter 2, he put on the boxing gloves and challenged those who were trying to get the new Christians to add special days, rituals, and visions to their newly found salvation. Paul told them to have nothing to do with that. In chapter 3, Paul told them what Christianity really is. Paul closed out chapter 4 by mentioning some important people who had been part of spreading the truth of Jesus. He brought up eleven names, and with almost all of them, he included something of their contribution: There was “Tychicus, our beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord,” who would “encourage your hearts” (Colossians 4:7-8). There was “Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who [was] one of your number” (verse 9). Justus, who “proved to be an encouragement to me” (verse 11). “Epaphras, who [was] . . . always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God” (verse 12). And Nympha, the woman who had church in her house (verse 15). Luke, “the beloved physician” (verse 14). Name after name included with some information. And then there was “also Demas” (verse 14). Demas was surrounded by eleven people who had godly contributions connected to their names, from praying to encouraging to providing their home for church services. He had nothing attached to his name. Why is this something we must take notice of? Because two years earlier, Paul wrote another letter called Philemon, and mentioned Demas in that letter. And in that letter, Demas got an attachment: “Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow workers” (Philemon 1:23-24). Demas was considered one of Paul's fellow workers. Two years later in AD 62, when Paul wrote Colossians, “fellow worker” was removed from his name and it was just Demas. Demas gets one more verse in the New Testament and it comes all the way at the end of Paul's ministry, in AD 67. In fact, it's in the last letter he wrote, 2 Timothy. Paul wrote, “Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me” (4:10). Five years after the Colossians passage, we learn that Demas deserted Paul. The Message says that Demas “left me here” because he was “chasing fads.” How did one of Paul's workers go rogue? How did he turn from loving Jesus to loving this present world? I think the three-verse progression may explain it. In Philemon, Demas was called “my fellow worker,” along with Luke and Mark. Other translations calls them “coworkers” (MSG) and “companions in this ministry” (TPT). Then something happened two years later, in which “worker” was disconnected from Demas's name. He was no longer a coworker. He was no longer a companion. He was just a name in the church, but not a contributor anymore. It seems Demas vacated his job of serving. I think that was the set up. That was the thing that turned his heart. It didn't take long for Demas to exit when he was no longer invested. When we get to the end of Paul's ministry, the Contemporary English Version says that “Demas loves the things of this world so much that he left me.” What happened? What caused this desertion? I think the Colossians verse tells his story—not by words but by the omission of words. It's just a name now. Just a body in a pew, with no investment in serving anyone. I read an amazing study that looked at what differentiated those who rescued Holocaust survivors and those in the same city in the Netherlands who did nothing to help them. Rescuers and non-rescuers alike were people from the same backgrounds, occupations, educations—all who faced the same decision: would they help and hide the Jews? Samuel and Pearl Oliner, the sociologists who did the research found an interesting bit of information in the Holocaust rescuers: it was in how their parents disciplined them as children. When they were disciplined, their parents placed the emphasis not on their consequences but on what their behavior did to others, how their consequences affected those around them. Instead of parents teaching them what to do and what not to do, the parents taught them values and how to make decisions from values, especially seeing others as part of the consequences to their decisions. It was the emphasis on moral values instead of specific rules that made the difference in who acted as a rescuer versus who didn't. To make it simple, we don't live for ourselves, we live to make a difference in people's lives. I wish Demas would have learned that lesson. I wonder if Colossians' Demas would have opened his home to one of the Jews who were being hunted by the Nazis? Would you?

LightHouse Calvary Chapel Manchester, NH
Acts 20:1-24 "None Of These Things Move Me"

LightHouse Calvary Chapel Manchester, NH

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 11, 2022 62:00


Acts 20:1-24 New King James Version Journeys in Greece 20 After the uproar had ceased, Paul called the disciples to himself, embraced them, and departed to go to Macedonia. 2 Now when he had gone over that region and encouraged them with many words, he came to Greece 3 and stayed three months. And when the Jews plotted against him as he was about to sail to Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. 4 And Sopater of Berea accompanied him to Asia—also Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia. 5 These men, going ahead, waited for us at Troas. 6 But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days joined them at Troas, where we stayed seven days. Ministering at Troas 7 Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upper room where they were gathered together. 9 And in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. 10 But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, “Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him.” 11 Now when he had come up, had broken bread and eaten, and talked a long while, even till daybreak, he departed. 12 And they brought the young man in alive, and they were not a little comforted. From Troas to Miletus 13 Then we went ahead to the ship and sailed to Assos, there intending to take Paul on board; for so he had given orders, intending himself to go on foot. 14 And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and came to Mitylene. 15 We sailed from there, and the next day came opposite Chios. The following day we arrived at Samos and stayed at Trogyllium. The next day we came to Miletus. 16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost. The Ephesian Elders Exhorted 17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church. 18 And when they had come to him, he said to them: “You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, 19 serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; 20 how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, 21 testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. 22 And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. 24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

The Word for Today with Ray
The Reason for Tychicus - Colossians 4:8

The Word for Today with Ray

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 10, 2022 4:36


Verse by verse study through the book of Colossians Chapter Four and Verse Eight

The Word for Today with Ray
Tychicus - Colossians 4:7

The Word for Today with Ray

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 9, 2022 5:14


Verse by verse study through the book of Colossians Chapter Four and Verse Seven

Sermons from Zion Lutheran Church
AUDIO: Readings and Sermon - Wednesday September 7, 2022

Sermons from Zion Lutheran Church

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 7, 2022 16:23


Bulletin for Wednesday, September 7, 2022Service Time: 2:00 p.m. followed by 30 min. Bible StudyAll are welcome.Visit our YouTube channel — Click the red “subscribe” box, and then click on the “bell” next to that box to receive Live Streaming notifications. You must be logged into YouTube to activate these features.Archive of AUDIO “Readings & Sermons”Archive of VIDEO “Complete Service”2 Kings 4:38—5:8 And Elisha came again to Gilgal when there was a famine in the land. And as the sons of the prophets were sitting before him, he said to his servant, “Set on the large pot, and boil stew for the sons of the prophets.” One of them went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine and gathered from it his lap full of wild gourds, and came and cut them up into the pot of stew, not knowing what they were. And they poured out some for the men to eat. But while they were eating of the stew, they cried out, “O man of God, there is death in the pot!” And they could not eat it. He said, “Then bring flour.” And he threw it into the pot and said, “Pour some out for the men, that they may eat.” And there was no harm in the pot. A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. And Elisha said, “Give to the men, that they may eat.” But his servant said, “How can I set this before a hundred men?” So he repeated, “Give them to the men, that they may eat, for thus says the LORD, ‘They shall eat and have some left.'” So he set it before them. And they ate and had some left, according to the word of the LORD. Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper. Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman's wife. She said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” So Naaman went in and told his lord, “Thus and so spoke the girl from the land of Israel.” And the king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So he went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you Naaman my servant, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” And when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is seeking a quarrel with me.” But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.” Ephesians 6:1-24 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts. Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible. The Ten CommandmentsWhat is the Seventh Commandment? You shall not steal. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not take our neighbor's money or possessions, or get them in any dishonest way, but help him to improve and protect his possessions and income.

Words of Hope Week Day Devotions
Friday, September 02, 2022

Words of Hope Week Day Devotions

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 2, 2022 5:40


The devotion for today, Friday, September 02, 2022 was written by Dan Peeler and is narrated by Adrian White Today's Words of Inspiration come from Excerpts from Colossians 4.7-17:Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.. He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here... He sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas... Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings... Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house... Support the show

Pastor Joe Sugrue - Grace and Truth Podcast
Ephesians 6:21-24; Tychicus, a faithful servant. Benediction.

Pastor Joe Sugrue - Grace and Truth Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 23, 2022 60:00


Tuesday August 23, 2022 Satan would love to convince us all that prayer is frivolous and that God is just going to do what He wants whether we pray or not. While it is true that we cannot answer the questions concerning God's sovereignty, we can know that prayer is effective. God is going to do all He purposes, while also including our prayers that submit to His will. Imagine... for full notes: https://www.cgtruth.org/index.php?proc=msg&sf=vw&tid=2676

ESV: Every Day in the Word
August 22: Job 11–12; Colossians 3:18–4:18; Psalm 48; Proverbs 22:1

ESV: Every Day in the Word

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 22, 2022 8:38


Old Testament: Job 11–12 Job 11–12 (Listen) Zophar Speaks: You Deserve Worse 11 Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said: 2   “Should a multitude of words go unanswered,    and a man full of talk be judged right?3   Should your babble silence men,    and when you mock, shall no one shame you?4   For you say, ‘My doctrine is pure,    and I am clean in God's1 eyes.'5   But oh, that God would speak    and open his lips to you,6   and that he would tell you the secrets of wisdom!    For he is manifold in understanding.2  Know then that God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves. 7   “Can you find out the deep things of God?    Can you find out the limit of the Almighty?8   It is higher than heaven3—what can you do?    Deeper than Sheol—what can you know?9   Its measure is longer than the earth    and broader than the sea.10   If he passes through and imprisons    and summons the court, who can turn him back?11   For he knows worthless men;    when he sees iniquity, will he not consider it?12   But a stupid man will get understanding    when a wild donkey's colt is born a man! 13   “If you prepare your heart,    you will stretch out your hands toward him.14   If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away,    and let not injustice dwell in your tents.15   Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish;    you will be secure and will not fear.16   You will forget your misery;    you will remember it as waters that have passed away.17   And your life will be brighter than the noonday;    its darkness will be like the morning.18   And you will feel secure, because there is hope;    you will look around and take your rest in security.19   You will lie down, and none will make you afraid;    many will court your favor.20   But the eyes of the wicked will fail;    all way of escape will be lost to them,    and their hope is to breathe their last.” Job Replies: The Lord Has Done This 12 Then Job answered and said: 2   “No doubt you are the people,    and wisdom will die with you.3   But I have understanding as well as you;    I am not inferior to you.    Who does not know such things as these?4   I am a laughingstock to my friends;    I, who called to God and he answered me,    a just and blameless man, am a laughingstock.5   In the thought of one who is at ease there is contempt for misfortune;    it is ready for those whose feet slip.6   The tents of robbers are at peace,    and those who provoke God are secure,    who bring their god in their hand.4 7   “But ask the beasts, and they will teach you;    the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you;8   or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you;5    and the fish of the sea will declare to you.9   Who among all these does not know    that the hand of the LORD has done this?10   In his hand is the life of every living thing    and the breath of all mankind.11   Does not the ear test words    as the palate tastes food?12   Wisdom is with the aged,    and understanding in length of days. 13   “With God6 are wisdom and might;    he has counsel and understanding.14   If he tears down, none can rebuild;    if he shuts a man in, none can open.15   If he withholds the waters, they dry up;    if he sends them out, they overwhelm the land.16   With him are strength and sound wisdom;    the deceived and the deceiver are his.17   He leads counselors away stripped,    and judges he makes fools.18   He looses the bonds of kings    and binds a waistcloth on their hips.19   He leads priests away stripped    and overthrows the mighty.20   He deprives of speech those who are trusted    and takes away the discernment of the elders.21   He pours contempt on princes    and loosens the belt of the strong.22   He uncovers the deeps out of darkness    and brings deep darkness to light.23   He makes nations great, and he destroys them;    he enlarges nations, and leads them away.24   He takes away understanding from the chiefs of the people of the earth    and makes them wander in a trackless waste.25   They grope in the dark without light,    and he makes them stagger like a drunken man. Footnotes [1] 11:4 Hebrew your [2] 11:6 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain [3] 11:8 Hebrew The heights of heaven [4] 12:6 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain [5] 12:8 Or or speak to the earth, and it will teach you [6] 12:13 Hebrew him (ESV) New Testament: Colossians 3:18–4:18 Colossians 3:18–4:18 (Listen) Rules for Christian Households 18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters,1 not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality. 4 Masters, treat your bondservants2 justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven. Further Instructions 2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. 5 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Final Greetings 7 Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant3 in the Lord. 8 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, 9 and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here. 10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him), 11 and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. 14 Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers4 at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. 16 And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.” 18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Footnotes [1] 3:22 Or your masters according to the flesh [2] 4:1 For the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface; likewise for servant in verse 12 [3] 4:7 For the contextual rendering of the Greek word sundoulos, see Preface [4] 4:15 Or brothers and sisters (ESV) Psalm: Psalm 48 Psalm 48 (Listen) Zion, the City of Our God A Song. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. 48   Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised    in the city of our God!  His holy mountain, 2 beautiful in elevation,    is the joy of all the earth,  Mount Zion, in the far north,    the city of the great King.3   Within her citadels God    has made himself known as a fortress. 4   For behold, the kings assembled;    they came on together.5   As soon as they saw it, they were astounded;    they were in panic; they took to flight.6   Trembling took hold of them there,    anguish as of a woman in labor.7   By the east wind you shattered    the ships of Tarshish.8   As we have heard, so have we seen    in the city of the LORD of hosts,  in the city of our God,    which God will establish forever. Selah 9   We have thought on your steadfast love, O God,    in the midst of your temple.10   As your name, O God,    so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth.  Your right hand is filled with righteousness.11     Let Mount Zion be glad!  Let the daughters of Judah rejoice    because of your judgments! 12   Walk about Zion, go around her,    number her towers,13   consider well her ramparts,    go through her citadels,  that you may tell the next generation14     that this is God,  our God forever and ever.    He will guide us forever.1 Footnotes [1] 48:14 Septuagint; another reading is (compare Jerome, Syriac) He will guide us beyond death (ESV) Proverb: Proverbs 22:1 Proverbs 22:1 (Listen) 22   A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,    and favor is better than silver or gold. (ESV)

Covenant Baptist Church
A Finale: Adorning the Gospel

Covenant Baptist Church

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 21, 2022


Titus 3:12-15When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith.Grace be with you all.English Standard Version (ESV)The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Howcee Productions Gospel
The Night Service Of Sound AUG 14 2022 The Old Ship Of Zion Thomas E. Jackson

Howcee Productions Gospel

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 17, 2022 175:00


AUG 14 2022 "The Old Ship Of Zion" Thomas E. Jackson   Eph 6:12-24 King James Version 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. 21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: 22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts. 23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

ESV: Every Day in the Word
August 12: Nehemiah 11; Ephesians 6:10–24; Psalm 38; Proverbs 21:13

ESV: Every Day in the Word

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 12, 2022 8:34


Old Testament: Nehemiah 11 Nehemiah 11 (Listen) The Leaders in Jerusalem 11 Now the leaders of the people lived in Jerusalem. And the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of ten to live in Jerusalem the holy city, while nine out of ten1 remained in the other towns. 2 And the people blessed all the men who willingly offered to live in Jerusalem. 3 These are the chiefs of the province who lived in Jerusalem; but in the towns of Judah everyone lived on his property in their towns: Israel, the priests, the Levites, the temple servants, and the descendants of Solomon's servants. 4 And in Jerusalem lived certain of the sons of Judah and of the sons of Benjamin. Of the sons of Judah: Athaiah the son of Uzziah, son of Zechariah, son of Amariah, son of Shephatiah, son of Mahalalel, of the sons of Perez; 5 and Maaseiah the son of Baruch, son of Col-hozeh, son of Hazaiah, son of Adaiah, son of Joiarib, son of Zechariah, son of the Shilonite. 6 All the sons of Perez who lived in Jerusalem were 468 valiant men. 7 And these are the sons of Benjamin: Sallu the son of Meshullam, son of Joed, son of Pedaiah, son of Kolaiah, son of Maaseiah, son of Ithiel, son of Jeshaiah, 8 and his brothers, men of valor, 928.2 9 Joel the son of Zichri was their overseer; and Judah the son of Hassenuah was second over the city. 10 Of the priests: Jedaiah the son of Joiarib, Jachin, 11 Seraiah the son of Hilkiah, son of Meshullam, son of Zadok, son of Meraioth, son of Ahitub, ruler of the house of God, 12 and their brothers who did the work of the house, 822; and Adaiah the son of Jeroham, son of Pelaliah, son of Amzi, son of Zechariah, son of Pashhur, son of Malchijah, 13 and his brothers, heads of fathers' houses, 242; and Amashsai, the son of Azarel, son of Ahzai, son of Meshillemoth, son of Immer, 14 and their brothers, mighty men of valor, 128; their overseer was Zabdiel the son of Haggedolim. 15 And of the Levites: Shemaiah the son of Hasshub, son of Azrikam, son of Hashabiah, son of Bunni; 16 and Shabbethai and Jozabad, of the chiefs of the Levites, who were over the outside work of the house of God; 17 and Mattaniah the son of Mica, son of Zabdi, son of Asaph, who was the leader of the praise,3 who gave thanks, and Bakbukiah, the second among his brothers; and Abda the son of Shammua, son of Galal, son of Jeduthun. 18 All the Levites in the holy city were 284. 19 The gatekeepers, Akkub, Talmon and their brothers, who kept watch at the gates, were 172. 20 And the rest of Israel, and of the priests and the Levites, were in all the towns of Judah, every one in his inheritance. 21 But the temple servants lived on Ophel; and Ziha and Gishpa were over the temple servants. 22 The overseer of the Levites in Jerusalem was Uzzi the son of Bani, son of Hashabiah, son of Mattaniah, son of Mica, of the sons of Asaph, the singers, over the work of the house of God. 23 For there was a command from the king concerning them, and a fixed provision for the singers, as every day required. 24 And Pethahiah the son of Meshezabel, of the sons of Zerah the son of Judah, was at the king's side4 in all matters concerning the people. Villages Outside Jerusalem 25 And as for the villages, with their fields, some of the people of Judah lived in Kiriath-arba and its villages, and in Dibon and its villages, and in Jekabzeel and its villages, 26 and in Jeshua and in Moladah and Beth-pelet, 27 in Hazar-shual, in Beersheba and its villages, 28 in Ziklag, in Meconah and its villages, 29 in En-rimmon, in Zorah, in Jarmuth, 30 Zanoah, Adullam, and their villages, Lachish and its fields, and Azekah and its villages. So they encamped from Beersheba to the Valley of Hinnom. 31 The people of Benjamin also lived from Geba onward, at Michmash, Aija, Bethel and its villages, 32 Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah, 33 Hazor, Ramah, Gittaim, 34 Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat, 35 Lod, and Ono, the valley of craftsmen. 36 And certain divisions of the Levites in Judah were assigned to Benjamin. Footnotes [1] 11:1 Hebrew nine hands [2] 11:8 Compare Septuagint; Hebrew Jeshaiah, and after him Gabbai, Sallai, 928 [3] 11:17 Compare Septuagint, Vulgate; Hebrew beginning [4] 11:24 Hebrew hand (ESV) New Testament: Ephesians 6:10–24 Ephesians 6:10–24 (Listen) The Whole Armor of God 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. Final Greetings 21 So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything. 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts. 23 Peace be to the brothers,1 and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible. Footnotes [1] 6:23 Or brothers and sisters (ESV) Psalm: Psalm 38 Psalm 38 (Listen) Do Not Forsake Me, O Lord A Psalm of David, for the memorial offering. 38   O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger,    nor discipline me in your wrath!2   For your arrows have sunk into me,    and your hand has come down on me. 3   There is no soundness in my flesh    because of your indignation;  there is no health in my bones    because of my sin.4   For my iniquities have gone over my head;    like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me. 5   My wounds stink and fester    because of my foolishness,6   I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;    all the day I go about mourning.7   For my sides are filled with burning,    and there is no soundness in my flesh.8   I am feeble and crushed;    I groan because of the tumult of my heart. 9   O Lord, all my longing is before you;    my sighing is not hidden from you.10   My heart throbs; my strength fails me,    and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.11   My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague,    and my nearest kin stand far off. 12   Those who seek my life lay their snares;    those who seek my hurt speak of ruin    and meditate treachery all day long. 13   But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear,    like a mute man who does not open his mouth.14   I have become like a man who does not hear,    and in whose mouth are no rebukes. 15   But for you, O LORD, do I wait;    it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.16   For I said, “Only let them not rejoice over me,    who boast against me when my foot slips!” 17   For I am ready to fall,    and my pain is ever before me.18   I confess my iniquity;    I am sorry for my sin.19   But my foes are vigorous, they are mighty,    and many are those who hate me wrongfully.20   Those who render me evil for good    accuse me because I follow after good. 21   Do not forsake me, O LORD!    O my God, be not far from me!22   Make haste to help me,    O Lord, my salvation! (ESV) Proverb: Proverbs 21:13 Proverbs 21:13 (Listen) 13   Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor    will himself call out and not be answered. (ESV)

Commuter Bible NT
Colossians 4

Commuter Bible NT

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 11, 2022 4:43


Paul's letter to the church at Colossae concludes with admonition to speak with God regularly in prayer, and to speak graciously with others, acting wisely toward outsiders who do not yet know the mystery of Christ revealed through his gospel. After this, he includes a summary about the ministry of the gospel being performed through other faithful men. These include Tychicus and Onesimus who are delivering the letter, Aristarchus, who is also in prison with Paul, as well as Mark, Barnabas, Justus, Epaphras, Luke the physician who wrote the gospel of Luke and Acts. On a technical note, we'll actually be picking up at verse 2 since chapter 4:1 was covered in our last episode.:::Christian Standard Bible translation.All music written and produced by John Burgess Ross.Co-produced by the Christian Standard Biblefacebook.com/commuterbibleinstagram.com/commuter_bibletwitter.com/CommuterPodpatreon.com/commuterbibleadmin@commuterbible.org

ESV: M'Cheyne Reading Plan
August 2: Judges 16; Acts 20; Jeremiah 29; Mark 15

ESV: M'Cheyne Reading Plan

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 2, 2022 21:08


With family: Judges 16; Acts 20 Judges 16 (Listen) Samson and Delilah 16 Samson went to Gaza, and there he saw a prostitute, and he went in to her. 2 The Gazites were told, “Samson has come here.” And they surrounded the place and set an ambush for him all night at the gate of the city. They kept quiet all night, saying, “Let us wait till the light of the morning; then we will kill him.” 3 But Samson lay till midnight, and at midnight he arose and took hold of the doors of the gate of the city and the two posts, and pulled them up, bar and all, and put them on his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that is in front of Hebron. 4 After this he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5 And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, “Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to humble him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver.” 6 So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me where your great strength lies, and how you might be bound, that one could subdue you.” 7 Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.” 8 Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she bound him with them. 9 Now she had men lying in ambush in an inner chamber. And she said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he snapped the bowstrings, as a thread of flax snaps when it touches the fire. So the secret of his strength was not known. 10 Then Delilah said to Samson, “Behold, you have mocked me and told me lies. Please tell me how you might be bound.” 11 And he said to her, “If they bind me with new ropes that have not been used, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.” 12 So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And the men lying in ambush were in an inner chamber. But he snapped the ropes off his arms like a thread. 13 Then Delilah said to Samson, “Until now you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me how you might be bound.” And he said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web and fasten it tight with the pin, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.” 14 So while he slept, Delilah took the seven locks of his head and wove them into the web.1 And she made them tight with the pin and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he awoke from his sleep and pulled away the pin, the loom, and the web. 15 And she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,' when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and you have not told me where your great strength lies.” 16 And when she pressed him hard with her words day after day, and urged him, his soul was vexed to death. 17 And he told her all his heart, and said to her, “A razor has never come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother's womb. If my head is shaved, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak and be like any other man.” 18 When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, “Come up again, for he has told me all his heart.” Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands. 19 She made him sleep on her knees. And she called a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. 20 And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had left him. 21 And the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles. And he ground at the mill in the prison. 22 But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved. The Death of Samson 23 Now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to rejoice, and they said, “Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hand.” 24 And when the people saw him, they praised their god. For they said, “Our god has given our enemy into our hand, the ravager of our country, who has killed many of us.”2 25 And when their hearts were merry, they said, “Call Samson, that he may entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he entertained them. They made him stand between the pillars. 26 And Samson said to the young man who held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, that I may lean against them.” 27 Now the house was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were there, and on the roof there were about 3,000 men and women, who looked on while Samson entertained. 28 Then Samson called to the LORD and said, “O Lord GOD, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other. 30 And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life. 31 Then his brothers and all his family came down and took him and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had judged Israel twenty years. Footnotes [1] 16:14 Compare Septuagint; Hebrew lacks and fasten it tight . . . into the web [2] 16:24 Or who has multiplied our slain (ESV) Acts 20 (Listen) Paul in Macedonia and Greece 20 After the uproar ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them, he said farewell and departed for Macedonia. 2 When he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece. 3 There he spent three months, and when a plot was made against him by the Jews1 as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. 4 Sopater the Berean, son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; and the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus. 5 These went on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas, 6 but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days. Eutychus Raised from the Dead 7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. 9 And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. 10 But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” 11 And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed. 12 And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted. 13 But going ahead to the ship, we set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul aboard there, for so he had arranged, intending himself to go by land. 14 And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene. 15 And sailing from there we came the following day opposite Chios; the next day we touched at Samos; and2 the day after that we went to Miletus. 16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia, for he was hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost. Paul Speaks to the Ephesian Elders 17 Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him. 18 And when they came to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; 20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, 21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.3 22 And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by4 the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. 24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. 25 And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, 27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. 28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God,5 which he obtained with his own blood.6 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. 34 You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. 35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” 36 And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, 38 being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship. Footnotes [1] 20:3 Greek Ioudaioi probably refers here to Jewish religious leaders, and others under their influence, in that time; also verse 19 [2] 20:15 Some manuscripts add after remaining at Trogyllium [3] 20:21 Some manuscripts omit Christ [4] 20:22 Or bound in [5] 20:28 Some manuscripts of the Lord [6] 20:28 Or with the blood of his Own (ESV) In private: Jeremiah 29; Mark 15 Jeremiah 29 (Listen) Jeremiah's Letter to the Exiles 29 These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 This was after King Jeconiah and the queen mother, the eunuchs, the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metal workers had departed from Jerusalem. 3 The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. It said: 4 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. 8 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream,1 9 for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the LORD. 10 “For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare2 and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. 15 “Because you have said, ‘The LORD has raised up prophets for us in Babylon,' 16 thus says the LORD concerning the king who sits on the throne of David, and concerning all the people who dwell in this city, your kinsmen who did not go out with you into exile: 17 ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, behold, I am sending on them sword, famine, and pestilence, and I will make them like vile figs that are so rotten they cannot be eaten. 18 I will pursue them with sword, famine, and pestilence, and will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, a terror, a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations where I have driven them, 19 because they did not pay attention to my words, declares the LORD, that I persistently sent to you by my servants the prophets, but you would not listen, declares the LORD.' 20 Hear the word of the LORD, all you exiles whom I sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon: 21 ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning Ahab the son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, who are prophesying a lie to you in my name: Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall strike them down before your eyes. 22 Because of them this curse shall be used by all the exiles from Judah in Babylon: “The LORD make you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire,” 23 because they have done an outrageous thing in Israel, they have committed adultery with their neighbors' wives, and they have spoken in my name lying words that I did not command them. I am the one who knows, and I am witness, declares the LORD.'” Shemaiah's False Prophecy 24 To Shemaiah of Nehelam you shall say: 25 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: You have sent letters in your name to all the people who are in Jerusalem, and to Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, and to all the priests, saying, 26 ‘The LORD has made you priest instead of Jehoiada the priest, to have charge in the house of the LORD over every madman who prophesies, to put him in the stocks and neck irons. 27 Now why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of Anathoth who is prophesying to you? 28 For he has sent to us in Babylon, saying, “Your exile will be long; build houses and live in them, and plant gardens and eat their produce.”'” 29 Zephaniah the priest read this letter in the hearing of Jeremiah the prophet. 30 Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: 31 “Send to all the exiles, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD concerning Shemaiah of Nehelam: Because Shemaiah had prophesied to you when I did not send him, and has made you trust in a lie, 32 therefore thus says the LORD: Behold, I will punish Shemaiah of Nehelam and his descendants. He shall not have anyone living among this people, and he shall not see the good that I will do to my people, declares the LORD, for he has spoken rebellion against the LORD.'” Footnotes [1] 29:8 Hebrew your dreams, which you cause to dream [2] 29:11 Or peace (ESV) Mark 15 (Listen) Jesus Delivered to Pilate 15 And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate. 2 And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” 3 And the chief priests accused him of many things. 4 And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” 5 But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed. Pilate Delivers Jesus to Be Crucified 6 Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. 7 And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas. 8 And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he usually did for them. 9 And he answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead. 12 And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” 13 And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” 14 And Pilate said to them, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” 15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged1 Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. Jesus Is Mocked 16 And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor's headquarters),2 and they called together the whole battalion.3 17 And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. 18 And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him. The Crucifixion 21 And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. 22 And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). 23 And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. 25 And it was the third hour4 when they crucified him. 26 And the inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 27 And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left.5 29 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, 30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him. The Death of Jesus 33 And when the sixth hour6 had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.7 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” 36 And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he8 breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son9 of God!” 40 There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem. Jesus Is Buried 42 And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died.10 And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. 45 And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. 46 And Joseph11 bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid. Footnotes [1] 15:15 A Roman judicial penalty, consisting of a severe beating with a multi-lashed whip containing embedded pieces of bone and metal [2] 15:16 Greek the praetorium [3] 15:16 Greek cohort; a tenth of a Roman legion, usually about 600 men [4] 15:25 That is, 9 a.m. [5] 15:27 Some manuscripts insert verse 28: And the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “He was numbered with the transgressors” [6] 15:33 That is, noon [7] 15:33 That is, 3 p.m. [8] 15:39 Some manuscripts insert cried out and [9] 15:39 Or a son [10] 15:44 Or Pilate wondered whether he had already died [11] 15:46 Greek he (ESV)

Audio Bible New Testament Matthew to Apocalypse King James Version
Acts 20: And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia. ...

Audio Bible New Testament Matthew to Apocalypse King James Version

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 30, 2022 5:00


église AB Lausanne ; KJV Acts 20 And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia. And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece, And there abode three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia. And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus. These going before tarried for us at Troas. And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days. And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together. And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. ...

ESV: Read through the Bible
July 17: Psalms 22–24; Acts 20:1–16

ESV: Read through the Bible

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 17, 2022 7:55


Morning: Psalms 22–24 Psalms 22–24 (Listen) Why Have You Forsaken Me? To the choirmaster: according to The Doe of the Dawn. A Psalm of David. 22   My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?    Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?2   O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,    and by night, but I find no rest. 3   Yet you are holy,    enthroned on the praises1 of Israel.4   In you our fathers trusted;    they trusted, and you delivered them.5   To you they cried and were rescued;    in you they trusted and were not put to shame. 6   But I am a worm and not a man,    scorned by mankind and despised by the people.7   All who see me mock me;    they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;8   “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him;    let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” 9   Yet you are he who took me from the womb;    you made me trust you at my mother's breasts.10   On you was I cast from my birth,    and from my mother's womb you have been my God.11   Be not far from me,    for trouble is near,    and there is none to help. 12   Many bulls encompass me;    strong bulls of Bashan surround me;13   they open wide their mouths at me,    like a ravening and roaring lion. 14   I am poured out like water,    and all my bones are out of joint;  my heart is like wax;    it is melted within my breast;15   my strength is dried up like a potsherd,    and my tongue sticks to my jaws;    you lay me in the dust of death. 16   For dogs encompass me;    a company of evildoers encircles me;  they have pierced my hands and feet2—17   I can count all my bones—  they stare and gloat over me;18   they divide my garments among them,    and for my clothing they cast lots. 19   But you, O LORD, do not be far off!    O you my help, come quickly to my aid!20   Deliver my soul from the sword,    my precious life from the power of the dog!21     Save me from the mouth of the lion!  You have rescued3 me from the horns of the wild oxen! 22   I will tell of your name to my brothers;    in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:23   You who fear the LORD, praise him!    All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,    and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!24   For he has not despised or abhorred    the affliction of the afflicted,  and he has not hidden his face from him,    but has heard, when he cried to him. 25   From you comes my praise in the great congregation;    my vows I will perform before those who fear him.26   The afflicted4 shall eat and be satisfied;    those who seek him shall praise the LORD!    May your hearts live forever! 27   All the ends of the earth shall remember    and turn to the LORD,  and all the families of the nations    shall worship before you.28   For kingship belongs to the LORD,    and he rules over the nations. 29   All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;    before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,    even the one who could not keep himself alive.30   Posterity shall serve him;    it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;31   they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,    that he has done it. The Lord Is My Shepherd A Psalm of David. 23   The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.2     He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters.53     He restores my soul.  He leads me in paths of righteousness6    for his name's sake. 4   Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,7    I will fear no evil,  for you are with me;    your rod and your staff,    they comfort me. 5   You prepare a table before me    in the presence of my enemies;  you anoint my head with oil;    my cup overflows.6   Surely8 goodness and mercy9 shall follow me    all the days of my life,  and I shall dwell10 in the house of the LORD    forever.11 The King of Glory A Psalm of David. 24   The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof,12    the world and those who dwell therein,2   for he has founded it upon the seas    and established it upon the rivers. 3   Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?    And who shall stand in his holy place?4   He who has clean hands and a pure heart,    who does not lift up his soul to what is false    and does not swear deceitfully.5   He will receive blessing from the LORD    and righteousness from the God of his salvation.6   Such is the generation of those who seek him,    who seek the face of the God of Jacob.13 Selah 7   Lift up your heads, O gates!    And be lifted up, O ancient doors,    that the King of glory may come in.8   Who is this King of glory?    The LORD, strong and mighty,    the LORD, mighty in battle!9   Lift up your heads, O gates!    And lift them up, O ancient doors,    that the King of glory may come in.10   Who is this King of glory?    The LORD of hosts,    he is the King of glory! Selah Footnotes [1] 22:3 Or dwelling in the praises [2] 22:16 Some Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Vulgate, Syriac; most Hebrew manuscripts like a lion [they are at] my hands and feet [3] 22:21 Hebrew answered [4] 22:26 Or The meek [5] 23:2 Hebrew beside waters of rest [6] 23:3 Or in right paths [7] 23:4 Or the valley of deep darkness [8] 23:6 Or Only [9] 23:6 Or steadfast love [10] 23:6 Or shall return to dwell [11] 23:6 Hebrew for length of days [12] 24:1 Or and all that fills it [13] 24:6 Septuagint, Syriac, and two Hebrew manuscripts; Masoretic Text who seek your face, Jacob (ESV) Evening: Acts 20:1–16 Acts 20:1–16 (Listen) Paul in Macedonia and Greece 20 After the uproar ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them, he said farewell and departed for Macedonia. 2 When he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece. 3 There he spent three months, and when a plot was made against him by the Jews1 as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. 4 Sopater the Berean, son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; and the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus. 5 These went on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas, 6 but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days. Eutychus Raised from the Dead 7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. 9 And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. 10 But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” 11 And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed. 12 And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted. 13 But going ahead to the ship, we set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul aboard there, for so he had arranged, intending himself to go by land. 14 And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene. 15 And sailing from there we came the following day opposite Chios; the next day we touched at Samos; and2 the day after that we went to Miletus. 16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia, for he was hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost. Footnotes [1] 20:3 Greek Ioudaioi probably refers here to Jewish religious leaders, and others under their influence, in that time; also verse 19 [2] 20:15 Some manuscripts add after remaining at Trogyllium (ESV)

Trinity Presbyterian Church
Divine Appropriation

Trinity Presbyterian Church

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 11, 2022


Ephesians 6:10-24 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. 21 So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything. 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts. 23 Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible. (ESV)

Anchored by Truth from Crystal Sea Books - a 30 minute show exploring the grand Biblical saga of creation, fall, and redempti

Episode 167 – Paul’s Places – Part 8: Ephesians and Colossians 2 Welcome to Anchored by Truth brought to you by Crystal Sea Books. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” The goal of Anchored by Truth is to encourage everyone to grow in the Christian faith by anchoring themselves to the secure truth found in the inspired, inerrant, and infallible word of God. Script: Stand firm therefore, having belted your waist with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, … taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians, chapter 6, verses 14 thru 16, New American Standard Bible ******** VK: Hello! I’m Victoria K. Welcome to Anchored by Truth brought to you by Crystal Sea Books. We’re grateful to be with you today. We are currently doing a series on Anchored by Truth that we are calling “Paul’s Places.” By “Paul,” of course, we’re referring to the Apostle Paul who wrote at least 13 of the books out of the 27 books that comprise the New Testament. In this “Paul’s Places” series we are taking a look at Paul’s letters to the churches that are identified in our Bibles by the names of the cities, or the region, to which they were sent. This is our 8th episode in this series. So, for anyone who has missed any of the previous lessons we would strongly encourage you to go to our website, crystalseabooks.com, and check out the earlier episodes as well as any of our series. Today we’re going to continue our look at Paul’s letters to two churches that were located in modern-day Turkey. Last time on Anchored by Truth we began our look at Ephesians and Colossians. In the studio today we have RD Fierro, an author and the founder of Crystal Sea Books. RD, why don’t you remind us of the reason we wanted to do this Paul’s Places series? RD: Well, I’d like to start by thanking our listeners for joining us here today. When many, perhaps most, people read the Bible they tend to read the books individually. By that I mean when people read books like Ephesians or Colossians they tend to read or study that one book. And, while of course we’re pleased when anyone is reading the Bible, if we isolate on just one book at a time we tend to miss some of the patterns and connections that are present in scripture. And that means we don’t always develop a full appreciation for the richness of scripture and for the glorious message of redemption that it contains. So, one of the things we wanted to do with this “Paul’s Places” series is help people see a couple of things. First, that the content of the letters that Paul sent to the various churches to which he wrote corresponds to the character of culture of the places where those churches were located. Second, that the letters that Paul wrote make sense from a human and church history standpoint. Paul’s letters are both consistent with both the history and events of the Roman Empire in which Paul ministered, but they are also consistent with the phase of development that the early church was in. But to develop a good sense of all this fits together it’s necessary to sometimes look across Paul’s epistles and not just within them individually. VK: It’s not that people can’t learn and grow from studying books individually but it is important to remember that the entire Bible is God’s Word. And long before video games put “Easter eggs” in the games to reward especially diligent gamers, God put treasures in His Word that are only seen by diligent students of the Bible. Now, we want to make it clear. We are not talking about some sort of “secret wisdom” that some spiritual traditions focus on. We are not saying that there is anything in the Bible that isn’t available to everyone. To the contrary, we strongly believe God wrote the entire Bible for everybody. But as with anything, people who make the Bible a priority in their lives will derive things from studying it that casual readers will miss. RD: Amen. And a simple example of that was one we mentioned last time. Both the letter to the Ephesians and the letter to the Colossians contain the name of Tychicus. Tychicus was one of Paul’s traveling companions and ministry partners. Tychicus probably carried the letters to the churches in Ephesus and Colossae but strictly speaking it wasn’t necessary for Paul to have sent the letters with Tychicus. If Paul had just wanted to have someone carry the letters he could have used Onesimus who is mentioned in Colossians, chapter 4, verse 9. VK: Colossians, chapter 4, verses 7 through 9 say, “Tychicus is the dear friend, who faithfully works and serves the Lord with us, and he will give you the news about me. I am sending him to cheer you up by telling you how we are getting along. Onesimus, the dear and faithful follower from your own group, is coming with him. The two of them will tell you everything that has happened here.” That’s from the Contemporary English Version. RD: Right. So, if you just read Colossians you might wonder why Paul sent Tychicus and Onesimus to carry two letters. Certainly, either one could have handled the task. VK: But if you realize that the pair of them were also carrying another letter to Colossae, Tychicus’ likely role becomes clearer. In addition to the letters to the Ephesians and the Colossians the pair was also carrying a letter to Philemon [phi-lee-mon]. Philemon either lived in Colossae or the vicinity and Onesimus had either been a servant or a slave of Philemon’s. Paul wrote a letter to Philemon to essentially tell Philemon to be kind to Onesimus when he returned. Paul went out of his way to be as forceful as he could, given the delicacy of the situation. RD: Why don’t you read a section from Paul’s letter to Philemon from verses 10 through 20? Philemon is only one chapter so this is going to be an extract from the Amplified Bible’s version of that section. VK: “I appeal to you for my [own spiritual] child Onesimus, whom I have fathered [in the faith] while a captive in these chains. Once he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you as well as to me. I have sent him back to you in person, that is, like sending my very heart. I would have chosen to keep him with me, so that he might minister to me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel; but I did not want to do anything without first getting your consent, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own free will. … So if you consider me a partner, welcome and accept him as you would me. But if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to my account; I, Paul, write this with my own hand, I will repay it in full (not to mention to you that you owe to me even your own self as well). Yes, brother, let me have some benefit and joy from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ.” RD: So, we see from that section that Paul was intensely interested in seeing that Onesimus was well treated. VK: And you think that it’s possible that is one of the reasons Paul sent the two of them together? RD: I certainly think that might have been in Paul’s mind when he made his decision not just about writing the three letters but in deciding how to get them to their destinations. Tychicus was, in effect, a senior member of Paul’s group so his presence in Colossae would have added weight to Paul’s request to Philemon that he treat Onesimus kindly. At a minimum it would have made the trip from Rome, where Paul was imprisoned at the time, a lot more bearable for Onesimus. So, that is a simple example of how we learn more about what was going on when we read them together than if we never looked at the total context. But it is also true that each letter always contains evidence that Paul was always fully aware of the individual cultural conditions of the churches to which he was writing. VK: Can you give us an example of what you’re thinking about right now? RD: Sure. Let’s take a look at some of what is mentioned in the letter to the Ephesians. The most famous architectural feature of Ephesus in the time of Paul was the temple of the Roman goddess Diana. VK: Diana was the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Artemis. Both were often labeled the “goddess of the hunt” although their sphere of control went beyond just hunting. They both were considered to have special influence over the countryside, vegetation, and wild animals – and, interestingly enough, childbirth. RD: The temple of Diana was so magnificent and famous that it was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. So, the goddess Diana was especially important to the town of Ephesus in Paul’s time. VK: And that’s consistent with what we know about the cultures of cities within the Roman Empire. Each city tended to have a god or goddess that was particularly important to them. In this series we noted that Venus was especially worshipped in the Greek city of Corinth and Athena or Minerva in the Greek city of Athens. RD: Right. The local god or goddess were thought to provide special protection to their city and Diana’s temple was so magnificent that it was a tourist attraction. The temple brought a lot of visitors to Ephesus so there was a flourishing trade in Ephesus for making souvenirs that tourists could take home with them – especially ones made out of silver. So, just like with many major cities of today the culture and economy of Ephesus were tied together. VK: The temple and worship of Diana were so important to Ephesus that in Acts, chapter 19, verses 23 through 41 we hear about a riot that occurred that was led by a silversmith named Demetrius during the time Paul was ministering in Ephesus. Demetrius was so concerned about how many people were being converted to Christianity by Paul’s teaching that he was concerned the souvenir and silver trades were going to suffer. RD: Yes. The riot was bad enough that shortly after it occurred Paul had to leave Ephesus for his own safety and the safety of the church. But years later when Paul wrote to the Ephesians he could not help but contrast the difference in the relationship between Christ and His church with how the Ephesians viewed Diana. In Ephesians, chapter 5, verse 29 Paul says, “None of us hate our own bodies. We provide for them and take good care of them, just as Christ does for the church.” That’s from the Contemporary English Version. The believers in Ephesus would have appreciated the contrast that Christ provides for his people rather than the people having to provide for the gods and goddesses. The non-Christians in Ephesus saw themselves being “nurturers” of Diana. We know that from an inscription found in the city. Diana, in turn, is said to make Ephesus “the most glorious” city in Asia. So, in Ephesians Paul reminds the church that Christ makes His church “glorious and holy.” VK: So, in effect, what Paul is saying to the Ephesian church you are not giving up anything by belonging to Christ instead of worshipping Diana like most of your neighbors. Christ does everything for you that your neighbors believe Diana does for them – and even more. Christ, in fact, provides you with every possible spiritual blessing. Ephesians, chapter 1, verse 3 in the New International Version says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” RD: Yes. Again, we have to remember that the churches in Paul’s day would be relatively small by comparison to today. Most believers met in house churches – individual gatherings of, say, 10 to 30. And they were surrounded by a culture that was at best skeptical and at worst openly hostile. VK: Sounds kind of like today. RD: Well, we’re headed that way but thankfully we’re not there. And I pray the church can become the witness our culture needs to never get there. At any rate, it would have been easy for believers in Ephesus to think they were missing out. At a minimum they probably weren’t attending public feasts and festivals like their neighbors because attending them would have meant worshipping or celebrating the false gods and idols prevalent throughout their culture. To us, the fact that Paul promises us spiritual blessings and that we will be made holy and glorious is good news. But to those early believers, who didn’t even have the Bible for comfort, the messages Paul brought were food for starving souls. VK: And that’s part of what we want listeners to understand through this “Paul’s Places” series. In writing the epistles that are the books of our New Testament Paul wrote scripture but first and foremost he was pastoring his flock. He was trying to impart not only doctrinal and instructional information but also comfort and encouragement. And he had to do so in a way that didn’t set off automatic claims that his letters were seditious. People living within the Roman Empire were expected to pledge allegiance to the emperor. And in the first century the Roman state had begun to practice a form of emperor worship. That was a relatively recent development in their history and was a change from the earlier days when Rome’s government was a more republican form of government. But under the first Caesars the emperor came to be viewed in the way some of their conquered entities, such as Egypt or Persia, had viewed their royalty – as god’s on earth. So, to not be willing to profess Caesar as Lord, not just a civic leader, was tantamount to sedition. RD: Yes. So, when you read Paul’s letters you see that he is both bold but also careful. He straightforwardly proclaims Christ as God but in Paul’s letters you don’t see him demeaning the local gods or the state’s leaders. He lets the truth of the gospel push away the idols but he minimizes the impediments believers will face by not calling out the local belief systems by name. For instance, in writing to the Ephesians he does not demean Diana by name. Rather he proclaims the superiority of Christ over all perceived spiritual and celestial powers. VK: And Ephesians actually contains one of the most famous of the Bible’s discourses on the reality of spiritual warfare in Ephesians chapter 6. Surely, one of the most famous verses in all the Bible is Ephesians, chapter 6, verse 12. “We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world.” That’s from the Contemporary English Version. RD: And in the verses that follow Paul provides another of the best known passages in the Bible where he talks about spiritual armor. VK: You’re referring to Ephesians, chapter 6, verses 14 through 17. “Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” That’s the New Living Translation. RD: So, let’s take a closer look at one part of that section – the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” The Greek word that Paul used that is translated “sword” is “machaira.” Like most Greek words it is very precise. It refers to a relatively short sword that could be up to 19 inches long. One commentator, Patricia Holbrook has said this about the machaira. “Of all the swords that a Roman soldier could use, this one was the deadliest. Indeed, the “machaira” could be as long as 19 inches, but it was often shorter, resembling a dagger, therefore it was usually used in close combat. It was razor sharp on both sides of the blade and its very end turned upward, causing the point of the blade to be extremely sharp and deadly.” VK: Sounds pretty dangerous! RD: It was – to the enemy - but that is only part of the reason I want to draw attention to Paul using that particular word. The machaira was the sword that was most often used by the ordinary Roman infantryman of his day. So, now I’m going to go into a bit of military trivia for a moment. VK: Oh boy. Well, you did go to West Point. But let’s keep it family friendly. RD: We will. Military historians will often talk about how it’s always necessary to study tactics and weapons together. Without wanting to dwell on it too much successful armies have always had to combine the right tactic with the right weapon. Ancient Greece armies were known for using the phalanx as a military formation. It was a formation where the warriors were extremely close together, often interlocked shields, and carried an 8 foot, or longer, spear. That long spear enabled them to engage the enemy at a distance. But, for all its effectiveness, the phalanx had a downside. VK: Which was? RD: The coin of the realm in infantry combat in ancient times was how many warriors you needed to cover a particular amount of frontage. The job of the infantry is typically to seize and hold ground. So, men tightly packed together in a phalanx is good for mutual protection but you need a lot of warriors to cover much ground. One of the fighting formations used by the Romans was the square. In a square on an open battlefield the Romans didn’t interlock shields but left a small gap between soldiers. This sounds dangerous but wasn’t when the soldiers each new their role. They kept the formation intact by slashing anyone or anything like a spear head that came through a gap. VK: So, in that kind of fighting a short sword was more effective than a longer sword. The soldier could hold his shield with one arm while keeping the other arm free for deploying his sword cutting down anything that began to penetrate the formation. A sword that was too long in that situation couldn’t have been used as effectively. RD: Right. And needless to say the Roman army trained their infantry in how to fight in such formations on open terrain. It allowed them to cover more frontage with fewer men while preserving their lethality. The square was a very effective offensive formation and it was also effective at defense when the various units maintained the appropriate distances. It would allow archers or javelin throwers to go in front to launch their missiles and then quickly move behind the infantry by going through spaces between squares. The Roman military training, discipline, and effectiveness was legendary and that’s one of the reasons they were so effective and building and maintaining their empire. VK: And this short sword carried by the ordinary Roman soldier was an important part of that system. I see what you’re saying. The tactics and the weapon had to go together. But how does that fit in with the lessons we’re learning from the letter to the Ephesians? RD: In Ephesians 6:14 – 17 we have the Apostle Paul doing something good writers routinely do – using a metaphor to teach important principles to his readers. Paul used images that were common in his day. They would have been images familiar to his audience. Well, it is easily confirmed that the images Paul used were historically consistent with what we know about the time and place that the epistle to the Ephesians was written and read. Everyone in that day knew the common parts of an ordinary Roman soldier’s armor and armament. So, the fact that Paul used the correct term to define the “sword of the spirit” not only imparted additional meaning to his teaching but also confirms the authenticity of the letter. VK: What you’re saying is that we see no anachronisms in Paul’s letters to the churches. If Paul had said, “take up the musket of the spirit” we would instantly be alerted that the letter wasn’t genuine. Even if he had said the “sarissa” of the spirit we would be alerted to a problem. The “sarissa” was the extremely long spear carried by Greek warriors but it would have not been part of a Roman soldier’s normal arms. In other words, we have confirmation that Paul was writing during a period when people were well familiar with how a Roman soldier was equipped for battle. Paul’s metaphor would have made far less sense if he weren’t writing in the 1st century AD and he wasn’t writing to people who knew the Roman army well. RD: Exactly. Another quick illustration. Roman shields were most often wood frames covered by layers of dried animal hides. These shields were strong enough to provide an effective defense but light enough to be maneuvered in battle. Well, it was common for soldiers to dip their shields in water before a battle. We all know what happens to leather when it gets wet. It gets hard and stiff – but it would also be helpful for shedding flaming arrows or darts of the kind we heard about in our opening scripture. VK: In a way these are small, incidental details – so small you almost think they weren’t important. But the point of noticing them is that they illustrate the main point of this Paul’s Places series. The epistles Paul wrote to the churches are not, and do not read, as some critics assert, like myths or fairy tales. Instead, they are straightforward letters of encouragement to readers who lived within the Roman Empire during the latter half of the 1st century AD – which of course was the period immediately following the life of Jesus on this earth. RD: Amen. When we realize that Paul was being accurate in such small details as correctly identifying the Roman soldier’s normal sword we can be sure that when Paul writes about the resurrection, ascension, and intervention of Christ he is not any less accurate. The mundane information Paul provides, without a second thought, confirms the reliability of the supernatural mysteries that Paul was conveying. Christians live their lives in the here and now but we are already connected to the spiritual plane by virtue of the indwelling Holy Spirit and the intercession that Christ makes for us with the Father. Paul’s letters to the various churches illustrate that connectivity superbly. In chapter 1 Paul is telling us about the supernatural redemption we have through Christ and in chapter 6 Paul is telling us how to make that redemption real in our own lives by using an illustration of military equipment with which all of his readers were familiar. VK: This reinforces the big point that we are making in this “Paul’s Places” series. The epistles, the letters, Paul sent to the various churches we know in our Bibles by geographic labels are consistent not only with geography and culture but also with the history of the latter part of the 1st century AD. In the very first verse of the first book of the Bible it connects heaven and earth. Properly read every book after that reinforces that same connection. Paul could use the armor of an ordinary Roman soldier to accomplish an eternal purpose. We should do the same. This sounds like a great time to go to prayer. Since we are so close to anniversary of the day that America declared her independence, today let’s listen to a prayer for God’s blessings to remain with this nation. ---- PRAYER FOR RESTORATION OF THE WORSHIP OF THE ONE TRUE GOD VK: Before we close we’d like to remind our audience that a lot of our radio episodes are linked together in series of topics so if they missed any episodes in this series or if they just want to hear one again, all of these episodes are available on your favorite podcast app. To find them just search on “Anchored by Truth by Crystal Sea Books.” If you’d like to hear more, try out crystalseabooks.com where “We’re not perfect but our Boss is!” (Opening Bible Quotes from the New American Standard Bible) Ephesians, chapter 6, verses 14 thru 16, New American Standard Bible

The Lechem Panim Podcast
Lechem Panim #211 “Paul Leaves Ephesus” (Acts 20:1-6) Pastor Cameron Ury

The Lechem Panim Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 3, 2022 15:57


Hello, and welcome to Lechem Panim. If you have your Bible, go ahead and turn with me to Acts chapter 20. We will look at verses 1-6 today. And as you are turning there, let me remind you that Paul is preparing at this point to leave the city of Ephesus due to a riot that has taken place, caused by Demetrius (a silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis/Diana). He saw how Paul's message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was pulling people away from worship of Artemis and therefore hurting his business; and so he riles up all the other craftsmen in similar trades and instigates a riot. Now the riot is quelled, but apparently Paul took this riot as a sign that it was time for him to put his plan to go to Jerusalem (and eventually to Rome) into motion. And so it says… Acts 20:1 (LSB)— 1 Now after the uproar had ceased, Paul having summoned and exhorted the disciples, said farewell and left to go to Macedonia. Visiting His Church— Now the reason the Paul wanted to visit Macedonia first was because he wanted to collect an offering for the much poorer church in Jerusalem; but also he wanted to pay at least one more visit to these various churches that he had helped to found in that region. And that was because he deeply cared for every single one of those churches. We see in 2 Corinthians 11:23–28 that the "The care of all the churches" was his greatest joy and (at the same time) his heaviest burden. He wasn't just a preacher; he was a pastor; he was a shepherd, one who truly loved each and every person he ministered to. He was the kind of pastor who worried constantly about his spiritual children and would do anything he could to minister to their physical and spiritual needs. Departing for Macedonia— And so he leaves Ephesus and begins heading towards Macedonia and Achaia (Acts 19:21). He probably went first to Philippi. Now we know that sometime during his final days in Ephesus, after writing 1 Corinthians, Paul had had a considerable amount of conflict with the Corinthian church. He visited them (likely by sea); and what he saw grieved his heart. And upon returning to Ephesus he wrote to them a “tearful” letter, which we see in 2 Corinthians 7:8-9 that he at first regretted having sent. He had sender's remorse. I don't know if that has ever happened to you. The Angry Letter— I remember a number of years ago, when I was just starting off in ministry, I made some typical mistakes that many new pastors make. And one was that I was too willing to absorb elements of ministry I had no business absorbing. I was preaching three times a week, visiting many people in their homes and in the hospitals (most of which were far away) leading prayer meetings, sometimes leading Sunday school, leading a monthly men's breakfast, leading a monthly Veteran's home ministry, and then being the chief organizer of most of our church events. Anywhere where there was slack, I thought it was my duty to be a nice pastor and pick it up. And I remember one day in particular when the lady doing the bulletin at that time said that it had become too much for her and she would have to give it up. Well, who do you think volunteered to do it? I did. And while I was at it, I also absorbed all the secretarial duties (us not having a secretary at the time). And all the while I felt I was being a good pastor. It was only later I realized how much this absorbing way of doing ministry can actually damage a church and cripple its ministries (because nothing is getting done as well when one person is doing most of it); and so I learned to take a more biblical approach and started delegating. And I also learned the freeing power of “no”; politely refusing those things that are not part of what God wanted me to do; and which are also opportunities for somebody else to step up and find their place within the body of Christ. But it was in that time and context of absorbing that I had a member of my congregation criticize me in a very harsh and unfair way, implying I wasn't doing enough. And I went home very angry. And I sat down and wrote an angry letter, which basically laid out everything I was doing and was lashing back at this person. But (thank the Lord) I showed it to my mentor first, a wonderful man of God that I owe so much to, especially in those early years of ministry. He listened as I read aloud my angry letter and said “Cameron, everything you said was true. But you can't deliver it.” And I was bummed about that. But I listened and instead allowed myself to cool down and addressed the issue in a much calmer and wiser fashion. And you know what, looking back I realize now that virtually no one in my church had any idea how much I had absorbed. Not even my board knew. Stuff was getting done but I never was communicating what it was I was doing. It was a complete failure of communication on my part. And so this person's criticism (although not based on fact) was actually my fault, not theirs. And if I had delivered my angry letter, I would have wounded that person (and maybe my church) irreparably. Burning the First Letter— You know it's interesting, [When Abraham Lincoln had to write a letter to someone who had irritated him, he would often write two letters. The first letter was deliberately insulting. Then, having gotten those feelings out of his system, he would tear it up and write a second letter, this one tactful and discreet.] And that is a very good practice. Testing The Waters— Now here in this passage, Paul wasn't worried about the truth of what he wrote as much as whether or not he was too severe. And we will never know exactly what he wrote because that epistle has been lost; and maybe that was a God-thing. But whatever the case, he had sent it. And now that he's getting ready to leave Ephesus, he wants to visit Corinth again. However, in light of this harsh letter that he sent, he is afraid of how he might be received by the church there. And so what does he do? He sends Titus ahead of him to “test the waters” at Corinth. And in the meantime (after leaving Ephesus (Acts 20:1), he doesn't head directly to Corinth by sea. Instead he goes north, [visiting the Christian communities along the way and hoping to meet up with Titus returning from Corinth.] And so he goes [to Troas, and then possibly on to other churches in Macedonia (2 Cor. 2:12-13).] And it is in the region of [Macedonia (perhaps at Philippi, Thessalonica, or Berea) {that} Titus finally joined him and brought the good news that the church {in Corinth} had repented of its opposition to Paul's leadership and had become reconciled to him (2 Cor. 7:5-16). {And so no doubt with huge joy and relief} Paul then wrote 2 Corinthians.] So he's in Macedonia. And it says in… Acts 20:2-3 (LSB)— 2 And when he had gone through those districts and had given them much exhortation, he came to Greece {(the greek word is [“Hellas”, which is simply another name for the province of Achaia, where Corinth was located.])}. 3 And there he spent three months, and when a plot was formed against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. Paul's Stay in Corinth— And so we see that Paul stays in Corinth for three months. He [had originally planned to make two visits to Corinth (2 Cor. 1:15-16), but instead he made one visit that lasted three months (Acts 20:3; 1 Cor. 16:5-6).] These were [likely the winter months (see 1 Cor. 16:6), when sea travel was more dangerous.] And it is during this final trip to Corinth that Paul writes his letter to the Romans (c. A.D. 57). And in that letter he explains why he wants to go to Jerusalem, and that was {not just to encourage and strengthen the Christians in those churches, but also} for the purpose of taking an offering [from his Gentile churches to the needy Christians in Jerusalem]. The Church there was very poor and needed a lot of support. And Paul sought to provide that by any means possible. And that was one of his main reasons for revisiting the churches of Macedonia and Achaia this final time, which took Paul [to the churches of Berea, Thessalonica, and Philippi.] He wanted to collect money for that offering. And verses 4-5 tell us… Acts 20:4  (LSB)— 4 And he was accompanied by Sopater of Berea, the son of Pyrrhus, and by Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia. Church Representation— Now these [men who accompanied him (Acts 20:4) were {official} representatives of the churches, appointed to travel with Paul and help handle the funds (2 Cor. 8:18-24).] [Their presence would give safety from robbery and also would provide a public guarantee of Paul's integrity in handling the funds. The men listed here (Acts 20:4) as accompanying Paul represent all the areas of his missionary work. And it says… Acts 20:5 (LSB)— 5 But these had gone on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas. A Jewish Plot— Now although Paul would have sailed from Corinth, we see that there is a plot by the unbelieving Jews to kill him at sea. And sadly (as was almost always the case) that plot came from Paul's own fellow countrymen (cf. 2 Cor. 11:26). And remember that [The Jewish community of Corinth {in particular} hated Paul because of its humiliating debacle before Gallio (18:12-17), and the stunning conversions of two of its most prominent leaders, Crispus (18:8) and Sosthenes (18:17; 1 Cor. 1:1).] And so some of that Jewish group there in Corinth are plotting to kill Paul. Now [Luke does not record the details of the Jews' plot, but it undoubtedly involved murdering Paul during the voyage to Syria. The apostle would have been an easy target on a small ship packed with Jewish pilgrims.] They could very easily have pushed him overboard and made Paul (as a Cicilian might say) “sleep with the fishes.” And so (because of this plot) he has to instead travel north [overland through Achaia and Macedonia, {then cross the Aegean Sea to Asia Minor,} sailing from Philippi to Troas, where his “team” agreed to rendezvous.] And so it says… Acts 20:6 (LSB)— 6 And we sailed from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and came to them at Troas within five days; {(it was no doubt due to unfavorable winds that this crossing took 5 days, because when Paul had crossed earlier from Troas to Neapolis (Philippi's port) it had only taken two days (16:11). But nevertheless, they arrive there at Troas and Luke writes:)} and there we stayed seven days. And next week we will see what happens to Paul during those seven days. But as we close out time together today, I want to encourage you to be courageous enough to speak the truth in love (as Paul learned to do). Learn to burn the first letter. Secondly, we (like Paul) need to always be seeking to meet the needs of other people. There is always at least one person who needs our compassion and love. And we need to be faithful to help them (as Paul was). And thirdly, let us (as we follow Christ) expect opposition and neither be surprised nor afraid when it surfaces. God will be our shield during those times and (even in persecution) will work out His plans and purposes in an amazing way. And so let us trust in Him. Amen.

Anchored by Truth from Crystal Sea Books - a 30 minute show exploring the grand Biblical saga of creation, fall, and redempti

Episode 166 – Paul’s Places – Part 7: Ephesians and Colossians Welcome to Anchored by Truth brought to you by Crystal Sea Books. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” The goal of Anchored by Truth is to encourage everyone to grow in the Christian faith by anchoring themselves to the secure truth found in the inspired, inerrant, and infallible word of God. Script: I want you to know how I am getting along and what I am doing. This is why I am sending Tychicus to you. He is a dear friend, as well as a faithful servant of the Lord. He will tell you how I am doing, and he will cheer you up. Ephesians, chapter 6, verses 21 and 22, Contemporary English Version Tychicus is the dear friend, who faithfully works and serves the Lord with us, and he will give you the news about me. I am sending him to cheer you up by telling you how we are getting along. Colossians, chapter 4, verses 7 and 8, Contemporary English Version ******** VK: Hello! I’m Victoria K. Welcome to Anchored by Truth brought to you by Crystal Sea Books. We’re grateful to be with you today. We are in the midst of a series on Anchored by Truth that we are calling “Paul’s Places.” By “Paul,” of course, we’re referring to the Apostle Paul who wrote at least 13 of the books out of the 27 books that comprise the New Testament. Some Bible commentators believe Paul also wrote the book of Hebrews but we cannot be certain about that because the author of the letter to the Hebrews did not name himself. In this “Paul’s Places” series we are taking a look at Paul’s letters to the churches that are identified in our Bibles by the names of the cities, or the region, to which they were sent. So far we have looked at the letters to the churches in Rome and Corinth, which are cities, and Galatia which was a Roman Province in what would be modern day Turkey. Today we’re going to look at Paul’s letters to two other churches that were located in modern-day Turkey – Ephesus and Colossae. In the studio today we have RD Fierro, an author and the founder of Crystal Sea Books. RD, why don’t you remind us of the reason we wanted to do this Paul’s Places series? RD: Well, I’d like to start by thanking our listeners for joining us here today. We launched this “Paul’s Places” series because in our day and age many people have lost sight of the fact that the New Testament documents are extraordinarily reliable as historical records. And one of the ways we can be sure about that is by looking at the geography, history, and cultural information contained within those records. When we do that we see that this information, which is almost incidental to the main purpose of the book or letter, corresponds perfectly with what we know about the geography and history from many other extra-Biblical sources. This amplifies the confidence that we may place in those records – and, of course, it is from those records that we get the most information about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. VK: In other words if we are confident about the geographic and historical information contained in Paul’s records we may be confident about the validity of the reports Paul makes. And in every report Paul made he affirmed the central element of the Christian faith – that Jesus rose from the dead. Christianity is distinguished from all other religions because Christianity affirms that our founder and central figure is still alive. Jesus died but he did not remain dead. Jesus rose and now sits at the right hand of God. That is why we may justifiably worship Him. Only God has power over life and death. Jesus demonstrated that He had that power when He rose out of the tomb on Easter and appeared to hundreds of His followers over the next 40 days. RD: Amen. It would be impossible for anyone today to personally testify that they were a witness to the resurrection of Jesus. We base our trust in the historicity of the resurrection in the records given to us by the Apostles and their representatives like Luke. So, it is helpful for our own faith to take a little time and see how we can confidently establish the historical reliability of the records that teach us about Jesus. That’s what this “Paul’s Places” series is, hopefully, doing. VK: Now you said that today you want to actually begin a study of two of Paul’s epistles: Ephesians and Colossians. Why are we tackling these two books together? RD: Well, you might call this portion of “Paul’s Places” a tale of two cities. But it is actually a tale of 3 cities. The New Testament contains, as the books of Ephesians and Colossians, the letters that Paul sent to the churches in Ephesus and Colossae. But in the epistle to the Colossians Paul mentions a sister city of Colossae called Laodicea. So, during the next couple of episodes I want to look at all three of these cities and see the role they play in the New Testament. To do that properly we are going to have to not only look at the books of Ephesians and Colossians but we are also going to have to look at the very last book of the Bible which is Revelation. So, let’s take a quick look at the first portion of Revelation, chapter 1, verse 4. VK: The first part of that verse says, “This letter is from John to the seven churches in the province of Asia…” You know I don’t think most people realize that when John wrote the book of Revelation he actually had a specific group of churches in mind. Revelation is the subject of so much sensationalism that I think people often miss that the opening part of the book has very specific messages for very specific churches. RD: I agree with that observation. The seven churches that John addressed his communication to were churches in these 7 cities: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. So, one fact leaps out right away. The city of Ephesus was the only city that received an individual letter from Paul that is mentioned in the list of the 7 churches mentioned in Revelation. And a second fact that also leaps out is that Laodicea, which again is mentioned several times in the epistle to the Colossians, also is part of the group of seven. None of the other cities to which Paul addressed an epistle are mentioned in Revelation. And while the city of Colossae is not mentioned by name in Revelation, I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that Colossae and Laodicea were both located in a region of Asia called the Lycus Valley. It was called the Lycus Valley because in ancient times the Lycus River ran through the valley. VK: So, how far away was Laodicea from Colossae? RD: Colossae was about 10 miles east of Laodicea. VK: And how far away was Ephesus from Colossae? RD: Colossae was about 100 miles east of Ephesus. VK: So, let’s make sure the dots are connecting as we move along. We’re studying the books of Ephesians and Colossians together because they share a number of connections in the Bible. Both Ephesus and Colossae are located in modern-day Turkey as is Colossae’s sister city, Laodicea. But Colossae and Laodicea are a lot closer together than Colossae and Ephesus. So, one fact leaps out right away that confirms the accuracy of Paul’s letter to the Colossians. In Colossians, chapter 4, verse 16 Paul said, “After this letter has been read to your people, be sure to have it read in the church at Laodicea. And you should read the letter that I have sent to them.” That’s from the Contemporary English Version. But Paul did not include a similar admonition in his letter to the Ephesians even though all of these cities were located within the Roman province of Phrygia. It made sense for Paul to tell the Colossians and the Laodiceans to share letters with each other because they were only 10 miles apart – but Ephesus was 100 miles away from them. 100 miles was a long distance to travel in those times. RD: Yes. And as long as we’re on the subject of how the geographic references within Colossians make sense let’s take a look at one more. Colossians, chapter 4, verses 12 and 13 say, “Your own Epaphras, who serves Christ Jesus, sends his greetings. He always prays hard that you may fully know what the Lord wants you to do and that you may do it completely. I have seen how much trouble he has gone through for you and for the followers in Laodicea and Hierapolis.” So, in Colossians besides mentioning Laodicea Paul also mentions another city from the Lycus Valley: Hierapolis. That also makes sense geographically. Colossae was about 10 miles east of Laodicea. Hierapolis was about 6 miles north of Colossae. VK: So, it makes sense that this believer named Epaphras would have had concerns for the churches in all three of those cities – Colossae, Laodicea, and Hierapolis. All three of them were located in the Lycus Valley fairly close together. RD: Right. And even though Epaphras was with Paul at the time Paul wrote the epistle to the Colossians most scholars believe that Epaphras probably founded the church in Colossae and possibly also in Laodicea and Hierapolis. In Colossians Paul seems to indicate that he had never personally visited Colossae or Laodicea. VK: You are thinking of Colossians, chapter 2, verse 1 which says, “I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other believers who have never met me personally.” That’s from the New Living Translation. RD: Right. But we do know that Paul had spent a considerable amount of time in Ephesus. From the book of Acts, chapter 19, verses 1 through 10 we know that Paul spent over two years and possibly close to 3 years in Ephesus. VK: Verse 10 says, “This [teaching] went on for two years, so that all the people who lived in the province of Asia, both Jews and Gentiles, heard the word of the Lord.” RD: Yes. So, it is quite likely that sometime during this two to three year period Epaphras came into contact with Paul while Paul was in Ephesus. Before Paul’s time Colossae had been a thriving and prosperous town. It was the center of an important wool industry and it was located on a very important overland trade route. It had declined somewhat and in Paul’s day it was a fairly modest market center. Laodicea, by contrast, was a wealthy and important center for banking and textiles and it had a bit of a medical industry. It had a medical school that had developed an ointment that was used to treat eye problems. It is entirely reasonable that Epaphras may have been connected to one of the businesses that thrived in and around the Lycus Valley and had occasions to travel to Ephesus. VK: Ephesus was an important trade center in Paul’s day. It was on the west coast of Asia and was an important gateway that linked the Mediterranean world and the inland part of Asia. In Paul’s time Ephesus was one of the 5 most important cities in the entire Roman Empire. Rome was, of course, the most important city but Ephesus was ranked in the same category as cities such as Corinth, Antioch of Syria, and Alexandria of Egypt. I guess we might liken Ephesus to Miami which is the connecting city between North and South America. RD: That’s a good analogy. Ephesus was an important place to do business. So, even though it would have been a several day journey from Laodicea and Colossae a merchant, trader, or banker might have had occasion to go there regularly. Scripture does not tell us what trade or occupation Epaphras practiced but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to believe he was financially successful. He was prosperous enough to later leave Asia and travel to Rome to be with Paul while Paul was imprisoned there from around 60 AD to 62 AD. VK: Ephesians and Colossians are two of the four epistles that are sometimes referred to as the “prison epistles.” Again, epistle is just another word for letter. These epistles are called the “prison epistles” because scholars think wrote them during that period of imprisonment that is described in Acts, chapter 28, verses 16 through 30. The four prison epistles are Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, and Philemon. Philemon was a believer who lived in or around Colossae. RD: Yes. Paul wrote to Philemon to request that Philemon be kind to a believer named Onesimus. At one time Onesimus was either a slave or a servant of Philemon but Onesimus had run away from Colossae to Rome. In Rome Onesimus came into contact with Paul and became a Christian. Paul convinced Onesimus he needed to do the right thing and return to Philemon and reconcile with him. But Paul did not send Onesimus back empty handed. He wrote one of the most compelling appeals you will ever read for why Philemon should be gracious to Onesimus and it is quite likely that one of Paul’s closest associates, Tychicus, also accompanied Onesimus. VK: We heard about Tychicus in our opening scriptures. Tychicus is mentioned in both Ephesians and Colossians as the person who is bringing Paul’s messages to those churches. For instance, in Ephesians Paul wrote, “This is why I am sending Tychicus to you. He is a dear friend, as well as a faithful servant of the Lord. He will tell you how I am doing, and he will cheer you up.” RD: And in Colossians Paul wrote, “Tychicus is the dear friend, who faithfully works and serves the Lord with us, and he will give you the news about me. I am sending him to cheer you up by telling you how we are getting along.” VK: The language Paul used in both of those greetings is very similar. In both Paul says that Tychicus is a faithful servant of the Lord, that he will give the churches updates about Paul, and that he will “cheer you up.” Apparently, Paul had a lot of confidence in Tychicus. But the similarity in this language does give you the strong impression that Paul wrote both of the letters at or near the same time. RD: And that’s one of the reasons we wanted to tackle these two epistles together. Obviously, if these two letters were written at the same time one question is which letter did Paul write first? VK: Why is that relevant? RD: Because when people write multiple similar documents it’s sometimes possible to see the progression of their thoughts as they go along. And we get to see the writer imparting nuances that are important to understanding the content. School teachers used to tell us to “compare and contrast” things to better understand similarities and differences. That same thought process can be helpful as we come to Paul’s epistles. In other words, we can learn more by looking at all of the documents than if we just look at each document in isolation. VK: I see what you’re saying. If we look at one document by a writer – assuming it’s a competent writer - we can certainly see what the writer wanted to communicate. But we can’t necessarily pick up patterns or progressions in thought from a single document as well as we can if we have multiple documents from the same hand. And that is especially true if we can look at several documents that were prepared around the same time. RD: Exactly. Paul, of course, varied the content of his letters based on many different considerations. Each of the churches he wrote to had individual concerns and issues and often Paul needed to address those local situations. VK: We saw that in the first letter to the Corinthians. If Ephesus was the Miami of its time, Corinth was the Las Vegas. Sexual temptation abounded in Corinth. So, Paul spent more time addressing sexual temptation in 1 Corinthians than in any of his other epistles. RD: Exactly. Another consideration that affected the content of Paul’s various epistles was the state of development of the church. As we saw in Galatians Paul had to address the issue of certain agitators who were trying to tell the church members in Galatia they had to accept Jewish customs and laws before they could become Christians. This assertion struck at the heart of the gospel which clearly says that salvation comes by faith alone in Christ alone. Paul forcefully rebutted this contention in his epistle to the Galatians. Well, in Colossians Paul apparently had to deal with a peculiar form of angelic worship. Colossae was located in a region in which a particular form of pagan worship had developed. This religion was the worship of the goddess Cybele. [sib-ah-lee] VK: The New Geneva Study Bible has this to say about Phrygia, the region in which Colossae was located, and the worship of the goddess Cybele. [sib-ah-lee]. “In ancient times, the region had given birth to the worship of the goddess Cybele, whose cult … was characterized by ritual cleansing in the blood of a bull, ecstatic states, prophetic rapture, and inspired dancing. … Within a few years of the inception of Christianity among these Phrygians , Epaphras and Paul found that an appetite had emerged for something more than the crucified and risen Christ. … Cybele and her lover Attis were transformed at some time by popular pagan piety into astral and cosmic powers.” RD: Right. And I would add that at this point in history it was often thought in the pagan religions present in the Roman Empire that stars and planets, and even physical elements (earth, wind, water, fire) were thought to control the destinies of people. Remember that at the time Paul wrote Colossians Epaphras is with him. So, Epaphras has reported to Paul that a form of syncretism – combining the elements of two different religions – was starting to take place in Colossae. This, again, is not surprising given the religious history of the region in which Colossae is located. So Paul had to address this local issue in the letter to the Colossians. VK: In Colossians you see phrases such as “See to it, then, that no one enslaves you by means of the worthless deceit of human wisdom, which comes from the teachings handed down by human beings and from the ruling spirits of the universe, and not from Christ. For the full content of divine nature lives in Christ, in his humanity, and you have been given full life in union with him. He is supreme over every spiritual ruler and authority.” That’s Colossians, chapter 2, verses 8 through 10 of the Good News Translation. RD: And while you do see Paul addressing the supremacy and necessity for Christ in Ephesians you don’t see him addressing the specific concern of pagan angelic worship. Now, I want to add here that the Colossians do not seem to have been worshipping the angels themselves but it is more as if they were trying to worship alongside the angels who in ancient times were often associated with astral or celestial powers. But that issue was apparently not present in the Ephesian church. VK: Possibly because Paul had spent close to 3 years in Ephesus ministering directly. It may be that the Ephesian believers’ extensive contact with Paul himself meant that they were far better grounded doctrinally. RD: Quite possibly. What you do see in Ephesians is more of a spirit of awe, prayer, and praise along with the very famous discussion of spiritual armor present in chapter 6 of Ephesians. We’re going to talk more about that in our next episode of Anchored by Truth. In Ephesians you actually don’t see Paul addressing any particular local issue with respect to the content of the Christian faith the way he did in Galatians and Colossians. That freed him up to spend more time expounding on subjects of general interest such as the unity of Christ with His church and the relationship between our lives before Christ with our life after we are saved. VK: Ephesus was obviously a very special place to Paul so it is natural that he would want to provide some last bit of encouragement to the believers who were there. In Acts, chapter 20, verses 17 through 35 we have a record of Paul’s last meeting with the Ephesian elders. At that time he said, “I have gone from place to place, preaching to you about God's kingdom, but now I know that none of you will ever see me again. … Look after yourselves and everyone the Holy Spirit has placed in your care. Be like shepherds to God's church. It is the flock he bought with the blood of his own Son. I know that after I am gone, others will come like fierce wolves to attack you. Some of your own people will tell lies to win over the Lord's followers. Be on your guard! Remember how day and night for three years I kept warning you with tears in my eyes.” That’s from the Contemporary English Version. RD: That meeting between Paul and the elders was about 3 or 4 years before Paul wrote his epistle to the church. But his warning to the elders helps us see the genuine warmth Paul was expressing when he wrote at the beginning of his letter, “I have heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God's people. So I never stop being grateful for you, as I mention you in my prayers.” That’s chapter 1, verses 15 and 16 from the Contemporary English Version. Somebody told Paul that at least up to that point that the Ephesians believers were remaining faithful and it genuinely pleased him. The other thing that is missing from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is any extensive defense of his own ministry of the type that is present in the letters to the Corinthians and Galatians. He didn’t have to provide a defense because the Ephesians knew him so well. VK: All of this goes to reinforce the major point that we are making in this “Paul’s Places” series. The epistles, the letters, Paul sent to the various churches we know in our Bibles by geographic labels are consistent not only with geography and culture but also with the history of the early church. Paul had apparently never been to Colossae or at least there were a lot of people there who had never seen him. But Paul had spent 3 years ministering personally in Ephesus. So, the tenor of the two letters is different even though they were obviously written about the same time. The religious traditions present in Colossae meant Paul put a special emphasis on the supremacy of Christ to any and all perceived celestial powers in Colossians. But Paul didn’t have to do that in Ephesians. But in Ephesians we do see a spirit of gratitude that probably resulted from the fact that - even though Paul hadn’t seen any of them for a while – someone had told him they were still remaining faithful. This sounds like a great time to go to prayer. Since we are so close to anniversary of the day that America declared her independence, today let’s listen to a prayer for God’s blessings to remain with this nation. ---- PRAYER FOR FOURTH OF JULY VK: Before we close we’d like to remind our audience that a lot of our radio episodes are linked together in series of topics so if they missed any episodes in this series or if they just want to hear one again, all of these episodes are available on your favorite podcast app. To find them just search on “Anchored by Truth by Crystal Sea Books.” If you’d like to hear more, try out crystalseabooks.com where “We’re not perfect but our Boss is!” (Opening Bible Quotes from the Contemporary English Version) Ephesians, chapter 6, verses 21 and 22, Contemporary English Version Colossians, chapter 4, verses 7 and 8, Contemporary English Version